Category Archives: Major League Baseball

WEDNESDAY NIGHT BASEBALL-OBSERVATIONS APPROACHING MEMORIAL DAY

As we approach the Memorial Day weekend, and the two month benchmark of the Major League season, there have been some interesting developments in Major League Baseball.

In New York, the boys from Queens were supposed to be the story this year. This proved to be just the opposite in the early going.  The Yankees find themselves atop the American League East with a two game lead over the Baltimore Orioles.  The Mets however are in third place and currently five games under .500.  By the way, they find themselves behind the Atlanta Braves who are surprisingly in second (albeit with a 20-23 mark),

The Washington Nationals appear to be running away with the National League East.  They currently hold a 6 1/2 game lead over the Braves.

 

Image result for Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals lead the National League East by 6 1/2 games.

 

The Nationals first place position was expected when the season began.  The other two divisions in the National League have surprising leaders.  The defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs currently find themselves in third place, one percentage point behind the second place St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.  The team on top as of this writing are the Milwaukee Brewers.  The Brew Crew leads the Cards and Cubs by 1 game.

While the Brewers are the surprise in the Central Division, the leaders in the West is a total shock to this writer.  Where did the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks come from?  The Rockies currently own the best record in the National League at 30-17, the Diamondbacks sit two games behind them.  The disappointment in the NL West has to be the San Francisco Giants.  The Giants, who were supposed to battle the Los Angeles Dodgers for western supremacy are currently in fourth place, 10 games off the pace.

The Houston Astros were favored to win the American League Western Division by most predictors prior to the season.  At 31-15, Houston currently owns the best mark in all of Major League Baseball.

Image result for houston astros

The Houston Astros are off to the best start in baseball.

 

The other division leaders in the American League are both surprises.  The aforementioned Yankees were supposed to be buried behind Baltimore, Toronto, and Boston, yet they lead the East.  The Blue Jays currently reside in the AL East cellar with a 21-26 mark on the heals of a horrible April.

In the American League Central the surprising Minnesota Twins are currently on top.  What’s even more crazy is the fall of the Kansas City Royals.  The 2014 American League Champions, as well as the 2015 World Series Champs currently own the worst record in the Junior Circuit.  My projected World Series Champs, the Cleveland Indians are a game and a half behind the Twins.

Yes, I know it’s not quite Memorial Day, and it’s a long way to October, but it has been an interesting start to the 2017 season.

My questions at this juncture are:

Will the Rockies, Brewers, and Twins keep it up?

Will the Cubs rebound before it’s too late?

Are the Boys from The Bronx on a mission to regain New York?

Only time will tell!  Next progress report will be on Wednesday July 5.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT BASEBALL A CHANGE IN THE SPORTS SEASON

Now that Sunday’s epic Super Bowl is behind us and the Patriots have partied with their fans, it’s time to turn the page.  Since the National Football League settled on the first Sunday in February to stage it’s championship, it became the perfect lead in to Spring Training.

The transition from football to baseball has become a new tradition on social media.  In the waning moments of the past few Super Bowls, baseball fans post and tweet about how many days it is until pitchers and catchers report.  Major League Baseball, and the teams themselves also take to Facebook and Twitter.

Growing up in Queens Spring Training brought on a different dimension.  Hearing Bob Murphy’s voice on the radio signaled the end of a long cold winter.  Never mind the fact that he was in Florida and it was still wintry in New York.  Murphy’s voice brought about a calm and a warmth that made me think of longer days and nicer weather.  It was a beacon of Spring, a rite of passage that warmer and lighter days were right around the corner.

Image result for Bob MurphyBob Murphy, voice of the New York Mets 1962-2003.

Now that I call South Florida home, February means that baseball begins in my backyard.  Next week pitchers and catchers will convene in Florida and Arizona.  All over both states winter will symbolically end.  The pop of the glove will be heard from Tampa to Port St. Lucie, from Disney World to West Palm Beach.  The desert that houses the greater Phoenix area will also be alive with the sound of baseball!  Soon after, it will be time for the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues to open for business.

A bucket list item for any baseball fan is a trip to either of these two states.  I highly recommend touring the back fields of a team’s training camp.  In a park-like setting you can watch the players go through drills, you can see the pitchers honing their skills in the expanded bullpens.  It’s the best way to meet and greet players.  Most players are available for autographs!  The best thing about this is the price, morning workouts are free and open to the public.

Image result for back fields of roger dean stadium practiceMiami Marlins run an infield drill at Roger Dean Training Complex in Jupiter, FL

The back fields are also the site of “B” games in which younger players, or older invitees play in front of the teams brain trust. These games are almost like an audition for those who may or may not make the opening day roster.  They are played in a very informal setting that is almost Little League like.  In 2004 I experienced a thrill of a lifetime at one of these games.  It was at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida (Spring home of the Marlins and Cardinals), the Marlins were hosting the Mets (who train about an hour up I-95 in Port St. Lucie).  Marlins manager Jack McKeon approached my son and asked him if he would like to be a ball boy!  After my son got settled he was sitting on an upside down sunflower seed pail near the on-deck circle with a few new friends.  Oh and by the way his new buddies were named Jack McKeon, Bill Robinson, and Tony Perez!

As Bob used to say, buckle your seatbelts, and get ready for a ride that starts in Florida and Arizona, goes 162 regular season games and into October!  Will there be another epic season full of surprises like last year?  Only time will tell.

The calendar has turned the page, and the season has changed in the sports world.  The sound of the quarterback calling signals has given way to the pop of the glove and the crack of the bat!  It won’t be long until we hear those wonderful two words “Play Ball!”

THE GRAND DADDY OF THEM ALL

The Stanley Cup has the claim to fame of being the oldest trophy in sports.  The Super Bowl is a unique one shot deal spectacle to crown the NFL champion.  The NBA Finals may bring out glitz and celebrities, but there is one special championship series that is a piece of Americana-the World Series.

The Fall Classic has been around since 1903, longer than any professional championship in North America.  Throughout its now 113 year history so much has happened.  We’ve seen perfect games, walk off championships, back and forth seven game battles.  We’ve also seen upsets and miracle teams that won a series to cap their first winning season.  The advent of the Wild Card in 1997 brought a new dimension, teams that weren’t division (or regular season league winners) coming out on top.

The Yankees have won the series 27 times, far and away the most of any franchise.  The Cardinals have won it a National League leading eleven times.  There are however many fan bases who haven’t seen baseball played in late October.  This year is the poster child for those long-suffering followers.

Before I get into droughts and curses I must mention the teams that haven’t seen the big show in their locality.  Consider Seattle and Montreal.  The Pacific Northwest saw the Pilots begin play in 1969 only to see them leave for Milwaukee prior to the following season.  They wouldn’t even see Major League Baseball again until 1977 when the Mariners began play.  The Mariners have seen their expansion brothers in Toronto win the World Series twice (1992, 1993).  Although they have made post season appearances over the years the World Series continues to elude Seattle.

In 1969 the city of Montreal was awarded the first Major League franchise outside of the United States.  Though marginally successful through most of their existence, the Expos franchise made the post season only once, the strike shortened season of 1981.  The Montreal franchise won the second half National League Eastern Division title of the strike interrupted season that year.  They made it to the National League Championship Series only to be denied on what has become known as Blue Monday in Montreal.  The Dodgers Rick Monday’s ninth inning home run in game 5 (in Montreal) sent the Expos home and the Dodgers to the World Series.  The city of Montreal would see its Expos leave for Washington DC following the 2004 season.  Since their arrival in America’s Nation’s Capitol the Nationals have not made a Fall Classic appearance.

A total of six franchises have made appearances in the big show but have not brought home the prize (San Diego, Texas, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Milwaukee Brewers, Houston).

This year we have a matchup of the two longest droughts in World Series history.  The Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians have waited longer than any of the teams I just discussed since their last World Series victory.

The plight of the Cubs fan has been well documented.  Wrigley Field saw its first Fall Classic action since 1945 on Friday night.  It was also the first World Series night game played in the historic venue.  The ultimate “W” flag hasn’t flown above Wrigley since 1908.  As of this writing it’s not looking good right now for this year either with the Tribe holding a 3-1 lead in the series.

So much has been made of the 108 year drought on the Near North Side of Chicago.  There has been a bar owner with a billy-goat that was denied entry into Wrigley Field during the ’45 series.  There was the black cat at New York’s Shea Stadium that crossed the Cubs on-deck circle that lead to a collapse of a nine game lead over the second place Mets.  There was Steve Bartman, the poor fan that went after a foul ball in the 2003 NLCS with the Cubbies six outs away from the World Series.  Can the tide turn at Wrigley beginning tonight?

Like the Boston Red Sox, who finally broke an 86 year drought of their own in 2004, the Indians have made appearances since their last victory in 1948.  Most notably Cleveland made it to the Fall Classic twice in three years in the 1990’s (1995, 1997) only to lose to the Braves and Marlins.

So many stories that have been told.  Carlton Fisk trying to wish a ball fair at Fenway in 1975, Reggie Jackson hitting three consecutive home runs against the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium in 1977.  There were walk off home runs by Bill Mazeroski and Joe Carter. A walk-off single by Edgar Renteria in the eleventh inning of Game 7.  Babe Ruth calling his shot in 1927 at Wrigley.  Don Larsen’s perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Will history be written as early as tonight?  Will the Cubs stage a comeback?  Stay tuned to the Grand Daddy of them all!

 

THE BROADCAST BOOTH-THE MOUTHPIECE OF SPORTS

When we lost Joe Garagiola back in March I had planned on writing about the subject of sports broadcasters.  As life went on it kind of slipped away from me so I decided to revisit the subject when Vin Scully called his final out for the Dodgers.

So pull up a chair, members of my blog audience and grab a beverage.

Vin Scully joined Red Barber in the Ebbets Field broadcast booth in 1950.  He would eventually take over the “Cat Bird Seat” in Brooklyn and will be vacating the booth at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on October 2. His 67 years as the voice of the Dodgers, which spanned two locations on opposite coasts, is the longest tenure of a broadcaster with one organization.  This record wont be touched for a very long time, if ever.

Mr. Scully, I have to thank you for influencing me.  My writing style is much like your broadcasting style.  Yes you have a legendary way of describing facts that happen on a baseball field (and in years past on a gridiron as well), but your story telling talent is unparalleled.  I can hear your voice as I tell stories here on WordPress just as if I was watching a Dodger broadcast.  Thank you again Vin!

On the night that we lost Joe Garagiola I began to think and reflect on all the sports voices I’ve heard over the years.  I can honestly say there have been many literary influences that have shaped me. Those of us who grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s will remember when NBC had a stronghold on Major League Baseball.  I have such fond memories of the “Game of the Week” on Saturday afternoons.  I will say that as a young boy growing up in Queens my first broadcast idol, if you will, was Curt Gowdy.  Like Scully, Gowdy was a story-teller in addition to being almost flawless in describing the action on the diamond as well as the football field.  His longtime baseball partner, Tony Kubek still strikes me as one of the best analysts of my time.

My Queens upbringing formed a bond with the New York Mets who played in my home boro.  The trio of Bob Murphy, Ralph Kiner, and Lindsey Nelson remains full of fond childhood memories.  They were the voices of the Mets from their inaugural season of 1962 until Nelson left the Mets for San Francisco following the 1978 season.  I was pretty disappointed when he left.  Mets baseball would never be the same.  Met fans who followed the franchise will always remember Bob Murphy’s “Happy Recap” when the Mets won, and Ralph Kiner’s post-game show “Kiner’s Korner.”

In addition to his baseball career, Lindsey Nelson spent years behind the CBS College Football mic.  He was the annual voice of the Cotton Bowl.  It’s not the same without him.

The “hated” crosstown Yankees also had their share of broadcast legends.  From Mel Allen’s “How about that” to Phil Rizutto’s “Holy Cow!”  But for most of this blogger’s life nobody manned the public address microphone like Bob Sheppard.  Growing up as a Met fan I didn’t go to many Yankee games. I was at the Big Ballpark in the Bronx twice and saw a handful of Yankee games at Shea Stadium in 1974 and 1975. For those who may not know the Yankees played those two years in Flushing while the Stadium was undergoing a massive renovation.  Sheppard had a presence unlike any other public address announcer.  Players referred to him as “the voice of God.”

Growing up, baseball wasn’t the only sport that I took to.  To this day I am a hockey fanatic.  Just as a coming attraction I will be following the Florida Panthers this year here on my WordPress page.  That being said, I became a fan of the New York Islanders when the NHL awarded a franchise to Long Island.   Tim Ryan was an established NHL announcer when he joined the Islanders TV crew in their inaugural season.  I grew up listening to him as well as Marv Albert calling Rangers games on radio.  As much as I hated the rival Rangers, I have got to admit Marv’s call of the Rangers and Knicks games was a big influence.  I miss Marv as a hockey announcer and still enjoy his NBA broadcasts on TNT.

In 1980 the voice of the Islanders changed.  The legendary Ryan would leave Long Island for a national football job with CBS.  Jiggs McDonald would join Ed Westfall as voice of the Islanders.  The tandem would last seventeen wonderful years that included four Stanley Cup championships and a streak of nineteen consecutive playoff series wins.  Any Islander fan from that era can still here Jiggs referring to Westfall as “18” in reference to his uniform number in his playing days with the club.

Hearing Marv open Ranger broadcasts still rings through my head.  “This is Marv Albert with Sal “Red Light” Messina at Madison Square Garden” was how each home broadcast began.  Marv would then describe how the game would begin by identifying the 7th Avenue end and 8th Avenue end of Madison Square Garden as to which net the teams were to defend.

In today’s time there are so many voices to be heard, so many new pictures to be painted.  To me the story-teller that would be the heir apparent to Vin Scully has to come from the hockey world.  Mike “Doc” Emrick who broadcasts the NHL for NBC and its networks has a unique way of calling games while getting descriptive.  Locally Steve”Goldy” Goldstein’s  New York accent throws me back to my childhood roots as the voice of the Florida Panthers.

Local sports legend Jim Mandich was the voice of the Miami Dolphins.  It was such a sad South Florida day when we lost him to cancer in 2011.  We also have a Scully disciple on the Marlins radio network in Dave Van Horne.  Dave is another great combination of facts and story telling.

There are just so many more that are going through my head, probably enough to fill another blog.

In closing, thank you so much Vin Scully.  I hope someday you can pull up a chair and read my work.

AMERICA’S DARKEST DAY AND HOW THE SPORTS WORLD HELPED HEAL A NATION

It has been fifteen years and it doesn’t get any easier.

This morning, as I have every year following the attacks on our nation on September 11, 2001 I paused and prayed at 8:46 and once again at 9:03.  I also watched as MSNBC reran that morning’s Today Show that also turned into news coverage of the heart wrenching events that unfolded.  Seeing not only my country, but my hometown being attacked brought it all back as if it was yesterday.

Our lives changed so much on that cloudless morning in the northeast.  So many families that lost loved ones who simply went to work and boarded airplanes.  Ordinary things that met with anything but ordinary.  On a personal level that morning was as scary and stressful as it can ever get.  I am the middle of three brothers, and the only one who relocated when I left the New York area for South Florida.

Both of my brothers spend time in Manhattan as part of their daily routines.  I spent that morning frantically trying to find out about their whereabouts and safety.  I knew my parents were safe in their home in New Jersey.  I thank God that all I got that morning was a scare.  Many people weren’t so lucky.  I can never forget the anguished looks on the faces of those walking around the neighborhood that was beginning to be called Ground Zero.  The fear of the worst, the finality that came.  Sad beyond words.

I know that everyone who was old enough to understand what happened in New York, Washington, and Shanksville has a story to tell. But how does this all connect to a sports blog?

Let’s set the clock back to Sunday September 16, 2001.  Baseball was still on hold, the NFL had postponed week 2 till the end of the season.  Too soon for fun and games to continue, but one of American sports’ famous cathedrals was actually was used as one.  The city of New York picked Yankee Stadium as the venue to begin healing.  A massive memorial service was held at the House That Ruth Built.  Six weeks later President Bush would bring the nation to its feet when he threw out the first ball at game 3 of the 2001 World Series from the pitcher’s mound of the Bronx landmark.

Across the East River in Queens, Shea Stadium would be the center of healing.  On September 21, 2001 Major League Baseball was back in business in New York.  The Braves would face the Mets (clad in NYPD and FDNY baseball caps) as New York attempted to return to some semblance of normalcy and fun.  If Bobby Thompson’s epic walk off home run at the Polo Grounds in 1951 was the “shot heard round the world” then Mike Piazza’s walk off on that September night was the “shot heard round America”.  The crowd at Shea exploded to a fever pitch not seen since Jesse Orosco finished off the Red Sox in 1986.

On September 20th the Rangers, one night removed from opening their preseason at Madison Square Garden headed to Philadelphia to face one of their fiercest rivals.  What happened that night still gives me goosebumps.  You see, President Bush addressed Congress that night with a status report on the events of September 11th.  The Flyers decided to post the speech on the scoreboard at what is now known as the Wells Fargo Center.  The Rangers and Flyers stopped the game.  The NHL officiating crew stopped officiating.  No brawling, no rivalry, everyone stopped and listened to the president.  The game never resumed.

Anyone who knows the makeup of South Florida knows the distinct connection to the New York area.  Like most of the country, time stood still on that awful day as residents had one eye on their loved ones up north.  The typical South Floridian question among transplanted New Yorkers was “everyone OK?, Have you heard from everyone?”

On September 23rd the NFL resumed their schedule with what was supposed to be week 3. South Florida went into a collective cheer when Jay Fiedler crossed the goal line to finish a Miami Dolphins comeback victory over the Oakland Raiders.  The eruption at the stadium now known as Hard Rock Stadium was deafening.  Our community reacted with such a release with that win you would have thought the Dolphins just won the Super Bowl.

So as the NFL opens up in earnest this afternoon, the fifteenth anniversary of the worst attack on American soil still overshadows fun and games.  Amid the pregame and halftime ceremonies that will go on around the league today, hearts will still be heavy.  Despite it all games will go on in the NFL and Major League Baseball.  Sports will once again be there for America.  The sporting world will again be part of the healing process.

God Bless America!

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE (SPORTS) YEAR

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

 Pennant races are going

And pigskin a throwin’

Hockey season is near!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Yes, it’s Labor Day weekend, and the start of college football season made me think of how much goes on in September and October in the world of sports.

Going into the final month of the baseball season story lines abound.  As of this writing the Blue Jays and Red Sox are tied atop the AL East with the Orioles looming 2 games behind.  Throughout the season the Dodgers and Giants have traded places atop the National League West with the second place team leading the way in the Wild Card race.

About those Wild Card races,  the Jays/Sox lead the Orioles by 2 with the Tigers and Astros in their shadow.  The Giants are 2 1/2 up on the Cardinals who have the Mets, Pirates, and Marlins looking over their shoulders.  Should be an exciting end to the 2016 regular season.

The aforementioned college football season held center stage yesterday.  Ohio State, Alabama, and Michigan all won handily.  Clemson won a close one over Auburn.  With the college ranks off and running the NFL opens for business on Thursday with the first ever Super Bowl rematch as a national opener.

This got me to thinking, what a crossroads of sports this time of year is.  Baseball is in their postseason stretch, football is off and running and hockey is poised to open training camp.  Oh, by the way there is a little hockey tournament on tap this September called the World Cup.  The dribble and squeak of basketball is waiting in the wings.

I started to reflect on my memorable moments in the month of September.

In the strike torn, two half baseball season of 1981 I was at Shea Stadium in New York when the hometown Mets lost to the Montreal Expos.  This would kick off a celebration in front of me on the field as well as north of the border.  You see, the Expos celebrated clinching the Second Half NL East championship. Their only championship in Montreal. They would go on to lose the National League Championship Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Dodgers would go on to win the World Series over the Yankees.

Fast forward five years and back at Shea.  This time it was the Mets turn.I’ll never forget the final out in the Mets division clinching win over the Chicago Cubs.  It was a routine grounder to Wally Backman at second.  What followed was anything but ordinary.  Fans stormed the field as Backman was throwing to Keith Hernandez at first to finish the groundout.  How the ball got there I still don’t know.  The fans swarmed in a flash and were all over the field.  The celebration was on!  The Mets would go on to win the 1986 World Series.

The last time I was ever in Big Shea was in September 22, 1988.  The Mets again were in position to claim the division title.  This time New York’s finest was ready for any field storming.  As my wife and I walked from the parking lot to the stadium the first thing we noticed was police on horseback lined up behind the bullpen and picnic areas.  When Ron Darling stuck out Phillies catcher Lance Parrish looking in the 9th inning the Mets were champions once more.  They would go on to lose the NLCS to the Dodgers.  The Dodgers again would win it all.

My wife and I moved to South Florida in the spring of 1989.  This meant embracing new teams in our new home.  On September 26, 2003  my son and I were in attendance at the ballpark now known as Hard Rock Stadium.  The Mets were the opponent this time and the  hometown Marlins would lock up the National League Wild Card.  I’ll never forget the celebration that took place in the concourses and ramps.  The chant of “Lets Go Marlins” reverberated so loud that the building was shaking!  The Marlins would go on to defeat the Yankees in the World Series.

With all the baseball stories in September I have a football one as well.  I recall a Dolphins season opener against the Detroit Lions in which Ricky Williams ran for over 200 yards.  The stadium would be rocking as Williams scampered for big chunks of yardage and a touchdown in a Dolphins win.

There is one memorable hockey moment too.  It was the opening of the New York Islanders 2001-02 training camp.  It wasn’t what happened on the ice that was memorable, it was the fact that camp was to begin in Wheeling, WV on Tuesday September 11. Like all sports on that day, the start of camp was put on hold.  More on that horrific day next  week.

As the sports world comes to its annual crossroads I look forward to the opening weekend of the NFL.  I will be rooting on my hometown Marlins to win an NL Wild Card, and will be at the Florida Panthers training camp in nearby Coral Springs, Florida cheering on a promising hockey team.

Enjoy the crossroads!

 

 

TIMES HAVE SURELY CHANGED

As every football fan is now aware, last Sunday night’s Hall of Fame tilt between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts was canceled due to poor field conditions.  The problem with the field?  The quality of the paint used for the logo at midfield and the lettering in the end zones.  To me this brings about questions of what seemed to be a string of gaffes by the people responsible for getting sports venues ready for play.

My first question is the obvious.  The NFL Hall of Fame Game originated in tn 1962. How is it that the grounds crew at Fawcett Stadium has prepared the field for play in each of the past 54 years and couldn’t get the right paint?  How does that happen?  Or is it a question of the NFL and other professional sports fine tuning events like this to the point of it being ridiculous.

The paint problem in Canton is another in a series of interesting gaffes in professional sports in recent years.

October 15, 2013, Comerica Park in Detroit:  During Game 3 of the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers  a power outage occurred causing a delay.  There was just one problem, the game was played at 4:00 PM with the outage occurring in sun drenched conditions.

June 6, 2014, AT&T Center in San Antonio:  Prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, the air conditioning system malfunctioned.  The game went on as planned with complaints from players, coaches and fans about such awful conditions.

Super Bowl XVLII, New Orleans Superdome:  Shortly after play resumed following halftime between the Baltimore Ravens and San Fransisco 49ers the game was halted due to a power outage.  About half of the lights overlooking the playing field went out, however the field was still lit by the other half.

On the surface, all of these events have an argument for being halted due to sub-par conditions, however I disagree.

First off, what happened in Canton on Sunday should have been inspected by the league, the Hall of Fame and the teams on Saturday  This would have allowed time for at the very least, the paint to be scrapped.

Having grown up in the 1960’s and ’70’s I look at the series of events that I discussed earlier through a different set of eyes.  Those of you in my age group might remember when sports was more game than TV production.

Consider the days when baseball and football were played in the same place.  Shea Stadium in New York was home to both the New York Jets and the New York Mets.  The Jets played on a field that ran from home plate to center field, leaving half of the gridiron in the infield dirt.  The same was true at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium which housed the Baltimore Orioles and the old Baltimore Colts.  It was accepted, that’s the way it was done.  In 1993 when the Florida Marlins joined the Major Leagues and called Joe Robbie Stadium home, it drew the ire of Miami Dolphins fans since the Fins had to play September and in 1997 and 2003, October on a field that had a dirt infield at one end.

Who remembers the old Boston Garden and Buffalo Memorial Auditorium?  Both buildings had no air conditioning.  The Boston Celtics played many NBA Finals games in sweltering heat and used it to their advantage.  The Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres played many playoff games in which fog rose from the ice.

Many might remember games at Wrigley Field that were suspended because the players could no longer see the baseball.  It was accepted, Wrigley was the last hold out for not having lights.

Sports has become such a network production that it may have lost some of its edge.  Imperfection is not necessarily a bad thing.