Michael's Sports Blog

Although MLB Season Started Today, I am Still not a Fan

Today was baseball’s opening day.  Although I’m not a fan of baseball, I still made sure to watch my hometown San Diego Padres play the St. Louis Cardinals.  This game just so happened to be on ESPN, which was lucky because otherwise it wouldn’t have been on T.V.  I don’t know how many more games I will actually watch this year, but I thought opening day was a good game to watch to see how the team may do this year.

There are many reasons why I don’t think baseball is fascinating.  The first reason is that there are 162 games in a season, making each game (especially the early games) not very important.  Why would I want to watch a game that basically will have no impact until the the end of the season?  For example, today’s opening day was only one game; there are 161 games left in the season.  The second reason is that not much scoring occurs.  Sometimes, there are even games with very few hits.  The lack of excitement due to scoring can cause the game to get very boring to watch.  One final reason is that my hometown team, the San Diego Padres, have not been very good in a long time.  The Padres, as well as other teams in the league, spend little money on their players because they don’t have a lot of money to spend.  It’s not very fun to watch a team that never makes the playoffs.

I would much rather watch the NBA, the NFL, NCAA football, and NCAA basketball than MLB.

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March 31, 2011 Posted by | MLB, Sports | , , , | Leave a comment

NCAA March Madness Final Four

And then, there were no number one seeds left in the NCAA Tournament.  This is the third time zero number one seeds have been in the Final Four.  The teams left in the tournament are UConn (three seed), Kentucky (four seed), Butler (eight seed), and VCU (eleven seed).  These teams are from the Big East, SEC, Horizon, and Colonial conferences.

VCU pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament so far, beating the last number one seed, Kansas, fairly easily.  They became the third number eleven seed ever to make the Final Four.  For a team that people didn’t think deserved to be in the tournament in the first place, they have definitely proved those people wrong.  Who would have thought that this team would have been able to make the Final Four after losing six of their last nine before March Madness began?  However, here they are.  VCU is playing very well as a team right now, and their cinderella story continues.

VCU Win over Kansas

Butler defeated Florida, making it to their second Final Four in a row.  With their senior, Matt Howard, and NBA ready guard, Shelvin Mack, they were able to defeat a very good Florida team.  The two compliment each other well, with a high and low presence.  Who would have expected this small school to be able to make it to the Final Four two years in a row?  I didn’t expect this, but they seem to be the cinderella team of the decade so far.

Kentucky defeated UNC, getting a lot of help from their freshman.  John Calipari has managed to get a lot of great talent to come to Kentucky, and this young team was able to make the Final Four.  Although inconsistent at times, the team has the chance to win the title if they can play with more consistency.

UConn defeated Arizona in a hard-fought game.  It went down to the very end, but Kemba Walker proved to be too much for Arizona to handle.  Derrick Williams of Arizona did all he could to try and defeat UConn, but was unable to come through at the very end.  UConn managed to get great play from their freshman during the game, and if this continues, they will be hard to stop.

For me, some good news came from the Elite 8 games.  I won my bracket I did with some friends of mine even though I only managed to only get 53 points.

Predictions for Final Four: VCU over Butler.  UConn over Kentucky.  UConn over VCU.

I think that VCU will end Butler’s season before allowing them to make it back to their second finals in a row.  VCU has a better overall team, and if they can play as a unit, will be able to put a stop to Butler’s run in the tournament.  Either city will be going nuts if their team wins.

UConn is on a roll right now, winning their last nine games.  Their young players are stepping up their game, and Kemba Walker is so hard to guard.  I think that because of this, UConn will win the National Championship.

March 27, 2011 Posted by | NCAA Basketball, Sports | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NCAA March Madness Elite 8

My bracket was busted on Thursday when Duke lost to Arizona.  The team I thought would win the finals because of their seniority and talent was ousted by a Pac-10 team.  I am fine with the loss, but only because a school from our conference was the one to beat them.  Arizona is playing so well right now that I don’t know if anyone can beat them, but they are also playing a very hot UConn team next.

In another cinderella year, Butler has advanced to the Elite 8.  I’m hoping that they can beat Florida and advance to the Final Four for the second straight year.  Although when looking at the team you wouldn’t think they would be very good, they have a lot of chemistry and are on a roll at the right time.  I am excited to see how far they end up going this year, although they are facing a good Florida team next.

SDSU, my hometown team, was beaten by UConn ending their best year in school history.  I was disappointed that they lost, but losing to the winner of the best conference in college basketball isn’t something to feel bad about.  The team will be losing a few key players next year, so who knows if they will still be as good as they were this year.

Ohio State lost to Kentucky in the final seconds.  The loss by Ohio State was a bracket buster for many other people who picked Ohio State to win the whole tournament.  I was not expecting Kentucky to be this successful with their lack of upperclassmen, but they managed to pull off a great win.  They will play a young UNC team next, and this should be a fun game to watch.

Kansas and North Carolina each advanced easily over their opponents.  Kansas is now the only number one seed left in the tournament, after Duke and Ohio State both lost in the Sweet 16.  Those who have Kansas winning the tournament are feeling really good that there team is still left in the field.

In the game between the two teams seeded ten and eleven, VCU prevailed in the final seconds over Florida State.  I cannot believe that the team USC played to get into the tournament is now in the Elite 8.  VCU has a lot of upperclassmen and plays tough defense, which is why they have been so successful.  They will now have to face the only remaining number one seed, which will be a tough team to beat.

An interesting statistic is that of the eight teams left, seven of the teams come from different conferences.  The only teams to come from the same conference are Kentucky and Florida, who both come from the SEC.  The Big East, Big 12, Pac 10, ACC, Horizon, and Colonial conference all have one team left in the field.

My Predictions Now: UNC over Kentucky, UConn over Arizona, Florida over Butler, Kansas over .  UConn over UNC, Kansas over Florida. Kansas winning the national championship.

Best Game of Elite 8: I think the UConn versus Arizona game will be the best game of the Elite 8 games.  I think it will be a really close game, and that the winner will make it to the finals.  As of right now, I think UConn will win that game because of how well Kemba Walker and the team is playing right now.

March 25, 2011 Posted by | NCAA Basketball, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NFL Players Taking on New Sports

With the threat of there potentially not being a 2011-2012 NFL season, some NFL athletes are picking up other sports.  They fear that they need to get income somehow, and have decided that the best way to do that is playing a sport they think they could be good at.  Two of the major cases of this so far are Bart Scott and Chad Ochocinco.

Bart Scott Wrestling

 

Bart Scott, a linebacker for New York Jets, has decided to get involved in wrestling, as shown in the picture above.  He had been a fan of wrestling and thought that he should try it out for himself.  However, Scott took part in wrestling even before the lockout had occurred, which technically was a breach of his contract.  I don’t know what will happen with that, but I’m looking forward to seeing him wrestle in the future.

Chad Ochocinco Soccer Tryout

 

Chad Ochocinco, a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, has decided to try out for the Kansas City MLS team, Sporting Kansas City.  He claims that when he was younger he liked soccer better than football, and thinks that he has a legitimate shot of making the team.  “With the lockout here, this is something I always wanted to do. It was [my grandma’s] choice for me not to play soccer and now I have the opportunity to do it. It was always my No. 1 sport, my No. 1 love.”   He has now been asked to play in a reserve game so that the team can survey his talent.  Who knows, fans may be able to see #85 wearing a different jersey for a little while.

I think it will be fascinating to see if more athletes follow in these players footsteps and pursue their other sports passions.  As an athlete, you are clearly gifted with athletic ability, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see more NFL players try out for different sporting teams.

March 25, 2011 Posted by | NFL, Sports | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

College Athletes- Should they Receive Compensation?

One major debate about college sports is whether athletes should be paid for their services.  Some argue that college athletes receive enough compensation by getting a free education from their scholarships.  Others argue that college athletes should be able to receive a salary or a portion of the revenue their school makes because they bring in revenue for the school.  I believe that college athletes should not receive a salary, but should at least get a share of the revenue the school makes off the players.

One of the major claims by those who believe athletes should get paid is that schools are exploiting college athletes.  The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains the thoughts of a former president of the university, which talks about exploitation of athletes.  He believes “big time college athletics reeks of exploitation because of the revenue generated for the university from the services of the athletes while many of the athletes gain little from their own college experiences.”  The NCAA brings in $4 billion annually through television deals, video game rights, ticket sales, and merchandise, yet college athletes receive none of this money in return for their services.  Does this seem fair to you?  Even the coaches of the players receive million dollar salaries.

I found it fascinating that the NCAA President, Mark Emmert, believes that college athletes deserve a little more than just their scholarships.  Although he thinks paying players is inappropriate, he told USA Today that he would bring up the idea to the NCAA committee that would “maybe bump up the value of players’ scholarships by a few thousand dollars to take care of travel, laundry and other typical college expenses that aren’t covered now.”

Emmert and I agree that the argument that a scholarship is enough for a player’s services is flawed.  Firstly, although a scholarship gives an athlete free room and board, free books, and a free education, they are still left with things they have to pay for.  Secondly, there are many athletes who don’t have scholarships that still put in the work.  Thirdly, as an athlete, you practice for hours, taking away time that you could be studying.  When athletes come back from practice, there are times when they are so tired they don’t even have the ability to do work.  The time these athletes put in to play well may cause their grades to slip, lowering the amount they actually learn from going to school.  Lastly, many college athletes pursue majors that allow them to take easier classes so that they will be able to spend more time practicing their sport.

Increasing the scholarship amount that players receive would solve some of the problems in compensation for athletes.  An athlete would be able to spend some of the extra money he receives from the stipend on travel, food, entertainment, and many other things.  This would benefit the player because it would be like receiving a little bit of extra money each week.  Although some may think increasing the scholarship is enough, I think that there needs to be another step taken to increase the amount of compensation that players receive.

Real College Sports has come up with three alternatives on how to give players the necessary compensation they deserve: 1) have the sports simply be minor leagues for the pros where players get paid, 2) allow players to sign endorsement deals, 3) create a fund that players receive upon graduating.  I agree with the third point that there should be a fund for players once they graduate college that would allow players to receive a portion of the revenue they helped the school make.  This would not violate the rule of amateurism because the player would no longer be an amateur athlete, and therefore the player would be able to take money from the school.

By giving players access to funds after they graduate, there won’t be so many players leaving early to play professional sports.  College sports are becoming less important to players because many come just so they can be eligible to play professionally.  Many athletes come from poor backgrounds, and they leave because they need the money to help out their families.

Also with access to funds, players will be less involved with boosters and agents paying players to try and get them to attend a certain college.  Athletes will not be so interested in the money they would receive from these shady deals because they would be making money of their own by attending college.

There is a actually a lawsuit right now that involves former college athletes suing the NCAA for using their likeness and images in video games, merchandise, and television after they have graduated from college.  They believe they should be paid for this usage because the athletes are no longer amateurs.  The NCAA claims that athletes gave their rights to their likeness and images when they signed their scholarship deal.  However, when players sign these deals they are eighteen years old and don’t even know what the contract was saying.

As you can see by this lawsuit, many players are upset by the fact that they are not receiving payment even after graduating college.  That’s why it make sense to start a fund during college that gives players a share of the revenue from using player’s likeness and images in video games, merchandise, and television.  This will also helps players who do not make professional sports teams after they graduate because they will have at least some money to survive until they find a job that does not involve sports.

The question regarding the fund is should big schools have bigger funds than smaller schools?  Big time schools usually make more money than smaller schools- that is a fact.  Talent is drawn towards the bigger schools because they know that they have more television exposure, which will most likely help them become noticed as a college athlete.  So, I believe that the funds for big time schools should be allowed to be bigger than smaller schools.  Although this may cause some athletes to only want to go to big time schools, the smaller schools will still be giving players access to funds once they graduate, something that is not happening today.

Another question is how much athletes from different sports should get?  I believe each athlete at the school should be given access to the same amount, regardless of the sport.  This makes it fair because although revenue is greater in football and basketball, the other athletes still put in the time to play their sport.  By giving everyone the same amount of money, this wouldn’t affect people’s decisions to play different sports because the compensation was greater.

The argument over whether athletes are receiving enough compensation is still a while away from being resolved, but I hope that athletes will some day be able to get the compensation they deserve.

March 24, 2011 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

NCAA March Madness Sweet 16

The NCAA Tournament has made it to the Sweet 16, leaving only sixteen teams in the field.  There were plenty of upsets in the past two days; one number one seed, one number two seed, and two number three seeds were eliminated.  There are four seeds of ten or higher that have made it to the final sixteen teams: Richmond, Florida State, VCU, and Marquette.  I picked none of these teams to make it this far, but I applaud them for making it this far.  VCU will face off against Florida State to make it to the Elite 8, so there will be at least one team seeded ten or higher that will make it to the final eight teams.

Butler, an eight seed, upset number one seeded Pittsburgh to eliminate the only number one seed so far.  This team was the surprise of the NCAA tournament last year making it to the finals as a number five seed.  They seem to have a little “cinderella” in them this year again, making it to the Sweet 16 already.  With a few more victories, they could be back in the finals.

VCU, from the Colonial Conference, is an eleven seed trying to become the next George Mason.  George Mason (also from the Colonial Conference) was an eleven seed who made it to the Final Four in 2006.  No one expected this team to do that, making them a true cinderella story.  I think this year VCU has a legitimate shot to make it far into the tournament because of their seniority and passion.

Duke, the winner of the NCAA Tournament last year, escaped a narrow victory against Michigan.  I still think that Duke will win the championship this year because they have a lot of talent inside and outside.

Arizona is the lone Pac-10 team left in the tournament, but will face Duke in their next game, a tough competitor.

There are two Big East teams left in the field- Marquette and UConn.  For a conference that got eleven teams into the tournament and was deemed the best conference this season, the teams don’t seem to be doing too well.

Predictions: Ohio St, UNC, Duke, Kansas, VCU, Butler, and Florida advance to Elite 8.  Ohio State, Duke, Kansas, and Butler advance to Final Four.  Duke and Kansas advance to Finals.  Duke defeats Kansas in the finals.

March 21, 2011 Posted by | NCAA Basketball, Sports | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

March Madness First Two Days

The first two days of March Madness are over, and I managed to get 23 out of 32 picks correctly (not too bad, but also not too good).  There were many fascinating games to watch, with a few major upsets that I did not think would happen.  Four of my upset calls were correct, so if you had the confidence to put those into your bracket as well then you’re probably doing alright so far.  What I find hard about the first two days is the eight versus nine or seven versus ten matchups because those teams are pretty even usually, and it is hard to determine who will win.  You might as well flip a coin to decide on what team will advance because the game usually goes down to the wire.

I managed to watch mostly all of the games thanks to the new television deal that put the games on four different channels.  I thought the two most thrilling games of the two days were Morehead State versus Louisville and Butler versus Old Dominion.   The game went back and forth the whole forty minutes, but Butler ended up beating ODU on the final shot as time expired.  Although it wasn’t a mid-major team upsetting a power conference team, I still enjoyed watching this game.  Morehead State upset Louisville in what I would call a “shocker” because Louisville made it to the Big East finals, and Morehead State came from a small conference.  They also won in the final seconds.  Morehead State won because they played with more heart and desire to win the game.  This is the reason I love college basketball because players believe they can win even if no one thinks they belong.  Analysts didn’t think that VCU deserved to be in the NCAA tournament, however, they managed to beat USC and Georgetown to advance to the round of 32.

Although my bracket is not in a high percentile right now, the good news is that all my elite eight teams, final four, and final teams are still in the field.  Sometimes after the first two days upsets happen that can ruin your bracket, but I was luckily able to escape this.

March 19, 2011 Posted by | NCAA Basketball, Sports | , , , | Leave a comment

March Madness 2011 Picks

Last night I got back from Cabo San Lucas for my 21st birthday, which was a very fun trip.  As promised, I am posting my picks for the March Madness tournament.  I did some research on these teams and think these are great picks.

Upset Picks: In the first round I think there will be one thirteen seed defeating a four seed, one twelve seed defeating a five seed, three eleven seeds defeating six seeds, and three ten seeds defeating seven seeds.  I am a fan of upsets in the early rounds and think that Belmont, Richmond, Missouri, Marquette, USC, Penn State, Florida State, and Michigan State will all upset.  However, I don’t have any of these teams advancing to the next round after their victories.  They may have the possibility to win, but I like the other teams playing them to make it to the next round.

Elite Eight, Final Four, and Finals Picks: For the elite eight round, I have all one seeds playing either a two or three seed.  I think that these teams are ranked this high for a reason, and will advance.  In the final four, I have all one seeds playing.  I know that most likely the four number one seeds will not make it to the finals, but I just think these are the best teams right now, and will advance.  I think Duke and Kansas will make it to the finals.  I think these two teams are well-rounded, have depth, and have players that are older that can help lead their team to the finals.  In the final matchup, I think that Duke will win.  They crushed North Carolina in the finals of the ACC Tournament, and I think this makes them the choice to win the national title.  Kansas won the Big 12 Tournament, but not by as much as Duke won their game by.

Could be Sleeper Picks: I was tempted to pick Louisville over Kansas because I think Louisville has a good team, making it to the Big East tournament finals.  However, they can be streaky depending on how their players do, so I couldn’t put them advancing over Kansas.  SDSU is also a tempting team to advance far because they just beat BYU by eighteen in the MWC  Tournament.  They have a lot of talent and some older players, so they could be a team to watch out for in the tournament.  UConn is a team that could possibly win the national title.  They won the Big East tournament (which is considered the best conference, and has the most teams in the tournament) over Louisville by three, and are led by Kemba Walker (the fourth leading scorer in the nation).

March 16, 2011 Posted by | NCAA Basketball, Sports | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

USC Basketball Team on the Bubble?

This afternoon the USC men’s basketball team defeated California 70-56 at the Staples Center.  The team has been on analyst’s radar recently as a bubble team that may or may not make it into March Madness.  After defeating Cal today, the team needs one or two more wins in the tournament to solidify its case.

This year the Trojans have had some good wins against: #20 Texas, #18 Tennessee, and #10 Arizona.  They have also had some bad losses against: Rider, Bradley, Oregon State, TCU, and Oregon twice.  The team also almost beat #3 Kansas at their home court as well, but lost by one.  The problem is their consistency.  In an earlier post I said: “The team has talent and can make it into the NCAA tournament, but just needs to play with more consistency if they are going to be able to accomplish that goal.”  Right now that consistency would definitely help them make it into the tournament if they can put up more dominating performances like they did today.  The Trojans have won six of their last seven games, and can hopefully keep on winning so that they can get into the tournament.

USC will play Arizona tomorrow, and if they can win again against the #15 team in the nation, this should put them into the tournament.  However, the easiest way to make sure that they make it into the 68 team field is to win the Pac-10 tournament on Saturday.  If they play like they are capable of playing, I see this happening.

March 10, 2011 Posted by | NCAA Basketball, Sports | , , , , , , | 2 Comments