Showing 1 - 4 of 4 posts found matching keyword: baseball

Despite the lopsided presentation, I very much approve of this year's World Series sleeve patch.

Walter Stephens 2017

Okay, MLB. You win. I'll watch this year's games.

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This week marks the 20th anniversary of the 1994 MLB players strike. I never talk about baseball here at Wriphe.com, and that strike is the reason why.

My family had tickets to several games that were cancelled in 1994 because players and owners were greedy. I actually liked baseball at the time. I was young and didn't know any better. Live and learn.

Maybe I carry a grudge too far, but I haven't attended a single MLB event in the two decades since. That means I will never set foot inside Turner Field, a stadium that the Braves consider obsolete and are abandoning for their boondoggle in Cobb County. And to be clear, I have no interest in attending a baseball games there before they abandon that stadium in 2030.

Fortunately, the NFL hasn't made the same mistake yet. I'm good at walking away from things when given a chance. I stopped buying Batman comics when DC Comics "killed" the character and canceled his series. If I can walk away from Batman, I can walk away from you, too, Football.

The strangest thing to me about this anniversary is that I hadn't even noticed it had been twenty years. My, how time flies when it's not weighed down with the world's most boring sport.

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This post is a little late, but I've had a busy weekend. Saturday night I attended the first University of Georgia football home game vs South Carolina. I was excited because I love night games, and the game had a 7PM kickoff. If I had known before hand that the game was going to take over 4 hours to play, I'm sure that would have dampened my enthusiasm somewhat.

UGA 41, South Carolina 37

Two things slow down a football game: scoring and penalties. And this game had both in spades. Thirty one points were scored in the first quarter alone. There were 24 penalties called in the game, 11 for us and 13 for them, for a total of 206 yards. Six of those penalties resulted directly in first downs. But we won, so I'd be a fool to complain. Besides, the game had just about everything else you could ask for: special teams touchdowns, long runs, long passes, blocked kicks, goal line stands, shouting matches between the coaches, last second drama. It was a good game.

I would not call Sunday's match up between the Miami Dolphins and the Atlanta Falcons a "good game." The Dolphins flat out stunk. Sure, this was the first game of the season for both teams. The Georgia Dome, even when not full to capacity, can be a pretty hostile environment to opposing teams ("loud" is an understatement). But that's no excuse for four (4!) Dolphins turnovers and an anemic... well, everything. Just two years ago I watched an entire season in which the Dolphins won only 1 football game, and even then they couldn't even aspire to this level of ineptitude. I have a name for this level of failure: Pennington.

Miami 7, Atlanta 19

If you've been paying attention, you'll know that I've railed against Chad Pennington before. (On August 11, 2008, and January 4, 2009, to be exact.) While I have grown to admire his never-say-retire-while-they're-still-throwing-money-at-me attitude, his weak arm and failing body have hurt us in the past just as they cost the Dolphins any chance at winning today.

Watching the team warm ups, I noticed that Pennington's longest warm-up pass was exactly 15 yards. Pennington's longest pass of the day was almost exactly 20 yards in the air. My brother was quick to point out that on that pass, Pennington took three big steps forward before heaving the pass, and the ball still wobbled like a lame duck. The Falcons must also have been paying attention, as they didn't bother to cover any Dolphins deep, knowing that the ball would never go that far. As if that wasn't bad enough, every time Pennington dropped back to pass, the Dolphins receivers themselves generally aborted their routes to ensure that Pennington's passes could still reach them despite the fact that this prevented almost any chance of catching the ball past (or in most cases near) the first down marker. Thanks, Chad.

On the upside, on rookie Pat White's first play in a regular season NFL game, he heaved the ball an impressive 40 yards, overthrowing the fastest Dolphin receiver deep down the field. My brother went berserk, amazed that Pennington could launch the ball so far. He was heartbroken when I explained that Pennington had been replaced for that down with another quarterback. Though come to think of it, he may have just been upset that the coaches immediately put Pennington back in and never let White throw again during the game. In any case, at least it's good to know that there's someone on the team who can throw the ball, even if the coaches are determined to keep him off the field.

Tickets, anyone?

I should mention that these football games were the second and third sporting events that I attended this week. I also watched the Gwinnett Braves (AAA affiliate of the MLB Atlanta Braves) lose a playoff game 0-3 on Wednesday night. The Braves would go on to lose the series, and after watching them play in person, I'm not surprised.

The picture below gives a pretty accurate indication of the turnout for the game against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barr (Pennsylvania) Yankees (AAA affiliate of the MLB New York Yankees). There were just enough people in attendance that team mascot Chopper the Groundhog was able to annoy everyone in attendance personally, one at a time.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barr Yankees 3, Gwinnett Braves 0

Why a team named the Braves would have a groundhog for a mascot is explained only once you realize that the main thing that Gwinnett County has of any name recognition is a number of large shopping malls, and they make lousy mascots. General Beauregard Lee, the groundhog at Gwinnett's Yellow River Game Ranch is the state of Georgia's "Official" predictor of spring arrival. We don't care for Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil in these parts, especially if we're going to get beaten by Phil's state baseball clubs.

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This weekend I was thinking about how pleased I am that baseball season is over because it means that after several months of self-imposed exile, I can listen to Atlanta's 96 Rock radio station again. During the season, 96 Rock - Atlanta's oldest FM station, number 96.1 on your analog radio dial - forgoes classic rock 'n roll for Atlanta Braves coverage. It sucks to tune the radio in hoping for AC/DC or Tom Petty and hearing Skip Caray lamenting weak batting instead.

I suppose it's a trade-off for the Clear Voice >shudder< owned radio station: losing the listening audience like me that tunes out because we're not hearing music versus the increase in listeners due to the broadcast of a baseball game. But who even pays attention to baseball anymore?

Television ratings for baseball games have been gradually declining for decades. Major League Baseball frequently points out that revenue is up and allowing for inflation, ticket prices have remained relatively consistent over the past half-century. This really means that revenues aren't so much up, they're just much larger numbers thanks to that same inflation. So baseball revenue has been largely stagnant for years, indicating an overall decrease in interest among a growing American population. America's Pastime? More like America's Past Time.

I'm pretty sure that radio ratings are falling across the board as people are given more options in the home, office, and car. (I looked at the internet in an attempt to verify this, but all I could find were sites maintained by radio advertisers such as the Radio Advertising Bureau, and they are the last group of people who would willingly confirm this.) I'm not surprised that broadcasting baseball games may provide a shot in the arm for declining ratings in an industry besieged by the variety of popular entertainment. However, I would think that weakening your listening base by bisecting your listenership into summer sports fans and winter rockers would only damage your all-too-important brand loyalty.

So give it up, 96 Rock, and give me America's other dying amusement: rock and roll.

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To be continued...

 

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