There's a few things on my mind right now as far as sports goes, so I thought I'd offer up a little olio this post. With the four major American sports all at some level of activity, maybe we can try and touch 'em all...
Gotta start where the last post left off, talking about America's Pastime. I mentioned in my ode to baseball that the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers both faced uphill climbs in their respective Championship Series', but both teams have found a way to take the advantage thus far. The Rangers are up 3-2 on the Yanks as the series heads back to Arlington, and as I strike the keys I've just finished watching the Giants go up 3-1 on the Phillies on a Juan Uribe sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth that gave SF a 6-5 win in game four.
I have to say I'm excited by the idea of a Giants/Rangers World Series, not only to get a couple of fresh teams in the Fall Classic but because both squads teem with exuberance and personality. Brian Wilson (no, not that Brian Wilson) alone has enough charisma to carry a playoff series, but with great stories like Josh Hamilton (who continues what will be a life-long battle with substance abuse) and a couple of pitching phenoms like Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum to boot, it would be an entertaining and hopefully widely watched series. Sure the MLB would have to get over losing out on two huge markets like Philly and NYC, but the rest of the country might not mind. Although considering how many people skipped watching Cliff Lee's dominant performance Monday night in the Bronx to check out an NFL blowout, who knows?
Speaking of the NFL, this weekend was a particularly brutal one as far as big hits went, and the league has taken notice. I watched most of Sunday's games with a group of friends around a big old TV, and we were privy to a handful of hits that had more than a few of us turning our heads to wince. Some fools got jacked this weekend, that's for sure, and now the NFL brass is coming forward to try and limit the violence that is so prevalent in the game.
The blows leveled on 5'10", 175 lb. DeSean Jackson and the completely defenseless Todd Heap certainly make the NFL's case if you'd like to go ahead and take a gander...
Then again, you might just be thinking what I'm thinking, that the new policy the Shield is putting forward of fines and suspensions for helmet-to-helmet hits and "devastating" tackles on defenseless receivers runs more than a little counter to the product they've been pushing for decades on end. Most news sources have already pointed out that the NFL was selling pictures on its website of some of the hits called into question this weekend, which takes the cake as far as a two-faced gesture is concerned, but it really is laughable for the Shield to blatantly try and piss on the fans and tell them its raining.
Football thrives because of its violence and brutality. Unlike most sports, where knocking the other guy to the ground is deemed to be an avoidable situation that results in penalty or discipline, football and hockey make it part of the action. Neither sport can claim that they want to limit the amount of big hits or violence, because the defensive side of their games rely on physical play and knocking the other dood on his ass.
I can understand the NFL going to great lengths to avoid any more concussion backlash, considering what science is discovering about athletic concussions and permanent damage, but there's absolutely no way to have the game stay the same and tone down the violence. Football and hockey exist in a violent world and owe much if not all of their allure to the physical nature of the contests.
The audience wants to see guys get decleated, snot-bubbled, and jacked up, and the NFL has never done anything but promote and sell the product the public is looking for. For them to try and change course midstream after a particularly cringe-worthy weekend of hits is the definition of hypocritical. Ray-Ray agrees with me and so do the majority of NFL defenders. Hell, James Harrison says he's willing to retire if he can't play the game the way he's been taught to play it. He's bluffing, but it shows how much these guys think of themselves as one-man wrecking crews when they strap that helmet on. After all, these lads are out to hurt each other, Tommy.
The closer we get to the season, the more the Carmelo Anthony rumor mill heats up. He's turned down yet another huge offer from the Nuggets to stay in Denver, and he's all but bought his plane ticket out of town, whether that flight happens before, during, or after the season is all that's left to settle. The Knicks now appear to be close to putting together a package that would send Melo to NYC, and after the Nuggets watched LeBron send the Cavs the world's most mean spirited Dear John letter via his "Decision" on ESPN, I'm guessing they want more in return than a bad taste in their mouth for their franchise player.
They'll likely get a bag of garbage from the Knicks, which will include some expiring contracts and Eddie Curry (you make the call as to which is worse) but the more important thing to note here is that this is going to completely destroy the Nuggets chances of remaining a contender. Not only will their best player (and one of the top 10 in the league) be leaving town, but their veteran point guard Chauncey Billups is very close to Melo and Kenyon Martin is already pitching a fit about his new contract. Both players might decide to follow suit and join Carmelo in leaving. So whenever Mr. La La's exodus happens, it will likely set in motion a chain of events that will put the Nuggets back at square one for years to come. Sorry Denver, just remember you do have Timothy Richard to help you through it all.
Well, I suppose that'll do for now. I hit three of the four major sports and at least mentioned hockey, so my work here is done for now. Keep close (Bo Jackson's) Hipsters, I ain't done yet.
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