Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Stars Don't Always Win

First and foremost, I want to let you know that I am back. I had an unforeseen absence from the net, but I never lost the desire to share with you. Sometimes, we have things in our lives that make us stop and reassess our priorities. These things are unavoidable, but they can serve to show us where our priorities lie. I have had such a wake-up call and am more thankful than ever for those who surround me with love.

Now that I have had my reflective moment, let's get down to business. We are in full swing with the NBA playoffs. We are coming to the final games of the first round and the teams to watch are being decided. But, there is one thing that has always bothered me about national leagues in basketball, baseball, football, and any other league: The bias of the media coverage. As we listen to the play-by-play, it is very noticeable that the broadcasters (and sometimes even the officials) seem to, in a not so subtle was, pull for the success of one team over another.

Now, maybe I see this more because I live in Atlanta - the home of the Hawks, Braves and Falcons. Granted, these teams don't have stellar records, but as a whole, they have long been trashed and undervalued. With few exceptions, such as Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, and Matt Ryan (or his infamous predecessor), there are relatively few nationally recognized "stars" who hail from an Atlanta team. On the national level, we just cannot compete with the Dwayne Wades, Kobe Bryants, Lebron James, Kevin Garnetts, A-Rods, and Peyton Mannings.

With this in mind, I cannot help but notice that when the star players do well, it is a big story on ESPN and other sports outlets. But when the lesser teams do well, we are lucky to have a highlight or a mention at all. As I am sitting here watching game 7 of the first round between the Atlanta Hawks and the Miami Heat, I see this series as prime example. During this first round series, each game won by the Heat was reviewed over and over with endless highlights. The other night, when the Hawks won game 5, Mark and I noticed that there was nary a mention on Sportscenter.

Even in this game, during the breaks in the action, the Heat is losing, but the commentators are talking about how great Wade is playing. How about how Johnson, Bibby, Smith, Pachulia, Horford and Williams are playing? Basketball is a TEAM sport. The Hawks do not have to lean on one player to carry the team - they are a good team with everyone playing their parts.

It is very apparent to this fan of lesser respected teams, that national broadcasters have a bias toward the "star" teams. As in other platforms, the media must learn to be less biased and concentrate more on reporting the game. I'm certainly not saying that they cannot show excitement for the game, but come on guys, let's give all the teams a fair shake!

Friday, April 10, 2009

What is the Purpose of Fantasy Baseball?

Okay, we are having a very stormy night in Georgia. The entire family is watching the weather carefully, considering we have tornado warnings all around us. What is my hubby doing? Watching Braves baseball (since it hasn't been rained out yet) oblivious to the situation around him. He is whooping it up because one of his fantasy players hit a home run...

Now what is the deal with fantasy leagues? You would think that these guys have enough sports to watch without making up their own baseball leagues. Do they not get enough sports coverage with NBA basketball still going strong and major league baseball now in full swing? In between games, we usually watch Sportcenter to fill the time and make sure he didn't miss anything. My guy watches sports around the clock, but apparently, that isn't enough! They have fantasy leagues to fill up more of their time.

Fantasy leagues exist during baseball, basketball and football seasons. In each fantasy league, there are a limited number of teams, let's say ten, for example. The guys have a team in the league and have a given number of real players on their team. They choose their players in a draft where each participant or "team" takes turns picking players. The best players usually go first and teams must pick players to fill all positions on the team. They can pick players from any team in the major leagues, for example, my hubby has players from Texas, Detroit, Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Atlanta. After teams are chosen, the guys follow their players through the season and keep up with their stats such as batting average, home runs, stolen bases, and for pitchers, wins and saves. The guy's team with the best stats at the end of the season wins.

So, please let me know if you can find any logic in this fantasy league stuff. I just don't get how our guys have time to keep up with real sports and have extra time to keep up with pretend teams! Maybe I need to get that honey-do list out...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Oh Happy Day! The Boys Are Back In Town!

What a wonderful evening! I am sitting on the sofa with my hubby flipping between the 25th Anniversary of Wrestlemania and the season opener for Major League baseball with the Atlanta Braves v. the Phillies. I am totally on overload with all this testosterone!

Okay, I admit that it is very difficult for me to own up to being a wrestling fan. I need to give the credit (and the blame) to my darling husband who got me hooked on this soap opera on steroids! If it was just fighting, wrestling would be so boring. But, the WWE is the most entertaining and colorful show I have seen in a long time. With the dramatic and comedic story lines, special effects and pyrotechnics, it is just too much fun not to watch! We have the Undertaker who has an entrance worthy of Hollywood, Triple H with his huge muscles and sledgehammer, and Rey Mysterio, one of the best high flyers to be found. My husband and I have made Monday nights our "date night" when we sit in front of the TV, eat popcorn and watch WWE Raw!

But the highlight tonight is the opening of the Major League Baseball season! It's just synonymous with the coming of spring! A day at the ballpark with sunny blue sky, green, freshly cut grass, capacity crowd, and the smell of popcorn in the air! Can there be any better sign that cold weather is a distant memory! Our own Atlanta Braves had the privilege of opening the season this year and I couldn't be more excited. With all the rivalry between the Braves and the Phillies, it puts the icing on the cake to have the Braves win their first game of the season. It's nice that the Braves pulled this one out, but the important thing is that spring has sprung and the ballpark is calling!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Final Four is Finally Here!!!

Okay, I have almost made it thru the madness. Today, we are finally down to the final four! Taking a look at Uconn and Michigan St. and rooting for the Spartans 'cause my favorite local guy plays for them. See my previous blog: [Elite Eight Agony and Triumphs] Forget the stats and rankings, I'm still a girl and will pick my fave teams the way I please.

Doesn't really matter as far as my bracket anyway, since I had Louisville and Memphis and have already blown this side of the bracket. Now on the other side of the Final Four bracket, I got it goin' on! I'm right on target with NC and Villanova with NC to win it all. We'll see what happens, but I still have had a blast getting into this crazy madness.

With this madness experience under my belt, I have a new appreciation for these college athletes. With the pros in the NBA, they are paid for playing their hearts out, but it has become the exception at times to find players who do. College players do not get paid and some don't have any hope of making to the pros. But these guys have their hearts and souls in this game! These guys are so incredibly competitive, that we are gonna see the best they have to offer. The emotions are so high that there can be brawls (like I just saw on this game), tears of joy with a win and immense sadness at a loss. Seeing a grown man cry is a moving sight and a good example of how much these athletes have invested in this tournament as well as their entire college sports experience. These young athletes epitomize some of the best efforts in the world of sports.