What Eddie Heard

The NFL proved again this past weekend why they are the preeminent sports league in the United States. The draft in any sports league is usually a mundane weekend, but somehow the NFL has transformed it into a spectacle that has spawned an entire industry, which captivates fans from all teams.

Football’s television ratings dominate the marketplace and much of this success is reached through the marketing of the product.

The NFL has taken a route that not many other leagues have regarding the draft. Whereas baseball has shrouded its draft in secrecy, the NFL has publicized every aspect of the draft. From the postseason bowl games, to the scouting combine, to personal workouts to the day of the draft itself, the NFL hypes every aspect of the draft. Instead of allowing fans to forget during the offseason, the NFL stays in the back of the fans’ mind for the entire year. The NBA has tried to follow this same plan, with the lottery determining draft picks, but it has not been able to duplicate the NFL’s success.

The NFL is the best marketed league in the U.S. Their control of draft weekend may be the best example of their marketing strategy, which never allows the fans to forget about the product.

Ban Richard Williams?

I am getting sick and tired of Richard Williams. He has been a sideshow to the tremendous accomplishments of his daughters.

I am not particularly a fan of the Williams sisters’ play. They are tremendous players, but I just don’t like their style of overpowering opponents. I find it boring to watch someone win based only on a blistering serve. With that said, the play of the Williams sisters is overshadowed by their father, which is a shame.

The WTA has banned fathers from events in the past-usually for their maniacal control over their daughters’ play on the court-and I think that they should do the same with Richard Williams. He has done a good job raising his daughters, but the time has come for him to let go of their lives. Venus and Serena are both young women who can take control of their own lives. Their father takes away from their accomplishments and he makes a mockery of the tour with his crackpot ideas and constant control of their career decisions.

The WTA has become very popular, even more popular than the men’s tour, and it cannot afford to let parents such as Richard Williams taint the tour’s image. Controlling fathers have long been a problem in sports that are dominated by talented teenagers and it is time for the WTA to protect their image and take action when fathers become a nuisance off the court, not just on it.

Hey Detroit, get some class

In the opening game of the Pistons playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, the fans in Detroit booed the Canadian national anthem. In this day and age, when the NBA along with other sports leagues have become international games, and not just the product of the US, we need to respect other countries.

I doubt that there are any Canadians on the Raptors, but that is beside the point. If the fans in Toronto booed the Star Spangled Banner, there would be an uproar among sports fans and citizens of the U.S. We would call the Canadian fans uncivilized and disrespectful, and I think that we would have a point.

There is no excuse for booing “Oh, Canada”; instead of celebrating their team’s resurgence, Detroit fans have put a black eye on their city and their nation.

Problems with Ranger management

For a study in managerial ineptitude, a look at the Texas Rangers provides a perfect example. For some reason, the Rangers rely only on their potent offense and try to get around their anemic pitching staff. And, as a result, it looks like the Rangers are already out of it.

This offseason, the Rangers brought in more star power for their offense with the return of Juan Gonzalez and they attempted to do the same with their pitching staff, bringing in Chan Ho Park.

Unfortunately, Park has been a completely different pitcher on the road than at home over his career and, since he no longer plays at pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium, he should be expected to struggle. So far he has since he is currently on the disabled list. Combined with their lack of any bullpen presence, their pitching staff is not any better than last year, when they were horrible.

In addition to this, the Rangers have been plagued by injuries. Gonzalez has a bruised hand and is on the disabled list and Pudge Rodriguez joined Gonzalez and Park on the DL with a herniated disk in his back.

While some people might chalk up the Rangers’ troubles to bad luck, when you take risks on players with histories of health problems, you can’t expect all of them to be healthy for the full season.

The recent troubles of John Rocker are another example of the problems with Texas’ management. John Hart, the new general manager, cannot be blamed for all of the Rangers problems but he can be blamed for bringing Rocker in.

Rocker was something that a team could deal with when he was producing, but now that he is struggling, his psychotic demeanor is a detriment to the team. He has been sent down to Triple A and I expect that he will take some time to make it back to the majors.

Hart has always had a penchant for acquiring troubled but talented players, having some success with Albert Belle and Wil Cordero in Cleveland, but a reliance on headcases is a risky strategy that a bottom of the division team like the Rangers just cannot afford right now.

The Rangers are the latest example of how to run a franchise incorrectly. The success of teams like the Mariners and the Diamondbacks as of late has only reinforced the idea that pitching and defense wins championships. The Rangers strategy of offense and more offense will not win a championship.

Easy pickings for New York Knicks

I am curious to see how the Knicks do in the lottery. The last time that the Knicks really struggled as a franchise was in the mid-1980s and they “miraculously” received the first pick in the 1985 lottery and selected Patrick Ewing. Conspiracy theorists have had a field day with that result.

The NBA needs the city of New York to have a successful team in order to maximize their television contracts and the easiest way to make this happen, when the team is tied up with bad contracts, is through the lottery.

Conspiracies are always fun to deal with and, if the Knicks get the top pick one more time, it might just be too coincidental to ignore.