Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Us Vs. The World

DPUSGoal1

“Do you care now?
For one month, soccer will become a canvas for America to illustrate it's sporting dominance in the world. To do that, they will have to overcome all odds and defeat the world in their game. For one month, soccer becomes our game. The World Cup can indeed become yet another "Miracle" story”
-Hockey vs. Soccer: Why Should We Care; Dome Pondering 6/7/06

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Changing the Focus of the Game

Pirates Nationals Baseball So after three start it seems like Stephen Strasburg is the real deal. Last year, yours truly selected Strastburg as one of the many pitchers in baseball that will likely have a huge impact on the game (Under 25 and Loaded: The Future Faces of Pitching). And at the time, despite not even being drafted yet, it seemed like a safe decision to go out on such a limb due to his dominance in collegiate baseball at San Diego State University. Many baseball diehards knew he would be good – but this good?

I admit, I never gave it a thought. But then again, does anyhow believe anyone can be that good?

Yet, after zipping through the minors like some sort of super ringer, that same “special” quality has sustained thus far after 19.1 innings of professional baseball. With blazing triple digit fastballs, wicked sliders, and deceptive changeups, Strasburg has managed to make many believe he is the “all 99 attribute” created player we all fantasize about when pushing the buttons on our video game consoles.

After those three starts, here are the numbers on Strasburg’s performances:

  OPP W L SV IP H ER BB K’s
6/08 PIT 1 0 0 7.0 4 2 0 14
6/13 CLE 1 0 0 5.1 2 1 5 8
6/18 CHW 0 0 0 7.0 4 1 0 10
Total - 2 0 0 19.1 10 4 5 32

In one word – impressive. Very.

And while the sport of baseball has had it’s fair share of young phenoms and flame throwers come through the sport, the aura and vibe around Strasburg is one we haven’t seen before. The craze. The interest. The main stream attention. There is something about this kid that has transcended the game itself. Sellouts, national coverage, and the craze has caused Strasburg to become the games biggest draw.

And while a young kid with only three games under his belt being the face of baseball sounds a bit far fetched and likely premature, the general public is proving that is not the case with Strasburg.

In fact, with the  once in a lifetime stuff that Strasburg possesses, he should be. And while baseball does not market it’s individual players, moving forward, it might be beneficial for the evolution of the game if baseball began to do so.

Now purist of the game may shake their head in disgust after reading such a suggestion, but the fact of the matter is that  the game has already moved away from the “duck your head and hustle around the bases” mantra it once held as the holy grail of the sport. The game today is wrapped up in the ESPN era of highlight reels, making statements, and being recognized. From Jose Reyes dancing on first, Joba Chamberlain twisting and fist pumping, Francisco Rodriguez kissing the sky after a save, and almost every superstar slugger standing and strutting in style and admiration after launching one in to the stratosphere, the game has changed.

A bit excessive on most fronts? Yes.

Annoying? Sometimes.

But it is a change that is here to stay.

A change that is encouraged by our modern society  as we seek entertainment as well as a connection with the players that now play the game.

Yet, baseball attempts to maintain its ways.

The result? Many of baseball’s most talented players are going unnoticed.

While Strasburg is phenomenal as a pitcher, how many casual fans know about the game’s best position player in Albert Pujols? And why does it feel like he is barely even known?

Also, how big of an opportunity did baseball blink on with a talent like Ichiro Suzuki?

The marketing doesn't necessarily need to be as aggressive as the NBA’s plan where the league sometimes has a feeling of no one else matters other than players named Lebron, Wade, and Kobe. However, the mere branding and marketing of the games biggest names and best players could go a long way to begin reaching audiences that do not enjoy the great game of baseball.

Nonetheless, Bud Selig has done a great job of balancing the evolution of the game between adding modern amendments such as interleague play, the Wild Card playoff berth, and instant replay, all the while preserving its history. However, in this case, the old ways of marketing teams is just that – old.

The focus of the game is changing. And that is due to a variety of things which is another post for another day. StrasburgTheOne

After a highly controversial steroid era, the game needs ambassadors and faces that exemplify the game in a great way. And the game has many players that can fit that role.

Stephen Strasburg seems to be one of those players. “Historical” is the word Tim Korkjian and many scouts have used.

Major League Baseball cannot miss on him. 

Whether Major League Baseball and baseball purists like it or not, fans tune in to watch the Washington Nationals because of Stephen Strasburg. And while that may sound sacrilegious in baseball circles, it is where the game, and sports overall, is headed today.

It’s time to start changing the focus.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dome Pondering Import - “Thomas’ Final Stat Line: A Crying Shame

This is an article that was posted on ESPNnewyork.com discussing the managing futility of Isiah Thomas. With New York and the Knicks organization looking forward to opening the doors to a new era of hopefully winning and successful basketball beginning on June 24th for the NBA Draft, and of course later on with free agency on July 1st, the era of terrible management and bad basketball comes to a close.  Donnie Walsh spent the last two years untangling and undoing the situation which Thomas managed to get the franchise into. Now with light at the end of the tunnel, we forget (and we should) just how terrible Thomas was. In a very clever article written by Tom Haberstroh, the “Isiah Era” of Knicks basketball is put into an interesting perspective.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

New Beginnings (1A)

There has been a lot of feedback and reaction to the New Beginnings entry posted on May 26, 2010. Much of that feedback have been kind words of encouragement, compliments and praises on a well-written article, and most importantly to me, comments on how relatable the post was. For all of the feedback, I thank you all.

Upon the success of the New Beginnings post, I found myself in a position today that not only made me think of that post, but the words and thoughts expressed in the post. As you can imagine, New Beginnings touched on finally overcoming uncertainty, failure, and adversity to get to a new point. And while I did realize that much of those hurdles and struggles were essential in creating this new start, never once was there a thought on the effects those experiences (which we often connect with negativity) had on others.

Today, on a rare free day with nothing to do for the first time in about a year, yours truly decided to make a few errands. One, which happened to be a visit to the post office. Upon parking and exiting the parking lot, I noticed an individual yelling, “Mr. Robo! Mr. Robo” from across the street. After a certain sense of confusion, I recognized the individual to be one of the members from the teen center where I previously worked who happened to be waiving me down. He was an alumni of the teen center program, and a soon to be twenty-one year old that I assisted many times in such aspects as resume assistance, career advice, workout programs, and the usual sports chatter.

“Mr. Robo! What’s up man? You wear shorts?”

Still amused that he addresses me as Mister despite being only four years my junior, I responded, “Ofcourse. You have to in this heat. Why are you wearing a shirt and tie? A better question is why are you wearing a sweater?”

“Well, just had an interview. One of the places you helped me apply too. Got the job, however, going to see if I can find something else better. Oh yeah, I start school again in the fall”

“That’s good! Congrats! Where are you headed now?”

“Well going to follow some more of your advice since it seems to be working. I am going to make my way down Flatbush Avenue dropping my resume off in every store and office I can. By the way, why weren’t you at the teen center yesterday. Some of the 6th graders were playing with fire in the hallway yesterday, and the 5th graders seem lost when you are not there. Some of these kids go crazy when you aren’t there.”

“I landed a new job. My last day was last Thursday.”

“What?! So you’re not coming back. Well good for you on graduating and finding a new job. Most of the older ones knew you wouldn’t be around too long, anyway. Well hopefully they find someone that can help everyone out the way you did with us. But I doubt it.”

After we departed and I entered the post office, I stood on line thinking about his words, and his excitement of finding a new job and heading back to college. I thought about how he felt like this day was a new chapter in his life. New job and back in school. Most importantly, I was amazed at the fate involved. It goes to show that in a time of uncertainty, one could greatly impact another individual, and create such a new beginning for them.

We can call those, “New Beginnings 1A.”

My father always told me when I was younger to greet others with warmth and a smile, as you could possibly make that person’s day. Once again, wisdom and age seem to be exclusive. He’s correct. “Our presence automatically liberates others”.

While sometimes we are so concerned with our own lives, our own chapters, and our own new beginnings, we don’t realize the participation and affect we have on creating those same new beginnings for others.

Today, luckily, I had the opportunity to experience that. And while it may not have been my new start in life, it was just as rewarding.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

LeBron Watch Gone Mad

DPLeBronWatch Today marks twenty nine days until the frenzy that is the 2010 free agent class begins. And with  the greatest and most impactful free agent class in the history of the NBA comes the mania that is LeBron James. Where will he go? Who will he go with? Everyone seems to have an opinion, or answer, depending on who you ask.

With July 1, 2010 within sniffing distance, the speculations, rumors, and “confirmed” stories will kick into high gear. Already today, we have heard that James stated in an interview with Larry King set to air this Friday that his home team of the Cleveland Cavaliers have the “advantage” in (re)signing him. All of this on the heels of hearing that all of the top free agents will have some sort of “summit” before free agency begins.

Does James’ statement change anything?

Absolutely not.

In fact, if you ask Chris Broussard of ESPN, it’s been a lock since being eliminated by the Boston Celtics that LeBron James was on his way to Chicago to join the Bulls. Look, everyone has their point of view. Personally, I believe LeBron James has known all along where he is headed, or staying, I just don’t know where.

However, I do know that every “expert” that hangs on every single word and statement made and can make decision on his destination is crazy. Bottom line.

No one other than LeBron James and perhaps his closest confidants know where he is going.

Everyone deep down inside knows this. And while I understand the fun in guessing, the truth is – no one knows.

Well, in the spirit of fun and, yes, satire, the DP will look at the potential options, and all of these crazy rumors for LeBron James in 29 days.

Realistic Choices

LebronCavs Destination: Cleveland Cavaliers

He will sign here because…it is home. Point blank. He was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, and enjoys not only playing in front of family and friends, but staying close to those same family and friends.

Other reasons include staying true to his promise of bringing a championship to the city of Cleveland and keeping his legacy with one franchise.

He will not sign here because…well its Cleveland. It’s been seven years and there has been one finals appearance. If he resigns, he most likely will be stuck with Mo Williams and Cleveland’s number one enemy right now in Delonte West for years to come.

 

Destination: New York KnickslebronNY

He will sign here because…it is New York City! The biggest stage in the world and home to the “mecca of basketball” Madison Square Garden. Here, he will have the chance to help rebuild a franchise along with any other “max star” of his choosing. The opportunity to earn millions of money, and the chance to own the city.

He will not sign here because…of the unpredictability. While New York is a big stage, going there does not ensure a championship. James will have a say in the constructing of a new roster, however, doing so will also make him a villain in Cleveland, and a bigger bust in New York City if he fails to bring this city a championship.

 

LebronNJ Destination: New Jersey Nets

He will sign here because…Jay-Z is a part owner and his homeboy. And oh yeah, he has aspirations to be a billion dollar athlete. With Russian billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov, as the new Nets owner and a move to Brooklyn in two years, LeBron has the opportunity to be part of something special.

He will not sign here because…it is more unpredictable than the Knicks situation. The team is in a transition period, and with seven years already gone with no titles to claim as his own, New Jersey may not be the best option. Plus, it’s the New Jersey Nets.

 

Destination: Chicago BullsLebronBulls

He will sign here because…Chris Broussard says so! Yes, Broussard is my biggest target in this entire post. Nonetheless, ever since he claimed James was locked for Chicago, the Bulls have become the “favorites”. Of all the teams that offer cap room this summer, the Bulls without a doubt have the most available and ready talent to surround James. Plus, James grew up a huge Bulls fan during the MJ years.

He will not sign here because…who wants to be in Jordan’s shadow? If he signs with Chicago, James will be compared to Jordan in every awakened moment. While that could be flattering, the pressure of knowing you are the “second coming” instead of the original is not what a potential all-time great deserves. Plus, has anyone thought about how conflicting Derek Rose and James would be in a system?

Possible, But No Chance of Happening

LebronClipper Destination: Los Angeles Clippers

He will sign here because…it’s Los Angeles. Great city. Great arena.

He will not sign here because…it’s the Clippers. A smart businessman/athlete such as LeBron James will never sign to play for an owner such as Donald Sterling. Also, if playing under the shadow of Michael Jordan’s legacy is not appealing, playing second fiddle to Kobe Bryant in his town will definitely not be.

 

Rumors That Are Absolutely Untrue

Destination: Los Angeles Lakers LebronLA

He will sign here because…it pretty much will assure him a ring.

He will not sign here because…he can’t. No cap room. And Cleveland will be labeled as the most idiotic franchise in the world to do a sign-and-trade involving James.

 

 

 

 

I Can’t Believe These Rumors Are Even Created

lebronjamesusa Destination: USA Basketball

Theory: Lebron James will ultimately focus on business and becoming a billionaire while being completely devoted to Team USA for his entire career. He will become a national spokesperson for basketball.

 

 

 

 

 

Destination: Corporate USA/PGA Tourlebron-james-warren-buffett-golfing1

Theory: As seen in this picture, James will decide to focus on golf and his relationships with billionaires such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to increase his overall worth quicker.

 

 

 

Lebron Pickup Destination: Pick up Basketball/Nationwide Camps

Theory: LeBron James will focus on developing a nationwide brand of camps, fitness centers, and recreation outlets across the world.

 

 

 

Destination: Jay-Z’s Entouragelebron-james-jay-z

Theory: LeBron will take a year off to focus on an upcoming released album with Jay-Z. Some believe it will lead into his comeback with the Brooklyn Nets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LebronBrowns Destination: Cleveland Browns

Theory: Like Michael Jordan did with baseball, James will take a few years off to play football with the Cleveland Browns. July 1st will be a shocking disappointment as James will announce his departure to the NFL for a couple of seasons.

 

 

 

 

 

Destination: CollegeLebronGraduate

Theory: LeBron James will take the year off to become acclimated to college life. After two years, he will sign with the Brooklyn Nets where he will by then have a Bachelors Degree – which of course, will be in finance.

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, “Lebron Watch” has gone mad, folks.

As July 1st gets closer, we can expect the stories, rumors, speculations, and “expert analysis” to become crazier and crazier.