ESPN and Greed’s Latest Victim

(Photo via ftw.usatoday.com)

The other day, ESPN fired MLB legend and longtime analyst Curt Schilling. Schilling shared the following picture on his Facebook page. ESPN then said that Schilling’s post was “insensitive”, and he was subsequently fired for it. Sorry Curt, you didn’t break any laws, but you might hurts some feelings, and  apparently that’s worse nowadays. I mean, people want to give Johnny Manziel an 109,385th chance even though he’s getting DUI’s and hitting women, but hey, who am I to say anything?

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Let’s get down to the facts. Did Schilling use hate speech when discussing members of the LGBT community? Did he condemn them for their lifestyle? Did he say anything negative about transgender people at all?

He did however bring the other side of the coin to the forefront, for once. It’s no secret which type of people Schilling is calling out with this political cartoon, because that’s all this is. He is calling out liberals on preaching acceptance, but only when it is convenient. You are only accepting if you agree with them, while if you have a different stance they will brand you a bigot. So who’s the real intolerant ones here?

Schilling was tagged or mentioned in thousands of tweets from cowards who talk tough about “social injustice” from behind a screen, but actually know little to nothing about Schilling as a person. In reality, the people screaming for acceptance are the ones not accepting valid viewpoints that are different from their own. It is a travesty that we are even having this conversation because ESPN used to be a safe haven from the plagues of big media. It used to be a bunch of average dudes being funny and talking sports. Now it has become a money grabbing monolith that makes decisions based on ratings and stock value. It is a true shame.

This is not the first time that Schilling has voiced his opinion on controversial topics. This however, will be the last (at least on ESPN). Schilling is not the first person to be crucified for speaking out for what is right. Not to worry for those who agree with Schilling, because every time one of these injustices occurs it only sheds more light on the problem. There was this one guy I heard about in this dusty old book. Maybe Schilling will resurrect his career, not unlike what happened with Colin Cowherd a few months ago.

Curt Schilling, thank you for not taking the easy road. Thank you for standing up for what you believe in regardless of the critics. You are not alone. 

-R. Ilardi

20 Things Sophomore Year Has Taught Me

As the school year comes to an abrupt end, let’s take a look at everything life has thrown at us Sophomore year…

1) Just because you don’t have an 8 am class doesn’t mean you can stay in bed all day. And yes, 9:30 is also an early class.

2) Having friends with cars means one thing: Best Eds, Hillview, and Meritt whenever you want.

3) When life kicks you down, Meritt is always there to pick you back up.

4) You make so many new friends sophomore year. Meet people and get to know them!

5) Living off­ campus makes it easy to isolate yourself. Get out of your room and be with others.

6) Off of that, do NOT forget about the ones that were there for you from the start. My boys will always be my boys. Keep that in mind.

7) Don’t worry about “that girl.” You’ll forget about her as soon at the next mixer.

8) But if you can’t forget about the girl, don’t be dumb. Make her yours.

9) Drama is everywhere. Getting involved in people’s drama is easy, but it is also easy to avoid it.

10) Speaking of avoiding, it’s a small school. If you are trying to avoid that girl that you hooked up with, you’re gonna bump into her. Accept it.

11) Get involved. Freshman year was all about getting adjusted. Sophomore year is the time to get involved in clubs, Greek Life, and other campus involvement. You’ll thank me.

12) Get off to a hot start to start the semester. The longer the semester goes on, the less work you’re going to want to do. Get off to a good start with your grades, and build a nice cushion.

13) Get your work done ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than sitting in on a Sunday night because you remembered you had a lab report due at midnight.

14) Don’t give yourself unwanted stress. You know the pressures of school and friends will stress you out, so stay organized and scheduled so nothing unexpected stresses you.

15) Sometimes a night in with your closest friends is better than the wild party that may or may not be broken up by the cops.

16) But don’t be afraid to go out when you’re done with work. It is healthy to go to parties and mix with people. So get your work done on Wednesday this way you can go to the darty on Sunday.

17) R.I.P. G St.

18) As you get older, so do your upperclassmen friends. Remember to spend time with them. You’re gonna wish you did. Every day is another day closer to graduation. So make the memories now.

19) You’re almost halfway done with college. You can make it.

20) These are the years we will look back on. Live it up now and make the stories and memories that you can laugh about in 30 years. Work and internships and overall responsibilities only get harder junior and senior year, so cherish the sophomore days.

Always a wise fool

– M. Fritz

It’s Hammer Time For Thor

(Photo via sportsonearth.com)

First, there was Tom Seaver. Then there was Doc Gooden. And now, in 2016, the Mets appear to once again have one of the best pitchers in baseball. On December 17th, 2012, the Toronto Blue Jays traded top prospects Travis D’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard to the New York Mets in exchange for the reigning CY Young award winner R.A. Dickey.

At the time, D’Arnaud was considered the best player the Mets got in the deal and while d’Arnaud is the Mets current starting catcher and still has a ton of potential, with every passing day it is looking like the Blue Jays will dread giving up the fire baller from Mansfield, TX. Syndergaard debuted on May 12th of last season and he immediately impressed. In 150 innings pitched, he went 9-7 with a 3.24 ERA all while averaging an astounding 97.1 mph on his fastball.

Coming into the 2016 season, Syndergaard was expected to improve and be a great pitcher, but he has exceeded those already high expectations. In three starts so far, the man they call “Thor” is 2-0 with a microscopic 0.90 ERA. He also has 29 strikeouts in just 20 innings pitched so far. Just looking at these numbers shows you how good Syndergaard has been, but in order to truly grasp how dominate his stuff has been, you have to delve deeper into the numbers.

His fastball/sinker average velocity is an unbelievable 99 mph, by far the highest in all of baseball. His off speed pitches are off the charts as well. His slider averages 93 mph, yes, that’s right, 93 mph. That’s harder than most starters throw their fastball. His changeup and curve are also impressive in their own right, sitting at an average of 90 and 83 mph respectively. It’s one thing to come out of the bullpen for one inning and let it loose throwing 100 mph, but what’s so amazing about what Syndergaard is doing is the fact that he is sustaining this astounding velocity over 6 or 7 innings every start. Syndergaard is only 23 years old and is the talk of the league right now. There is good reason to believe that the chatter will last for a very long time for the one they call Thor.

– D. Celauro

Post Hangover Depression

(Photo via nj.com)

Last Wednesday, I witnessed probably one of the greatest sports performances of all-time, for the sole reason that Kobe Bryant did it.  I’m speaking for my entire generation of sports fans, 60 points in his final game and showing generations behind us what Kobe Bryant was while we grew up is what it was all about.

Sure, he threw up 50 shots and missed a lot of threes he attempted, but were you not entertained? Did it not throw you back to 10 maybe 15 years ago when we witnessed the cold-bloodedness of the Black Mamba? My eyes were glued to Kobe all night, trying not to accept the fact that I would never see this icon play again. I started getting the same feeling I had watching Derek Jeter at shortstop in his final game in the Bronx, and going absolutely NUTS seeing Jeter hit the signature opposite field game winner. And I pretty much celebrated the same way after seeing Kobe hit the three-pointer and two-pointer in the last minute, vintage Kobe. Obviously its no Peyton Manning exit, with their final record being the worst in franchise history. That’s not how to send a 5-time NBA Champion off, especially after losing Pau Gasol after his last 2-rings, leaving Kobe in the dust to end his career.

None of that mattered to me while I was watching him play the Jazz last week because all I could think about was taking in every second he was on the court and appreciate what he has done for me as a die-hard sports fan. “From Lower Merion High School, number 24 …”

– M. Gress

Not Your Same Old Isles

The first ever playoff game in the Barclay’s Center was underway and this Islanders team has shown they are not like ones we have seen before. I think the tough seven game series against the Caps definitely helped the boys mature. Last night, they quickly found themselves down 2-0. Then Ryan Pulock scored a five on three power play goal. Unfortunately, the Panthers answered quickly to go up 3-1. This is where the old Islanders would have probably let things get out of hand, but not this team.

Shane Prince scored an adrenaline releasing goal that nearly had me screaming in the school library. And talk about going hard on the celly.

So the deficit was cut to only a single goal and the Isles definitely had full control of the game’s momentum. Later in the second period, Islander forward Franz Nielsen netted a power play goal with assists from Tavares and Okposo. That line has been absolutely lethal in this series, which is exactly what you need from your top line in the playoffs. If you have a first line that consistently puts points on the board, then that puts a ton of pressure on the opponent’s second and third lines. If you can couple a dominant top line with depth and secondary scoring the way the Isles have done so far, you will win games.

After the Islanders evened the score, the Isles and Cats experienced their first scoreless period of the series as they moved to a sudden death overtime period. I think this speaks for itself.

The New York Islanders had an up and down season, but they really started playing well in the final weeks (Reminds me of the team from Manhattan). So, if the Isles have the first line and they have depth in their other lines, what are they missing?

Goal tending. It seems like they have the offense, the defense could be a little better even though it is solid, but they really just need a goalie that can take over and put the team on his back. In the playoffs, one game means everything. It is a HUGE advantage to have a elite goalie. You are inevitably going to have a bad game, but if you have a guy that can keep the other team off the scoreboard or limit them to a goal, that increases your odds of winning.

The Isles should have Halak back in the lineup by the second round (should they get there). This may be something that spurs them on a run not too many people suspected. All they can do now is strive for five!

– R. Ilardi

NBA Enters Slippery Slope with Ads on Jerseys

(Photo via bloomberg.com)

People fall in love with sports for many reasons; some are drawn to the big lights and the entertainment presented in front of them, and others crave that intense roller-coaster ride of emotions. But I would think many of us can agree on a common attribute that we all love in our games – well, that it’s just a game. We appreciate all these things because we consciously allow ourselves to take time out of our long, strenuous days, and simply just watch a game. That is why sometimes it pains us to see when that game that we love gets overly-influenced by the powers that too often corrupt the world we live in: Money. When I heard that the NBA had accepted the proposal to put advertisements on their jerseys, I was disappointed in them; falling prey to the money game, once again.

While it’s no secret that sports are a multi-billion dollar industry, and players are probably making more money than they should be, because of the capitalistic society that we live in, we must accept their right to exist and operate freely. But, we have to start thinking about how far we want money and profits taking over the game that we love.

When the league puts ads on their NBA jerseys, die-hard sports fans, and casual fans too, will lose that connection and playfulness that they value in a game because now it just becomes another constant reminder that their favorite game is being controlled by the money machine. And the league must like it that way, so much so that they favor stitching it on their chest. I hope the NBA would understand that the reason we like the game so much isn’t because it makes them lot of money. But instead, we appreciate the raw, live action that it brings us every day, away from the outside world, even if it’s only for a few hours. We shouldn’t have to be reminded of the constant stresses of the outside world when we enter the sports realm.

Now, we know this is a great business opportunity for the league. When asked about the three-year pilot program, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, “People are watching less live television outside of sports. People are watching fewer commercials. This will become an important opportunity for companies for connecting directly with their consumers,” (ESPN.com). Clearly, Silver understands, and is definitely excited by this opportunity to bring in more money for their ever expanding business. Furthermore, according to Daren Rovell in his recent ESPN article on the deal, he noted that Silver projected the deal to bring about $100 million dollars per year in revenue. Seems like a large number, however Rovell says, “It’s a small opportunity relative to the league’s overall revenues, which Silver said are projected to be $7 billion in the 2017-18 season.” (ESPN.com)

If it’s such a small opportunity, then why must the league always take the side where the money is and not the side that we wished they would go? They should make more efforts to de-monetize the game and preserve the aspects of sports that we value so much. Does distracting the fan with advertisements placed on the game jerseys really reinforce their love of the game? Of course not. So, what’s the point?

I may be overthinking this, but I am sure people can all agree that the games are more exhilarating and captivating when we are not thinking of the profit motive behind it. Sure, FIFA has had ads on their jerseys for some time now, but it’s pretty evident they have large problems of their own. It’s time to rethink where we want sports to go in the future.

– J. Yellin

Willet Did Not Win The Masters

(Photo via ibtimes.com)

This past Sunday shocked the golfing world as defending champion and leader for 8 straight rounds, Jordan Spieth, dramatically lost the Masters to Britain’s Danny Willet.

Yeah, I’m not kidding.

Spieth pulled the unthinkable by making a quadruple bogey 7 on the par-­3 12th hole on Amen’s Corner. Before Spieth teed off, I looked towards my roommate who knows nothing about golf and said “this is the shot that makes the round” with him responding “how come?” As Spieth blocks his tee shot into the water I turn to Chris and say “well, that’s why.”

Despite the hype going into the week, I felt that Spieth was not going to win the Masters, but never in a thousand years did I think Spieth would absolutely implode on the back round. It’s a damn shame. Golf experts are already grouping Spieth’s collapse next to Greg Norman’s 1996 collapse and Rory’s 2011 shamble.

We love to see to see underdogs win in golf, but never do I wish that the world’s best go missing on the 12th hole. We often forget that Spieth is only 21 years old and has had a better short career than many other professionals that are double his age.

Nick Faldo immediately said “this will haunt him for a while” and Jack Nicklaus said “there will be good changes to come out of this”. Both of these men could not be any more correct. Spieth will not forget about that epic failure of 30 minutes that he unfortunately has to go through until he wins his next Masters. Even after that, this may be a moment that Jordan will never forget. Spieth will work harder than he ever did to make sure this never happens again. And for the sake of Danny Willet, it was a great story for him [on getting to the Masters and having his first son] and winning it all. For his sake, I hope his name stays moderately relevant and does not become a 2009 Lucas Glover (remember him, Bethpage?). It was a whacky week.

Not to take away from his prestigious win, but… Danny Willet did not win the Masters.

He won the Masters when Jordan Spieth lost it.

– M. Fritz