Monday, January 30, 2017

Sports this 'n' that

Fresh off blowing out Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake on Friday night, Troy High's women's basketball team went downstate for a twilight game against Long Island Lutheran on Saturday. The fact that the score hasn't been reported to local papers suggests that Troy is looking to avoid some major embarrassment, as it turns out they were blown out, 61-29, not quite the dramatic game it was last year.

The loss drops Troy to 7-8 overall on the season with 4 Suburban Council games left in the regular season, and the Murderer's Row portion of the schedule continues tomorrow, as Shaker awaits, seeking payback for a loss last month at Zotto Gym. However, if the Lady Horses can find their game again, a win over Shaker, coupled with an expected Shenendehowa win over Albany, would alter the divisional landscape. Shen is a game behind Shaker in the Blue Division. Troy trails Albany by four games, as the Falcons have clinched a tie for the division title. Albany & Troy will swap opponents on Friday, as Shen visits Troy, and Albany meets Shaker.
No amount of network-induced tweaking will make the NHL All-Star Game more attractive to casual fans. A series of 3-on-3 games? Seriously?  The NFL learned a hard lesson when they messed with the AFC vs. NFC format of the Pro Bowl, and went back to the traditional arrangement last night, with the AFC winning, 20-13.

What the league and their television partner, NBC-Universal-Comcast, need to understand is that hockey is much more popular in Canada than it is here, at least at the pro level. By that same token, a lot of American sports junkies won't hunker down in front of the set, remote in hand, for soccer on NBC. To the rest of the world, soccer is known as football, for obvious reasons. We call it soccer to differentiate from the football we know and love.
The Australian Open, the first of tennis' Grand Slam events on the calendar, wrapped over the weekend as if the field took a time warp. Serena Williams bested sister Venus in the women's final, while Sweden's Roger Federer finally won a Grand Slam final over Rafael Nadal away from Wimbledon on the men's side of the draw.

The odd part of this Grand Slam configuration is that the other three events (French Open, Wimbledon, US Open) are contested over a three month period (June-September). Since ESPN has television rights to all four events now, I'd not be surprised if they suggested to the Aussies to move their event a little closer to the US Open. Network suits are crazy that way, you know.
Speaking of the same old, same old, that brings us to the WWE's Royal Rumble. The 30th annual renewal took place Sunday in San Antonio, and once again, there was a repeat winner. Randy Orton, who last won the Rumble in 2009, outlasted the field. Meanwhile, long time frenemy John Cena captured his 16th WWE or World title, dethroning A. J. Styles.

All this says to me is that the head nutcase, Vince McMahon, thinks going back to old hands like Cena & Orton will juice the ratings for Smackdown Live! on Tuesday nights leading up to Wrestlemania in April. Ratings fluctuate for a reason. Folks get tired of the same old, tired routine, and want changes, but McMahon refuses to cave in unless it suits him in some bizarre way. Conversely, Monday Night Raw's top champion, Kevin Owens, needed illegal help from Braun Strowman, taking advantage of the No-DQ stip added to his Universal title defense vs. Roman Reigns, to retain the title. This is the sort of thing that WWE should not be doing with Owens, who needs a signature win without outside help of any kind to gain some much needed credibility. He isn't getting it largely because of where he was before he came to WWE (Ring of Honor, where he was their World champ from 2012-13), and Dr. McNutty will hold that against guys like Owens just because he can.

As long as he's signing executive orders to fulfull campaign promises to his dittoheads, maybe someone should slip President Trump a piece of paper to sign, then have that paper be used on Raw to send Vince off to Bellevue...............

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