Friday, April 02, 2010

Barnstormers, Twins, and it's all about the benjamins.

It's Shawn.

Everything about the Barnstormers return to the AFL was electric... except the team's play on the field.  Actually, Iowa didn't play that bad.  But falling behind 17-0 in the AFL is akin to falling behind 35-0 in the NFL, and the Barnstormers don't have Frank Reich on their roster.

Speaking of the Barnstormers roster, it might benefit from a few free agent signings.  I blogged earlier in the week that the lack of AFL-caliber talent concerns me, and Friday's game did nothing to change my mind.  To be fair, Chicago is expected to be one of the top teams in the league.  But I don't think the Iowa will make the playoffs with the roster it has right now.

The Twins opened up Target Field with an exhibition loss to the Cardinals on Friday.  I only caught a couple innings of the game, so don't ask me for a rundown of Target Field's sweet amenities.  But anything is better than baseball in the Metrodome.

With a new stadium in tow, I'm a little confused why Major League Baseball would schedule the Twins to play their first seven games of the season on the road.  Wouldn't it be better for the Twins to show off their new digs on opening day?  Then again, MLB might have been playing the percentages.  Target Field does not have a retractable roof.  On average, I'm guessing the second week of April in Minneapolis is warmer than the first.

I have yet to hear anyone (friends, collegues, or members of the media) applaud the idea of expanding the NCAA tournament to 96 teams.  The only people that seem to be in favor of expansion are the NCAA talking heads.  It's obvious the proposed expansion is all about money which, on the surface, seems selfish.  But consider this... According to a recent USA Today article, only 14 Division I schools (including Iowa) had self-sufficient athletic departements last year.... meaning more than 300 Division I schools rely, in part, on tax dollars and student fees.  As more and more pressure is put on institutions to stop using tax dollars to support college athletics, maybe generating more television revenue for more schools isn't a bad idea. 

I just wish the NCAA would call a spade a spade.  Don't patronize us by selling the 96 team tournament as a way to enrich the athletic experience for more student-athletes.  Just come out and say the bigger tournament is all about money.   Remember, this is the same institution with the same conference commissioners that continue to shoot down an eight team playoff for college football because it would have a negative affect on football players classroom attendance.  But in college basketball, it's okay for student-athletes to (hypothetically, worst-case scenario) miss three straight weeks of class?  BS.  A 96 team field in college basketball and the current college football bowl system are the best way to maximize ticket sales and television revenue.  And as I indicated above, that's not my biggest issue.  My biggest problem is with the NCAA's sales pitch.  We're not fools.

I feel much better.


1 comment:

Tim + Janice said...

hahahaha...great comment on Lickliter and it!