Blast of the Week - What sports do you follow?

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Blast of the Week - What sports/sporting events do you follow, are you excited about?

Mike Maillaro: When Mike Weaver suggested this topic, it didn’t occur to me how much was going on in sports this weekend.  I get to work this morning, and there is a big headline in my local paper “THE BIGGEST WEEKEND IN SPORTS!”

  • Kentucky Derby

  • Baseball

  • Stanley Cup Playoffs

  • NFL Draft

  • NBA Playoffs

  • Pacquiao vs Mayweather

  • Nascar

  • World Golf

  • Soccer

I will say upfront that I am not as into sports as I used to be.  When I was a kid, I would watch ESPN all day.  Didn’t matter what the sport, I enjoyed watching...bowling, billiards, hockey, baseball, auto racing and especially football. I basically didn’t watch a single NFL game last year other than the Super Bowl though I still did Fantasy Football.  That is very unusual for me.  

I still do read Sports Illustrated from cover to cover every week (skipping only college sports and golf articles), because I love stories about athletes, but I just haven’t been all that interested in watching games.   

I am cheering for the Rangers in the NHL Playoffs.  I have been a life long Ranger fan.  They are pretty much the only other team I can say that about is the Yankees.  I changed my football allegiance from the Giants to the Jets when Pennington started playing for them.  And I don’t really have a consistent favorite basketball team.  At various times, I have cheered for the Lakers, Knicks, and Nets.

Chris Delloiacono: My love of watching sports has slowly died over the past decade.  I still watch baseball, the Mets, and hockey, Let's Go Rangers, but pro wrestling is the only other athletic pursuit I regularly watch.  

I used to rant and rave and break things over a game, but now with some maturity those things are behind me.  Having watched usually rational people injure or kill others over what team they cheer for, well, it makes you take a step back.

Plus, the gobs of money the athletes make is positively sickening.  The use of drugs to enhance performance just to score a big contract is another reason professional sports become less and less a part of my life.

In the end, I'd just rather do other things with my time than spend several hours each night watching adults play a kids game.

Nicole Crites: I have no interest in sports.  However I follow eSports, so I just wanted to give a shout out to this somewhat new platform of super stoked fans. .

Mike Maillaro: I have had several conversations with a friend of mine that is really into eSports.   I have never really been able to articulate it, but a big part of me just cannot consider playing video games or CCG’s to ever be a sport.  Frankly, I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense considering many of the things I’ve watched and played (like Bowling). But it is definitely a position I’ve stood by.   

I will also admit that it bores me to watch someone else play video games, unless I know I am getting the controller in a few minutes.  Video games just isn’t a spectator sport for me.

Nicole Crites: Computer and video games are a huge spectator sport .  I ‘m not sure if its lucrative, though, and thinking more about articles that I’ve read, I think they might actually lose money from some of the events.  I actually attend the League of Legends  LCS Championship every year in Seattle,WA.  The winning team wins about $1M to split between the 5 players.  The atmosphere is actually more like a concert than anything: dramatic lighting, concert-like setup with the players on a main stage , and  the crowd is rewarded with “swag” thrown out between the matches.  Last year, I waited in line to get into the arena, and I stayed for 5.5 hours to watch all of the matches and meet the players afterwards. And sorry I don’t have any comments on any “real” sports.  I will leave that up to others!

S.J. Mitchell: I can’t agree on video games being a spectator sport. I get itchy when watching friends play, “When is it MY turn!”. At least with a REAL sport I know it’ll never be my turn because I’m not a professional player. Video Games are something anyone with two thumbs and eyes can play lol.

Chris Delloiacono: I barely play video games anymore, so I can't possibly imagine watching others do it.  Not to say anything derogatory.  I'm big on the "to each their own" mantra.  eSports and Fantasy just aren't for me.

Mike Maillaro: Like I said, I have a friend who’s really into eSports, so I know that it does have a pretty big following.  It’s just not for me.

Speaking of “geeky sports,” I was bewildered by Yahoo sending me an email letting me know that Fantasy Football was open for business...in May…  I know the actual NFL draft is this weekend, but if I created my team now, I would literally forget all about them by August.  This is getting a bit out of control…

S.J. Mitchell: Not living near a major city, my sporting interests are a mixed breed. My first love is Baseball, given that my father raised me on it. It’s the one thing we did together. I’m a die-hard Yankees fan and follow the team all year long. I think they have a good enough team to win the weak AL East, but I don’t expect much success in the playoffs.

Football is my next love and I didn’t discover it until I was in 8th grade and some kids were talking about it. They asked who my team was and I couldn’t answer. So I started watching games on TV and Randall Cunningham was playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. Reggie White was holding down the defense and I just fell in love with them. Living near Syracuse, NY when the Eagles drafted Donovan McNabb it was a dream come true! I watched him in college and now he was the QB of my favorite team! I’m locked into the draft for the first 2 rounds and after that I usually wait until it’s over and start reading up on guys. I’m a casual college football fan so I don’t know most of the names after day 2.

Boxing is dead in my opinion. The ONLY reason Pacquiao vs Mayweather is getting any play is because of how long it took for them to finally agree to fighting. MMA is what I tune in for. Rich Franklin is my all-time favorite mixed martial artist. Dude was a beast in the Octagon!

NBA is garbage, NHL doesn’t matter until the playoffs, I’ll watch Lacrosse over Soccer and NASCAR is only fun if I can root for Lightning McQueen.

Chris Delloiacono: Agreed on both the NHL and NBA!  I used to watch every Rangers game from the preseason on, but now I don't even watch every playoff game.  I try to tune in, but it's no longer a must.

Forget about the NBA.  Only a couple of teams have a chance of winning the championship.  You notice there's never a bracket for the NBA. It's all about the top couple of players in the sport and the rest of the teams have no shot.

The biggest indictment, only 9 different teams have won the NBA Championship since 1980.  35 years and 9 different champions.  Yeah, they can keep their "sport".  It's basically a game that any 2-year-old can predict the champions in.

Boxing is absolutely dead.  You are so right.  I saw the tail end of the Ali era, watched Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes, etc, and this nonsense today is meaningless in comparison.  It's so corrupt and dirty that pro wrestling looks like a beacon of righteousness by comparison.  I would never pay $100 to see Mayweather.  I do like Pacquiao, and I hope he knocks Floyd out to avenge all the women he's put his hands on.

Mike Weaver: I’m that awesome guy who suggests a topic then never weighs in.  Alright, a bunch to wrap up here.

First of all, eSports.  I’m of a really mixed opinion on this.  I understand it being a fun spectator activity, and I can totally get behind that, but is it a sport?  I’m not so sure.  In high school, I was a competitive chess player (well...competitive may be the wrong word), and slightly later in life, I was a upper tier Magic the Gathering player in the local tournaments, which usually drew 100 or so people.  And people watched both of these things, and I understood that, but I’d never consider it a sport.  Yet, I don’t have a better broad category for spectator activities, so I won’t argue against calling eSports sports, but they aren’t sports as I view sports.

I’m a big fan of baseball, ever since my dad took me to Pirates games as a kid.  Nowadays, I live near Detroit, and I believe in being a fan of your local teams, so I’m all about the Tigers.  I grew up in Buffalo, which is a no man’s land for baseball, but I’m still a strong supporter of both Buffalo major sports teams, neither of which is relevant here at the end of April.  The Sabres had the worst record in the NHL, and the Bills sacrificed their first round pick to get Sammy Watkins last year, so they weren’t in the sexy parts of the draft.  I did follow the Red Wings in the playoffs, but they’re gone now too.  The Lions took a pretty interesting guy in the first round, a man with the odd dichotomy of being a football player who is also studying neurosurgery.  I would imagine he will in the coming years have some things to say about concussions in sports, and would be uniquely qualified to make those statements.  And he’s a good offensive lineman, and every team needs those, Lions included.

Oddly enough, basketball is my favorite sport to play, but I can’t stand pro basketball at all.  Never have been into it, even during the glory days of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.  It’s mostly about how much the star players get away with.  Yeah, in every sport star players get a bit of a benefit of the doubt.  But in the NBA, it’s pretty blatant.  Boxing is pretty much the same thing for different reasons: I’m not interested in it because it’s still so incredibly corrupt, and so the athletes really don’t have much chance to excel on their own merit.

Tricia Delloiacono: As I sit here watching the Rangers game on a Saturday afternoon and with the Derby website open in my web browser, I can say I enjoy my fair share of sports. I would never go out of my way to watch anything, but if I’m home and have nothing else to do, sure. I agree with Chris, it’s hard to enjoy all this when you realize how much money is being thrown at these people… that is actually one of the main reasons I stopped watching baseball. I was a die hard Yankees fan, having grown up with my mother and uncle being one. We watched games all the time, went to quite a few as well, and, if the Yanks won the Pennant, my mom and I would get up nice and early, take the train into the city to see the ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes. Overall, it was fun! I had strong role models to look up to as far as athletes go. Bernie Williams was just the epitome of class!

Then it feels like it started to change, or maybe I was a sheltered fan who never realized it. It was all about who scored the biggest contracts! All about how much money was being made on merchandising! And I was growing up as well. I was paying bills, running a household, going to work everyday, and it was harder to view these athletes in a positive light knowing they were rolling in cash. Jealousy? Sure! But did they really deserve to make 100x more money than me?? They were playing a game everyday and, generally, overall being awful role models by doing drugs and committing crimes left and right (again, that is just a generalization, obviously not every athlete was). I was dragging my butt to school everyday, trying to help children become productive members of society and getting no respect for it. Frankly, it was becoming an irritance. So I gave up baseball. It was causing too much of a discord in my conscience.

Wait… was the original question?  Oh, yea, sports. Sure, they are fun! :) Let’s go, Blueshirts!

Mike Weaver: Athletes making ridiculous amounts of money has been around forever.  100 years ago, the Philadelphia Athletics were touting the awesomeness of their $100,000 infield.  The Yankees have held the “best team money can buy” moniker since at least the 1950’s.  Just as a couple examples.

I had an econ professor who used to say that the players are actually underpaid, compared to the amount that the owners generally make.  I wouldn’t go that far.  But the amount of money a sports figure or entertainer of another variety makes is something I’ve come to terms with, because a vast majority of them end their career with essentially nothing. They’re just short term borrowing a fancy lifestyle, using their bodies as collateral.  Yeah, the ten or twenty years they spend living it up seems awesome until you see what happens to them in the ten or twenty years after that.  I’ll take my significantly lower paying life, thanks.

Mike Maillaro:  Great comments everyone.  When reading Chris’s comments, I realized that I didn’t mention my favorite “sport,” which of course is professional wrestling.  But I did kind of think that went without saying since we do a weekly column about it.  Every Wednesday! Cheap plug!