Monday, January 21, 2008

Blog Initiation


First of all, Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day everyone. Our world is a better place from the vision, message, and legacy he left for us to follow. We certainly haven't fulfilled his dream entirely yet, but we're getting there day by day. Thank you Dr. King.

Now, this is my first official post and foray into the world of blogging...yes, isn't that exciting...(***cricket noises in silence***) so, with that said, no point in delaying what I came here to do, and what you all came here to read (hopefully!).

I've always found the early new year to be a great time for professional sports fans. At this point on the calander the NFL Playoffs are well underway, and soon marks the unofficial halfway point of the NBA and NHL seasons with both All Star weekend events around the corner. You may be saying to yourself "What about the crazy number of free agent signings in Major League Baseball? That's exciting!". Well, as you'll soon learn about me if you don't already know me personally - I'm no longer a TRUE baseball fan.

I still go to MLB games and enjoy taking in an afternoon or evening at the ball park. NOTHING beats LIVE sporting events. I was fortunate enough to live in Chicago for a year during this past 2007 baseball season, and took in as many Cubbies and White Sox games as I could...but since the strike season of 1994, I have not been able to warm up to baseball again.

Now, to clarify - yes, the NBA had a temporary work stoppage/lockout in 1998, and the NHL had a temporary work stoppage/lockout in the 1994/1995 season, as well as the season-cancelling lockout in 2004/2005. So, why am I still an avid fan of puck and the 'Association'? Well, that's because they had the decency to NOT start the season or just cancel it altogether. Not play 70% of the games and then decide to call it quits like MLB did in 1994 (And yes Mark, if you're reading, the Expos would have beat your Braves to win the NL East, and eventually advance to the World Series in '94!). That will forever leave a nasty taste in my mouth. Worse than the one you get from eating burned popcorn.

My beloved Montreal Expos managed to get the short end of the stick once again that year, and unfortunately that was the beginning of the ending for them as a franchise, and for me as a fan of baseball. Not to mention steroids - but we'll save that foder for a future post :)

Well, now that I've gotten that off my chest (for the moment...) let's look at the upcoming match up we've been given for the 1st day of glutony in 2008, aka Super Bowl Sunday. The New York Football Giants (in the words of the great Chris Berman) vs. the New England Patriots. We could talk all day about the Patriots and all the things they have accomplished this season: all-time league records, team records, individual records, etc. - but since you've gotten that all year long, and you'll continue to get even more of that during the most hyped '2 week span' in all of sports, I'm going to choose to focus on the underdog, which they have been all season long.

The Giants were not expected to be in this position this year, most pre-season prognosticators had them middle of the pack, going 8-8 in a best case scenario. Then you had Tiki Barber trading in the shoulder pads for the microphone, and his constant criticism of Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning, and Plaxico Burress. They had the most impressive loss you'll ever see vs. the Patriots on the last week of the regular season. Since then they have reeled off 3 straight playoff wins on the road, knocking off the top 2 seeded teams in the NFC in the process. I honestly believe if the Giants can continue to play the way they have - they can be the ones holding the Lombardi trophy after the game on the evening of February 3rd.

Just announced on 'NBA on TNT' as I'm writing this entry:
Rudy Gay, Jamario Moon, Dwight Howard, and Gerald Green have now been officially announced as the contestants in this year's Sprite NBA Slam Dunk Contest during the NBA All Star festivities in the 'Big Easy' next month. I'm definitely looking forward to this - especially since the NBA is allowing fans to have some live input on judging, and to also see if Jamario is able to put on the same type of show (or better!) that all Raptors followers have seen ever since he got inserted into the starting line up in mid November.

Well, time to sign off and finish watching my Chicago Bulls take on the Memphis Grizzlies...hopefully this won't result in a loss. Then I gotta get to the gym before they close @ 10pm - just under 2 hours from now - plenty of time :)

Thanks for reading - please leave comments, opinions, love letters, hate mail - whatever you feel.

Peace!

11 comments:

Abboud said...

Great article, however I do have to point out a few things that I completely disagree with you on.

1. The Pats were playing in GIANTS stadium, on the road and they still beat them. Not to mention that the PATS have been to the super bowl several times and if u think that plays no effect on the game consider that the media hype for the super bowl is a distraction, a MAJOR distraction. Imaging having to study for a final while the entire time there is a huge party around you. It makes it more difficult to focus on the task at hand, and the playoffs are a big media hype but u are not going to see 10 million dollar commercials during the NFC championship game because the level of media hype and distractions are amplified 10 fold for the super bowl, and players are thus distracted by this type of magnification. Not to mention the Giants are over achieving right now, they are a good team but the patriots are probably the greatest team ever assembled.
2. As for baseball and the “Steroid era”, if it were not for the history home run chace between Sosa and McGuire, baseball would never have recovered and one of the greatest games in the history of north American culture would have suffered. Steroids brought the fans back to the game! I am not condoning what those guys did, however I am also not condemning them for it either. I suggest that instead of destroying those players compare them to those of their era. The training methods that existed in 1920 are no where near as advanced as they are now. Science has provided the players of this generation a physical advantage and that is not including HGH. Such scientific advantages as Plyometrics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plyometrics) are one simple example. I suggest that we don’t compare Barry Bonds with Willy Mays, but rather compare Bonds with those players of his era.

Bryan said...

Sorry Sean, I read that you said the Giants could beat the Patriots but I missed the point when you said whether you thought they would beat the Patriots!

Good to read your blog. I'll throw a link on mine.

jp said...

Go Giants! Please end the fairy tale season of the Patriots appropirately. Thanks Sean! We miss you at Tuesday bball.

jp

Gisela said...

GO RED SOX......GO PATRIOTS....
GO CELTICS.....

Abboud 100% agree with you.

Brave Boy said...

Great post Seanny!!!

Just for the record. The Braves were going to catch the Expos and win the east in 1994. The Braves would have beat them in the NLCS and been back-to-back world champions in 1995.

As your last blogger mentioned, Big Mac and Sammy did bring fans back to the game. I loved that year of baseball. Like many other kids, I actually took Andro once it came out in the media that Big Mac did. I did not hit 70 homeruns though. I wonder if I can get my money back.

I too am a die-hard baseball fan but, up until the 94 strike I did not miss a Jays, Expos or Braves game. Now, I may watch a full game once a month. The strike did chase many fans away from the game.

I do not think that “performance enhancing drugs” are the only reason for the power surge in MLB. Like you last blogger mentioned, athletes today are freaks of nature. They eat clean; they train hard and have amazing advanced equipment. I know there has to be many people out there that have taken “performance enhancing drugs” and have not even touched a the dirt of a major league field. Some of these great MLB players that have taken these drugs have to still be mentioned in the upper echelon of the world’s athletes.

Would Roger Clemens not have been maybe the most dominant pitcher of our time without drugs? Would Brett Boone have hit more than 10 homers a season without drugs? How the hell did Brady Anderson hit 50 homeruns in a season? Is Barry Bonds the best of all time, even with this Balko situation? The signs were there all of these years but the league did nothing, until congress got after them a few years ago.

Honestly, I like to see records broken and guys hitting 600 ft homers.

As for the Super bowl… How happy is the NFL that the two largest television markets in the world possibly, have their teams represented in the in the largest sports event of the year. $$$$$$$$$

I am also tired of the Tom Brady and Pats stroking. Tom Brady is the product of a great system. He is not the best QB ever that many have thrown around this year. If we put Favre or Manning on the team, even more records fall. Go Giants!!!! Not just because my team gave the Pats their 1st round draft pick this year, but I am sick of those arrogant classless players and coaches. Yes, they are great, but like LT mentioned last year after the Chargers playoff loss to the Pats, they have no class. I know in my head that the Giants do not stand a chance in hell, but my heart is telling me that they could be the team to shut up all of Massachusetts..

E –Dub Out…

Mark said...

Hey bro, good start. I'm glad you did this, I have been thinking on doing it for quite some time. (I've sorta been waiting on a Facebook app, haha).

Anyway, GO GIANTS! Damn the Northeastern United States Cheaters. Abboud, the Giants play in the largest media market in the NFL. Eli has had the hardest job of any QB since he was drafted. Playing in NY, being Peyton's kid brother and Archie's son and having to live up to those expectations, the draft day drama, etc. All this will lead to Eli not being fazed by the pressure and attention that will happen during Super Bowl week. Plus, y'all forget that the Mannings are from N'Awlins. Where's the game being played? Not exactly a road game for Eli. Maybe it should be (10 in a row on the road!). Just a hunch, but the crowd is going to be mostly Pro Giants. GO G-MEN!31-27.

Now, we've had the Braves/Expos argument a few times. Neither of us are EVER going to budge on the stance. That being said, I can understand the bitterness a lost season like that would be to a team and it's fanbase that had had such limited success. But to still hold a grudge so strong after 14 years....come on Sean. Let the longball into your heart once again. ;)

And just to get it on here...where's the mention/love of UNC? Still hurting? ;)

Go Bulls! Go Blue Devils! Go Rams! Go Braves! Go Leafs! Go Irish!

San Fran said...

Thanks for the great contributions and responses! Now I get a chance to respond to the quality rebuttals you've all posted :)

abboud & gisela: You are 100% correct about the fact the Pats won @ Giants Stadium in that regular season finale, and that they have dealt with the Super Bowl hype several times now and have proved they are able to handle those types of pressure and distractions. But to completely dismiss the Giants is shortsighted and presumptuous. Also, as Mark mentioned in his post the Giants are used to DAILY scrutiny because they are in the biggest market in North America, and one of the biggest markets in the world - New York City. I think they're used to distractions. Like I mentioned they dealt with it all season long with Tiki Barber - and they overcame that.

At the end of the day, the game is decided on the gridiron and the way the Giants have played, even vs. the Patriots, has set up a great game for Super Bowl 42. We can chat again on February 4th :)

bryan: Fine, you want to see me say it? :) I will say it here for all to see: The NY Giants will win Super Bowl 42.

jp: Great to hear from you! I'm glad you're still holding things down @ the WAC! :) I miss ballin' with you cats too. It's moments like these when I realize how much I miss Chicago!

brave boy & mark: ohhh fellas...it's obvious our love for our teams is deep - so we won't ever see eye to eye on how the '94 baseball season would have ended up - at least from an NL perspective. :)

mark: like we discussed, Super Bowl 42 is in Glendale, AZ this year and not New Orleans. That's where this year's NBA All-Star festivities will be held next month.

abboud & brave boy: Steroid banter - ooo wee! I hit a button on that one and all I did was mention it in passing - lol :) Y'all really went to town on this one!

You both made excellent points on how the game has changed without even using steroids with the training techniques and the like. I'm 100% fine with that. That is advancing the sport and athletics in general. That happens in ANY discipline/field you can think of. That's natural.

What's not natural is when I watched Sosa and McGwire go head to head in that "magical" 1998 baseball season - I thought I was watching something legitimate...unfortunately I was watching the same thing I saw with Ben Johnson in September 1988 in Seoul, South Korea (I remember it like it was yesterday, just like the night McGwire beat Maris' record vs. the Cubbies with Sosa celebrating with him)...I'm not concerned about what it did for the sport because I don't like how it was attained. I'm concerned that baseball allowed illegal substances to be used in their sport and they turned the other cheek (pardon the pun). It ultimately has totally changed the landscape of the sport and the records that go with it.

As far as comparing players from different eras - I totally agree - you can't. They try to do it all the time in most sports - Chamberlain vs. Jordan, or Grtezky vs. Orr. None of those guys I just mentioned even played the same position for crying out loud! Everyone wants to be abel to say so and so was the greatest, but there are ultimately too many factors to say definitively. But we all have our biases :)

With that said: Go Bulls! Let's Go Rangers! Go Team Canada! Go Niners! Go Heels! Go USA Basketball! Go Huskies! Go Barça! Go Tiger! Go '3 Lions'! Go 'Indomitable Lions'! R.I.P Expos...and Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of ALL TIME :)

austin said...

Sean... love the site. Keep it up.

The only comment I have is about the Super Bowl.

If it was any other team going undefeated into this I'd be pulling for them 100%... simply for the history of it.

However, my hatred for all things Patriots runs deep. Crazy deep. So I'm pulling for the Giants all the way.

Moody is pulling for a NY team. I never thought I'd ever do it.

BJ said...

Great Blog Sean,

As a pats fan I will be rooting for my team but Sean is right in saying the Giants have the team that could get the Job Done. and the Expos would have won it all.

Gisela said...

Very sad for the Patriots, but I have to say that eventhough there was no action in the scoreboard for half of the game and we lost, it was one of the best games I have watched. The Manning's are for sure a very special breed.

jp said...

The Patriots were never that good, and deserved to loose yesterday. Their '07 schedule was weak, and by no means is the "greatest team ever assembled" comparable to the 72 Dolphins or even the 85 Bears for that matter. Maybe they can blame it on the fact that Belichek didn't wear his pathetic grey sweatshirt? Nah, the better team won (period) As a bitter Raider fan, who was robbed in the "2002 snow job" aka Tuck rule, it was gratifying to see Justin Tuck knock Terrific Tom on his behind yesterday.