Tag Archives: ESPN

Let Pete In

By Kaleb Page

March 19, 2015

The year was 1989 and Major League Baseball brought down the lifetime ban on one of its greatest players. A player that is the all-time hits leader for the highest level of baseball and known for his remarkable hustle on the field.

That player is none other than Pete Rose. The legendary Cincinnati Red (and Philadelphia Philly) was found guilty of breaking one of baseballs biggest rules: There shall be no betting on the game of baseball.

A simple rule that was more or less brought into effect after the Black Sox scandal that rocked the baseball world back in the 1920’s. However, Pete broke that rule and bet on the game while managing for the Reds. It wasn’t just the betting that found ‘charlie hustle’ in the MLB doghouse, it was also is insistence that he was innocent.

Ultimately Rose was found to be lying and banished from the game of baseball for life; an unfitting end for one of the most iconic players in the history of baseball.

A three-time World Series champion, 17 time All-Star and three-time national league batting champion (with 4,256 hits) should have a more prestigious ending than being shunned by the sport he gave so much to.

The debate over this topic has raged on especially with the likes of past commissioner Bud Selig. Selig was a major proponent of the ban and kept a firm stance all the way to his retirement this past year to keep Rose out of baseball.

The video above is from a past ESPN First Take episode where they debated the issue of Rose’s ban along with what might happen. It is interesting to see this story play itself out and develop even more as there was a new development in the case.

This week Rose sent a formal request to new commissioner Rob Manfred. This formal request asking for the removal of his lifetime ban. This new commissioner said he will consider the request, but wants to get all the facts in place (along with talking to Pete) before making a decision.

The video above is a more recent video from First Take where they talked a bit more extensively on the possibility of Rose’s reinstatement. The debate on the show is an interesting one and one that I have heard many times before.

As a Cincinnati Reds fan I know it is hard to contain the resentment towards the league about this ban on Rose, especially when players that do performance enhancers merely get a slap on the wrist in comparison to Rose’s punishment. It has been 26 years of time spent banished from the game of baseball.

That time should be up now.

I think those in the media that say time has been served are absolutely right. It has been long enough, for a man who played the game hard night in and night out, to get the honor he so rightfully deserves. He deserves much more than a cheesy commercial about being in the hall when he shouldn’t, and instead a formal enshrinement in Cooperstown next to the other legends of the game.

For Pete’s Sake!…Lift the ban.

Kevin Stallings Has Some Nerve Talking About Sportsmanship

By Ellen Chlumecky

March 2, 2015

There have been some great coaches in the history of sports. Coaches like Mike Ditka, Herb Brooks, Pat Riley, Pat Summit, and Vince Lombardi, made history by being dedicated, courageous, and obviously very tough. I’m sure that one of them has given their share of screaming matches with their players; however they probably weren’t broadcasted on television. I don’t think Kevin Stallings will be making the top 10 coaches of all-time list in the near future. This incident might be the reason why:

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=12390679&ex_cid=sportscenterTW

As you can very clearly hear in the video, Stallings says to Wade Baldwin, “I’ll kill you.” The reasoning behind his screaming was because he heard that Baldwin was clapping in Tennessee players’ faces after the final buzzer sounded. After Stallings heard of this poor sportsmanship, Stallings confronted Baldwin during postgame handshakes and demanded that he apologize. Baldwin appeared to ignore the Vanderbilt coach. This resulted in Stallings’ outburst.

While Stallings apologized for his comments in a release by the university, does it really make it acceptable? While he did mention that it was his haste to resolve the situation the spurred the inappropriate reaction, it doesn’t exactly make it acceptable. While everyone has their flaws, a statement of that nature should never be uttered by a coach to one of their athletes or one of their students.

Stallings said that Baldwin has “got some things to learn, some growing up to do if he’s going to play in this program.” Isn’t that a little ironic? It seems as if Stallings might want to join Baldwin in that little “growing up” process he’s supposed to be participating in. While he’s apologized to the student, you never know what Baldwin is thinking either. While he tweeted that he wasn’t offended or took not offense, do we know for sure if he’s nervous or scared about what Stallings said to him?

At the end of the day, the coach is someone who is supposed to be a role model and someone the athletes are not supposed to be scared of to come to with problems or concerns. Most of the time, they’re their first line of contact whenever something is happening in their life. Would you feel safe reporting to a coach that has once threatened to harm you? It’s hard to understand why someone would feel so comfortable screaming such obscenities on the court in front of fans, families, other fellow athletes, and students. There is a fine line between being tough and being cruel. While I understand what Baldwin did was immature and selfish, hold in your anger till you can calm down and rationally talk to your players.

 

 

The Walls of Rodriguez are Crumbling

By Kaleb Page

February 20, 2015

Years ago as a young kid looking to get my hands on sports books to read, I came across a book about an athlete that intrigued me. I had this feeling that he was going to be a special player even more so than he already was. This player was a young budding star in the MLB playing shortstop for the Texas Rangers.

His name was Alex Rodriguez.

As the years passed, I guess my feeling did come true with how Rodriguez turned into a larger than life athlete in the MLB. Eventually he inked a deal in 2007 with the marquee team in the league, the New York Yankees, a deal so astronomical it still can blow your mind (10 years for $275 million).

Now as I mentioned earlier Rodriguez grew into this larger than life figure on the field, and it wasn’t just figuratively speaking either; it was definitely literal too. As soon as he switched from the Rangers to the Yankees he began to grow from a decent sized player to a rather hulking man who eventually moved over to third base.

With the eventual steroids scandal that rocked the MLB and prominent player being popped for it, one player had a big mark on his back. That player just so happened to be Rodriguez and rightfully so was he questioned and looked to since he had such a quick body transformation. In fact, back in 2009 Rodriguez sat down on ESPN admitting his usage of steroids from 2001-03.

However, this story was just merely a scratch on the surface with how Rodriguez was involved in the world of steroids.

Then in 2013 Rodriguez found himself back in another ring of steroid use when trying to rehab from hip surgery. As it came to light, his involvement with Anthony Bosch and Bosch’s Biogenesis corporation dropped Rodriguez in even bigger trouble.

His involvement resulted in him missing a substantial amount of time in 2014 (162 games) and with Bosch’s conviction Tuesday (four years in prison); Rodriguez is toeing the line of being banned from baseball for good.

I find it interesting that Rodriguez has been laying this low for this long. It has been far different from guys like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa or even Mark McGuire in how the media handled their steroid convictions. It seemed as if the storm around their convictions raged on for months and never ended (maybe in part to the time the convictions came out).

It will be interesting to see where this whole thing goes, especially with baseball season approaching. It also will be interesting to see the dissection of a statement issued by Rodriguez on Tuesday trying to distance himself from not only Bosch but his past involving steroids. As spring training approaches and more is made of his statement, I wonder if it will grow to the level we saw with Bonds.

I can remember watching TV and all you would see is every stadium Bonds attended full of signs against everything he did. Will it be the same this season for Rodriguez if he plays? I can’t imagine it being any easier than it was with Bonds. This mainly being due to how adamant he was way back when about being clean and then turning around admitting his guilt. I also see the media scrutiny and pressure from questions before or after games ramping up as well.

I’m sure as Rodriguez wrote that letter today, he thought back to a time when things were much better, a time where a young kid like me was picking up a book about him being the next big thing to look up to.

Now kids see him as nothing more than another baseball cheat.

As the walls come tumbling down it makes you think ‘oh how the mighty have fallen.’

Betting in Sports: NBA Commissioner Silver has a Vision

By Kaleb Page

February 5, 2015

Sports and betting is almost as synonymous as peanut butter and jelly. Always you are seeing the over/under on a game, the line and other betting points for nearly every game or sport. One sport that has been rocked in the past with sport betting is the game of basketball and not at the lowest levels, but at its highest platform the NBA.

Back in 2007 the NBA was faced with a huge scandal involving then referee Tim Donaghy and betting on games. In ESPN’s column they said it was one of the ugliest gambling scandals to hit a professional sports league since the last two major ones involving the MLB in 1989 and 1919. At the time it hurt the integrity of the league because if an official was betting on games and/or games he was involved in then what is to stop the outcome from being fixed?

As the years passed since that huge incident and formal statements by the league against gambling were released; a new voice emerged on sports gambling. When David Stern retired, he turned the league over to long time associate Adam Silver. Silver assumed the role of commissioner on February 1, 2014 and shortly after taking the position released a op-ed for The New York Times with an interesting stance  on betting.

“I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated.” – Adam Silver

Quite the statement for the new commissioner to make, especially after a relatively short time since a big scandal involving his league and betting happened. However, if you look at the op-ed by Silver his points make perfect sense. He pointed to how so much has changed since laws enacted back in 1992 made it illegal to gamble on sports in all states (except Nevada). One change being that even though the law was put in place, gambling on sports is still there and increasing in popularity each year.

Another great point made was that other countries have made betting on sport a legal and regulated practice that cuts away the dark ambiguous areas seen here in the U.S. with betting laws. For example, in England they have betting kiosks at stadiums that are legal and regulated by the government. With many changes globally, commissioner Silver made the motion toward Congress to adopt their old framework on sports betting. This will hopefully allow sport betting without compromising any integrity of the game at hand.

I think commissioner Silver is absolutely right with his thinking, and with the push to make gambling and sport less of an ‘underground’ practice. It will definitely take someone in the power position that is forward thinking and able to provide a clear vision to make this happen. Silver fits in perfectly with both of those criteria.

I am glad he is the new commissioner of the NBA because he seems to be a leader who gets it. By ‘it’ I mean, he knows he has the power to progress things and make actual change, while also knowing that he needs to be willing to adapt to each situation. If you happen to be a fan of NBA basketball then I think you should feel good about what commissioner is in place for the foreseeable future.

More commissioners I think should look to him (even though he is relatively new in his role) for how to conduct themselves. While in a position of power it is fine to have a personality and speak your mind in an eloquent manner. It will be interesting to see where this goes and if the plan by Silver gains more movement.

Challenge and innovate past the status quo…that seems like the mindset for Adam Silver.

Below is an interview between Adam Silver and Outside the Lines reporter Andy Katz on various NBA topics and issues. If you want to get to the specific talking point of sport betting you can skip to three minutes in the video.

Protecting the Official: A look at a proposed bill

By Kaleb Page

February 2, 2015

With today’s society in America, the emphasis on sport and getting kids involved from an early age has never been higher. What could also be said about that fact is how the pressures and seriousness taken on by parents, players and fans is even higher as well.

At what cost is all this pressure? Are we all losing the fact that at an early age, while it is good to build skill and be competitive, that the game itself (being played by kids) should be fun? Another thing that should be mentioned as well is that parents are setting some poor examples for their kids at these sporting events.

In the state of Michigan, Senator Morris Hood III from Detroit is sponsoring a bill to hopefully curb this behavior in his state. In a Detroit Free Press article  the bill came to be after refs from lower Michigan came to Hood’s office after an incident where a soccer referee died days after being assaulted. Hood went on to say that the these refs had issues in the past of being harassed during a game and then followed out to their cars (even all the way home).

The bill that is still in the proposal stage will make assaulting a referee a felony. A three-year sentence in prison that could also come with a $10,000 fine. If the bill passes Michigan will join 23 other states that have similar laws like California, Florida, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Texas and Nevada just to name a few.

I think this is a good bill to have. You should not be allowed to go on the field or court of play and go after a referee. Even as a player you shouldn’t even be remotely close to hurting an official. I think as more and more we see the competitiveness of youth sports rise there needs to be more checks on how officials are treated.

Now I know we all do it, we all complain about a call here or there but it doesn’t mean we have the right to go off and assault the official. I remember watching an Outside the Lines report on ESPN about these cases growing in the United States at an alarming rate. It truly is sad to see people ruin a kids game by making a complete fool out of themselves.

I for one have been in games growing up as a kid where we had play stopped as a parent from another team ran on the court to go at a ref and once a coach even got ejected but wouldn’t leave the floor peacefully.

I hope this bill goes through and if anything a bill for all states is made. It is time to put out of control parents, fans and sometimes even players in their place for good. No more should we be having people doing their jobs (officiating just a game) in fear.

Why Does Mark May hate Ohio State.

By Paul Duncan

ESPN personality, Mark May has a bitter relationship with Ohio State and it has spiraled out of control. No school’s fans have a bigger rivalry with an analyst than Ohio State and Mark May. First let’s start with why Ohio State fans hate Mark May.

Throughout his tenure as an ESPN personality he has bashed Ohio State at every turn saying they’re not fast, saying they’re overrated, criticizing the NCAA for not punishing Ohio State more, and even saying he’d want to “whack” members of Buckeye fans. Yes he said on his Facebook that he wanted to physically harm “haters from Buckeye Nation.”

These comments have led Ohio State to retaliate by making funny signs, or reminding him on Twitter that he has 2 DUI’s, or that he got arrested for starting a riot, but more often they point to the 72-0 thrashing Ohio State gave May’s Alma Mater Pittsburgh in 1996.

But why does Mark May hate Ohio State? This is a question to which no one has a definitive answer. Some believe it has to do with the aforementioned drubbing Pitt received by Ohio State in 1996. Some people think it might have to do with him not being recruited by Ohio State out of high school, but for whatever reason Mark May can’t stand Ohio State and it’s starting to get out of hand.

Throughout the year Mark May never had the Buckeyes in the playoffs and even couldn’t get himself to say that the Buckeyes deserved to be the playoffs. This kind of analysis borders on trolling which should not be acceptable in this high up in television journalism. Sports show hosts have all kind of prejudices toward their favorite teams like Skip Bayless and his Cowboys, Lou Holtz and Notre Dame, and Dick Vitale and Duke but no personality has a personal vendetta against a team like May and OSU. Each time Ohio State wins new Mark May memes flood Twitter. Mark May trends in Ohio and people continue to make fun of him and frankly he deserves it. Now that Ohio State has won May is nowhere to be seen. May has shown that hating another team to the point where it interferes with his analysis is very harmful even if it gets a reaction.

 

Stuart Scott Dies at Age 49

By Ellen Chlumecky

On Sunday, January 4th, the sports world lost another talented man: Stuart Scott. Scott died at the age of 49, losing his battle to cancer. Scott went into remission in early 2012, but he was again diagnosed with cancer on January 14, 2013. He was also suffering from liver complications and kidney failure. His death was a huge loss to the sports community. His contributions to the sports world were nothing short of exceptional and dynamic. Scott had such a passion for sports and inspired so many others with his talent, work ethic, and devotion.

One of the reasons Stuart Scott was such an inspiration to so many is because of his overall presentation. While Scott was certainly not the first black sportscasters, he presented himself with the confidence as if he was. He talked about his personal experiences that a white sportscaster might not have had. His fellow colleagues expressed how he brought “soul” to the show and how he brought a different beat to every thing he did. He brought his own stories to the table and it started to cover a bigger demographic that wasn’t always being covered. He related well with many black athletes and a majority of them felt more comfortable because he related to them on many different levels.

Bringing his own personality to the show was just one minor break through Scott made on ESPN. With his clever catchphrases, Scott showed ESPN that he was in it for the long haul. Especially with his catchphrase, “Boo-yah” people were hooked on Scott wondering what he was going to come up with next. His charm beamed from him and all of his colleagues knew he was someone special.

Obviously his colleagues were not the only ones who saw something special in him. As a combination of his long-lasting battle with cancer and his perseverance, he received the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYS in July. Scott humbly accepted and made it known to the audience that he was not a hero, he just chose not to live around his cancer.

Twitter this morning was blown up with the mass amount of condolences for Scott and his family. Athletes like Johnny Manziel, Patrick Peterson, Mike Adams, Daniel Meadows, Nick Moody, and many others took to Twitter to express their heartfelt condolences and love of Scott. Even some celebrities such as Carson Daly, Rob Riggle, and Josh Gad talked about his legacy. Even President Obama talked about the tremendous impact Scott had on the sports world and what a loss his death is to so many people. ESPN dedicated their shows tonight to him and his family.

In the words of Stuart Scott: “When you die, it does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” While he may be gone, he will continue to be an inspiration for so many anchors and aspiring sportscasters. So many people my age looked up to him and aspire to be as dynamic as him. He presented himself professionally but was so charismatic and enjoyable to watch. In our hearts, he will always be “as cool as the other side of the pillow.”

While I am not the biggest fan of ESPN, Scott was a reporter I truly respected and genuinely enjoyed watching. He spoke with such eloquence that made me see him as more than just someone relaying statistics. The world lost not only an amazing sportscaster, but a powerful writer, which in this day and age is something we need more than ever.

 

Alexi Lalas: Moving to Fox Sports

By Kaleb Page

Quality soccer commentary in the U.S. is at a premium. Especially for commentators that are from the U.S. and can actually articulate not only the names, but the chess match that is soccer. ESPN had this premium in more ways than one with commentators Taylor Twellman and Alexi Lalas. Recently both of these key American soccer analysts went their opposite ways.

In the world of soccer, America is looked at as a lackluster soccer playground. Especially when it comes to the knowledge of the game and the subtle nuances that lends itself to the phrase “the beautiful game.” This past summer with the success and valiant efforts put forth by the U.S. men’s national soccer team, it started to show the change here in the states. In Brazil the following by the U.S. could not be mistaken and those that could not make it showed tremendous support unlike most World Cup’s in years past.

Twellman and Lalas both brought a knowledgeable American voice to the forefront of soccer. Something that those not up to par on their soccer could look to and get their facts in order to really learn the game. I think over the years these two have built more of a soccer following here and allowed more people to actually know what they are talking about with soccer (possibly why Brazil had such a successful following). With Twellman and Lalas exclusively on ESPN, it provided a platform to reach the masses and it opened the eyes to the rest of the networks.

Recently the contract for Twellman and Lalas came up at ESPN which led to Fox Sports jumping in to sign them away. With a battle between the two networks it came down to the two analysts to make a decision. For Twellman it was to stay with ESPN, and for Lalas it was to move on to Fox Sports. In something he said was like them giving him the godfather treatment.

Fox Sports still has to officially announce that Lalas has made the move, but for Lalas it was a no-brainer move. Creatively Fox Sports is one of the best sports outlets for soccer coverage, and some would say even better than their counterpart ESPN. Fox has these key soccer fixtures under their rights: 2015 Women’s World Cup, 2018 Men’s World Cup, a new MLS package and their already great coverage of the Champions League, FA Cup and soon the German Bundesliga. For any soccer analyst, especially one as outspoken and knowledgeable as Lalas, this network is a dream come true. This move also allows Lalas to be closer to his kids. Lalas lives in Los Angeles and Fox Sports has its studio in LA, which for Lalas is a 20 minute trip instead of his ESPN 3,000 mile flight.

For myself I would say it is a blow to the ESPN soccer analysis to lose the likes of Lalas since he gives such an honest take on what is going on in soccer. To be honest in years past I would be in the group of Americans who had little knowledge of the game and the tactics. With the help of a friend like Seth Glover, countless soccer matches on TV, FIFA videogames and analysis by those like Lalas; I now have a better understanding. It will be interesting to see how Lalas is incorporated to Fox’s already vast array of soccer coverage, and is able to give more of the country knowledge on “the beautiful game.”

Mumps Outbreak Spreads Through NHL

By Nick Muhl

Yes, you did in fact read that last headline correctly. The National Hockey League is currently experiencing a moderate outbreak of the mumps. While NFL headlines argue whether Johnny Manziel should or shouldn’t be a starting quarterback and the NBA is going wild watching the Golden State Warriors fast start to the season, the NHL is investigating one of the strangest stories to hit a major sports league in 2014.

Mumps is “an acute, inflammatory, contagious disease caused by a paramyxovirus”. Symptoms include fever, headaches, muscle pains, fatigue and swollen glands but can be prevented by a vaccine and mostly only affects children.

Currently multiple teams and players have contracted the disease including players on the Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers, and several superstars including the Duck’s Cory Perry, the Rangers Tanner Glass, Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Suter, and now most recently the Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby.

Crosby, like many other NHL players, received a mumps vaccine booster shot prior to traveling to Russia for the Winter Olympic games in Sochi. In an interview with ESPN, Dr. Greg Wallace, a lead epidemiologist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said that “considering the lengthy incubation period of the mumps, it’s virtually impossible to predict how long this outbreak will affect the league.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, also known as the CDC, also reports several hundred to a couple thousand cases of the mumps every year. The high number of cases in a little over a month in the NHL is alarming. However, with close contact locker rooms and multiple games in different cities each week – it is understandable why the disease has spread somewhat quickly and yet the origin cannot be traced.

According to USA Today, the NHL released information to each team regarding the mumps outbreak and how to prevent the spread of the disease. It remains to be seen if the NHL will provide additional support to prevent the spread of the disease, because of its nature there is no telling when the outbreak may end for the league.

While many fans, players, and media want the NHL to track down “patient zero”, it may be more important for the NHL to find a way to prevent the further spread of this disease before the NHL becomes subject to more serious headlines.

Media Weighs in on Cleveland Browns Starting Quarterback Position

By Nick Muhl

Late in the fourth quarter of the Cleveland Browns game Sunday versus the Buffalo Bills, starting Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer was benched for the rookie Johnny Manziel. The highly awaited move by Browns head coach Mike Pettine was loudly cheered for as Mr. “Money” Manziel stepped on the field. Manziel did lead the Browns on their single touchdown-scoring drive of the day, capped off by a Johnny Manziel rushing touchdown. Following the 26-10 loss, the Browns coach did not make a decision on who the starting quarterback would be the next week for the Browns versus the Indianapolis Colts.

In his past three games, Hoyer has thrown one touchdown and six interceptions. The Browns have lost two of their   last three games. Despite his slow streak in the past three games, Hoyer still has the Browns at a 7-5 record and facing their best chance to win the AFC North and capture a playoff spot in many seasons. However Hoyer still faces losing his starting position to the former Texas A&M heisman trophy winner.

Hoyer had this to say about his starting position on Monday in a post-practice interview, “You don’t get to 7-5 in the NFL just lucking into it,” Hoyer said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, and I think I’ve proven that I’ve gotten us to this point. I feel like I can carry us through the next four games.”

The Cleveland Browns traded up in the first round of this past year’s draft to select Johnny Manziel with the intention of him one day being the starting quarterback for the franchise. However, is the time now? Up until this point Pettine has remained firm in his position that the veteran Hoyer gives the Browns the best chance to win.

There is no denying Johnny Manziel’s popularity, following the NFL draft Manziel remained the number one NFL selling jersey for many months. His level of popularity has already put pressure by the media on the Browns franchise to answer the question, when will Johnny become the starting quarterback for the Browns?

After benching Hoyer this past Sunday, the media pressure has reached an all-time high. According to Washington Post writer Mark Maske, there is no turning back now for the Cleveland Browns franchise,

“The Browns invested plenty of hope in Manziel when they drafted him, and now it should be time to find out whether he can deliver. It’s the way of the NFL. Once a team turns to its young, would-be franchise quarterback, it generally stays with him until he demonstrates whether or not he can play. It would be extremely difficult to go back to Hoyer now.”

The Washington Post wasn’t the only paper to publish articles urging that now is the time for Johnny Manziel to be given the job. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Chicago Tribune, ESPN blog writers and many more all weighed in this week on the largest new story in the NFL at the moment. An overwhelming majority appealing to Pettine to give the headline grabbing rookie a chance this week against Andrew Luck.

The Browns franchise has faced many obstacles in its search for its first Super Bowl and a franchise quarterback. Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, and Colt McCoy are just a few high draft picks the Browns have used over the past 15 seasons in hopes of finding a franchise quarterback who could lead them to victory and capture an AFC North title. It remains to be seen if Manziel will be given the chance this week against Indianapolis.