Responding to fan complaints that playoff games routinely run past midnight, making it impossible for anyone in the eastern time zone under the age of 16 or over the age of 55 to watch, MLB has moved the start-times up to 7:57 PM eastern time. MLB claims that 40 minutes earlier, but by my math it's more like 30.
Either way: whoop-de-doo.
By the time you get through the extended commercial breaks, games still don't finish until after midnight. And should a game turn out to be really exciting, the walk-off home run people should be talking about 20 years later will be seen by relatively few viewers. Those viewers will likely be people who are already completely dedicated to baseball, and the recruitment of new fans will continue to dwindle.
When my kids were younger it was impossible for them to stay up past about the third inning. That's like going to a play and leaving after Act One. After a while, you wonder what all the fuss is about. Baseball's desire to get their games into west coast prime time certainly cured my kids of any interest in the sport, and is doubtless doing the same for thousands upon thousands of others.
The short-sightedness of baseball owners is as appalling as it is consistent. Remember: this is the same group that refused to let radio broadcast games, since it would cause people to stay home from the park. They resisted television for the same reason, for years making sure that people would only see games they weren't interested in. Now they're limiting the growth of their potential fan base in order to make a few short-term bucks.
The result of all this is going to be: more soccer. Jeez I hate soccer.
In the first half of the first inning of the first game of this baseball season, my pitcher, Brett Myers, gave up a two-run home run to Brian McCann. At that moment, only six minutes into the baseball season, my team dropped into last place where, no doubt, they will stay for the rest of the year.
Later this afternoon, the University of Kentucky will fire it's men's basketball coach, Billy Gillispie. Hired just two years ago, and greeted on his arrival in the Bible-belt city of Lexington with signs saying "Our Savior!", Gillispie's salary has been $2.3 million a year. In a state where desperately needed education is being cut across the board and college tuitions are rising at five times the rate of inflation, Kentucky will now reportedly pay Gillispie $6 million to go away. The University will hire another coach, probably at a higher salary, and will likely have to pay some kind of cash settlement to the school that coach walks away from.
I'm in a couple of NCAA pools and am employing a gambling-oriented -- as opposed to sentimental -- strategy in making my picks. That is, despite the fact that I live in Louisville, I'm picking other teams to win.
In most scoring systems, the lion's share of the points are given for correct choices in the later games, meaning that you have to pick the champion correctly to win the pool. And, since hometown fave Louisville is a credible #1, they're showing up on a disproportionate number of brackets. If Louisville wins, the winner will be determined by who picked the winners of the higher-risk games early in the bracket.
I'm lousy at that, because I don't really know that much about college basketball and don't really care who wins, for example, Akron-Arizona State game. Instead, I'm differentiating myself by picking other, locally unpopular teams who are, nonetheless, credible #1s. On my various brackets, I've chosen Connecticut, North Carolina, and the widely reviled Duke to persevere. Duke may be a long shot, but the odds of Duke winning the NCAA are better than the odds of me picking the first 32 games correctly. Also, I guarantee that if Duke wins, I'll be one of about three people in the Commonwealth of Kentucky with the Blue Devils as champion, since there is no team more hated here than Duke. (Forget getting beat up in a bar. There are churches in Kentucky where you'll be attacked if you say something nice about Christian Laettner.) If Duke wins, the money will come rolling in. Maybe even enough to pay my resulting medical expenses.
In my heart of hearts, however, I hope U of Lou wins. My son is a student there, my wife used to work there, and I do a lot of research in their library. Most importantly, I eat at a restaurant frequented by coach Rick Pitino, so it's almost like I'm on the team myself.
Professional golfer Henrik Stenson, confronted with possibility that he might soil his nice golf clothes hitting out of a water hazard, took his clothes off.
“Just the way God created me,” Stenson said.
that isn’t entirely true, unless he was born wearing boxer shorts and a
golf glove, along with having a wedge in his hands.
hacked the ball out of the muck, got dressed standing in the rough off
the left side of the fairway, and wound up making perhaps the most
entertaining bogey of his life.
Entertaining perhaps, but the danger is that when pros start doing something, amateurs soon follow. First it was those long putters. Then the next thing you know it's fairway woods from shaggy grass just off the green. Now, apparently, it's going to be big fat naked guys covered with mud.
I think the USGA Rules Committee needs to step in and put an end to this.
An apparently slow-moving Japanese recovery team has rescued a statue of Colonel Sanders from watery doom. Twenty-four years ago, fans of the Honshin Tigers baseball team threw the statue into the Dotonburi River after concluding that the elderly Kentucky Colonel was a dead ringer for power-hitting first baseman Randy Bass.
Do you see the resemblance?
Bass, who hit .212 lifetime in Major League Baseball, was a superstar in Japan. There, he hit .337 over six seasons and, in 1985, nearly broke the legendary Sadaharu Oh's single-season home run record. One dinger short of immortality, Bass and his Tigers closed the season against the Tokyo Giants, managed by Oh. The Giants pitched around Bass, throwing everything low and outside to protect their hero's record. In the season's final game, after four intentional walks in a row, Bass lunged at a curveball in the dirt and managed only a bloop single.
Bass is now a state senator in Oklahoma. Colonel Sanders is dead.
The Wall Street Journal says college basketball is the toughest sport on road teams. One of the reasons: loud and creative student sections, an example of which is Pitt's Oakland Zoo:
Pitt graduate student Dave Jedlicka, the president of the Zoo,
proudly recounts how Pitt fans found personal pictures of West Virginia
star Kevin Pittsnogle and his wife on Facebook and brandished them at a
game in 2006. Mr. Pittsnogle missed all 12 of his shot attempts that
"We've gotten really good about being witty and effective but not
vulgar," says Mr. Jedlicka. "I've only had to do two written apologies."
I thought graduate students were supposed to be bookish and hang around in bars with folk singers.