Column: Are Beanball Wars Out Of Control?June 23, 2016

Just as the MLB season has heated up, so too have the “Beanball Wars.” The motivation for the incidents may vary, but the potential result is the same: Suspensions and/or injuries that could affect a team’s performance or jeopardize a player’s career. The most recent dust up occurred when Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura plunked Orioles third baseman Manny Machado in the back during a game on June 7. Machado’s offense was barking at Ventura after the pitcher had thrown inside to him earlier in the game. Machado dropped his bat and charged the mound, precipitating a benches-clearing brawl. When the melee ended, Ventura and Machado were ejected and later suspended by MLB, Ventura for nine games and Machado for four.

Read more

Column: Washington Redskins - A Controversy That Won't EndJune 16, 2016

If you’re looking for a controversy with no end, try this one: The debate on whether the Washington Redskins should change their nickname and team logos. Depending on who – and how – you ask, the nickname of the NFL’s third most valuable team ranges from a non-issue to a slur against Native Americans. The controversy was recently inflamed when the Washington Post published the results of a new poll that asked Native Americans a series of questions regarding their opinion of the term “Redskins.” A whopping 90% said the name doesn’t bother them. Only nine percent said the name was offensive, while one percent had no opinion.

Read more

Column: WNBA Still StrugglingJune 9, 2016

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) kicked off its 20th season on May 14 and depending on your point of view, it’s either on track to rival the success of its male counterpart or a league that’s still struggling for success and relevancy. In 1997, one year after the women’s Olympic team began a stretch of five straight gold medals and twenty-five years after the passage of Title IX, optimism ran high that the WNBA would be successful. And why not? It was underwritten by the NBA, played in first class arenas during the NBA’s “off season,” and included the greatest female basketball players in the world. League attendance in the first two seasons did nothing to dampen that enthusiasm, climbing from an average of 9,664 in its inaugural season to 10,864 in 1998.

Read more

Column: Baylor University Brought To TaskJune 2, 2016

After a damning report chronicled the mishandling of numerous sexual assaults on campus, Baylor University announced the suspension with the intent to fire its football coach, the demotion of its President and the probation of its Athletic Director. Despite the apparent severity of those penalties, given the horrific nature of the actions described in the report, they are both insufficient and come way too late.

Read more

Column: Firing Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez FutileMay 26, 2016

Baseball fans love to complain about their team’s manager, as if he is solely responsible for the success or failure of the team. Sometimes team management acts like the average fan, firing a manager when the move will have no effect on the success of the team. Such was the case with the recent firing of Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez after the team got off to a woeful 9-28 start to the season. The Braves had made it clear to everyone that they had no intention of competing in the National League East this year. Rather than spending money on proven Major League players when the team had virtually no chance to win the division, the Braves essentially conceded the season before it ever began. They traded away every frontline player save one, first baseman Freddie Freeman. Their goal was simple: Allow young players to gain experience in the Majors now and hope to be competitive next year when the team moves into a new stadium in suburban Atlanta.

Read more

Column: MLB's PEDs Policy A ConundrumMay 19, 2016

The 80-game suspension of Miami Marlins’ second baseman Dee Gordon for violating MLB’s drug policy may have set the stage for a discussion about the purpose of penalties: Deterrence or punishment? Like every other athlete who has ever tested positive Gordon issued the obligatory apology, saying he had no clue why the test results were positive and he had never knowingly ingested a tainted substance. Maybe he’s right, or maybe he’s lying. We may never know. There are so many chemicals in the food we eat and who-knows-what in the supplements most athletes consume that it’s possible, although highly unlikely given the substances found in Gordon’s sample, that he’s telling the truth. But here are four takeaways from Gordon’s suspension that we know to be absolutely true.

Read more

Column: Marlins Suing Season Ticket HolderMay 12, 2016

Angry sports fans may have found a lawsuit they can rally around. The Miami Marlins are suing a season ticket holder for failing to pay for tickets he didn’t receive. The fan’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the suit and claims “the team reneged on everything” it promised. Until the revenue from media rights fees skyrocketed, season tickets were the lifeblood of sports teams. And Mickey Axelband was a sports team’s dream. He had been a Marlins season ticket holder since the team’s first game in 1993. In 2011 he agreed to purchase two season tickets for 2012 and 2013. Axelband paid a total of $24,300 for the first year but after the team allegedly reneged on its promise to provide him certain benefits – e.g., seats in a special lounge - he stopped attending games and refused to pay for the second year of his contract. The Marlins elected to sue.

Read more

Column: Deflategate Keeps On HissingMay 5, 2016

If you feel like you’ve overdosed on Deflategate, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans feel just like you and millions more may join your group before the case hisses its way to a final conclusion. The case that seemingly won’t end has completed its latest chapter. Last week the Second Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to reinstate Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for tampering with the air pressure in footballs. Brady was initially suspended by an NFL hearing officer for allegedly tampering with the footballs used in the Patriots’ AFC Championship game rout of the Indianapolis Colts in January of 2015.

Read more

Column: Cost of Attending MLB Game Goes UpApril 28, 2016

Like the federal debt, the cost of attending a Major League Baseball (MLB) game is rising. This season the average increase over last year is 3.7%. That may not seem like a huge increase but in the twelve months preceding the opening of the 2016 season, the inflation rate was a mere 0.9%. Ticket prices alone increased 7.1% last year, almost eight times greater than last year’s inflation rate. According to Team Marketing Report’s (TMR) annual survey of MLB teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks provide the lowest overall fan cost of any of the 30 teams. That’s not news. This is the tenth consecutive year that Arizona has claimed the title. It all starts with ticket prices and the Diamondbacks have the lowest average season ticket price in the league at $18.53 per ticket. The Major League average is $31.

Read more

Column: Canadian Hockey Lags U.S.April 21, 2016

For the first time since 1970, the National Hockey League playoffs began without a single Canadian team in the chase for Lord Stanley’s Cup. The last of seven NHL teams north of the border was eliminated with 11 days left in the season. Like their neighbors to the south, Canadians disagree on religion. Canada’s number one religion is Catholicism with 39% of the population identifying themselves as Roman Catholics. The next largest group is non-believers, at almost a quarter of the population according to the National Household Survey conducted in 2013. But one thing all Canadians can agree on is hockey. It’s the country’s national sport and in some circles, even more important than religion.

Read more
Next Page