There has to be a staggering amount of stupidity shown by the various hierarchies that run or should one say have in some way ruined each of the four major high profiled sports ? Those being jointly, the NBA , NHL, MLB and the NFL . Over the last decade , in their eager pursuit of money and apparent image as far as their corporate sponsors are concerned . Each of these respective governing bodies has lost sight of perhaps their most important patron. And that is off-course the fans. They’re the ones who follow their teams earnestly throughout the season and cheer on their heroes.
It’s bad enough now that with these uncertain economic times their sense of urgency as to doing the right thing seems to be lost on the fact that they’d rather meander down the path of self destruction. One needs look no further than the utter stupidity that’s now being shown in the NHL by its hierarchy and the ongoing saga of the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes. The franchise which is now in Federal bankruptcy proceedings is at the center of a bitter battle between the NHL themselves and the only private bidder for the franchise , in billionaire entrepreneur, Jim Balsillie. The NHL it seems is not prepared to allow Balsillie should he tender the ‘ highest winning and acceptable outright bid’ the right to relocate the franchise back to Canada. The NHL on the other hand feels that they can still make the Coyotes a going concern as a franchise in the city of Phoenix . And when one considers that the franchise since its inception has failed to meet any of the criteria’s sought by the then owner- in terms of on-field success and that of sold out attendances for games. It begs the question ‘…. what the hell is the NHL thinking to begin with ‘ ?
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman must feel that the NHL can do a much better job of running an NHL franchise than someone of Balsillie’s caliber , who clearly feels otherwise. And has made it clear from the outset that it was his wish to purchase the franchise and relocate it to Ontario, Canada.
Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and Associated Press
By Bob Baum , AP Sports Writer
PHOENIX (AP)—The NHL could claim a partial victory on Wednesday after a U.S. bankruptcy judge rejected bids by the league and Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes.
Judge Redfield T. Baum rejected outright Balsillie’s offer to purchase the team and move it to Hamilton, Ontario, which the NHL had vehemently opposed. The judge upheld the league’s right to decide who owns its teams and where they play.
Although Baum also turned down the NHL offer, he left the door open for the league to go ahead and purchase the franchise if it amends its bid to treat Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes and ex-coach Wayne Gretzky more favorably.
“In hockey parlance, the court is passing the puck to the NHL who can decide to take another shot at the sale net or it can pass off the puck,” Baum wrote.
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The NBA not content with the very fact that year in and year out there continues to be controversy surrounding the officiating of its games. And the questioning of the quality and of its officials. It’d appear that they will seek to start the upcoming season and that of their preseason with replacement officials . They’ve chosen to lock out the qualified and seasoned officials because of their rancouring over labor issues concerning pay and expenses. That being said if the league were of a mindset to deal with many of the other issues with regard to the perception as to how their officials are viewed. I doubt that at present there would be immediate cause for concern. But on the brink of the preseason to lock out 62 officials . Merely because the two parties cannot come to an agreement , smacks of idiocy on the part of the NBA hierarchy and the the body said to represent the officials. Never-mind the impression that this now creates for the fans.
Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and Associated Press
By Brian Mahoney AP Basketball Writer
With its regular referees locked out, the NBA is confident in its roster of replacements—even the two it previously fired.
The NBA begins preseason play Thursday night with 62 referees. The league said more than half have officiated in the NBA Development League, and all but five have worked the summer league.
It also said the two with league experience, Michael Henderson and Robbie Robinson, were some of the best replacements available.
Realizing the scrutiny the backups face, the league reminded teams Wednesday about its rules against publicly criticizing the officials. But senior vice president of referee operations Ron Johnson believes the teams won’t have much to complain about.
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The officials that Commissioner David Stern is prepared to use for not only preseason games but also the regular season, once it starts. They well in-fact come the NBA’s Developmental League.One can surmise that the NBA not only thinks it appropriate to give us something of a watered down product as well as Stern in his own words “…….. officials that I implicitly believe in with regards to their integrity”. He’s now prepared to now give us officials who in many cases have never officiated a regular season NBA game. And he’s also prepared to throw them into the fray. I suppose many of these officials have hopes of aspiring to be like Tim Donaghy , in part ? Well if not Donaghy , then definitely someone Stern , himself, can view as unimpeachable and above reproach ? With what little experience that they do have at the lower level in terms of their officiating. Are we expected to see that any glaring mistake that’s bound to be made by one of these officials can be overlooked because of their inexperience ? And what are the players , coaches and fans to think of this all ?
The biggest knock , I for one have always had against the NFL has been their treatment. Or should I say their mistreatment of retired players. Especially those veterans of the pre Superbowl era. Not much has gone right for many of these players who find themselves languishing on the outside looking in. Bereft of any of the financial rewards that is now being earned by their successors of today. What may well be even more distasteful and disdainful is the total lack of representation by their own union- the NFLPA . First by deceased union executive Gene Upshaw and now even more so by his successor DeMaurice Smith.
Courtesy of nfl.com and Associated Press
NEW YORK — Retired professional football players might have a higher-than-normal rate of Alzheimer’s disease or other memory problems, suggests a preliminary study that provides more fuel for concerns about long-term risk of concussions.
Experts said the work wasn’t definitive but that it fit in with other studies suggesting a long-term risk from head injuries in sports.
In the new work, 1,063 former players were asked if they had ever been diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other memory-related disease. About 2 percent of the former players ages 30 to 49 said yes. That’s 19 times the rate for the same age group in the general population.
For retirees over 50, the rate of about 6 percent was about five times higher.
The study, which hasn’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal, was done for the National Football League by researchers at the University of Michigan.
The results show the topic is worth further study, but they don’t prove a link between playing football and later mental troubles, lead author David Weir said.
“The survey found that playing in the NFL was a very positive experience for most retired players and that overall they are in very good physical and financial condition. Their history of physical fitness shows up in lower rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. On most other health problems they are similar to or healthier than the general population, the survey noted. We are carefully reviewing the information and sharing it with others to assist our work on behalf of retired players.
“Regarding the two graphs (page 32) on memory problems in this 37-page survey, its acknowledges significant limitations of the survey in this area. The survey did not diagnose dementia but relied on self-reporting or family proxy reporting on a retired player’s memory, and it also noted that diseases of memory are rare in both the general population and NFL retirees. Despite those facts, the study recommends further research based on the reported numbers (1.9 percent of NFL retirees ages 30-39 and 6.1 percent of NFL retirees 50 and above), and that already is underway. Memory disorders affect many men and women who never played football or other sports.
“We are trying to understand it as it relates to our retired players. The survey makes no link between concussions and memory disorders. Concussion as one of many potential factors in memory disorders is being studied throughout the medical community, including our own study on the long-term effects of concussions on retired players.
“Meanwhile, our focus is also on the proper prevention and treatment of concussions in today’s game. We do this through rules changes and enforcement; education of players, their families, coaches and team personnel; and ensuring that our players have the best medical care available. Our medical staffs take a cautious and conservative approach to managing concussions, including expanded use of neuropsychological testing and return-to-play guidelines.”
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Over the years many of these players have had to fight tooth and nail to even get their voices heard . Much less be afforded the right to obtain rightfully what is theirs by way of medical assistance and benefits. For a sport that says it cares about its very own. The NFL and its union counterpart has done little to suggest for to us to believe that to be a fact. If anything it’s the contrary. They’ve steadfastly refused to even recognize many of these players and their grievances and have hid behind the subterfuge that the players of today are far more important than their predecessors. What has become even more glaring is that the present NFL commissioner , Roger Goodell and his predecessor Paul Tagliabue did very little to address those very issues and others that have cropped up over those years concerning the players. But yet it takes a commissioned report by the NFL to make us aware of something the vast majority already knew. So unless the hierarchy of the game is really that naive , then they’ve just to be downright plain stupid ! Over the years the NFL and the NFLPA has stalled not only in this regard when dealing with this issue but several others concerning the assistance and payment of benefits due rightfully to retired veterans of the game.
The league commissioned a report looking into head trauma and concussions suffered by players and the cause and effect that it has on the recipients. Now pardon me for saying this but for those of who’ve ever been hit on the head during any sort of endeavor . It does tend to hurt , so one can imagine what a hit on the head has to do to an NFL player traveling at a high velocity of speed head on into an opposing player . And then imagine that being done repeatedly during a game . Now unless I’m mistaken, this sort of thing once it becomes repetitive , then it does have a tendency of having repercussions to a player’s health in the ensuing years. Not only over the course of their career but also upon their retirement. The AMA (American Medical Association) and others within the medical establishment have long held the view that repeated blows to the head , no matter how innocuous that they might appear to be at times. It does have a lasting effect on an individual. We’ve seen this with regard to other athletic endeavors. None more so than within the sport of boxing. Where there, the poster child for head trauma , albeit that he’s said to have Parkinson’s disease -is none other than Muhammad Ali .
Associated with this all now , is the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease amongst former players and other forms of dementia.And this has also led to the seemingly untimely deaths of a number of players. Autopsies carried out – evidence has shown amongst that there’s a preponderance of blunt force trauma caused by repeated blows received to the heads of these players. One can surmise that this may well have been caused during their careers or quite possibly merely from repeated falls. But that wouldn’t equate what we already know to be factual when it comes to this issue. However, it appears that the NFL and NFLPA seemingly wants us to believe that much of this happens outside their sphere of responsibility as it concerns their members. Something is very much awry here and it does appear that the NFL in collusion with the Players’ Union would rather not deal with this situation , quite possibly because of the inherent financial implications and what it might well mean for the league.
And while this isn’t primarily the only issue where the league and the union has fallen short on . When it comes to dealing with current as well as former players. It does create the illusion the NFL and its union counterpart has become nothing more than a self serving organization . Purely concerned in portraying an image that’s none too real when it comes to the veterans who once graced the game. As to the impression it’s prepared to create for us , the fans. Well I think it’s plain to see for all of us who care to witness it .
As the regular season for MLB (Major League Baseball ) winds down. We’re seeing the last grasps being made by two teams to attain a postseason berth for the ensuing playoffs. The Colorado Rockies (91-68) having claimed a berth , now fights to run down an pass the Los Angeles Dodgers (93-66) and win the NL West. The two teams meet this weekend in the three game series that will determine the outcome as to who wins the division. It wasn’t that long ago that the Dodgers’ lead within the division was deemed to be insurmountable. But what we knew then and what we know now are completely two different things.
The Dodgers’ offense has become silent and their pitching invariably has become somewhat inconsistent. Hardly what the team’s manager , Joe Torre had envisaged down the stretch for his team.
If the Dodgers are to prevail then they’re going to have to picks things up. Because any sign of continued inconsistency at this stage and their postseason ambitions are liable to go up in smoke.
In the AL Central the Detroit Tigers (85-74) aren’t out of the woods yet. As their plight , once seemingly in their own hands is now playing out like an unwanted nightmare. They’re also in a dogfight for the division with their adversary being the Minnesota Twins (83-76) . Albeit, that the Tigers need only win one of their final three games to be assured a share of the division. They do need to win their final three games to put the division beyond the reach of the Minnesota Twins. But their play as of late has been not up to the expectations of their manager Jim Leyland . And the calming influence of Leyland may well be all that’s needed for the team to make this all a reality.
Inasmuch , as many of us are now looking forward to the postseason. One can’t but help notice that the figures are down in terms of attendance for the ballgames across the league. Both the New York Mets and the New York Yankees, having moved into the spacious environments of vastly expansive and ostentatious ballparks. Both teams have struggled to fill both venues to capacity. And though we can agree upon the fact that the current economic climate has made it somewhat more inconvenient for many when it comes to attending a ballgame. It has to be said that MLB has been somewhat myopic in its view of the overall economic climate and how it conducts its business by way of its template.
As salaries continue to escalate , it makes it all the more apparent that many of the small market teams will never be in with the chance of competing on the same level as many of their big market rivals. Teams such as the Tampa Bay Rays , Kansas City Royals , Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays and the Oakland A’s struggle to remain competitive amongst their big name rivals.
Though at times the illusion is there of a fairy tale being created . More often than not it becomes short lived. The triumphs of last season’s AL pennant winners , the Tampa Bay Rays (82-77) , all came falling back to earth this season with almighty thud. Within the highly competitive AL East they have to deal with vast financial resources of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. For whom it can be said spending anywhere between $15 million and $20 million for player’s services for a year isn’t much of a stretch. However , for the likes of the Rays , they would have to be lifting up the cushions of a sofa to find every plug nickel and cent available to them to spend that sort of money on a player , just to secure his services for a year.
Seemingly MLB and the players themselves through the MLBPA (Players’ Association) are under the impression that the game can withstand the onslaught of ever increasing salaries. While the brand and product becomes watered down. And this also paved the way for even unproven rookies via the game’s own draft to be receiving what one might deem to be a ludicrous amount in terms of a mere signing bonus. Much of this we can allude to the fact than agent acting on the behalf of his client will try and garner the price possible for that particular commodity. And unfortunately this is sometimes where the utter and sheer stupidity of a GM comes into play. As they’re of opinion that in order to achieve that price of success -one has to pay through the roof to attain it.
MLB would have us believe that the tax revenue sharing that it has in place to assist many of the smaller market teams overcome the hardships that they proclaim. But more often than not , when the money that’s doled out to those teams isn’t being used to strengthen their rosters. In order that a better product is placed unto the field of play. But it instead finds its way into the pockets of the owners. One has to ask the question what it is that in-fact that the fans are indeed getting out of this at the end of the day ? And it certainly hasn’t helped that a number of these teams have been able to cajole , manipulate municipal , county and state governments for tax incentives and then have them also use taxpayers’ monies to facilitate the building of ballparks. But yet their financial accounts are out of the eyes of public scrutiny when it comes to transparency and how they conduct their business.
The hierarchy of the game under the leadership of Bud Selig as its commissioner and Bob DuPuy as its President and Chief Operating Officer would have us all believe that the game is very much in a healthy financial state. Merely because their revenues are said to be increasing. But in effect that in of-itself doesn’t paint all that clear a picture to begin with. Because they’ve never clearly shown us at the end of the day the profit and loss for each of the major league franchises . That’s something that if anything would give us a much clearer indication as to the health of the game. Rather than the words of Bob Selig or Bob Dupuy being echoed as to what’s right with the game at present.
New York Yankees $201,449,189
New York Mets $149,373,987
Chicago Cubs $134,809,000
Boston Red Sox $121,745,999
Detroit Tigers $115,085,145
Oakland A’s $62,310,000
Washington Nationals $60,328,000
Pittsburgh Pirates $48,693,000
San Diego Padres $43,734,200
Florida Marlins $36,834,000
What are your thoughts on each of the topics raised within this piece ? And how best do you feel that each of the governing bodies can go about addressing the issues raised ?