Monday, July 17, 2006

Randomization: 07/17/06

Commissioner for a Day. Thanks to all who took part. I got a lot more feedback to this than I expected, and most of it was pretty good (even the critical stuff). I thought I'd take some time to share some responses, both from those who posted comments here, and from those who e-mailed me.

From the Major League Baseball piece comes this comment from reader Nicole:

I disagree with your thoughts on Miller Park being closed too often. I've been to probably 10 games already this season and I feel like they've done a good job deciding what to do with the roof.
The thing I'm sure you have a problem with is that whether the roof is open closed is based on what's best for the fans.
While I can agree to a point with the thought that this is a professional sports game and thus the state of the roof should be whatever is best for the game, but that's just not practical. The fans are paying for this, in more ways than one. Besides the price of the ticket, us Milwaukee county citizens have been paying extra taxes to pay for the stadium for years now. The roof takes a while to close and I guarantee you that if it were to rain and they hadn't been ready and it started to rain inside, a ton of fans would go nuts and complain. The Brewers would never hear the end of "not being prepared".
...Ultimately, I think that while it is definitely an outdoor game, you have to account for the fact that this is Wisconsin. And I'd rather give up the perfect aura of outdoor baseball so that we don't have to see games in snow. Or wearing winter coats, gloves and scarves. In April.
I'll start with the "based on what's best for the fans" issue. First off, why would I want to screw over Brewer fans when I'm a Brewer fan? Secondly, if that were the case, and the Brewers were only looking out for the fans, there wouldn't be complaints lodged on talk radio and Brewer-related message boards every time the roof is closed on a May night where it's clear and in the 50s and 60s outside.

Not only that, but I've heard complaints from friends of mine who are Cub or Twin fans and have visited Miller Park.

To me, if there is no rain the forecast, and the temperature is not forecast to drop below 55 or so, there is no excuse for the roof being closed. If you can't stay comfortable in that weather, then it's your problem, and the rest of the fans shouldn't have to suffer through indoor baseball in good weather because someone didn't bring a jacket. Would that same Brewer "fan", if attending Summerfest, not bring a jacket to a concert in similar weather?

I'm not asking for the roof to be open when it's foggy, or when it's 40, or when it's snowing.

We've had a good back-and-forth going in comments portion of the college football post. Reader "father figure" chimed in on the playoff issue, even though I really didn't bring it up (at least not directly):

As for a playoff, we already have one; its called the regular season. Seriously, the "classtime" argument against a college football playoff is weak. I'll gladly concede the fact that one or two additional games would not have a deleterious effect on most athletes' academics. The real reason we don't have a playoff is that playoffs are inherently inferior system systems are inferior to the currently existing bowl system. Playoffs reward excellenvce during one portion of the season, instead of season-long excellence. Playoffs would hurt the fierce rivalries that college football thrives on. National playoffs would be difficult to implement in a regional sport. I'm sure you have heard all of these arguments before. However, classtime should have no bearing on that argument. You are correct to point out the hypocrisy athletic directors display regarding classtime.
Wait a second.

First off, I apologize in advance, because I said I wouldn't make the playoff issue into an issue, because it's been pounded into the ground already.

But I have to argue the ridiculous "playoffs would hurt rivalries" argument. I despise that argument almost as much as the "academics" argument, which is also stupid, as is pointed out here.

Seriously, are you trying to say that no one should have playoffs? Are you trying to tell me that EVERY OTHER SPORT does it wrong, including every other NCAA-sanctioned level of college football?

Sounds like a really shaky argument to me.

I'll break the rest of this down.

The real reason we don't have a playoff is that playoffs are inherently inferior system systems are inferior to the currently existing bowl system.

Um. The bowl system worked last season, and it delivered us a great national title game. No one can deny that. But no one likes the bowl system in years where we have an odd number of unbeaten teams in "power conferences", which has already happened twice since the start of the BCS system. When we have an odd number of unbeaten "major-conference" teams, someone will be left out, and there is no way for a computer to be able to make the determination of who should be left out and who shouldn't be.

The answer to this can't be a "plus one" system, because then you're potentially setting it up where an unbeaten team has to beat someone twice to win the national title (and, according to you, the regular season win should be enough).

Example: USC finishes 12-0; UCLA, Auburn, and Michigan all finish 11-1, with UCLA's only loss coming to USC. In a "plus-one", you put USC against one of the other three, say Auburn, and have the other two face off. Then the winners face off in a "final game" for the national title. And if USC beats their opponent, they could end up facing UCLA for all the marbles.

How fair would that be?

And how fair would it be to deny UCLA a shot at the title, only because they have to play USC? After all, Auburn and Michigan could have lost to teams that UCLA beat for all you know, or they could have lost to UCLA in non-conference play.

"National playoffs would be difficult to implement in a regional sport."
You mean like college hockey, which has a playoff? Or college baseball, which has a playoff? Or college softball, which has a playoff?

And how is college football a "regional sport"? Is this a strike from some SEC elitist?

I'll give you credit. Every argument you present is much more valid than the lame "academic" argument that I've called out numerous times in the past. But, to me, they still don't work.

The only reason the college presidents won't go to a playoff system is because they are afraid that the payday won't be as big for them as it is in the bowls. Of course, this is a blasphemous argument, because there will be infinitely more television money available for a national college football tournament, especially in the first contract.

Clayton: "The Packers were terrible last year, and they didn't get better." ESPN's John Clayton, normally immune from Salisbury-esque hyperbole such as this, apparently has bought into the hype. Appearing on ESPN Radio early Monday morning, Clayton proclaimed that the NFC North will be the worst division in football "again" this season, and he said the Bears will win the division "going away".

Apparently, Clayton hasn't paid much attention to the events of the last few months.

Yes, the NFC Owens division is the best in the conference. The worst team in the division (Philly) has the best quarterback. That should tell you something.

But I found the "worst division in the league again" comment hilarious. The insanely overhyped AFC East was a worse division than the NFC North last year. The four NFC North teams combined for 29 wins, one more than the AFC East (and NFC West, for that matter). Not only that, but unlike teams such as St. Louis, San Francisco, Buffalo, and the Jets, the three non-playoff teams in the NFC North are probably going to be noticeably better this year. Minnesota added an elite offensive lineman and brought in a new coaching staff. Green Bay added strong run-stopping defenders Ryan Pickett and Marquand Manuel, while also using the draft to add strong upgrades on the offensive line and at linebacker, where A.J. Hawk and Abdul Hodge will both be starters by November, if not sooner. And Detroit brought in a coach who won't put up with the soft attitudes that poisoned the team the last two years, along with an offensive coordinator (Mike Martz) who will make good use of the great young talent the Lions have at running back (Kevin Jones) and at receiver (Roy Williams).

Yes, the Packers were subpar a year ago. But they had the top-ranked pass defense in the league, despite playing in an insane number of close games (two of their four wins came by a combined nine points, while eight of their 12 losses came by a combined 31 points). And there's no way they are so poor in turnover margin or close games again this year. Not only that, but it would be a cruel twist of fate if the 2006 Packers had to deal with as many injuries as the 2005 Packers did.

Just wanted to mention that one. Even "The Professor" can't be spot-on all the time, though I'd still take him over Salisbury, Schlereth, and Hoge (aka The Three Stooges of the NFL) any day.


Nicole said...

While I see where you're coming from with your rebuttal, I'd have to say that using fan comments on radio call-ins and message boards as your proof that Milwaukee fans don't like it, I think you've got a problem. As I'm sure you're well aware, we're not happy if we're not complaining. They'd complain if it's open, they'd complain if it's closed.

What I think would be interesting is if we could find out who and how they decide to keep it open or closed. I mean, it's natural state is open. It's open the entire time they're out of town, rain or shine, for the grasses sake.

I bet Bud had something to do with this and there's some sort of ridiculous calculation, 4 weathermen, 6 interns and the groundskeeper involved in making the decision.

Maybe I'll call the front office and try to figure it out.

Bruce Ciskie said...

What I can tell you is that the rules regarding the roof's status during games were set in stone by the stadium authority and the Brewers.

They were supposed to be in place for the "comfort of the fans". While I generally don't care about these types of things, I don't feel that having the roof closed on a clear and mild night in May is a good decision. That happened at least twice, by my count, during May of this year. And it's happened (roof being closed on a nice night) at least three times since that I know of.

You'd have to call the Brewers or check their media guide for the exact rules. I'm too lazy to do that, frankly!