Sunday, December 7, 2008

A sign of the times

A couple of things have happened in the past month or so that have made me realize that I'm no longer as young as I once was. I'm still a long way away from being old, but I definitely realize I'm getting older.

One of these things was a recent trip to New Orleans for a wedding. I landed a little after midnight on a Wednesday night and, after checking into my hotel, I decided to walk down Bourbon Street. Most of the people I know either weren't there yet or were asleep, so I went by myself and figured I'd get a hand grenade at Tropical Isle or maybe just a beer. This was my fourth trip to New Orleans and as I turned walked down the street, I was reminded of the other three times.

The first time, I was 25 years old and there for Mardi Gras. At that time, New Orleans and Bourbon Street were as close to Heaven on Earth as I had seen. It was fun, loud, and drunk with a great personality. The second time, I was 28 and there for New Years. While I didn't quite think it was Heaven anymore, I still thought it was one of the funnest places on Earth. I got a car and drove all around southeast Louisiana to see Cajun country and get more of a feel for the place. I continued to believe that I would return approximately once a year. The third trip was for my 30th Birthday. On that trip, I still felt the town was very fun, but by now I wanted to mainly sit on the balcony of Tropical Isle and watch the crowds down below. I ate at Emerils and Brennans and found myself spending a lot more time on Decatur Street at the Jazz Clubs.

Then there's this trip. As I walked down a relatively deserted Bourbon Street shortly after 1:00 AM on a Thursday morning, the thoughts going through my mind were something like this: This place is disgusting, it smells like urine and/or vomit, there's nothing but dumbass frat boys, and it's expensive. I figured I wouldn't spend enough money to get drunk so what would be the point of getting a drink? So I walked down to the Cats Meow, from where I could see the Tropical Isle, figured I'd drink more the next night, turned around and went back to the hotel.

I'm not saying this wasn't a wise choice, it's just an older decision. On at least my first two trips, I wouldn't have minded if I was with anyone or what time or day it was, I would've started drinking and figured the good times would ensue. Even on my last trip, I would've had a couple of drinks on general principal. This time I went back to the hotel. And, as predicted, I drank plenty the next few nights and still had a great time. However, each night was either over or pretty close to it by the time midnight hit.

As for New Orleans, I'd say the smaller number of Jazz Clubs is probably the thing I miss the most since Hurricane Katrina. Still a lot of live music, which is one of the things I've always loved about New Orleans - at breakfast, you'll get some jazz, there's zydeco everywhere, and the Bourbon Street clubs play rock at night. Unfortunately, it seems like each missing jazz club has been replaced by a new strip club. And the fact that I whine about this just makes me feel older.

More on my other "old" experience later, but I'll give the hint that it deals with John Mayer's cover of "Free Fallin'"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More thoughts from the East Coast

I know it's been a month since I was on the East Coast, but I've been meaning to write some more thoughts on my travel to New England and some of the oddities I've found.

- Tollroads (excuse me, "turnpikes") suck. In California, we use the word "Freeway" so much, it doesn't really occur to us how profound that word truly is. Granted, we are starting to have more tollroads, particularly in Southern California. However, when there is a tollroad in California, it is usually of the optional variety. For instance, if you want to drive from San Juan Capistrano to Costa Mesa, you have the option of going the "normal" way (the 5 to the 405), taking about a half hour to an hour depending on time of day, or you could take the tollroad, pay $4 or $5, and get there in 15 minutes. On the east coast, your only option besides the tollroad is to take surface streets, which go through towns and add substantial miles and time. The really annoying thing is that you have to pay multiple times. I understand that different states charge separately, but I had to pay to get on in Portland, then to get out of Maine, then once in New Hampshire and, if I hadn't gotten off the road, again in Massachusetts. And each time it's 60 cents, 45 cents, a dollar ten. Why not just make me give you pennies? That would be about as annoying.

-How can you be a sports fan on the east coast? When I was visiting, the Red Sox were in Seattle and the Indians were in Anaheim. It was nice for me because when I was making a long drive in the middle of the night, I was able to pick up a sports station from Cleveland (not quite sure how the geography worked out on the one) and listen to the game. But if I were an actual Indians fan, that would truly suck. Sure, we miss the first hour of a game when it starts at 4:00, but that's usually not as vital as missing the last two hours would be. I'm assuming Sunday Night Baseball, Monday Night Football, and playoff game in any sport have got to absolutely suck. If I were on the east coast, I think I'd petition to have the workday start at 10:00. On the flip side, I think I now know why the west coast is generally less religious than the east coast - football. Y'all can still go to church Sunday morning's and then go home and watch the pre-game show. We can't. Our pregame shows start at 9:00 AM (8:30 on ESPN). We barely have enough time to go buy a six-pack. We're usually still drinking coffee during the first quarter.

- Directions are weird. Somehow I kept messing up on east and west. I never thought it was so internalized, but in my subconscious, west means "toward the ocean." Odd since I haven't lived near the ocean in 16 years. And often times on the east coast I was nowhere near the ocean, but for some reason every time I wanted to go east, I found myself looking for the exit for west. Normally I caught myself, but one time I completely missed the turnoff when travelling from Hartford to Manchester. Again, no ocean is visible from either of those cities, yet for some reason I drove right past the "I 84 East) turnoff.

-Manchester, NH is a beautiful city. Too bad the economy sucks.

-I stopped by Daddy Bush's house in Kennebunkport, ME. At first I thought "I wonder if I can find it. It seems like a small town. Then I got a map that clearly showed where it was. As I approached it, there were signs that said "no stopping, pullout ahead." And sure enough, right across from the house, there's a little turnout and signs that say 15 minute parking and no RVs or busses. At first I was thinking "God, what a horrible, celebrity obsessed society we live in where people (like myself) pull over just to take a picture of somebody's house." Then I realized, it's not like this guy made a movie or anything. He was the leader of the free world, a job only 43 people have had in history and a job that only 4 living people have had. So it's really not that bad of a thing that people stop to see his house. I highly doubt his son's house will be so accessible to the public when his term is over.

-Northeast weather sucks. There's no reason three baseball games in late July should be delayed or cancelled due to torrential downpours. Absolutely no reason.

-Delta Airlines also sucks. I think it's their official policy to treat customers like crap. The sad thing is when a few of them try to be helpful. I bet they get beaten afterward. So to the one lady that helped me when the rest shrugged their shoulders and told me I'd be spending the night in JFK, thank you. Please go work for United or something.

Wombat's Necessary Replay Response

As most of you know, replay is starting in baseball today. But only on a few plays. Really, I don't see more than two or three plays a year being changed - out of, what, 2,500 games? To piggy back on Sancho's disgust, here's some of the issues I have with it.

First, I agree with Michael Wilbon (I think), who said that there should be three cameras - one focused on the left foul pole, one focused on the right foul pole, and one on that bastard son of a motherless goat AJ Pierzynski. Either that or steal the pictures he obviously has of Doug Eddings naked.

Seriously, though, if they're only going to review certain things but not others, is it any surprise that they are only gointo review some games but not others? The thing I find atrocious about the whole thing is that plays at the plate or issues of the ball beating the player or vice versa are not reviewable. I know chicks dig the long ball, but are we honestly saying those are the only plays that determine a game? And yes, I know that there is a slippery slope and we don't want the camera for judgement calls, but tags are not judgement calls.

So Matt Holliday will still remain safe and Jorge Orta is still safe. Aren't those the calls that matter more? And "Amoral Jackass" Pierzynski will still be able to cheat whenever he feels like it (or, more acurately, whenever Doug Eddings is umpire). And Dave Henderson will still tie the game against Donnie Moore. And no, I don't think that was a bad call, but if I could go back and change the result of plays in baseball history, that's where I'd start. Not for Angels fans, but to save poor Bill Buckner's reputation.

The real shame of all of this is that they really only care becaue it affected a New York team. Which is ironic, because I seem to remember a certain blown call that affected a New York team back in 1996. Does Jeffrey Maier ring a bell? Why weren't people crying out for replay back then? Oh, I forgot, the HELPED a New York team, so there's really no need to review it.

Hell, they could make the replay rule a lot simpler by implementing a new policy - if there is a questionable call, rule in favor of the team with the larger fan base. I mean, it's worked for the entire history of the NBA, hasn't it?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Funny Thing about Time

I'm currently in the middle of whirlwind trip to the east coast. I work a part-time job for a baseball statistics company and occasionally they are in need of people to cover minor league games. I am in my only week of summer vacation and I realized there was a need for a scorer in Portland, Maine, so I figured "Why the hell not?" I flew into Portland late Monday night and will be flying back out Thursday evening. I've read somewhere that it takes the body one day to adjust for every time zone travelled. If this holds true, right about when I adjust to Eastern Time, I'll be on a plane back to the Pacific.

I've travelled a number of time zones before without much trouble. I learned a trick where in the plane, you adjust to what it will be when you land. So if you're landing late at night, try to stay awake in the plane so you're tired and go right to sleep. If you're landing in the morning, sleep on the plane. This has done me well, and on a couple of trips to Europe and one trip to Australia, I've hit the ground running on the first day and barely looked back.

However, maybe due to the short trip or the fact that I keep telling myself that three hours isn't that much, I find myself having problems this trip. It doesn't have to do with being tired or unable to function, it's more of a confused Twilight Zone-esque sense of "What the hell time is it?" constantly going through my brain. Right now, I think it's 11:00 AM. My computer says it's 8:00. Seems simple enough to adjust for, but it's not.

Anyway, here's the funny thing about time zones. I find myself constantly using the fact that my body is on a different time to justify or make excuses for just about everything. My first thought when I landed at 10:00 PM was the my internal clock said it was only 7:00, so I could drive for a few hours (I needed to be in Hartford, CT by noon the next day). And I was more or less correct. I drove a couple of hours to Worcester, Mass and found a nice little La Quinta to check into at about 1:00 AM. Then I set my alarm for the morning. To be on the safe side, I set it for 7:15 so I could be on the road by 8:00. It didn't really dawn on me that my internal clock, which had me wide awake at 1:00 AM, would consider this wake up time to be 4:15 in the morning. I realized that when it went off.

Added to this confusion was the fact that I saw two baseball games yesterday - at noon in New Britain, CT and at 7:00 in Manchester, NH. Day games mess me up anyway and this was coupled with hours of driving on each side. Then the game in Manchester was delayed by a couple of hours, so it didn't start until 9:00 local time. Around midnight when the ninth inning was starting, the guy I was sitting with said "Well at least you're three hours behind, so this doesn't seem that late." And at this point I looked at the clock, realized it was only 9:00 back home and tried to wonder why I was so damned tired. Then I realized that when you only sleep for five or so hours and then are up by 7:30 in the morning, midnight's going to feel late no matter what time zone you're in.

Another odd thought I had that first night, as I was driving through a darkened Maine and Massachusetts, was wondering who I can call. I thought of calling Sancho in Texas and I had the oddest feeling that it was only 8:00 where he was. How did I think Texas was four hours behind the east coast? Simple. I guess I've always thought of the central time zone not as two hours ahead of the Pacific, but as one hour behind that other time. The time on the other coast. The time that ESPN and Comedy Central run on. So here I was driving around at midnight, knowing that it was 9:00 on "the other coast," so, naturally, it must be 8:00 in Texas. And I call myself smart.

So I'm about to take off now and explore the coast of Maine. I need to be in Portland for another baseball game tonight, which I believe is starting at 7:00, but for all I know it might be 4:00 or 10:00 or it could be yesterday. As an aside, I will be landing at SFO at midnight Thursday night and will still have two hours of travel ahead of me. I haven't told myself yet that I will think it's 3:00 in the morning. So, shhh, let's keep that a secret.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Go Rays Go

I'm rooting for the Tampa Bay Rays to take it all! Before you think I'm nothing more than a johnny-come-lately bandwagoner, let me explain a few things. First, the Angels are still my favorite team. Second, I can, in fact, name a number of players on Tampa Bay. And third, I have 1,500 reasons to root for them.

Back in March, I made my annual March Madness trip to Reno. While there, I often times look at the futures for all of the sports to see if there's some fun longshot that would be worth rooting for. This year the Rays jumped out at me. I'm not going to lie and say I knew they would have the best record in the majors at the beginning of June. But when I saw the listing, they had the longest odds to win the World Series - substantially longer than Kansas City, Toronto, San Francisco, and plenty of other completely lousy teams.

And this is where my knowledge of their players came to my aid (if that's what it was). I drafted BJ Upton with the #1 pick in a keeper league (simulation baseball) back when he first appeared in 2004. I kept him in my league through 2005, when he spent the entire year in the Minors and had to waste a roster spot on him. So I've been following and rooting for him for a long time. I had heard great things about Evan Longoria, and of course, my Angels had been rumored to be pursuing Carl Crawford in a trade. On the pitching side, I saw Matt Garza pitch in New Britain, CT two years ago. In that year, he started the season in Single-A and proceeded to dominate all three levels of the minors and make the Majors by August. Dominant stuff. And of course, there's Troy Percival, the best closer in Angels history (K-Rod's good and all, but I hold my breath in the 9th inning a lot more often now than I did through most of the 1990s). I certainly thought Percy was done, but I was rooting for his comeback attempt.

So there I was in Reno, thinking "Energetic hitters, young starting rotation, veteren bullpen, solid defense (once Iwamura replaced Upton at 2B)." They reminded me a little of the Rockies from last year. And the Rockies made the World Series. So, after texting a number of friends with messages like "I think I'm freaking insane, I want to bet on the Devil Rays," I finally put $10 on them to win the World Series at 150/1 odds.

The two or three people that knew what I was doing kept laughing in April. Hey Wombat, your Rays won again. In May, one remarked they were watching ESPN and the analysts were all saying "Nobody saw this coming," and he thought "One person did." Now all I get are a lot of "How did you know?" and "I wish I had gone along with you."

Now, to be fair, I did NOT see this coming. I just thought they were better than they had been and I liked some of the players. But now that they have a 2 game lead in the AL East (and a 6 or so game lead in the Wild Card), all i can say is that I'm rooting for them. I think they're young and exciting, they built a solid team and play sound baseball. And I've got $1,500 riding on them. Go Rays!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is this a solution?

Evidently last week was Teen Safety Driving Awareness Week (or something like that) in California. The reason I know this is because it was announced on the Amber Alert signs. Of course, the State's running out of money, but I'm sure running those things up and down the State doesn't cost any money. Originally I thought those signs were just for abducted children and, I don't know, maybe nuclear attack. Then they started to tell me to buckle up and not to drive drunk. Because evidently someone in a government organization somewhere really liked "LA Story" and thought we'd all listen to what the sign said.

But isn't the main problem with teen driving that they don't pay attention? So should bright messages on a sign really be a way to make teens more aware of safe driving? I wonder if it caused any crashes from teens. Because something caused those signs to go blank sometime around Wednesday night. Brilliance, indeed!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

It didn't take long

Tonight is a night I've been looking forward to for a while, because it is the start of the baseball season. Yes, I dragged my butt out of bed at 3:00 in the morning last Tuesday (I'm on Spring Break, thankfully), but this is when it counts because it's followed up by even more games the next day. And tonight seemed like it would be fun, because the Nationals are opening up a new ballpark. So I got all the stuff I needed to do out of the way early today so that I could come back and watch the game.

And then it all came back to me - uh oh, Sunday Night Baseball means Joe freaking Morgan! I think in the off-season, he withdraws into the recesses of my mind, but then, BAM, he's back! The reason I can't stand him is because he talks as if we're idiots. Honestly, John Madden thinks his observations are obvious. And it's sad, because if you listen to him on sports radio or any other interview (outside of ESPN), he is very insightful and erudite. But when you get him at an actual game, let's just say he takes the whole "get more kids following the game" too far and assumes that everyone in his listening audience is under the age of 10 and/or tuning in thinking "what is this game that is played on the grass and dirt?" My old roommate and I used to watch Sunday Night Baseball in Spanish on ESPN-Deportes to avoid him. Neither of us could speak Spanish, but it allowed us to hear the sounds of the game without the blood in our ears that were caused by the drivel emanating from Joe Morgan's mouth. But I don't think I have "The Ocho" anymore.

And I don't even think the game had started tonight before he did it again. The camera showed a quote from Joe DiMaggio in one of the dugouts. The quote: "There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first time. I owe him my best." Great quote. The camera showed it once, maybe on the way to or from commercial, because nobody said anything about it. Then they showed it again, and this time Jon Miller said it out loud. That's fine, some of us might be listening instead of watching. No biggie. And then, about a second and a half of silence (you know, maybe we want to reflect upon it), Joe freaking Morgan says "Always try your best... I think... is what he's trying to say."

Really, Sherlock?!? Thank God for your insight, because here I was thinking he was ordering a double scoop ice cream! Seriously, why is your talent being wasted on baseball? George Bush was at this game, so why not set Joe Morgan up with the CIA? The Allies that cracked the Enigma code are jealous at this kind of clarity at cracking what must be one of the most cryptic statements ever. Who needs the Rosetta Stone? Let's just send Joe Morgan over to Egypt to read the hieroglyphics.

Look, I'm used to Joe acting like we don't know about baseball and breaking everything down to simple and hyperbolic language. I was listening during a homerun derby in the late 90s when he said that the ballpark they were in was a ballpark that you really had to get the balls up in to hit a homerun (to which I think it was Chris Berman thankfully replied "Yes, you will see very few ground ball homeruns in this ballpark"). But, honestly, have his handlers told him that he now needs to start assuming we don't know the English language, too? Maybe next season he can describe to us how Greg Maddux ties his shoes...

PS Props to Nationals fans for not booing the President. At least not much. There was a smattering of boos, but the cheers drowned them out by a large margin. I mean, I know a lot of the people that were cheering don't like him (I mean, my God, it's Washington, which is, like, 99% democrat), and I was worried that a round of boos would ruin the beginning of the baseball season. Thankfully you all realized that there is a time and a place to let your dislike of him show, and the opening of the baseball season isn't it. Besides, y'all live there, so you can drive by the White House and flip him off anytime you like. Those of us in the rest of the country can only flip him off on the TV, which isn't nearly as fun. Of course, it's less likely to get our phone tapped, too, but that's a discussion for another time.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Speaking of the Super Bowl

Today is more or less the end of the 2007 Advertising season. Is there an Advertising season? Probably not, but many new ad campaigns will start today, so I'll take now to look back over my own personal "best and worst" ad campaigns in the last few months.

Many years ago, my good friend (Sancho, who really needs to get his own blog going) and I thought of a great idea for a business. We wanted to be ad consultants. Not ad producers, mind you. Mainly we thought that companies could pay us a bunch of money to show us the ideas that the real ad guys produced and we would tell them if what the average person would think of it. Or at least the average person with a brain.

I think this all started around when Carl's Jr. (Hardee's, if you live east of Colorado) were doing their "Without us, some guys would starve" ads. I never liked Carl's much before that, but I stopped going there during that ad campaign altogether, because I didn't feel like being insulted. I know they were trying to go for the "tough guy" image, but they were basically insulting their customers, saying "If you're too dumb to make toast, please visit us." Some people liked those ads, but I don't think any of those people could cook, and I think that's got to be a small portion of the population. Or our idea could have started during a loooooong list of really bad AM/PM ads. Regardless, our brilliant idea was to get paid lots of money to tell people their ads suck. I can't see why this didn't work. I should be a millionaire right now.

So I've always kind of been an advertising connoisseur, if there is such a thing, and a couple of ads have stuck out over the last few months. The first was Toyota's Toyotathon ads. The premise was that the deals were so good on new cars that people were going to amazing lengths to get out of their old leases. And it showed a bunch of people chopping down trees to fall on their car, rolling a rock off a cliff onto their cars, or pushing it off the top of a parking structure. I get where they were going - cars getting smashed is usually great entertainment. However, all they were really doing was showing a bunch of their customers committing insurance fraud. I mean, last time I checked, insurance companies tend to frown upon people intentionally wrecking their car because they're tired of it and want the money for a new one. I'm waiting for this ad campaign to be used by a defense attorney as proof that his client didn't know it was illegal.

On the other end of the spectrum is the ad campaign that has steadily grown on me. At first I thought it was silly, but the more I see it, I think it might be brilliant. I am speaking of the "Messin' with Sasquatch" ads from Jack Link's beef jerky. To quote Adam Sandler in an old SNL skit, "Who are the ad wizards who came up with that one?" I think they wanted to call it "Fuckin' with Bigfoot," but ran into problems. If you haven't seen the ads, it's about some loser 20-somethings that find Bigfoot and decide to screw with him, with such all time classics as flaming poop in the bag, the buzzer handshake, and, my favorite, the_rolling_car_prank.
Oh, and Bigfoot always beats the crap out of one of them at the end.

Seriously, how high were the ad guys who wrote this? It was nothing to do with beef jerky, and that's what's great about it. I think there's got to be some ad people that come up with ideas like that and wait for somebody that has no idea what they want to come along. I mean, if these ads were for a cereal, they'd work just as well. Or a motor oil. Maybe not a feminine product, but just about anything else, right? And that's what makes it brilliant. I don't know if I've ever seen beef jerky ads before, but I'm guessing they wouldn't be very eventful because, really, what can you say about beef jerky? So you've got to go off the board and screw around with a mythical creature. Awesome. As I said, the first few times I saw this, I thought, what's the point? But now if it comes on, I will stop what I'm doing cause, dang it, I know I'll be laughing in about 28 seconds.

So there's the Annual Wombat awards for best and worst ad campaigns of late '07.

Pre Game Show

I just turned on the Super Bowl Pre-Game show about two and a half hours late. Well, not really late because this is actually earlier than I was intending but there's nothing on any other station right now. I was hoping maybe the Food Network would have some good tailgating food stuff, but no, it's about cakes. So I turned on the pre-game show.

At least I think I did. So far I've been watching for twenty minutes or so and as far as I can tell this is just an ad for American Idol. I mean, I know it's tough to talk about a football game that hasn't started yet for twice as long as said game will actually take, but it can't be that hard - ESPN's been doing it for two full weeks.

So far I've seen a commercial (a real one) for American Idol where Ben Roethlisberger pretends he's singing. Then I saw a new Paula Abdul "video." I put video in quotes because she was really just singing on a stage which looked suspiciously like the American Idol stage. And then what really annoyed me was that she started by singing the first line of "Forever Your Girl," which, being a child of the 1980s, I was fine with. Then she went into some new song, cause I guess she finally decided to cash in on her American Idol role, which ironically was orginally intended to cash in on her role as a washed up singer/dancer.

And, of course, then Randy Jackson had to act like he was judging her and then Ryan Seacrest asked if she would make it through to the next round.

Please revisit my former blog about a much better time for that NHL outdoors game....

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Why Gary Bettman is horrible

I used to love the NHL. In the mid and late 90s, I could tell you the front lines of most of the Western Conference and always knew who the leading scorers and best goaltenders were. I could even identify the bruisers for most of the teams. Now I occasionally look at the standings, only follow one team, and am very rarely aware of when it is on TV. and I know I'm not alone in that transition.

Most of this stems from a number of missteps by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. After the 1994 finals between New York and Vancouver, the league was ready to take on the NBA as an equal for Winter sports. But instead, there was a half season lockout (followed by a full season lockout in '05). The league has also consistently failed to market its teams and stars. The fact that Sidney Crosby is not a household name is a tragedy.

And of course the latest was the outdoor game yesterday between Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Played in a snowstorm before 71,000 fans, it was a well played game. Great hits, awesome saves, a 1-1 tie, and the aforementioned Crosby with some amazing moves and the game winner in a shootout. This was one of the most exciting regular-season games I've seen.

So why am I pissed at Bettman? Because he took a great idea and ruined it. He scheduled the game at 1:00 eastern time on New Years Day! You could ask anyone in the country, even non sports fans, what sport is played on New Years Day, and about 95% would know its college football. That day is, and has always been, a day for College Football. There were three games on opposite the outside hockey game and those games featured the tiny colleges of Texas Tech, Virginia, Michigan, Florida, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Sounds like about half the country geographically, and of course teams like Florida, Michigan, and Tennessee have fans (or haters) reaching far outside their geographical area. So I'm sure most people just left the games they were watching to catch a couple minutes of the hockey game, thought, "oh, that's kinda cool," then went back to the bowl games. That is assuming they even knew the game was on because the NHL advertising is almost non-existent.

Think of the days in the near future they could have played this game and dominated the headlines for the day - the week between the AFC/NFC Championship Games and the Super Bowl. Or even the morning of the Super Bowl. The NBA usually uses that morning to play some of their premier teams. Imagine how cool it would be to have a day showing the best that the NFL, NBA, and NHL have to offer.

This scheduling reminds me of the first time baseball was trying interleague play. Back then, Bud Selig was seriously trying to beat Gary Bettman for the worst commissioner of all time. Somehow Selig woke up around 2001 and decided maybe he should, I don't know, try to allow baseball to succeed, but that's a topic for another blog. Anyway, the first time MLB tried interleague play, they scheduled it the same week as the NBA Finals. That's a little more forgivable than the New years Day thing because the NBA Finals aren't on the same day every year. So is they had waited one more week, they would have dominated the headlines, but instead they had to share. The following year, they adjusted it later in the month of June.

So the question will be whether Gary Bettman will learn and move the outdoor game (you know they will continue with these, and they should as it is a good idea) to another date or keep it opposite huge college football games. Or a better option might be to fire him and let someone else move the game, but I've been rooting for that for 14 years, so I'm not going to hold my breath.

Best or Worst Advertisement Ever?

I haven't decided yet. i know that in the days of TiVo that advertisers need to work harder, but this borders on ridiculous. About a week ago I was driving to Southern California for Christmas and was listening to the Sunday Night Football game on ESPN Radio (I assume). The first score of that game was when the Redskins tackled a Vikings RB in the end zone for a safety. The announcers then busted out with something like "And with this safety, OnStar reminds you that the safety of your automobile and family are very important. Subscribe to OnStar to ensure their safety." They then went to an OnStar commercial.

Okay, the fact that will help me decide whether this is brilliant or moronic is the cost. I mean, safeties happen, oh I'd say, maybe ten times a year. Total. And I'm not 100% familiar with the radio contracts of the NFL, but I'm pretty sure that the only ones that are carried on a nationwide network are the primetime games. I think the typical Sunday morning/afternoon games are just carried by local stations that contract with only the local team. If that is the case, the number of safeties on nationally broadcast games is maybe two.

So, seriously, who ever thought "Hey, let's sponsor the safety!" I mean, I'm sure it's not going to cost that much since they probably only have to pay a set amount when the safety actually occurs. However, I'm sure that they had to pay some sort of base fee, however minimal, to ensure that they then could pay the sponsorship fee when the safety actually occurs. I can't imagine that ESPN Radio would sell that sponsorship without at least some assurance that they will get some money and, honestly, you can't assume at the beginning of the season that a safety will occur in a primetime game.

So I'm still unsure if this is brilliant or horrible. Maybe a bit of both.