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Odds & Ends-Volume 105


NHLLas Vegas and Quebec City formally applied for NHL expansion franchises last week which would bring that league to 32 teams if both bids are accepted by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

There are indeed challenges when it comes to having one team in the West and one team in the East submitting bids. The NHL’s Eastern Conference has 16 teams while the West has 14. If expansion were to include both Las Vegas and Quebec City, it could give the East 17 teams and the West 15 teams,or Quebec City may be placed in the Western Conference.

“…Geography is an issue. But the fact that we identify it as an issue doesn’t mean we’ve reached a conclusion. It means it’s one of the things that has to be considered,”said Bettman

Realignment would be an option,although the league just had one a few years ago with the Winnipeg Jets going west and the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets went to the east. Detroit or Columbus would more than likely be reluctant to move back to the west because both teams couldn’t wait to get to the east.

The league could also just accept Las Vegas into the league and have 31 teams or not expand at all,which would cost the league an estimated $1 billion in expansion bid fees. I think Las Vegas and Quebec City both have strong bids and will both ultimately be accepted into the NHL by the 2017 season. Quebec may start in the West but will eventually move to the East.

The Bay Bridge Series this weekend really wasn’t much of one as the Giants swept the A’s over the weekend. SFOAK3Sure,the A’s hung around in the final two games,but the Giants outplayed,outmatched,and outmanaged them. Not to mention a lot of mistakes the A’s made (Smolinski trying to steal third? Really?).

This series really showed us where these two franchises are at in this place and time. The Giants are poised to try and get back into the postseason,and we all know what they are more than capable of doing there while the A’s will more than likely continue their fire sale in the days ahead as they aren’t going to want to try to do the Giants any favors by even trying to beat the Dodgers so that the Giants can gain any ground.

The Giants are now 6-1 in the second half,have won 11 of their last 12 and are a game back in the division. They also get Nori Aoki back and he will play against the Brewers when they come to town today. These guys are red-hot and I don’t see them slowing down anytime soon. They needed to sweep that series against a bad A’s team and now a Brewers squad who is just as bad is coming in and they need to beat them badly as well.

Did anyone out there know that position players can get called for a balk? Me neither.

On Wednesday during the first game of a doubleheader between the Reds and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs was called for a balk after creeping in a few feet from first base while anticipating a bunt from Cincinnati pitcher Mike Leake,who was at the plate with a runner on first.

The call was made by first base umpire Adam Hamari and Rizzo argued that it wasn’t a balk and then his manager Joe Maddon came out of the dugout to do the same. Maddon was unfairly ejected because Hamari screwed up and didn’t want to hear about it.

But the real question is can a position player other than the pitcher be called for a balk? The answer is No. At least according to the rule book as stated below:

Rule 8.01(a) Comment: In the Windup Position, a pitcher is permitted to have his free foot on the rubber, in front of the rubber, behind the rubber or off the side of the rubber.

From the Windup Position, the pitcher may:

(1) deliver the ball to the batter, or
(2) step and throw to a base in an attempt to pick-off a runner, or
(3) disengage the rubber (if he does he must drop his hand to his sides).
In disengaging the rubber the pitcher must step off with his pivot foot and not his free foot first.
He may not go into a set or stretch position – if he does it is a balk.

Before Wednesday I had never seen a player other than a pitcher get called for a balk, I now have and I hope I never have to again.

JuniorSeauJunior Seau is posthumously going into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 8 and his family is not allowed to speak on his behalf,which by the way,is what he had in his will that his family do so.

Seau committed suicide in 2012 as a result of depression and signs of CTE,a condition traced to concussion-related brain damage. He had written a speech prior to his death that he wanted his family to read when the time came for him to be inducted,a speech his family will not be able to give.

The Hall of Fame will instead show a video commemorating Seau’s career in length of five minutes. In the past the Hall of Fame did allow others to speak on the behalf of deceased honorees, but due to time constraints it has only showed the commemorative videos to save time and to keep the ceremony going. It’s also believed that the policy in place to keep family from speaking for the deceased honorees is to keep them from speaking out about concussion issues and to put a damper on the day.

“We’re not the N.F.L., but the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said David Baker, the executive director of the Hall. “Our mission is to honor the heroes of the game, and Junior is a hero of the game. We’re going to celebrate his life, not the death and other issues.”

His daughter,Sydney Seau,feels otherwise.

“It’s frustrating because the induction is for my father and for the other players, but then to not be able to speak, it’s painful,” Seau said. “I just want to give the speech he would have given. It wasn’t going to be about this mess. My speech was solely about him.”

I think that Seau’s family is more than deserving of the chance to speak about him. As someone who has lost a father far too soon,I know how it feels and how painful it is and I know that for his family it would have been therapeutic to talk about the man they knew and loved and the time he spent in the league and how much he enjoyed playing the game,and it would’ve been in his own words. This is undoubtedly a black eye for the Hall of Fame and it makes them look a bit petty. I understand where they’re coming from regarding speeches that may or may not have negative words regarding the league, but to not allow a family still reeling from the loss of an important man in their lives is,to me,frustrating.

Josh Smith apparently can’t live off of $6.9 million dollars as an annual salary, can you?JoshSmith

Smith,who was just signed by the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this month for $1.4 million, will also earn $5.4 million from the contract he signed with the Detroit Pistons.

“At the end of the day, you know, I do have a family,” Smith said. “So it is going to be a little harder on me this year. But I’m going to push through it, you know. … I made a decision for me and my family.”

Really,Josh? You’re going to push through it? Wow!

It doesn’t bother me that he is making that much money,it’s that he said something outrageous as this. Smith is 29 and over his career has made $91 million in the time he has been in the league. What was I doing at 29? Working at a grocery store bagging people’s items and making $9 an hour and getting anywhere from 16-24 hours a week depending on how many that management even wanted to give me. I thought I would die at that store,whether I worked there the rest of my life or committed suicide because of it,whichever came first. I would have loved to be able to complain about only making $7 million a year like Smith will be doing.

Fans don’t want to hear you complain about not making enough money when in fact you are making enough money and should probably be managing it a little better.

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July 2015
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