Thursday, October 27, 2011

Grinds My Gears: Sports Edition

I was thinking about this last night while reading Sports Illustrated's Joe Posnanski's take on MLB postseason records being asterisked in this day and age. There's a lot of things I see reported or discussed that I feel get overstated and I've tried to steer away from them.

I'll start with MLB postseason records. There's no surprise that guys within the last 15 years have owned postseason records and you know why? Guys are playing more games. So I don't give career records the same legitimacy that I give old school guys before the creation of the LCS in 1969 and the LDS in 1995.

Those are definitely some inflated numbers in the grand scheme of baseball but at the same time, I would give guys props for stepping up in October. Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez and other guys of my era who have huge power numbers deserve all of their credit.

I'd rather divide up those postseason numbers by series. Like LCS records for HR's and RBI's, LDS records and then World Series records. That'd put things in proper context. Here's some other peeves, mostly stemming from the 24/7 news cycle

- Preseason debuts: I hate when announcers say so-and-so is making their professional debut in a preseason game. It's true but a preseason game isn't exactly a high stakes debut like when the games actually matter. It's us putting way more stock in preseason games than we should. It's fascinating to watch of course but what do we remember more? Cam Newton's first preseason game or his first NFL game?

- Must wins in the 1st half of a season: I don't know when this started but it has to stop. I understand the NFL is a 16-game season but week 4 isn't a must-win. I love the NBA but there aren't many mustwins in January as opposed to March or April.

This matters in college football when every game matters thanks to polls and the BCS. But in college basketball, NBA, NFL, NHL or any major sport, how a team performs early is usually no indicator of how they'll be at the end. Heck, we're watching a World Series where the Cardinals raced in due to a hot September. Again, a problem of creating too much hype and stories instead of letting stuff play out.

- Superteam Backlash. I blame the Miami Heat for this. They became the villains for a lot of reasons yet I think they never fully embraced the hated role. Yet everybody hated them, wanted to see them fail and as soon as they lost, hell fury came on them. (They did bring some of it on themselves though - 4th Quarter anyone?)

Now it's happening to the Eagles, all because Vince Young said it felt like a Dream Team. Nevermind the fact that the old axiom of "Chemistry trumps talent" has been true for years for a reason. I remember this all too well with the 2004 Lakers and losing to a better team in Detroit.

Nevermind also that there have been superteams for years and they were also hated for winning. Know why I hated the old Bulls? They won. Know why I hated the Celtics? They won. Yet 3 years ago, I don't remember anyone saying that Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen ruined the game with their sacrifice.

I don't mind hating superteams. But every time they lose, you don't have to throw their words in their face unless certain parts aren't living up to expectations (and remember, you can put up good numbers and still lose). It makes you look like a sarcastic fool instead of a sports fan who knows good and well you don't just throw parts together and expect to win right away.

Now arrogance is a whole different part to this but for the most part, teams disappoint more than fail. I get the occasional joke but the constant overkill gets on my nerves like no other. It distracts from us being able to actually break down why they're failing.

What your biggest pet peeves in sports? It can be fan or media-related.

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