To off topic of the usual Baseball/Basketball/Football/Soccer discussion, I want to take today’s post and discuss NASCAR racing. And based on the recent TV ratings and attendance numbers this might be a post that is not viewed by many. I caught a little bit of the race on Sunday and noticed the large empty sections of the bleachers of the rain postponed race. It got me thinking that this seems quiet common of all NASCAR races in recent years, and with article recently on low TV ratings, it makes me think how this could have happened to a sport that was considered a top tier sport a mere 20 years ago.
In my thoughts, there are could of reasons NASCAR has fell on hard times:
- Single TV Contact – This in my opinion is the biggest miscalculation and gaff for NASCAR, possibly greater than the next five combined. For the 2001 season, NASCAR signed a single network contact with FOX in the hopes people would know which network would have the race each week. Later on, FOX sub-contracted with NBC for the second half of the season. This model/idea had one major flaw, there was no incentive for other network to provide any coverage like it did for the previous 30 year. If you looks at the other major sports, they all have multiple network contacts: NFL (CBS, NBC, FOX, ESPN), MLB (Regional, FOX, TBS, ESPN), NBA (ESPN, ABC, TNT, Regional) and NHL (Regional, NBC, NBCSN). NASCAR previously had contracts at the track level with ESPN, TBS, TNT, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, TNN…. That is seven network that did not care to promote NASCAR or provide coverage, that is seven networks that might be promoting the sport during another sport telecast for an upcoming broadcast.
- Inconsistent sponsorship – Back when I use to follow NASCAR closer, you knew which driver was in which car because of the sponsorship/color scheme, but this no more. Sponsorship’s change way too much to have any consistence to follow a driver. Though this might be one that really be fixed.
- Race for the championship – Back in 2003, NASCAR thought (incorrectly) they had a major crises on their hands…… a driver won with only one win. This championship for Matt Kenneth led to the “Race for the Championship” which would be a playoff system. The problem is, why should other drivers really try (and sponsors pay for cars outside the championship) when will not receive equal focus?
- Not everybody can win – When you have 40 (or 43 previously) cars on the track in the 90’s and before, you knew on any given week (and with a little luck) that a driver could win. Those days are gone because the technical gap is too great, there is only 10-15 drivers that can really win each week. It is now too costly to get into the sport, the cars are too different to the fans to relate too and wins too hard (without a 5 car team).
- Inconsistent race dates – If you compare the 2015 to the 1996 season, you see that there was 0 Saturday races in 1996 (5 in ’15) and only two races at night (9 in ’15). This not knowing when the sport if on, coupled with issue number one leaves the fans confused when the sport is on.
- Same tracks – The tracks are too similar to each other. If you use the 2015 season as reference, you only have a couple different track types, notice the issue that there are too many of the semi-oval tracks. People want to see a variety and not the same race week after week.
- Semi Oval – Atlanta, Las Vegas, Fontana, Texas, Charlotte, Kansas, Michigan, Kentucky, Richmond and Chicagoland.
- True Oval – Dover, Loudon, Indy, Darlington, Homestead.
- Short Track – Martinsville, Bristol
- Super Speedway – Daytona and Talladega
- Odd ball/Road Course – Phoenix, Pocono, Watkins Glen
Now I’m not one just to leave the issues on the table and not provide recommended solutions. Below is how I would fix NASCAR.
- Bid the races out on the track by track basis, spread the wealth…. get NASCAR’s name out there on multiple networks all the time all year long.
- Continue the race to the championship, but also include minor trophies. You could have a season long point trophy, an FA Cup style races where certain races drivers are paired off with the one finishing better moving on until the final two face off, a race for the rest for the drivers outside the top 16. All of these can run concurrently with the Chase, this might give the fans and drivers an extra inventive to race.
- Make the cars more like traditional cars since nobody wants to watch racing cars they can not relate too.
- Make all races (except 1st Bristol and 1st Charlotte) a day time race on Sunday (no Saturdays). I know the reason the Saturday races were added, but it just does not work. All Sunday races start at 12pm or 3pm CST depending if is a west coast race.
- There needs to be a effort into mixing up the tracks, NASCAR needs to add tracks that race different, have different strategy, add some more road courses. Drop some of these semi-ovals races from 2 per track to 1.
It’s been over two years and I’m once again going to give this blog thing a try. I’m going to try to post a little less often to avoid burnout(Once every 7-9 days), hopefully on Sunday’s for the most part. Looking back at my last posts, this is what I see that has happened since the last time I posted:
- Bret is still the coach as Arkansas and it did not turn out to be the disaster I predicted [can’t get them all right I guess :)]
- Gary Andersen is gone from Wisconsin (Thank God!) and Paul Chryst is the coach. Hey, we are off to a very good start….better than Bret 🙂
- Bo is gone a Wisconsin for basketball and Gard is in. He seemed to over achieve last year with mid-level players.
- The Brewers ended up taking since the last post thanks to the incompetence of Doug Melvin and we had to blow the whole thing up. Amazing that the Cardinals never have to go into a rebuilding mode (and it is not because of that larger fan base.
- Bench clearing brawls still happening in MLB even though the solution is SIMPLE. New GM, same idiotic policy (See prior post)
- The Bucks got new owners and getting a new stadium.
- Listening to the Dan Patrick show the other day and they mentioned that the NBA will make it a point of emphasis to enforce traveling. I laughed too.
- A point that is close to me…. The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters of the Northwood’s League won the championship this year. As a 9-pack holder and was at all the playoff games it was truly great following the team including the walk off home run in game 1 of the championship.
- The Pro Bowl is still as boring is bad as always….. If they would only change it to a future stars with rookies and second year players
- Now onto soccer, I have really have started following Sacramento Republic FC
- Carlisle FC having a good season
- Big Brother has really gone into the toilet. It basically has become repeat comp after repeat comp. It really lacks in game play in recent seasons, as alliances don’t matter and skating through is the new norm
- What is this with CBS delaying Amazing Race?
- I bought a drone to fly in the park. Videos are here.
- Countdown to Battlefield 1 has started
- House of Cards was great and the following season was good
- Other Netflix shows I have been watching:
- Last Man Standing
- Family Guy
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 2 is stupid IMO)
- Cutthroat Kitchen (Is awesome!)
Once upon a time there was a disagreement during a baseball game that led to a bench clearing brawl, how do you correct that from ever happening again? If you are Bud Selig, you don’t, and you don’t even acknowledge that there is a even a problem. That is what happened Sunday during the Brewers-Pirates contest. If you have not seen the play you can see it here.
This incident is the one of many unnecessary multi-player incidents that seem to occur weekly MLB baseball in this so called “Modern Era” of baseball. It should be of no surprise to anybody that the commissioner does absoultly nothing to address the issue nor acknowledges that there is a problem while his counterpart league have resolved their issues years or decades ago. Bud Selig sits around while the kids run the household, but this no surpise to me since he has proven before that he is weak on punishment.
I have written about this before, but it amazes me that nothing is done about a simple rule change. Suspend the players that join in from the outside and suspend anybody that comes out of the dogout/bullpen.
In this case, Gomez will get what he deserved unlike last year, he escalated a shouting match with the pitcher. This appear to be the one thing that Gomez needs to work on or he will self-destruct as everybody will try to get into his head all the time and provoke fights with him, especailly since it appears that Selig will do nothing to curtail these indicients from occuring.
The use of instant replay should used in these situations (if commistioner do nothing does nothing) to assist in ensuring who should be ejected. I would normally expect this to be an easy thing to change, but given that it took 10 years longer than it should have just to get replay, I’m not expecting any changes anything soon.
In the end, it should be of no surpise that if at the end of the season attendence is down, what is the cause of it. The lack of changes or the delay to put in much needed changes will be the downfall of MLB if drastic action to bring back the youth to the game are not implemented. There are other sports that will be more than happy to fill its spot, this incident is just one of many problems with baseball.
It is that time of the season again when people are just ready for baseball which means I will make some pre-season predictions.
- AL East
- Red Sox
- Blue Jays
- AL Central
- White Sox
- AL West
- Wild Card
- NL East
- NL Central
- NL West
- Wild Card
Friday brought another day where another MLB manager was fired when Dusty Baker was fired from the Cincinnati Reds. I know that I recently wrote a post talking about Dale Sveum being fired from the Cubs, Dusty Baker did posses almost all the skills that Dale did not, but was missing one minor aspect that you need. Rebound.
Over a 162 game season, there are ups and downs, but it is how you overcome the downs that makes you a great manager. It is the ability to stop a losing streak or to refocus the team after a unusual moment in the game. Dusty did not possess this.
Dusty did not have it in San Francisco, he could not calm down Cubs after the Bartman incident and he could not recover with the Reds. Someone will hire Dusty again, but whoever hires him better be really for the team to let little mistake or incidents get inside their head.
Given the events of last nights altercation between the Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves, I would have expected some kind of punishment to be handled down, but once again the kids are running the house with no guidelines to controlling the household.
First and foremost, I will state that I agree with the Gomez suspension for 1 game. You can not jaw with everybody around the base paths and not expect something to occur. I also agree with the suspension of Reed Johnson, though I like how he then hid behind his coach after getting his shots.
Like one of my previous posts , how does McCann not get anything out of this, just like Matt Kemp earlier this year? How can not punish the secondary and third party offenders who commit equal or greater offenses than the people caused the initial starters. McCann ignited the fight, yet he gets nothing. This can no longer occur now or with the new commissioner in a couple of years.
You can not have these major brawls night after night in baseball. People might say that it is going to occur over a 162 game season with 30 teams, but honestly how is it even remotely acceptable in baseball, but in any other job where you work 3 times the hours a night for double the number of nights a year? If you start a fight at a normal job, you are out of a job, but in baseball you might not even get a fine.
This needs to change now, any person who does joins a fight should get ejected and suspended for future games. Period!
If you have not heard by now, during the 4-0 victory for the Brewers over the Braves during Wednesday’s game, there was a little scuffle between Carlos Gomez and the rest of the Braves after his home run which ignited a beach clearing brawl. In this post, I could take the high level perspective on this and talk about the unwritten rules, but I want to have a different take on the events that occurred.
Bud Selig has lost control of the ship or at least lost control of the ability to right the ship when events occur that require a review and change in the rules. Even before I started this blog I knew the rules had to change, I even mentioned some of these rule changes within a previous post.
This is a simple rule change, simple! Any player who joins a fight outside of the original parties are ejected and hit with a suspension. This fact eludes Bud Selig that the rules have to change or at least he has to make the attempt to change the rules, even if the players union might reject them, then it is not on Bud.
Some will say that fighting is part of the game and that these “unwritten” rules are part of the baseball tradition. This complete bull, traditions are meant to be broken(or else there would still be gladiator fights at the Colosseum) and the rules should be changed. Baseball has been stuck behind this “unwritten” rules for too longer and something has to change, the first being the way we police the game.
One additional question I have out of the game today, how does Brian McCann not get ejected from the game? He escalates a volatile situation by standing in front of the plate and then gets in the face of Gomez. This is another problem with the MLB umpiring today, the inability to get the call right when large scale situation occur. Like in the NBA and NCAA basketball, the use of replay could have led to additional player being dealt with during the game [cough] [cough] Kelly Johnson [cough].
What do I expect in the end? Nothing. Bud might hand out a couple of fines and maybe a 1 game suspension, but nothing to address the root cause of the issue. In the end, what will it take for change? Season ending injury, career ending injuries or maybe incident that might end the reign as commissioner.
Only time will tell.