Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sports this 'n' that

The Albany Times-Union's high school sports columnist, James Allen, reports today that one of the premier high school sports leagues in New York's Section II is on the verge of dissolution.

The Big 10, not to be confused with the collegiate conference of the same name, has been in existence since the late 1970's, and competes in all sports except for football, where Section II went with a classification format a few years ago. Amsterdam High, once a power in the league, is changing affiliations to the Foothills Council beginning in the fall. The Foothills Council has suddenly become a major player of late, with Scotia winning State & Federation titles in boys' basketball three months ago, and Burnt Hills has become a major power in football the last few years. The Big 10 will not have a basketball schedule this season, allowing its member schools, such as perennial powers Christian Brothers Academy and Troy High, and resurgent Catholic Central, to pursue independent schedules for 2014-5. Seeing as how Albany Academy, formerly of the Colonial Council, and Green Tech, which has no league affiliation, have thrived under an independent scheduling structure, this makes sense, at least in the short term.

Closer to home, Troy will still play its annual rivalry home-&-home series with Catholic Central, CBA, & LaSalle, one would think (Allen confirmed Troy & CBA will meet at least twice in the coming season), but the door is now open to revive a long dormant pre-season tournament that would involve all 4 of Troy's high schools, adding Lansingburgh (Colonial Council) to the mix. The Uncle Sam basketball tournament was discontinued sometime in the 1980's, but I can't think of a reason why it can't be done now.

I used to watch hockey quite a bit when we first got cable TV back in the 70's, but got away from it. With time to kill before the Mets-Giants game on Saturday, I flipped on game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals between the Rangers and Los Angeles, and was appalled by a glaring gaffe in officiating.

In the 3rd period, LA's Dwight King scores a goal to bring the Kings within a goal at 4-3, with the Rangers leading. Problem was, the goal should never have counted. King instead should've been cited for goalie interference for impeding New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, just as New York was assessed a penalty earlier for interfering with LA goalie Jonathan Quick. Fair's fair, after all, but even though the replay showed a referee blowing his whistle, it was to confirm the goal, not to call a penalty. The play was right in front of him, for crying out loud. How could he have missed it?

The Kings now lead the series 3-0 with a 3-0 win last night. However, they got some home cooking that they didn't need, and that taints the first series between teams from LA & NY since the 1981 World Series (Dodgers beat the Yankees in 5). Oh, does it ever! LA is playing for its 2nd Stanley Cup in 3 years, the Rangers are in the finals for the first time since they won it all 20 years ago. It's a story that writes itself, but one bad apple has poisoned the whole bunch.

Although California Chrome failed in his bid to win the Triple Crown at Belmont, and owner Steve Coburn has apologized for 2 days of rants, he did have a point in calling for change to what is now an archaic, antiquidated system.

The Kentucky Derby, Preakness, & Belmont Stakes form the Triple Crown, and are contested over a 6-7 week period. It's been that way for years. However, changes in conditioning horses, as well as all athletes, have made completing the quest for the crown nigh impossible. The people in charge of the Preakness, contested at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, have been calling for their race to be moved to the first Saturday in June, with the Belmont moving to a July date. Some media types, though, don't see a reason to change the system, but if they want to see the 1st Triple Crown since Affirmed held off Alydar three times in 1978, well, change is necessary.

I say, this can work. Belmont can have their big race be the coda to their spring-summer meet. Considering how the Saratoga meet now starts in mid-July, why not let the Belmont take place on the last Saturday before shifting upstate? This way, if they go ahead and move the Preakness to June, you would have four weeks between the Derby and Preakness, and as much as 4-5 weeks between the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. NBC owns the rights to the races now, so they could be of the same mind, and leverage the move if necessary. I'd not be surprised if they did.

Finally, we're handing out a set of Weasel ears to Donald Sterling. Talk about backtracking. First, he decides to file suit against the NBA, feeling they had no real justification for banishing him for his racist comments, recorded without his consent though they were. Then, when his estranged wife brokers a deal with a former Microsoft executive, Steve Ballmer, Sterling withdraws. On Monday, however, the most out-of-touch executive in sports and/or entertainment, and that does include Vince McMahon, by the way, decided to backpedal and move forward with his idiotic lawsuit. Paul Simon said it best, in "Mrs. Robinson", and the following line applies to Sterling, the world's oldest Weasel:

"Any way you look at it, you lose".

Ain't that the truth.

No comments: