Thursday, August 02, 2007

Beefage! Yes, I have beefs!

To rip off an old Jay Leno bit from those long ago days when he was actually funny (I used to love his Letterman appearances in the 80's. What happened to the funny, Jay?), I have a beef! Or should I say, beefs. Or maybe, beefage. But I digress...

Asinine scheduling: We are seeing the odd, to say the very least, scheduling of major league sports currently effecting the Tigers. They have had 3, count 'em, 3, home games since the All-Star break. Let alone those 3 home games were directly after a screwy road trip where they traveled west to Seattle to start the 2nd half. Considering that the Tigers ended up back on the west coast this past week, why in Hell send them to Seattle in the first place?

From the ugly results of this last west coast road trip, the Tigers played as if they are running on fumes. The odd, quirky, often punishing, MLB scheduling is a big reason why. I have a feeling that a week and a half at home may be just what the doctor ordered for the Tigers.

Scheduling, and the travel involved, has long been this fan's pet peeve. I've gone off before about the the competitive disadvantage the Red Wings face every season, being an eastern team in the western conference. Their travel schedule would be considered sheer lunacy for anyone other than a pro athlete.

One of the stupidest things I've ever seen a head coach do involved needless travel. That being Rod Marinelli insisting that the Lions fly to last season's Oakland exhibition on game day, just to create a sense of adversity. Talk about grandstanding for no real reason, other than to show your authority. Personally, I wasn't surprised to see the stunt blow up in Marinelli's face, with the Lions awful performance that day. They looked like a team, wonder of wonders, who were exhausted, thanks to traveling all day.

Christ, I get tired just looking at an airport, let alone living out of a suitcase for a few days. But living out of a suitcase for close to a month, as the Tigers did all through July? I'd be loony by the end of the trip, barely able to function, let alone perform at a high level. Yet, pro ballplayers are expected to produce despite a travel schedule that would do in the hardiest of business travelers. The travel involved on playing for a pro franchise is one area where I would never begrudge the salary of a pro athlete.

Trade deadline hype: Well, another pro sports trade deadline has passed, and not much of anything happened. A disappointing deadline has become the rule, rather then the exception, and MLB's was just another example.

Despite all the breathless speculating by the MSM, and the anticipation of the respective fanbases, there was only 2 trades made that you could honestly say may have an effect on the pennant races. Those being the deals involving Mark Teixeria and Eric Gagne. The few other trades made were just the shuffling of extra pieces, 4A players and contracts.

All that talk, for all of 2 significant players changing teams? Only 2 playoff hopefuls making moves? There are several teams in the race for their respective division / wild card, the Tigers included, that needed help, but were either too afraid of making a mistake, or were rebuffed by the insane asking prices by the GM's of bottom dwelling teams trying to bend over contenders. (Cameron Maybin for a middle reliever? Uh, as if.) It's a toxic combination if you expect big deadline action.

I should have known better to think that much of importance was going to take place. MLB isn't the only sport that has a snoozer of a trade deadline. Trades never happen during the NFL regular season, period. In fact, they shouldn't even bother with a trade deadline. It'll give the loons on the networks one less thing to talk about.

There was never a bigger sign of the over-inflated importance of the trade deadline than the total bust that was the NBA's 2007 deadline. We saw wall-to-wall coverage form the worldwide leader, and...Nothing, absolutely nothing, happened.

The NHL used to have a great deadline day, the best in of all sport. Seemingly, dozens of player would change sweaters. But in the post strike, salary capped NHL, their deadline became utterly useless as well. It's a shadow of what was once one of the few days the NHL was above the fold news, and would lead off Sportscenter.

You'll never again see the days where the Red Wings picked up 4 name players (Chris Chelios, Wendel Clark, Bill Ranford, Ulf Samuelsson) at the 1999 NHL deadline. Now that was memorable, exciting day, and it had Detroit, the NHL, and all hockey fans, buzzing. That excitement is good for a league, especially one as brain dead at the top as is the NHL.

But there are few regular season salary dumps, and ever fewer risk takers, in any pro sport anymore.

In today's landscape, almost all big trades are made in the off season. And that's a damn shame...

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