Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sports Saturday: 4/10/10

College basketball season is over, what? Well, let's start here:

Major League Baseball - My interest in professional baseball has been basically zero the last couple of years, but I decided to try to get back into it this year.

Here's the thing with baseball, though: it's boring. I can't just turn on a random game and be entertained. I need a team. Up until now, that team has been the Florida Marlins, and they've served that role just fine...problem is, they're never on television. And if I can't watch my team play, what's the point? Sure, I could plunk down $200 for MLB Extra Innings, but geez, I don't like the Marlins that much. I've only been a Marlins fan for a few years (my fandom isn't rooted in childhood), nobody else in my family is a Marlins fan, none of my friends root for the Marlins, and even though I am a Florida native, I don't consider the Marlins a "hometown team". (South Florida is a completely different animal than North Florida. Jacksonville is closer to Atlanta than it is Miami, both geographically and socially.) In other words, other than that Marlins poster on my bedroom wall, I feel no obligation or interest in maintaining my status as a Marlins fan. So, I've decided to switch teams. Yeah, I know...LAME.

Who's my new favorite baseball team going to be? Well, I'm going to make this easy on myself. I have two simple guidelines: 1) the team needs to be on television a lot without having to spend $200 for Extra Innings, and 2) no "bandwagon" teams. A "bandwagon" team is a team with a strong national following (e.g. Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Mets, Braves, and so on) and/or a recent period of sustained success (e.g. Phillies, Angels). Joining a "bandwagon" team without a legitimate that would be lame. That said, I basically have two options: the Baltimore Orioles, and the Washington Nationals. I've chosen the Nationals, for two reasons: 1) so I don't have to watch 40 games against the Yankees and Red Sox every year, and 2) because they were the worst team in baseball last year. You cannot accuse me of being a "bandwagon" fan. Lame? Yes. Bandwagon? No.

(Side comment regarding television: Durham is geographically closer to Washington and Baltimore than it is Atlanta, so MLB has designated the eastern half of North Carolina as Orioles/Nationals territory, not Braves territory. Here is a map of MLB broadcast regions. Orioles and Nationals games are available to me on MASN, a channel that is available on DirecTV and DISH Network, but that Time Warner Cable refuses to carry in North Carolina because it's not "local programming".)

"So, Chris...I can see where this is going. How soon before you switch your NFL allegiance from the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Carolina Panthers?" NEVER! The Jaguars are a different deal. Unlike the Marlins, the Jaguars are a hometown team that I've rooted for since the team started, and my family and friends are fans as well, so unlike with the Marlins, there is definitely a Jaguars attachment. Even if they draft Tim Tebow, I'll be there. Of course, if they ever move to Los Angeles or something, I probably would switch to the Panthers...but until that happens, Let's Go Jaguars!

So...yeah! Let's go Nationals! Woo! Yes, they stink. But if the Tampa Bay Rays can make it to the World Series, then surely, there is hope for the Nationals. I don't know how long I'm going to stick with this, but it's worth a shot.

I'm going to include the following games on the MLB TV schedule each week: locally televised Nationals/Orioles games on MASN, nationally televised games on ESPN, TBS, WGN, and MLB Network, and whichever Saturday regional game we get on FOX. (UPDATE: whoops, forgot to put the WGN games on here the first time.)

Sat 1:00p: Washington at NY Mets, MASN
Sat 1:00p: Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati, WGN America
Sat 3:00p: NY Yankees at Tampa Bay, FOX
Sat 7:00p: Toronto at Baltimore, MASN
Sat 9:00p: Oakland at LA Angels, MLB Network
Sun 1:00p: Washington at NY Mets, MASN
Sun 1:30p: Toronto at Baltimore, MASN2
Sun 1:30p: NY Yankees at Tampa Bay, TBS
Sun 2:00p: Minnesota at Chicago White Sox, WGN America
Sun 8:00p: St. Louis at Milwaukee, ESPN

Golf - I watch five and a half golf events a year: the four majors, The PLAYERS Championship, and the Ryder Cup (which happens every other year). This week, the first major: The Masters.

I have to admit, the sappy CBS Masters music and cinematography, and the "Tradition Unlike Any Other" business...they do it well. It's definitely a draw for me. I don't know what it is. I also know that my interest in the Masters is deeper than just one player. (That one player shall remain nameless, but I'll still offer a take: I don't care about his personal life, and it's not like he was gone that long. He wasn't even out of the game for five months, people! In other sports, we call that "the offseason". Get over it, already.)

Golf is hard. Even the best players in the world screw up every now and then, and that's what makes it fun to watch every once in a while. That, and the pressure: oh man, the pressure. Golfers face more pressure than any other athletes, in my opinion, even more so than a field goal kicker. The tension and mental pressure golfers face as they walk up the fairway is unmatched in sports. Golf is a lot harder than kicking a 40-yard field goal, and that means that anything can happen. Yeah, it's slow and boring, and you have to listen to Jim Nantz (again), but what else are you going to watch this weekend? Baseball? NASCAR? Is golf really that much more boring than either of those two sports?

Sat 3:30p - The Masters Tournament, CBS
Sun 2:00p - The Masters Tournament, CBS
(Yes, I decided to get all elitist on you and call it the "Masters Tournament" rather than just the "Masters".)

College hockey - The national championship game has the potential to be one of the most exciting hockey games you watch all year. I'm not talking Canada v. USA for the gold medal exciting, but still...if you're a hockey fan, it's worth turning it on, at least in the 3rd period, to see what's brewing.

Sat 7:00p - Wisconsin v. Miami (OH) Boston College, ESPN (Corrected - for some reason I thought Miami (OH) won the semifinal against BC, but nope. Not even close.)

NHL - The regular season ends this weekend, and it's about time. I'm ready for the playoffs.

Just like last week, to provide clarity regarding which of this weekend's games are "meaningful" and which aren't, I've crossed out games involving two teams that are either eliminated from playoff contention or have clinched or nearly clinched a particular playoff seed. Surprisingly, this only affects a few games.

Sat 1:00p: Carolina at Boston, Fox Sports Carolinas
Sat 4:00p: Edmonton at Los Angeles, Fox Sports West
Sat 7:00p: Buffalo at Ottawa, NHL Network
Sat 7:00p: Toronto at Montréal, NHL Center Ice
Sat 7:00p: NY Islanders at New Jersey, MSG
Sat 7:00p: Pittsburgh at Atlanta, SportSouth
Sat 7:30p: Florida at Tampa Bay, Fox Sports Florida
(Hide the children!)
Sat 8:00p: Dallas at Minnesota, Fox Sports North
Sat 10:00p - Calgary at Vancouver, NHL Center Ice

Sat 10:30p - Phoenix at San Jose, NHL Network
Sun 12:00p - Boston at Washington, NBC
Sun 3:00p - NY Rangers at Philadelphia, MSG
Sun 3:00p - Detroit at Chicago, Fox Sports Detroit
Sun 3:00p - Los Angeles at Colorado, Fox Sports West
Sun 5:00p - Buffalo at New Jersey, MSG Plus
Sun 5:00p - Pittsburgh at NY Islanders, NHL Network
Sun 5:00p - Tampa Bay at Florida, Fox Sports Florida
(Again? Seriously?)

Sun 8:00p - Edmonton at Anaheim, Prime Ticket

Auto racing - Don't have much to say on the racing front this weekend. Maybe next week?

Sat 7:30p - NASCAR Sprint Cup at Phoenix, FOX
Sun 3:00p - IndyCar at Barber Motorsports Park (Birmingham), Versus


Dave said...

Dear Chris,

Go with the Red Sox. We won't consider you a bandwagon fan. Unless you wear a pink hat. Then you'll be mocked by the Boston community forever, as smashing as you would look in a pink hat.

Besides, we have the best blogging community out there. SOSH is right up your alley. And we're on TV plenty of times.


Reconsider my friend :)

Chris Allen said...

Sorry, Dave...the Red Sox have enough fans as it is. :)

chankansin said...
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