Sports Commentary 8/1/13
Various Scott Gray musings in the sports world
THE FUTURES MARKET IN SPORTS
The NFL has given us a glimpse of the future for the Pro Bowl. Because most of us don’t like it’s current format, we’re at least willing to give the new one a look. Coincidentally the next few days may also give us a glimpse into the future for a couple of other sports. How good that future looks is a matter of opinion. Among the things to like about the Pro Bowl, which commissioner Roger Goodell considered scrapping all together due to a lack of interest, is the new format which does away with NFC vs. AFC, instead having fans vote on a pool of players from both conferences from which captains will draft their teams. Possession will change hands at the end of every quarter, likely leading to two minute offenses at the end of each period, generating more excitement, as will allowing more variation on defense. It should at least temporarily rekindle interest in the game. At least one involved party isn’t as enthusiastic about the future of Major League Baseball, seeing a dismaying similarity to the past. I wasn’t alone in observing how much of a reward a long, possibly even lifetime, suspension to Alex Rodriquez will be to the Yankees, dropping their 2014 payroll below the luxury tax level, returning millions of dollars to their free agent coffers, added to the millions they’ll reap by not having to pay A-Rod’s salary. Orioles manager Buck Showalter isn’t happy about the expected results, a return of the cash heavy Yanks to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when they snatched up the cream of every free agent crop, Showalter telling USA Today he sees the amount of money freed up for the Yankees by the A-Rod ruling alone creating a competitive imbalance and, “If Bud (Selig) lets them get away with that, if they can reset, they can spend again, and I guarantee you in two years Matt Weiters is in New York”, a reference to his own all star catcher, who will be eligible for free agency in two years. Yankee haters who have been revelling in the A-Rod saga may want to rethink their glee. It may be the one thing that can return the Yankees to the years of dominance that made you hate them so much. If the future of golf is going to look anything like it’s past the next ten days are going to be very telling. We should find out this weekend just how close Tiger Woods is to ending his five year plus drought in the majors when he tees up in the World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. The drought in the majors isn’t the only one Tiger is suffering through. He once dominated the World Golf Championship format, winning more than four out of every ten events he played in, with a total of 18 World Golf championship wins in 41 starts. But, as it has gone with the majors, it’s been a long time since Tiger has been dominant in these events, with just one win in his last 11 starts. Over the last 32 major championships and World Golf Championship events combined Tiger has one win. The Bridgestone Invitational is the tune up to next week’s PGA Championship giving Tiger back to back chances to break both droughts. Another sub par showing this week may be an indication that he’s still not ready for a return to the winners circle at a major, which would extend that winless streak to six years and, in all probability, end any hope he has of catching Jack Nicklaus’ all time major record. We may be about to find out if Tiger has any chance of again being the dominant figure in golf that he once was. If we haven’t seen the future yet, we may be about to. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.