It’s Tuesday and that means it’s time for another Rich’s Rants. Sadly, last week and this week are two of the most boring weeks all year long in regards to sports so there’s generally not a lot to talk about; we are simply waiting for the Super Bowl to happen. Pitchers and catchers don’t report for a couple of weeks, the NHL/NBA are barely at the midpoints of their seasons and college basketball is finally getting interesting with conference play gearing up for the home stretch. However, I did manage to find a couple of topics to discuss, so let’s get started.
Let’s begin with a baseball topic and further proof that Major League Baseball is dying in Florida. Last week, it was announced the series between the Florida Marlins and the Seattle Mariners that was supposed to happen in Florida is being moved to Seattle. Why? Is it because the MLB thinks there’s a hurricane that will blow through during the series? Nope. It’s because Sun Life Stadium (the home of the Marlins) will be hosting a U2 concert on the same day as one of the games (and they need the day before to get the stadium ready). The concert was rescheduled from last year and because the Marlins don’t own the stadium they basically have zero say in what happens. Personally, I can’t blame the owners of the stadium, after all, what will sell more tickets a game for the Marlins or a U2 concert? It’s U2, and it’s not even close. I can’t think of any other MLB city that would let a rock concert take precedence over a baseball game. Wait, I can think of one other city that would and only because the fans barely support the team. The name of that city? Tampa. For those who know their geography, you know that Tampa is also in Florida. What does this tell us? That baseball needs to get out of Florida. Teams are already starting to leave Florida for the better climate (read as less rain) of Arizona for Spring Training so the franchises themselves don’t want anything to do with the state. Also, the tens of thousands of empty seats during the Rays’ run to the best record in all of baseball last season show that the fans don’t care either. Next season (2012), the Marlins will be moving into their own stadium and changing their name to the Miami Marlins. Does anyone think those changes will affect anything? The only thing it will affect is the team won’t have to move a series because of a rock concert; or does it? If I’m the owner of the Marlins and I can get another supergroup like U2 to come in, I’d gladly take that sold out show and all that concession money over the couple thousand of fans that manage to show up for a Marlins game. Baseball needs to just move the franchises out of Florida and find anywhere that will support the teams better even if that means moving a team to Las Vegas. There are several areas of the country without a Major League team (or any other pro sports franchise). Florida has had almost 20 years to show they can support Major League Baseball and with the rare exception of two seasons (1997 for Florida and 2008 for Tampa) they have failed.
It’s finally Super Bowl week. I won’t get into a dissection of the game, the players involved or anything like that. I’ll leave that stuff to the “experts”. What I want to talk about is the weather. Rather, I want to talk about members of the media already complaining about the weather (it actually started once it was announced that the weather for Super Bowl week was going to be below freezing). Actually, one member of the media has been complaining about the weather for Super Bowl week since it was announced last year that New Jersey would be hosting the Super Bowl in 2014 (if you didn’t guess, that media member is Peter King who brings it up every chance he gets). Members of the media who complain about the weather like to hide behind the “we don’t want the weather to affect the game” defense. Bull! They complain about the weather because it means during their all-expenses (I’m guessing) paid trip to the Super Bowl, they won’t be able to get in any golf and just might have to deal with temperatures of 50 degrees or below. You never hear a player or any real fan complain about the weather; you only hear members of the media and maybe some the of people that will actually pay to go to the game (i.e. the rich people who can afford the high ticket prices) complain about the weather. Football was meant to be played in inclement weather (or does no one in the media remember the Ice Bowl) and real fans would sit in any weather to see any NFL game, let alone a Super Bowl. The members of the media complaining need to just suck it up and count themselves fortunate that they can go to the game while fans, who would sit through anything just to be in the stands (while wearing nothing but pants and their favorite team’s colors painted on their chest), decided not to mortgage their house to get one nosebleed-section ticket. Update: Dallas-Fort Worth airport closed because of snow/ice/weather on the morning of February 1st. How do you like them apples Peter King and others? Bad weather can happen anywhere, not just in the northern states.
Finally, I want to discuss what happened yesterday on ESPN.com. Rob Neyer, the author of the Sweet Spot on ESPN.com, announced he was leaving ESPN. I have been reading Rob Neyer since ESPN.com began and I’m sure so has every other baseball fan. In my opinion, Rob was one of the few remaining ESPN writers that was actually worth reading anymore (and it has nothing to do with the fact that you didn’t need to be an “ESPN Insider” to read his stuff). I tended to find myself agreeing with him on his views more often than not (he used a common sense approach to analyzing baseball, which is hard to find these days) and it was great that in his Monday Mendozas, Wednesday Wangdoodles or Friday Filberts he brought us links to baseball articles elsewhere in cyberspace that we should read. I’m not sure what’s in Rob’s future or why he left ESPN, but I wish him nothing but the best of luck in whatever he does and hopefully he pops back up somewhere else on the Internet. Mr. Neyer was basically the first baseball blogger and I would hate to think he is done writing – the baseball and sporting worlds needs his point of view to keep the rest of the writers on their toes. Thank you Mr. Neyer. UPDATE: the word on the internet street is he is going to SB Nation to help get their baseball blogs going.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? You can send questions or comments via email to email@example.com, you can also leave a comment below, on my Facebook Page or on Twitter. Remember, any email or comment you make, may just make it into Rich’s Replies each Friday! Also, come back each Tuesday for another edition of Rich’s Rants!