Baseball Controversy: There's not much mystery as to why the baseball playoffs received roughly 40% of the ratings that an NFL game between two sub-.500 teams attained on Sunday night. This morning, the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig is receiving a lot of criticism for his behavior during an at bat against the Cardinals last night which resulted in a triple. First of all, Puig thought it was a home run, so he posed at home and flipped his bat. However, the ball hit the bottom of the wall in right field and the Dodger rookie sped around the bases for a triple, then stood on third base and raised his arms in an exuberant celebration. The rookie is getting roundly criticized by the so-called "baseball establishment" for the sequence of events. Really? Maybe the baseball establishment needs to get on the same page with the other sports that are rapidly making baseball virtually irrelevant as a nationally televised sport. Who cares about the unwritten rules of baseball? There's fifty players and eight coaches who give a hoot, but the 50,000 in the stands and millions watching really only care about the action and excitement of the game. Come on, Major League Baseball, get with the program.
Washington's NFL Team Name: In the past I was generally ambivalent about the moves to change team or college nicknames because a particular group found it offensive. I'm a Washington Redskins fan, and while I don't necessarily want the name to be changed, there comes a time when an organization needs to understand that times can dictate what is acceptable. This also includes the NFL and Roger Goodell. In addition, it's the team that represents our nation's capital. Bob Costas' piece on Sunday night was very well done, without taking any sides on the issue, but pointing out the sensitivity of the controversy. With all of the recent publicity, I feel that the tide has turned and that Redskins' owner Daniel Snyder needs to get in front of it and figure out what the team will be called in the future. Eventually, his hand will probably be forced on the issue, so why not take control now and manage this in a proactive manner?
College Football Playoffs: Finally, for the 2014 season, we'll have a four team playoff to decide the college football national championship. Yesterday, it was announced that Jeff Long, the University of Arkansas Athletic Director, would be the first chairman of the selection committee. The committee's full membership will not be officially announced until tomorrow, but ESPN leaked the names yesterday. I'll comment on the makeup of the committee after it's official. However I will weigh in on the selection process. The one thing that's critical for the members is that they watch the games and evaluate the teams based on their performance and some kind of process consistent process. I'm critical of the NCAA basketball selection committee for using the power rankings to evaluate teams, but at least there is a process. The problem is that they deviate from it when it seems to suit their purposes. Therefore, it minimizes the credibility of the choices. Now, in basketball, it only affects the last three or four teams chosen out of 34, none of which would probably challenge for the national championship. Being 35th out of 34 is one thing, but being fifth out of four is another matter, especially considering that the first team out could most likely challenge for the title. Jeff Long runs a large and mostly successful athletic program, so he is a solid choice to administer the process and if the leaks are accurate, he'll have an outstanding group of individuals on which to rely.