Mexican Hockey League

S.Samek

North America has two nations known for Hockey. Canada being the primary hotbed for the sport and a pretty successful United States market to back it up.
Mexico has decided to join the hockey world.

 
After forming in 2010 the Liga Mexicana folded after one season. Now the plan is to bring it back for 2017-20018.

The League has four teams The Aztec Eagle Warriors, Mayan Astronomers, Teotihuacan Priest and Zapotec Totems. Except for 20017/20018 it will be the Olmec Stone Head replacing the Totems.

 

Each team has two goalies and 17 skaters. Each team also recently announced new jerseys for the season.

 

The Jerseys look super cool, especially the Aztec Eagle warriors. Very well done to whoever designed them. The names are also unique and represent Mexican Heritage.

 
While the sport isn’t what soccer is as far as popularity this could be a good start. If the first season back is successful maybe the league can expand the number of teams. Then from there may be a minor league affiliate team moves into Mexico. It might be a challenge, but it could happen.

 
Though I think Mexico could also try to get an NHL game played there. Mexico has hosted the NFL, WWE and NBA prior.

 

They are  set with the Ice dome, an area for hosting winter sports should they want to pursue the NHL game.

 

For now, I think it will be interesting to see if hockey catches on. I don’t think it will have the appeal that soccer does, but I think the league can gain a niche following. It should be interesting to see what happens. The league begins play on Sunday October 22, 20017.

Advertisements

Backyard Sports Games

A tribute to one of the all time greats on an anniversary.

S.Samek

Sports and video games often seem like they don’t go together. That often those that play video games don’t watch sports. Conversely those that play sports don’t have time to play video games.
Though the perfect match is sports video games. Taking time to play as your favorite NFL, or NHL stars in virtual form can be a lot of fun. I was quite the fan of NHL 01 when I first got my PlayStation two for Christmas in 2001.
Most of my gaming was and still is done on my computer. It was one title in particular that was the reason for this. It had numerous forms that I would pick up and play depending on what I was feeling that day, or time of year. It was the Backyard Sports series.
The most well-known of these titles is baseball. It fact it just turned 20 years old the other day. You can read all about it here.

I too would love to give a shutout to the games that shaped my future career path the most. These games even a bit to this day are put into a cd room drive and hoped that they work so that I can practice announcing.

The first game I played in the series was baseball back in 1997. This was the original version with no pro athletes as kids. I remember playing with the easy ball and not being very good.

I picked the Bombers as my team name and a bunch of random kids, including the goat in Pablo Sanchez. They never won the championship. I later restarted as the Giants. This was a team that I stacked with better talent such, as Jocinda Smith, Keisha Phillips, Pete Wheeler and of course Sanchez. It was this team that would carry me to my first backyard sports title. I would then pick up the 2005 edition to replace it and it’s still my favorite of all the backyard games.

I then remember getting backyard football 2002. There I took a Pittsburgh Steelers team of almost all quarterbacks and won it all, multiple times. I then switched to a more accurate team with actual position players and continued to win big.

Backyard Soccer then came into the mix in 2004. There I got my first taste of MLS. It was a fun game, but just not my favorite. Though It would be my pick for most challenging as you had to win your way through three divisions like in real soccer to even have a shot at the championship title.
Next to the mix was basketball and hockey. Both equally as fun. In fact, basketball is the one I played most recently.
Then finally we have skateboarding. Overall this maybe the worst of the main series games. They only made one of this game. It was on the trickier side if I recall. You had to remember some button combinations for each trick. Some of which could be rather long. I haven’t beaten this title yet in fact. I got through to the medieval level’s final boss and it keeps beating me. Still pretty fun though.

 
Now why this game is so useful. I like to use it as a broadcast practice tool. Even before I knew I wanted to study broadcasting I would do play by play during each game. It didn’t matter the sport, nor the team, or even time of day. Yes, I was told to quiet down after announcing games at midnight, or later.

 
It didn’t matter to me though, it was always fun. Weather it was a big run by Pablo Sanchez, or routine ground out back to the mound for Dontrelle Willis to Carlos Delgado each play was done best I could. Often in a very informal style, but best I could.

 
After I learned a bit more of theory I would try to apply it to each game. Though it was a bit tougher at times. Three on three hoops aren’t five on five. The in-game power ups don’t have real world applications, even if they are fun to use. Yet it was still a chance to get experience even if just for fun and myself.

 

Overall, I just think this game has contributed greatly to my passion for sports. Didn’t matter if I was just a pick-up game, or the last game of the Astonishingly Shiny cup of all cups tournament. I was immersed in a game and it meant something to me. It was a chance to chase the passion, to dream my future dream. Even if it was just for 4 minutes of entertainment.

 
Sadly, most of my editions no longer work from trying to download on multiple computers. Also, doesn’t help that even if you find a disk it’s either expensive, or you don’t have a disk drive on a laptop.
Yet the legacy lives on. It lives on in my heart and mind as I remember those hours spent drafting, practicing and playing around. Winning games by absurd margins using strategy that would never work in real life. It instilled in me that passion for sports that is just as present today as it was back in 1999. Here’s to a great game celebrating a fantastic run.

 

 

To Be or not to Be

S.Samek

No doubt there was a lot of buzz surrounding the NHL’s latest team when it was announced. Then with the expansion draft fans were eager to see who would make up the roster of this new entrant.
Now the Los Vegas Golden Knights have begun play for their first season. They continue to make headlines.
The Los Vegas Golden Knights name is under trademark dispute with Army and the College of St. Rose. The dispute was first filed in December, but nothing came of it. Now within the past couple of weeks, both institutions have filled opposition requests.

The names Vegas Golden Knights and Las Vegas Golden Knights being both called into question. The two schools now have three months to make a move.

 
Vegas has let two trademarks for other names expire. However, they did extend a domain name for sandknights.com.

 
Interesting that they may have to change their name to the Vegas Sand Knights. Why in the world would they do that though? It just sounds ridiculous.

 
Though there had to be a better name than the Knights for this team to begin with. Hoping they go back to the drawing board to pick something better. Better yet maybe just drop the suit and let the Golden Knights stay. Like if this was a problem why wasn’t this taken care of before the team name was announced.

 

Why would you do it after they begin play and have merchandise and the works in play. Hoping this gets fixed soon, hopefully just with a let it slide and move on.

NBA Playoffs may Change.

League mulling over change in seeding procedures.

S. Samek

After making changes to the draft and all-star game you think the NBA would be happy. This isn’t the case as it is debating the idea of changing the playoffs.
This change would seed the 16 playoff teams into one bracket, rather than two eight team conference brackets.

 

 

Though according to the article and commissioner Adam Silver it would depend on balancing out the schedule. The may reason this is tricky is to avoid more travel than is needed.

Step Curry likes the idea though of 1-16 straight seeding. Many of the NBA players also agree with the super star on this issue.

I think it could be a good idea as well. It would have the 16 best records in and all have a fair shot at the title. It wouldn’t have the bottom tier, or fringe type teams trying to get a playoff spot just to meet the quota for the conference.

 
Sure, you may have conference matchups in reach round, but you may also have cross- conference matchups. It may lead to an NBA final of all one conference, but if they are the best two teams shouldn’t they match up anyway.

 
Conference affiliation is nice for scheduling purposes. It is also nice to have that sense of pride that you represent you conference in the NBA title game after winning the conference championship. Though I would say that every player wants the NBA title over a conference one.

 
Overall, I think this would be a good switch for the NBA. You can have the 16 best teams play and get matchups you won’t normally see in the playoffs happen. With the all-star game also dropping conference ties why not have the playoffs drop them too.

 

 

 

 

 

NBA All Star Changes.

S.Samek

The NBA has been quite busy recently. After announcing changes with the draft, they are now tweaking the all-star game.

It will no longer be an East vs. West conference based show down. The top two players with the most votes will become captains and draft their team. Any player they want can be chosen from the pool of eligible all-stars without worrying about conference affiliation.

24 players are still selected, so no change there, nor is there a change in the starter selection. Fan vote, current players and media vote is still in play. Also remaining is the coaches picking the 14 reserves.

I’m in favor of this new format. It gives it very much a school-yard pickup game feel. That it’s about making the best team, not just conference stuff. It’s a really good idea, especially if it doesn’t have anything to do with picking home court advantage for the NBA Championship series. The conference thing isn’t really needed. It just serves as an easy way to divide teams for the game.
This makes it a lot more fun. You have endless combinations of players in starting and reserve roles. Ones that would be impossible to pay for under salary cap and see on a regular basis. You could have the dream starting five, if at least only for one night.
Though why stop there. Maybe have multiple five on five teams with a bunch of captains and tournament them. Give the fans lots of high level basketball to watch. The all-star game is a showcase game and a fun atmosphere. With all the before game contests why not make the game light and fun as well. Picking teams makes it more fun and light. This is a win for the NBA.

 

 

NLDS 2017 Preview

S.Samek

We have four teams left in the National League. Let’s take a closer look at each division series matchup.
First is LA and Arizona. This is an NL West division battle, set up by Arizona’s win over Colorado, also of the NL West.
LA is no stranger to the playoffs and winning. This year they would win the President’s trophy for best regular season mark with 104 wins. This was 11 better than the Diamondbacks total.

According to ESPN the Dodgers have the best fielding team left in the tournament and best roster. If you have a roster than boasts, Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Alex Wood, Cody Bellinger and more you deserve that mark.
Bellinger stands out because of his success against Zac Greinke. Bellinger hit .293 against him this year with a .655 slugging percentage.

Arizona should rely on Greinke and Robby Ray to win them games pitching. Paul Goldschmidt and J.D Martinez should care the Snakes offensively. The pair mashed 36 and 29 homers respectively during 2017.

Though Goldschmidt struggles against Kershaw to the tune of .227 career and 0-5 during 2017 against him.

The bullpen may be a bit shaky, especially with closer Fernando Rodney. Big reason why the snakes pen is ranked seventh of eight remaining teams in bullpen war.

Though recently the Diamondbacks have the Dodgers number, winning the last six in a row. It won’t be enough as La wins this series

Second offering is the defending world series champions Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals. This is a matchup of the two teams that emerged in rather weak divisions.
Chicago may still have a bit of a spark from winning it all last year. They also have Kris Bryant, Antony Rizzo and company hitting well for them. They also returned Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester to the staff that took it all last year. They will be a tough out in this round.

The Nationals were five games better than the Cubs, with 97 wins. They did this with a core of Bryce Harper. Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. With an improved bullpen from trades this team looks complete and ready to compete.

Harper should have an advantage over Arrieta, as he hit left handers .322/.433/.654 this season. It should be close, but Washington has just enough to sneak by.