Get Rid of ‘Em

Twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks were split up for the first time in their lives via the NHL All-Star fantasy draft

I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say that they have got to scrap the all-star games. No applause necessary for the originality.

On what may possibly be the worst weekend this year in sports, we saw two brutal all-star games in which even the highlights were almost unbearable. I think it would have been more fun playing scrabble on family game night. Seriously, I like scrabble.

The Pro-Bowl is as big a joke as Jose Canseco’s boxing career was. There is no reason for the NFL to play this game. Football is a game that is built off of pure intensity and violence, yet in an all-star game there is no way that guys can play with anywhere near the same passion that they do during the season. No one wants to get hurt in an all-star game and nobody wants to hurt a fellow player in something that is essentially meaningless

Might as well make it a flag football Pro-Bowl if you’re going to keep it around because what is put on display each year sure isn’t NFL level football. I mean, at one point it was 42-0 and the first half wasn’t over.

They should stop torturing the players and the fans that waste their time to watch this spectacle. At least they put the game back in Hawaii this year.

The NHL at least tried to do something this year to spice up their all-star game even if it only ever had the potential increase the hype prior to the game. You don’t see hockey as the lead story too often on major American sports sites as it was on Friday evening.

However, as much hype as the fantasy draft caused, it in no way led to the player’s to work harder during the game. If they could find some way in the NHL, as well as the NBA, to force the player’s to play some defence then maybe these games could actually hold some viewers. Alas, there probably is no realistic method for these leagues’s to follow in order to make these multi-millionaires show some effort for one extra game.

The combined goal total of 21 in the NHL all-star game exceeded the Vegas over/under set at 16.5.

Major League Baseball’s all-star game is not enjoyable because it actually means something in terms of World Series home field advantage. In fact, I think it’s stupid to decide something like that in an all-star game. It may create a little extra buzz each and every year, but in baseball there is never a reason not to try. Its baseball, how can you not put in a full effort?

The 3 other major North American sports don’t have that luxury. Moreover, with all the complaining that surrounds each respective all-star game from fans and analysts alike, it would make more sense to just abandon the game’s altogether.

The most intriguing feature of the NBA and NHL all-star games, which in my humble opinion are the skills competitions, have even lost their allure.

Keep the breaks, keep the status, but lose the game.

Maybe they should just make everyone play baseball for the all-star game.

Also, check out The Everyday Man’s Sports blog for his take on this issue http://theeverydaymanssportsblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/the-comedy-all-stars/

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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Musings On the 2011 Hall of Fame Class

Roberto Alomar is now a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer

The only thing that was stopping one of the greatest second basemen to ever play the game from being inducted to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame was a single incident. A lapse in judgement, in the heat of the moment when Roberto Alomar, then with the Baltimore Orioles, spit in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck.

Last year, a no doubt first ballot Hall of Famer was snubbed because of an incident that reflected poorly on his character. Many voters decided to make a point to Roberto last year, but not this time.

Roberto Alomar with his 12 gold gloves, 10 all-star appearances, career .300 average and 2724 hits was inducted into the Hall of Fame yesterday with a decisive 90% of the vote (75% is needed for induction).

The Hall of Fame is not also meant to be the moral Hall of Fame and the fact that Roberto Alomar had one major blemish during his playing career should not lead to a snub from Cooperstown.

Obviously it didn’t.

This year, a major distinction that Hall of Fame voters have made is the difference between character/personal transgressions and cheating. They are finally getting this right.

However, Andrew Stoeton, a very good writer for the website Drunk Jays Fans, points out that this is a flaw in the logic of the Hall of Fame voters.

Really?

He also seems to think that Roberto Alomar’s personal indiscretions that are not widely reported to be a certain double standard in the minds of reporters.

Most of the time the guys on Drunk Jays Fans point out to us readers the amount of stupidity that is all around us but we’re going to turn the tables on them.

Honestly, something must not be connecting in your brain if you want to excuse these players of cheating the fans and more importantly the game of baseball. Just because PED’s were known and commonly accepted during that era does not mean it was right for the players to use them. I’ve mentioned it before but I want to reiterate that the inflated numbers caused by the use of steroids does not create an equal comparison of players who have legitimately made the Hall without performance enhancing drugs.

Jeff Bagwell was not a first ballot inductee as he received a bit over 40% of votes largely due to the speculation that he was steroid user during his career. 449 home runs to go along with a .297 ain’t too shabby, which make Bagwell’s power numbers a major reason pertaining to the argument that he is deserving of a Hall of Fame spot.

Mark McGwire admitted he had the juice

Although, doesn’t it seem more than a little odd that his home run total in his minor league career prior to his call-up to the big leagues does not even reach double digits? Granted that does consist only of 274 games according to baseball-reference.com but if a key part of Bagwell’s consideration to the Hall of Fame is due to the amount of home runs he hit how it is fair that that those numbers may be skewed to a great degree? Oh yeah, same to you Big Mac, who saw his percentage of votes dip despite his admission of guilt with regards to his use of steroids.

Players in the past who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame set a precedent by which voters make their decisions on future inductees. However, with likely steroid users the precedent is thrown out the window as there is no way by which we can evaluate those players in relative terms to current Hall of Famers.

On the other hand, character issues and personal transgressions play no part in statistics. There is no doubt that players who face character questions, yet have no connection to performance enhancing devices, have put up numbers that are 100 percent legitimate.

Steroids deal directly with the game of baseball where as personal indiscretions do not. It’s as simple as that and if you can’t distinguish between the two then I feel sorry for you.

The same goes for the spit balling, belt cutting pitchers that are currently in the Hall of Fame. That was something that was also common and well-known at the time but again, it still doesn’t make it okay.

In any sport the Hall of Fame is meant to recognize players who have excelled in playing their respective game.

If we ever do accept cheating we compromise the integrity of the game and will just be cheating a different way. We will be cheating the guys who made it into the Hall the right way, the real way, the hard way.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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To Sign or Not To Sign?

Is Albert Pujols worth $30 million?

It is no surprise that going into a contract year St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is looking to cash in after another season of remarkable consistency. It was reported by Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman earlier today that Pujols is seeking Alex Rodriguez type money to become baseball’s first real 30 million dollar man. A-Rod signed his massive 10 year $275 million contract in 2007 at the age of 32, while Pujols will be 31 when his contract runs out next season. Pujols’ extraordinary ability to perform at such a consistent level on a year-to-year basis mean it is inevitable that he gets a contract in the A-Rod range, but the team that signs him may be regretting the decision in the years to come.

In his 10 year career, Albert Pujols has never had a season in which he has hit below .300 or had fewer than 30 home runs and 100 RBI’s. You can draw parallels to Ichiro Suzuki’s consistency, who just had his 10th straight 200 hit season, except on a much more power oriented scale. The problem that the Cardinals face is that they are being forced into paying best player in baseball money for a player who most likely will not continue his reliable consistency in his late 30’s and early 40’s.

Going into the 4th year of his 10 year deal, the Yankees are already seeing the drawbacks on this type of risky deal for Alex Rodriguez. In comparison to A-Rod’s prime years, there has been a significant drop off in the power numbers. He has gone from 40 and 50 plus homers to 35, 30 and 30 home runs respectively in each of his past 3 seasons. The more alarming stat though is that in the last 3 years Rodriguez’s average has dropped from .302 to .286 and finally a very mediocre .270 in 2010.

If you don’t buy all the crap coming out of A-Rod’s mouth then these numbers could partly be attributed to his lack of those naughty performance enhancers. With that being said though, we can see that Pujols should not have to undergo this type of drop off in his numbers at least due to non-natural causes, as he has never been and I hope never will be linked to steroids.

However, if what I have just said has absolutely nothing or only partly to do with Alex Rodriguez’s recent statistics then we can most likely attribute it to age. Well, isn’t that what we always do when we see a decline in an “older” player’s numbers?

Even though it is incredibly cliché to attribute the plunge of an “older” player’s game to age, it is no doubt a very logical reason. Albert Pujols most likely won’t be seeing a drop off in his statistics anytime soon but when he starts hitting his mid 30’s there is a good chance that he won’t be worth the $30 million or whatever he ends up signing for.

The thing is, if you have a team that doesn’t mind paying the luxury tax, dishing out extra cash for undeserving players, or just flat out being cash strapped then I don’t see this as a problem. However, if your team is not the New York Yankees then the signing of someone of Pujols’ stature should strike you as a major issue.

What happens when you have a $30 million franchise player who suddenly isn’t producing the way you would hope?

This isn’t going to be a short-term problem for the team that signs Pujols, but make no mistake, this is going to be a long-term issue and the St. Louis Cardinals front office better take a long hard look in the mirror before deciding to take on Pujols for possibly 10 more years.

Do St. Louis Cardinal fans want 38-year-old Manny Ramirez production for $30 million a year?

I didn’t think so.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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New York Yankee Fans Don’t Deserve a Winner

New York Yankee fans are some of the most bipolar fans in the world

For the most part there are two sides to baseball fans, people who love the New York Yankees and people who just hate ‘em. Yankee fans are some of the most passionate fans in the world, but most of the time they just act like spoiled brats.

In game 4 of the ALCS, A.J. Burnett put up another stinker giving up 5 earned runs in 6 innings of work in the loss. However, when walking off the field at the end the end of the 6th inning Burnett left to an echo of boos from the Yankee “faithful.”

You have got to be kidding me.

First off, booing is a ridiculous practice for sports fans especially in baseball when the nature of the game requires you to be as relaxed as possible in order to be successful. In general, the act of booing accomplishes nothing when your team is putting in a maximum effort, and probably has more of a negative effect than a positive one.

Wayne Rooney said it best when he looked to the camera after an England draw in the first game of the 2010 World Cup. “Nice to see your home fans boo you. That’s what loyal support is.”

You Yankee fans are such spoiled little brats.

I guess it has been a while since you have won a World Series, 2009 was a whole year ago. It obviously must be frustrating to cheer for a franchise that has won 27 World Series championships and 40 American League Pennants.

For god sakes, it’s not like your team is last in the league, you’re in the American League Championship Series. The Texas Rangers haven’t even made one trip to the World Series.

You take for granted the fact that you have been able to watch so many incredible players over the years. Some franchises would probably be happy to boast just one of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, or Derek Jeter.

Why are you complaining?

All that garbage about high expectations for your team and you deserve to boo them if you don’t feel they are playing up to par is completely unjustified. The line that divides passion and stupidity is constantly crossed by Yankee fans, which is why so many people hate the team and its fans.

No one wants to see a team that wins all the time to keep winning, but it makes it even worse when the fans celebrating the many victories constantly act like spoiled brats. When you don’t get what you want you cry like when Daddy won’t buy you a new Mercedes.

After 1918 it took 86 years for the Boston Red Sox to finally win another World Series, and the Cubs still haven’t won one in 102 years and counting.

I wouldn’t feel sorry for Yankee fans if you guys go 100 years without winning another World Series, and I bet a lot of other fans would express similar sentiments. Until Yankee fans finally decide that this World Series or bust attitude each and every year is ridiculous, there will forever be a continuing generation of Yankee haters.

Whatever happened to Karma anyways?

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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It Was All Worth It

Cliff Lee went 2-0 in the Rangers' ALDS matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays

By: Chris Ross

When you go to the casino to play the slots do you expect to win? Do you go to a casino expecting to win when you put all your money on double zero? The odds aren’t terrible, but they aren’t in your favour either.

In professional sports, general managers constantly flirt with the odds when they decide to pick up rental players.

Rental players are generally players who are picked up by a team for the last portion of the season in hopes of helping the team win its respective league championship in exchange for that player’s market value. Obviously, the better the player, the steeper the price. A big risk to take for one shot at glory if you ask me. The chances of a rental player being worth the value given up to get him are very low and past situations have demonstrated this fact many times. However, for the Texas Rangers, ‘renting’ Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners has already proven to be worth it.

The Texas Rangers earned their shot at taking on the New York Yankees in the ALCS by knocking off the Tampa Bay Rays tonight on the backs of another stellar Cliff Lee postseason performance. Lee went the distance, giving up 6 hits, an earned run, while fanning 11 in the 5-1 victory.

Wait, so then why does one playoff round make the Cliff Lee rental a worthwhile endeavour?

Under most circumstances I would say it doesn’t, but with the Texas Rangers you have to look at where they would be without their ace and where they are now.

In general, I am an advocate against the acquisition of rental players. Teams are forced to give up their potential future, prospects and draft picks, for a player that can hardly guarantee even a real shot at a title. There are too many examples of teams falling short of the mark after acquiring a soon-to-be marquee free agent. In the NHL you look to an example like Nashville and Peter Forsberg, where the Predators gave up a 1st and 3rd round pick along with Scottie Upshall and Ryan Parent, only to be knocked out in the first round of the playoffs

How about just reminiscing to last year’s World Series where the Phillies fell short of a title despite the acquisition of, wouldn’t ya know it, Cliff Lee.

The difference here is that the Texas Rangers franchise is currently navigating through uncharted waters all thanks to one Mr. Lee. The Texas Rangers had never won a playoff series prior to last night’s ALDS victory and for a franchise that had never reached the second round of the postseason it seems like it is already a success to have overcome a team that was considered by some to be Major League Baseball’s elite.

I don’t think that anyone can logically argue that without Cliff Lee the Rangers would have beaten the Rays.

There is almost no doubt that the Rangers would have still taken NFC West-like AL West, but they got Cliff Lee for one thing only and that thing is the playoffs. Lee did not have the best win-loss record, nor did he pitch his best ball with the Rangers during the regular season. He went a mediocre 4-6 with a 3.98 ERA, but seriously it didn’t matter.

Cliff Lee pitched two marvellous games against the Rays. As I mentioned earlier, he pitched a complete game tonight in the biggest game of the season and pitched 7 great innings in game 1. Oh yeah, in 16 playoff innings he didn’t walk a batter.

The Rangers did go on to win game 2 but then at home they lost game’s 3 and 4. Now imagine them having C.J. Wilson instead of Cliff Lee at the front end of their rotation, everyone moves one spot up and who knows what happens in the series. My best guess is that they lose, but that’s just me.

Think about it, what if the Mariners had decided to keep Cliff Lee? Maybe the Rangers decided they didn’t want to give away their future in first-basemen Justin Smoak to seal the deal?

Well that didn’t happen. The Mariners decided to get something back for their key off-season purchase and the Rangers felt that Lee was worth Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Matt Lawson.

It will be a few years before we can truly decide who got the better end of the deal, but right now it looks like a win-win situation with the only possible losers being the Seattle Mariners. Justin Smoak, the key piece in the deal, disappointed in his time with the Mariners. He hit a brutal .209 with 8 homers and 34 runs batted in. However, don’t be too quick to judge. Smoak isn’t even 24 years of age yet so there is lots of time for him to develop.

In the end what does it all mean?

The franchise’s first playoff series victory, a legitimate chance at playing for the World Series, and a team that might not be in the place where they are right now without a certain someone. I’d say that Cliff Lee is already well worth the price.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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