GTFOH Tony Grossi….

Tonight I want to address a few things.  First of all, as I so frequently like to bring up ad nauseum, I am an occasional blogger, not quite got the hang of how I want to express myself, and my grasp of the proper grammar of the English language could be considered High school level at best.  As a 53-year old overweight, twice divorced, no college education, nerd, lover of 80’s music, lover of the NCAA, NFL, MLB, NHL and sometime viewer of the NBA, I consider my self pretty up to speed of whatever is going on in the world of sports.  I am not a technical fan, meaning I really couldn’t tell you the best scenario to bring a corner off the right or left side, when to shift the infield, or when to pull your goalie, whether it be at 1:30 left or 2:00 in the 3rd period.  I cant read a defense or understand the analytics side of the NFL or MLB.  but I do know this…  I love sports, I love talking about sports and the more I talk with people the more I can share what knowledge I have and more importantly, learn from those I talk to about whatever sport happens to be the subject of conversation.  I am not an expert, I don’t pretend to be an expert, and as you can probably tell, no network is going to invite me onto their show and share my perspective on the prevent defense the Colts ran against Tom Brady on the last drive of the AFC Championship in 2000-whatever…  but what I will do is say how I feel about an owner, a player, a commissioner, a rule that I feel is stupid, not to mention a member of the media being a total Jack-weed, and my favorite, be wrong about any subject at any time…  I am not a guru, I am not an expert, and I am not waiting for a contract offer from ESPN.  With all that being said, I am a Sports Nerd…  I have that brand that I try and live up to on a daily basis, but I sometimes find myself slacking, deciding on a movie or a TV show I like as opposed to sharing what is on my mind in the world of sports.  I like to compare myself to that armchair QB people always complain about , except I usually DO know what I am talking about, and although I may be a bit rough around the edges, I am not afraid to provide my opinion.

Soooo…  after all of that rambling, I actually do have a topic I want to discuss tonight, and it is HEAVY on the Cleveland Browns.  Today in Indianapolis, ESPN-Cleveland reporter Tony Grossi was caught in an open mic situation where he called Baker Mayfield a “Fucking Midget”.  Now those of you that do not understand the history, Grossi has been a thorn in Bakers side since before he was drafted first overall by the Browns in 2018.  to say he has never been a fan is an understatement.  Grossi has made it his mission in life to prove Baker is not worth of a starting QB in the NFL, and for the most part he has always ended up with pie in his face whenever he tries to prove his point.  Baker, on the other hand has always treated any confrontation with Grossi with class and tries not to allow himself to be baited in a conversation where he will embarrass himself.  Now I admit, I do not live in NE Ohio, and haven’t lived there for over 40 years.  But I have always had an eye on the Cleveland pro sports teams and have heard Grossi’s name come up more than a few times as to his confrontational method of trying to get under the skin of whatever sports figure happens to be in the room.  ESPN has indefinitely suspended Grossi for his comments, and to be honest, they need to consider sending him on his way.  Grossi has no class, always wants to the the most important person in the room, and honestly has nothing nice to say about anything Cleveland Sports related and if LeBron James himself decided to leave LA the end of the season and come back to Cleveland, Grossi would be first in line to say how bad of an idea it was.  So Tony, from this Browns/Indians/Cavs(somewhat)/Buckeye fan…  why not go to NY and report on the NY teams for the remainder of your career, at least there you can be brash, condescending, and obnoxious and get away with it.

The NFL combine is this weekend, or as I like to call it, the NFL dog and pony show, where the NFL puts potential draft picks through drills and exercises that for the most part, have absolutely nothing to do with how they will perform on the field.  I wont be watching, because it is not relevant to how these players will be come September.  To me the Combine is the most worthless judge of a players talent that is out there.  It is simply yet another reason for the NFL to be on TV and I get it, they want the exposure, but there have been quite a few instances in the past where players have getting injured and missed their rookie season because they decided to attend and participate in the combine. I am not a fan of the combine, and I feel any scout worth his weight in knowledge knows how to judge players based on how they look on tape, they don’t need to see what they run in the 40 or how high they can jump in a controlled environment, because none of that shit really translates to how they will perform at game speed.

Meantime, MLB Spring training is in full force and I can’t wait for the season to begin.  I live in Lakeland, FL, spring training home of the Detroit Tigers, and it just feels like the traffic in this town has escalated and feels more like Tampa each day…lol  I am really going to try and make the effort to make it to a game this year, just so I can take in the atmosphere and enjoy a day in the sun.  Once the season starts I will not make the trip to St Pete and go to a Rays game, first of all, its a PITA to get to the stadium and once there, it is the worst venue in MLB to watch a baseball game.  nope… wont do it.

On a final note, I would like to selflessly plug The Sports Nerds…  Each and every Sunday night four or five of us get together on FB live via Restream and talk about the week in sports.  no topic is out of bounds (except soccer..not gonna happen).  we are heavy on the NFL, but will also talk MLB, NHL, NBA, and even branch out into non-sports topics like movies and pop-culture.  I invite you to come see us and join in on the fun as a few dirty old men sit together and rant and rave about how much our teams are better than yours!   As of tonight I am already gathering topics on what we can discuss…  so if you have 90 mins to sit and listen to some old dudes whine and talk about how good they COULD have been back in the day…lol  join us!!

Have a great night!!!!

Monday Musings…

Reading a story on ESPN.com about the competition committee and their opinion of how the PI rule last year was effective.  To say the least there was mixed reaction, and as far as this long-time fan is concerned the experiment was a failure.  The parameters for overturning PI (Pass Interference) were vague at best, it wasn’t consistent, and most of the time they still got it wrong.  PI has always been pretty much a judgement call for as long as the league has been in existence.  It has evolved over the decades, more and more leaning towards the benefit of the offense.  The powers that be in the NFL feel that the fans love to see high scoring games, it makes the product more exciting, more watchable and of course, brings in revenue in the form of more advertising, more merchandise being bought, and of course the most important stat of all, higher TV ratings.  The NFL really screwed this up, and they do not have an answer to fix it, or at least no answer that will satisfy the most important demographic of all, the fans.  This all came about because of what happened in the 2018 NFC Championship game, and because of that blatant failure by part-time referees that were as blind and incompetent as I have ever seen during that game, we are now in a quagmire of watching the NFL try and fix  what is wrong with this rule.  It isn’t an easy fix, but something has to be done so that plays such as what happened in New Orleans never happen again.

The other issue I am watching is the drama surrounding the new CBA that ownership has signed off on over the weekend.  The NFLPA will have a meeting tomorrow to decide and vote on the new offer, and rumor has it they may not get a majority “yes” on the new CBA.  I am neutral, and actually do not have much of an opinion.  The 17-game schedule to me is both a positive and a negative.  The positive is more football that matters, but the negative is saturation and quality of play.  I am not a fam of the new playoff format, because as most have pointed out, had that format been in place, the 7th team from each conference last year would have been Pittsburgh (with a third string QB) and the LA Rams (a shadow of what they were in 2018).  A playoff spot is designed to reward a team for having a good season, not as a consolation prize for the first WORST team in the league.  Either way, I await the result of the conference call tomorrow, and the fallout it causes.  One thing about the new proposal is that all stakeholders, to include owners and players, are set to make a lot more money in the long run, as well as retired players are due a much needed increase in benefits, so there are pros and cons to this whole thing.  I’ll try and have an updated opinion after the results of the call tomorrow are revealed to the public.

The sporting world said goodbye today in a tribute to Kobe Bryant and his Daughter at Staples Center.  Luminary speakers included Shaq and Michael Jordan.  To me it is still really hard to come to terms with the fact that he is gone.  I have always been upfront with my feelings on the NBA post-Jordan, but fact remains and is not debatable, that Kobe was definitely one of the greats, and his off-court work with kids and his charities is legendary.  He will be missed and there is a hole in the soul of the sports-world because of his passing.  I watched the replay of his wife speaking today and I could not hold back the tears.  If you have not seen it I strongly urge you to seek it out whether on Google or YouTube and watch, listen and understand how much this  woman loved him, respected him and most of all, misses him.  It was a powerful eulogy to say the least and as I mentioned…  I was sobbing after watching it.

That’s all I have for today… have a great night everyone…

Scott– The Sports Nerd

Wednesday Observations… NFL… MLB…

So… I’m gonna get into this and it isn’t going to be pretty. First, let me be clear, I am not an expert in anything. I am a fan of both the NFL and MLB, I love my Browns and Indians, not to mention the Bucs and Rays, but the offseason goings-on that came out today as well as within the last few days have led to this post. I know I am not consistent in posting, and as @jongolson is so fond of reminding me, I don’t necessarily promote our show as vigorous as I should (Sundays 7pm eastern – on my FB page), I remain a passionate fan… a sometimes outspoken critic and always open to a debate regarding my worthiness of fandom, and my habitual acceptance of all criticism towards my allegiance to losing franchises.

As I type this, there is breaking news on the NFL CBA front. From ESPN’s Adam Schefter, there comes this: “Under the current CBA proposal that NFL owners are pushing for, the playoff field would be expanded to seven teams, while the regular season would be increased to 17 games per team, and the preseason shortened to three games per team, per sources.” He was the first to break this news, despite it being part of the rumor mill the last few days. As many of the pundits, reporters, and insiders have stated, if that policy had been in place in 2019-20 season, the LA Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers would have made the playoffs. This new format allows for just ONE team on a bye after the season ends, and if my understanding is correct, they would get to CHOOSE who they play after wildcard weekend. Ok first let me just say this is a STUPID proposal, as this past season proves that both the Rams and Squeelers were both terrible, and may I also add that the Squeelers were starting a 3rd string QB at the end of the season, so yeah, 7 teams per conference would have been an awful idea.

I don’t mind a 17 game season, as more meaningful football is always a good thing, but the other side of that coin is that the players would require less practice time during the week as well as during OTA’s and preseason. Mark my words and consider this a warning… not only would this lead to more injuries due to less training time to get in shape, and more prepared for real-game speed, but this will also lead to football that would more like the XFL or AAF as opposed to NFL Quality. Less preparation during offseason and preseason is going to be bad. More chance of season-ending injuries, more chance of the quality of the product being BAD, and most of all, leading to less fan interest because of all of it… In its neverending search for more income, the NFL is actually looking to make changes that will lessen the quality of the most popular sport in the US. Do us all a favor NFL, don’t screw with the product, it is just fine the way it is, with one or two exceptions… Active players need guaranteed contracts, and retired players need lifetime medical insurance. You are the largest non-profit entity in the US, and yet you refuse to fully take care of your employees… Change that…

As for MLB… well there are so many different avenues I could go with… however for this post I will go with Rob Manfred is the worst commissioner in professional sports. I mentioned this during the show Sunday night… The fact that he considers the most cherished trophy in baseball a “piece of metal” is insulting. I know he apologized today for choosing the “wrong words” but the fact he said it reveals exactly how Manfred feels about the very sport he oversees, he could care less about the integrity of Major League Baseball, and has insulted every team and player that has ever lifted that trophy each October. Manfred has refused to punish the players for the Astros cheating scandal and has even come out and said any retribution in the form of teams throwing at players will not be tolerated. He refuses to strip the Houston organization of their World Series victory in 2017 and ignores any and all arguments to the contrary. even LeBron James had an opinion about this whole fiasco on his Twitter Feed yesterday… THAT’S how bad this is when you have the best player in another professional sport calling out the commissioner of MLB in his inability to take the issue seriously.

The Astros need to be stripped of their title, they need to be banned from postseason play for at least two seasons, and the owner needs to put the team up for sale. This is worse than the Steroid Era, this is worse than the White Sox Scandal more than 100 years ago… this is a dark day for America’s pastime, and the Astros need to pay heavily for what has occurred, cheating is cheating, that’s the simple fact, and if the commissioner is not willing to understand the severity of the issue, he needs to step down and allow a successor that actually cares about MLB to take his place.

On a positive note… For the few out there that may follow NASCAR and have seen the scary wreck at the end of the Daytona 500 Monday night, Ryan Newman, after being involved in a scary wreck, reminiscent of Dale Earnhardt in 2001, WALKED OUT of the hospital today. This is a testament as to how far safety has come in the sport. I remember the day Dale Earnhardt died… 19 years and one day from that awful moment, and to see how brutal and violent that wreck was on Monday night, to see Ryan actually walk out of the hospital with his two daughters on each arm (although he could have used a pair of shoes), is a reflection of how serious NASCAR takes driver safety. Kudos to NASCAR, but I still want to say that stage racing is awful, and until major changes are made I will not watch outside of the Daytona 500. Oh and just to add fuel to the fire… the cause of that crash Monday Night wasn’t because of Blaney… it was the fault of NASCAR insisting on restrictor plates being in these cars on Superspeedwyas like Daytona and Talladega… this causes pack racing and the greater probability of huge wrecks lie we saw Monday Night. Dale Earnhardt was totally against restrictor plates, and it cost him his life… I don’t care how safe the cars are, restrictor plates create more danger for the drivers than anything else in NASCAR…

Rant over… Good night..

Pitchers and Catchers report…

Yet another MLB season is upon us. As an Indians fan, I am optimistic about their prospects for re-taking the division from the surprise Twins last year. The Indians traded away Cy Youg winner Korey Kluber, but despite that, the starting pitching is solid, and the question remains the lineup and can they score enough runs to make them competitive. They failed to pick up the option on Jason Kipnis, which I was disappointed in but they added Cesar Hernandez, Sandy Leon and of course Delino Deshields in the Kluber trade with the Rangers. I am optimistic that they will in fact compete in the division, but that is where my optimism ends.

So long as you have franchises such as the Yankees and Dodgers breaking the bank and loading their roster with multi-million dollar talent, the Indians will wallow in what I call the second tier of MLB teams. Simply put, the Indians will have a payroll of about $119 million for 2020. Even though that may sound solid, it pales in comparison to the Yankees $154 million, the Dodgers $236 million and the Astros with $225 million. How do I hope for the Indians to compete?

Major League Baseball needs a salary cap. The fact that teams can spend what they want, lure any ace or major hitter to a team by throwing Fort Knox at them is disgusting. A salary cap will create parody, open opportunities for all teams to compete, and provide a much better product for MLB to attract fans to come back, for those that have left. This idea of mine isn’t anything new, as it has been bounced around by any and all pundits in the media and sportswriters for years. The ultimate decision, of course, belongs to Rob Manfred, the Commissioner of MLB to lead the charge and bring the fans back to baseball. The bottom line, in my opinion, regarding why baseball has lost fans, is due to the fact that 75% of the teams in MLB have no chance to compete for a World Series due to the fact they just can’t afford to spend the money that other teams can and are willing to spend.

So anyways… Pitchers and catchers report this week for all MLB clubs… despite all the negativity, I am optimistic, in that the Indians will be fun to watch this year, and it will take my mind off the bad season the Browns had. The Tampa Bay Rays will try and improve from last season and compete for a division title in the AL East, but again I fall back onto the juggernaut that is the NY Yankees. It’s a long season and I haven’t the time to go into all the new rule changes that are happening in MLB (Three batter rule) so I will, for now, focus on the beginning of the season and look to go into more detail as the season progresses. Anyway, Go Tribe, Go Rays, and you all enjoy your evening…

I’m Back

I have a problem… those that know me, understand what it is… I’m lazy when it comes to posting, blogging, getting my thoughts out there, creating content, whatever you want to call it… I have a difficult time getting out of the comfort zone of coming home to sit in front of the TV or computer and becoming a great big pile of jello, zoning out on what I am watching, while at the same time ignoring what I created this site and blog to do… Get what thoughts I have in my head and expressing them. To be honest I have confidence issues, anxiety, and the fear of retribution (whatever that means). To be honest, I actually do have a lot to say, I just have a problem with getting those thoughts organized in my head enough to type them up and blog about it. I have a feeling I am not the only one that has these issues, but the thing is, I have a weekly Live Stream Sports Show and I have no audience, mainly because I suck at advertising it. @jongolson is on me every week about hos I don’t promote the show, @pixiepost is more polite about it, but I know she wants to see more out of me. I want to see more out of me as well… and I know there is a market for what I can bring to the table… the issue is overcoming this anxiety and fear that has taken residence in the back of my head. I don’t think I am good enough, I don’t think I can gain the attention and I also fear that should I say anything controversial, what ramifications do I face as a result??

There are subjects I could discuss that aren’t limited to just sports, and I wonder if instead of expressing these thoughts, should I just stick to sports, keep my opinions to what the majority agrees with and move on lackluster in a rut when in fact I want to scream from the rooftops about what I see and think is wrong in not only the sports world but in the real world as well. I’m not good with the quick comeback if I am hit by a troll or a person with the exact opposite opinion of mine. The debate… it scares me… I fear it… and I really don’t want to face it. But I fear that if I don’t address it… take it on… attack it… I will never truly be what I know I can be… Hard to change one’s nature, attitude, and perception at 53 years old, but I know a change has to happen, if not for my own future, but for the future of this site/blog. I will remain an afterthought, a blip in the history of online presence, where no one reads my content. I need to find that drive… that spark that moves me to the next level. I have heard it from my friends for years about the potential I have inside… But just like the rest of my life, I sit here invisible…

I am not seeking sympathy, I have a good life, a good job, people that care about me, a great family, and above all I am pretty happy with how things are right now… I just can’t help but think I want more… I want to be seen, heard, and vocal about my thoughts and opinions, no matter the cost or consequences… But the old feelings creep up into my head and tell me I will fail… the old man is talking to me from the great beyond telling me over and over again that I will amount to nothing. (yes my father was like that, and so is my step-father today) I have been told my entire life that I was a nobody, that I couldn’t be successful, and the end result is that I have no self-confidence and told I have no talent and because of this, it has resulted in me not having any ambition, accepting that doing just “ok” was enough and that I shouldn’t hope for anything better…

Man, this is depressing… here I am exposing what has held me back all these years, and not realizing most of you have already closed this post and moved on because you don’t need the negativity… lol

For those of you that have stuck around this far, here it goes. I am officially going to get out of this comfort zone of being “just ok” and move forward. I will make the honest effort to move on and be what I had hoped to be, and I don’t care if my thoughts are read by 1 or 101 people, I’m gonna put them down. you can love or hate what I write, I don’t care, cause I’m gonna write either way. I’m gonna make it a point to be blunt, obscene if necessary, and put my heart on my sleeves. I will no longer fear the ramifications, I will no longer fear retribution, I’m gonna air out ll of the dirty laundry as I see it and if there are people that don’t like it, well then too fuking bad… Buckle up… it’s gonna get bumpy…

Let me end with this…

I am a Browns fan… I am an Indians fan… I am an Ohio State Buckeyes fan… I am a Tampa Bay Lightning fan… I am also and fans of the Buccaneers and the Tampa Bay Rays… most of what I write will be about those respective sports teams, but I will go off the reservation at times and bring politics, pop culture, movies and music into the fold. I have a ton of opinions and plan to express whatever is on my mind on any particular day of the week or month… Thanks for reading…