March Madness 

When it comes to college basketball, one idea comes to mind, The Quest for March. According to the calendar that is only a couple days away. Your everyday sports shows are already talking about it. Most college basketball coaches are probably thinking about it. Chances are you’re probably thinking about it too. 

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This leads into my next point: playoff brackets. While they can be fun it is not uncommon to see your bracket totally destroyed within the first few weeks. If there is a definition for unpredictable the college basketball playoff fits perfectly. In my view the fact that the game is only two quarters and not four like the NBA (National Basketball Association), raises the intensity and excitement for the game. This also brings with it a sense of urgency, for both the players and the fans.

I won’t even try to predict who will win it all because I, like most people, will probably be wrong. I don’t think anyone could have predicted that Butler would beat Villanova and the tournament hasn’t even started yet. If that game is any indication of what kind of tournament we are going to have than I would go with underdogs. But then again, I’m not going to make any predictions.

Follow me on Twitter: @CarlVotti

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The State of Baseball 

And just like that, Spring Training has officially begun and with it the 2017 baseball season. As I stated in one of my previous posts it’s hard to say what will happen this year, but this article is not about that. 

Photo by Carl Votti

As baseball fans know the game is currently undergoing some changes in an effort to draw more of an audience with the younger generation of sports fans. How has the game done this? Last season the MLB implemented some guidelines in terms of player safety and pace of game. Some say these guidelines came about because of an incident that occurred in the 2015 postseason. In an effort to break up a double play Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers took a late slide into second base breaking the leg of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada. This rule later became known as the Utley Rule.

Photo by Carl Votti

The MLB also added a pitch clock in an effort to speed up the pace of the game. Some fans have cried foul in regards to the pitch clock because they claim it is putting a time limit on a game that traditionally doesn’t have one. While I can see why some may believe this to be true, I believe it is the opposite.

Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred recently held a press conference to discuss these changes and dispel any misunderstanding of the new rules. In this conference he made it a point to distinguish between pace of game and time of game. As a result of this I have determined the following: pace of game refers to the time it takes for the pitcher to deliver the pitch. Whereas time of game is the length of time the game took place. To be honest I doubt any difference in time of game would be noticeable by fans since the difference in game time is only about five to seven minutes. It is hard to say if more rules will be written to “modernize” the game of baseball; we will have to be patient and weigh the good with the bad. For the love of baseball.

Follow me on Twitter: @CarlVotti

Nobody Could Have Predicted This

After all the predictions, analysis and breakdowns, the New England Patriots are now Super Bowl champions…again! It was a game like no other and probably could not be repeated even if the two teams played all over again. For a moment it seemed as if the Falcons had won it after the first quarter. The Patriots offense seemed have hit a bump in the road, somewhat uncharacteristic of Tom Brady. But then the fourth quarter came along and that all changed.

The Falcons defense was helpless for the entire fourth quarter as Tom Brady showed why he is the best quarterback in NFL history. There is no doubt in my mind that Brady is a first ballot hall of famer. What Kobe Bryant is to the NBA; Tom Brady is to the NFL. They also happen to each have five championship rings, one for each finger. Now begins the long wait for next season, but let’s not forget about the NFL combine and the draft. These events have just as much importance in terms of the future of NFL teams. This importance is most evident in what the Dallas Cowboys were able to do after drafting Ezekiel Elliott. So be patient NFL fans next season will be here before you know it.

Photo by Pixabay.com

Photo by Pixabay.com

 

MLB Preseason Predictions and Why They Are Unreliable 

Well it’s that time again. Baseball season is around the corner and with it predictions and analysis from sports news outlets everywhere. But wait a minute, it’s just the preseason? Yes, even before the season has started, even before spring training there will be predictions and rankings of all the thirty teams in the MLB. My advice, pay no attention to them whatsoever. 

Of course your sports talk radio shows will want something to talk about while we wait for the season to start and that’s fine. However, I recall a few seasons ago when it was predicted that the Houston Astros would win the World Series, that of course did not happen. While I think the intentions behind preseason predictions are mainly good, in the end it’s just talk and speculations. How many people actually predicted the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series last season, or at least do as well as they did?

I like to think of it more like expectations rather than predictions. Considering what roster moves were made in the offseason, how then do we, as a fan base, think overall performance be affected? Each team has different needs, some need pitching help while others help on the offensive or defensive sides of the baseball. Eventually when we get to postseason play that is when the game really changes. At that point then we can go back and see if the preseason predictions were correct.

Photo by Carl Votti

Follow me on Twitter: @CarlVotti

The Unwritten Rules of Fandom 

Every sports fan is different. Yes, there are Astros fans, Patriots fans and so on. But chances are even within those groups fans may have different ideas on what the teams should do to improve.  I think is what makes sports so exciting especially when it comes to rivalries. However, there are some unwritten rules that I think every fan can agree on.

One idea is in regards to traded players. It seems to be a common trend that if a team trades a player to another team the fans quickly go from supporting that player to disliking him with a passion. I find this idea to be most common in baseball. For example, when Josh Hamilton left the Rangers to go play for the Angels most Rangers fans stopped liking him. Of course, it didn’t help that Hamilton had equated Arlington to be more of a “football town”. The same could be said of Astros fans. When Carlos Beltran left the Astros fans didn’t think very highly of him. When he would return to Houston fans would often greet him with a chorus of boos. Now that he is back with the team this idea may change once again.

Photo by Carl Votti

Photo by Carl Votti

I think most sports fans would agree that there are unwritten rules for every sport. Even coaches and/or management are often subject to these unwritten rules.  When a team performs poorly it is quite common for the manager or head coach of the team to be fired. This idea is prevalent throughout the sports world. But when upper management continues to hire and fire new coaches then fans might start to question how the team is being managed. There are shared views among sports fans and differing views but that is because every sport is different. Each come with their own challenges. But if there is one idea every fan can agree on it’s our love for the game.

 

National Signing Day

A day long awaited by most of the sports world and of its fans has finally arrived. A day where we the sports community get a glimpse of what the future holds for some of the biggest sports programs in the nation. That day is of course, National Signing Day.

I think most would consider today as the NCAA equivalent to draft day in the NFL. Some programs will attract more attention than others because of the impact they have on their respective conferences. That is not to say national signing day is significant to only a select few. Smaller schools that don’t get a lot of attention nationally could suddenly become a team to watch. Each team has their own needs and areas that need improvement and national signing day has the potential to turn a losing team into a winning team.

Photo by Carl Votti

National Signing Day is an opportunity for teams that may have not done has well last season to wipe the slate clean and start again with new talent. Like the Super Bowl, national signing day commits and the impact they will have on their programs are sure to be analyzed from multiple angles by multiple sports news sources. While these predictions may come true, they are simple that, predictions. In my opinion, only time and good coaching will determine if basement dwellers evolve into powerhouses that can’t lose.