Friday, October 31, 2008

The View from the Press Box-Friday

Happy Halloween to all of you out there in Blogville. Hope you find all the treats you like in your pumpkin tonight. Here's a few nuggets heading into the weekend.

1-The Philadelphia Phillies are baseball's champions, and I salute them. Well done. Also a tip of the cap to the Tampa Bay Rays, who won 97 regular season games, but couldn't find the magic (or the offense) against the Phils. While the Phils and Rays made for a "new faces" Series, it didn't ultimately matter, because the games began so late, and thus ended even later.

I know it's a tired old argument, but seriously, a first pitch for a baseball game after 8:30pm? Baseball is a slow game on its own, then add in those meaty commercial breaks between half-innings, and you have the ingredients for a broadcast that will run (generously) 3.5 hours. Do the math. That game is over after midnight.

The number of kids playing baseball is dwindling. The same kids that were playing baseball have moved on to other sports: basketball, football, golf, etc. Why? Well, for starters, they can watch the pros play it while they are awake. There are NBA games that start at 7. Kids can watch them, or even afternoon college games on weekends. Same with golf, football. Watchable while the sun is up.

The bigger joke of the Series was the fact game 5 took 3 days to play, due to weather. Game 5 began after 8:30. If they had begun the game at, say 7:30, game 5 would have completed (likely) on Monday night. Commissioner Bud Selig made a comment in the aftermath, saying something like "if I had any say in the matter...." WHAT? YOU ARE THE COMMISSIONER OF BASEBALL!!!! You are supposed to have ultimate power. Truth is, Selig is a shill for the owners, and only has their interests in mind. The guy is still part of the owners, even though the Brewers are listed as his daughter's team (right).

I love baseball, grew up playing it as a kid. I hate the state the game is in. There has to be a better way to return the national pastime to relevance. That won't happen under Selig's watch.

2-The Panthers are off until Monday, and won't really practice again until next Wednesday. 6-2 at the bye week, enjoying Halloween and the time away. I have to tell ya, I said in my last post this team is legit, and I still believe that. they may be more than that. Here's their remaining 8 games:
@ Oakland
v. Detroit
@ Atlanta
@ Green Bay
v. Tampa Bay (Monday Night)
v. Denver
@ NY Giants
@ New Orleans

Looking at those opponents, I see 3 legitimately tough games. Home with Tampa, and the final 2 on the road. The other 5 are quite winnable. I'm not saying it will be a cakewalk, as we all know it won't be. The Panthers have never done things the easy way, however, OAK & DET are wins, ATL will be tough, but should be a win. GB will be a challenge, but the Panthers have more weapons, and frankly have a better unit. TB will be a dynamite game, DEN has some offense, but can't stop Independence, the Giants are legit, and NO will be better at home by season's end. If it all shakes out, the Panthers could find themselves home for the holidays--but still working. Could be a couple home playoff games in their future, and how cool would an NFC Championship game at B of A Stadium be? If you dream it, it could come.

3-Mallard Creek High School's punishment is a harsh one, and personally, I hope they win the appeal. I don't know all the particulars, but Mallard Creek is such a young school, I find it hard to believe they willingly and knowingly committed an infraction, having one of their players breaking the 8 semester rule.

I never knew such a rule existed. Apparently, the player in question played in another state, then went to another NC school, before landing at Mallard Creek. Why a kid moves around so much--I don't know. Frankly, I don't care. If he was eligible in the district he lived, and played at that school, so be it. This one is a tough pill for the Mavericks to swallow, as they hadn't lost a game, and now they are 1-9, having had to forfeit 9 of their 10 wins. I do hope they win their appeal, although I know such things are long shots.

4-The Bobcats opened their season in impressive fashion, trailing by 17 at the half to Cleveland, cutting the deficit to 5 points, before allowing the Cavs to slam the door on them, 96-79. Yes, Larry Brown is in his first year with the Bobcats, and yes the Bobcats have deficiencies all over the court. I was one of the folks that got a full cup of the kool-aid when Brown was hired, but nothing I have seen from the Bobcats so far leads me to believe they will contend for a playoff spot this year in the NBA East. A rather sobering thought one game into the schedule, huh? I would love for them to prove me wrong, but until they prove they can hit shots, and defend, they will be another pretender, rather than a contender.

That's all for now, have a great weekend, and remember to brush those teeth after your Halloween haul!

Mike Solarte

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