There’s No Coming Back from This 

And just when we thought he was on his way back. There was quite a lot of happenings in the sports world this weekend, but the one that soared above them all was the Tiger Woods story. Woods was arrested and charged with a DUI over the weekend. Reports say he blew a .000 twice. This puzzled me initially because that meant that he was not drinking and driving upon his arrest. 

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It is now being reported that it was not alcohol, but prescription drugs that were found to be in his system at the time. So what does this mean for Woods going forward? Notable golfers and former golfers have responded differently. Fans too have their own opinions. Some saying that he needs help because something is obviously wrong.

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It is my opinion that he does need some form of treatment. We all know about his recent struggles with injuries and other things off the golf course. More seems to be going wrong than right for Woods these days. I think it is fair to say that the Woods we grew up watching is long gone. He is older now and this incident on top of the other issues he has had in the past couple of years have dragged him down rather than build him up. If it were up to me I would consider retiring from the sport entirely.

Follow me on Twitter: @CarlVotti 

Ballpark Food: The Good, The Bad and the Unique 

It is no mystery why one would want to go to a baseball game. To cheer on your favorite team as they try to add one more W to the win column, positioning themselves ever closer to the end goal of winning the World Series. Some fans do it for the experience. Whether it’s having a few drinks with friends or bonding over nachos, the point is always to have a good time. Everyone is different and most ballparks are great at accommodating even the most casual of fans. 

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However, in the past couple of years ballparks seem to have elevated the concept of ballpark food to a whole new level. For example, the Texas Rangers have what’s called a “BoomStick“, which is a two foot long hot dog. But the ingenuity, if you want to call it that, doesn’t stop there. The Arizona Diamondbacks have what they call the “Churro Dog“, which is a churro inside of a donut bun with grape or strawberry jelly. Every year ballpark food seems to get more and more interesting. Just this year the Seattle Mariners unveiled a new menu item, “Roasted Grasshoppers”, which is exactly what it sounds like. 

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I wouldn’t go so far as to say the new food items at ballparks are like the food you find at the state fair l, but it’s really close. The next question is would you be willing to try it? For me I am pretty open to trying new things, so yes I probably would try these items. It’s hard to say if adding these creations makes the food any better, but it definitely adds to the experience. 

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Spurs Fall Short in Playoffs 

It looks like Spurs fans will have to wait another year for a chance at bringing an NBA title back to San Antonio. Throughout their playoff run the Spurs faced tough competition. Going up against the likes of James Harden’s Houston Rockets and Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors. Unfortunately, the worst that could happen to any team during a playoff run, happened to the Spurs.

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To fully understand why the Warriors are in the Finals and not the Spurs you have to go back to the series against the Houston Rockets. The Spurs suffered a crushing 126-99 defeat in Game 1 a pretty sizable margin, but nothing to be too worried about. Then in game two came the Tony Parker injury. This incident might have cost the Spurs the series, but contributions from Leonard and Aldridge were enough to beat the Rockets. 

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Then came the series with the Golden State Warriors. This series was even more intense than the one before and had some controversy mixed in with it as well. I am of course referring to the Leonard-ZaZa incident that sidelined Leonard. With this occurrence both Leonard and Parker were out pretty much leaving the Spurs fate in the hands of Ginoboli, Aldridge and a few others. In my view the play was not dirty as some people believe. The video evidence was too questionable to argue any intent.

And so the Western Conference Champion Golden State Warriors will face off against either the Boston Celtics or Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland has a commanding 3-1 lead and, barring any late game comebacks by the Celtics, will probably face off against the Warriors in the NBA Finals. Who will emerge victorious in the end? It’s a tough call. With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on one side, and Lebron James and JR Smith on the other there’s no doubt we will see a game seven. But in a head-to-head battle of powerhouse offenses, I am taking the Cavaliers in seven.

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A Word on the First Place Houston Astros 

Baseball is one of those sports where momentum is always changing. Like an adolescent teenager, every day is different from the one before. In much of the same way every season is different from the one before. Every fan has certain expectations for their teams. But there are times when the team far surpasses those expectations. One of those teams is this year’s Houston Astros.

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 The Houston Astros I think are the biggest surprise to most baseball fans this season. Their current record after thirty-nine games played stands at 27-12, the best in the MLB. In fact, the 27-12 record is the best starting record in the history of the Houston Astros. What’s even more surprising is the lead they have on the second place Texas Rangers. It is not a small one at eight games separating the two teams. Suffice it to say the Houston Astros seem to be the only team in the American League West division that is winning. On top of that, the way in which that Astros have won most of their games might surprise you. Most of their wins have been comeback wins. In other words, the Astros fall behind early and comeback to win late.

Every baseball fan will agree that every team has a low point sometime during the season. The question is just a matter of when it will happen. As of right now the Astros seem to have yet to hit this bump in the road. The Texas Rangers on the other hand seem to have started their season with a bump in the road. The train seems to have derailed off the tracks for them. Even when it seems like the Astros are in a tailspin they somehow find ways to work themselves out of it. They may fall behind early, but that usually occurs early in games with plenty of time to comeback. The real question is can they keep this going? In my opinion, if they stay healthy yes they can.

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From MLB Player to Team Owner 

And we thought we had heard the last of Derek Jeter, at least as a player, after he retired from baseball. It seems however that has now changed as he is now, or soon to be, the co-owner of the Miami Marlins. I say co-owner because Jeter is not the only person that has a hand in this deal. Former presidential candidate Jeb Bush will also hold ownership. 

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This is not the first time a Bush has been the owner of an MLB team. Jeb’s brother George at one point was the owner of the Texas Rangers organization. Similarly, Michael Jordan, former player of the Chicago Bulls, is now the owner of the Charlotte Hornets. I think many fans would agree that when a player retires from their sport they really only retire from playing the sport. The general trend I have seen in regards to retired players is that the team designate the retiree as “Special Assistant to the General Manager”. This way they are still in some way involved with the organization even though they do not play.

Back to my original point, I think it will be very interesting to see where the Marlins organization goes from here now that they are under new management. The club is definitely a rising powerhouse with established players such as Giancarlo Stanton. One final point I think I should make is will Jeter be treated the same way as he was when he was a player, or draw more criticism now that he has taken on an even bigger role? I tend to think that yes he will be more heavily criticized at least in the first couple of years. It may be even more awkward for reporters because the majority of the sports media has come to know him as a player. It will definitely be interesting to watch it unfold and even more interesting to see where the Marlins go from here.

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MLB now Broadcasting on Twitter 

As I’m sure you know the 2017 Major League Baseball season is now in full swing. Hot dogs are roasting on grills around the country and the beer is flowing like Niagara Falls. Most of the division races at this point are tight, but that is to be expected when only twenty or so games have been played. However, something about this season is different from the last. The other day I was scrolling through Twitter and found a live broadcast of the Orioles vs Red Sox game, and I’m not talking about your everyday Twitter user live stream.

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Similarly, the NFL this past season started streaming their games on Twitter as well. In my opinion this is a great move by both Twitter and professional sports teams. On the one hand Twitter benefits from it’s users, sports teams benefit by growth in viewership and fans benefit because they can now watch their favorite team no matter where they are. But it’s not just sporting events that are being streamed live on Twitter. Based on the majority of advertisements run during these live streams, which are mostly ads for Twitter, there seems to be a growth in shows that are exclusive to Twitter, kind of like Netflix and Hulu.

I’m very excited to see where this goes in regards to how content will be consumed in the future. Will social media streaming take audience attention away from Netflix and Hulu like TV took away from radio?  Given that we already consume most of what we read, see and hear through our phones it could very well be possible.

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Tom Brady skips White House Visit 

So the traditional White House visit by the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots was yesterday. Yeah, everyone get all excited! But wait a minute. Where is Tom? Oh, that’s right he couldn’t make it because of personal reasons. Now before you roll your eyes a least read the next sentence. The sports press really had a field day with this and it was rather off putting.

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If you recall Sage Steele was recently let go by ESPN for inserting her own personal stance on certain political issues into her commentary. It has since been reported that Michelle Beadle will be taking her place on NBA Countdown. I bring this up because in the sports media coverage of the White House visit I could not help but notice a certain tone in their reporting. They then began to speculate on Brady’s decision to skip the visit because of personal reasons. While I do not question the validity of the story that Brady decided to skip the visit, I do question the way in which it was reported. Sports networks are there to talk about one thing and one thing only: sports. They do not exist to discuss, or at least implicate, their thoughts on the current political sphere. There are other networks that specialize in that and sports networks are not one of them.

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Snapchat versus Everyone Else: Social Media in Sports 

Have you noticed that most social media platforms have begun to look more and more like Snapchat? It seems as if video clips are becoming the way we see, or prefer to see, what’s going on in the world around us. Specifically, younger people have become much more of a “see it rather than read about it” generation. I myself being a millennial very much agree with this observation. 

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In my opinion, professional sports clubs have benefited the most from this shift from textual to visual format. There is no doubt that social media platforms are key when it comes to expanding the brand and fan base. Snapchat offers a more immersive experience when it comes to interacting with your favorite sports teams. With the release of Snapchat Spectacles fans were now able to experience the action not just by what the camera sees, but through a first person perspective as if they were there.

This has spurred other social media platforms to introduce similar elements within their mediums. For the most part it has worked. Instagram now has Instagram Stories and recently passed Snapchat in usage. Others still have to work out kinks and issues. Facebook for instance, while it has potential does not do that great of a job in the visual storytelling sphere other than FacebookLive. However, with time and usage I believe they can do just as well. 

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Formula 1 is Back! 

Hello everyone, I know it’s been a while since my last post but I’m officially back and eager to get writing again. Over the length of this brief hiatus I have come to realize that there are too many exciting happenings in the world of sports that I can’t not write about it. So with that l let’s get started.

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Ah yes it is once again that time of year. The time of year when the world comes together to witness a spectacle unlike any other. I am of course referring to Formula 1 racing season. So far there have only been three races, but they have been no less exciting than before. In fact, this year’s races have already had its fair share of surprises.

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The Scuderia Ferrari team for one is off to a fantastic start this season. Their main driver Sebastian Vettel has won two out of the first three races. I think this year is Ferrari’s year, but to truly understand their resurgence I think you have to go back to the final race of last year’s season in Abu Dhabi. The MercedesAMG Petronas team had been leading all year and would eventually take the crown with Nico Rosberg. However, Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari finished second which I doubt anyone saw coming considering they had struggled all year.

I am a fan of Scuderia Ferrari, so I am very happy about how the races have gone. Will they be able to keep up the consistency? We will have to see. So far everything seems to be going as planned. If Ferrari hasn’t already I would say that MercedesAMG Petronas will end up chasing Scuderia Ferrari for the championship. 

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The Not so Surprising First Round 

Well that was surprising, or not. The first round of the NCAA March Madness Tournament is coming to a close and the field of sixty-eight has been trimmed to thirty-two. This year’s tournament has been an exciting one, but different from others that came before. If this is your first year filling out a bracket and went with the favorite in most matchups, congratulations you have actually done surprisingly well. Unfortunately, like most of the brackets out there you too are bust. 

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If your bracket is lucky enough to survive the first, chances are you will not survive the second. I have always found collegiate sports to be more competitive in some respects. There is often more at stake than in professional leagues. The fact that college basketball only plays two quarters instead of four like the NBA, I believe, puts more pressure on the players to perform well and makes the game more exciting.

As far as what will see come round two, I can’t tell you and that probably is the mindset of other fans as well. More upsets are on the horizon though of that I am sure. All we can do is watch and wait. There is a good amount of games still to be played until we reach the final four and eventually the championship game.

Follow me on Twitter: @CarlVotti