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Here we stay?

In Sports on May 20, 2014 at 7:27 PM

As I pen this, the city council of Sacramento is holding a “vote” to give the Sacramento Kings a new arena in Downtown. I say “vote” because anyone in this town knows that the local government will give them the new arena.

I have a few complaints about the new arena, simply because A) the team is horrible, and has been for several years. When Rick Addleman was the head coach, they actually managed to get to the playoffs; they lost to the Lakers every time, but they managed to get there. The second complaint is that the team may be able to afford the new arena, but the city can’t. The city can’t even afford to pay police officers and firefighters, but we have two billion dollars to give to the team for an arena that will be “old” in ten years?

The mayor of Sacramento, (a former basketball player and Kings member, I’d like to add) has devoted his entire mayoral reign to getting the new arena. The libraries are under funded, as are the area’s schools; hospitals can’t afford to take care of patients, but we can afford a new arena…
If the team where any good, OK, fine, give them a new arena. But the mayor decided not to try and keep Campbell’s Soup, or the Coca-Cola bottling plant here, but he fought hard and raised the money and called every big name in his Rolodex to keep the team. Right, way to be a mayor for the people.

The plan to put the arena in Downtown is flawed because the area they want to put the arena, the site of the now former Westfield’s Downtown Plaza (it’s being torn down to make room for the arena) doesn’t have the room. The Light rail there is a major transit hub for the city, a city that according to politicians, is too polluted and the same city politicians want us to take the public transit to get around town. They had plans to move it, but they realized…it would cost to much…more than two BILLION DOLLARS I guess…so they decided to incorporate that into the plans of the arena. That was changed; now it will be left alone and they will build into the available businesses there. They tried to claim emenate domain on the Macy’s there, but that failed, so they decided to build around it. Some time ago, the State Historical Society got a government code to force an easy access tunnel to Old Sac, and they have to leave that alone, so they had to change plans again.
The reason they are putting the arena where it is, is because the major sports teams in the big cities have them in their city’s downtown. The reason being that the other city’s downtown’s are bigger. Seriously, take a walk in downtown LA; try to go from one side to the other in one day. It cannot be done. Here, on the other hand, one could walk from one end to the other in a matter of hours.
Traffic is another problem there. It is already congested, and adding tour buses and limos is not going to ease that problem. The site that should have been chosen is the former air base McCellen. That site already has the infrastructure like parking, sewage, electricity and the like. The Downtown Plaza site does not. If you have ever driven a car down there, you will know. They have two bathrooms, one for each gender, and the arena is going to need at least sixty to seventy to accommodate the amount of people who are filling up on beer, soda, water, nachos and the like. Of course, in order to demolish an old airbase, you would need Presidential, or at least federal government’s approval, and that takes too long.
Not to be left out, is the fact that every, and I do mean EVERY downtown business there has supported the new arena, apparently forgetting that the city will raise taxes and rent on those same businesses who are loyal supporters because they will have anew arena, which, hypothetically, will increase foot traffic…
When the mayor and his political goons chose that site, they held  press conference and said that the new arena will bring back and revitalize the downtown area. People stopped going there because traffic and parking is a nightmare, partly due to the fact that people can’t walk two feet without being hit up for money because there is a bar on every other street. Traffic will become even more hellish when the arena is built. First will be the construction crews there followed by the team. People have been going to the Downtown Plaza – a lot of them. When they went there with their goons and saw no one is beyond me. Every time I have been down there, there has always been a tone of shoppers and people using the shortcut to Old Sac.

I am predicting that within the first year of that arena being built, someone will have tagged the signs, and the homeless population will skyrocket with the influx of people there. The arena, will, in all honesty, increase revenue for the city; it will. However, with the team being so bad at playing basketball, I doubt that after the first season, we will see a sellout crowd. I’m only giving the team the first year because the city will, as it has thus far, cling to it’s team., but after they keep losing games because they get terrible players, and only one or two nationally televized games (they had one last year…one single nationally televized game) then, the fans will see that maybe spending two billion dollars on an arena (not to mention that the investors and owners are worth far more than that, and they could have paid for this and kept all revenue) and some hundreds of millions of dollars to buy the team, may not have been a good idea…but I doubt it.

Who knows, maybe sometime in the future, they will finally see that the Kings are not worth the trouble and they will let them go to another city. I hear that Seattle wants a new team…

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The return of the NFL, or, why I don’t care

In Sports on August 15, 2013 at 3:00 AM

Recently, the National Football League announced that bags, and seat cushions are no longer allowed in NFL stadiums. They also banned endzone celebrations because it “taunts” the other team…
Meanwhile, the NHL hasn’t banned, or changed anything related to the fans. When your favorite NFL star gets three touchdowns, you can’t throw your hat on to the field lest you be ejected. The NHL says it’s not ok, but if you want to celebrate Marion Gaborik getting a hat trick, throw your hat on the ice! The ice crew will just scoop it up and you can pick it up at the local sporting goods store tomorrow.

I get that the NFL is more, if not the most popular sport in the country, but if you keep banning simple things like a seat cushion, your fans are going to walk away. Also, changing the rules to make sure everyone has the same opportunities, does not teach kids to work hard and be rewarded; kids will start to complain and then their little league teams will change the rule to where a ball hit to second is a home run, because that is how far one player can hit. The NFL changes their rule book every season.some for the good, but mostly for the bad. For instance, if the home team likes a shinny ball, but the away team wants it dull, the home team’s equipment manager must rush our and wipe the the ball off before the play can progress…I’m so not kidding here! The NHL says “thou want a different puck? Though shit”.

I do like the rule in the NFL about helmet-to-helmet contact. However, I don’t like that they haven’t set up any concrete rules for helmet on helmet contact; they seem to pick and choose what is and what isn’t allowed. The NHL just says don’t hit a guy against the boards from behind (and pay Gary Bettman)

You see, dear readers, I hate that the NFL changes the rules and pays players this outrageous sum, and expects the fans to pay for a bag. I’m not joking when I say tell a woman she can’t bring her purse with her…if you’re still alive then you know what I’m talking about!

The Curse of the Twin Cities

In Minnesota, Sports, Vikings on June 3, 2013 at 4:30 AM

As a sports fan, I’ve got to ask, is Minnesota cursed? I ask this because since 1991 and Kirby Puckett’s World Series home run, they cannot seem to win anything big.

As a boy, I grew up rooting for the Minnesota teams. The Twins, Vikings, Gophers, all of them, and I do not know why. I wasn’t born or raised anywhere near Minnesota, nor have I been there, but it’s always been that way.

Let’s go over the evidence, shall we? Minnesota Vikings v. Dallas Cowboys and the “Hail Mary pass” that caused the Vikings to lose the Super Bowl. Now, anyone with a pair of eyes can tell you that the Minnesota receiver (whose name escapes me at the moment) was shoved, but the refs didn’t call Pass Interference on the play. Cursed. Also no instant replay…cursed. The other three times the Purple People Eaters where in the “Big Game? Choked and lost. They acquire Brent Favor (or Brett Favre for you nit familiar with the rivalry) and in the game that would’ve sent them to the Super Bowl what does he do? HE THROWS ACROSS HIS BODY FOR A GAME WINNING INTERCEPTION! Cursed.

The Minnesota Twins have won the World Series twice, once in 1987, and again in 1991. Ever since then, they fall apart around the All Star Break. Last year Morneau was out with a concussion and concussion symptoms; they tried to move Mauer from behind the bag; told Joe Nathan (the best closer currently in MLB) to pack it up after he he had Tommy Johns surgery. They’ve gotten to the playoffs twice in that time span, facing and losing to the New York Yankees every time. It makes a man wonder if they have a fear of championships. Like if Puckett’s ghost is preventing them from being any damn good…

The Minnesota Wild. They youngest team in the NHL, having come into the league in 2000. Now Minnesota is The State of Hockey, so you would expect at least one championship, right? Wrong! The North Stars left, and I believe it was to escape the curse, which they did when they won the Cup in 2004 just before the lockout. Now, the Wild have gotten to the Conference Finals and….CHOKED! This season saw a lockout, a shortened season, and the return of Minnesota-born Zach Parisé to the line up. He, Ryan Suter, Mikko Koivu, Danny Heatly, and Cal Clutterbuck would would make a great shift right? Knocked out of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in five games. That gamer winner in OT was a great boost to the team, that sadly didn’t carry over to the next game. Of course they had a great line, but five guys does not a hockey team make, and the choked. I’m still questioning the fact that they let go of Marian Gaborik, but hey, money talks…

Noe before you fire off your comments damning me to sports hell, I will play Devil’s Advocate here. I realize that sports are tough and it takes a toll on your body. However, I do not get why every Minnesota team seems to fall apart at the end. The Vikings must have chosen the color purple because what other color will you turn if you’re choking for 50 years? The Twins won their World Series rings not jut on the bat of Kirby, but because they had good pitching. The Vikings had a great kicker in Mitch Burger; didn’t miss a kick all year. Missed the field goal and sent the Falcons to the Super Bowl! The Wild had a decent run thus year, I’ll admit. Parisé was fantastic on the ice, and I know that Chicago is a tough team; Patrick Kane is a beast who would fit in fine with Minnesota…however, the “Let’s buy everyone’s good players to form our team” Didn’t work for the Yankees for twelve years, so I’m not expecting a small market team to be able to copy that business model, nor should they. The Vikings had great players, and still do. In the “Purple People Eater” days, Jim Marshall was unstoppable, even if he did run the wrong way! Adrian Peterson is a great half-back, and would become the best if he could hold onto the ball a little better…and I’m going to leave Christian Ponder out of the discussion simply because he replaced Donovan McNabb just a few games into his first season, but will say when your team is in a big game, you play through the pain of a sore thumb, lord knows I’ve worked with bad knees and back for a while now!
I’ve sat through the agonizing theatre play known as Mauergate and can’t help that feel like the Twins want to tell us something. They decide to pull Joe Mauer from the Catcher spot and live him 90 feet to first; didn’t work. Then they decide to put him back behind the bag, but only sometimes. Now they alternate between DH and catcher. If he isn’t working, then (he has a no trade clause and a billjillion dollar contract) ask if he wants to play somewhere else, although the whole “I’m a Minnesota boy, born and raised; played for the University of Minnesota and live and love it here” speech that he gave would tell me otherwise…. Just figure out where to put him and we’ll see how it goes, OK,?

Well, wee will have to see how the the Vikings’ season plays and his the rest of the Twins season plays out. Maybe the Gophers can win Paul Bunyan’s Axe and make us all happy. As always, feel free free to comment on the topic, or if you want my unique slant on another topic. Thanks for reading!

How am I supposed to live without you?

In Sports on May 3, 2013 at 5:55 AM

Well folks, it’s that time again. The Stanley Cup Playoffs have started, which unless your team is in playing, you’ve already started cranking up the breakup songs, and grabbed your tissues, its time to start crying.

Fear not, fellow hockey fans! There are still good times ahead! The next season will start on time, no lockout! We still have YouTube clips and hickeyfights.com to keep us enthralled, not to mention we can still debate over who is better, Alexandr Ovechkin, or Sydney Crosby!

As anyone who knows me will tell you I am nuts for hockey! It is the perfect sport for Americans. What other sport allows you to fight? (Besides MMA) if you fight on the streets, you get sent to jail. If you fight on the ice, they send you to the penalty box. The rich fight for more money, and the poor suffer! Just Google NHL lockout if you don’t believe me….

The NHL has started mirroring other popular sports by adding their version of cheerleaders, only we call them “ice girls”. Granted, not all teams have them, but naturally, the LA Kings have beautiful women wearing short, skimpy outfits, not doing much for the sport other than givng the fans in the arena something nice to watch, when the fans at home have to watch the announcers talk about what you’ve just seen on TV. I don’t know about you, but I would take a good looking woman in skimpy clothes over Don Cherry’s suits anyday! Witch brings me to my next point. Both football and hockey have announcers that make you say “What the heck?” Football’s was John Madden, where hockey has Don Cherry. Both are great men for their sport, both have WTF moments. John Madden’s was just about anything he said, or drew on that screen of his. Don Cherry’s is his clothes. Seriously, who the hell tells him what to wear?
Both have memorable moments. Football’s memorable moments include the Hail Mary pass that, if they had instant replay, Minnesota would’ve had a touchdown…fuck you, Dallas! Hockey’s memorable moment is the 1980 “Miracle on Ice”. Baseball has its boring times, like games that have score until well into the game, just as hockey has. But I believe hockey has better “Did you see that?” Moments than baseball. Baseball has Barry Bonds breaking the home run record, albeit under scrutiny with illegal drugs. Hockey has Wayne Gretzkey. Football has Bart Starr, hockey has The Great One. Boxing has Ali, hickey has The Great One.
All sports have their rivalries, if they have a Boston and New York team. The Rangers and Bruins in the NHL, the Yankees and Red Sox in MLB, and the Pats and the Jets/Giants in the NFL.
Every sport has nice looking trophies, but let face it, none are older, nor better looking than Lord Stanley’s Cup. What other trophy can double as a cerial bowl? Try eating a bowl of Fruit Loops out of the World Series trophy! The Lombardi trophy? Looks nice on a mantle, or in evidence when you bludgeon someone with it, but can you leave it on the sside of the road in Montreal and go back an hour late to get it? Probably…I don’t think the folks in Montreal would care, but it being Canada, they might try to return it for you… What other trophy grows every year, or gets returned to the league every summer? Just one…The Cup!

I believe that hockey would become more popular in America if the owners and players (and Gary Bettman) didn’t decide to argue over money every time there is a new agreement to be had….. Football only had one, but it was settled before any games where played. Baseball had two, but they got settled, however fans of baseball did not come back in droves after the second strike like the NHL fans did. I believe that if there is a third lockout in six years, that the hockey fans will say “fuck this, I’m out!” The Americans will, anyhow, the Canadian and Europeans couldn’t care any less, as they can switch channels and find….more hockey. We can’t. We change channels and get ESPN showing nine hours of poker…when I think of the “worldwide leader in SPORTS, poker is not on the list. (ESPN started showing poker during the 1994 lockout, and they never bought the rights again; this year NBC did, and had great ratings for their games…and the lockout had Mike Emrick calling figure skating…. OK, I need to go to my happy place….)
If hockey gets its act together, they could challenge baseball for second tier sport in America; football is showing signs of weakness in dominance with their ever changing rules. It is a matter of time before the National Football League becomes the National Flag Football League. When that happens, hockey will be there to claim top spot…I hope!

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