Since baseball’s regular season has not started and even though I am golfing on a semi-regular basis, during this new thing called “winter”, I thought this would be a good time to just have some random thoughts on various topics. Nothing earthshattering, but these things have been rattling around in my brain for a while now. In no particular order let us begin.
Pro Football: You would think that pro football would be able to find 32 people in the world that could punt a football at least 70 yards. I think punting is the worst performed specialized job in America. Seven days a week these guys only have one thing to do. Take 2 steps and kick the crap out of a football, that’s it. Some have the added duty of holding on field goals but how long does that take out of the day. Just think about it for one moment. Two steps, boom, two steps, boom, two steps boom. There are nearly 8 billion people in the world, and you have to find 32 that can punt. You would think that there would be tall lanky guys that could really do this. If a punter could boom punts 70 to 80 yards every single time, he would never have to have contact. After he punted, he would simply run off the field. Yet, what would seem like an easy thing to find, seems to be almost impossible. Every week during the pro football season, you see one guy on the team, the punter, who does his job at best, mediocrely. Almost every game you see a punter shank one 15 yards, punt the ball on such a low trajectory that it is returned for big yardage, or simply punt the ball straight up in the air for 25 net yards. Pro football doesn’t seem to care about this, even though it is one of the most important parts of the game. All I can say is, if you are a young individual I would immediately start practicing.
College football now is allowing players to be able to make money on their names and go from college to college to play the game. There are certain rules concerning the so-called transfer portal but like most things there are ways of getting around them. In the not-too-distant future I expect to see this story. Today, quarterback Joe Blackburn, who quarterbacked for LSU, TCU, SMU, Utah, BYU, UCLA, and Nebraska, announced his retirement from football today, at age 36. Blackburn, who majored in Economics, and got his masters and PhD, while playing football, said that he has invested the money he made playing college football well, and no longer needs to work and risk any further injury, especially to his brain. Not as farfetched as it sounds the way things are going.
March Madness is about to start, with the conference tournaments set to begin. College basketball is the only sport where every team has a chance to win the National Championship no matter how bad they played during the year. It would be a shocker, if some team that only won 1 or 2 conference games during the regular season, went on to win the conference tournament and continued to a NCAA Championship. No matter, it is something that is possible in college basketball. Despite all the hype and the upsets in the NCAA tournament, the highest seeded team ever to win the championship is Villanova at no. 8. A nice argument for making the field 32. It so happens that there are 32 conferences eligible for the tournament. Isn’t that nice. If I was the Czar of the NCAA tournament this is how the field would be set. In order to play in the conference tournament, you would have to finish 8th in the conference. Who ever won the conference tournament would still get an automatic bid to the tournament. Depending on how many of the conference champs were also the regular season champs, then this would open up the remaining spots. This would be the new at large berths. Now on the rare occasion, when all the conference champs were not the regular season champs, then there would be no at large births available. This would do two things. It would make the regular season more meaningful, by making only the top 8 in each conference eligible for the conference tournament. It would give the regular season champ more incentive to win the tournament on the off chance there would be no spots left. As it stands now, the regular season champ, in the major conferences, always gets in, no matter what they do in the tournament. It makes the conference tournament more of an extension of the NCAA tournament. It would make everything in college basketball more meaningful and exciting.
I haven’t said all that much about the LIV golf tour, which has taken players away from the PGA Tour, paying them much more money, to essentially play in exhibition events, where there are only 48 players, playing 3 rounds with no cuts, for a lot more money. I have never been into the economics of sports and could care less about salary caps, strikes, and player contract disputes. The players that joined the LIV did it strictly for the money. I have no problem with that, other than the fact that they tried to hide behind the statement that this is going to help the game of golf. Frankly, I am surprised that even more players have not joined. It is quite a difference in purses. The thing that is going to interest me the most, however, is how are the LIV players going to do in the majors. This will be a back to reality check for these players. Besides the pressure of the major, there will be a rather new pressure for these players of having to make a cut again. There are players on the LIV tour that have won majors, and are elite players, but to play one way for weeks at a time, then to have this new experience at a major. Will they be able to adapt? Just another reason to watch the Masters on Thursday and Friday.
Last but certainly not least is the new changes in baseball. I think the pitch clock and the larger bases are going to have a big impact on the game. The “banning” of the shift, I am not too sure. First of all, with left hand hitting pull hitters, the shortstop will still be able to play close to the second base bag and there goes the hits up the middle. Then I can see one of the more progressive teams, like Tampa Bay, deciding to move their right fielder down to where the second baseman played out in the outfield, leaving the other outfielders to cover the ground, with the centerfielder shaded well toward right field and the left fielder well toward center. I don’t know if this would happen with every line up, but if a line up is loaded with left handers, I can see it happening. Maybe this won’t happen, depending on the data that is out there. If it does happen, then baseball will have to make another decision on whether they want to limit what the outfielders can do. Banning shifts may open up a whole new can of worms, rather than solving the problem of helping incompetent left hand hitting batters.
2 Replies to “Sports: Random Thoughts”
Vet you didn’t comment on the ghost runner. Like it? I’m finally getting used to the idea. But when ball strike robo umps make their way in is when I ditch baseball for something else. Choices are becoming more limited.
I liked the ghost runner from day one. I see no purpose in the 15 inning plus game. At the end there are about 500 fans in the stand and it is 2am in the morning. I saw today that a team already did what I said with a left handed hitter in a spring game. I think the solution to umpiring is to stop the rotation. The same umpire should call balls and strikes all the time. These guys are graded and take the 15 best. If a guy starts to decline then replace him. The same guys should call 1st 2nd and 3rd. If they just do one thing they should get better. The exception of course is punters.
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