Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A few things before vacation....

I'll be taking some time off beginning this Friday, so I am emptying my brain before I go.  Starting with....

The Bobcats coaching search.  Reports are out the Bobcats are down to three coach candidates.  Jerry Sloan, Brian Shaw, and Quin Snyder.  My gut says they go with Shaw, but I think Sloan is the right guy.  And for the record, these are only opinions.

All three have positives.  Snyder is young, and could be the spark to ignite a young team to get them going in the right direction.  Shaw has never been a Head Coach, but has been a solid understudy, and Sloan's record speaks for itself.

Here's the rub for the Bobcats.  They can not afford to miss on their next coach, or what they do with the number 2 pick later this month.  If this franchise is to move towards the goals set by owner Michael Jordan (contending for a top 4 spot in the Eastern Conference consistently, and threaten for a title after that), they have to hit it out of the park with every critical decision going forward.  That's a ton of pressure, but it is the reality.


Feel badly for NC State baseball in coming up short to Florida.  They may not have won the series against Florida, even if they had won game 2, but losing that second game the way they did was gut-wrenching.  I applaud Chris Diaz for being man enough to apologize for his actions after the called third strike (which was a mile out of the zone by the way).  Diaz showed himself to be a stand-up guy, a leader, and a true representative of what college sports are all about.  He showed passion, emotion, and as he felt he crossed the line, he manned up, and owned it, and apologized.  Me?  I didn't think the apology was necessary.  He had a legit gripe, the ump blew the call, and I likely would have done far worse.  Good on Diaz. 


Congrats to the Charlotte Knights on getting their assist from the City of Charlotte for a new stadium.  The Knights now face the chore of lining up remaining funding, getting a shovel in the ground, and putting a long overdue ballpark for Uptown.

If you follow me on twitter, you saw me going on and on about Monday's City Council meeting.  The one they voted in favor of the Knights funding.  That was the same meeting they voted down the city's budget.  I won't begin to try and explain all that is going on with the budget (not my lane), but when it comes to the stadium issue, I was amazed that Jerry Reese continued to stand behind a microphone, and lecture everyone about the need for a MLB stadium in Charlotte.

Calling Charlotte "a minor league city," is about as insulting as someone who makes a living here can be.  The National Football League's Carolina Panthers, and National Basketball Association's Charlotte Bobcats are on line one for you, Mr. Reese.  Last I looked the NFL and NBA were not Arena Football, or the NBDL.  NASCAR would also like to talk to you as well.  It's not ARCA, or other lesser known racing series that only race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  It's NASCAR.  You may have heard of them.

He also claimed that Charlotte was bigger than 12 other MLB markets.  12.  Well, since I have no idea what numbers he is using in that regard, let me just give you some of my data.  Charlotte is bigger than five other MLB TV markets.  FIVE.  Charlotte is 25th, Baltimore 27th, San Diego 28th, Kansas City 31st, Milwaukee 34th, and Cincinnati 35th.  By way of comparison, Orlando (19), Sacramento (20) and Portland, OR (22) also do not have MLB teams.  So I guess Orlando with the Magic, along with PGA Tour events is minor league.  Sacramento (the NBA's Kings live there), Portland (the NBA's TrailBlazers are there) are also minor league.  Orlando, Sacramento, and Portland all have minor league baseball teams, too.  They would like to talk to you as well, Mr. Reese. 

Other wonderful cities would be minor league too, I guess.  Indianapolis (26), Nashville (27), Columbus (32), and Oklahoma City (44) are on the list without MLB teams.  All of them, however, are home to pro teams that have competed for (and in the case of the Colts won) league titles.  All four of these cities also possess a AAA baseball franchise.

Another point about MLB in Charlotte.  Filling the stadium that many dates in the season.  If you watch Sports Night (like I know you all do), there are nights we show highlights of an MLB game, or NBA, or NHL, and the stands aren't full unless it's the playoffs.  The Atlanta Braves had trouble selling out playoff games when they were in the 14 year run of division titles.  I'm not knocking Braves fans about that, I'm just trying to prove a point.  If a team that enjoyed so much success had trouble filling their own place for a playoff game, what is there to suggest a new MLB team in Charlotte will get close to filling a new place on a nightly basis?  Bobcats games do not sell out, in part because the team has had one playoff run in its existence, and that was more of a warm-up than a run, since it ended in four games.

I know, I know...trying to talk sense is pointless at times.  Would I love another big league team to call Charlotte home?  Certainly.  Makes my unbelievable job even better.  Do I think MLB would be the right fit?  Not at all.  Too many variables, costs too high.  Guess that makes me minor league, too, eh Jerry?

The time has come for Reese to simply go away, or come clean with what he stands to gain from a MLB team coming to Charlotte.  He isn't doing this for the good of the community, because he has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars in lawsuits filed to prevent this park from coming up out of the ground, a delay of what, four years now?  I know he won't do that, but it's nice to at least ask.

Mike Solarte

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the writer, and do not represent the views of News 14 Carolina, Time Warner Cable, or anyone not named Mike Solarte.  If you agree, or even disagree with the blog, feel free to leave a comment

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