Early vs. late games
I don't understand the disparity in start times for early games vs. late games for American sports.  Early games start at 12-1 pm on the east coast, which is 9-10 am on the west coast.  Those are reasonable times for reasonable people on both coasts.  Unless you work the night shift or are weird in some other way, you'll have no problem watching those games in their entirety. 

Late games, on the other hand, start at 7-8 pm on the west coast, which is 10-11 pm on the east coast.  No normal person on the east coast regularly stays up until 12-1 am to finish watching these games.  Games that start this late pretty much only happen on the west coast, and because of the relative time frame, I'm led to believe the target audience is solely on the west coast.  Which is odd, both because I'm an east coast native, but also because 80% of the population lives on the east coast

Finally, we as a country need to address the start time of prime time games.  These games start at 8-9 pm on the east coast and last until 11 pm or 12 am.  On the west coast, this is 5-6 pm until 8-9 pm -- easy peasy.  For people on the east coast, this is too damn late.  This isn't a big deal for a standard Monday Night Football game or whatever, but it's significant for games like the Super Bowl or College Football National Championship where a sizable portion of the population (again mostly on the east coast) are watching.  I would like to formally propose a constitutional amendment to start prime time games at 7 pm ET.  People on the west coast can accommodate a 4 pm start time; it's for the good of the country. #sports

RedZone good bad
The RedZone Channel is simultaneously the best thing and the worst thing that's ever happened to football, and perhaps all sports, on TV.  Instead of watching a single game interspersed with commercials (or more accurately, commercials interspersed with gameplay), I can watch up to 8 games simultaneously.  But wait it gets better:  Instead of just watching 8 games at once, the producers simply splice all the games together and only show the good parts.  It's phenomenal.  I literally can't bring myself to watch a regular game because they're too slow and boring.  Like many technological advances in our society recently, this has further destroyed my dwindling attention span. 

ESPN tried a similar thing a few years ago for college football called Goal Line which didn't have quite the same feel because of the inherent dispersed nature of college football (many divisions, many channels, etc.).  YouTube TV has a thing currently called Multiview which lets you watch 4 games at once.  As soon as the early afternoon games finish, the quantity of multiviews decreases until you're left with just one or two games at a single time.  Going from inserting copious amounts of live sports directly into your veins, to sipping on a single primetime game is like switching to diet soda, or de-cocained cocaine. #sports

Discrete vs. continuous sports
There was a little interesting tidbit mentioned in this Freakonomics podcast episode with Michael Lewis regarding statistics in different types of sports: 
It's just so much harder to generate good statistics out of a flow sport like basketball or a really complicated sport like football. Baseball, it's very easy to isolate and assign credit and blame on a field and capture it with a statistic.
I've never heard the idea of grouping different sports into "flow" and "non-flow" categories, but it makes a ton of sense.  Sports like basketball and soccer have all players in continuous motion doing all kinds of things at once, while sports like baseball are centered around discrete events involving only a few players at a time.  Football is more of a mixture of continuous and discrete where there are continuous events (a single play) happening at discrete times (between when the center snaps the ball and when the referee blows the whistle). #sports

College state
That "state" in college sports really makes a difference.  Michigan State vs. Ohio is very different from Michigan vs. Ohio State. #sports

Multi-event sports
Here's a list of somewhat unrelated multi-event sports: 
  • biathlon - cross-country skiing, shooting
  • duathlon - running, cycling, running
  • triathlon - swimming, cycling, running
  • pentathlon - fencing, swimming, riding, shooting, running
  • heptathlon - short run, long run, hurdles, long jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put
  • decathlon - short run, medium run, long run, hurdles, long jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put, discus, javelin
  • tetradecathlon - shortest run, shorter run, short run, medium run, long run, longer run, short hurdles, medium hurdles, long hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot put, discus, javelin
  • icosathlon - shortest run, shorter run, short run, medium run, long run, longer run, even longer run, longest run, short hurdles, medium hurdles, long hurdles, steeplechase, long jump, high jump, pole vault, triple jump, shot put, discus, javelin, hammer
Maybe it's just me, but it seems like track and field people are just dying for more ways to compete against each other. #sports

Monday Night Mannings
Peyton and Eli Manning have been hosting a show on ESPN2 during the broadcast of Monday Night Football on ESPN.  It it, these two future fall-of-fame quarterbacks casually chat about the game while making brotherly fun of each other, and they invite a series of guests to chat and joke with them.  All of it is done remotely, which adds some technical difficulties and audio hiccups.  It's not traditional sports coverage, with play-by-play and in-depth analysis.  It's more like watching a game with a friend you haven't seen in a few weeks.  You watch the game here and there, but it's not really the focal point. 

Here's my take:  This is the best sports show in the modern era.  This is must-see TV.  It's made even better by its haphazard schedule, which wasn't weekly and seemed to follow no pattern at all.  You have to look for it, or better yet, stumble upon it.  The guests are varied (athlete, coach, broadcaster, comedian, musician), and the remote nature of it means we're watching people in their homes, on their couches, wearing around-the-house clothes.  It's very intimate, but at the same time completely comfortable.  One guest did fake broadcaster commentary (he was a real broadcaster); another guest dropped an f-bomb.  I'm not sure what the censors thought of that, but I think it added to the casual nature of it all.  They interview current players and show old footage of their bloopers.  They bring up unflattering pictures of their guests as kids.  The comedians and musicians they interview are just there for fun; they're not promoting anything.  It's a breath of ridiculously fresh air. 

Monday Night Football, and really any primetime sporting event, is usually pretty boring.  It's an arbitrary matchup, it's late at night, it's slow-paced and full of commercials.  The ManningCast is the perfect antidote to that.  It's funny, it's simple, and it all happens directly alongside the traditional primetime broadcast.  Just brilliant. #sports

Penn State chant
Penn State University has this chant they do, notably at football games, where half the crowd shouts "we are" and the other half shouts "Penn State".  It's cute; it's wholesome; ESPN did a special on it

Here's the thing:  It's dumb.  Fans do it during the game, at mostly inappropriate times.  The offense is on the field, or the defense is on the field, and the fans are doing this dumb chant that has literally nothing to do with what's happening in the game they're supposedly cheering on.  Oh, and the chant ends with "thank you" and "you're welcome" which makes my skin crawl. 

Plenty of colleges have dumb chants.  Auburn has "War Eagle".  Oklahoma has "Boomer Sooner".  These are meaningless dumb things fans say during games to sort of cheer on their team.  But at least most cheers are quick and simple and happen at the right time:  Before kickoff, or after a touchdown, or coming back from commercial break.  At Penn State, it's 2nd down and 17 after their quarterback got sacked, down by 21 points in the third quarter against a conference rival, and the fans do this dumb chant to perfectly signal how much they're not paying attention. #sports

I feel like professional football is too skill based.  It used to just be about power or speed or size.  Your team had a big guy that was bigger than the other team's big guy (Jerome Bettis).  Or you had a fast guy who was faster than the other team's fast guy (Barry Sanders).  Now everyone is just so ridiculously good at what they do, they're so well-trained, well-prepared, well-coached, it's nearly impossible to over-power or outrun the other team. #sports

NBA playoffs
I started watching NBA basketball a few years ago.  More specifically, I started watching the playoffs.  Even more specifically, I sporadically watch the last few rounds of the conference playoffs, then watch the finales religiously.  I skip through the regular season stuff (82 games?!) and just watch the good stuff. 

And I have to say, I really like the 7-game series (a.k.a. best-of-4) format.  Other sports and leagues do this too, so it's not NBA-specific.  As opposed to the NFL playoffs or even the NCAA basketball tournament, having multiple games gives everyone a chance to have an off day without ending their entire season.  It allows for home-court advantage to help and hurt (games are played alternately at both teams' locations).  The refs can make or miss some big calls and not ruin the entire series.  It even allows a little space for injury:  A player sidelined with a muscle strain in one game might come back for a later game.  I feel like if your team can't beat an opposing team in 7 games, you don't deserve to move on.  It's thorough and it's fair. 

Another thing I noticed is a comment on basketball in general:  Basketball is a very balanced sport.  Every player plays both offense and defense.  Every player uses the same general skills to play -- dribbling, passing, shooting, blocking, etc.  Sure, some players tend to do more of the shooting, while other players tend to do more of the blocking.  But there are no single-purpose players on the court; no punters or goalies or designated hitters.  And everyone is expected to be pretty good at all of them -- so much so that certain players' star status is questioned if they're bad at one of those fundamental skills.  Sure, you have to be 6'6" to get on the team, but at least you don't only do one thing. #sports

Lance vs. MJ
I watched that Lance Armstrong documentary on ESPN, and I gotta say, this guy does not come across as a sympathetic character.  I kept waiting for the moment when I would understand him or respect his actions, but he consistently acted cold, unemotional, and unlikable.  Even his apologies didn't really feel like apologies.  If news came out that Lance Armstrong was a brutal serial killer who dismembered his victims and ate their pieces, that would be the least surprising thing ever. 

Contrast that with the recent Michael Jordan documentary, where I sort of already liked the guy but ended up basically falling in love with him.  And even if the content was heavily influenced by Jordan himself, he comes across as a fallible human being, with believable intentions behind some of his less-than-positive actions, and actual human emotions. 

It's hard to dislike Michael Jordan.  Lance Armstrong, on the other hand, might be a sociopath. #sports

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