Tag Archive: LeBron James


For a dwindling number of aging Baby Boomers, the announcement of pitchers and catchers reporting to training camps next week is a harbinger of spring.

Everyone else knows better, particularly those with advanced interests: Football replaced baseball as the nation’s pastime decades ago.

Almost DailyBrett used to be a baseball fan, now he doesn’t care about the World Series, much less spring training and the interminable season that follows.

Many complain about income inequality. There is no part of US society that is more inequitable than … baseball.

Some celebrated Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball” about General Manager Billy Beane and his Oakland Athletics trying to compete in an unfair game.

Now the game is just unfair, and still boring and desultory. Where are the socialist justice warriors when you need them?

Everyone in Washington D.C. has been on pins and needles. Impeachment? No Stephen Strasburg’s salary.

The Nationals’ pitcher turned down the remainder of his $100 million over four years contract. The club ponied up $245 million for the next seven years.

Instead of $25 million per year to throw a baseball, Strasburg will receive $35 million per year to throw a baseball.

Best of all, he will stay in DC. Whew … that was close!

MLB Payrolls Bigger Than Entire Country Budgets?

Almost DailyBrett has never been a fan of socialism. Having said that, a reasonably controlled market (e.g., salary caps) has worked extremely well for NFL and NHL competition. In stunning contrast, the unfettered baseball free agent market has resulted in usually the same low-payroll teams being completely out of the running by June, virtually each-and-every year.

Let’s compare the budgets of sovereign countries in comparison to the baseball team payrolls for … 25 players.

Samoa in the South Pacific provides essential services for its 196,000 citizens with an annual budget of $233 billion. The New York Yankees put food on the table for its 25 studs with $217 million ($8.68 million per player).

Caribbean islands St. Kitts and Nevis serves its 55,345 residents with $233 billion. The sign-stealing cheating Houston Astros allocate $206 million for its 25 heroes ($8.24 million each).

Gambia in West Africa maintains a $230 million budget for its 2.10 million citizens. Conversely, the Boston Red Sox make do with $200 million for its family of 25 ($8.00 million per player).

The average salary for MLB’s 988 players, who mostly stand around for hours in the infield and outfield, is down two consecutive years. In 2019, the average was $4.051 million (1.1 percent less), 2018, $4.095 million, and 2017, $4.097 million.

Should we hold bake sales for these starving players?

Black and Gold Futility Beside the Monongahela

Considering that your author was born in Western Pennsylvania, he has a soft spot in his heart for the black and gold of the Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB, five World Series titles), the Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL, six Super Bowls) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL, five Stanley Cups).

Pittsburgh with its 301,000 residents and 2.36 million in the metropolitan area is considered a small-market sports city. The differentiator for the three teams is the Steelers and Penquins compete under the terms of respective NFL and NHL salary caps. The Pirates ($41 million, $1.64 per player average) fend for themselves in an unfair sport dominated by the most militant of unions (e.g., MLBPA) and greedy sports agents (e.g., Scott Boras for Stephen Strasburg).

Consider that the Penguins won their second consecutive Stanley Cup in 2017. The Steelers hoisted their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2009.

The We Are Family Pirates last won the World Series 40 years ago in 1979 (Carter was president). Since that time. the Pirates have been a non-factor because they simply cannot compete against the big market teams. Will 2020 be any different? Don’t think so.

For a Pirates fan, the obvious question comes immediately to mind: ‘Why bother with baseball?’ Why bother, indeed.

Some have suggested that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in all of sports. What? Literally hundreds of humans past and present, alive and deceased have hit major league pitching.

How many can carry the ball from the five-yard line (red zone) in an NFL game? How many can hold LeBron to 40 points in an NBA game? How many can stop a Alexander Olevchkin slap shot in an NHL contest?

Let’s face it, baseball is an increasingly unfair and fraudulent (i.e., steroid kings, stolen signs) game, which at best represents America’s sporting past (i.e., Barry Bonds, “Shoeless Joe” Jackson). Traditionalists may still get their collective knickers in a twist in February, but the younger ask the more salient question:

When do college football training camps open?

https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/payroll/

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28320193/stephen-strasburg-returns-nationals-hopes-never-leaves

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28341983/average-mlb-salary-drops-second-straight-year

2020 Spring Training Reporting Dates

Boys will be boys.

And what interests boys? Football? Sex? Both?

Going back to the golden broadcast age of Roone Arledge, Chris Schenkel and Keith Jackson, ABC Sports college football cameras were among the first to start featuring cheerleaders and student bodies in search of healthy examples of the female form. Coming as no surprise, seemingly no one argued.

Why not incorporate beauty into football broadcasts to drive ratings? We all know that sex sells.allie

But what happens when pure sex appeal is brought down to the sidelines? Is the network mission to inform or to titillate? The majority of football fans are still male, so why not introduce telegenic women to the broadcast?

The rub comes when less-than-intelligent “reporting,” emanates from the sidelines, causing the viewer to question whether the reporter knows what she is talking about. Is our collective intelligence being insulted because the perception is that all males care more about T&A, than the T-formation?

There are few instances in life that drive serious football fans insane than an ex-beauty queen making inane remarks and asking less-than-intelligent questions of coaches and players. Can’t the networks provide us with more than a pretty face?

Before Launching Your Verbal Grenades

Almost DailyBrett will always plead innocent when it comes to any-and-all allegations of misogyny.

At the same time, your blog author is guilty as charged in terms of being an over-the-top, über football fan.

For the past 26 years and counting, yours truly has been a season ticket holder on the opponent’s 30-yard-line at Autzen Stadium in Eugene. My tenure at Autzen started with Bill Musgrave and company in 1990 right through this season’s one-year stint of Vernon Adams.

The author of Almost DailyBrett also served as a football manager for the Oregon Ducks and the USC Trojans, and therefore knows what goes on in the huddle, in the locker room and on the sidelines. The “Sam” backer is lined up over the tight end on the strong side. The “Mike” patrols the middle. The “Will” plays the weak side.

Wonder how many former beauty-queen sideline reporters understand the placement of “backers” on the field, let alone the other intricacies of the complex game of football? If they do not, then why are they there?

This question is not to insinuate that women shouldn’t be on the sidelines … they should … but to contend they must know what they are talking about before they are given a sideline pass. Does Miss Teen USA 2005 and Trump Modeling Management model, Allie LaForce, really know football? The 26-year-old played basketball at Ohio University and majored in broadcast journalism, but did not graduate.

Why is she covering football? She knew how to instinctively flip her strands of blonde hair while interviewing Nick Saban at halftime during the SEC championship game, while asking canned questions. Hey CBS Sportss, is that all it takes for Allie to earn a ticket into the living rooms of literally millions of fans across the country?

Less Ornamentation; More Knowledge Please

Let’s compare Mizz LaForce to Doris Burke, who covers NBA basketball for ABC. When she interviews LeBron James or Dwayne Wade, she asks probing, intelligent questions. Burke, 40, started playing basketball in the second grade and starred with the Providence Friars, and is second all-time in dishing out assists. She was inducted into the Providence College Hall of Fame. Doris received her bachelor’s in Health Service Education/Social Work and her master’s in Education from the same university.dorisburke

Doris is attractive, but not a former model. More importantly she is accomplished on-and-off the court, and she obviously knows her zone and man-to-man defenses. She played the game. She holds two degrees. Almost DailyBrett has far more respect for Doris than Allie.

The same is true for ESPN’s Lisa Salters, 49, a Penn State graduate in Broadcast Journalism. She played guard for the Penn State women’s basketball team, and is the shortest ever player for the Nittany Lions at 5’2.” She covers football and basketball, and once again she can distinguish between her Xs and her Os.

Washington Wizards v/s Cleveland Cavaliers November 18, 2009 at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Washington Wizards v/s Cleveland Cavaliers November 18, 2009 at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Michele Tafoya, 50, has seemingly reached the pinnacle of her trade, serving as the sideline reporter for NBC’s Sunday Night Football since 2011. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications from University of California, Berkeley, and her MBA from the University of Southern California (May the Horse be with you, Michele).

She joined CBS in 1994, covering March Madness and U.S. Open tennis. Michele moved on to ABC/ESPN in 2000 as a sideline reporter for ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

Does Michele Tafoya understand basketball, football, tennis and conceivably other sports? Yes. Was she chosen strictly for her ornamental value? No. The same is true for Doris Burke and Lisa Salters.tafoya

Can we say the same for Allie LaForce?

The purpose here is not to beat up on Allie and other beautiful sideline reporters. They should not be penalized for their appearance. At the same time, they should not be awarded prime sideline real estate just for being a pretty face. They should know the game and they should be smart and accomplished, otherwise the networks are insulting our collective intelligence.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/06/business/roone-arledge-71-a-force-in-tv-sports-and-news-dies.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.si.com/more-sports/2015/12/06/media-circus-michelle-tafoya-sunday-night-football-lorne-rubenstein

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allie_LaForce

http://nypost.com/2015/03/16/meet-allie-laforce-a-former-miss-teen-usa-whos-ruling-the-march-madness-court/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michele_Tafoya

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Salters

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doris_Burke

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/misogyny

 

 

 

 

LeBron is heading to the Lakers.

lebron

The deal is not imminent, but based upon the pattern of the last four decades, one knows it’s inevitable.

Wilt was shipped to the Lakers. Kareem was “traded” to LA for Junior Bridgeman…Junior Who?

Magic joined Kareem in Los Angeles. Kobe ended up with the Lakers. Ditto for Shaq.

Was it Kobe’s team or Shaq’s team? Kobe’s team.

Next up was Dwight. He was going to Brooklyn…nah…He went to the Lakers.

And soon enough it will be (count on it), LeBron.

Did you notice that surnames are not necessary for this discussion?

Growing up in the turbulent 1960s/1970s in LaLaLand, Sunday night was the roller derby Los Angeles Thunderbirds live from the Olympic Auditorium with Dick Lane at the microphone on KTLA (Channel 5). For many, his voice was just as recognizable as Vin Scully with the Todgers and Chick Hearn with the Lakers.

What was curious was the Thunderbirds never went on the road and they always miraculously won at the end against the likes of the New York Bombers, the Detroit Devils and the Oklahoma Outlaws.

thunderbirds

It seemed as if Roller Derby wanted the Thunderbirds to always win, which drew pleased eyeballs from the second largest media market in the country. Guess some habits never die or never will be permitted to die.

Before the opening of the “Fabulous Forum” on Manchester and Prairie in Inglewood in 1967, the National Hockey League (NHL) was composed of a half-dozen teams.

Today, they are quaintly referred to as the “Original Six.”

Officially, the National Basketball Association now has 30 teams, five teams each in six divisions.

In reality, the NBA has six teams: Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, the Flavor of the Year (e.g., Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs) and of course…The Franchise, The Los Angeles Lakers.

There are always was and always will be The Lakers…and some big eastern seaboard teams. Everyone else is playing the role of the Washington Generals…err…Washington Wizards.

Could the Green Bay Packers ever exist in the NBA?

The whole notion of a small community banding together to buy essentially worthless stock in its team, and supporting the heck out of them in below-freezing temps, is unimaginable to the NBA.

The Packers winning the Super Bowl over the small-market Pittsburgh Steelers is not what one associates with the NBA. The association glorifies its stars playing for the big-metropolitan-area teams, particularly the anointed one that wears purple and gold in Los Angeles.

The conclusion here is the NFL is strong and confident enough to embrace its small markets, and can even celebrate when two of its smaller franchises contest each other in the Super Bowl.

A bucket-list must for virtually all sports fans is a trip to Lambeau Field (“The Frozen Tundra”) preferably in September or October. Will there ever be fans making pilgrimages to the home of the New Orleans Pelicans or another franchise that serves as mere canon-fodder for the Lakers?

Seems silly to even ask the question.

Is Almost DailyBrett openly suggesting that the NBA is Roller Derby or World Wresting Entertainment (WWE) in drag? Is the fix on? Of course not.

Didn’t NBA Commissioner David Stern prevent Chris Paul from being basically awarded from the destitute New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans to the Lakers? True. He ended up with another LA team, the Clippers.

lakers

There were no such Stern und Drang heroics when it came to Dwight joining Kobe. And when it is time for Kobe to move into the broadcast booth, will The Franchise be left without a first-name only star? The NBA cannot permit that. Dan Patrick will not permit it. Colin Cowherd will not permit it. Jim Rome will not permit it. The LA media market will not permit it.

Write this down: LeBron is heading to the Lakers. The Blazers, Warriors, Suns, Cavaliers, Pelicans will endure season-after-season of deep-down knowing that they never can effectively compete against The Lakers.

It’s just another season in the six-team National Basketball Association.

http://www.latbirds.net/

http://t.foxsports.msn.com/nba/kobe-thinks-he-was-hurt-intentionally-%e2%80%94-again

http://www.danpatrick.com/

http://espn.go.com/espnradio/show?showId=theherd

http://jimrome.com/

http://www.nba.com/

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