Sunday, June 5, 2011

Life As An Umpire

I just started umpiring baseball games for the local city league and did a tournament this weekend.  Man, I had a blast!  Made some pretty good cash too.  It's great to finally be out on a sporting field again ever since I stopped playing football a couple years ago.  The kids for the games I called were young (11-12) but they all played pretty well.  Saw some blasts, some diving catches and some solid pitching.

The one thing that bothers me is how everyone gets pissy when a close call doesn't go their way.  If I'm standing right next to second base and call a kid who is stealing out, what makes you think you had a better view and vantage point of the play than I did, coach in the third base dugout?  When I'm literally two feet away from a runner who is tagged out on a pickle between third and home, why does some parent in the bleachers on the first base line think I'm wrong and they had a better view of what happened?  I'm not out to screw anyone or fix the game for one team, I just call it how I see it.  So when I'm behind the plate, stop arguing balls and strikes with me third base coach.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

RIP Atlanta Thrashers

Not sure how many of you are hockey fans, but something sad happened in the NHL.  The Atlanta Thrashers have been sold and will move to Winnipeg.  I never cared for them, but as a fan of another non-traditional market expansion hockey team (Anaheim Ducks) I feel for their fans.  Now, the reason they left is because they didn't have enough fans, but that had as much to do with crappy ownership (they were near the salary cap minimum every year and never attempted to sign big name free agents) as it did with Atlanta not being a hockey town.  Bottom line is if the ownership did a better job upgrading the team (they only made the playoffs once in their history) there would still be NHL hockey in Atlanta - everyone loves a winner.  To be fair, I've never been to Atlanta, so I can't give an accurate gauge on how much they cared about the Thrashers.  But I hold firm in my belief that they would've had plenty of fans if the front office gave a damn about winning.

Chalk up a victory for the sunbelt-hating Canadian media.  "Atlanta doesn't deserve a hockey team, the city doesn't support them!"  So why did the Jets leave Winnipeg in the first place?  It wasn't because they had too much fans or made too much money...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Way Too Premature 2011 CFB Top Five

College football is life for me.  If I could go into hibernation from now until kickoff of the first games of the season, I would.  This is mostly going to be my gut feeling about a team along with some schedule analysis.  I'm doing them in installments of five, and I'm starting at the top because it pisses me off when people do rankings like this and start at the bottom.  Nobody gives a damn about #23, start with the top five.

1) Oklahoma
I dislike the Sooners but they look absolutely loaded for 2011.  Oklahoma has a very favorable schedule.  They play a scrimmage against Ball State before taking on Texas and they avoid two of the tougher destinations in the Big 12 (Texas A&M, Texas Tech).  They have a couple tough early tests (@Florida State, vs Missouri) but they get a bye week to prepare for FSU and they don't lose in Norman.  Trap game: 10/29 @Kansas State.  I'm sure Bob Stoops won't overlook a game against a Bill Snyder-coached team but the players might be looking ahead to next week's game against A&M.

2) Oregon
The Ducks lose quite a few players on the line but they return LaMichael James and Darron Thomas.  They start the season with a big showdown in Dallas against LSU, but I'm more interested to see how the rest of the conference plays against Oregon.  Chip Kelly's system is incredibly unique and fast, but he won't be able to trick every opponent in the Pac 12 every year.  Teams will start building their defenses with stopping Oregon as priority #1 and every team will give them their best shot.  Trap game: 11/5 @Washington.  I know UO/UW is a big rivalry but they might get caught thinking about a trip to Stanford the following week, plus it's easier to overlook teams that you have been blowing out for years, like Oregon has been doing to Washington.

The last two times the National Championship Game was in LSU's backyard (2003 and 2007), the Tigers won it.  Guess where it is this year?  LSU is in a similar situation - they're a QB away from being dominant.  If they can get solid play from Jordan Jefferson, they should win the SEC and possibly play for the crystal football.  If not, they're looking at a Capital One Bowl appearance.  LSU has a very tough schedule - as mentioned earlier, they open the season against Oregon, and they also play at West Virginia and Alabama.  They get Florida and Arkansas at home but that's still one helluva schedule.  But if anyone can come out of it unscathed, or with only one loss, it's LSU.  Les Miles is the luckiest SOB, and by now I've become convinced that it won't ever catch up to him - his good luck will last forever.  Trap game: 10/15 @Tennessee.  The Vols would've beat the Tigers last year if they knew how to count to 11, and the trip to Knoxville is sandwiched between showdowns against Florida and Auburn.

4 Boise State
The Broncos lose a few key contributors but they have one of the best coaches in college football.  I have no doubt they will reload and keep on dominating.  Just like last year, they open the season on the opposite coast against a BCS team (Georgia instead of Virginia Tech).  By this point, Boise State should be the favorite instead of the underdog for these types of matchups.  After that game, they're on cruise control until a relatively tough pair of games (10/1 vs Nevada, 10/7 @Fresno State).  But I think they will be motivated this time against Nevada (plus the Wolf Pack lost Kaepernick) and Fresno State will do nothing more than play a close first half.  After Georgia, Boise has one game against another team who can be considered an equal - TCU, and they get them on the blue turf.  I expect to see Boise playing in a BCS bowl, but like past years, they have zero shot at the NC Game.  Trap game: 10/15 @Colorado State.  CSU was awful last year but they can't be much worse, plus they get a bye week to prepare for Boise.  To be honest, there really aren't any games on Boise's schedule that look like trap games but if someone held a gun to my head and made me pick one, this is it.

5 Alabama
Nick Saban's squad looked scary in their bowl game against Michigan State, and I expect more of the same in 2011.  They lose some stars like Mark Ingram and Julio Jones, but they still have Trent Richardson in the backfield.  They also lost their QB (Greg McElroy) but that isn't too big of a deal - he was never really asked to win games, just not to lose them.  The defense should be outstanding once again, and I think Saban will have them motivated to crush all opponents.  No way has he let them forget what happened against Auburn last season - they won't take their foot off the throat again.  Alabama has a big early season test at Penn State, but I don't think PSU has the horses to compete with Alabama for four quarters.  They get Arkansas and LSU at home but they have to play at Florida and at Auburn.  I'm not 100% on this, but I don't think as many teams are getting byes against Alabama as in the past.  It used to be something ludicrous, like six of their eight SEC opponents getting a bye week to prepare for Alabama.  Trap game: 10/15 @Ole Miss.  The Rebels still get a bye before playing the Crimson Tide and this game is before a big rivalry game against Tennessee, plus Houston Nutt is due for a comeback season and a huge upset.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Why are people such hypocrites?  That's a rhetorical question, I know why.  It's easier to make emotion-based decisions instead of logically thinking out each action, belief and decision.  Anyways, here are some good examples.

-People who bitch about illegal immigration tend to have Mexicans mowing their lawn and flipping their burgers.
-The same nutjobs who think 9/11 was an inside job by the government will turn around and call Dubya and crew some of the dumbest, most incompetent people in the world.  You expect me to believe they pulled off what would be the biggest conspiracy in the history of mankind after you get done ranting about how stupid Bush is?
-On a related note, people who complain about how the government is completely incompetent at everything seem to forget that the government paved the roads they use, puts out their fires, solves their crimes, delivers their mail, provides a safety net in the form of food stamps and Medicaid (more on that one soon), makes sure restaurant employees aren't jerking off in their food, prevents companies from dumping toxic waste in their local river and most likely provides their water, electricity and sewage disposal (fuck you guys with wells, solar panels and septic tanks).
-Low income Republicans that demonize any attempt by the government to create a universal health care system ("Don't let the guvmint get involved in healthcare, they can't do anything right!") while letting Medicaid pick up the check for their doctor visits.
-If you made a Venn Diagram of people who are pro-life and people who support capital punishment, there would be a very large overlap.  Can't really call life sacred when you get more pleasure from watching a needle get injected into a vein than a heroin junkie.
-On the flip side, if you made a Venn Diagram of people who are pro-choice and people who are against capital punishment, there would be a very large overlap.  Don't cry about how it's cruel and unusual punishment for a sadistic rapist/murder to get a shot while applauding women for making a tough choice after having her baby ripped out of her.
-Christians love to pick and choose what parts of the Bible to follow.  Leviticus is part of the Old Testament, which most Christians would say is more relevant to Judaism and that the New Testament is more appropriate for Christianity.  Doesn't stop the gay-haters from quoting Leviticus 18:22.  But I've never seen a "God Hates Tattoos" sign, which is expressly forbidden in Leviticus 19:28.  That's right, even the people with tattoos of a cross are no better than gays in the eyes of the Lord.
-Al Gore is one of the biggest hypocrites out there.  He arrives for a speech in a private limo to tell the unwashed masses they need to cut back and be green, heads back to the airport in the private limo and takes a private jet back to his mansion.  If a famous person is telling you to be green and conserve, fuck them.  I guarantee you they're using more resources and putting more strain on Mother Nature than you are.

Let me know of any other good examples.