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Instead Of Giving Away All Those Pizzas With Peyton Manning, How About Papa John’s Just Pay Their Employees?

In Media, NFL on September 21, 2013 at 10:22 am

By Jonathan Danielson

Before we even start, I want to apologize to you. I know I haven’t been around that much. We all haven’t. Chris got a new gig writing about the Steelers, the Jeffs are busy, Mimmo’s Mimmo, Kevin’s writing about copy machines, and we’ve all had big events pop up in our lives that took us away from this. From you.

And we’re sorry.

For me, I got a new job teaching college, so between an 800 mile move, lesson planning, grading, grading,  grading, and grading, I’ve been a bit busy. Who knew it took eight hours to prepare for a one hour lecture on Marduk and the Enuma elish?

Only by hour eight did I realize this "Marduk" was not the Marduk I was supposed to be lecturing on.

Only by hour eight did I realize this “Marduk” was not the Marduk I was supposed to be lecturing on.

Regardless, sometimes something will happen that makes me so angry, I have to try to make you angry about it as well.

And while the obvious topic would appear to be the Dodgers taking a classless swim at Chase Field, we all have to understand that the Dodgers are from Los Angeles, a place where it’s socially acceptable to OD on crack in someone’s bathroom at a dinner party. I saw Pulp Fiction, I know how these people think.

Besides,  John McCain pretty much summed up everything I would have written anyway.

"Dicks!"

“Dicks!”

So instead of the Dodgers buying the NL West, the thing that got me so upset is Papa John’s Pizza. Specifically, eight Papa John’s locations in Sacramento that decided to close their doors on payday, and leave their employees high and dry.

Per The Blaze, Papa John’s pizza shut their doors in Sacramento, and instead of paying  their employees for services already worked, they taped a note to the window that more or less said, “Sorry Charley, go ask the Government for help.”

Then, via their Facebook page, the Papa John’s corporate office more or less told these workers, “Man that sucks. Work with the people who just screwed you over to figure this out. Oh, and we’ll start up a relief fund.”

Let’s be clear, this is not Hurricane Katrina. This is not a terrorist event or a national disaster. This is fifty employees who, while working under the Papa John’s name, were stolen from by an individual franchise. These employees worked the hours they were supposed to work and they were not compensated for it. These are people making minimum wage during tough economic times, and instead of the corporate office stepping up and making it right by just cutting them a check for what is owed them and then dealing with their franchise later, they said, hey, we’ll set up some red tape. 

And, good luck paying your bills for the time being.

"Boy Papa, we sure look like robber barons at this point, don't we?" "We sure do Peyton."

“Boy Papa, we sure look like robber barons at this point, don’t we?” “We sure do Peyton.”

If Papa John’s can afford to offer half-off pizzas every time a local baseball team wins, or millions of free pizzas during football season, they can afford fifty checks that the franchise’s workers already earned. Lets do the math here : If minimum wage in California is $8 an hour, and the average Paper John’s worker works 30 hours a week, one check would be $240. Times that by be the fifty and that’s $12,000.

$12,000 may sound like a lot, but how much are a million free pizzas? While it might have been the individual franchise that failed here, they failed under the Papa John’s name. And somewhere, the buck’s got to stop.

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Now It’s Time For The Main Event?

In MLB on August 2, 2013 at 8:45 am

By Jonathan Danielson

After starting  the season like an after-work recreational softball team, the Los Angeles Dodgers have finally started playing like everyone expected they would, given their Opening Day payroll of $239 million buckaroos.

The first pitch at Dodger Stadium for the 2013 season.

The first pitch at Dodger Stadium for the 2013 season.

Since the emergence of Yasiel Puig’s ego, the Doyers have quickly taken a “commanding” 3.5 game lead in the division (“commanding,” given this is the NL West we’re talking about), and are really facing no competition until October. The D-backs save games as well as congress saves money, the Rockies can’t stay healthy, the Padres are too young, and the Giants are trying to explain to all their fans that bad years sometimes happen in baseball.

"But the Giants have almost always won a World Series since I started watching them."

“But the Giants always win since I started watching them in 2010.”

The Dodgers are finally what everyone thought they’d be, however, that doesn’t mean things aren’t still going to be interesting for them down the final stretch. Remember back in April, when Zach Greinke finally beaned Carlos Quentin one too many times? Remember how Quentin bum rushed the mound and broke Greinke’s collar-bone?

Then, remember when the Dogers/D-backs tit a tat finally boiled over when Ian Kennedy went up and high on Greinke, thus igniting one of the best basebrawl of the late 1980’s.

"No Mark, you're supposed to stop taking the juice when you retire."

“No Mark, you’re supposed to stop taking the juice when you retire.”

Well guess what? After a bizarre inter-division deal at the trade deadline, Kennedy’s now throwing pitches for the Padres, and like all great grudges in the history of the sport, you can guarantee nobody’s forgetting what happened just because he’s now in a different uniform.

You thought things were intense before with the Dodgers and Padres, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Now, technically, this doesn’t mean anything’s going to happen the next time these two teams suit up against each other (or anytime after that for that matter), but given how ESPN and all the other media outlets covers the Los Angeles sports market like flies on a turd, this is going to be the biggest thing since the 2012-2013 Lakers didn’t ascend to heaven on golden chariots.

Seriously, just you wait and watch, because when Kennedy finally pitches against the Dodgers for his new team, it’s going to be the only thing you can.

How The MLB Can Kill The Juice (And How They Need To)

In MLB on July 23, 2013 at 10:58 am

By Jonathan Danielson

In case you missed it, yesterday Milwaukee Brewers outfielder, Ryan Braun, became the Lance Armstrong of Major League Baseball. After getting caught taking PED’s two years ago (then getting off on a technicality), Braun went on a vigilant  campaign of denials, lies, more denials, and then vengeful attacks on the credibility of people threatening to hold him accountable.

Braun lied to the league, his fans, baseball fans in general, and  single-handedly ruined the life of the poor bastard responsible for taking his urine test.

18166143_BG2

However, because of MLB’s PED policy, Braun, like others before him, only proved one thing: In the MLB, cheaters do prosper.

For all the cheating, lying, then more lying, Braun only received a 65 game suspension without pay. From his standpoint, it was a no brainer; by confessing to cheating and taking the suspension now, he doesn’t have to take it next year, where he certainly would have received a 100 game ban. Instead, Braun only misses out on the $3.85 million he was due for the rest of the season rather than nearly the ten million it would have cost him in 2014. He gets to sit back and rest his hurt hand while his team continues tanking for better draft picks. Oh, and did I mention he’s still going to make nearly $10 million next year, even after everything he did?

That would almost be criminal, if there weren’t other circumstances to compare it with.

628x471

“I crap ten million dollars.”

The MLB needs to do something to not just catch cheaters after they cheat , but discourage them before a needle over goes into a butt cheek. They need to stop the cancer before it spreads, because let’s be real, right now their current policy of

[Let out horses. Close gate.] 

isn’t cutting it. Instead, there needs to be a hard rule and no exceptions. A rule  every player knows, from little league until the day they get drafted until the day they get called up to the big boys. A rule with no and’s, if’s, or but’s.

The MLB needs to establish a “One-And-Done” zero tolerance program. Simply put, you get caught taking PED’s,  congratulations, you’re banned from baseball. Your contract is void, you owe the team everything  from the offending year, and that’s it.

Granted, will “One-And-Done” fix all the seasons a player probably cheated before getting caught? Nope, nothing will. However, if a player is banned, at least the league, the clean players, and the fans get to wipe their hands clean and move forward. Because of baseball’s guaranteed contracts, at least the cheating player won’t still make the $100 million dollars left on their contract when they come back.

Unfortunately, the MLB doesn’t have the cojones to implement such a plan, especially when they’d be fighting the most powerful mafia player union in the world to implement it. While “One-And-Done” might sound logical, fair, and sound, it simply won’t make it in the current landscape. Concessions will need to be made.

Instead of “One-And-Done,” maybe the MLB could take these four humble options into consideration:

1. Eliminate 50 game suspension for first offense, 100 games for second offense, lifetime for third. Exchange with one calendar year suspension for first offense, lifetime ban for second offense. 

2. No more guaranteed money, and allow teams to “option-out” of contract with suspended player. If a contract is negotiated when a player is hitting a juiced up .315, and 40 homers, that contract was negotiated under false pretenses. A team should have the right to terminate that contract and have first right to renegotiate.   

3. Lifetime ban from the Hall-of-Fame after first offense. You cheat, you don’t get a bust. 

4. Cheating player has to repay all money earned during season which PED abuse occurred.   

Now aren’t these new rules perfect? Aren’t they so much more strict and will stop everyone from cheating?

Because everyone always follows the rules.

Because everyone always follows the rules.

These rules won’t do anything, just as the current rules aren’t doing anything. They’re a joke, and even after implementing them, more Ryan Brauns would only slip through the cracks and continue to steal unearned MVP’s from players who followed the rules.

Let’s face it, cheating players will always pay the fees for that competitive edge, to hell with a 50-game ban or not. It’s no big deal to them, because even after they’re caught, they’ll still get paid or just get another contract somewhere else. They’ll just keep playing and making more money, and they’ll use all that money to wipe their tears away after their feelings are hurt from everyone booing them.

"I again just want to apologize for making so much money."

“I again just want to apologize for signing a $16 million a year deal.”

While “One-And-Done” won’t solve everything, and won’t fix the records or awards a player earned while cheating, it at least  won’t let a cheating player continue making the amount of cash they possibly would have if they continued playing  baseball. They won’t be able to profit from it with big league contracts waiting at the end of suspensions. Instead, they’ll just make Pete Rose-type money from constantly signing balls in Vegas for drunk tourists. While that might still be a lot to you and me, it’s nowhere near the amount they’d be making if they were still in the league, and it wouldn’t be worth the same risk of taking PED’s. There would be no more guaranteed dollars at the end of only two months at home.

“One-And-Done” isn’t perfect, but let’s face it, a measly 50 games (or in Braun’s case, 65)  isn’t doing anything at all. And until the MLB wants to get serious about cheating, Braun and other players will keep laughing all the way to the bank.

If A Little Bit Of Something Is Good…

In MLB on May 6, 2013 at 6:41 am

By Jonathan Danielson

If you might have noticed, I’ve been a little MIA from the site lately. With the new job, and trying to write a second book, and trying to rewrite the first book, and trying to have a stable marriage and healthy relationships with friends and family, I finally put a few things on the back burner for a while. I had to take some time for myself, and because of that , blogging about sports for hobby was the unfortunate causality.

Oh, and I purchased MLB Extra Innings for DirectTV. That means I have access to every game by every team on every day of the week. I figured if I little bit of something is good, then a lot of  it has to be great, right?

Remember when this was charming? Technically, me neither.

Remember when this was charming? Technically, me neither.

See, I decided to throw down for the MLB package because I decided that this year would be the last year of only watching my favorite team (the Arizona Diamondbacks) the handful of times per season they play nationally televised games, or the few series each year against either team in my local northern California market.

And so far, besides the infuriating league-leading ten blown saves, it’s been pretty great. It’s like I get to go to Chase Field every night and watch my favorite team play. I get to witness, firsthand, this brilliant  plan Kevin Towers had of trading away one player who currently leads the league in home runs, and another player who has the highest batting average in the league so far, for a utility man, a few prospects, and some Cracker Jacks.

"Because I think Cracker Jacks are delicious."

“I pulled the trigger because I think Cracker Jacks are delicious.”

To be fair, it’s only May, and there’s a lot of baseball to be played to get a true, long-term assessment of the deal, but after the first month it’s looking like Justin Upton will turn into the next Barry Bonds (hopefully minus the juice), and the D-backs are going to be the next Pittsburgh Pirates.

But I digress.

My point is, besides life and work, I’ve been watching a lot of baseball lately, and that’s where I’ve been. Oh, and what do I do when D-backs aren’t on? When they have a few days off, or they play an early afternoon game while I’m at work? Well, I tune over to the A’s game, because I try to root for at least one team in my market, and due to my Arizona bias, I’m obviously not going to root for the Giants.

Oh, and what do I do when the A’s aren’t on?

Well, I’ve watched a few Red Sox games lately, because I’ve been fascinated with how the team has responded to the tragedy from a few weeks ago. Nothing too much though.

Oh, and I’ve watched the Dodgers lately because nothing’s better than watching a train wreck. Same thing with the Angels. Oh, and I’ve watched some Padres games too, because I grew up liking the Padres before the Diamondbacks even existed. Oh, and the Astros because I want to see how they’re playing in their new division and new league.

I’ve watched a couple Cubs games too, because this may be the last year we see Wrigley Field how it currently is, or if Ricketts follows through on his half-ass threats, it might be the last season of Wrigley Field all together. Oh, and I’ve watched the Orioles because I want to see if they can repeat the same success from last season. And the Rangers to see how they do with the loss of Hamilton. And the Brewers because they’ve been pretty hot after such a sluggish start. And the Indians to see how Terry Francona’s working out. And the Braves because they’ve been amazing so far. And Toronto, because trades don’t always make you good. And the Marlins because I don’t know why. And the Rays because I really don’t know why.

Not even people in Tampa go to watch Rays games, and I'm not certain if I've missed one yet.

Not even people in Tampa watch Rays games, yet I’m not certain if I’ve missed one yet.

I guess my point to all of this is this; as a baseball fan, MLB Extra Innings is incredible. I have never watched more baseball in my entire life than I have during the first month of the 2013 season.

As a human being though, I realize I am slowly dying inside because of it. Like, my soul and stuff. Like, day-by-day I grown weaker, and I haven’t seen the sun in I don’t know how long. Like, I get anxious when I don’t have eight games up on one screen at once. Like, my spirit is about to break.

Like, quite frankly, I don’t know how much longer I can go.

"My first hit of crack was awesome!"

“My first hit of crack was awesome!”

There isn’t really a joke or comment or anything to be made by this article, except maybe a not so sudden cry for help. This first step to addiction is admitting you have a problem, and maybe that’s what I’m doing. Maybe I should apologize to everyone I’ve hurt this past month, and everyone I may hurt in the future.

Maybe that’s what I need to do.

I don’t know what to do, but I know I paid for this thing for the whole season, and I know that means that I’m in for one long summer.

Should The Dodgers Be Allowed To Sue For Damages?

In MLB on April 12, 2013 at 7:06 pm

By Jonathan Danielson

During the winter, the Los Angeles Dodgers backed up six garbage trucks filled with money to Zach Greinke’s door, then dumped  out $147 million for six years of the pitcher’s services.

Then, during last night’s game against the San Diego Padres (a team whose entire payroll is barely half of Greinke’s total salary), Carlos Quentin bum-rushed Greinke after Greinke kerplintked one off Quentin’s ball-absorbing body fragile sensibilities. The end result? Greinke broke his collarbone, and most developing countries cried that a guy earning more than its entire GDP is now earning it while sitting on the bench for the next few months.

"Only Dennis Rodman should be allowed to make that much!"

“Only Dennis Rodman should be allowed to make that much!”

It’s unfortunate that Greinke broke his collarbone, but mound rushing is part of the game, especially when players get beamed time after time after time, even if they do mostly turn into oncoming pitches. It’s even more unfortunate that Quentin didn’t realize that only an idiot would intentionally beam a guy (even if he did have something against him) with a full-count during a one run game. I mean, this is the NL West we’re talking about; except for the Padres, every game this year is going to count.

Let’s make something perfectly clear: There is no way Greinke intentionally beamed Quentin. The ball slipped, Quentin hovered over the plate, and the reason Greinke talked back afterward is because what the hell else was he supposed to do? Lose face and tuck his tail between his legs and say he was sorry? While Quentin probably would have appreciated it, this is baseball we’re talking about. There’s no crying in baseball. Shut up, take your base, and hope you can make Greinke feel the sting of his pitch by running in the tying run. That’s how Quentin should’ve played it, but instead he rushed the mound and broke a bone in one of the most expensive players in the sport.

Congratulations Mr. Quentin, for you will now forever be that guy. 

Like Quentin, this guy could cure cancer and still never be remembered for anything else but not that.

Like Quentin, this guy could cure cancer and still not be remembered for it.

Since the fight, there have been no shortage of recommendations for how Quentin should be punished. Some  suggest that the best punishment would be to suspend Quentin until Greinke is healed and back in the Dodger’s lineup. While my innate sense of right or wrong might support that type of justice, a move like that sets a horrible precedent and opens up new problems for future punishments. Think of this; If I was a club’s manager and I knew the only punishment my player would face is an automatic suspension every time they hurt another player, and that suspension would equal the time the injured player was out, I would call up my sixth starter from AA every time I played a divisional rival, then have him beam their best player just to start something that would hopefully injure said best player.

I mean, if that practice were allowed and I was say, I dunno, the Arizona Diamondbacks, I’d be looking long and hard at my calendar every time the Atlanta Braves came to town, just to call up Joe Who-Gives-A-Crap from Mobile, Alabama.

"Oh man, I never played like this in Arizona!" No Justin, no you sure didn't.

“Oh man, I never played like this in Arizona!” No Justin, you sure didn’t.

Another solution has the injured player’s team (Dodgers) being allowed to sue the injuring player’s team (Padres) for losses and damages. In this case, the Pads would be paying almost  double their entirely weekly salary until Greinke comes back and I don’t think bankrupting your opponent is the point of this sport.

Instead, I say it is what it is. Suspend Quentin, and while you’re at it suspend Matt Kemp for acting like an idiot on the field, then acting like a bigger moron when he tried to pick a fight with Quentin in the parking lot after the game.

If Ryan Braun isn't stealing Kemp's MVP, then Carlos Quentin is stealing his second best pitcher.

If Ryan Braun isn’t stealing his MVP’s, Carlos Quentin is stealing his second best pitcher, and piss-poor judgement is taking away his playing time.

But the real issue here isn’t Quentin’s rush, or Greinke’s pitch, or even Kemp’s fight picking. The real issue here is that Greinke just dropped his shoulder and took the tackle like he and Quentin were wrestling in the 7th grade. Sure, Quentin outweighs the little rascal by fifty pounds, but Quentin’s face was wide open for the easy hook, and instead Greinke just shrunk up like a pansy and suffered an injury  only someone playing junior varsity football should get.

If done right, Quentin would have been thanking Greinke for this brawl in years to come.

If Greinke did it right, Quentin would’ve been thanking Greinke for this brawl in years to come.

And this issue isn’t just limited to Greinke and Quentin. Lately, every pitcher who gets stormed seems to get owned, and that’s just bad for baseball. It makes every pitcher lose some part of their intimidation factor. Their scariness. You think anyone every rushed Randy Johnson? They probably did, and I can’t say for certain that they didn’t, but man, that guy was scary. Where have all the Randy Johnson’s and Nolan Ryan’s gone? Now we have potheads with long hair and stupid beards in San Francisco. We have guys wearing flat brim hats and tilting them to the side in Cincinnati. We got Dodger pitchers breaking their collarbones like little kids do when they fall out of trees.

My point is this: The MLB needs to toughen up their pitchers, and I propose that every team be forced to send their pitching staffs to MLB Headquarters in New York City. Once there, each pitcher will individually go into a room that only has an old ratty bench press and a punching bag. You know, the kind Dad would go out and use in the garage when he wasn’t drinking scotch and sending you to bed when the sun was still out so he could have some time with Mom. Maybe even the room will have some tools and a workbench, just to make it that much more authentic.

Either way, every pitcher goes in, a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling, and there’s Dad himself, Nolan Ryan, and he spends some time teaching each pitcher how to stand up to all the bullies at the plate. Nothing fancy, just some good old-fashioned chokeholds and uppercuts. It’ll toughen up every pitcher in the league, which in turn will toughen up the league.

And that’s just good for baseball.

Why Did I Have To Go To Work Today?

In MLB on April 1, 2013 at 6:03 pm

By Jonathan Danielson

Did you notice today was like every other day between Monday and Friday? In the morning, people were on the road to work, then in the evening they were commuting home? Businesses were getting business done. People were at their jobs. Nothing was any different?

Why was everyone at work today? Why were they not home? Why were they not out at the park, or glued to their television sets? It’s Opening Day for Major League Baseball, and why is that not a national holiday?

"Anything less would be un-American."

“Anything less would be un-American.”

Opening Day for baseball is an all day event. It’s every team shaking off the dust and taking the field for the beginning of America’s Pastime. America’s sport. A national tradition.

It was the Boston Red Sox beating the New York Yankees. The new look (and expensive) Los Angeles Dodgers shutting out the defending World Champs. It’s the Phillies and the Braves. It’s every other team in every other city.

And everyone’s missing it.

Me, I’m about to take a moment and be grateful for what’s important, and give thanks for what I have, and I’m going to do that by plopping down on the couch, turning on the TV, and watching my favorite team throw out their first pitch.

Viva los baseball. Viva los Opening Day.

Is It Competitive, Or Is It Just Bad?

In College on March 27, 2013 at 8:03 pm

By Jonathan Danielson

It was said going into the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament that this year might be the most unpredictable tournament in recent history. After only a few rounds, I think it’s safe to say that the general opinion was not only correct with their modest predictions, but that this year might actually be the craziest tournament ever.

Eliminated early were teams that were supposed to be the closest things to sure bets; Georgetown, Kansas State, Gonzaga, even Belmont.

"The entire country is going to hate us for busting their bracket..."

Question: How much does the entire country hate Georgetown for busting their bracket? Answer: A lot.

Advancing were schools almost no one ever heard of: Lasalle and Florida Gulf Coast University.

How obscure is Florida Gulf Coast University? Here’s the opening paragraph to their Wikipedia article: Florida Gulf Coast University, also known as FGCU, is a coeducational public research university located just south of the Southwest Florida International Airport in the South Fort Myers region of unincorporated Lee County,Florida, United States.

Apparently, the only people who look up FGCU are people driving to FGCU, and they’ve driven past it so many times they need to pull over and Google which side of the airport it’s on.

"Why were we going here again?"

“Why were we going here again?”

If you’ve been able to slack off at work long enough to watch a game or two, you would have quickly realized that the reason this year’s tournament is so crazy, so unpredictable, is obvious. Simply put, college basketball just isn’t that good. In fact, it sort of sucks.

Take the Cal/Syracuse game on Saturday for an example: Cal was down by eight in the final seconds but were making a valiant, albeit unlikely comeback. The Bears were able to score, play solid defense as Syracuse tried to inbound, then got possession back underneath their own hoop. What happened next should have been a relatively easy play ; the inbounding Cal player only had to throw the ball to his teammate out by the three-point line. Instead, the ball was thrown way over said teammate’s head, and went right out of bounds.

Syracuse for the win!

Take the Kansas/North Carolina game for another example. In the first four minutes, Kansas was 1-of-5 shooting, and North Carolina was 1-of-9, and during that run, each team consecutively missed two completely wide open layups. These are layups, the basic fundamental play were you’re so close, you just bounce the ball off the backboard or drop it through the hoop.

Oh, and Kansas was the top ranked team in that division. North Carolina number nine.

"And I thought watching the Bobcats was bad..."

“I should’ve just stayed and watched the Bobcats.”

Yeah, these are only tiny insights of an entire game, an entire tournament, but still, such are the metaphors for college basketball.

Maybe that’s a bit harsh. There have been some great moments of course, and exciting plays. Take Ohio State’s three pointer to win over Iowa State with .5 seconds left. Take any game FGCU has played in. Or Wichita State.  The only problem is, just because those games were close/exciting/competitive, doesn’t mean the actual game  was any good. While this may be some of the most exciting and unpredictable tournament play in recent history, it’s also some of the worst actually played.

And that’ because One-and-Done is killing college hoops.

"Man, I'm happy this tournament is over. My old knees couldn't take much more."

“Man, I’m glad this thing’s over. My old knees couldn’t take much more.”

In case you’re unfamiliar with the One-and-Done, it’s when a college player plays one year at the collegiate level and then bolts to the NBA once the season’s over. It’s a byproduct of the NBA rule that states a player must be at least 19-years-old, and one year removed from high school, before they can declare for the draft.

The rule was meant to protect the integrity of the NBA, and encourage players to look at college before a professional basketball career. Instead, it’s made a joke out of college hoops. It’s robbed college basketball of its best and brightest stars.

"I would tell them to stay in college as long as they can. Oh, and to grow a mustach."

“I would tell them to stay in college as long as they can. As loooooooooooooong as they can. Oh, and to grow a mustache.”

You might argue that One-and-Done has finally leveled the playing field. That it’s opened up large, historically dominant programs to their shortcomings. That the little guy can finally compete.

And I would say, sure, you’re right, but also think about this: There was a reason those programs have been as historically good as they have. There was a reason the best of the best went to those schools. It’s because those schools played to win championships.

If you ask any coach, that’s technically still the case, but for the player it’s now because that program has the best chance of getting that player into the big leagues after a quick vacation for a year at “Animal House.” And while the big programs continually have roll out new talent, and have to compete each year with a new batch of 18-year-olds, smaller programs like the FGCU can allow their players to mature a few years, and take on the youngsters. Does that mean the players from the smaller schools are better than the big-name teenagers on the premier rosters? No, it just means they’re older.

And if you don’t think that argument doesn’t carry any weight, go ask OJ Mayo and Yi Jianlian what it was like finally playing against the big boys after playing babies their entire lives. Don’t worry, Shabazz Muhammed will find out soon enough.

"Alright, I'm old!"

“I get it, I’m old!”

One-and-Done has got to go. Personally, I favor an NFL-like system that requires players to spend at least three years playing at the collegiate level. It gives them more time to mature themselves, and mature their game before hitting the big time. It will make the NBA better, and for the Month of March, it will give the Big Dance a much better product on the court.

But until then, enjoy the rest of the tournament. It might not be the best basketball to watch, but at least it’s making for great soon-to-be-televisised-underdog-movies.

BRACKETOLOGY!

In College on March 21, 2013 at 6:42 am

By HTLF Staff

Like the rest of the nation trying to get out of work at their day job, we at Hittoleftfield thought it would be fun to fill out our own NCAA Tournament Brackets, and then share and compare and explain our choices. Oh, and thanks to this bracket website that we pulled our brackets from.

Here goes.

Jonathan’s Picks:

There are two things in life I suck at doing, and filling out NCAA Tournament Brackets is one of them.

Screen shot 2013-03-20 at 5.52.13 PM (2)

The other? Thinking about filling out NCAA Tournament Brackets.

Let’s be serious, it’s tough enough trying to predict the outcome of one game at a give time, but predicting 64 games is damn near impossible. Especially if you only pretend to have a passing interest in college basketball, because it seems like you should, since you run a fledgling to mildly successful lower tier sports blog, know what I saying?

(Not pointing any fingers here!)

Either way, I chose Louisville to go all the way, because everyone chose Louisville to go all the way. I picked them beating Miami, because the Canes are the most sure thing at a long shot. If I’m correct about them, picking them will make me look really smart, and there is nothing more I like than to look really smart (I mean, who picked Baltimore over San Francisco in the Super Bowl before the NFL season started? And who then changed that pick before the start of the playoffs?).

Everything else is really inconsequential. I picked Belmont to upset Arizona because Arizona is probably the best worst team (or worst best team, although that phrasing is a bit too generous) in the whole tournament. I picked UCLA to go down, because of the big injury their facing, and I picked Iona to upset Ohio St.

Why did I pick Iona to upset Ohio State? Because I told you already, I suck at these things.

Jeff W’s Picks:

What I know about college basketball is almost entirely conceptual, theoretical, and general. I know that falling down occurs with such regularity that everyday fans don’t seem to mind. I know that defense equals ZONE and offense equals HOT POTATO. And I know that it’s a common joke to say that March Madness involves many of the world’s future insurance salesmen. All of this is to say that I watch very few games from year to year at the college level, most of which take place during March Madness, that weird stretch of time where national productivity decreases dramatically and millions of people sign up for free ESPN brackets and inevitably lose to some homeless guy in Florida who made his picks based on how many people used the corner ATM last Saturday.

So I figured that instead of losing to that homeless man, I’d play a different game, one at which I’m likely to win. Instead of seeing how many games I can get right, I’m going to see how many games I can get wrong!

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Now, the real key to “winning” this challenge is to dominate the first round because, obviously, if you whiff every game in the first round, you’ve whiffed the tournament, game, set, and match. But since it’s so easy to pick a low seed to advance in every round, the best scores in this March Madness format are necessarily going to be incredibly low on the win count. I’m thinking that an above average score would be to only allow your bracket to yield, say, less than ten winners. There are 66 games (including the play-ins) so getting about 90% of them wrong (considering you can just pick all the play-in teams to make the Final Four and probably destroy 60% of your bracket) seems a good benchmark.

Hopefully I do as poorly as possible!

Chris’s Picks:

I’m not a college sports guy. Just don’t have the gene. I went to Pitt and I never came close to going to a conference game. Why? Well, they sell out in seven seconds and I just… meh… it’s just not in my bones.

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But my affinity and devotion to the Big East remains. Especially in its final year as a competitive conference (hell, a conference at all), they need to go out with a bang. That shows in my bracket which I’m calling “Trying really hard to call the upsets”. It’s kind of pointless but fun all the same.

I have Duke and Syracuse playing for it all in the championship. For that to happen, a LOT of upsets have to go down in the South and East brackets. Yeah. I’m willing San Diego St., Butler, and New Mexico to make it happen.

It’s fun to pick the upsets. I’ve picked 18. That’s pretty ridiculous but if goes down, I will be laughing. That’s how I roll: death or joy.

And finally, the one person here you should probably listen to:

Jeff G’s Picks:

All season I’ve watched top dogs get knocked off, so I’m anticipating a wild tournament

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Let’s start with the West. Gonzaga has beaten one ranked opponent all season. Can you can tell I’m not buying the hype? My brother’s been waiting all season for a big man to come along and take out Kelly Kapowski Olynyk, but Pitsburgh’s center Talib Zanna is not gonna be that big man. The game to watch will be Wisconsin vs. Gonzaga. Badgers forward/center Jared Berggren has the versatility to posterize Olynyk, in what’s going to be the long-hair’s first true test against another legitimate big man all season. In the end, Ohio State is too hot right now for me to get in their way. The Buckeyes get past Wisconsin for a final four appearance.

An early matchup in the East I’m studying is a rematch between Marquette and Butler in the Sweet Sixteen. I’m giving Marquette the payback victory, settling the score from an early season one-point loss. I see Indiana having a really tough time getting past Syracuse and then Miami, even a Marquette team if the Golden Eagles play to their capabilities. I just don’t see Miami sustaining a five game winning streak, nor more magic from Syracuse. Indiana sneaks past them all, albeit an overtime victory, or two.

The South. I’ve waited for Georgetown to get a break in the seeding department for years and here it is. Kansas, Michigan, Florida aren’t contenders in this division. Georgetown will have to actually perform in the tournament though, something they haven’t proven to be capable of under head coach John Thompson III. They’ll finally get a taste of the Final Four, but that’s the most I’m willing to gamble on them. As it is, I could see Minnesota topping them in the Elite 8, once they get past Florida for an upset not many are calling. Obama overlooked the Golden Gophers, so I like my odds.

In the Midwest I’m most worried about Duke. Which team is going to come out and play? This is the biggest mystery of the tournament for me. But the road looks easy for the Blue Devils early. Also, I’m high on either Oregon or OK State coming out and beating St Louis. I’m going to give the edge to OK State’s 3-pt barrage led by junior guard Markel Brown. But none of this is going to matter when Louisville stands atop the pile. Their road is easier than the other contenders and they’re outstanding on both sides of the ball — what they’ll need to get by Ohio St. and eventually Indiana. I’ve been waiting for Head Coach Rick Pitino to prove his press isn’t a gimmick. This year he’ll be cutting down the nets because of it.

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