Sports Arena

Sports Arena

An Offensive Federal Line

By 2.3.16

The day after Tom Brady spent the AFC championship game being harried by the Denver Broncos defense, the offensive line coach of the New England Patriots, Dave Deguglielmo, was sacked himself and fired by the team. Mind you, this is the same offensive line coach that was part of a team that finished 12-4 in the regular season and won the Super Bowl last year. If nothing else, you can’t say the Patriots don’t take results seriously, and when they don’t reach their goals someone will be held accountable.

The Patriots are unquestionably a successful franchise, but when it comes to accountability they are like most sports teams. If the wins don’t come, heads will roll. Since 2014 approximately one out of three baseball managers were replaced in Major League Baseball, and in the National Football League that number is even higher for head coaches. Most of the coaches fired weren’t incompetent but were dismissed because they couldn’t fulfill the organizational goals.

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Taking College Players for a Ride

By 1.26.16

Recently a University of Florida Football player named Jalen Tabor said he was sorry for an offensive tweet. “The SEC made $527.4 million in total revenue and players ain’t get a penny. Modern form of slavery.” Jalen expressed regret for comparing his situation to slavery, and he probably also should have apologized for his abysmal grammar as well.

But as a conservative who firmly believes in free will and the Jeffersonian pursuit of happiness, I’m convinced that the current system is willfully and knowingly taking advantage of a small number of elite collegiate athletes, primarily those who participate in college basketball and football.

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Baseball’s New Interpreters

By 1.19.16

An apt definition of a multiculturalist is someone who tries to solve a problem that doesn’t exist and in the process creates real problems.

Case in point is Major League Baseball which, with the support of the players union, announced that beginning with the 2016 baseball season every Major League team will be required to supply a full-time Spanish language interpreter for its players. One questions the necessity of such action, as the integration of the Spanish-speaking player in Major League Baseball has been a rousing success till now. In 2013 it was calculated that over 28% of Major League players on opening day rosters were foreign born, with the overwhelming majority coming from Latin America. Nor is this a new phenomenon. Latin American ballplayers have been excelling on the baseball diamond for many generations now.

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Don’t Cry for Us, Angelinos

By 1.15.16

In stimulating tourism, trade, and economic growth, the Roman Coliseum may be the only sports stadium that has repaid the cost of its construction more than a thousand-fold, or even a million-fold.

The Edward Jones Dome in downtown St. Lois is another story. Praised as state-of-the-art when it opened in 1995, the $300 million stadium is faced with abandonment as the St. Louis Rams — it current occupants — prepare to move to Los Angeles later this year. The dome’s playing days as an NFL stadium are over before it reaches its 21st birthday.

Though many St. Louis football fans today are lamenting the loss of the St. Louis Rams to Los Angeles (reversing the same bitter flow of emotions that fans in Los Angeles felt back in 1995 when the Los Angeles Rams moved to St. Louis), there is a crucial difference between the two moves: Today’s Rams don’t have their hands out — looking for public assistance. The Rams of yesteryear came to Saint Louis looking for best possible deal at taxpayer expense.

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Millennial Maleness Under Fire

By 1.12.16

Much has been made in the sports industry recently that the new generation of male athletes, the Millennials, just aren’t the men their predecessors were.

The first raspberry tossed in their direction came from Robert Sarver, owner of the NBA Phoenix Suns, who said, “I’m not sure it’s just the NBA. My whole view of the Millennial culture is that they have a tough time dealing with setbacks, and Markieff Morris is the perfect example. He had a setback with his brother in the offseason and he can’t seem to recover from it.” This was in response to a player the team has been having discipline issues with.

Next was former New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, who questioned the resiliency of the modern football player: “We've lost a little bit of that in our game. I got a toothache, I'm out of the game. What? You got a what? A stiff neck? I got a stiff neck 24 hours a day every day of my life. What the hell has that got to do with playing?”

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Hail to the un-PC Redskins

By 1.5.16

As the calendar flipped from 2015 to 2016, the Washington Redskins were basking in two momentous pieces of good news. The first being the Redskins winning the NFC East, thereby qualifying for the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2012. The second piece of news, even more significant than the playoffs, played out off the gridiron and didn’t involve the team but an Asian American rock band known as the Slants.

To give some background for those of you who are unaware, the fight over the Washington football team nickname Redskins had leapt from the never ending debate on whether it is appropriate to use the term Redskins, to the courtroom where big brother was doing his best to throw cold water on the freedom of speech and expression. The first two rounds of this battle went to the censors when the United States Patent and Trademark Office injected itself into the debate and took the highly unusual and provocative measure of canceling the Washington Redskins’ trademarks that had been legally recognized for nearly 50 years. The reason cited was that it was “disparaging to Native Americans.”

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Footbrawl in the Meadowlands

By 12.22.15

Before last Sunday, Odell Beckham Junior’s chief offense to heaven and Earth was a hairdo that looks like a cheap carpet sample. In Sunday’s New York Giants-Carolina Panthers game he demonstrated that when a defensive back consistently gets the better of him, our Odell does not work and play well with others. The Panthers, at 14-0, remain perfect today. They may not have been had Beckham played his A-game instead of going head-hunting.

Early on Panther defensive back Josh Norman was covering Beckham like the dew covers Dixie. Beckham’s reaction to this could more easily be described as assault than as football. For his Sunday rashness, Beckham was suspended Monday for one game by the NFL. Check out the clips and see if you think the punishment might have been a bit light.

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Byrd Stadium Sells Out

By 12.15.15

Reminiscent of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, America’s present-day leftwing is on the march to expunge any part of the past that may offend its sensitivities. First came the 32-hour sit-in by students at the elite Princeton University to remove any vestige from campus of former University President and later President of the United States Woodrow Wilson. Then came what sounded like an Onion story, but sadly not, when students at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania asked that Lynch Hall, named after a Clyde Lynch, be renamed not because of anything Clyde Lynch did, but because his name was too similar to the verb “lynching.”

I’m sure dozens of fresh examples of this sort of silliness could be cited, but when it reaches the sports community, my antennae go up as this is the world I reside and work in. A story in this weekend’s sports page that was easily overlooked was that the University of Maryland’s Board of Regents overwhelmingly voted to change the name of Byrd Stadium, home of the University of Maryland Terrapins football team, to the ever catchy Maryland Stadium.

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Baseball Thrives on Income Inequality

By 12.8.15

Major League Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings are underway this week in Nashville, Tennessee. These meetings, where baseball executives get together under one roof, traditionally herald in baseball’s silly season of awarding whopper like contracts to the available crop of premium free agents. This year, even before the meetings began, the aptly named David Price kicked off the festivities by inking a seven-year $217 million contract with the Boston Red Sox. This was soon followed by Zach Greinke who agreed to a six-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks for $206 million.

As predictable as the annual free agent spending binge by baseball owners will be, the lament of a lot of sports fans, including conservative ones, is that it is “unfair” that anyone should make so much money playing a game, while the rest of us working stiffs make so little.

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The Unspeakable in Full Pursuit of — a Football Stadium

By 12.4.15

Oscar Wilde described fox-hunting as “the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.” I can make the same point about Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, St. Louis Rams Football owner Stan Kroenke, and the Great Riverfront Stadium Hunt.

Nixon and Kroenke are two squires cut from the same cloth — a trophy-hunting governor who thinks he can pick winners and losers and a super-rich developer with a long history of currying favor from government entities.

In this situation, we may debate the question of whether it is worse (i.e. more “unspeakable”) to give, or to receive. Here we are talking about the award of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ assistance to a richly profitable sports business that does nothing to advance the public good.

It is at least appropriate that the object of the hunt is made largely of concrete. Along with the unwarranted subsidies, that makes it doubly indigestible — both from a gastronomic and an economic viewpoint.

The Great Riverfront Stadium Hunt is not a come-one-come-all event. Like fox-hunting, it is for swells only. The swells don’t want your votes or your opinions; only your tax dollars.