The Long Weekend (of Sports)

I went up to Canada for the long weekend on Thursday morning and came back late last night on a drive that lasted much longer than I had anticipated. Sure there was going to be some traffic considering the number of people coming back from their 4th of July holidays but an 8 hour drive ended up taking nearly 12 – there was a stretch early on by the border where it took well over an hour and a half to cross a one mile distance to get into the United States.

Anyway Canada was good as usual. I went to a wedding, played some basketball, cricket and Halo as well as hearing about the wacky Yankee/Red Sox series and catching the first two plus sets of the Nadal/Federer Wimbledon final. Unfortunately I had to leave to comeback and miss arguably the greatest tennis match ever played. Go catch an online clip of it if you can, I’ll put up an update later tonight.

Baseball news before the NHL stuff. Brewers really surprised me in acquiring C.C. Sabathia for four prospects and giving themselves two top of the line starting pitchers (Ben Sheets). Sheets is 10-2 with 2.77 ERA – by far the best start of this career to go with CC who is only 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA. Keep in mind though that the Indians scored two runs or fewer in 11 of his 18 starts this season. Brewers stand at 3.5 games behind the division leading Cubs but are tied for the lead in the Wildcard with their division foes St. Louis Cardinals. This race can get real interesting with those three teams having the top three records in the National League but only two spots are available to them and the race could get even more crowded if the Mets finally decide to heat up a little and the Phillies continue their decline.

As for the NHL news today that there will be second New Year’s Winter Classic Day game – this time at Wrigley Field between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. It was a fantastic game last year especially with the large crowd outdoors and I was kinda hoping they would do it at Yankee Stadium this year so maybe I had a chance to go see it but that didn’t pan out. Anyways, I’ll make sure to catch this game on tv just as I did the one last year.

Last New Year’s Day, more people tuned in to see the NHL play outdoors than any other regular-season game in more than a decade.

The Penguins-Sabres game in snowy Buffalo — the first regular-season outdoor NHL game in the United States — drew a 2.6 overnight rating and a 5 share on NBC. Each ratings point represents about 735,000 households; the rating is the percentage watching a telecast among homes with televisions, and the share is the percentage tuned into a broadcast among those households with televisions on at the time. Overnight ratings measure the 55 largest TV markets in the United States.

The 2.6/5 were the best numbers since a six-game regional telecast on Fox drew a 3.0 overnight rating and a 7 share on Feb. 3, 1996.

The Winter Classic ratings also surpassed Wayne Gretzky’s final game, which was broadcast on Fox on April 18, 1999, and drew a 2.5/6. Article

P.S. The MLB All-Star game from Yankee Stadium is coming up. I’m sure this media coverage on that in the tri-state is going to be crazy. Hopefully its a memorable one.

Has PETA Become Useless?

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) organization really needs to start picking and choosing which battles it wants to fight. Yes, everyone knows they are passionate about their animals and absolutely everything needs to be done in order to preserve their natural homes, their safety when they interact with the human world as well as any other action deemed reasonable without going overboard. But they have fought so many ‘unnecessary’ battles that when a real case might even present itself, no one seems to give a care in the world about the issue they are standing up for.

I am writing on this because just today, as Wimbledon started yesterday, there is a news report that Wimbledon officials brought in marksmen to shoot down dive-bombing pigeons that were causing havoc on the player’s lawn and the open-air media restaurant.

The tournament employs two hawks to scare away pigeons who had become a pest swooping down on Centre Court and distracting players in the middle of tense matches.

But the hawks failed to keep the pigeons away from the players’ lawn and the open-air media restaurant so marksmen were called in.

“The hawks are our first line of deterrent, and by and large they do the job,” Wimbledon spokesman Johnny Perkins said.

“But unfortunately there were one or two areas where the hawks didn’t deter the pigeons, so it was deemed necessary to take a harder approach,” he explained.

The marksmen were summoned by Wimbledon as pigeon droppings on the restaurant tables were thought to be a health hazard. – Article

Although it seems a little bit excessive to bring in marksmen to take out the birds rather than finding an alternative method of relocating the pigeons elsewhere, they will more than likely get a pass in the general media because most people probably won’t even consider the move very cruel and they will justify that since it was causing people inconvenience as enough cause to do it. Another reason is that PETA clearly misconstrues the word said by the Wimbledon officials.

As quoted above, the Wimbledon official clearly says they employ two hawks to scare away the pigeons which has usually done the trick in years past and had done so on days leading up to the second day of the tournament, here is what the PETA official had to say:

“Since the use of marksmen to kill pigeons appears to have been carried out as a first, rather than a last, resort and not out of a concern for public health but rather because the animals were deemed inconvenient by players, you appear to be in clear violation of the law”

That coming from PETA vice president Bruce Friedrich clearly shows they will say Wimbledon did this as a first resort even though they had other measures in place such as the hawks to keep the pigeons away. I am sure Wimbledon could have done more if they saw that the hawks were not being very effective this year instead of bringing in the marksmen but the blatant spin on the words by PETA loses any credibility and probably support that they had amongst some people on their issue.

Yea, there will still be PETA supports who will fight for this cause – and they have every right to fight for this one as they did for the bird that was killed by Randy Johnson’s 100 MPH pitch but they need to be more effective in how they fight. The more they get ridiculed for fighting cases that clearly were not animal cruelty, will only lead to more cruel acts in the future that will go unheard and will not be fought justly because people will not associate PETA with anything reasonable but rather just an organization trying to make noise in the media and not standing for anything credible.