Root, Root, Root for…

Friday, 29 July 2011, 9:36 | Category : MLB
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At this point in the season, the division races are clearing up.  Here’s how I hope they turn out.

AL East:  Obviously I’ll take anyone over the Yankees.  I’d like the see the Rays take it, but since they flames out I’ll settle for the Red Sox.  I just hope someone catches up to the Yanks for the wild card.

AL Central:  Do you really not know?  I’m glad the Tigers lead the division, but it’s still a tight race and is far from over.

If they Tigers want to see the post-season, someone other than Verlander needs to step up.

Even the Twins aren’t too far behind.  And to be honest, if the Tigers choke (which is totally plausible), I would rather Minnesota take it because I hate both the White Sox and the Indians.

AL West:  The Mariners is the only team I care for, but they’re out of the question.  Just as long as the Angles don’t take it I’ll be happy.

NL East:  The Nats still have a chance, right?  Maybe not.  Since it looks like it’s between the Philies and the Braves, I’ll just plug my nose on this one.  The Braves have always seemed to me like the Yankees of the NL, but ever since Philadelphia won a couple World Series I’ve started seeing Phillies fans pop up all over the place.

NL Central:  How can you really root for anyone other than the Pirates?  (Sorry, Spencer.)  Not only are they the underdog after nearly a decade of irrelevance, but I happened to play for the Pirates in little league.  They’ve got their work cut out for them though.

NL West:  I’d rather not see the World Champs make a second run for the title, so I’m going with the D-Backs by default.

Those are the teams I’m rooting for as we close out the season; subsequently,  their odds are greatly diminished.  But you can’t blame me for hoping.

And I’ll leave you with another heart warmer baseball video (try not to be so negative this time, Jimmy).

What I love about sports.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011, 10:49 | Category : College, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL
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For the record, I never once said I hate sports. This was always meant as a two-part article: what bothers me about sports, and what I love about sports. Sports has been my hobby and passion for as long as I can remember, so here is what I love about sports…

The underdog: I love watching the VCUs and Butlers of the world. Experts have had Butler losing every game during the last two NCAA tournaments and both years they defied the odds and made it to the championship game. I love watching David take down Goliath. It doesn’t apply as much to professional sports, but you still have the Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates of the world representing out there. I wish I could have been alive during the Miracle on Ice.

The ultimate sports scene

The little guy: This is for the guys who should not have made it as far as they have. This list includes J.J Barea, David Eckstein (5’7 shortstop for the World Series winning Cardinals), Doug Flutie, and Nate Robinson (even though he is crazy athletic). I am probably partial here because I’m a little guy, but I love seeing guys succeed who don’t seem to possess anything special.

Childhood heroes: There are definitely better heroes for people to have than athletes, but there is an absolute bond between a child who is first beginning to follow sports and his or her first favorite player(s). My favorite athletes growing up were Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio. I followed their every move and tried to play baseball exactly like they did. My eyes would light up every time I saw them on TV. I was extremely fortunate that they both played for the Astros their entire careers. There will never be another athlete that approaches such an iconic status for me. Sorry about getting sentimental there, I just miss them…

Being at a game: There are times I would rather watch a game at home because you can see more details of the game from the TV. But you can’t beat the atmosphere of an exciting sporting event. Screaming at the top of your lungs with 60,000 other strangers is quite a unique experience.

The Olympics: I love rooting like crazy for athletes I have never heard of in sports I only watch twice a decade just because they sport the red, white, and blue. It is the perfect blend of athletic competition and national pride.

Watching your team succeed after years of failure: Bandwagon fans are excluded here. The Pittsburgh Pirates are competing for first place for the first time in 20 years. They have been the definition of a horrible sports franchise during that entire drought. Now that they are competing, I’m sure their true fans are just having the time of their lives. It’s tough to support a horrible franchise, but watching them finally succeed somehow makes you feel like you accomplished something as a fan. Sometimes it is only one special year (Arizona Cardinals), but it makes all the losing worth it. Yankee fans are missing out.

This is Eckstein. He's a shortstop, not a bat boy

The announcers: I love it when announcers get excited during one of those special moments. Al Michael’s absolutely nailed the Miracle on Ice. I don’t like it when announcers unnecessarily praise athletes, but I do like it when they bring energy to a game.

The game itself: Storylines write themselves in sports. You really never know what is going to happen. Watching your favorite team makes you nervous and tense, and you love it. You can even watch a game between two teams that you have absolutely no interest, and after a few minutes, you are all of a sudden invested and rooting like crazy for one team. Something special can happen at any game. It is a pleasure watching a guy score 40 points or a running back gain 200 yards. I even consider Federer effortlessly play a grueling match or a perfect Phil Mickleson golf swing to be artistic. It is easy to dislike athletes these days, but their abilities captivate us in awe. The event itself is, and always will be, a joy to watch.

Giving Jimmy a Reason to Love Sports Again

Monday, 25 July 2011, 12:11 | Category : MLB
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In light of Jimmy’s most recent post, I figured it was only fitting to remind him of all the good that happens in sports.

Tender moments like this are all I have to convince my wife that sports are all bad (many points which support her argument are nicely summed up by Jimmy here).  If you don’t understand the appeal of sports or find them overly competitive and would just like to see everybody win (my wife) or are a frustrated sports fan (Jimmy), please don’t lose faith.  Little Ian has shown us that there is still good in the world of sports.

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