Two time-honored traditions. The Fall Classic, and the classic mismanagement of social issues by the NFL in the fall. Ah, what a lovely time of year.
There’s a different feel in the air this time of year. Especially for those of us in New England, the fall foliage, the overabundance and annoyance of everything pumpkin, and the frost in the morning makes fall such a special place.
In the sporting world, fall brings us the end of one season, the beginning of two others and yet another mismanagement of a huge social issue by another league. The sun comes up, the NFL fucks up a major problem in the league/society and the sun goes down. It’s like clockwork. Don’t forget to check out my hot takes from last week either.
1. I desperately want this World Series to go seven games and feature some heartbreaking moments for the losing team
Call me sadistic. Call me twisted. Call me whatever the fuck you want, I don’t mind. But you know what I want more than anything with this World Series between the cursed Chicago Cubs and the cursed Cleveland Indians? I want tears. I want pain. I want the losing team to feel like their heart was ripped out.
Why? Because that’s how both of these fan bases associate their baseball teams. One team breaks that trend this fall. The other needs to live with it for even longer. And they need to live with it painfully and hopelessly until maybe, just maybe, they actually experience euphoria and win it all.
I’ve heard enough about the Curse of the Billy Goat. I’ve heard enough about Cleveland’s sorrows as a city with their (until recently) pitiful sports teams. Each story grew every year with more heartbreaks jumping in.
Chicago had their black cat. They had Bartman. They had Alex Gonzalez. They had the Mets buzzsaw last year. Each story more delicious and exquisite to watch (especially since they all happened at Wrigley).
Cleveland had Jose Mesa. They had Edgar Renteria. They had Rocky Colavito. They had JD Drew. They’ve at least been within an out of the promised land, before the Florida Marlins (LOL) snatched it from their hands. The Cubs have waited longer, but the pain of Cleveland is equally tasty.
So now that one of these teams will break their decades old drought, I need the loser to fall in the most painful way possible. This series needs to go seven games. Maybe a walkoff homer for the Indians at home would bury the Cubs and their loaded team for years to come. Or maybe a blown save by the lights-out Cleveland bullpen would stop this insane postseason run their on. Whatever the case is, the look of shellshocked fans at the stadium or on the streets is just pure entertainment. And that’s what sports are about. Give me the tears, the gasps, the sadness, the turmoil. All of it. I need it.
Now you may be saying (among many other things) that karma is a bitch and that wanting this disdain will come back and bite me in the ass. I’m completely aware of that. Isn’t that what rooting for a sports team is all about? You live for the highs, but know of the unthinkable lows. I’ve been there in 2003 with the Red Sox, in 07 with the Giants, in 2010 and 2013 with the Bruins. I’ve been the crying, gasping, shellshocked fan. It sucks. You want entertainment.
I just happen to find the sadness more entertaining than the winning with this World Series.
2. How many more chances will the NFL get with these issues? And fuck Josh Brown to death.
Yes, I stole a South Park reference there. So what. I think that sums up what a deplorable piece of shit Josh Brown is. The NFL couldn’t investigate his incidents enough. They didn’t have subpoena power. They didn’t have access to all the evidence. Blah, blah, fucking blah. This is the most powerful sports league in the country. With the most power-hungry commissioner in sports. They couldn’t establish (more than generally aware) that Josh Brown was abusing his wife and shouldn’t have been employed in the NFL. I call bullshit.
So other than the NFL’s just blatant disregard for their own rules, you then have Giants owner John Mara coming out and defending his decision to resign Brown. He played the “lack of evidence” card once again. What a stooge. What a douche. What a deplorable way of creating wiggle room for something that is beyond black and white. The fact that Mara bought Brown’s excuse of getting help and changing his ways, well knowing full well of his escapades at the Pro Bowl, is beyond awful.
And then Brown has the audacity, the gaul, the fucking balls to come out on Tuesday and release a statement clarifying his actions. He actually says that he never hit or physically abused his wife. Are we living on a different planet? Did none of the over 20 911 calls happen? Is his wife a serial liar with a vendetta against her husband? Brown is twisted, sick, fucked, whatever you want to call it really. He has no place in the NFL. He has no place in society.
So now that the NFL botched yet another investigation, what’s the next step? When will the league lose all credibility and really start to see things hit the fan? Ratings are tumbling across the board. That’s the first step. Maybe when revenues nosedive we’ll see change. Until then, I’m worried it will be the same old song and dance that generates these mind-boggling decisions every couple months.
But wait, don’t forget to buy your pink merchandise for the NFL! The NFL cares, don’t you know that?
3. Scoring is up in the NHL – I guess that’s a good thing?
I’m an old-school type of guy, especially when it comes to the NHL. That’s my baby, my bread and butter, my true sporting love. So when I see that scoring is up in the NHL, I have a minor “hooray” moment before I realize that times are changing.
When I say I like old-school hockey here’s what I mean. I like fighting in hockey. I think it has a time and a place for it in the sport. I think players should choose whether or not they want to wear visors. They’re grown men, let them make a decision. I think a 2-1 game is just as entertaining as a 5-4 game. Defense in hockey, and especially hard-hitting battles in the corner, get me going.
I’m definitely in the minority on all three sides of the coin in my arguments listed above, but the scoring one is the one that is currently being debated around all corners of the league.
Scoring is up so far in 2016, with teams averaging over three goals-per-game in the early stages of the year. If the trend holds, it’ll be the first time in a decade where this happened across the league. I don’t hate it, but I also don’t buy into it. Opponents of my view mock how big goalie pads are, how small the net is and how the neutral zone trap has killed the flow of the game.
My counters: goalies are bigger nowadays, shooters should be able to hit the net better and with the right speed you can bust through any trap. My biggest fear is that the NHL one day turns into the NFL. It won’t be because fantasy hockey (it’s pretty fun to play) drives the game to make everything offense first. I think it will be the expansion into new markets (hello, Vegas) and the desire to make the game geared more toward scoring for television ratings. I love a huge hit or a great save. Most people love the highlight reel goal.
The goals sell the game and they’re sexy. Let’s just not forget the past and make everything 6-5 moving forward.
4. The Brooklyn Nets are forgetting that they won’t have a first-round pick this year
This is definitely more Brendan’s territory than mine, but I’m giving a stab at this. The NBA opens this week. Cleveland and Golden State will meet in the NBA Finals once again, but my lord, what in the hell is going on at the bottom of the league.
The Brooklyn Nets, the NBA darling who moved back to the borough sans-team since the days of Jackie Robinson, that play in the hip arena that was opened by the former minority owner and rap mogul, were once the toast of the town.
Now, they’re the shit on the bottom of your shoe.
Holy shit this team sucks. Jeremy Lin. Luis Scola. Brook Lopez. Anthony Bennett. Randy Foye. This is the island of misfit toys for basketball players, and this team is going to blow. And when this team does suck, and finds itself right in the top of the NBA Lottery once again, the Boston Celtics can pluck their pick as a result of the disastrous Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade.
There’s tanking – like the Cavaliers did for LeBron. Like the Penguins did for Crosby. Like the Cubs did to set up their farm system. But this? This is a freaking trainwreck. No draft pick, nobody good and most likely nobody giving a shit about this team this year. Man, the Nets suck. Maybe by 2020 they’ll be back to the glory days when the team was in New Jersey and was actually good.
5. I really wasn’t thrilled that Penn State beat Ohio State and Happy Valley was happy again
I think I made it pretty clear earlier in my time here at the Chin Music Podcast. I hate Penn State. I hate what they’ve done, I hate what their football program stands for. And I hate how delusional their alumni are about the whole Joe Paterno/Jerry Sandusky/child abuse scandal. Talk about a brainwashed population.
So when the Nittany Lions knocked off No. 2 Ohio State last weekend at home, sending the stadium into a frenzy as the fans rushed the field, I couldn’t help but feel sick to my stomach. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Urban Meyer or the Buckeyes by any stretch of the imagination. But seeing all those fans in white screaming, cheering and being happy was downright gross.
That program needs another 10-15 years of sucking for it to be maybe, just maybe alright for them to be relative or their fans to be happy. You don’t get to sweep a decades-long sexual abuse scandal under the rug and then get to be happy again less than 10 years later. That boils my blood, grinds my gears and hits any other analogy you can think of.
People are quick to forget that as they get swept up in the euphoria of the upset win on national television. But not this guy. As that blocked kick was returned for a touchdown, all I could see was that stadium going berserk. That sucks. There are still too many ties to the Paterno era with that program. It’s not their time to be happy. And I don’t want it to be for many years to come.
That’ll do it for us. We’ll be back next week with some more hot takes for your Wednesday reading enjoyment. Follow Tim on Twitter@culvey13 and Brendan at @MurraySportTalk for more, or to tell me us we’re morons. Either way, have at it.