Five random thoughts from this very random sports blog that I will share weekly.
1)"PR over Performance"
From a very young age, Jordan Spieth was anointed as golf's "next one". Given the state of the PGA Tour, filled with parody, was this label a fair one? Not necessarily from my vantage point considering when you breakdown the game of Spieth, statistics will suggest that he doesn't excel in one particular category that knocks you out of your chair however it's the methodical, course management approach that has become his bread and butter but the reason this Texan came to the forefront was how he's been trending as of late, of note in 2017 and whether buying his own press is affecting his own brand. Case in point his 2017 season where granted he's picked up a W at the historic Pebble Beach but has missed the cut three times, most recently missing consecutive cuts. In his hay day Tiger Woods wouldn't miss three cuts in three years let alone in two months. What I've been noticing is that when you tune in to a Spieth press conference, the common denominator is he continuously harps on patience and course management which as mentioned has become his calling card but to transition back into the Dustin Johnson and Jason Day category, he has to start to stop concerning himself with perception from media and fans alike and begin concentrating on the facets that will carry the twenty three year old to the winners circle more frequently.
2)"Mem Cup Dub Flub"
The Seattle Thunderbirds bowed out last night at the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup by going winless at 0-3. The early prognosis on the aforementioned outcome after perusing message boards was one of disgust. Here's the truth of the matter, if league commissioner Ron Robison had even the faintest hope of success for Western Hockey League champion Seattle Thunderbirds and for any future league winner then its about time he have a spirited conversation with CHL head honcho David Branch about the trading practices in other leagues as with the way the Ontario and Quebec rosters construct the rosters comparatively to that of the WHL, it's next to impossible to compete in the modern day Memorial Cups. Take a look at the Erie Otters and host Windsor Spitfires specifically and how in the year 2017 they were expending draft picks in 2025! It's re-assuring noting that some kid playing novice hockey just beginning to skate is being affected by these transactions. Expendng future assets to ensure not parting with anything or anyone in the immediate vicinity has zero consequence on these organizations and needs to be kiboshed immediately. By doing so, it'll put this great championship back on a level playing field.
3) "Maria Maria"
Controversy ensued this week as organizers of tennis' Rogers Cup enabled Maria Sharapova with a wildcard main draw entry days after Roland Garros executives had just laid down the proverbial hammer by denying Maria an invitation to participate in the upcoming Grand Slam. The Roland Garros decision makers were lauded by fans and fellow players for determining that Sharapova should not be rewarded for her cheating behavior in which she tested positive for a banned substance that led to a year ban already so to throw this back on those who were adamantly opposed to Maria getting awarded main draw perks, has she not already served her time? In a long winded instagram post when the suspension was first announced,Maria illustrated repentance for her actions and admitted her mistake I can't help but feel she is unfairly being made the poster child and has become the victim of gender bias. Why is it that when greats such as Yankees pitcher Andy Pettite or Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun commit similar infractions are they not ostracized from the powers to be in the sport but when Maria had tested positive she was egergiously condemned. The very same critics in the media roasting her have to be held accountable when citing similar examples and need to self-assess how they treated past incident which I can assure you are nowhere near as severe as what I'll classify as "Sharapova-gate"
4) "What's fair is fair"
Let me qualify this below rant by stressing that you won't find a bigger fan of TSN's James Duthie than myself but his opposition to the shootout for this past Sunday's IIHF World Championship gold medal final is counter productive for his network desperately trying to increase it's rankings. Listen, Duthie is a hockey purist and understandably any hockey purist won't appreciate a hockey game decided by a glorified skills competition HOWEVER for a casual fan of hockey and sport, the finality of a shootout becomes extremely exciting and I guarantee there were a few nine year old kids, after Sweden had claimed the gold medal over Canada that scurried out to the streets to re-enact their favourite players move.I know my nine year old self would've done this.As someone pointed out on radio this week, the World Cup of Soccer has long been notorious for having the shootout decide instant classics and you won't find a more popular event globally then the World Cup. The message I'm attempting to get across is no, the shootout isn't "fair" but fair doesn't necessarily always breed ratings.Excitement does.
5) "Medicine Hat Pats"
Have the Medicine Hat Tigers and Regina Pats ever become recurrent trading partners! From the October 2013 acquistion that brought Regina overager Boston Leier to Medicine Hat shipping in stalwarts Dryden Hunt and Kyle Burroughs for their 2014-2015 playoff push, the two sides engaged in yet another deal this time with Matt Bradley coming over to Regina to aid their 2018 Memorial Cup hosting push. By doing so, the Pats had to unfortunately say goodbye to former first round pick goaltender Jordan Hollett. Nothing against the 2015 Montreal Canadien selection Bradley but my hope was and would've been that our most appealing trade chip in the eighteen year old Hollett would've netted more then a twenty year old in return. Pulling away from my thoughts on how this deal effects the on ice product, this deal was spearheaded primarily by Coach and GM's John Paddock's loyalty. The Leaderpost did a feature on the acquisition and in a quote from Paddock he indicated that in his exit meeting with Jordan he told the youngster that he would be playing next year and that he just couldn't guarantee that would be in Regina. Again, you can rightfully argue if enough was extracted for Jordan but with him being a good soldier, a two year backup, he did him right by ensuring he'll go somewhere where he'll see the crease. This type of operation bodes well for the future as any parents who may have reservations with sending their kid to the Western Hockey League will now have seen that this ownership group looks after their players and optimizes their potential by ensuring they're in the proper environment.