Saturday, June 05, 2010

Sports Saturday: 6/5/10

From now on with these Sports Saturday posts, I'll be proving "skip to" links at the top, like so:

MLB: Umpires make mistakes. Get over it.
NHL: The obligatory Stanley Cup Final commentary.
Auto racing: The Indy 500 was really boring.
College baseball: That "other" NCAA tournament starts this weekend.

MLB - For the first time all year, I'm going to talk about something baseball-related, but not Washington Nationals-related. (I'll get to them. Don't worry.) Yes, there are probably 10,000 blog posts already on the internet talking about Wednesday's perfect game that wasn't, when Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galaragga should have had a perfect game, except that umpire Jim Joyce incorrectly ruled that the 27th guy was safe, and so on and so forth. If you follow sports, surely you've heard this discussed ad nauseum since it happened, and I doubt I'm going to provide much of a "fresh perspective" here. But I can't help myself. That, and I figured talking about something that people actually care about (for once) might help my web traffic a little.

So, I think there are two questions at hand here:

Should Bud Selig reverse the bad call and award Galaragga an official "perfect game?" My opinion is, no. What's done is done, umpires make mistakes, and it's time to move on. I've never liked the idea of changing the outcomes of sporting events after they've happened. Even though it could be argued that this is a "special case", I still am not in favor of going back and changing it. Where do you draw the line between something that's worthy of being changed, and something that's not worthy of being changed?

Should Major League Baseball give instant replay a bigger role in the game? My opinion is, again, no. Baseball is already slow enough as it is. Do we really want to make the game even slower?

So, anyway, moving on...Washington Nationals #1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg makes his highly anticipated Major League debut next Tuesday at 7:00p. (Actually, they're playing the Pirates, so...does this really count as his "Major League" debut?) There has been so much hype surrounding Strasburg, his final minor league start was televised live on Versus, and again on tape-delay that evening on four different networks: Versus, MASN, SNY, and CSN Mid-Atlantic. (Yes, three of those are regional networks, but still. This is a minor league baseball game we're talking about.) The hype surrounding this guy is almost reminiscent of the hype surrounding LeBron James coming out of high school. The Nationals could use the help, too, because they haven't been playing all that well as of late.

I think that Strasburg's debut is must-see TV if you're a baseball fan, and I'll definitely be watching. MLB Network will broadcast the game nationally; however, I'm about 95% sure that Raleigh-area Time Warner Cable customers won't be able to watch. The MLB Network broadcast will (I'm pretty sure) be blacked out in Nationals and Pirates home territory because the team's regional broadcasters (MASN and FSN Pittsburgh, respectively) have exclusive broadcast rights within their home territories for this game. And, of course, Time Warner doesn't carry MASN in North Carolina, so...if you live in Raleigh and have Time Warner Cable, you're "SOL" (as they say). You're welcome to come over and watch the game at my place, though.*

(* - Offer only applies if I actually know you. Complete strangers are not welcome.)

Sat 4:00p - Florida at NY Mets, FOX (regional)
Sat 7:00p - Boston at Baltimore, MASN
Sat 7:00p - Cincinnati at Washington, MASN2
Sat 7:00p - Cleveland at Chicago White Sox, WGN America
Sun 1:00p - NY Yankees at Toronto, TBS
Sun 1:30p - Boston at Baltimore, MASN
Sun 1:30p - Cincinnati at Washington, MASN2
Sun 2:00p - Chicago Cubs at Houston, WGN America
Sun 8:00p - Milwaukee at St. Louis, ESPN


NHL - I think the Stanley Cup Final (the NHL prefers the singular "Final" over plural "Finals") has been pretty good so far. We've had a 6-5 game and an overtime game, and television ratings have been good (by NHL standards). So what's the problem?

The problem is, I don't really care who wins, so I'm having a hard time getting into it. I've think I've just grown weary of "popular northeastern US team plays popular midwestern US team for the Stanley Cup", as it's been for the last three years. I realize that neither the Blackhawks nor Flyers have won a Stanley Cup in quite some time, but "Chicago v. Philadelphia" just sounds so generic, doesn't it?

Sun 8:00p - Philadelphia at Chicago (Game 5), NBC

Auto racing - I know I've been doing a lot of complaining so far in this post - it's what I do best! - but I'm not done yet. Did you watch the Indianapolis 500 last Sunday? Hopefully for your sake, you didn't. It was one of the most boring races I have ever seen, and I watch a lot of racing. There was almost no passing to speak of. There may have even been more on-track passing in the Formula One race earlier that day than there was in the Indy 500.

"But Chris! There is NEVER passing in Formula One. How can you like Formula One but not the Indy 500?" Well, even though the cars kind of look the same, the two forms of racing are totally different. I think there is more to appreciate in Formula One: international flavor, technology, team ingenuity, and the road courses. Yes, the racing is boring most of the time, but it's just different. It's hard to explain.

Regardless...I think the Indy 500 is in need of a complete reset. Racing where all the cars are the same an oval that's hard to pass on is boring. I'd rather they make the Indy 500 a stand-alone event - no support series - that's more science-project oriented. A bunch of independent teams from around the country put together what they think is a fast car (within a set of rules, of course), hire a driver from some other series (say, NASCAR), and go at it. I think that would be far more interesting than what this is now, which is just another dumb IndyCar race.

Finally, switching to NASCAR...a couple of quick notes about Kyle Busch. I don't root for the guy, but I can't deny that he makes the sport more interesting. Especially when he doesn't win. When he loses, it makes for great television, doesn't it? His sore loser interviews and how-dare-you-run-me-into-the-wall-Denny-Hamlin tantrums are fun to watch and listen to, aren't they? I guess what I'm saying is, I like watching Kyle Busch lose.

Sat 8:00p - NASCAR Nationwide from Nashville, ESPN2
Sat 8:00p - IndyCar at Texas, Versus
Sun 1:00p - NASCAR Sprint Cup at Pocono, TNT
(TNT is my favorite of the three NASCAR broadcasters, so I'm happy to have them back. No fluff, no nonsense, just racing. Yay!)

College baseball - I haven't watched a single college baseball game all year, but I'd like to at least acknowledge the fact that college baseball's NCAA Tournament starts this weekend. Wooo!

I'll follow the brackets and scores throughout the weekend to see how Florida State and the rest of the ACC do, but I don't plan on actually watching any college baseball games this weekend. My brain can only handle so much sports. Besides, only a handful of the games are on TV anyway:

Sat 12:00p - Coral Gables regional, Game 3, ESPNU
Sat 4:00p - Coral Gables regional, Game 4, ESPNU
Sat 7:00p - Fullerton regional, Game 3, ESPNU
Sat 11:00p - Fullerton regional, Game 4, ESPNU
Sun 12:00p - Coral Gables regional, Game 5, ESPNU
Sun 4:00p - Coral Gables regional, Game 6, ESPNU
Sun 7:00p - Fullerton regional, Game 5, ESPNU
Sun 11:00p - Fullerton regional, Game 6, ESPNU

1 comment:

Spartangoogle said...

Did you see S. Vettel cut into his "teammate" Mark Webber Sunday morning? They had spots 1 and 2 locked up, but nooo. So now Red Bull is not in the lead in the constructor's race anymore. Now that's excitement Formula 1 style.