Sunday, September 11, 2016

No Longer A Sport

I've approached the NFL season warily, reading a few stories, especially about the Steelers.  But my worst fears were confirmed in accounts of the Carolina-Denver game, in which Carolina quarterback Cam Newton was hit repeatedly in the head by Denver's thug head-hunters.  In the later very weak judgment of the NFL, one merited a penalty.  Denver's thuggery lost them nothing.  Newton, visibly hurting, was not lifted or the concussion protocols followed by his own team.

From all this I conclude that the officials who didn't call the penalties should be fired,  the Carolina officials who did not invoke the concussion protocols should be fired, members of the Denver team defense and their coach should be suspended and fined or better yet, arrested, and the game should be forfeit.  And the NFL should fine itself.

None of that happened or will happen.  And I won't be watching an NFL game until this scandal is rectified.  It's not a sport anymore. It's criminal assault, and probably slow motion manslaughter.

At the moment, the SF Giants have won two games in a row on the road for the first time in this second half.  They cling to playoff possibilities but must keep winning at a first-half rate.  We'll see.  Starting pitching and Hunter Pence are carrying them at the moment, with some other bats coming around.  But even one of these games involved a blown save and a torturous 5.5 hours of 13 innings against a team on a losing streak.

The bullpen is their Achilles heel.  They won in 2014 with less than a stellar starting rotation but a supple, strong and reliable bullpen.  They fixed the rotation pretty much this year, but the bullpen --and the absence of a closer--is a significant deficiency, in the playoffs even if they get there, which is not at all certain.

The Pirates also seem to be fading from the playoff hunt though neither team is out of it yet.  Only the Dodgers seem to be getting stronger, especially with the return of Kershaw.

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