Monthly Archives: January 2013

UEFA FFP Rules finally bringing parody?

On Sunday, during the 4th Round of the FA Cup, Liverpool lost 3-2 to Oldham who plays two levels below Liverpool in the Football League system. In conjunction with losses by Premier League sides Norwich City, Tottenham and QPR, all I read in comments how the sky is falling and losing teams are destine to doom, especially with Liverpool.

I have a different take on the reason for the recent losses from Premier League sides to so called “lesser” sides, it could from the UEFA FFP regulations starting to take effect. These rules aim to reduce the heavy losses that some teams take on for short term success at the expense of their long term existence. With these rules, the traditional powerhouse teams are not always able to go out and get the top-notch player they might need, they need to put more of an emphasis on developing players within their own programs

The recent struggles from Arsenal and Liverpool from the top 5 could be attributed to the board paying more attention to their expenses than the short term victory.  In America, most of the major professional sporting leagues (except MLB) has a similar way of keeping expenses in line called the Salary Cap. This prevents teams from buying multiple high priced players and preventing smaller marketing teams from succeeding. Teams are now unable to string together multiple championships with these rules and the same thing appears to be starting in the Premier League.

No more in the future should we see the dominance of the Big Four (or Five) as other teams should get in on the mix. You will see more “Upsets” which are really more than a shift in power that should happen more and more as spending comes back to reality. The only difference between the FFP rules and a salary cap is the total revenue matters with the FFP rules. As long as you can generate the revenue, you can get some of the players you want, you just can’t get every player you want.

Do not be surprised in the next couple of years you see new teams crack to the Top 5 and teams that spent their time at the top of the table battling at the bottom of the table. These rules will stop the rampant losses for teams all over Europe and it is time for people around the world to take note that the rich teams getting richer is not the Status Quo  anymore.

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Update: FA Cup 4th Round Predictions

As I previously posted here, I made some predictions for the 4th round of the FA cup. Lets see how the predictions turned out.

Saturday’s Matches
Stoke City 1-3 Manchester City **Correct (0-1)
Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Everton **Correct (1-2)
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-4 Arsenal **Correct (2-3)
Derby County 1-0 Blackburn Rovers **Incorrect(0-3)
Huddersfield Town 0-2 Leicester City **Incorrect(1-1)
Hull City 4-1 Barnsley **Very Incorrect(0-1)
Macclesfield Town 0-2 Wigan Athletic **Correct(0-1)
Middlesbrough 3-0 Aldershot Town **Correct(2-1)
Norwich City 1-1 Luton Town **Incorrect(0-1)
Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Milton Keynes Dons **Correct(2-4)
Reading 3-1 Sheffield United **Correct(4-0)
Manchester United 2-0 Fulham **Correct(4-1)
Sunday’s Matches
Brentford 1-1 Chelsea **Correct(2-2)
Leeds United 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur **Incorrect(2-1)
Oldham Athletic 0-1 Liverpool **Incorrect(3-2)

I had 9 correct verses 6 incorrect plus I predicted the MK Dons upset of QPR.

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MK Dons Win!

Who called that victory in this post? This Guy!

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FA Cup 4th Round Predictions

In today’s post I thought I would take a crack at predicting the results for the 4th round pairings of the FA Cup. Here we go….

Saturday’s Matches
Stoke City 1-3 Manchester City
Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Everton
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-4 Arsenal
Derby County 1-0 Blackburn Rovers
Huddersfield Town 0-2 Leicester City
Hull City 4-1 Barnsley
Macclesfield Town 0-2 Wigan Athletic
Middlesbrough 3-0 Aldershot Town
Norwich City 1-1 Luton Town
Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Milton Keynes Dons
Reading 3-1 Sheffield United
Manchester United 2-0 Fulham
Sunday’s Matches
Brentford 1-1 Chelsea
Leeds United 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Oldham Athletic 0-1 Liverpool

Yes, I’m predicting that the MK Dons will defeat QPR at Loftus Road. I also predict that Chelsea will draw against Brentford. This was a difficult choice as I never know what Chelsea team will show up.

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MLB losing touch with fans

A couple of days ago MLB approved a couple of rule changes for the upcoming 2013 season as explained in this article.Normally when I hear about rules changes, I’m ready to jump right into the article and update my knowledge of the rules in the sport. With this article, I was also struck by a sense of disappointment as MLB once again proved to me that they are out of touch with the fan’s and their expectations of the game.

Frankly, I don’t care about banning the third to first move or adding the seventh coach to the dugout during the game. Along with the on field interpreter rule, if those are the only rules that MLB could come up with this season, they are more out of touch than I ever thought. There are so many other problems that are holding up the progression of the game in America to worry about the assistant hitting coach being in the dugout.

We have been for about five years that MLB continues to look into the use/expanded use of instant replay, but yet we continue to hear week after week during the season about blown close calls that could have been easily and quickly reversed with replay.

The NFL went through the same kind of issues with incorrect calls on close plays back in 1997. The NFL was able to implement an “experimental” system for the preseason in 1998 with full implementation in 1999. It only took 1 year to put in a replay system, yet we are waiting year after year for MLB to get their act together to modernize the game. This modernization of the NFL coincided with major increase in popularity of the game while baseball continue with their slow downward trend.  Most every other sport in the world uses some form of reply in their top tier professional league with the exception of soccer, but they are even investing in goal line technology. The young and middle aged people now a days know that these game are judged by the human element and that nobody is perfect, but if the technology exists to quickly correct the play/call, it should be used.

The main argument against instant replay from the anti-replay people is “The game is already running long, this will make the game run longer”. My reply to that is, the game is already being held up by the manager auguring the call, replay would take 2 minutes or less to correct the call which would be far less than the time the manger spends yelling at the umpire.

Another argument against instant reply is that “It will interrupt the flow of the game”. That is another weak comeback as the flow of the game has already been ruined when the player or manager is arguing the call.

Proponents of instant replay are not talking about stopping the game every five minutes to use instant replay. We are talking about 1-2 calls a game at most that need to be reviewed. Just give each manager 1 challenge per game just like in Little League. MLB seems like they would rather save 2 minutes during the game from not using replay and would rather receive negative publicity for 2 days on all the major sports cast shows.

People who are against replay do not truly care about the game and its future. They care about a past vision of the game, they are trying to hold onto something from their past and not look into the future. They want to remember the game for the black and white images that they see from time to time, but those images are in the past and can never be recaptured.

Another rule that needs to be changed is the DH rule between the two leagues. Most people want the DH to be used in both leagues, but personally I don’t care how MLB want to address the issue as long as the rule is consistent between the two leagues especially since there is an odd number of teams now in each league.

It is time for Bud Selig to step down as commissioner. The game has passed him by, he is dragging the progress of the game down while other sport continue their rise in popularity. It should not take to genius to make the needed rule changes in a quick manner to help the game.  He always says there are logistical and financial issues with these types of changes, but it has not stopped other sports from quickly put in similar major rule changes. If your focus is on the first to third move or how many people are in the dugout, the game has passed you by and you need to past the reigns to somebody else.

This will not be the last time you will hear me talk about MLB rules, instant replay or Bud Selig, as long as the game continues to fall behind other sports. All I can do is hope that someday baseball will wake up and listen to the fans as they walk away from the game.

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Axford Contract Makes Me Nervous

Just a quick thought for today… On Friday it was announced Brewers closer John Axford signed a deal for $5 million to avoid arbitration and this is a little concerning.

I subscribe to the theory that fastball pitchers can not be your primary closer. My thought process behind this logic is that players near the end of the game are generally more cautious when swinging the bat looking for their pitch. Fastball’s are generally easier to hit since they do not have much movement to them which makes them bigger targets to hit.

Axford uses the fastball as his primary pitch regardless of the situation. His slider is inconsistent at best and his changeup is still a work in progress. Players learn quickly about pitchers strengths and weaknesses in the major leagues, so the very pitch that led to the ascendent of Axford also led to his struggles last season since there was not another pitch to turn too. Axford seemed to bring it together near the end of the season, but when you are out of the playoff race, some players do “check-out” which leads to easier outs for Axford.

I could see issues were forthcoming with Axford when he started to over-throw the ball without early detection and correction. Normally Axford can throw the Fastball effectively at 95mph, but last season the fastball started increasing to 98 – 100mph becoming more and more wild. This should have been caught early and corrected, but nothing was done until it was too late, the damage was done.

What enhances my nervousness is we have been through this before with Derrick Turnbow. Another pitcher who used his Fastball as his primary pitch with no consistent secondary pitch. Turnbow blazed a trail through batter after batter for 1 1/2 seasons, but hitters adjust and Turnbow went into freefall.

With the new contract in hand, it will be interesting to see if Axford can handle the pressure of everybody seeing if he is worth the money and pitch at a consistent level.

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Super Bowl Predictions

The teams are now set and two weeks from now the Baltimore Ravens will battle San Francisco 49’ers in the Big Easy also know as the Harbaugh Bowl. With that being said I have a few predictions for the game from the coin toss to the final play of the game

  1. Manti Te’o will be seen at the game with his girlfriend
  2. Tebow will be mentioned at least once.
  3. Phil Simms will say Lawrence Taylor’s name at least twice
  4. Total number of times the Harbaugh family will be shown by CBS: 8
  5. A head coach with the last name of Harbaugh will win the Super Bowl

Now for my serious predictions…

  1. Number of commercials during the first quarter including the end of quarter commercial: 5
  2. Rushing yards by Colin Kaepernick: 80
  3. Halftime Score: San Francisco 17; Baltimore 10
  4. Missed FG’s by Akers: 1
  5. Final Score: San Francisco 31; Baltimore 20

 

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