This is the media that will replace my former attempt at a newsletter. Where the past dealt only with the Blue Jackets, the future will deal with all sports as desired with a side of life. Where the past was a newsletter that only got out once to three people, the future will be a blog available for all to find. Where the past didn’t happen, the future will. Okay, enough with the comparisons. Let’s get on to the sports.
In hockey news, the CBJ posted their fourth consecutive victory last night as they edged the Calgary Flames 2-1 in a shootout win. The game was gritty and low scoring, as expected. Jarome Iginla opened the scoring early in the first with a wicked wrist shot that seemed to handcuff goaltender Marc Denis. It didn’t look good for the Jackets. Both teams continued to pound each other until Calgary was unfortunate enough to take two delay of game penalties in six seconds. This set the stage for a one-timer goal from the left circle by Nikolai Zherdev. Rusty Klesla, having one of his “on” nights, delivered the check of the evening as he flattened a young Calgary player crossing into the offensive zone. If we could see this Rusty on a nightly basis, I’d be more apt to not think he’s dangerously close to ‘not good’ status. I realize he’s only 23, and that NHL defensemen take longer to develop than does a forward. Time will tell on this young man. Overtime saw the Jackets survive an Iginla chance, and go to a shootout. Balastik and Nash both scored on their opportunities as Denis stoned both Amonte and Iginla for the win. The four wins equals the franchise high set twice before. Columbus goes for number five tonight in Edmonton.
Are the Bluejackets of January for real, or are they getting lucky at all the right times? They had the best month in franchise history, and won points from the Rangers, Avalanche, Canucks, and Predators while doing what they should against the lesser NHL teams. Every hockey team loses games, but for the Jackets to take the next step they will have to put together sixty minute games and learn to compete against Detroit. The games against Detroit this year (save one) have not been pretty. The Red Wings are a good puck possession team, but Columbus repeatedly looks lost against them. If Columbus can progress in it’s competitiveness against this team, they will find themselves deserving the respect and earning the attention they probably are beginning to command.
The Super Bowl is right around the corner. While there are a few neat story lines, I really don’t care about the game or who wins. If I have to pick, I’m pulling for the Steelers because they share the AFC North with the Browns and I don’t mind Bettis and Roethlisberger. That said, I have to watch the game because everybody knows that this is the biggest sporting event of the year. In all other major sports, you get at least four games to decide a champion. Football affords each team one chance to claim the prize, and lately it has been a game worth watching. So, as the dutiful owner of a sports blog and American heritage I’ll watch the game.
Spring training is almost here as well. It’s very tough for me to get excited about this as well. Each year the Reds do much to tease their fans in the first two to three months of the year, only to have Griffey get injured and falter as the All-Star break passes. Lack of pitching has been a team hallmark for many years now, and it remains to be seen if the trend will continue. The bigger problem for me has been bigger than Cincinnati as far as baseball is concerned, and extends to the game as well. It’s tough to put a finger on any one thing that upsets me about the game the held my attention in my youth, but I can name a few things. Steroids are one. I realize that performance enhancers are likely a part of any sport, college or professional. But when baseball players started looking like professional wrestlers (McGwire, Sosa, Caminiti, Bonds, etc), the game began to sour for me. My last fond memory in baseball is Cal Ripken, Jr. rounding the field after breaking the consecutive games played record. Before that it was the Reds winning the series in ’90. It was nice seeing the Red Sox get the monkey off their back in ’04, but that brings me to my next problem. Monetary disparity between teams in Major League Baseball. This problem has plagued other sports, and there have been salary caps instituted with no major consequences. Until baseball does the same (instead of a weak “luxury tax” system currently in place), I will not be a huge fan. Boston fans calling the Yankees “The Great Satan” is very much the pot calling the kettle black. Until teams like Milwaukee, Kansas City, etc. can compete on the same field as the Yankees, Red Sox, etc., the game will not be America’s past-time. Some of the problem can be attributed to owners not spending as much as they could, but many owners could not afford to pay the Yankees or Red Sox payrolls.
Barry Bonds is set to pass Babe Ruth on the home-run list this year, and I for one hope that he remains out of the lineup permanently. I was an admirer of Bonds in the early ‘90’s when he was a speedy outfielder that could hit for power and average. When he began to bulk up, going from somewhere around 180-190 to what looks like 230-245, admiration turned to loathing. These things do not happen naturally. It’s disappointing that some of the game’s most revered records may soon be held by a cheater. Sure, nothing is proven at this point. But the proof is in the pudding, or “Cream”, or whatever crap he’s on that makes him “The Greatest Hitting Machine Alive”. I hope baseball outs him before he passes Ruth or Aaron and the powers that be have to decide what to do with his “records”.
That’s all for now. I’m sure (if anybody actually reads this) that I’ve given you something to think about, if nothing else. Drop a comment if you want, or shoot me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any ideas. Thanks for reading.