Tuesday, June 05, 2007

At Long Last

I've been using spare time recently to work on a new project.

http://hangingcurves.blogspot.com will be a place to find some articles on baseball that should prove to have some occasional unique value. It also will have some great links to other baseball sights that any fan should know about.

PS - Congrats to my Wolverines. Super-Regional Bound.

Friday, April 27, 2007

My Message Regarding Sports

I have a simple message regarding sports: it comes in two forms.

Message #1: If you call in a sports talk show, you not are bringing to light anything new that someone who is actually playing or coaching the team hasn't already noticed or addressed 10 times over. Simply put, if you do not like what you see, it is simply a difference of opinion between you and the coach/player. You may not like the athlete/coach's decisions or rationale, and you may be correct in second guessing it, but it never has to do with you discovering something that hasn't been addressed already. If you think you are coming up with a new idea or grand theory involving your favorite sports team, it is only new and grand to you. In reality, all that means is that it is terribly stupid - so stupid, in fact, that no other person on earth has been dense enough to offer it up as a thought. No, your suggestion of a 7 man pitching rotation to save the arms of your best pitchers is not a good idea. No, your idea of starting Kyle Orton over Rex Grossman is not a good one. No, the Cubs should not bat Carlos Zambrano in the #4 hole when he pitches. Listen, I hate to say it, but the reason why I have a hard time following sports coverage and sports talk isn't because I have low interest in the subject matter; I have a boundless interest. What I cannot listen to is people who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about proclaiming things like they are gospel when they haven't a clue what they are saying. Sadly, this isn't just addressed to the average dumb sports fan. This extends to media members who have been in the business for 30+ years. I once heard a favorite radio host of mine bet his life, on the air, that when there are runners on the corners and less than 2 out, that the correct play ISN'T to run for home plate immediately when the ball hits the ground off the bat (for those who played baseball, we know it is a contact play). Anyway, he mocked a caller who suggested that you WERE supposed to run, and then when the host had the audacity to call up the Sox third base coach Joey Cora to ask if running on contact was the right play, Cora made him eat crow when he told him "of course you go on contact, every team in the MLB does that - its not even a question." The host then tried to backpedal for 20 minutes, saying in his 20 years of covering baseball, he has never seen teams do that.

News flash for you buddy. They all do that. They have - forever. This isn't some new baseball thing - this is how the game is played, and the average fan has NO IDEA that things like that go on during the game, thats why he never noticed in 20 years. All the average fan does is see a guy score or get tagged out, and then say "what a great play" or "what a stupid play". The average fan couldn't even tell you why something like the contact play exists, and why it is the correct baseball play. In fact, I bet the average person reading this diatribe doesn't even follow what I am talking about.

This totally proves my point again. If you can't follow this, do not offer your sports knowledge. Ever. Please. Just cheer, be happy when there is a win, and sad when there is a loss. I am not saying you can't become an expert in a certain sport, but it takes some actual studying and some actual time.

Message # 2:
If you are an athlete or your kid is an athlete, and you think you are good and will become a big time pro one day, ask yourself a few questions:

1. Am I the best player I know at this sport?
2. Am I clearly more athletic than everyone else around me?
3. Do I do more than excel, do I utterly dominate?

If you are below the major college sports level and cannot answer yes to these three questions, I have some news for you. You are not as good as you think you are. In fact, you might not even be good. You MAY, if you work hard, have the potential to make it, and by that I mean a 1/10000th chance. But do not for a second think you are God's gift to a sport. Have fun, play hard. Laugh and have a good time. But please, understand the level of play you think you are one day aspiring to. Sports on TV look a lot easier than they really are, because the best 20-30 in the world at what they do are going at each other at any given event, and the skill levels tend to nullify each other. Are you a big, powerful hitter that can hit a homerun? Cool. Does that make you Alex Rodriguez? Not exactly. Think hitting 10 homeruns in a row in batting practice means you have skills? Can you do the same thing...off of a batting tee? Didn't think so. Again, let me reiterate, tens of millions of people end up competing for the spots you see on TV in your favorite sport(s). Many of these people are so physically gifted that it is borderline in-human.

I hope everyone achieves their playing dreams, lord knows I loved following mine. I do hope that everyone has some perspective on those things, however, and do not lose focus of what makes sports so great and so important - the lessons in life and the fun we derive from them.

The following clips cover a variety of sports and many do not even showcase the world's best talent at their sport (except for the soccer clips, which come from Premier League and World Cup caliber players). As you will see, these clips will bring to light a small portion of these athlete's outrageous athletic abilities. It will also clearly illustrate the point that there are not only a couple hundred people in each major sport that have ability well beyond the normal person's wildest fantasies, but also there are usually another 500-1000 or so right behind them that have the same ridiculous ability, but just can't put it to practice consistently enough to be the best in the world at what they do. Anyway, enjoy the videos. Next time you think you are athletic or think you are good at a sport, take a long, hard look at one of these and humble down.

Monday, April 23, 2007

My Favorite Onion Article of All Time - I Cannot Express How Much I've Always Agreed With This Article

Even CEO Cant Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business

The Onion

Even CEO Can't Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business

FORT WORTH, TX—After a thorough review of the its operations, RadioShack CEO Julian Day could provide no real explanation for the analog-riddled company's staying power.