Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Michael Sam. Time to shut up

American football fans are certainly aware of who Michael Sam is for a couple different reasons.

First, Sam was a consensus All-America at Missouri and voted the SEC defensive player of the year during his senior season. In other words, he was a terrific college player.

And BTW, Sam also happened to be the first major college football player to openly admit he was gay. This revelation came shortly after his time at Mizzou was done but before the NFL draft.

Needless to say, this was quite the proverbial bombshell and the media went berserk in their coverage of every possible angle they could think of. Everybody wanted a piece of Sam for interviews and the like and Michael was more than happy to accommodate them.

Even in today's rapidly changing social climate (on some fronts) it took a lot of guts for Sam to do what he did. After all, he aspired to be an NFL football player, and Michael couldn't know how he could or would be perceived, much less accepted in such an environment by his future peers. It was a huge gamble on his part, but he should be commended for having the courage to stand up, break new ground, and tell the world about who he really is. As they say, the truth will set you free, and kudos to Sam for having done so.

Given his accomplishments while at Mizzou, Sam was projected to be a 3rd or 4th round NFL draft pick in 2014. But during the pre-draft NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Sam didn't make a good showing. So much so that his draft stock plummeted to the point where many wondered if he would be drafted at all. On top of that, despite his athleticism, Sam was a "tweener". Not big enough to play defensive end, and not fast enough to play outside linebacker in the NFL, according to many.

His draft stock fell indeed but, finally, in the 7th round, the St. Louis Rams called his name. Sam had broken more new ground as the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. This was a big deal and Sam jerseys flew off the shelves, second only to Johnny Manziel's amongst potential rookies.

Alas, the "tweener" thing finally came back to haunt him and Sam was cut at the end of training camp last year by the Rams. The media was back. More interviews, sound bytes, and Michael playing along with it all.

The Dallas Cowboys gave him a shot on their practice squad when the season started, but Sam would only last a little more than a month before being waived from Big D as well. Sam was back in the news, and evidently enjoying it.

The 2014-15 NFL season came and went and Michael Sam has yet to play a single down in a regular season game for any team.

Certainly, there are those just waiting to pounce and claim Sam's failure to stick with an NFL team is a result of his sexual orientation. But that's a tough argument to justify. After all, St. Louis didn't have to draft him and the Cowboys could have ignored him. By most all accounts, Sam is a good guy, talented football player, and a hard worker. But given the fierce competition for every position on every team in the NFL, sometimes that's not enough. Other guys are just better.

What has gone unsaid in the Michael Sam saga isn't so much that he's gay, but the media circus he willingly brings along with him every place he goes. Teams already have plenty of issues to deal with getting ready for another season. They don't need or want reporters coming out of their ears over a non-football related matter.

In this respect, Sam has been his own worst enemy. He keeps saying he just wants to work hard, play football, and fit in. But that's pretty hard to square when Sam continues to get in front of cameras every time the opportunity presents itself. And hey, aren't rookies supposed to be seen and not heard?

Just recently, Sam was signed by the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. Good for him and godspeed.

But he hasn't made that roster yet either and what did he do? Give another press conference.

[Earth to Michael. If you want to be just another guy and fit in on a football team, you might want to consider putting your head down and going to work, quietly, like every other rookie.
Further, understand that the media people don't really care about you. You're just a story of the day for them, and they'll only run with it as long as you give them a bump in their ratings. They'll throw you away like yesterday's coffee grounds when you cease being semi-interesting.
So stop being a sucker with the photo-ops and sound bytes they keep asking for and tell them no. Continuing to mouth off and draw attention to yourself is counterproductive, if not hypocritical, regarding what you have already said is your goal in life.]

Bottom line? Here's wishing Michael Sam all the best in his latest venture with the Montreal Alouettes.

But he really needs to shut up for his own good.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ray MacDonald. What's the big deal?

It appears not-so-old MacDonald might be watching his career farm going up in flames. E-I-E-I-O. His latest brush with the law over a domestic incident resulted in the Chicago Bears kicking him to the curb. This was after the San Fran 49ers had previously done so over prior, ahem, errors in judgment.

Is this a big deal? Depends on how one looks at it. The media certainly seems to think so. I'll get back to that.

We were force-fed the Ray Rice "elevator" video a few bazillion times. He still hasn't found a team but his production was going down as his age went up, so who's to say he'd be playing even sans "incident"?

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots dominated the news over "deflategate". A million dollar fine is chump change and it remains to be seen whether his 4 game suspension holds up. (Idle thought: How the heck can Roger Goodell preside over the appeal of the sentence he already handed down? What kind of kangaroo court is going on here?)

Adrian Petersen switched his kid a while back. Massive coverage. He's back with the Vikes.

Greg Hardy had his own problems. No video available, or we'd have been bombarded with that too, but Jerry Jones snapped him up for his Cowboys.

Aaron Hernandez is -- well-- not going anywhere for a good while. No video available to the public there either, but a pesky Murder One conviction normally has a way of ending professional football careers.

In the NBA playoffs, Al Horford of the Atlantic Hawks got ejected for a flagrant II foul for throwing an elbow to the head of an opponent while he was down. After getting a two-handed shove in the back (no foul was called) Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets retaliated with a slap to the face of an opponent. Many howled for a flagrant II violation as well. Thing is, nobody was seriously injured, the Hawks are gone and the Rockets soon will be. So does it even matter?

Last time I looked, the NFL had 32 teams which equals out to about 1700 players. For a handful of them to get out of line and allegedly run afoul of the law represents nothing more than the same sliver slice of society as a whole. So what's the big deal? It's not like a major crime wave is going on.

In the NBA, there's a lot of stuff going on, particularly during the playoffs. The pressure is high and the competition fierce, but these guys are only human. There will be times when tempers flare and hard fouls are committed. So what's the big deal?

Major League Baseball has long had an unwritten rule that if you plunk one of our guys with a pitched ball, we're going to drill one of yours. Understandable? Sure. Does it make it right? Maybe not. Nevertheless, this stuff has been going on for over a hundred years and was an "acceptable" part of the game. But these days the media will not only insist on showing us a hundred replays of Slugger Joe getting one in the ribs, but bring in "experts" to remotely psycho-analyze what each player was thinking at the time. As if they have a clue. Please.

With the exception of Hernandez (and perhaps not even him, given how many murders are committed in this country everyday) all these incidents are no more than daily occurrences all over the country. No, this is not to justify wrong-doing of any sort, but just because it's an athlete doing it shouldn't make it that big a deal.

If a team has a "bad apple" on their hands, then just cut him and plug in somebody else. No need for all the "statements" and/or press conferences. That just fans the flames of the already pyrotechnic media looking to sensationalize something that is not unusual whatsover in the whole scheme of things.

I don't care if a starting QB gets popped for a DUI anymore than I would if it was my next-door neighbor. It happens. Maybe it effects their job, maybe not. But either way, no whining, and spare me the hype. Deal with it and move on.

If we didn't have a few bad apples here and there we wouldn't need jails, cops, and prosecutors. Last time I looked there were thousands of all of them. It's the nature of the species. Always has been.

So when some athlete gets in trouble, it should come as no surprise, and certainly not warrant wall-to-wall media coverage. It's not that big of a deal.

When I was a little boy, I remember JFK getting shot in Dallas. THAT was a big deal.

If Derek Jeter, Oprah, Ellen, Anderson, Rachel, Rush, and Alex Trebek all team up and decide to go fight with ISIS, now THAT would be an attention grabber.

But if we're talking about a misdemeanor here and a scrape with the law there amongst jocks, what's the big deal indeed?



 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Steph Curry, Joey Crawford, and America for sale

He'd fly through the air with the greatest of ease.
That daring young man on the flying trapeze.

That was a pretty cool circus song of old, and no doubt true. Unless, of course, after releasing from one swing and flying through the air -- poof -- the next swing he was supposed to catch wasn't there. Then said young man would have a problem. Gravity plays no favorites. But most trapeze folks had safety nets to catch them after their plunge, so it was a soft landing and no big deal.

In Game 4 of the Western Conference NBA finals, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors tried the flying through the air bit, and it didn't work out so well. While trying to block a shot, Curry wound up going airborne, arms and legs flailing, and eventually ka-THUD on the hardwood.

DOWN GOES STEPH! DOWN GOES STEPH!

Though he lay prone for several minutes, none of the refs counted him out, nor even gave him a standing 8 count when he finally got back on his wobbly feet. Poor Steph had bopped his head, and a few other things. Off he eventually trudged to the visitor's locker room.

The announcers were aghast with horrror. OMG, he might have a concussion, or a hurt shoulder, or back, or knee, or elbow, or hand, or maybe even have, heaven forbid, suffered one of those agonizing contusions (a bruise). They would breathlessly give us updates as Steph continued walking towards the locker room.

Idle thought: Why is it that the Houston Rockets play in an arena called the Toyota Center? Hasn't all of Texas long prided itself on being fiercely American? They've got oil and super-wealthy entepreneurs coming out of their ears, but they sold off the naming rights to an NBA arena for a few million bucks to a Japanese company? Sam Houston would not approve, to put it mildly.

After further action, an update on Curry. It's been 5 minutes now, and he's still walking down a corridor under the stands to get to the visitor's locker room facilities. Question: What kind of labyrinth do they have underneath this arena and just how far is it to the locker rooms? In 5 minutes one could walk all the way around the arena. Was there a Minotaur involved he had to slay in the labyrinth that we never got to see before reaching medical assistance?

But you know what? Curry needed a good bump on the head. Sure, he's the reigning NBA MVP and a terrific player. But he's gotten cocky. All that posing, snickers, and shimmy-shakes after launching another wide-open 3-point bomb his teammates set up is starting to get old. And yes, we get it, Steph. You can dribble with both hands. So can every other guard in the NBA. But please stop with the two-ball, both hands warm-ups before the games just so the cameras will zoom in on you. Only one ball will be in play once the game starts -- so what's the point other than hot-dogging?

And now a word from the sponsors.

To no great surprise, there were Toyota commercials. Hey, they've already bagged the arena, most of the signage inside and out, including blaring their logo from all four sides of the gigantic overhead scoreboard -- might as well throw in a few TV spots.
Then there was one from Samsung -- a Korean company.
Followed by another from Heineken -- a German brewery.
Here comes a Kia commercial -- a Korean automaker.

Is it just me, or do you wonder the same thing? Where the hell are American companies while all this is going on? Don't they make anything anymore? This was a game between two American teams in the NATIONAL Basketball Association, played in Texas, and all we get is advertisments for foreign products? Something is very wrong with this picture.

Finally, an ad for an American product. Alas, the Buick commercial portrayed typical Americans as being basically, well, not so bright. And we're probably not, given everything from continually fighting stupid wars to buying foreign goods -- both of which undercut our own economy.

You've seen it. Some couple, evidently retarded, back their car up to the gate that leads to their home. Then they both have to get out to open it. After that, we don't see it, but the obvious conclusion is they put the car in reverse again to navigate the driveway all the way to the house. If you have a gate that fancy, chances are your driveway is long. So what kind of nitwits do the whole deal in reverse?

Worse yet, how get-a-life pitiful are the neighbors to be looking out their window with binoculars checking out somebody else's new car? Who cares? If my neighbors rolled up in a new Rolls Royce or Lamborghini I might get around to telling them "nice ride" when I happened to notice it. That might even be a good time to ask for my loaned wheelbarrow back that's been in their shed since last fall. But their vehicles are their vehicles. I couldn't care less what they drive. And this was only a Buick. Something is wrong with this picture as well.

Back to the game. While the politically correct folks fret over Steph Curry's possible ouchies, what he did was actually stupid. The Golden State Warriors were already up 3-0 in the series, and there would be little doubt the Rockets would come out with all they had in Game 4 to save a little face. Indeed, Houston won the game handily.

But there's also little doubt the Warriors will win the series, most likely closing it out in Game 5 at home. There was no need, or logic for Curry to try to imitate Superman or a trapeze artist in Game 4. He appears quite fortunate to have escaped serious injury. Besides, such perilous antics in Game 4 while trying for a sweep were counterproductive to Warriors' ownership. They WANTED a Game 5. Another home date represents a huge cha-ching. Who's kidding who?

And then there's the ever not-so-loveable but always laughable Joey Crawford. Perhaps the loosest cannon of them all in the history of officialdom. Old Joey tripped over his own feet -- again -- while doing his hunched over impression of running up the court.

DOWN GOES JOEY!  DOWN GOES JOEY!!

To his credit, one announcer actually showed a bit of a sense of humor, if briefly. It WAS comical.

Yet one is left to wonder. How has Crawford lasted so long in the NBA? He's a hothead, gets as many calls wrong as right, and has long been known as the above-mentioned loose cannon. One way or the other, Joey always seems to find a way to BE the entertainment, rather than officiate it. His slapstick act would be part of the script at a Harlem Globetrotters game, and well received by all. But it doesn't play so well in the NBA where things are a bit more serious, to say the least.

But here he is, in his 37th year, not only still active but officiating playoff games, and still making a spectacle of himself.

If the league wants the fans to take the playoffs seriously, then why do they keep putting a clown with a whistle on the floor? Countless millions of dollars and a place in history with a championship are at stake.

And the final insult. There was Steph Curry doing a moronic insurance commercial, much like Chris Paul and his twin brother had for the last few months. Alas, the Clips were eliminated and the viewing public was finally, blessedly, spared from the non-infomercials. The ad folks know the public isn't interested in a loser. But they hedged their bets and now it's Steph. Maybe it will work out -- and maybe not.

If the Warriors crash and burn in the Finals against Lebron and the Cavaliers, entirely possible, look for Steph's insurance ads to go away quickly as well.

Here's hoping for two things. Joey Crawford isn't one of the refs, and the reigning MVP doesn't do another ill-fated trapeze act and wind up bonking his precious little coconut on the hardwood again.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Indy 500, Chevy/Honda and Conor Daly

Indy fans know Juan Pablo Montoya won this year's spectacle. It was his second victory at the Brickyard, the first coming way back in 2000. To his credit, the native Colombian hung around the lead throughout the 500 miles, drove a steady race, and made a bold move towards the end to ultimately go in front and take the checkered flag. He earned it fair and square and well done indeed.

2nd. Will Power. An interesting name if one runs the first and last names together. Yet it surely beats Slim Pickens or Steppin Fetchit. Wasn't there an old TV detective show called Sledge Hammer? Helluva name for a cop. That probably wouldn't go over so well these days, but I digress.

3rd. Charlie Kimball.

4th. Scott Dixon.

5th. Graham Rahal.

Engines in order of finish.

1st. Chevy.
2nd. Chevy.
3rd. Chevy.
4th. Chevy.
5th. Honda.

Note to Honda executives. The bow tie folks just kicked your butts at the highest level of racing with the whole world watching. Put that in your sushi teriyaki and smoke it.

The race itself featured pretty much what we have come to expect at Indy over the years. Lots of brilliant high-speed driving, minor gaffes here and there, and the usual variety of crashes. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, much less killed. When overgrown GoKarts are zipping around at over 220 MPH in close proximity, one never knows what might happen. Much credit should go to the engineers that design the modern day Indy cars for how much impact they can absorb while keeping the driver relatively safe. The cars can fly apart in a million pieces but the driver will walk away. It truly is amazing technology.

Per the norm, the Indy 500 took about three hours from start to finish, and most eyes are now rightfully on Montoya for having won it. Nobody remembers or cares about the pre-race pomp, and few will recall the actual start of the race. It's like any other sporting contest. What happens at the beginning might be interesting at the time, but it's quickly forgotten. Who remembers or cares what the score was after the first inning, first quarter, first period, or the leader at a golf tournament after the first round on a Thursday? The only thing that matters is who won at the end.

But something very interesting happened at Indy this year and it involved Conor Daly. He had qualified for the race, no small feat, but never actually got to run a "hot" lap once they dropped the green flag.

Trying to race at the Indy 500 is a very expensive venture. Building a car, hiring and paying a qualified crew, housing/feeding them, and paying all the necessary fees can add up in a hurry. An entry fee. Necessary wind tunnel testing fees. Thirty or so sets of tires at about $2500 a pop. Good grief, leasing (yes, they have to lease them) a Chevy or Honda motor can cost a quarter million. Throw in spare parts, etc., add it all up, and even if done on the cheap for one race, the tab is roughly a million dollars just to give it a shot.

But Conor Daly and his backers did and they made it into the starting grid of 33 cars. That's the good news.

The bad news is, during only the pace laps leading up to the race, Daly's racing machine caught on fire for no apparent reason. He was out before the race even began.

Yours truly knoweth not who ponied up all those mega-bucks to enable Daly and his car to start at Indy, but if I'm the guy that shelled out that dough, I am not a happy camper. I just coughed up a million bucks only to see my car go up in flames before the green flag dropped?

However, upon further review, as they say, all that smoke coming from Daly's car was emanating from the engine compartment. And yep, he was driving a Honda. $250,000 to lease an engine for a week and it appeared to blow up before the race even started.

Note to Conor and backers if they try this again next year. Get a Chevy motor. The top 4 finishers all had them, as did 9 out of the top 11.

Besides, Daly is FROM Indiana, not Tokyo. So if he wants to be an All-American boy at "the greatest spectacle in racing", then he might want to consider running an American nameplate engine, especially when they proved to be so dominant.

Hello?





Friday, May 22, 2015

The NBA Finals.

It's certainly starting to look like it's going to be Golden State and Cleveland. After all, both have 2-0 series leads, and one would be hard pressed to imagine the Houston Rockets beating the Warriors 4 out of the next 5. True, the first two games in Oakland have been close, and the Rockets now go home for Games 3 and 4. But there's a reason Golden State posted the best record in the league during the regular season. These guys are good. REALLY good. Looks for them to split the two games in Houston and the Warriors close it out in Game 5.

In the East, it's all but a done deal as well. Lebron and his Cavs won the first two games in Atlanta, the second being a blow-out. Does anybody really think the Hawks can win 4 out of the same next 5 after dropping the first two at home? With Games 3 and 4 being in Cleveland, they'll be lucky to avoid a sweep. Either way, pencil in Cleveland to go on to the Finals.

Interestingly, the Cavs are getting this done without the services of Kevin Love. Sure, good teams rally around each other when a star player goes down -- next man up, and all that -- but many, including yours truly, thought the loss of Love would seal their fate when it got down to the nitty-gritty of the playoffs. We were wrong. The Cavs look better than ever.

Idle thought:

Just what purpose does Cleveland head coach David Blatt serve anyway other than giving dumb looks and even stupider answers at press conferences? The man's making somewhere around $5 million a year, and the Cavs are winning not BECAUSE  of him, but in SPITE of him. Blatt might have done well coaching on the Israeli-European circuit, but he's way, WAY over his head in the NBA.

Not only doesn't he have a clue, the players seem to know it as well. Blatt can call a play, and the players will ignore it and run their own. During time-outs, Lebron is the one seen talking strategy to the team -- not Blatt. He might nod his head in agreement, but nobody's paying any attention to him anyway. So what good is he? Then again, it should be remembered Dan Gilbert still owns the Cavaliers, and Blatt was his hire. To become the billionaire he is, this guy must be a genius behind closed doors, because every time he says or does something publicly, he comes across as a buffoon.

Conclusion? Why not make Lebron player-coach and save the $5 million they're wasting on Blatt? He's already calling the shots anyway.

Assuming the above scenarios play out as predicted, the Cavs against the Warriors in the Finals would be a very intriguing match-up.

Golden State would have home court advantage, and when they get it going they can be flat-out awesome. Having the best record all year long, especially coming in the brutal western conference, speaks for itself.

If one harkons back to the beginning of the season, one would remember the Cavs started out slowly. It was predictable. They had a few new parts they were trying to fit together, including Lebron and Kevin, plus some new coach that won a bunch of games in the old world across the pond. But as the season went on -- well -- look at them now, in spite of the nitwit.

Yep, Lebron never could get over the final hump in his first go-round with the Cavs. He had to take his talents to South Beach and hook up with the likes of D-Wade and Chris Bosh to finally win a championship. But that was when James was a magnificently talented young man trying to single handedly will the otherwise not-so-talented Cavs to glory. He came close.

But now he's been there, done that as a seasoned veteran and has a terrific supporting cast around him as well in his Cleveland II sequel.

The Warriors would likely be favored, if for no other reason than home-court advantage going in. They've only been beaten there three times -- all year -- twice in the regular season and once by Memphis in the playoffs. The Cavs and Warriors split their two games this year, each winning handily on their own home floor.

But bet against Lebron III and the current Cavs at your own peril. The King is on another mission.

Final idle thought: It's already been speculated by some that Blatt, due to his incompetence, will be fired at year's end, the $15 million or so Gilbert would still owe him notwithstanding. If Lebron really wants him gone -- chances are he WILL be gone.

That scenario raises an interesting question. Has an NBA head coach ever made it to the Finals, maybe even won it, only to be fired shortly thereafter? Wouldn't that be something? Talk about throwing bloody meat into the hungry shark infested waters that are the sports media...... Stand back. This could get ugly in a hurry.

Then again, all the above could be entirely wrong. Perhaps the Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets will storm back to win their conference championships and meet in the Finals.

Stranger things have happened and it's entirely poss......

Nah.

Forget that.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

An NFL team (or two?) in LA?

It's certainly a possibility. Granted, LA's already chock full of pro teams. The Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers, Angels, and Kings all play there, but LA-LA Land is a huge market (see cha-ching) that could surely accommodate an NFL presence. It's always seemed strange that LA hasn't had an NFL team since the Rams moved to St. Louis a couple decades ago.

Three current NFL teams are often mentioned as possibilities to LA. The Rams could go back, as could the now Oakland Raiders, and even the San Diego Chargers have made a little noise about moving north.

A lot of this has to do with the ownership of these franchises wanting shiny new palatial stadiums built for their teams, but the pesky local taxpayers and the politicians that depend on them for re-election have balked at footing the bill. This is totally understandable. Hey, if a billionaire owner wants a new stadium, then why shouldn't he pay for it out of his own pocket and leave the poor beleaguered taxpayers alone? After all, the owner's going to reap in the future profits, not the working stiffs that live in the area. What with parking, exorbitant ticket prices, $10 watered down draft beers, $8 nasty hot dogs, etc., they'll be the ones that have to skip a house payment to attend a game with their spouse and kids. And that's the people who's homes didn't get demolished to make room for the new uber-structure in the first place. There's something very wrong with this picture.

But such owners always pull out the "move" card. "If you won't pay for and build my new stadium, I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll take my team somewhere else", they threaten. Given the fanatical nature of the loyalty NFL fans typically have for their "home" team, many times this gambit works. "Oh please, don't move my team. Take my eldest child, bulldoze my house, and I'll gladly find a second job to pay for the extra taxes. But I beg of you sirs, don't take my football away. Anything but that". And so it goes.

It's also been suggested that a couple of the above-mentioned owners of said franchises might even be collaborating on a new facility in the LA area. They could share it. When one team is home, the other would be on the road. It's been done before. Consider the NY Jets and NY Giants, though while both call themselves New York but played in New Jersey was a fair question.

True to form, Roger Goodell is trying to take control of the situation. The Commish has said the league would consider allowing a team, perhaps even two, to relocate to LA if things worked out just so, and all the other owners approved.

But you know what? Goodell is blowing hot air if he thinks the league or the other owners can prevent such a move if they disapprove.

Look at it this way. If an owner or two goes to all the trouble, regardless of how the finances come together, to build a new stadium in a different city, you can bet your farm that SOME NFL team is going to move and play there as soon as it's ready. Typically, billionaires don't get to be such if they're stupid. They wouldn't jump through all the hoops to get a shiny new palace built somewhere else only to let it sit vacant, whether the Commish and their league partners like it or not. If the structure starts going up -- somebody's moving.

And what, really, is to stop them? Precedents have already been set. Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders moved his team to LA, and eventually back again. Art Modell of the Cleveland Browns caused outrage when he moved them to Baltimore. Robert Irsey created much the same furor when he moved the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis. So the Browns became the Ravens, the Colts stayed the Colts but in a different city, and Cleveland got a new Browns team. This all happened on the whims of billionaires not being satisfied with their situations at the time. Screw the life-long fans, the fat-cats saw a greener pasture and went for it.

The league offices could huff and puff then, like they are now pretending to be in control, but if an owner wants to relocate his team, there's not a damn thing they can do to stop it.

Once a team has moved into a new facility, lock, stock, players, coaches, helmets, pads and cups, it's a done deal. What can the league do? Refuse to acknowledge them and tell other clubs not to play against them? So one owner would get a forfeited win every week, but lose out on countless millions of revenue in the process? Good luck with that. Never happen.

Whether or not an NFL team or two moves to LA in the near future is an open question. It depends on several factors. But Roger the Dodger and all the owners' meetings in the world are helpless to stop a maverick that smells a better deal and decides to go for it. Each owner will do what he damn well feels like doing. To think otherwise is naive.

And you just know how it will play out. Instead of a boycott, the league will reward the owner(s) of the new team(s) in the new stadium a Super Bowl just as soon as they can.

Huff and puff now. Roll over to the inevitable later like it was their plan all along.

Right.













Detroit Tigers. An objective look

Tiger fans likely remember when their team started off this season 6-0. True to form, some of their local scribes went off the Pollyanna deep end and mentioned the 1984 Tigers which had started their season an incredible 35-5. Could this year's team match it? Seven more games and the Tigers were 11-2. Still very impressive and they would have to go 24-3 in their next 27 outings but, dammit, anything's possible, the glass half-fullers said.

Since then, the Tigers have gone 14-15. A thud back to reality. Instead of being in first place in their own division, the Tigers find themselves 2 1/2 games behind the KC Royals, and only a half game ahead of the Minnesota Twins for third. For that matter, they're only a couple games away from being fourth in the AL Central. So much for the glass half empty scenario, but it should come as no surprise given their roster.

They lost Cy Younger Max Scherzer to free agency.
Rick Porcello is now with the Red Sox.
A while back they gave up starter Doug Fister in a trade for which they basically got nothing in return.
Long time work horse and former ace Justin Verlander has been on the shelf with arm problems since shortly after this season began. The Fastball Flakes man was merely a journeyman pitcher last year and nobody knows if he'll ever return to his former dominating self. Father Time and all those 130+ pitch games over the years are not exactly working in his favor these days.
Anabel Sanchez was terrific in 2014, but lately looks like he's throwing batting practice to other teams. Crack. There goes another one.
In other words, their once formidable starting rotation is no more.
Sure, the Tigers have plugged in other pitchers who have had some degree of success this year, but mostly they're castoffs from other teams. Even the Tigers have subliminally admitted it. Take Shane Green, for example. You don't assign a starting pitcher the uniform number of 61 if you think he's going to be a star. That's for scrubs in spring training or maybe an offensive guard for the Detroit Lions that play across the street.

Their bullpen is as nail-biting as ever. The Tigers keep hoping flame-thrower Bruce Rondon will come around as a closer. That's good news and bad news. The good news is Rondon can throw fastballs a bazillion miles per hour. The bad news is he can only stay healthy for 5 minutes at a time. It's always something.

Slugger Miguel Cabrera continues to be a force at the plate. That's a good thing. Defensively, Cabrera isn't exactly a standout, and speed-wise on the basepathes -- fuhgettaboutit. Not so good. He's there for his bat. Period.
Aging co-slugger Victor Martinez finds himself hobbled and may or may not ever get back to 2014 form. See Father Time mentioned above. Thing is, Martinez can only play in the American League. That's because of the designated hitter rule that the National League doesn't have. Martinez can play no, repeat NO defensive position. And he's even slower than Cabrera. Truly a one-dimensional player.

Ian Kinsler remains a solid second baseman both with the bat and the glove, and the Tigers adding Yoenis Cespides to clear up that pesky "who's in left field today" problem last year was a terrific move. Yo Ces is the real deal.

Catcher Alex Avila was never much with the bat but known for his defensive abilities behind the plate. Now he's out too with an injury, duration unknown. Plus he seems to have an uncanny, if dubious talent for repeatedly getting hit in the head by objects travelling at a high rate of speed. This is great for a crash test dummy, but maybe not so good for the long term health of a major league baseball player.

Anthony Gose came on board for the Tigers this year. He was drafted way back in 2008 by the Phillies and has spent most of the last seven years bouncing around in the minor leagues. The Tigers got him for a ham sandwich from the Toronto Blue Jays. He's fast, but there's a reason he hasn't stuck with a major league club. Something about hitting consistently.

J.D. Martinez had an out of his mind season last year. Nobody saw that coming. Is that the real J.D. that others somehow overlooked, or will he thud back to earth as well? Time will tell.

All in all, the Detroit Tigers are currently an average team. They have their assets, but their liabilities as well. They could well win their division again, but could just as well wind up in fourth place, even the basement if the Cleveland Indians (who Sports Illustrated predicted to win the World Series this year) ever get their act together.

It all depends on which philosophy one wishes to buy into. Glass half-full? Glass half-empty? Take your pick and see you in October when we'll all find out who's who.

In the meantime, yours truly will continue to steadfastly stick by his own way of analyzing such complex issues. My system is actually quite simple and it's served me well over the years.

Start off with utter lunacy, and stick to it. What could possibly go wrong, go wrong, go wrong with that?