Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wrestling's Return to a Three Ringed Circus

Almost ten years ago, the wrestling scene witnessed a third company go national in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), as it began airing a weekly program on Friday nights on TNN (Now Spike TV). It was then, when the wrestling business reached its climax, and was as profitable, and popular as any other industry. However, the wave, and ultimate aura of having a wrestling program being aired six days a week ended when ECW finally folded, and number two company, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) became property of Vince McMahon. 

Since then McMahon has thrown a headlock on the industry, forcing the WWE brand on those that seek the art form. In recent years, that headlock has begun to loosen with the likes of Total Nonstop Wrestling (TNA) entering the national market. And now, it seems Ring of Honor (ROH) will begin its quest to remove McMahons grip. Both companies, maybe far away in popularity, production, brand awareness, and funds from McMahon and the WWE, however, ROH's latest television deal looks to once again make the wrestling scene a three ringed circus.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Change Is Gonna Come

January 20th, 2009.

A momentous, and historic day for all of us that make up this great nation, and for those that honor and stand for freedom and democracy. It has been said by so many, from political experts to young adults, of the importance of President Obama's inauguration, its meaning to each individual, and its place in history. President Obama's inauguration has touched us all deeply in many ways, and has created a sense of hope, dignity, and pride in the United States, as well as in the true essence of humanity.

Through it all, the thoughts and reflections we share, feel, and hear cannot compare to those that have lived this journey. For many of us, we are reaping the rewards of struggles and battles fought before our time. History books, written documents, personal testimonies and vivid footage create much of what we are seeing the result of today. Historical, and still meaningful, one must wonder the raw emotion of those that stood at the Lincoln Memorial just 40 years earlier to view the great Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. And their response today, watching from that same area that President Barack Obama took an oath to occupy the highest office in our nation.

Can you imagine their joy? Their thoughts? Their feelings?

Maybe, hope? Joy? Progress?

In viewing today's inauguration, and reflecting on the thoughts and emotions of those that lived the life, and were part of the journey leading to this historical moment, yours truly remembered the great song by Sam Cooke, written in 1963. A song which I thought I understood.

For today, it turns Sam Cooke from a mere believer into a prophet.

From skepticism, to realism.

From hope, to expectation.

Following January 20th, 2009, I will forever see and hear Sam Cooke's lyrics in a different way.

A Change is Gonna Come
By: Sam Cooke

I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh and just like the river I've been running ever since
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

It's been too hard living but I'm afraid to die
Cause I don't know what's up there beyond the sky
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

I go to the movie and I go downtown
Somebody keep telling me don't hang around
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

Then I go to my brother
And I say brother help me please
But he winds up knocking me
Back down on my knees

There been times that I thought I couldn't last for long
But now I think I'm able to carry on
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Linked in More Ways Than One: Sabathia Can Influence R.B.I. Result on Mound


As we approach another celebration of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's accomplishments and dedication to humanity, we all pause to reflect on the times - the here and now. Dr. King's dream is the closest it has ever been to becoming a reality in 2009, and that is evident with the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. For years American history has been linked with Major League Baseball, as our national past time has mirrored the changes, accomplishments, and perseverance of our nation. However, as we march toward inauguration day for President Obama, and closer to Dr. King's dream, the state of Major League Baseball and it's ties to American history have never been as far apart as they are today.

As the nation prepares to celebrate and welcome the first African-American president of the United States, baseball continues to watch the diversity of it's game suffer. The past presidential election reaped a new record high in votes for African-Americans in the political process, a sheer, utter, and obvious cause of President Obama's participation, and President George Bush's futility. In the past, yours truly has touched base on the importance of African-American participation in baseball for African-Americans (Dome Pondering Import: Young, Gifted, and Black), our culture, and the great game of baseball (Opportunity a Forgotten Substance), as well as the reasons for the decline and candidates to revive the participation (Chance and Risk: The Future of the African-American Baseball Player).

One of the potential candidates to become a catalyst for African-American interest in the latter posting in June of 2007 was C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia, an active member in Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (R.B.I.), was recently thrusted into the spotlight due to his remarkable performance at the end of the 2008 season, receiving the highest contract in baseball history, and signing with the New York Yankees history. Sabathia, a former Cy Young winner, who boasts a powerful pitching arsenal and carries himself with the respect for himself and the game, as well as a certain individualistic swagger with his hat cocked to the side, now combines that all with the media exposure of playing for the New York Yankees, in the biggest "inner-city" in the world.

Sabathia can be the guy.

All the tools are in place for Sabathia to take off in this role. A huge void left by Ken Griffey Jr. A role for which Sabathia, like President Obama, can help the baseball aspirations and ambition of America's inner city youth, and make them believe once again, "Yes We Can". A role he can help re-tie Baseball history with that of our nation's, and create a better tomorrow. And most importantly, a role in which he can continue to keep The Dream alive.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Respect For The Wrestler

The professional wrestling industry has been an enigmatic industry as far as mainstream America, and it's society. It's a multi-billion dollar business that sells out the biggest stadiums and arena's worldwide, and garners the highest television ratings on television. It's an industry that many are entertained by, yet thrown under the bus at any opportunity.

Unlike every other country in the world that respects the hard work, honor, tradition, and history that comes with the business, American society continues to neglect the industry until a scandal or death occurs, where it is then publicized and open for ridicule and judgment beyond comparable conviction. Professional wrestling is bastardized in America, period. If only we were appreciative of the sacrifices made by the professional wrestler. If only the ignorant had a glimpse into their lives. Would it be as easy to judge? As easy to bastardize their craft, and their love?

This past year, two great resources that recollect the life of a professional wrestler were released. The first being the well acclaimed film, The Wrestler, directed by Darren Aronofsky. The Wrestler, depicts Randy "The Ram" Robinson after his glory days attempting to hang on to his fading career, while attempting to dabble in the things in life he missed out on, his daughter, love, and his own well being.

The other is the autobiography of Bret Hart titled, Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling. Hart, who kept an audio journal during his career, takes the reader through his intense training, his travels across the world, life on the road, missing his kids, needs for the industry, and the fraternity of brotherhood between the wrestlers.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Dome Pondering Import - "Just What Sports Stats Need, Another Asterisk Situation"

This is an article written by ESPN's Bill Simmons which touches base on the impact that Coach Mike D'Antoni has had in his time in the NBA. From his impact on influencing Steve Nash's MVP years, to his impact on the improvement of Chris Duhon, and the potential of LeBron James, Simmons dissects it all, and open's up a new avenue of how D'Antoni has changed the game.