I wonder what Bobby Valentine thinks about the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series?
Say what you want about Valentine, but it is pretty clear that the team quit on him late last season.
Valentine won the Japan Series here with the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2005 and made the World Series with the New York Mets in 2000. I don’t think he suddenly forgot how to manage last year.
Personality conflicts are part of sports and life, but when you have internal resistance like Boston did last season, the manager can’t do much about it.
The implication this season was that Valentine was the problem, which is bogus. The Red Sox could not win with manager Terry Francona the year before.
Meanwhile, John Farrell, who replaced Valentine, is getting a lot of credit for piloting Boston to the championship this season.
I wonder what the Toronto Blue Jays and their fans think about him after he walked out on them after two seasons at the helm to join the Red Sox?
Not very admirable.
* * *
I think the Red Sox won it all because they had the best team this season. I’m still not sure about linking their success with the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, though.
It was admirable that the victims at the race were remembered and recognized, but continuing it on for the entire duration of the season seemed a bit much. I would have liked to seen the players celebrated more for their achievements.
The sports media loves to embellish stories about players and teams inspiring people in times of hardship. Sometimes they are true and sometimes they are not.
It seems like the feeling was genuine in this instance, but can it really be like this every time?
At what point does it become patronizing and cross the line?
Sports do have the capacity to unite and make communities come together, but I can’t ever recall a sustained campaign like the one in Boston.
* * *
It was nice to see the Rakuten Golden Eagles win the Japan Series. Definitely good news for the people of the Tohoku region.
I’m still trying to figure out manager Senichi Hoshino’s strategy however. Conventional wisdom says you go with your best pitcher (Masahiro Tanaka) in Game 1 and Game 7 of a seven-game series. Hoshino started Tanaka in Game 2 and Game 6 and it almost cost him.
It all worked out in the end, but just as easily could have backfired.
* * *
Another sign of America in decline: An NFL player (tackle Jonathan Martin of the Miami Dolphins) walks out on his team because he says he was being bullied.
This is a man who is 24 years old, went to Stanford, and is 196 cm and 142 kg. Now the NFL is going to conduct an investigation.
Hall of Fame tight end and former coach Mike Ditka had the right take on this episode on ESPN on Sunday:
“When this would happen in my time, you take the bully and you kick his butt,” Ditka said. “I mean you go to ‘fist city’ with this guy.”
* * *
I’m starting to really get concerned about all of the changes the NFL is making for player safety. Almost eliminating the kickoffs by moving the ball up to the 35-yard line, penalizing practically any type of aggressive hit, and basically trying to injury-proof the game.
That’s not the way it is supposed to be. There is a reason why everybody wears helmets and pads. What essentially is happening is that some of the best players (kick returners, defenders) are being hamstrung by all of the rule changes.
The short halftime (just 12 minutes) is another problem. Player safety was cited as the reason when it was shortened several seasons ago.
What about the fans?
You can’t take a bag bigger than the size of your hand into the game now and then barely have enough time at halftime to go to the bathroom.
* * *
So Allen Iverson has officially retired. Gee, have I missed something here?
When I heard the news it reminded me of a former coworker who used to kid me whenever I said a player “was finished five years ago.”
The last time the 38-year-old Iverson played a full season in the NBA?
You guessed it.
Five seasons ago.
Iverson was a great player once upon a time, but you have to wonder what he is going to do with the rest of his life.
There have been reports that Iverson has completely burned through an estimated $200 million he earned between playing and endorsements.
* * *
Interesting how the so-called resistance to the size of the new National Stadium didn’t come to light until after Tokyo won the right to host the 2020 Olympics.
This is another example of what we often see in this country: A small minority trying to exert pressure to get what it wants.
I think the claim that the stadium is too big is weak.
What folks need to understand is that a) you can’t always have your way and b) trying to keep everything the same or almost the same, isn’t realistic.
Japan desperately needs to modernize its sporting facilities if it wants to continue attracting marquee sporting events. Rebuilding the National Stadium into a size that is in line with other big cities in the world is a legitimate endeavor.
Let’s see what the IOC and the IRB (rugby’s world governing body) have to say if there are any alterations to the original plans for the new stadium.
* * *
Some thought-provoking comments by Sir Alex Ferguson about several of his former players in his new autobiography. The Manchester United legend received criticism for revealing details about some of his dealings with the men who helped him achieve an incredible record during his long tenure.
With most coaches or managers I would say some of the revelations were out of line. But when you have had the success that Ferguson did, I think you just have to accept them and acknowledge that this is the way he is.
* * *
So the bj-league, now in its ninth season, is banning media?
Take it from somebody who used to work in media relations in one of the best leagues (the NBA) in the world, this isn’t a wise strategy.
With wisdom like this, it makes you wonder what the future of the 21-team circuit is. The league has no legitimate national TV or cable contract, a lack of national sponsors, almost no radio outlets, and appears to do little in the way of marketing and advertising.
Not exactly indicators of a bright future.
It is worth noting that the American Basketball Association folded after its ninth season, when four of its six remaining teams were absorbed by the NBA.
This was a league that had greats of the game like Julius “Dr. J” Erving, David “Skywalker” Thompson and George “Iceman” Gervin playing for it at the time of its demise.
What was the ABA lacking?
A national TV contract, national sponsors, marketing and advertising.