A lot has been happening lately–so much stuff, in fact, that it’s been difficult to pick one sports story to think much about, let alone write a commentary about it. One thing that has stood out, just enough, in these recent, active days has been the unusual immediate success of the NHL’s expansion darlings, the Vegas Golden Knights.
Embed from Getty Images
The Golden Knights: they’re having quite the time in Vegas
At 9-4-0 with 18 points, the GK’s are sitting in second place in the Pacific and breathing down the necks of the division-leading Los Angeles Kings. It’s pretty remarkable that an expansion team would shoot out of the gate with such winning ways. Clearly, the Vegas ownership has done a sparkling job of putting together a team that can compete right away with the NHL’s established squads.
But you have to wonder: is this really a case of the Knights being that good…or everyone else not being all that great?
Continue reading Knights And Daze
Expansion Team, Anyone?
Wow. A four goal lead early in the first period of their home opener. It’s hard to believe the Vegas Golden Knights are an expansion team.
Meanwhile, one hopes that maybe someday, the good people of Arizona will be able to enjoy their own NHL-caliber hockey team.
A good hockey team in the desert. How crazy would that be?
It’s been a while since MLB went through another expansion phase. No new teams have entered the sport since the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays came into the leagues in 1998.
That expansion brought the number of major league teams to 30, and as such, it can be said to have been incomplete. The number of teams, while even, still left MLB with a lack of balance in the composition of the leagues. The movement of teams between leagues (Milwaukee to the NL, then the Astros to the AL) tried to accommodate the lack of balance in the league structures and schedules, as did the move to introduce interleague play, but there remains, even to this day, oddities that no amount of jiggering with the division formats, unbalanced schedules, and expanded playoffs have been able to smooth out.
Embed from Getty Images
Baseball in Harlem: How about something more than a cameo appearance?
So another expansion, which could bring the number of teams up to a far more workable total of 32, might seem like a good idea. The sport–despite doomsaying from the short-sighted–is thriving, thanks to aggressive programs of stadium building, strong marketing efforts, some wise negotiating on both sides of the labor table, and intelligent utilization of digital media to maximize the fans’ experience.
That brings us to the obvious question: where would you put two more teams if you expand MLB today? There are a number of candidates out there for one of the two putative teams, but there’s one market that everyone seems to agree should get another team (even if everyone also says it’s impossible to place a team there for territorial reasons). Let’s, as they say, “start spreading the news.”
Continue reading A Case For The Uptown Nine
Last week favored us with the news that the NHL has decided to drop an expansion team into Las Vegas.
I strongly encourage you to click the link above and take in the article on the league’s website announcing the move–not particularly for the info in the article itself, which is mostly just puffery.
No, I want hockey fans to take a look specifically at the featured image at the top of the page, which displays the new team’s owner, Bill Foley, standing next to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, a.k.a. Old Ratface, who is wearing what is practically a Webster’s definition of a sh*t-eating grin.
Folks, when Old Ratface starts smiling like that, hockey fans should start getting very worried.
Continue reading The Desert Sun Shines On Old Ratface
Now that we’ve had a few days to digest the news of Chris Borland’s sudden retirement, at 24 years old, we can make some intelligent observations about that decision’s impact. Most commentators, in their immediate reaction to Borland’s decision, dismissed its long-term significance for the NFL. Even the most pessimistic voices, while acknowledging that the league may be doomed as we know it, still place that ultimate fall well into the future–“thirty years” seemed to be a popular assessment.
Don’t be so sure. Continue reading Crumbling Colossus