Monday, August 29, 2011

The NHL needs more teams in Canada, where the game is more than just a game

Canada. With a population of 34,565,000, it makes for fertile sports territory. There are thousands of potential fans waiting for a team to support. However, in the last few decades, there has been a series of team relocations that have taken place amongst the 4 major North American leagues to get teams out of our brother to the North.

It all started in 1995, when the NHL relocated the Quebec Nordiques to Denver and reincarnated them as the Colorado Avalanche. The Nordiques had an average attendance of 14,395, just around the NHL norm at the time. However, the NHL shipped them to Denver, where, in the 2009-2010 season, they averaged 13,947 people, just about the same as they did back in Quebec.

The NHL next shipped the Winnipeg Jets to Arizona to become the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996. The Jets were averaging around 13,000 fans in their last 4 years of existence, and the Coyotes averaged 11,989 fans in the '09-'10 season. Do you sense a pattern? Both times, when the NHL relocated a Canadian team to the US, the attendance numbers stayed about the same or even dipped.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Little League World Series and why we need to increase the pace of baseball

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been watching bits and pieces of the Little League World Series, and I've gotta say, it makes for great baseball. It's fun to watch the kids play and occasionally make a major-league-worthy catch that truly makes you say, "WOW!" Here is ESPN's compilation of the top 10 LLWS plays. My personal favorite is number 6: the outfielder for Kentucky takes a awkward route to a routine fly ball and then stretches for a dramatic snag of the ball to end the inning.

What really stood out for me from the tournament was not just the spectacular pitching and the amazing web gems. The reason that it was so fun to watch was because the pace of the game was rapid and exciting. There was no adjustment of batting gloves after every pitch, no endless series of pickoff attempts, no manager-umpire confrontations. I've always thought about it while watching professional baseball, but the LLWS really made me realize that MLB games are just too long.

In a 2005 ESPN study, they discovered that there is approximately 26.3 seconds between pitches in MLB. Why is that? Why does it take so long? To find the answer, you just have to watch one major-league at-bat. And since the Rangers-Angels game is on right now, I'm going to summarize the current at-bat of that game.

MLB Realignment

With all this talk about possible MLB realignment to try to balance out the two leagues, I thought I'd give it a try myself. Here are all my divisions, complete with an analysis for each:

Creatures League

Flying Things Division:
Houston Astros
Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
St. Louis Cardinals

This is one of the weaker divisions in my realignment, with three mediocre/slightly-above-average teams (Blue Jays, Angels, Cardinals) likely to compete for the Flying Things title the next couple of years. The Blue Jays and Orioles would be relieved to finally get out of that AL West and would resume their rivalry in a place where they are actually relevant. In the end, I think that this division would by won by the Cardinals, but as I said, the two other bird teams would be right in the thick of things.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Preseason NFC Predictions

A few days ago, I posted my AFC predictions for this season. Now comes the NFC...

NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles
I am buying the hype. The Eagles made some great moves this offseason, acquiring many top-tier players (Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie), but the main reason they will win their division is because of their quarterback, Michael Vick. Vick experience a resurgence last year after returning to football. With two great receivers in Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, look for him to build on his great year.

NFC South: Atlanta Falcons
This is one of the more-hotly contested divisions in the NFL, with the Falcons, Bucs, and Saints all looking to take home the crown. With that said, this is going to be the Falcons' division this year. They won the division last year and, in my eyes, took that extra step to becoming one of the elite teams in the league. They are solid at almost every offensive position and their defense will give the offense a chance every Sunday. Look for the Buccaneers and Saints to fight for one of those wild card spots though.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Preseason AFC Predictions

Here are my predictions for the American Football Conference in the upcoming 2011 NFL season:

AFC East: New England Patriots
Yes, the Jets made strides last season, but its always hard to bet against the Pats. They have consistently performed well, and with Brady and Belichick, this team has always had what it takes to win the Super Bowl each year. Whichever team doesn't win the AFC East is pretty much guaranteed a wild card spot, however.

AFC South: Houston Texans
This is essentially a 2-team race between the Texans and the Colts, and with questions about Peyton Manning's health, I'm going with the Texans. They made some key offseason additions on defense, namely CB Johnathan Joseph, and they have looked solid in their first couple of preseason games. They have always possessed the offensive firepower, and with an improved defense this year, it looks like the Texans' year has finally arrived.

Friday, August 19, 2011

4 Reasons Why the San Francisco Giants Will Win the NL West

1) The Giants have superior starting pitching.
The Giants' team ERA is currently 3.12, almost one whole run above the Dbacks' ERA, which is 4.03. Over the past 10 games, the Giants have allowed an average of 3.4 runs per game, compared to the Dbacks' average of 4.9 runs allowed. Lincecum in particular has shined, allowing just 2 runs over his last 3 starts. The Giants' pitching staff is doing their job, keeping their opponents' run totals low. The Giants just have to score more runs...

2) The Giants have impact players returning from the DL soon.
...and help for that is on the way. The Giants have unfortunately been caught in a slew of injuries. However, they have quite a few significant pieces of their offense returning to the field very soon. Carlos Beltran is expected to return next week and could possibly be the spark this offense needs. Pablo Sandoval is expected to return by next week as well, according to manager Bruce Bochy, and would likely carry this offense as he has for the majority of the season. Orlando Cabrera and Jeff Keppinger are also likely to return soon to help the Giants get back to their spot atop the division.

Not to mention Brian Wilson and Jonathan Sanchez, both of whom will eventually return and provide a boost to the already superb pitching staff.

Update: Bruce Bochy recently said that it is unlikely that Sanchez will be back this season.


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Welcome to The Vibe. Here we will frequently be discussing current sports topics floating around the news. We will be focusing on the San Francisco Bay area but will frequently discuss other sports news as well. We hope you enjoy the blog as it grows and thrives. Happy reading!