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Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: March Madness WBC replay Twitter

Welcome to March, Gabbers. Itís supposed to get warmer soon. Weíre gonna hit 43 around these parts. Conference tourneys start this week. Those always have some great ball. The Big East tournament is usually legendary, but I have high hopes for the Big Ten this year. Iíve been able to catch the MSU-UofM games this year and theyíve been great. Last Sundayís one point nail biter was one of the better games Iíve seen in a while.

Our old friends the talking heads seem upset by the apparent lack of favorites heading into this yearís tournament. I canít remember a tournament where the projected winner made it through anyway. Honestly, the tournament is more about the journey and brackets than favorites. Itís just fun to watch everything shake out and even more fun to try and guess how it will shake out. Think about it, how many other times have you found yourself rooting for Stoney Brook? For my money the fact that this year has been so even makes brackets harder, but makes the tournament that much more exciting.

March is also bringing us the World Baseball Classic this year. The 16 team tournament is already underway, but surprisingly isnít getting a lot of air play here in the US. ESPN is showing it on one of their associate channels, ESPN Deportes. The US starts play in pool D in Phoenix, AZ. They have a rough bracket as theyíre matched up with pre-tourney winners Canada as well as Mexico and Italy. While a lot of big names have pulled out due to injury concern, the US roster features a lot of familiar names from the big leagues including Adam Jones, David Wright, Giancarlo Stanton, and Ryan Braun. The rotation for their first round includes R.A. Dickey (v. Mexico), Ryan Vogelsong (v. Italy), and Derek Holland (v. Canada). Our bullpen is strong with Craig Kimbrel highlighting a group that includes Chris Perez and Heath Bell.

Joe Torre is managing the squad for the US and also plans to use the tournament as a testing ground for improvements for the MLB. Officials from the MLB plan to visit the WBC games in Miami to explore factors that they believe could impact the expansion of instant replay like camera angles. As of now, replay is limited to determing fair/foul balls and trap v catch calls. Many in the game believe that the MLB is considering expanding the use of replay to plays at the plate and throws to the bases. Many believe these calls will be added next season, but wonít rule out the idea of such expansions starting after the all-star break this season.

The questions that still remain center on how the MLB would execute replay calls. Most seem to think the MLB will employ a system of manager challenges similar to what the NFL has in place. Another option would be to create a position for an independent replay umpire who would determine what calls to review. Cost certainly limits the idea of a replay official. The NHL has its system for reviewing goals in which a central office in Toronto reviews every goal to determine if the puck crossed the line and did so legally. Finally, the MLB would have to determine what calls are challengable. While most agree that balls and strikes would be left up to the umpire, there are several other instances that the league may have to consider.

Legally, the player and umpire unions have only agreed to replay options for fouls and catches. The MLB would have to gain the consent of both groups to be able to expand the replay system in any way. I have little doubt that both unions would agree to expand the system in principle. The difficulty would be in the means. How can the league bring in more cameras and stop time for a game many believe is long enough already? I am all for expanded replay, but have doubts about what it could do to the flow of the game. I think it takes away from some NFL games as it stands. The replay process is very new to sports and I only hope they can continue to refine it so it is less of an obstacle and more of a useful tool as was intended.

Arian Foster has come out to announce that he will be logging off of Twitter. Foster, who featured an eclectic feed that talked about the game as well as his appreciation for physics, declared that he was finished with the site Monday on Twitter. Much has been written here and elsewhere about the stupidity of athletes on Twitter. Will Fosters move trigger an exodus from the site by athletes? I hope so in some ways. Iíve yet to see an athlete get much more than bad publicity and outcry from the site. On the other hand, it does give everyone something to write about. Seeing more guys leave would have us focus a lot more on the actual sport. Wouldnít that be something?

Well, thatís it for me this week. Thanks as always for stopping by. Thinking about the WBC, I donít know if I should root for the US or Venezuela. Venezuela has 3 tigers and a stacked line-up on paper. Of course, the more time Miggy and co have to rest up, well, that may be favorable in my opinion. That in mind, I leave you with your word of the week.

Vatication, noun

When the Pope abdicates the the Chair (cathedra) of Peter before his natural death, the Emeritus Pope is said to be on permanent Vatication.

Vatication is like the ultimate staycation, since it is a vacation in the Vatican taken on a permanent basis by Emeritus Pope.
Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI starts his permanent Vatication on February 28, 2013, the day he abdicates the pontifical throne, doffs his signature red Prada loafers, and his papal ring is destroyed.

Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

It happened again.

Alex Rodriguez has once again been implicated for using performance enhancing drugs.† Biogenesis of America, an anti-aging clinic in Miami, closed last month leaving a paper trail of PEDs, steroids, human growth hormones, and testosterone that all came back to implicated Rodriguez as well as Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, and Gio Gonzalez. The head of the clinic is well known as the physician who supplied Manny Ramirez with PEDs years ago.

This time, there was no shock.Weíve all seen this before. Same players on the same stage. I think if the last month has done anything, its deadened sports fans to any sort of shock. Weíve been on a confessions overload. Armstrong, Tíeo, hell even the recent Ray Lewis story; none of it can be seen as terribly surprising.

The one surprise connected to this story is the idea that this may be enough. Iím not talking about baseball cracking down on PEDs. That will likely never happen in any meaningful way. Sports in general has only shown that if you arenít cheating, youíre probably more of a freak of nature than the guys spraying deer antler on themselves.

No. The story here is that this could be it for Rodriguez. With subpar post-season performances and compounding injuries, the Yankees are looking to cut ties with A-Rod. The Yankees are exploring any and all avenues to cut ties with Rodriguez and rid themselves of his remaining $144 million dollar over the next five years. While they would have to wait for the MLB to take action against Rodriguez, the Yankees are currently mulling over whether they can void the deal due to A-Rod using a doctor outside of the teamís approved staff. Unfortunately, many believe the fact that the Yankees took no action after A-Rodís first admission may weaken any attempts to void the fallen starís contract.

In the end, you have to look at where Rodriguez has gone. While I was never a big fan, Rodriguez came into the league with a lot of promise. Rodriguez was the first high school player to try to make Team USA. Failing that, he merely became one of the youngest players to make his MLB debut one year later at the age of 18. Over his first six years in Seattle, Rodriguez garnered a lot of national attention, but fell short in MVP races and other accolades. He made the 40 HR-40 stolen bases club.

In 2000, A-Rod would enter infamy as the highest paid sports figure in history at the time, signing a $252 million dollar contract and possibly pricing Jeff out of Rangers tickets for several years. He sparked national debate over how much an athlete was worth and began the 9 figure salary trend. His four seasons in Texas didnít yield a plus-500 season. In 2004, Rodriguez and his monster contract were traded to New York for Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias. Rodriguez reached new heights in New York and even won a few MVPs. Still, outside pressures and doubts continued to swirl around Rodriguez as his first 4 years in New York yielded no championships. In 2008, the team failed to make the playoffs after doing so for 13 straight seasons.

2009 could have been one of Rodriguezís best years when the Yankees won another championship in October. This was also the year that things began to unravel for the slugger. Amidst rumors, Rodriguez broke his silence and admitted to using PEDs. The work and toil of the Yankees latest championship fell to scrutiny. Rodriguez tarnished his own reputations and that of one of baseballís most prized and honored teams.

While numbers will speak kindly of Rodriguez, his actions and decisions will likely keep him blacklisted from the HOF. If the recent lack of inductees has shown anything (aside from how asinine the voters are), it shows that the voters are also unforgiving of those who cheat. For all his promise and talent, Rodriguez will most likely be shed or traded by the Yankees and remembered as a player who should have done more and could have done everything honestly.

Alex Rodriguez, verb

to slap

Knowing he would be gunned down at first, Hank decided the classy move would be to Alex Rodriguez the ball from the first baseman's mit.

Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

The snow is here. Those of us in the midwest are fully aware by now that we're getting a White Christmas a day later. I just got down to Akron to visit my grandma. Our plan for today is to hunker down and shiver through.

I got some neat stuff for Christmas. My lady and I got our first cookie jar for our moving in together this summer. Kinda like this, but in cookie jar form. They don't have any pics of it, but it's pretty sweet.

Otherwise, I got a nice Tigers pic for the living room and some Ohio State gear. I got my yearly Barnes and Nobles gift card from Lara's grandparents, which means I get to go be a book nerd for a bit. No one really complains about that.

I really hope you all had a great Christmas. I got Christmas with my family including IHM†when I get back. Got him some awesome Tigers gear. I hear I got something similarly†awesome. We have a tendency to give folks hints about their Christmas stuff.

In the spirit of the anticipate baseball HOF announcements, I figured I'd share some of my past thoughts. Here again is my ongoing support for Lee Smith and the closers role in general.

Lee Smith: Ok, if Goose got in, Smith deserves in in my book. Smith has more saves (478 v 300), fewer strikeouts (1251 v. 1502), and a nearly identical ERA (3.03 v 3.01). Smith was a good closer and earned 3 times more Rolaids relief awards.

familiated

To be humiliated in front of ones family.

Its not a good feeling to be familiated.
Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

Well, I got out there and voted yesterday. I then proceeded to spend as much of the rest of the day avoiding the election as possible. While I didnít get any more robo-calls, I still saw the ads on TV and couldnít help but see the chatter on Facebook. Today should be the best day for chatter, as everyone steps out to make wild proclamations about what is going to happen under our new president. If Obama wins, prepare for socialism and having your guns taken away. If Romeny wins, I imagine Iíll see a lot about jobs being sent away and being sold out. Heck, I have kids at the high school Iím at in a state of doom and gloom over the mere possibility of Romney winning.†
I hate to break it, but nothing major will change right off the bat. Even at that, the president has to get whatever bills and measures they want through our do-nothing Congress (which hopefully received a big shake up overnight). This will sound odd coming from a blogger, but people need to cool it with the speculation. At this point, there is little anyone can really do and we should know nothing major will happen. I doubt any president would repeal the second amendment. I respect the office enough to know no president would sell his country out. If people are pissed, I only want to hear it if they votedÖ.for everything Congress and amendments included.
Aside from watching all the crazy gadgets and light up ice that came with election coverage, things have been slow. I was bummed out that Albion lost to Adrian College this weekend. Coming into last weekend, the Britons had a strong chance to win the MIAA and cement a spot in the D-3 playoffs. We only had to get through the Bulldogs of Adrian. Historically, weíve had trouble with Adrian. We never beat them while I attended Albion. In the end, Albion fell a point short in OT and lost 20-19. Luckily, Albion can cheer itself up by beating the damned Dutchmen of Hope this weekend.
While next week will be the biggest week for awards announcement in the MLB, a few trophies have been given out recently. The Gold Gloves were handed out. Comeback Player of the year was given to Fernando Rodney of the Tampa Bay Rays and Buster Posey of the Giants. For all the heart attacks Rodney gave me in Detroit, I am glad to see him recover and put things back together. His remarkable .60 Era also earned him the honor of top reliever in the game.†
The MLB also announced the winners of the Hank Aaron Awards. I have to admit that I had no idea what this award was. Thanks to the internet, I now know that this award came to be in 1999 as a means to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron beating Babe Ruthís home run record. The award is given to the top offensive players in the AL and NL. A Rod has won 4 of these over the years, most coming during his days in Texas. This year, the honor was given to Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey. Now, I like the idea of the award and the means by which it was founded, but I must admit it makes me nervous. In the short duration of this award, only 3 players have won both the Aaron award and MVP (A Rod, Barry Bonds, and Albert Pujols). Also, if MLB voters are anything like college football voters, giving these nods to guys this early usually serves as something of a consolation prize. Now, most folks believe that Posey has a pretty secure lead in the NL and I tend to agree. The AL, on the other hand, is still very much up for grabs between Cabrera and Mike Trout. The new stat gurus love Trout. I hope that winning this honor and the Triple Crown donít serve as consolation prizes for Cabrera. Weíll find out next Thursday, November 15.
Well, thatís it for me this week. Iíve got finals to get ready for my history class. I got to condense human history into 10 weeks and got from pre-history to the Italian Renaissance. High school history can be interesting, but itís frustratingly short and incomplete. I didnít get to touch on the early Americas, as students in Michigan generally study that period in middle school. Thanks as always for stopping by. I leave you as always with your word of the week.
Nerdist colony, noun
A place where people of a geekier nature can be themselves without the fear of ridicule; an area where cosplay is accepted as being normal and out of costume people are rejected and despised. Normally a comic book store or a gaming shop.
Craig: Um... dude, why are you dressed as Spock?
Geoff: Oh. I'm heading over to the nerdist colony to flash my sonic screwdriver at some orion slave girls. Wanna come?
Buzz from the Bleachers
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: HMS Bounty Halloween NBA NBA disloyalty World Series NHL Cam Newton Vince Young

Happy Halloween Gabbers! Itís gonna be a damned cold and windy one here and lord only knows what kind of celebration folks out East will be able to have between the flooding and wind damage and the snow over in the Appalachians. Mother Nature proved she can be pretty damn scary this week. Hell, she brought down the HMS Bounty this week. Made as a prop for promoting the film of Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando, the ship has recently been restored and was used in The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and sailed to various festivals during the summer. The ship went down in the midst of Hurricane Sandy and took a female crew member and the 63 year old captain with her.
You know what else is scary? The idea of moving Halloween. Itís being considered in my hometown of Warren, MI. Now, I can see doing this in places that were directly affected by the hurricane, but weíre a good ways off from the disaster zone. Granted, the weather has been better. Weíve gotten a taste of the wind and rains, but trying to move the whole damn holiday to Friday is a bit much. Our genius mayor thinks this is a good idea as tomorrow is still calling for wind and light rain. To hell with that! I went through far worse to get candy as a kid! The year I got to dress up as a Tigerís ball player, I had to hide most of my costume under my Starter jacket. It sucked because I had a mock batting helmet, jersey, and everything. Of course, I was still out WALKING in the wind and rain to get my treats. Most kids donít walk anymore. Mom and dad drive them from house to house, meanwhile whatever the hell neighborhood they leave to come to mine has fewer and fewer houses giving out candy.
To hell with this new generation of trick-or-treaters! A lot of them are too damned old to be out in the first place. Most of them donít wear costumes. Hardly any of them know enough to say ďTrick-or-treatĒ much less ďThank youĒ. My light will be on tonight. I will have candy in a bowl, the good stuff, chocolates. I will have all my decorations ready to roll. Theyíve been out enduring the wind and rain. If you want candy, get your pampered self out of the car (and not in my damn driveway that is for MY car), wander up to the door (I might pass candy from inside if it is that crappy), and knock on the door and ask. Halloween is on the 31st. Donít expect me to go along with any bull shit moving of the holiday.
You know what else is scary? Some of ESPN rumor mongering about the NBA. Why does ti scare me? I just think that with David Stern gone the NBA will finally stop trying to show how damned rigged it is. LeBron is up in free agency in 2014. Stern is gone. Kobe may be on the way out in LA. LA will need a new draw. LeBron fits the bill. Now, all these Heat fans are crying that LeBron would never leave them. Heís got D-Wade. Heís got a family. Really? You remember Cleveland? Hell, Lebron will not only leave Miami given the chance, but heíll host a damned two hour special about it live on ESPN. Does anyone really think this guy has loyalty to anything but himself? Can these fans be so naive?†
The NBA is the picture of self-fulfillment and greed. I just installed a picture of it on the Wikipedia page for greed (not really, but itís a great idea anyone with a membership or whatever the hell you need). There is no loyalty from the players to any franchise, fan base, or contract. The owners need to wise up to this and figure that if these guys want to use them as pawns, they need to get proactive and use the players. Orlando had a prime chance to limp Dwight Howardís gimp leg off for a few players and some draft picks. Would they have gotten fair value? No. But they had way better deals than what they got from LA and Philly. They got no one. Brooklyn at least offered the lesser of the Lopez brothers and Mr. Kardashian.
You know who got it right: the Thunder. They know they have three guys up for contracts. Each guy is going to want the maximum deal. They canít afford that. So, you take the less talented of that three, James Harden, and ship him off for an expiring contract and some draft picks. Harden, who people will claim was blindsided, gets a chance to be the man for the Rockets and the Thunder actually get something for a player. Fans canít be sentimental in the NBA. Fans that are tend to remind you of that guy who blubbered on about how wrestling is still real to him. The NBA has done all it can to build up the franchises it wants to see succeed. Itís a watered down league who is letting the players run it into the ground. Player loyalty has left in a big decision. Fan loyalty left just as fast, or at least it should.
I was also pretty scared by the Tigersí World Series slump. Now, all credit goes to the Giants first and foremost. The Giants had an amazing series and completely dominated in every facet of the game. Heck, the Giants intelligence and ability on the base paths even got everyone a free taco today. (I forgot to get mine, but I hope some of you got yours.) Still, the Tigers were on the threshold and just didnít show up. Iím not trying to bash the tigers either. They ended the season in the best way possible considering they looked out of it as of September. After the late September/October run they put together, itís very hard to be upset with this team. I had figured as had the team that not being idle during their wait for the Giants would help. Despite going up against the best their farm could offer, the Tigers bats werenít there and even JV, the rock of this team, was shaky.
You know whatís so damned stupid, itís scary? The labor negotiations between the NHL and the players. Look, you have a small, but loyal fan base that wants hockey. You start to lose more fans with every game you cancel. Youíre going to cancel the best thing youíve done in the last few years IMHO, the Mid-Winter Classic at the Big House, due to the idiocy of Bettman-Fehr. Youíre league only recently clawed back from the damage of 2004. Get something done and put something out there. You wonít survive another lost season.
Iím a bit scared that the Lions are wasting what should be a talented roster. Iím worried that the Roar Restored is shrinking back to a yelp of fright. On paper, the Lions have a great squad. In actuality, we have guys slumping at the worst possible time and players not living up to potential. Maybe some of our guys were just graded too high, but weíre looking eerily similar to the lovable losers who tried to claw back from 0-16 than the high powered offense that made it back to the playoffs last season. Iím afraid weíll be shut out of the playoffs this year.
Iím afraid for Cam Newton. Iíll admit I figured Newton would be a bust, but not many busts put up the numbers that Newton has. People have started comparing Newton to Vince Young. In my opinion, Young never got enough of a chance. Really, Youngís numbers donít bear out a terrible comparison. Young went a strong 8-8 his rookie year. Newton led a mostly young Carolina team to a 6-10 record last season. Still, Young came back to lead the titans to the playoffs in 2007 and 2008 with 10 and 13 win seasons each year. What came next was the strange part. Young battled injuries. Young came back in 2009 to have an 8-8 season, but struggled in 2010 eventually losing the job and maybe his mind.†
I think the pressure got to Young. This was a kid who came out of Texas on fire. Heíd beaten the highly lauded USC team starring Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart. He was called a Hall of Famer by ESPN the year he was drafted. He was under so much pressure to win and distanced himself from Bush and Leinart so quickly that he just came apart under the scrutiny. Weíve all seen it before. Weíll see it again. Last year, Newton played to silence his critics and took a lot of the strain himself. He had to some games since he had little help outside of a revitalized Steve Smith. This year, the magic isnít working. Newton canít do it himself, but heís still trying. I only fear this may lead to his undoing. I fear he might come apart under the criticisms. Iíd like to see Young reach out to Newton. I think heíd be a good mentor and maybe get Newton to take it slow and remember he has a team.
Well, thatís about all Iím scared of for this week. Well, outside of bears, but Colbert kinda helped with that. I hope all of you have some great times trick-or-treating. If you get kids without costumes, I suggest getting a big bowl of fast food condiments to hand out. I know I have a bunch saved up. I expect to see some costume picks from the parents. Thanks as always for reading and I leave you with your word of the week.
frankenstorm, noun
A Frankenstorm is a hurricane and winter storm hybrid, involving a "monster" combination of high winds, heavy rain, extreme tides and snow. A Frankenstorm carries with it a risk of fatalities, power outages and severe property damage.
Farewell! I leave you, and in you the last of humankind whom these eyes will ever behold. Farewell, Frankenstorm!
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