Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The NBA Missed Their Chance For Real Change. So they caught Donald Sterling with his pants down if you will. Think of the issue like a drug dealer in the sense that you caught the one who was dumb enough to get caught but you didn’t treat the overlying problem which is that his attitude is pervasive across sports. Now had they caught a room full of owners using the same language then you have something. A lot of people rushed to judgment needing to punish someone now. How stupid is it for these over paid, over priced players to just toss their allegiance aside and say they won’t play for a bigot. Well if you toss your allegiance aside you are also cast aside the allegiance the fans have for the team/players. Who are the Golden State Warriors the clippers opponent for their first round playoff series that they can decide that they want to wade into the quagmire and make a stupid decision to rip off the fans who paid good money to see this series and who are the ones who will most likely stand with you at such a difficult time. Had the Clipper season ended without a playoff berth then I say have at Sterling. But please don’t act like you’ve accomplished something. At most you forced the like minded to go underground.

Certainly they had to throw the book at Sterling because he is an all around jack ass but please do not act like he’s the only one. To do so would be insulting to fans of all major league sports especially the ones where there is an overwhelming presence of African American players. Sterling has been making his comments for years and would explain why the Clippers have been bad for so long. What took the league so long and the other leagues to do something? Investigate something? It sucks in this day and age that two people cannot have a conversation without fear of it being recorded but this is the world we live in. The world of the open mic. People shouldn’t have to fear their words will get out even when they spew the most vile things we could imagine. And remember this possibly started from others in either Sterling’s inner circle or others (owners and their inner circle) in the league who complained about his mistress having black people on her online account.

This is also a case of “strap hangers.” People who want to be around because someone knows someone famous. Believe me Michael Jordan probably had the same conversation with his wife at one time not to bring people around like that. Sterling just got specific with his demands. This happens with every team in every league people want to be seen and it helps to be seen with a pretty girl whether or not you’re a married man as in Magic Johnsons case. Now why go after Magic Johnson when he’s probably the most famous Laker of them all? The Lakers play in the same building as the Clippers.

Please don’t think this is the end of the situation because as I’ve said they haven’t done anything until the expose the entire and all of the other leagues. Every petty accusation. Every slip of the tongue. Every back room dealing whether it not it had to do with the sport. This is bigger than Sterling and one should question the owners of all their favorite teams. It wasn’t but a couple of years ago the Ricketts family who own the Cubs were alleged to have made a controversial if not racist political commercial about Barak Obama. Nothing came of that because it was the elder statesman of the family who supposedly has no stake in the Cubs. That was quickly swept under the table because the actual owners separated themselves from their father views/actions. So let’s stop kidding ourselves and really get at the heart of the matter. Racism does exist but let’s not make Donald Sterling a poster boy or an example and think he’s alone.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Several years into a rebuilding process that has brought us many future stars we have yet to see any of those stars on the field. We’ve heard how good they are and how good they will be. In the meantime the major league club hasn’t had a winning season or any sort of improvement. We’ve had two managers fired, Quade and Sveum because of Starlin Castro’s lack of focus.

We’re on our third manager in this process and my question is when do the owners get tired of 60 win seasons and start firing some of Theo Epstein’s people if not Epstein himself?
The Cubs want to build up the ball park and certainly have some stars to build around. If you’re a Cub fan or know someone who is they are always at the ready with, “in my lifetime.” I’d like to see them win it all, see some of these stars they’re talking about, this new way of thinking they’re talking about. “In my lifetime.”

Will Rich Renteria become the third manager fired in the Epstein regime knowing that no matter how many free agent signings and mid season trades are made you can’t put lipstick on a pig and make it pretty. Is the Chicago Cubs managing position the great black hole it seems to be where if you cannot win here there goes your career? But even when they were owned by The Tribune Company it was the same thing. Hire a new manager to some fanfare and then saddle him with third rate talent. Not so much in the Jim Hendry era. The team opened up the wallet and let him have free reign to trade and sign whoever he wanted including much maligned Alphonso Soriano. Dare I say that though Epstein ended Bostons long run without a series win that Hendry was a better judge of talent?

There were some lean years with Hendry but still came as close as any other Cubs team to a World Series since the 1984 team which included current Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. Cub fans not ones to hold back their feelings will not continue to buy into The Epstein regime belief of “it will come.” With the Ricketts family’s grand ideas for the park but a lot of stink on the field, before Renteria goes the way of Mik Quade and Dale Sveum will they get sick of what they’re seeing and make it clear that regardless of pedigree no one is immune to walking papers.

Friday, April 4, 2014

No one’s thinking about the Chicago Cubs. Die harder’s or otherwise. The curse. How long it’s been since 1908, 1945 or that it could be another hundred years. For all we care they should’ve moved out to Rosemont like the owners threatened. You want to see the tourist attraction of a ball park buy a post card at a hotel gift shop.
No one cares that they’ll win just fifty games and Wrigleyville will be a ghost town by June. Who’ll be traded at the deadline since it wont be the Ricketts or Theo Epstein. Ticket prices will be about .50 by mid season. Rich Renteria will have a meltdown worse than anything Lou Piniella or Lee Elia could ever produce since his will be in Spanish. They still wont trade Starlin Castro no matter how many managers he will have gotten fired. Anthony Rizzo won’t hit any better than the .240 he hit in 2013 no matter who the hitting coach is.
Starting pitching has improved. Again trade fodder for the ever growing pool of talent in the minors because this is the level of talent they have on the field. Three games in and I’m already bored. I’ll be able to hear the booing from the ball park blocks away opening weekend because they can’t score runs against Philly pitching. The forecast calls for rain the entire weekend. Perhaps mercifully the entire series will be rained out.
After one hell of a winter in Chicago fans have little patience as well as the nonsense chatter over the plans for gaudy renovations of the ball park. We are more focused on filling the many pot holes left by the polar vortex. Expectations are so low we’ll forget there’s a north side ball club and wish that football season comes right after basketball season or that the Blackhawks go deep into the playoffs again.                                                                                                                                                                                                                
                Baseball season has become a bad word in Chicago. We have two baseball teams that finished in last place last season but people still choose to trumpet their loyalties. The White Sox were sold out on opening day and that’s probably the most fans they will see all season win or lose. Were the Cubs a European team they wouldn’t he heard of outside of the neighborhood. And still they would draw nothing but laughter. I’d bet moving to Rosemont isn’t sounding so bad right now. Perhaps the Ricketts family should wait until there really is a major league ball club for Wrigley Field before they do any of those renovations.
                Now to the case of challenges to umpire rulings, call me old fashioned but it seems to me the league is still trying to become the NFL. First with interleague play which has lost its intended effect in my mind. It should’ve been a limited experience between the American and National leagues. Eventually it was lauded for the rebirth of rivalries such as the Cubs and White Sox. No more would they be exhibition games between the two teams. They would count against a teams win-loss record. Interleague and manager challenges are a case of not stopping when one is ahead with the aforementioned series played home and away the same week. Extra rounds in the playoffs for undeserving teams. As if MLB needs more money.
                With the introduction of manager’s challenges, I’m not one to complain about the length of games. With the lack of quality programming on television I can tolerate a nearly four hour game. But it’s reason to build massive screens in the outfield like Cubs are planning. After a while there’ll be no reason for umpires. The once romantic idea that human error is a natural part of the game has gone by the way of technology. Whatever happened to the idea that you play well enough the umpires don’t figure in the outcome.
                Sports like life is ever changing in ways we do and do not like to be sure. There are still people who hate lights at Wrigley Field. But the clubs don’t play well enough to keep the umpires out of it. Again why they’ll win only fifty games in 2014.