Friday, January 15, 2016

Pop and Shame

In baseball, the SF Giants added an important free agent outfielder--just not one anybody was talking about, Denard Span.  Strikingly like their other big name acquisitions, Span is coming off a sub-par year, beset by injuries.  So they are all more obvious risks, though the potential of each of them is high.

Span is also much in the mold of players they have, only more so: he's fast, a good fielder (mostly center), and an excellent contact hitter with not much home run pop. So the Giants may do their mix and match outfield on a somewhat higher level, with Span, Pagan (who Span may replace in center and as lead-off), Blanco and Pence.  While this makes for a team character of play, it also has that conspicuous limitation of not much home run threat in the lineup.  They'll probably take a hard look at Jared Parker, their rookie last year who had a brief show of power.

There are contingencies to address, especially given the number of injuries these days, like quality back-ups at first and third.  Good opportunities for the farm system, and lesser known additions.  Even if only one of the three new Giants has a year towards the top of their potential, it should keep SF competitive in their division.  That will probably remain their best option for postseason.

In football, I keep getting drawn back in and rudely pushed away--basically by the violence and the injuries they cause.  I played tackle football as a kid, and I loved the game.  But at that time it was about tackling and blocking, not hitting.

The Bengals player who leveled Antonio Brown of the Steelers and gave him a concussion in one of the ugliest hits I've ever seen was penalized.  He should have been arrested.  Forget suspension.  He belongs in prison.   The Steelers are complicit in this travesty, with the coaches and organization repeatedly refusing to criticize this kind of play.  Sports media are more that complicit--they're largely responsible for the elevation of the vicious hit.  (ESPN is so bad in other ways as well.  Their on-air reporters are often wrong in the most obvious way, their writers can't even get the day of the game right--but then editors appear to be a thing of the past.)

From a fan standpoint, that vicious hit and some pretty clearly intentional attempts to cause pain and injury in the sack that injured Big Ben's shoulder, deprives us of the game we have a right to expect.  Even if both play in Denver, neither is likely to be at full strength and skill, as befits a playoff game.

But beyond that, the violence is just shameful.  And I am ashamed.