NBA


ESPN Passport: The Games I Have Attended 2

Anyone who knows me knows that I love stats. One of the more underrated sports related stats website has to be ESPN Passport. It is an awesome service provided by ESPN that allows you to archive all the sports events you have been to (and even watched from home) and spews out stats about how the teams have done in those games. They show a win-loss record, active winning or losing streak and how the teams have done at home and on the road in the games you saw them play. Over time, they have added medals which you can earn if you attend events and the team goes on a winning or even a losing streak.

Full link to all the stats available here on Google Drive.

Here’s a look at some of the stats for my events: (Note: I only log the games that I have attended in person)

I am certain that I missed a couple of games that I attended in person but of the 38 games I have logged in so far, there are 10 teams that I have never seen lose (3 of them I have seen on more than one occasion):

New York Mets: 3-0, 2 games at Citi Field (vs. Yankees and Chicago White Sox) and one at Rogers Center
Seattle Mariners: 2-0 (both in the same stadium but once when it was SkyDome and one as Rogers Center)
West Virginia Mountaineers (CFB): 2-0 (both at High Point Solutions Stadium)

The following teams are 1-0: Houston Astros, Cincinnati Bearcats (CFB), Fresno State Bulldogs (CFB), Buffalo Sabers, San José Sharks, Miami Heat and Syracuse Orangeman (CBB).

The most frequent teams that I have seen are by far the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees:

Toronto Blue Jays: 6-9 record, 5-7 at home and 1-2 on the road (all road games at Yankee Stadium)
New York Yankees: 8-5 record, 5-3 at home and 3-2 on the road (all road games at Rogers Center)

List of Arenas with record of home team in brackets:
SkyDome/Rogers Center (5-7)
Old/New Yankee Stadium (5-3)
High Point Solutions Stadium (3-4)
Citi Field (2-0)
Izod Center (2-1)
Madison Square Garden (1-1)
Air Canada Center (0-1)
Rutgers Athletic Center (0-1)
TD Garden (0-1)
Citizens Bank Ballpark (0-1)

Stats by Sport:
Major League Baseball: 23 games
NCAA DI Football: 7 games
National Hockey League: 4 games
National Basketball Association: 3 games
NCAA DI Basketball: 1 game

Finishing off with the medals page, I have six in total which include easy ones like checking into your first event, posting comments and attending a game on a holiday. However two cool ones that I have is “Zero Hero” which is attending a game with a shutout (I just got at the Mets/White Sox game) and “Doubleheader” which is attending two games in one day. I got that one on October 27, 2007 by watching a college football game between Rutgers Scarlet Knights and West Virginia playing a game at noon and then heading over to Madison Square Garden to see the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Rangers play at 7pm.

 


Bucket List: Visiting All Sporting Venues

I was putting together a bucket list earlier which I will post once it is fully developed later on this summer and someone mentioned to me that going to all the sports arenas and stadiums should be one of the items on that list. That got me into thinking exactly how many of those places I have seen myself.

The list is a little bit longer than I would have originally thought it to be although it includes not only the places I have actually seen a game (indicated in bold) but also the stadiums/arenas that I have seen in person but didn’t necessarily watch a game there. The current list stands at 39 sporting venues, which includes repeats such as Air Canada Centre and Madison Square Garden as they play host to multiple professional teams, or 32 unique ones. Those venues span over 9 states, 1 province and two different countries.

A few rules to counting the sporting venues:

  1. It counts as long as you physically saw it in person whether for a few seconds or were actually inside the stadium.
  2. Repeats count but just have a separate unique list
  3. Old Stadiums still count as long as they were playing host to the professional team at the time of your visit.
  4. Venues of professional teams only, College and Minor League stadiums/arenas do NOT count.
  5. Venues must be located in North America.

I have attended events in 12 of those venues which comprise of 5 baseball stadiums, 3 hockey arenas, 2 basketball stadiums, 1 soccer field and boxing match.

I’m hoping to add a couple when I am in Dallas this summer with the Mavericks, Rangers, Cowboys and Stars but I’m not sure how much time I will actually have but that is definitely on the to-do list.

I’m sure there are plenty of you out there with a longer list than me, let me see them or if you have done more in a single sport, let me know!

Sport (Physically Seen – Attended Game)

Major League Baseball (13 – 5):

–         Rogers Centre (Blue Jays)
–         Yankee Stadium (Yankees)
–         New Yankee Stadium (Yankees)
–         Fenway Park (Red Sox)
–         Camden Yards (Orioles)
–         Wrigley Field (Cubs)
–         Comiskey Park (White Sox)
–         Citizens Bank Ballpark (Phillies)
–         Nationals Park (Nationals)
–         Citi Field (Mets)
–         Shea Stadium (Mets)
–         Three Rivers Stadium (Pirates)
–         Jacobs Field (Indians)

National Hockey League (9 – 3):

–         Air Canada Centre (Leafs)
–         Maple Leafs Garden (Leafs)
–         Madison Square Garden (Rangers)
–         Prudential Center (Devils)
–         Wells Fargo Center (Flyers)
–         TD Garden (Bruins)
–         Verizon Center (Capitals)
–         United Center (Blackhawks)
–         HSBC Arena (Sabers)

National Football League (7 – 0):

–         Giants Stadium (Jets / Giants)
–         Soldiers Field (Bears)
–         Lincoln Financial Field (Eagles)
–         M&T Bank Stadium (Ravens)
–         EverBank Field (Jaguars)
–         Ralph Wilson Stadium (Bills)
–         Three Rivers Stadium (Steelers)

National Basketball Association (6 – 2):

–         Air Canada Centre (Raptors)
–         Madison Square Garden (Knicks)
–         IZOD Center (Nets)
–         Wells Fargo Center (76ers)
–         TD Garden (Celtics)
–         United Center (Bulls)

Major League Soccer (2 – 1):

–         BMO Field (Toronto FC)
–         Red Bull Arena (Red Bull)

Boxing (1 – 1):

–         Prudential Center (Welterweight)

Horse Racing (1 – 0):

–         Belmont Park (Triple Crown, 3rd Leg)


Well Done, Miami.

Call it what you want. It was unnecessary, stupid, down right cocky and it definitely was celebratory. This is something I would have expected from LeBron, not Wade but teammate tendencies certainly have ways of rubbing off on you. They had seen what Dallas had already done in the playoffs before against huge deficits with time left on the clock but I guess you have to witness it yourself to believe it.

With the next 3 games in Dallas now, the series may never even come back to Miami for a Game 6. I think it will, just so Dallas can win it on the road. Mavs in 6.


Is The Baseball System Really Broken?

I had yet to decide whether I thought the baseball system as it is, was broken or not but after doing just some simple research, I think I am ready to say that it is okay… for now.

There is no denying that there are the lopsided salaries in just a handful of teams but there have also been 9 different World Series champions (Arizona, Anaheim, Florida, Boston, Chicago (AL), St. Louis, Philadelphia, New York (AL), and San Francisco) in the past 10 years as well as 14 different teams (add Colorado, Detroit, Houston, Tampa Bay and Texas) who have played in the World Series in that same stretch of time. That is just about half the league.

After that, make note of the fact that Minnesota, Detroit, Cleveland, Oakland, Seattle, New York (NL), Atlanta, Chicago (NL), Cincinnati, Milwaukee and San Diego have also made the playoffs in the last 10 years and that brings the total up to 25 teams leaving just the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Washington Nationals, and Pittsburgh Pirates to not make it into the postseason.

That is a pretty awesome system where 83% of your league has been in the playoffs in the last decade but baseball has done a really poor job in trying to capitalize off of that. Instead all we hear in the news is of steroids, players not signing extensions and botched efforts to try and keep the all star game relevant.

I would also be interested in seeing similar numbers for other major sports and if I had to guess, I would say NBA is the worst in terms of percentage of teams making the post season in the last decade but I would think NHL and NFL are right up there with the MLB. Maybe if I get time over the weekend, I will pull up those numbers as well.

As for the 5 teams left to make the playoffs since the 2001 season, who do you think will make it there first? I will say either the Washington Nationals or the Toronto Blue Jays but I don’t think either of those two will happen this year, or the next.


LeBron: Was It The Right Decision? 6

As tough as it is, I am not going to completely blame LeBron James for the course of actions that he took during these past few weeks of Free Agency. There was so much hype built up about “The Decision” that it would have been foolish for anyone advising LeBron not to take advantage of the opportunity for further advance his brand.  Politicians, players, fans and teams were bending over backwards to try to convince him to come play for their city, all in hopes that he would deliver a championship title. If everyone is able to see just how desperate you are, you will get taken advantage of and one would be foolish not to take advantage of you.

Take the New York Knicks or the New Jersey Nets for example, who saw their mayors making pleas, had politicians in fan-supported videos and people taking out billboard ads – all in hopes of landing what some may call the greatest free agent in American sports history. You would have to think most of the off-the-court attractions were of little significance in helping LeBron determine as to where he wanted to play. A person set to sign a $100 million contract probably will not worry about what is in his backyard as he probably will still have his primary home in Ohio, will travel across the country and do whatever he wants.

This is a 25 year old boy who has already played seven years in the NBA without having a single person in his life step up and say something to his face. He had a hand-picked coach who was basically afraid of him. None of his teammates were remotely good enough to challenge him on or off the court and this allowed a child to develop a very egotistical personality. He never had a mentor to help him develop professionally and even though Shaq did join him for a couple of seasons, he was well past his prime and seemingly did not make much of a difference on him through leadership alone.

He has stayed loyal to his friends from his high school days, something which could be commended as many forget their roots as they hit Big Time. However, you can also say that has also become his downfall. By surrounding himself with a bunch of Yes-Men, he has yet to really encounter a real challenge in his professional life.

Even this entire free agency period seemed like just a soap opera with his mind already determined on where he wanted to go, or at least where he didn’t want to stay – Cleveland. It is a tough break for a city that hasn’t seen a major championship since the mid 60’s but you cannot blame an athlete who was there for seven years and took you to the championship round once. Miami, without a doubt, provides a better opportunity even if they three superstars are surrounded by minimum salary guys. Players will start to flock their way now they know they have a chance to play along side those three, plus a team under the helm of Pat Riley can do wonders even if he is no longer the coach.

It may have been a cop out for him to go to Miami but when you look back on history, none of that will matter if he wins several championships. The last thing LeBron wanted was to go down as the greatest player who never won a championship and this move was more about taking the pressure off of him than anything. He doesn’t have to score 40+ every night now but he can just go back to being the playmaker and with two other premier players with him, you can easily see LeBron averaging a triple-double this following season.

All that said, LeBron is going to someone else’s city, on a team with other talented superstars and on a team where he won’t necessarily take all the shots. I don’t see sharing the ball being as big of a problem as others have stated but sharing the spotlight for someone trying to further their brand can be a major issue. The big 3 all playing together a few games, every couple of years for their nation is one thing, but when you play together for 82 games plus playoffs in an era where everyone tries to further solidify their own legacy, that is completely another.

As for the other teams in the East, it does suck to be a Knicks fan right as they suffered through miserable seasons, cleared out massive cap room – just so say they can say they signed Amare? The Nets also didn’t land anyone big but the Bulls did well by bringing in Boozer with an already solid PG in Rose and a great role player in Noah. I want to see how the Raptors rebuild by losing Bosh, as they suffered last year in the games he was out. It still is relatively easy to make the playoffs in the East but advancing far has become much more difficult. You can lock up the top four seeds with Heat, Bulls, Magic and Celtics in any which order but the bottom four can be a tossup with so many teams being just mediocre.

Personally as a fan, I want to see this team succeed. Maybe this is a new model that teams are trying to follow in order to build successful teams. The Celtics tried this a few years back by bring in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to play alongside Paul Pierce and surrounded them with low paid guys. People questioned that would “this Rondo guy” develop enough to play with these three big guns and help them win a championship. Well that question was answered and maybe out of this roster mess in Miami, another great talent will emerge.