So it has come to this . . .
Today marks the All-Star break in the Major League Baseball season, and somehow all the teams I have an interest in following — the 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox, my hometown Minnesota Twins, the long-suffering “lovable losers” Chicago Cubs, and the Arizona Diamondbacks — are in last place in their divisions.
A statistician geek like Nate Silver might be able to calculate the odds that all four of these teams would be in last place at the break, but I am satisfied to know it has to be astronomical.
I still watch the games because I love the game, but my interest and enthusiasm for this season long ago waned. Maybe the playoffs and World Series will revive it.
I tried getting into soccer, excuuuse me — fútbol — watching some of the World Cup games. I’m sorry, but the announcers get excited when someone does not score, and they try to convince me that a game that ends in a scoreless tie after 90 minutes of regulation, something called “extra time” for stoppage of play subjectively decided by referees and two overtimes, and the winner is then decided by a shootout of penalty kicks is a “classic” for the ages that will be talked about for years. Dudes, that’s just three hours of my life being bored to tears I wish I could get back.
Soccer need new rules. First of all, the clock. In every other timed sport in the world the clock counts down to zero. You actually know how much time is remaining. It creates a sense of urgency, like the two minute drill and hurry-up offense in real football. And there should be no such thing as subjective “extra time.” Next, the “flop.” Really? What do you think this is, NBA basketball? (“touch fouls” have ruined the game). Faking injury should cost your team a one-on-one penalty kick on your goalie. That will put an end to this nonsense. Finally, I know that hockey has shootouts, but no. You keep playing until someone wins, like in college football and NFL playoff games. The current rules create a perverse incentive not to score to try to win it in the shootout. Then why not just skip to the end and not play the game?
After a disappointing summer of sports, ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!
Most NFL training camps open between July 23 and 26 (the Bills are early on the 18th, the Lions are late on the 27th). 2014 NFL training camp dates.
The NFL preseason begins with the Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio on Sunday, August 3, featuring the New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills. This year’s class of inductees into the Hall of Fame are: linebacker Derrick Brooks (Tampa Bay), punter Ray Guy (Oakland), defensive end Claude Humphrey (Atlanta), tackle Walter Jones (Seattle), wide receiver Andre Reed (Buffalo), defensive end Michael Strahan (NY Giants), and cornerback/safety Aeneas Williams (Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams). Class of 2014 Elected – Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The full NFL preseason schedule is here. NFL preseason schedule dates announced for 2014.
The NFL regular-season gets underway on Thursday, September 4 with the Greenbay Packers at the Seattle Seahawks in a rematch of last year’s controversial game (maybe the zebras won’t blow the call this time like they did last year). The other teams begin regular-season play on Sunday, September 7. 2014 NFL regular-season schedule – Week by week.
Is it too much to hope that my Minnesota Vikings will return to playoff form this year? Please!