Just Stuff Today …

A visit from a friend and a reader yesterday yielded an amazing stat and a requested topic for a future rant.  The topic requires a bit of preparation; so, it will be forthcoming later on – – probably next week.  But here is the stat he provided:

  • Background:  Ichiro Suzuki was in MLB for 19 seasons; he played in 2,653 games and had 9,934 at bats.
  • The Amazing Stat:  Ichiro went 2 for 9 in his first nine at bats in MLB.  He singled in his tenth at bat thereby raising his “career batting average” to .300.  His career batting average NEVER dropped below .300 after hitting that single in his 10th career at bat.

No, I have not personally verified that statistical assertion; but it is not so outlandish that I have trouble believing it.

The Summer Olympic Games will take place in Paris starting on July 26th and running through August 11th.  Back in 2012 when the Olympics were in London, the Opening Ceremony featured “Queen Elizabeth II parachuting into the stadium in the company of James Bond”.  It was a clever and a culturally appropriate way for the Games to get started.  The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro had an Opening Ceremony featuring lots of colorful dancing.  The 2020 Olympics took place in Tokyo at the height of the COVID pandemic and those Opening Ceremonies focused on how the Games might get the world to move ahead and adjust to the pandemic’s existence.  I mention all this to show that the Opening Ceremonies have focused on a wide range of themes and expressions.

For 2024, the Opening Ceremony in Paris will take a note from John Cleese:

“And now for something completely different…”

To begin with, the Opening Ceremony will not be confined to a stadium venue.  The Opening Ceremony will take place along the Seine River.  If you have not been to Paris, the Seine traverses through the heart of the city and is an important part of city life there.  The parade of athletes will take place on the river with each delegation on a different vessel.  Instead of “taking a lap” around a stadium, the athletes will “take a cruise” for about 2 miles along the river winding up at the Place du Trocadéro across the Seine from the Eifel Tower.

In addition to some reserved seating along the river route, there will be the opportunity for large numbers of folks to “attend” the Opening Ceremony along the banks of the Seine.  The organizers are expecting more than 10,000 athletes from 206 countries to take part in the “river cruise” and “hundreds of thousands” of spectators for that portion of the Opening Ceremony.  [Aside:  There are more countries taking part in the Paris Olympics (206) than there are countries in the United Nations (193).]

There are still some tix available for the Opening Ceremony once the boat route has taken place.  As you might imagine, those tix are “pricey” even at the Official Ticketing Website for the Games.  You can go there and get yourself a seat for €2,700 (2,920 in US $).  I have not looked to see what the “secondary market price” might be for a seat at the Opening Ceremony.

Changing sports – – and continents – – there is news today from the world of college football.  The overseers for the CFP, known formally as the College Football Playoff Management Committee, are meeting.  That Committee consists of the Commissioners of all the Division 1-A football conferences plus the Notre Dame Athletic Director.  The Committee has already announced that it has adopted a “5+7 Model” for the 2024 and 2025 CFP Tournaments.  There will be five automatic bids and 7 at-large bids then.  The Committee has been charged to plot the future of the CFP beyond those two years and – – no surprise – – there is already talk of expanding the field to 14 teams in 2026.

Personally, I think 12 teams is too many teams; I am afraid that the first-round games – – and maybe some of the second-round games – – will be mismatches as was the Oregon/Liberty Fiesta Bowl game about 7 weeks ago.  [Aside:  Oregon 45 Liberty 6].  I also understand that more teams mean more games means more revenues to split up.  And because I understand that revenue is dominant here, let me offer this suggestion to the Committee:

  • Don’t stop at 14 teams.  The more natural number for a single elimination tournament format is 16 teams.  If you are going to dilute the product to get more revenue, just increase to 16 teams and be done with it.

Reports say that both the SEC and the Big-10 are expected to propose that those two conferences each get two automatic bids to the CFP as it expands to 14 or 16 teams down the road.  In most of the recent seasons, that guarantee would not have been necessary since there have always been at least two teams from those conferences ranked in the Top 14 or Top 16.  For example, in 2023:

  • The Big-10 had 3 teams in the Top 14 – – Michigan, Ohio St. and Penn St.
  • The SEC had 5 teams in the top 14 – – Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Ole Miss and LSU.

Finally, since much of today’s rant dealt with the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, France, let me close with this observation by the novelist Anatole France:

“The average man, who does not know what to do with his life, wants another one which will last forever.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



2 thoughts on “Just Stuff Today …”

Comments are closed.