Ten Things In Ten (2010) That I’d Like To See Happen In The World Of Sports

Oh but for the sake of wishing that there was real common sense within the world sports. But alas, the fans have to put up with the buffoonery and sheer idiocy of not only the athletes themselves but also those who run , or should I say continue to ruin the respective sports across our panacea ?

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig seen here with an appearance on the David Letterman show discussing steroids with the host. Make of it what you will.

Major League Baseball (MLB) continues to show us that while under the direction and auspices of Bud Selig. that he may well have a clear cut direction as to the road the game ought to be going in. But he really has no idea as to the direction as to how to reach that ‘final destination’. So for now he’ll take us on that magical mystery tour. Never mind the fact that the game of baseball still has some serious problems that needs to be ironed out.

Newly  installed  MLBPA  Executive  Director  Michael  Weiner  is seen here  seated  alongside  Boston  Red  Sox  slugger, David Ortiz.   Weiner   took over  from the  recently  departed   Donald Fehr.      picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/ photo/ Ryan   Samuels .........................
Newly installed MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner is seen here seated alongside Boston Red Sox slugger, David Ortiz. Weiner took over from the recently departed Donald Fehr. picture appears courtesy of ap/ photo/ Ryan Samuels .........................

The game’s finances are completely out of whack with regards to the world of business economics. But yet a handful of clubs clearly have the power . While the few struggle to make ends meet. OK, so we know that the greed of the players will continue to go unabated and while their a href=”http://mlbplayers.mlb.com/pa/info/history.jsp”>union (MLBPA) continues to march goose step, in line with the idiocy that is their right to be paid. But yet they’d rather be in contention with the game’s hierarchy about such things as mandatory drug testing and its policy. And even with the departure of former Executive Director, Donald Fehr and his successor in, Michael Weiner. One can’t be entirely sure if things will change for the better, for the game as a whole.

My own thoughts on this matter,….is that the league and its counterpart in the Players’ Union ought to get their heads together and do what is in the best interests of the game and for its most ardent patrons, the fans. If not, then they will begin to hear a mounting cacophony from the fans showing their ever greater disapproval as to how things are being done behind the scenes and to a lesser extent in the open by its custodians. Never let it be said that the voices of the people will remain silent.

NFL Commissioner  Roger  Goodell.   Can  he  be  entrusted  to  do what  is  right and  said to be in the  best  interests  of the  game ?  So  far  the   jury is   still   out  on  the commissioner and his tenure  as  NFL  commissioner.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Can he be entrusted to do what is right and said to be in the best interests of the game ? So far the jury is still out on the commissioner and his tenure as NFL commissioner. picture appears courtesy of getty images / Russell Hughes ...............................

Well just when you thought it was safe to step back in the water , the sharks begin to the encircle the beach front in search of fresh, ‘new prey’. How else can one describe the decision by NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell and its members to rescind the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA ? They say ‘there’s strength in numbers’ and most certainly that is what the union is prepared to do under its Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith. I’m not saying he’s itching for a fight with Goodell. But were this a ‘heavyweight title bout’, my money might well rest squarely on the shoulders of Smith. Roger Goodell may well be able to roll with the punches. But there are only so many that even he even can take to either the body or the head. And last I looked, Gerry Cooney wasn’t looking all that bright to begin with. ‘White boy’ could never really take a punch , much less land one to begin with. Over inflated record I’d say !

Here you’ll see an ESPN Outside The Lines expose’ on NFLPA Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith. The director is a former litigation partner with D.C law firm Patton Boggs,LLP.

With the 2010-11 season about to become an uncapped one. This is hardly the labor intrigue that the fans would like to see between the two vested parties. As we all know in the end it’ll end up being the fans who pay the price of the greed of not only of the NFL but also the players, themselves. With the untold billions of dollars that each season rolls into the coffers of the NFL. How is that they,of all people could be so lax to have misjudged the economic climate around them ? It’s not as if they weren’t forewarned of this all. But I guess it’s like everything else , when you keep your head buried in the sand or in this case your books , still looking for ways to eke out every last red cent you can out the fan. Then you tend not to take stock of what is exactly happening around you !

In this photo provided by Harold Hinson, NASCAR chairman Brian France, right, speaks as NASCAR president Mike Helton, left, looks on during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour Hosted by Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009. France has ordered a companywide hiring freeze and suspended executive bonuses as the stock car organization adjusts to the economic crisis. picture appears  courtesy of   ap/photo/ Harold  Hinson ............
In this photo provided by Harold Hinson, NASCAR chairman Brian France, right, speaks as NASCAR president Mike Helton, left, looks on during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour Hosted by Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009. France has ordered a companywide hiring freeze and suspended executive bonuses as the stock car organization adjusts to the economic crisis. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Harold Hinson ............

Tell me why it is again that I’m suppose to take an interest in NASCAR, when even their most ardent fans aren’t taking an interest in the unprecedented feat of the reigning Sprint Cup champion ? Jimmie Johnson wins an unprecedented four consecutive championships in the genre’s elite class. And the fans treat it as if Bin Laden had been welcomed into the fold. Not only that but they still pine for Lil’ E aka Dale Earnhardt Jr to show that he’s got some stones. The biggest joke of all however, is that someone once said to me that he’s one of the best of alltime. Well until he’s matched the feat of at least winning multiple championships then he’s simply in my books….’an also ran, a never was or will be’, for that matter !

Dale Earnhard Jr gives the fans a tour of his company JR Motorsports. Indy Car driver and personality Danica Patrick will be driving for the competitive Sprint Cup driver in scaled down Nationwide Series and ARCA Series’ schedule this upcoming season in NASCAR.

With the sport having reached its zenith in terms of growth domestically in audience participation and viewership. We’re now beginning to see a decline in attendance. Furthermore , with the undoubted downturn in the economy , many of the sport’s major corporate sponsors are either withdrawing their financial backing altogether or just simply scaling back. And this has led to teams either dissolving or merging with others of a comparable size. We also have to remember that the ‘big three’ domestic automotive manufacturers are still engrossed in several major problems not just financially but also in terms of productivity, quality and the competitiveness of their vehicles in the consumer market. And we’re led to believe that all three are still in a viable state ? What planet are some of these idiots living on ? Just take a look at Ford’s balance sheet and it paints a picture of a company simply on the precipice waiting to be pushed off it.

Dale Earnhardt Jr (left) is  seen here  alongside  Rick Hendrick (center) a minority stake  holder in  JR Motorsports  and   far right  is  Danica Patrick .    picture  appears courtesy  of  orlando sentinel /
Dale Earnhardt Jr (left) is seen here alongside Rick Hendrick (center) a minority stake holder in JR Motorsports and far right is Danica Patrick . picture appears courtesy of orlando sentinel /

With gimmicks being what they are and as we know every show or sport’s format needs a gimmick. With the declining popularity of NASCAR , we now have Indy Racing League (IRL) driver, Danica Patrick entering the genre. Albeit, that she’ll just be racing on a part time basis in the Nationwide Series, ARCA and several other events, as her schedule sees fit. With Patrick still under contract to Andretti Green Racing for this moment in time. It could could be well be a stepping stone for her to parlay her popularity there in ‘open wheel’ racing into the world of stock car and provide some much needed glamor to the sport from a female perspective. I don’t know that ‘Billy Bob’ and ‘Cooter’ will jump on board but given Patrick’s sex appeal , it’s something that the good ol’ boys might well come round to ?

Patrick has signed a two year contract to race for JR Motorsports, a company owned jointly by Dale Earhnardt Jr and his sister, Kelly. Now one can either look at this as just another gimmick within the sport, to try and lure back fans who’d become disenchanted with NASCAR. Or you can simply think that Danica Patrick will make a credible transition into the sport and become competitive in the male dominated world of NASCAR. God knows, something needs to be done within the sport, as its hierarchy governed by Brian France and Mike Helton seem to be at a complete loss as to what to do next to try and turn things around. They may well see this all as a pleasant respite for the sport in general. As to Patrick’s ambitions within the sport ? Well much of that will be predicated upon her talents and the very semblance of competitiveness she may or may not bring to the NASCAR. Of this we’re certain however , it’ll now provide even the most discerning of fans with a great deal of curiosity, if nothing else.

Arum seen here giving a cursory interview during which he goes off into an anti homophobic and racial tirade against MMA and the UFC organization. Thankfully an old fart like Arum isn’t long for this world as he has about the same sort of qualities that made Josef Mengele so despicable.

I’ve said it once and I continually have to repeat it to others in conversation. The sport of boxing has become a complete farce and the only reason that there’s still some sort of interest , boils down to the fact that while fighters such as Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr are on the scene. Then even the most avid of the sport’s fans will remain loyal. But that all could very well take a change for the worst if the antics of Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum, remains as it now is. While the sport has painted Arum as a paragon of virtue and his image as pristine. In essence the promoter is no shrinking violet and his fascination with being viewed as the sport’s foremost promoter and benefactor has gone a long way in dragging the sport down to the depths it now finds itself in.

Boxing promoter and manager, Don King offers up his views on Mike Tyson as a fighter and as a person. What a pity Don didn’t offer Mike the sort of advice he really needed to carry himself as as a human being and with regard to his business dealings. Instead he bilked Tyson for as much as he could and as long as he could before leaving him out in the cold !

Arum alongside his some time nemesis , Don King, along with the alphabet soup organizations of the IBF, WBA, WBC and the WBO have made the sport about as interesting as watching the members of Congress debate a piece of legislation within its hallowed edifice. Not even they at times can make sense as to what they’re legislating but yet somehow ‘we the people’ entrusted them to act in our best interests ? And it is the same with the sport of boxing and its four international governing bodies.

The sport is on the decline and even the fans know it but yet the likes of Arum and King would somehow want you to believe otherwise. Well, when they’ve essentially robbed the fans blind with their over expansive and highly extortionate PPV prices for bouts that are in large part as entertaining as having either a colo-rectal or prostate examination. You can well understand when I state that I now find the sport banal and derisive !

Boxing has lost touched with its most ardent fans and the spill over has left many of them to fine affinity with the far more action laden genre of MMA (mixed martial arts) that is governed by the UFC. In a little over a decade this once barbaric sport as it was deemed ,has outstripped boxing in almost every aspect as to it legitimacy and as a growing sport. Its bouts now also outstrips boxing in terms of not only attendance but also in the terms of PPV revenues grossed for their events. Something that even Arum knows to be true but refuses to acknowledge. In his words the genre is filled with racists and does nothing to elevate minorities looking to enter the sport. Somehow, Arum probably hasn’t been to too many bouts presented by UFC. Otherwise he’d realize that there’s a large ethic following and participation in the sport. But again these are words coming from a man whose livelihood is now under siege from a sport that he views as nothing more than an upstart when compared to the history and legacy of the sport of boxing.

These four pre-eminent bodies (IBF,WBA,WBC & WBO) of boxing are as much to blame for the failings of the sport. As are the wantoned actions of both Arum and King, combined. From their specific ‘run ins’ with the justice system over the years, to the continuous litigation between them and former client of theirs. But both would have us all believe that the work that they’re said to have done has been of intrinsic value to the sport. That’s all dependent upon how one would gauge the sport from where it once was, to what it has now become today . If you’re satisfied with the end result, then so be it. If not then walk away as I have done. What changes I for one would like to see happen within the sport. I know that at the end of the day it is unlikely to happen because of the usual politicking between each of the four governing bodies of the sport.

The ‘sport of Kings’ has now become essentially a sport of passing interest to a few. The Triple Crown in horse racing and all that it is said to mean , is about as enthralling as having to witness with excruciating pain the voice of Britney Spears regale us with a song. Far too much has been placed upon the production value instead of the talent of the artist. In the world of horse racing it isn’t so much about the horses but more so about the trainers and the mere fact that they alongside the jockeys are now said to be the mainstays behind the sport.

Alex Waldrop  , CEO  of  the National  Thorougbred  Racing Association.      picture  appears  courtesy   reuters/  Matt Halsey  .....
Alex Waldrop , CEO of the National Thorougbred Racing Association. picture appears courtesy reuters/ Matt Halsey .....

The Belmont Stakes, Kentucky Derby and The Preakness Stakes are the three pre-eminent equine races in North America and they in essence make up ‘The Triple Crown’. And for a brief 6 week spell during the height of summer the whole world it appears in encapsulated these three events. Never mind as such that once they’ve come and gone there’s not much that the ardent horse race fans have much to look forward to. It’s not as if the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has been all that imaginative attracting the fans to the sport outside of the Triple Crown. And therein lies the dilemma for horse racing in North America.

50-1 long shot Mine That Bird ridden by Calvin Borel wins the 2009 Kentucky Derby ran at Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky.

As the governing body for the sport domestically they (NTRA) are entrusted with the advancement of the sport . And at the same time to make sure that the strict guidelines set in placed are adhered and aren’t transgressed , so that no damage is done to the integrity or the popularity of the sport. In doing so, it is thought that the general public, as well as the sport’s most ardent fans will continue to take a keen interest in horse racing. If only that were the case ?

Track personnel try to hold down Eight Belles after the 134th Kentucky Derby Saturday, May 3, 2008, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Eight Belles was euthanized after breaking both front ankles following a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby
Track personnel try to hold down Eight Belles after the 134th Kentucky Derby Saturday, May 3, 2008, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Eight Belles was euthanized after breaking both front ankles following a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Brian Bohannon .............

Over the last three decades the decline of the sport has been steep and its very existence is now being threatened. And the threat alone isn’t just coming by way of a dour economy and the fact several race tracks across the country have ceased to do business and have closed down. It has also come from the short sightedness shown by the NTRA, itself. Rather than trying to identify many of its problems from within. It saw fit to either ignore them or simply use the old adage we’ll just throw money at it and see what happens.

And to further rub salt into the wound in what is said to be the state of horse racing in the country. It hasn’t helped that PETA has now become the NTRA’s biggest nightmare, a thorn in their side and something of a PR disaster of the NTRA’s own making. It has become painstakingly clear that PETA has the NTRA within its rifle scope and will continue to take ‘pot shots’ at them until in their eyes they do the right thing. It’s not so much that they’re asking for the sport to be banned. But more so that they monitor the deceptive practices that take place by the trainers , sometimes at the behest of the owners. And that the willful use of certain banned substances in order to make a horse run under duress. l

The other daunting task that the NTRA also faces is that with the loss of several race horses during the racing season from injuries sustained in a race or at training facilities. The euthanasia of these animals seems to have an unwanted effect upon the public psyche. And it hasn’t helped that with the death of Barbaro and then on track euthanization of Eight Belles track-side at the Kentucky Derby (2008) left animal lovers, and race goers enlarge feeling aggrieved at what the hell was going on inside of the sport of horse racing when it came to the well being of the horses. Questions were being asked and the answers that were forthcoming weren’t necessarily the answers that the public wanted to hear.

As an animal lover but most of a fan of a variety of sports including horse racing. As much as I find it disturbing to see such things happen within the realms of this particular sport. I find it somewhat more disturbing and questionable the explanations that’s sometimes put forth by the NTRA over such incidents. Granted, when a piece of equine talent is injured beyond repair, then it has to be euthanized (‘put down’). But how do they explain the rampant use of banned substances used to force a horse to run under duress ? OK , so they punish the guilty parties with impunity, or at least that’s what we’re meant to believe. But this is something that is now so widespread that not even NTRA CEO, Alex Waldrop has an answer to.

Somehow, some way, something needs to be done to stem the tide of negativity , bad PR but above all the disrepute that the sport has fallen into. It’s all well good publicizing events such as Triple Crown and Breeders Cup events as the ‘mainstay’ and what’s right with the sport. But when the negative aspects of it all far outweighs the positives. Then it shows that there are still a great many things that needs to be addressed and dealt with. If only to assure the public and the fans that the sport isn’t on its last legs, in terms of its existence.

Well, this is but part one of two, concerning my ‘Ten Things In Ten (2010) That I’d Like To See Happen In The World Of Sports’. In order to read part two just click unto the following link provided. As for part one by all means, do take time to read and by all means leave a comment on this article and any thoughts you might have as to the changes you’d like to see within the realms of sports that would be for the better, in your view.

NB To read Part 2 of this two piece installment just click on the text link provided ‘Ten Things In Ten (2010) That I’d Like To See Happen In Sports Pt 2 … click here

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7 thoughts on “Ten Things In Ten (2010) That I’d Like To See Happen In The World Of Sports

  1. aero

    I don’t know about you but I’m actually perturbed by some of the things going on in sports right about now. Not the least in which is the brouhaha concerning the Pacquiao Mayweather title bout. What the hell is that all about ?

    Alan Parkins

  2. Nice wish list. I’m looking over the long picture, and with the piece I wrote on this decade there is the theme of PED’s. I’m praying that this next decade isn’t the lockout or non-sports decade as we look like we could be on our way to a few lockouts… I’m far from a horse racing fan, but I hope we Oscar can save the Pacquiao Mayweather fight!

  3. chappy 81

    PED’s are today’s drug of choice for the athlete who wants to cheat and that’s it. It has nothing at all to do with wanting to remain healthy. Far too often it’s being used as a ‘cop out’ by those very same athletes.

    As for the Pacquiao Mayweather bout the only way that’ll be saved is if Bob Arum shuts the _uck up and let the two fighters involved come to an agreement as to what’s in their best interests. Rather than him interjecting himself into the midst of it all. He’s a god damn bigot and a fraud !

    Alan Parkins

    1. Chris Humpherys

      Being the commissioner is one thing but it’s having to deal with so many of these egotistical owners , that may well be the real problem. Just look at the plethora of idiot owners in the MLB, NBA , NFL and the NHL ? Put them in a room with a bunch of ‘5th graders’ and put them to an intelligence test. And I can guarantee you that the kids would prove to be way more intelligent than the owners and the commissioners , collectively ! .

      Much like the character ‘Pinnochio’ these as_holes haven’t a truthful bone in their body and even though in the end the character learns that in telling the truth is indeed a virtue. Neither the owners or commissioners will ever have the temerity to do that !

      Alan Parkins

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