Don’t You Know What Road Rage Is?

So I had this idea nearly six years ago, and in light of the recent brawl between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano, this idea of mine is still a damn good one.

Funny how Kyle Busch is almost always one of the participants in these altercations, isn’t it? You’d think by now he would have gotten counseling for his road rage, right?

Anyway, enjoy the old video. 

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The Games Played With Games

As a sports fan almost all my life, I do find it meddlesome at times when the rules of sports get tweaked. 

Recently, MLB changed the rules concerning intentional walks. The runner is now just awarded first base with no pitches thrown. I’ve seen wild pitches thrown during intentional walks. Now that can’t happen. 

Ditto the NFL a couple of years ago making the extra point after a touchdown. Takes out the possibility of a team faking a kicked extra point and going for two points with a run or pass out of a kicked formation. 

NASCAR keeps changing their standings points system. This year, they are dividing races into segments and awarding points to who leads 30 percent and 60 percent through the races.

To me, this is a bit strange. Do they remember who had the lead a quarter of the way thru the Kentucky Derby, or the Boston marathon?  Probably not. 

A Pauper Among Draft Kings

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Sometimes in life you tend to drift back into old habits, and after playing a bit of Daily Fantasy Sports last fall and swearing off of it, I’ve fallen off the wagon to play some DraftKings. Mainly I play baseball, but I play a little PGA and NASCAR on the side.

One thing I have observed: picking winners in baseball is a LOT tougher than the NFL, NASCAR, and other sports. That’s because there’s a high degree of variance in baseball. Today’s hitter who hits three home tuns is tomorrow’s hitter who goes 0 for 4.

I don’t play with money I can’t afford to lose, and my daily bankroll limit of 25% of my total bankroll keeps me in action every day. For me right now, it’s about learning a lot more than making some spare change.

I was concerned last year about the DFS sites (FanDuel is another one of note) getting shut down. But I think if it was going to happen here in Florida, it would have by now. The leagues and teams do a lot of hand-in-hand advertising with these teams, and even I couldn’t help but notice all the DraftKings logos and colors my two trips to Tropicana Field this season.

It’s good mental exercise, and I treat it like that. It’s not an obsession of mine.

Memories Of The Intimidator

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Later today, the Daytona 500 champion will be crowned for 2016, as NASCAR starts its season with its biggest event.

A decade and a half ago, I was watching the same race which Michael Waltrip won, with older brother (and at the time more well known) Darrell putting away any partiality to cheer him to victory at the FOX broadcast booth. There had been a bad wreck behind “Mikey” and second place finisher Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the last turn of the last lap, but the television coverage captured Michael’s win and celebration for several minutes afterward, as would normally be the case.

Sometime after the celebration, I had turned on the XFL game (remember them?) on TV and watched that, thinking the last lap wreck could not have been too bad. Right around 6:30 I was watching NBC for NBA coverage, and I caught Ahmad Rashad giving condolences to the Earnhardt family.

Wait, what?

Flipping around, I caught the word that Dale Earnhardt Sr. had died in that final lap wreck, and I felt terrible. While auto racing is a dangerous sport that has claimed the lives of quite a few drivers (especially in Formula One back in the 60’s through the 80’s, and infrequently in rather gory fashion), it always saddens me when a sport claims someone’s life. Sports are supposed to be fun, not a life or death adventure, though I understand that many race for the “rush” of it all.

News of the senior Earnhardt’s death hit the racing world hard, much like the reaction to Princess Diana’s death in Paris had hit the world three and a half years earlier. They had the services for him at Charlotte’s Calvary Church, which I’d pass every night as I went to the local Walmart on my way to work in 1999 and 2000.

Since then, NASCAR hasn’t lost a single driver to race related injuries, as they’ve made drivers and the courses safe. Racing being what racing is, I don’t doubt there will be another day where a driver is lost (as has happened in other mediums of the sport the past 15 years, most notably to Dan Wheldon a few years ago in Las Vegas), but I’m certainly not looking forward to it.

NASCAR And Their Playing Field

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Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch leads the field during the NASCAR Quicken Loans 400 auto race at Michigan International Speedway, Sunday, June 16, 2013 in Brooklyn, Mich. (AP Photo/Bob Brodbeck)

With NASCAR’s season beginning in earnest tomorrow night with the “Duel” races that will set most of the qualifying field for Sunday’s Daytona 500, I’ve been reading up on the various rule changes. This is more or less a habit of mine whenever a new sporting season starts, because when one season is going on, another one isn’t, and there’s usually personnel shifting and rule changes that can easily go missed.

Much to my surprise, I discovered that the number of cars in any NASCAR race was reduced in the off-season 43 to 40, and that owned teams (now part of a “charter”) that automatically get into a Sprint Cup race went up from 35 to 36.

This left me more or less conflicted. I can understand why NASCAR management would want the “ace drivers” and cars competing in every race in every city. Then again, I always like a good “underdog” story of a driver on the rebound, trying to get back in the “big game” of the NASCAR Sprint Cup level. I think that’s a selling point in any major sport, professional or collegiately, building up competition by giving lesser known teams and players the chance to compete at the highest levels.

At the same time, please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. There’s a lot of positives in what NASCAR has done in the past 15 years. The FOX television deal was a big shot in the arm towards their national expansion, and they’ve made great strides in safety since the tragic death of the senior Dale Earnhardt. I just think it would be fairer to guarantee spots to, say, the best 20 owned teams as opposed to giving 90% of the field guaranteed spots.

But that’s just me, and perhaps NASCAR eventually gets there.

The Night Time Is The Right Time

Like many sports fans across the country, I stayed up last night to watch the end of the Daytona 500 which due to rain got pushed back to Sunday evening.

As many of you know by now, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the race, repeating his win of 10 years ago back in 2004. Dale’s got a lot of fans across the country, and I’m sure they had a few brewskis into the night last night.

But if I were working in NASCAR, I would be pushing to start these races not in the afternoon, but at around 6 PM or so at night, just as the sun is setting, just as the night is starting. As many of you sports fans know 6 PM is usually when they start the Super Bowl or thereabouts, so of NASCAR wants to treat the Daytona 500 like the Super Bowl why not start the event like the Super Bowl does?

If NASCAR did that, I’m sure they would get very good ratings from their television audience, and the event would be right up there with the Super Bowl, the Oscars, as the American Idol finals as the most watch television events of the year, whether it be sports or entertainment related.

Just trying to help one of my favorite sports out.

A Night Good For Any Sports Fan

If you are a sports fan of any kind in North America, this Saturday evening of May 12, 2012 probably has at least one thing to interest you.

A NASCAR race at the legendary track in Darlington, South Carolina.

A Game 7 in the NHL, a Game 7 in the NBA later tonight in Los Angeles.

(Let me get on record and say that if the game is close, the LA Lakers will win, the NBA officiating crew will see to that.)

Numerous MLB games including the hometown Rays up in Baltimore to play the Orioles.

One of those nights where anything and everything is going on, and almost impossible to watch everything at once.

Enjoy it.