A little less than 5 years ago, I wrote that Bud Selig was an excellent Commissioner of Baseball. That was a minority view at the time and it is certainly not widely held today. Notwithstanding that sentiment, Bud Selig is in the Baseball Hall of Fame – as he ought to be. Here is a link to what I wrote in 2012 about his tenure as Commissioner of Baseball listing his accomplishments, comparing him to the previous Commissioners of Baseball and comparing him to the commissioners in the other major US sports.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. announced his retirement from NASCAR racing earlier this year and recently signed on with NBC as a commentator. Not surprisingly, NBC says it will use him to do color commentary and analysis for NASCAR events. However, in the announcement regarding Earnhardt joining NBC, the network said it will also look to include him in “other parts of NBC’s programming outside of racing.” Here is an off-the-wall prediction:
- The final NASCAR event for this season will be Sunday Nov.19th at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
- Earnhardt is widely known to be a rabid Washington Redskins’ fan and NBC will telecast the Giants at Washington game on Thursday night November 23 (Thanksgiving night).
- I predict Earnhardt will have a speaking role in the pre-game walk-up to the game and will do a “drop-in” to the booth during the game to chitchat with Al Michaels and Cris Colinsworth.
A friend asked me recently if I thought that the movement of 3 NFL franchises in a year’s time might be detrimental to the league. I said the league might come to regret putting two teams in Los Angeles at the same time but that the league could remedy that “problem” if and when it materialized by moving the Chargers again. My friend then said that the owners must not have been foresighted when they voted to allow all of these movements.
That sent me to do a bit of research and here is what I believe is the situation with regard to the 29 NFL owners who are not moving their franchises and who voted to approve the movements of the Rams, Chargers and Raiders:
- After the NFL front office takes its cut of the relocation fees charged to these teams, each of those 29 other owners will pocket somewhere between $53M and $55M. All those 29 owners had to do was to raise their hands to vote “YES”.
- I suspect that was all of the foresightedness that most of the owners needed to vote the way that they did…
In international soccer news, the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) won the CONCACAF Gold Cup beating Jamaica in the final game 2-1. About a year ago, the USMNT was in the doldrums to say the least; they were struggling with early games in the World Cup qualifying rounds and the team played “dispiritedly”. A change of coaches has seemingly changed whatever ailed the team back then. In 13 games since Bruce Arena took over, the USMNT has not lost a game.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup is contested every other year and involves the national teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean region. In terms of using this tournament as a benchmark for FIFA worldwide competition, recognize that the South American teams do not participate. That means that Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia – all four ranked in FIFA’s Top Ten worldwide – were not involved. Three other South American teams – Peru, Mexico and Uruguay – are ranked between #10 and #20 in the FIFA rankings. And obviously, none of the European national teams – good or bad – participated.
This is not to diminish the victory by the USMNT in any way; it is simply meant to provide a bit of context with regard to the CONCACAF Gold Cup event itself. Winning this tournament does not advance the USMNT to the World Cup tournament to be held in Russia in 2018; earning a slot in that tournament is the next hurdle for the USMNT. Here is how the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying stands now:
- There remain 6 teams in the running for 3 guaranteed entry slots in the World Cup Tournament. A fourth slot is possible based on a play-in game against a team from the Asian Federation.
- Each team has played 6 games and the USMNT is in 3rd place trailing Mexico and Costa Rica. For the moment, they lead Panama by 1 point, Honduras by 3 points and Trinidad and Tobago by 5 points.
- The USMNT has 4 games left in this round; the next one is against Costa Rica and the rest are against the teams trailing them in the table as of today. In the matches leading up to now, the USMNT lost to Costa Rica, drew with Panama and beat Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago.
Finally, let me close with a soccer note that came from Brad Rock’s column, Rock On, in the Deseret News:
“McDonald’s is reconsidering its sponsorship of next year’s World Cup, due to ethical questions regarding FIFA.
“Meanwhile, FIFA is considering ending the agreement based on the taste of McDonald’s fish sandwiches.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………