10 Reasons The NY Yankees Won’t Win World Series in 2018

Image result for yankees world series wins

Overnight, the “Baby Bombers”, morphed back into the “Evil Empire”, and the bandwagon is getting crowded fast.  However, before Yankee fans (of which I am one) start celebrating number 28, (as in World Series wins) below is ten reasons why that flag may not be raised come November.

10Surprise team.  Which team might this be?  I don’t know, that’s why they call it a surprise.  Not too many people were picking The Philadelphia Eagles to win the Superbowl this year.  Since the inception of the wild card in 1994, six wild cards have won the world series.  That, and worst to first is like a thing now.

9Aaron Judge does not duplicate rookie success.  Judge can have a great year and still fall short of 52 homers and 114 RBI.  You can’t just pencil in production like that.  And while he is expected to be 100% ready by spring training, he did have off-season shoulder surgery.  I guess we will find out if that second half slide he has last season was due to the shoulder or pitchers adjusting to him.

8Giancarlo Stanton just had the best year of his career.   It is also the first time in his 8 seasons he has played more than 150 games.  What are the odds he plays all 162 again?  And while he did not come to the Yankees via free agency, it is his first season in NY, with a huge contract and huge expectations, oftentimes, it takes half a season to a season to adjust to life and pressure in the pinstripes.

7Thin starting pitching.  There is a reason why GM Brian Cashman is scouring the pitching market.  For an ace/ #1, Luis Severino can be inconsistent, Mashahiro Tanaka under-performed last season, and his elbow is still a candidate for needing Tommy John surgery.  CC Sabathia has knee issues and father time banging on his door, and Sonny Grey is good but doesn’t scare anybody.  Like former hall of fame Yankee manager Joe Torre use to say… We will only be as good as our pitching.

6Injuries.  You never know who or when the bug might hit you.  In addition to red flags of Tanaka and Sabathia, Aroldis Chapman spent time hurt last season.  In the four seasons prior to last, Stanton missed, 43, 88, 17, and 46 games.

5– Reacting to the pressure.  The Yankees are no longer be the cute underdog Baby Bombers.  They are among the favorites.  In other words they’re back to being the hunted.  We’ll see how the players and the rookie manager handle the pressure and adversity that comes with that.

4– Dodgers are still the favorite.  The Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs will still be around.

3– Bullpen may be overratedAroldis Chapman was inconsistent and showing signs of declineDellin Betances was a disappointment last season.  Yes the pen is still a strength, but it may be just a tad overrated and overused due to a starting rotation that doesn’t give you a ton of innings (in part due to analytic era) and possible injuries.  Will they be fresh by the postseason?

2– Rookie Manager/ rookie bench coach – it’s all well and good to have a winning smile, and get all along with everyone at ESPN, but neither that nor the home run Aaron Boone hit in 2003 will prepare him for every situation he will face.  Looks like he makes a great “good cop”, but sometimes being a great manager means being “a bad cop”, and analytics won’t always have the answer.   Not sure if it’s all-inclusive, but according to ESPN, rookie managers don’t win often.

1– Teams with better starting pitching.  This goes with number 7.  The Bombers may set all kinds of records during the regular season, in part due to feasting on pitching on bad teams.  The playoffs tend to bring out the teams with very good to great pitching.  Right now, the teams list in number 4 have better starters.

With their hitting and bullpen, the Yankees are clearly built to make a strong regular season run.  The post season?  Not so sure.  Of course other teams can be hit by injuries, and there is still plenty of time for the Yankees to improve their starting pitching via free agency, trade, or one of their ballyhooed prospects coming into play.

It will not be a big surprise if the Yankees do win number 28, but these are some reasons not to plan the parade down the Canyon of Heroes just yet.
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When To Legalize PED’s And Medical Marijuana In The NFL

HGH-products-variety

Seems like we can’t go too long without a debate on the use of PED’s and medical marijuana in the NFL (and other sports). They’re not quite the same but, forgive the pun, I want to tackle them both. First up, PED’s. I’ve always been firmly against the use of performance enhancers for the following reasons:

  1. When used to get a competitive advantage.
  2. They can be dangerous if abused and taken over an extended period of time.
  3. When some players use it, it puts pressure on other players to make the same choice to keep up.
  4. It’s against the law and or is cheating.
  5. Bad example and dangerous for kids and teenagers.

peytonmanning

None of that has changed. However, Peyton Manning’s recent “exoneration” from an alleged HGH allegation got me thinking. Let’s pretend for a second he did use HGH. If a guy has four neck surgeries and missed an entire season, and uses some HGH to help heal and recover and get back to his previous established performance level, do we really want to compare that to the ongoing use of a healthy player using it to improve performance beyond his established level?

With or without medical advice there are a LOT of drugs that have side effects and are bad for you. In fact, according to Harvard University center for ethics, prescription drugs are the fourth leading cause of death in America.

If a player has a season ending and or career threatening injury I am okay with him taking PED’s for a limited time, and under a league approved doctor’s supervision. In this limited circumstance:

  1. I do not see the player as getting a competitive advantage.
  2. It would not put undue pressure on other players to use when healthy.
  3. In this use, it wouldn’t be cheating if it was league approved.
  4. And it would be not a bad example to kids for the above reasons.

Marijuana is a little more complicated. I hear the NFL receiving criticism from many analysts on ESPN stating:

  1. Medical marijuana is legal.
  2. It is a hypocrisy for the league to test for marijuana given they make money from alcohol.
  3. It is not a performance enhancer.
  4. Football is such a violent sport, players need it for pain relief.

These arguments are not without merit. For instance, in 2013, what would you guess had more deaths related to it? Marijuana or alcohol? The answer is alcohol. Maybe that is not a surprise after all alcohol is legal. But what if I told you that the number of deaths due to alcohol in 2013 was 18,361 and for marijuana it was only 2,123? That’s a big difference right? Well guess what? I made those numbers up.  They’re worse. Deaths due to alcohol was 29,001 and for marijuana was, wait for it… zero! You can see the chart I pulled this from, here.

However I cannot fault the NFL or any league for keeping marijuana against it’s rules. First of all, until medical marijuana is legal in all states and survives initial appeals of such legality, I do not think the league should legalize it. But let’s assume that day comes.

If an NFL player wants to take marijuana for pain relief, or other approved medicinal use, I think he should be able to appeal for a waiver allowing him to take it in tablet form.

A medicinal reason to take marijuana should not be an excuse to “toke up” or chow down on brownies. Smoking and eating marijuana is associated with its recreational use and this is not what the waiver is providing for.

In order for this waiver to be approved, a league or team approved Dr. would have to:

  • Explain what other pain relievers have been tried and why the marijuana is needed.
  • The Dr. would have to inform the league of the dosage and length of time the player would need to use.
  • The player would need to submit to additional testing to measure the amount of marijuana in his system to ensure he is sticking to the prescribed dose and not abusing it.

Again, medicinal approval should not be a gateway to recreational use.

Yes, the league is hypocritical by looking the other way and profiting from alcohol. However, in this sense they are following the hypocritical lead of the country since the failure of prohibition, but to suggest that because they don’t do anything to prevent the use and abuse of one drug, alcohol, they should not for another is an argument I would expect from a rebellious teenager.

The league’s intention of keeping it illegal, is to protect their assets from themselves. Just like there are clauses in contracts to keep athletes from engaging in activities that increase the odds of injury, like skydiving or other sports.  

There is nothing wrong with this.  Owners invest a lot of money in players and it is not unreasonable for them to take measures to keep them from becoming addicted to a recreational drug that is addictive and can be a DPD, decrease performance drug, and a negative locker room influence.  

An irony here is that the NFL has been very rightly criticized for its handling of the concussion issue, but here they are getting criticized for not letting its players use an addictive drug?

I can just imagine if it was the opposite and the league had a lax policy for marijuana use.  They would be getting criticized for allowing players to do it, or looking the other way, so players can deal with pain and can get on the field and play through it. And with righteous anger they would state now you have these retired players who are addicted and have health problems and what is the league going to do about that?!

Max

ESPN’s First Take Co-Host Max Kellerman thinks the NFL is wrong on Marijuana Testing.

Talking heads love to talk and love to criticize.

So to surmise. Yes on PED’s to assist with recovery from season ending or career threatening injuries only. (I am open to its use for other severe injuries so long as the procedure is serious and legit and not used as a gateway/loophole for rampant use)

Yes to marijuana, if and when it becomes legal in all states where the NFL or a particular league plays, and with stipulations to help ensure it gets used for it’s intended purpose.

I’ll Still Take Larry Bird Over LeBron James

jamesbird
It is a good time to be a LeBron James fan. Having won his third NBA Finals MVP, and leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a historic Championship, the LeBron “lovers” (seems only fair to call them that since they call anyone who challenges the LeBron is a demi-god narrative a hater or a troll) are understandably pounding their chests, and elevating LeBron’s historical place in the game.

According to some of the loving talking heads at ESPN, LeBron is clearly a top three to five player, maybe one, and with this latest championship, definitely the best small forward ever, over Larry Bird.

Here are two ways to talk about the best ever and demonstrate why the lovers are wrong:

  • One, if you were to start a team with one player, who would it be?
  • Two, if you could put together the best starting five, who would it be?

The difference is the best five ever can have two people playing the position, best starting five asks for the best at each.

jamesbird2

So, who is my best starting five?  At the point guard I am going with Magic Johnson.  At power forward, Tim Duncan. At shooting guard, do I really have to say it? Okay, Michael Jordan.  With respect to Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlin who I didn’t see play, I’ll take the underappreciated Kareem Abdul Jabbar at center.

Now before I say why I will take Bird over James at small forward (the title of the blog was kind of a spoiler), let me ask you, as great as my starting four is, what is one glaring weakness in this lineup?  Ding ding ding, three point shooting!  Give all the readers who got it a prize.  Given the other starting four, Bird is simply a better fit in this all-time lineup.

Just to show the lovers that I am not a hater, if Steph Curry continues on his trajectory and manages to somehow supplant Magic as the starting point guard, then there becomes a better argument to put James in the starting five over Bird.  I’ll get back to you after Curry retires on that one.

Okay one part down.  As far as who I would want to start a team with, first let me say as far as talent goes, and from what I have seen, LeBron is top three of all time. However, to use the often used Batman/ Robin metaphor, he has Batman talent but Robin mentality.  If I was guaranteed to have a team with two alpha dog stars there is a good chance I would want LeBron to be one of them. For example, I think a young LeBron would have done better with an in his prime Shaquille O’Neal than Kobe Bryant.  Conversely, if I was guaranteed to have one star, there are others I would take before him.  Larry Bird being one, and Kobe Bryant another.

I can hear the lovers screaming about LeBron’s back to back 41 points in the finals and other pretty statistics.  I’m not saying LeBron can’t be clutch or can’t ever close, I’m saying those are skills just like passing and rebounding, and when compared to the best of the best, others do it better.  His former teammate Dwyane Wade being among them.

Between Bird and LeBron, both are all-time great passers, but I’ll give an edge to LeBron. Both can rebound the ball, but edge Bird. Both can score, but three point shooting, foul shooting, and late game foul shooting, big edge Bird.  LeBron is a much better defender, ball handler and driver to the basket.  As far as being clutch, leadership (can’t imagine Bird writing “sub-tweets” about teammates) and intangibles (such as more likely to make a steal versus turn it over) solid edge Bird.

So, it is not a landslide or anything but after reviewing the tale of the tape, as of now,  I’m sticking with Larry Legend.

LarryLegend

Between Allen Iverson And Steve Nash, The Answer is Nash

And It Is Not Even Close

nashIversonWith the latest injury and announcement that 40-year-old future hall of famer Steve Nash will miss the entire upcoming NBA season, many in the media have begun to understandably eulogize Nash’s career.  Indeed, we have likely see the last of him as far as playing in the NBA. One comparison I hear making the rounds is who was better between he and another great guard destined for the hall of fame, Allen Iverson.

Most I have listened to on ESPN, led by an admittedly biased Stephen A. Smith, (Smith credits A.I. for helping him in his career in sports print/TV journalism) either slightly or heavily point to Iverson as being the better or the two, and or the one they pick for their team. I believe Stephen A. stated that A.I. was on another level compared to Nash.

Hogwash. Iverson was great but players like Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook must get sick hearing talk about Iverson sometimes, because when they shoot a lot, they’re selfish ball stoppers. When A.I. shoots a lot, despite how many times he misses, he is demonstrating heart. Because A.I. was very tough, fearless, and lets face it, short by NBA standards, he sometimes got a pass on being a volume shooter, and dare I say selfish player, that others would not.

With Nash and Iverson you can make the debatable argument that if either is the best player on your team you will not win a championship. Assuming that is the case, I am far more confident that Nash could have an easier time adjusting his game, and being the second best player on a team than Iverson.

We know Nash was an all-time great passer.  Currently he is number three on the all time assist list.  Yes, he did more to make his teammates better, but he was also a great two, three, and foul shooter, as demonstrated by being part of the exclusive 50-40-90 club  (pointed out by Smith’s sparring partner on ESPN’s First Take, Skip Bayless, who does give a slight edge to Nash.)

Here is a question to ask yourself in the comparison. Hoopsmanifesto
lists the top ten NBA players of all-time as being:

10 – Kobe Bryant

9 – Shaquille O’Neal

8 – LeBron James

7 – Tim Duncan

6 – Wilt Chamberlain

5 – Larry Bird

4 – Magic Johnson

3 – Kareem Abdul- Jabbar

2 – Bill Russell

1 – Michael Jordan

If we could ask them, who on this list do you think would prefer to play with A.I. and who would want to play with Nash? With the possible exception of Magic, my bet is that everyone would rather play with Nash.  Let’s add some more names, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Kevin Durant, Dwayne Wade, Derrick Rose, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Kevin Love, Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, Julius Erving, Reggie Miller, etc, etc… who would most to all of these guys rather play with between A.I. and Nash?  That is the player I want on my team.

And yes, I have to talk about practice… Who is the better practice player? The more coachable player? More likely to make teammates better? To lead by example and be a better mentor? The answer to all of these is Nash. Better raw skills? I will give that slight edge to A.I. but that does not make him the better nor more desirable player.

A.I. did play with tremendous heart, but because of height, I think he gets talked about and elevated over others I would take before him in a team game…To name some:  Ray Allen, Jason Kidd, John Stockton, and Gary Payton come to mind as others I would take over A.I..  (Isaiah Thomas is already acknowledged by most as being better than Iverson)

Barry Bonds, Tim Duncan, Alex Rodriguez, Peyton Manning and the Skip Bayless Double Standard?

Does Bayless Flip Flop on the Criteria He Uses to Judge Who is Best?

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on May 11th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

When asked on ESPN’s First and Ten on May 6th who is the best baseball player of all time Skip Bayless answered Barry Bonds. He discounted Bonds’ alleged steroid use. He sloughed off that Bonds ” — wasn’t that great in the postseason”.

Here is what Skip has had to say about other great athletes:

On Peyton Manning – He calls him the greatest regular season quarterback of all time but eliminates him from the greatest of all time QB discussion because of his postseason performances.

On Tim Duncan – Includes Tim Duncan on his list of top ten greatest basketball players of all time, and the first factor he mentions as to why is because of the four championship rings he won with the San Antonio Spurs.

On Alex Rodriguez – Before Rodriguez wins a World Series with The New York Yankees, Skip dubs A-Rod as A-Fraud, because of his poor playoff performances.

Now follow me Skip:

  • If Peyton Manning has won a Superbowl MVP…
  • If four NBA championships put Duncan in the conversation…
  • If A-Rod was A-Fraud in your eyes before winning a World Series…

Since Barry Bonds did not win a World Series than how is he not a fraud when his postseason numbers are not any better than A-Rod’s in the same sport? Or comparable with Manning’s for his sport? Not to mention how you discount Lebron James in basketball for what you call his lack of clutch gene.

By your own logic and past arguments how can you rate Bonds the best? Further, it is a gross understatement when you say Bonds was not that great in the postseason. Pre what the consensus was for Bonds’ PED use, he was terrible in the playoffs in his Pittsburgh Pirates days, especially when you apply the stringent standards that you do Skip when talking about superstars in any sport.

At best, if you do want to discount PED use (which I wouldn’t) I can see how you would reach the same conclusion with Bonds that you do with Manning and call him the greatest regular season player you ever saw. Because I don’t discount alleged PED years, I would take Ken Griffey Jr. as my best from Bonds’ era.

For all-time greatest? I’m sticking with The Great Bambino, Babe Ruth. Ruth would have probably hit over 900 home runs but he was too busy accumulating more complete games and shut outs than Pedro Martinez.

Look at it this way, when their careers are done I can see a modern-day debate between Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriquez for who is better. Now imagine one of them pitching and winning over 90 games and having a World Series pitching e.r.a. of under one. Who ya got under those circumstances?

What Babe Ruth accomplished would be like Tom Brady intercepting more passes and running back more punt returns for touchdowns than Deion Sanders.

Ruth is in the “who is the greatest discussion” with just his hitting. His pitching ends the debate for me. It’s to prisoner of the moment to say never as far as what we will or won’t see again in terms of an athlete. But the Babe, and a baseball player that dominant as a pitcher and a hitter tops the list of least likely to ever see again.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

Who’s the Batman? Who’s the Robin? Who Cares?

A Better Way for NBA Superstars to Co-exist

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on May 10th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

An annoying trend that has developed in the NBA is whenever two superstars like Lebron James and Dwyane Wade are on the same team the media is in a rush to dub one of them as “The Batman” and the other as “The Robin”. Batman being the main star and Robin the subservient side kick.

Most recently on ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption, MichaelWilbon and TonyKornheiser were talking about this with the two stars on the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. With the consensus in the sports world being Westbrook must accept his role as the Robin. So far this is seemingly creating tension and confusion.The problem is, aside from maybe Richard Simmons and the guy who played Gunther on Friends, nobody grows up fantasizing about being Robin. Batman, Superman, or Green Lantern, sure. You want to go Marvel? Spiderman, The Human Torch, maybe Ironman. But not Robin.

To make matters worse, of all the major sports, basketball markets its stars more than any other. In football it’s the Dallas Cowboys against the Washington Redskins. In baseball, it’s the New York Yankees, vs. the Boston Red Sox. In basketball it’s Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers versus Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.

These young kids coming up want to be the alpha dog. They got the game, they’re making the money, they want top billing and they want to be the man. The game sells the individual and then is surprised when the individual great players don’t buy into the team concept or supporting role. (Which of course they should).

Back in the 80’s when the game began to take off to the next level in terms of viewership and media, nobody was saying Magic Johnson was going to have to be the Robin to Kareem Abul Jabbar’s Batman or vice versa.

When the Philadelphia 76ers acquired Moses Malone no one said okay Julius Erving you’re now being demoted to the Robin.

Scottie Pippen wasn’t asked to be the Joe Dumars or the Robin, as some players are now described as the Scottie Pippin/Robin, with the connotation being the Scottie Pippen/Robin is of lesser stature.

Hyper coverage includes bean counting who takes more shots and making it a daily topic of conversation especially when one player has a bad game and or their team loses. This only adds more unnecessary pressure and tension to the situation.

Supposedly when the New York Knicks acquired Carmelo Anthony he was to be the Batman and Amare Stoudemire the Robin. So spoketh the media. But a funny thing happened in their first playoff game against the Boston Celtics. Stoudemire was on fire in the fourth quarter and when Anthony forced up a shot at the end and missed, even though he is the “Batman”, there were questions of why Robin (Stoudemire) didn’t get the touch.

Forget the dynamic duo, offenses should have a flow that is built game to game based on match-ups, game situations and who is hot. Michael Jordan had no problem passing to Steve Kerr to make the winning shot in an NBA finals game against the Utah Jazz because that is what the situation called for. Mature adults ought to be able to figure it out.

I like what they do in football. For the most part, gone are the days where one running back handles the entire rushing load. Two back sets are fairly standard now but instead of Batman and Robin we get nicknames like Thunder and Lightening, Earth and Wind, and so on.

One running back inevitably gets more carries than the other but there is equality to the nicknames. The running backs know their roles, and they accept and get recognized for them. That is the answer here. Unique cool nicknames for all!

It is also unoriginal to call every duo in the NBA the same name (Batman and Robin). Why not use the player personalities to come up with what they should be called? Magic and Jabbar? I’d call Magic Captain America and Jabbar, Mr. Fantastic. Michael Jordan would be Superman, Scottie Pippen, Spiderman, Dennis Rodman, Wolverine and Phil Jackson? He’d be Dr. Strange. See you can apply it to coaches too!

Diversifying nicknames can be fun for the players and the fans and make it easier for players to embrace their role within the team. And it can be a marketing coup! Are you listening David Stern?

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media

Jeff Chadiha Said What to Jim Rome About Phil Jackson?

The Zen Master Can’t Motivate and Just Rolls the Ball Out?

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on May 8th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

So I’m watching the ESPN show, “Jim Rome is Burning”, and I’m about to doze off when Jeff Chadiha says some of the most ill-informed things about Phil Jackson I have ever heard. How a coach can win a record eleven NBA championships and still be this underrated by some is astonishing.In response to the Los Angeles Lakers being down 0-2 to the Dallas Maverick Chadiha, on Friday, said this, “There in a place that is not very good when you have Phil Jackson as your head coach. Things are falling apart, there are trust issues, there are chemistry issues — He’s not the guy you want on your sideline because he is more of a let the veterans work it out, let my leaders take charge.”

Now down 0-3, odds are the Lakers will lose this series but are you kidding me with this? Lets look at Phil Jackson’s coaching career . When Jackson took over in Chicago, Scottie Pippin was not a veteran and was considered soft. Jackson had to convince Jordan to trust the triangle offense and allegedly there were all kinds of trust and chemistry issues between Jordan and his teammates, as is written in the book, “Jordan Rules”. The Bulls overcame the bad boys in Detroit and won two tittles. Then down 0-2 to the New York Knicks in 1993 they came back to win in six games to make it their first three-peat.

When Jordan retired the first time, it was supposed to be open season on the Bulls. All of the Jackson haters (I’m guessing you too Chadiha?) were salivating about how he and the Bulls were going to be exposed.

Except a funny thing happened on the road to humiliation, they won two fewer games during the regular season than they did the year before with Jordan. They lost in-game seven on a phantom foul call to the New York Knicks in the playoffs.

Had Jackson quit when Jordan retired and someone else came in and led the Bulls to that identical season you can bet that coach would have won coach of the year and we would have heard how impressive that was.

The Bulls second three-peat: If Jordan’s first year back after retirement was his true rookie year he would not have gone down as arguably the greatest of all-time. He still would be great but his athleticism was clearly diminished. Jackson coached a new cast of characters to another three-peat. He tamed Dennis Rodman (enough) and kept his team focused to win a regular season record-breaking 72 games.

Back to the Rome/ Chadiha interview — When Jim Rome says to Chadiha, “I thought the guy (Jackson) was a brilliant motivator — ” Chadiha looks at Rome as if to say “Child please” and responds with, “He’s a front-runner — ”

Jackson’s third three-peat: Now with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. The year before Jackson’s arrival, the Lakers got swept out of the playoffs by San Antonio. The year before that they got swept out of the playoffs by Utah. Kobe was not yet the superstar he thought he was but would later become. The historic soap opera and battle for alpha dog supremacy between Shaq and Bryant was underway and threatening to break up the dynasty before it had a chance to begin.

It is safe to say there was trust and chemistry issues galore Mr. Chadiha. Issues that would have split up the team if not for the Zen Master leading them to a championship in his first season. PJ motivated Shaq to play defense like we had never seen him play it before and got Kobe to defer to Shaq.

Continuing with Rome when he asks Chadiha, “What are you saying that he just rolls the ball out?” Chadiha’s response, “Basically, yeah that is what he does — but when it comes to motivating people when times are down he is not your guy.”

After a year out of coaching, PJ returns to the Lakers who are now a team in a state of flux. Shaq is gone and the Lakers did not make the playoffs in Jackson’s absence. Not exactly a front running situation.

Despite writing a tell all book that hung Kobe out to dry, Bryant welcomed Phil back with open arms because he knew the dude could coach! This team clearly had work to do and similar to the salivation the Jackson haters had after Jordan retired that first time, people were lining up to see Jackson fail.

This time winning didn’t come right away. On the journey back to winning championships Jackson would have to:

  • Integrate a rookie out of high school named Andrew Bynum.
  • He would have to repair trust issues and build Bynum up after a camera/cell phone caught Kobe Bryant in public complaining that the Lakers didn’t trade Bynum for Jason Kidd.
  • Jackson had to integrate foreign plays such as Sasha Vujacic, and Vladamir Radmanovic.

Further, there was another rookie named Trevor Ariza, the acquisition of Pau Gasol and he had to get key veteran Lamar Odom to accept losing his starting role to come off the bench.

For money reasons, budding star Ariza was let go and the enigmatic Ron Artest was brought in. No matter, Jackson coached them to another championship with both players.

If you look at the state of Jackson’s teams before and after he arrived and the fact that they never won a championship or even made it to an NBA finals without him, his contributions should be unquestioned.

The loyalty he inspires from stars and role players alike provide further testimony to things like chemistry, trust and motivation. The man has more championships as a head coach then Pat Riley, Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, George Karl, Jeff Van Gundy, Stan Van Gundy, Jerry Sloan, and Don Nelson combined.

Pat Riley took over a Laker team that already won a championship. Gregg Popovich had a dynasty in San Antonio but never was able to repeat or make it back to the championship the following season. Doc Rivers coaching record prior to Danny Ainge making a great trade for Ray Allen, being gifted Garnett from his friend in Minnesota Kevin McHale, drafting Rajon Rondo and adding all of this to Paul Pierce, was average at best, Jerry Sloan, never won with Stockton and Malone.

Lets face it Jeff, for whatever reason, Jackson could never satisfy the haters. Had he won with Stockton and Malone, or the current big three (really four) in Boston, or back when Seattle had Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, the Ewing led Knicks, Dwight Howard in Orlando — You would always write off his winning and attribute it to the talent. Well guess what, it does take talent to win in the NBA yo.

But prior to Michael Jordan only once in the history of the NBA had a team with the leading scorer won a championship. Jackson motivates, he gets the most out of his players and just because he doesn’t call time outs when he is supposed to doesn’t mean he is not coaching.

Criticizing Jackson after an epic record-setting run of 11 championships and for not coming back from 0-2 after losing the first two at home (something only done three times) would be like criticizing Joe DiMaggio after game fifty-seven when his hitting streak ended.

PS And just for good measure, Jackson won a championship in the Continental Basketball Association back in 1984. I guess he must have had the Michael Jordan of the CBA on his team and just rolled out the ball for him too.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

In the NFL Lockout is the Media Reporting or Taking Sides?

If the Opera Isn’t Over Till the Fat Lady Sings Than Justice Isn’t Decided Until the Last Level of the Court System Has Ruled

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on May 1st, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

A philosophical question that has been asked for ages is if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise? I would like to rephrase the question as follows: If a hundred thousand trees in the forest fall how far away can you be and still hear it?

We have a lot of media these days and when they say something over and over again, in all of their forms, TV, internet, newspaper and radio, it tends to amplify the emotional resonance. When I was growing up, a sports labor dispute during that sports off-season might be newsworthy but nothing to stop the presses over. A lockout (prior to a season starting) would kick it up a notch but nowhere near the decibel level it is today.

Yes it is hard to feel sympathy and easy to feel antipathy when billionaires fight with millionaires over how to divide their pie. However, in the end it’s a business just like any other business and the fact that more money is involved doesn’t change human nature. Two sides will fight not necessarily for what is fair but for the most they can get. Neither willing to show their hand or offer their best deal until who has what leverage is revealed and or desperation sets in. Leverage is where the courts come in.

As many of you know by now it has been widely reported that the lead attorney for the NFL players, Jim Quinn, has minimized Friday’s order to reinstate the lockout instituted by the owners. His quote is that it is a: “Routine grant of stay and totally expected”.

Yet given the media’s response you would think Roe V. Wade was just overturned. Like a bad a reality show or Charlie Sheen’s life, this off-season lockout is a story that the media has sunk its teeth into.

As for their coverage…

Question: who populates a good percentage of sports talk and news shows on ESPN, FOX Sports and talk radio? Answer: Former athletes and sports journalists that are fans of sports, who also work side by side with former athletes and want to interview current athletes.

Question: How do people who cover sports make money? Answer: By covering sports! So if a sport goes down, that can’t be good for business.

Thus there are potentially multiple conflicts of interest in covering the collective bargaining negotiations especially when you factor in that benefits to ex players are part of the negotiations! This doesn’t guarantee biased coverage but it does suggest you should look out for it.

Anyone with a high school diploma ought to know that typically between a plaintiff and a defendant either side will brag in-between rounds of court decisions based on who gets the favorable ruling. However, the media should act responsibly and not act, editorialize, or cheer-lead (like some are doing) as if it is over after the first ruling and between levels of the judicial system.

I wouldn’t have expected the owners to cave on their position after Judge Nelson’s ruling any more than I would have expected the players to had she ruled differently. The weird thing is from the outset, Minneapolis was always viewed as a friendly venue for the players and St. Louis for the owners.

The lifting of the lockout and its subsequent stay were nothing to get hyperbolic about. To paraphrase Miami Heat President Pat Riley, this labor dispute will get interesting when someone loses on their home court.

Until ultimate leverage is determined we are looking at preliminary rounds of negotiations. When the courts are done or as games are in jeopardy than the test of wills and negotiations will truly begin. That is when we will see who is willing to negotiate in good faith. Chatter before then is gossip and speculation. If it does get that far than bring on your wall to wall to coverage, bring on your hyperbole, and shine your spotlight on what both sides are willing to do and not do.

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For the record… I’m not a lawyer but it seems to me that when a collective bargaining agreement expires, if players have a right to strike, owners should have a right to lockout.

I say this while I agree with the players about keeping the season to sixteen games over eighteen, and I agree with the players that if the owners want them to give back money based on their finances then some degree of opening the books by the owners should happen. On the owners side I agree there has to be a rookie wage scale but given the short career expectancy of players there should be some combination of performance bonus and or opt out restricted free agency based on performance for the player.

And all the talk of a publicity hit and damage to the game is nonsense. In the end the game will be fine because people love it, they bet on it, there are twenty year waiting lists for season tickets for it, and the same media that rants about it will pump it back up once the games begins because that’s what they do.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

 

Does the Sports Media Have an East Coast Bias?

Dispelling the Myth

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on April 11th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

Whenever an east coast team, player or league gets attention, especially if it is perceived to be at the expense of another team, player or league that does not play on the east coast, there are cries of east coast bias!

Not only from representatives of the sports media but from sports fans on message boards and blogs as well. Most recently we heard screams over eleven teams from The Big East college basketball conference receiving bids for the NCAA tournament. So, is there a bias?
In the “old” days this bias was said to exist in part because everyone on the east coast was asleep by the time west coast games were over and there would be more coverage of east coast games in the print media the next day as a result. However as the balance of media power shifts more and more away from the print media to digital, on-line media, results and scores are all available by the time we rise and shine.

Editorial content and stories on teams are driven by three factors:

  • Who is winning.
  • who is controversial
  • What the public wants to read.

Further, with ESPN and FOX Sports providing twenty four hour coverage and shows, the accessibly is always there so let’s add who is doing the viewing. Winning, controversy, reading and viewing are mostly neutral factors.

The New York Yankees, The Boston Celtics and the New York Jets are three teams that do seem to garner a lot of attention. Is it because they are on the east coast?

Maybe. In the case of the Yankees and the Celtics, you are talking about the winningest franchises in their respective sports that are frequently in the hunt to compete for championships.

The Jets? Do you think their recent ascension in the media has more to do with their location or their controversial, verbose, toe licking head coach Rex Ryan? Up until the Jets hired Ryan and before they signed Brett Farve, the Jets were the L.A. Clippers of the east, with the New York football Giants serving as the L.A. Lakers in this metaphor.

The Jets fall into the category of controversial and as a rising team. If Rex coached for the Minnesota Vikings rather than the Jets, they would have been the subject of HBO’s Hard Knox. In 2011, the previously little talked about Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be the team HBO follows with their brash head coach Raheem Morris and their improved play probably having something to do with their selection.

In the interest of equal time lets talk about non- east coast teams. The Dallas Cowboys, otherwise known as “America’s Team”, The Chicago Bulls, I’m talking Michael Jordan’s Bulls, The San Francisco Forty Niners, circa Joe Montana and The Los Angeles Lakers, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, or Kobe Bryant era, take your pick. None of these franchises play on the east coast. Since 1979, the year Magic Johnson was drafted to today, I’d say the Lakers have been the dominant NBA team, winning the most championships, housing the most stars and getting the most media attention. West coast bias anyone?

Would anyone suggest that had Jordan played in Miami on the east coast, he would have received more attention and bias than playing in the Midwest? America’s favorite diva, Brett Farve, may have played a year in New York, but he played for sixteen in Wisconsin. Would anyone suggest that Farve and Green Bay were short changed of coverage in those years? The Denver Broncos seemed to do okay coverage wise with John Elway. The Utah Jazz seemed to get more coverage when they had two hall of famers Karl Malone and John Stockton playing for them. Rightfully so, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts get more attention than Eli Manning and the New York Giants.

With his 100 mile an hour fastball, pitching phenom Steven Strasburg was destined to be a media focal point regardless of where he signed. The momentum was there for him to take off no matter the team that selected him. Why was Fox commentator Joe Buck slobbering all over Strasburg in effort to get him selected to the All-Star game? Because I’m assuming he felt it could help great ratings.

Stirring passions, whether it is love (underdogs) or hate (Yankees) the media will gravitate to whatever it can to up ratings. The hate aspect is not to be underestimated, and the irony is, if there is an east coast bias it exists in part because people love to hate teams like the Yankees that spend money and win.

Controversy and individual players that generate love/hate also sell regardless of the market they play in: Teams that Terrell Owens played for never seemed to lack for coverage. When Latrell Sprewell choked his coach in Golden State, his Q rating seemed to elevate. And of course the aforementioned Brett Farve.

In reality the discussion should not be about location, east coast vs. the rest. It should be big market versus small market bias. The Cleveland Indians, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Orioles and Charlotte Bobcats are just some of the teams that play on the east coast that I doubt anyone thinks there is any kind of bias going in their direction. Further, given that there are a disproportionate amount of professional teams that technically play in the eastern time zone relative to the rest of country it makes sense that the east would get more coverage to some degree without it being a bias. So when people do say east coast bias, I think they’re talking about a handful of teams predominantly in the northeast.

The big market teams tend to (but not always) spend more money on their players, in some cases that leads to winners which leads to coverage. However, when Mark Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks, it didn’t matter that they weren’t on the east coast. Cuban increased payroll, brought in players, is a colorful personality, controversial, and the team started to win more then previously. Thus the media profile went up.

The San Francisco Giants put together a moneyball winner, have a closer, Brian Wilson, with a colorful personality and lo and behold they’re getting coverage and Wilson is capitalizing on endorsements.

Kevin Durant is bringing attention to the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is a superstar. The next step is for him to have a Michael Jordan/ Craig Ehlo moment and take his team deeper into the playoffs. If his team progresses, they win a championship and he continues to grow as a player, he and the Thunder will become more of a story, there will be more public interest and the attention and coverage will follow.

If we bring college sports into the conversation, there we see a more even distribution of teams spread out throughout the country. Notre Dame, UCLA, USC, Duke, there are plenty of teams that are not in the northeast that dominate coverage and attention based on current success, history and tradition of their program, or a dominant coaching personality. Bobby Knight, Rick Pitino, and Larry Brown, should he return to college, where these guys coach media will follow.

Having said all of this you might reach the conclusion that I do not think there is any bias in sports. I wouldn’t go that far. I would say it does exist but to a lesser degree then is often mentioned because of the reasons talked about in this blog.

Where you do see bias is in the reporters reporting the news, picking favorites, criticizing and so on. Human bias is part of the equation in hard news that we see all of the time coming from “journalists”, covering world events.  Of course it will rear itself in the sports world as well where we see fewer journalists, and more fans with microphones, and oh yeah, blogs! In the interest of full disclosure I did grow up in New York.

I started this blog by mentioning the Big East and college basketball. By the way how does the Big East usually do when it comes to bowl selection in college football?

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March 31st, 2011 on ESPN’s First and Ten: In Skip Bayless’ continuing campaign to deny Derrick Rose the MVP he actually said that the Bulls & D. Rose have benefited from the Celtics trade of Kendrick Perkins in pursuit of the number one seed in the east. Funny how Skippy doesn’t mention that the Lakers and Kobe Bryant are benefiting from Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker missing games for the Spurs in their pursuit of the number one seed in the west… At least for the first time in a month he didn’t mention Rose’s one bad game in Atlanta.

March 30th, 2011 on ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption, Michael Wilbon was emphatic that the Miami Heat loss to the fifteen win Cleveland Cavaliers meant nothing, zero! If Miami winds up not having home court advantage against either Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas or San Antonio because of one loss ask Wilbon the question again of whether or not this loss meant something.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

The NBA Has Every Right to Have an Age Requirement

Smacking Down ESPN’s First and Ten‘s Skip Bayless and Chris Broussard

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on April 7th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

March Madness is recently behind us and the NFL isn’t the only league with an expiring collective bargaining agreement .

As the NBA CBA is set to expire, one of the issues the players want to put on the table is the requirement that kids out of high school play one year of college basketball before gaining eligibility into the NBA. The players don’t like it. Many in the media don’t like it. On ESPN’s First and Ten, NBA analyst Chris Broussard made the point if they’re good enough they should get to play out of high school as athletes from other sports can. On the same show, Skip Bayless referred to the rule as being unconstitutional.

Those arguments are as ludicrous and as out of touch with society as the media claims athletes can be.Chris Broussard, you’re up first: If I understand you correctly, because business A, B, and C chooses to do business a certain way, every other business has to do business the same way? Does Hockey treat violence in the sport the same as the NBA? No. Does the NFL treat excessive celebration the same as Soccer? Are the rules of your workplace identical to that of everyone you know or are there differences based on the needs of individual companies?

Let’s look at why the NBA instituted the rule in the first place. Athletes out of high school generally fit into one of the following categories:

  • Bust.
  • Future star.
  • Future contributor/role player.
  • Drop out due to personal problems and or lack of ability.

 

So there are more ways that drafting an eighteen year old can harm you or cost you than help you. Further, there is the belief that a year or more of basketball at the collegiate level will make for a better work force later.

One could retort, that players with college experience fall into the same categories. However, all risks are heightened when you allow eighteen an year-old, whose body generally is not fully developed, and whose mind is generally not as mature, to compete with men.

Contrary to your point Chris, many times these high school players are not good enough; they are drafted for their future potential and are educated on the team’s dime. They have skills but lack fundamentals, and if the league wants to protect themselves from themselves and require a year of college experience before eligibility they have the right to try and minimize their risk and do so.

It is not the NBA’s responsibility to factor into the equation the needs of potential future employees beyond how they can help their league. That is not meant to sound cold, it is a reflection of how it is for other business’ in America, and to point out that the NBA is not acting in a dastardly or unconstitutional way (Really Skip? Really??). The fact that other sports let younger athletes compete professionally does not mitigate the NBA’s position.

Another argument Broussard made is even if the high school player doesn’t go on to be a star, he still makes a living. He used Kwame Brown, the former number one draft pick of Michael Jordan’s Washington Wizards as an example. That’s great for Kwame Brown, but the Wizards didn’t draft him with the number one pick in the draft and pay him first draft pick money so that he could be a serviceable player. Yes there will always be busts even if they go to college, but if the NBA thinks they can reduce the odds of that, right or wrong, that is their right. Maybe with a year or two of college Brown would have been more ready for the NBA and had a better career.

Skip, you’re up. You make a lot of good points on the show and can be very creative in making your presentations, however leave the legal arguments to Erik Kuselias.  You have clearly never taken a law class if you can point to this rule as being unconstitutional. On exactly which constitutional amendment is your argument based on?

Skip is it unconstitutional for a business to require someone to have a four-year degree to get a job? One of my first jobs was working in a group home for abused adolescents kids. The job required a college degree. Not a year or two in psychology, but a four-year degree with all the classes that have nothing to do with working with kids. Having done the job, I can say I could have performed my duties without the degree just fine, as could other co-workers. But then there were those that maybe they could not have. Either way, it was the companies right to have that policy.

And while we’re on the subject of law, does the name Maurice Clarett and his failed attempt to sue his way through the NFL rule that make you wait three years after high school before you can join the NFL ring any bells? Funny Chris, you didn’t mention the NFL as a sport that makes you wait longer than the NBA.

If Skip and the rest of the those against the NBA for doing this would read something other than the sports section of a newspaper or website they would realize that many jobs in the public and private sector have something called eligibility requirements that they implement because they believe it is in the best interest of their company’s success and or their consumers. I must credit Jemele Hill, who on a later episode of First and Ten, did allude to private sector rights.

Look, I don’t blame high school athletes for wanting to play out of high school.  If I had Lebron James, Koby Bryant’s, or even Kwame Brown’s ability, I think I would have made the same decision. I firmly believe that college athletes, in huge revenue generating sports such as football and basketball should be getting paid, but the unfairness of the college game does not negate the rights of the NBA to implement objective rules that it feels are in its best interest.

It is curious that the player’s union would be interested in repealing this rule as it could adversely affect older players and take jobs away from them. Personally I like the rule and if college players could make money, I’d like to see the rule bumped up to two years. This would eliminate the one and done mentality and help these young men really get the most out of the college game, better prepare them for the NBA, and have them ready to contribute right away. It would benefit the college and pro-game. Jordan, Bird, Magic, all played at least two years in college. I think the players and the media can survive if today’s greats do the same.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…