The World Series

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I would assume many have heard that The World Series is being played right now.  Baseball has taken a backseat to football over the years, but it is still a major sport with plenty of fans.  This year will bring more fans to the series because the Chicago Cubs are in involved.  There are plenty of story lines in this series as both teams are currently in the longest drought in the sport.  Which ever team wins, it will end the misery for long suffering fanbase.

We can start talking about game number 1.  How many people watched it?  You would think a decent amount because Chicago is a large market but Cleveland is not.  I do not really understand the way the ratings work, but the game was up 20% compared to game one last year.  That game had a large market team as well, The Mets.  I think if the series goes the distance and a potential Cubs World Series is hanging in the balance, the ratings would be through the roof.  I just think the Cubs have a massive national following and there will be some interested  people.

One story to follow would be that of Kyle Schwarber.  Here is a Cubs player that has been out all year after having knee surgery in April.  I did not think a guy could get cleared and in less than a week be inserted into the line-up in game one of the World Series! How can anyone be ready after just hitting out of a cage for a few days?  Apparently, Schwarber was ready.  He struck out a couple of times, but he also hit one off the wall and drew a walk against a very tough left handed pitcher. It will be interesting to see if he can leave his mark on the series.

The Cubs have been the lovable losers in baseball for so many years.  They have not won the World Series since 1908! That is a long, long time!  What team holds the next longest drought?  Of course, it is the Cleveland Indians.  Their last win would have been in 1948.  One of these teams has to win, so a certain fan base will be excited.  Check out this story, so the kid predicts the Cubs to win the World Series.  What other team would even have a kid mentioning that in the school yearbook.  Only the Cubs! Hopefully for Cubs fans he is right.

No matter what team wins, it will be deserved.  Each fan base has waited a long time for this moment. The Cubs fans have had to listen to silly curse stories for years.  The billy goat story, the black cat story for the 1969 Cubs, and Bartman.  I would think most of this is ridiculous, but people entertain the idea of curses. If the Cubs do win,will they lose their Loveable Loser nickname?

 

–Victor Mandalawi

NFL Ratings

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Is has been widely known that the NFL is a juggernaut.  They are successful in so many ways, including merchandising, game-day experiences, and television ratings.  I have even recently written about the power of the NFL.  There seems to be a change to this.  Within the last few days this has become a pretty hot topic with many outlets covering it.  I have seen quite a few different theories and they all seem to make a little sense.  Let’s take a look at some of the different ideas causing the ratings drop.

According to certain outlets, television ratings are down 11% compared to the same time frame as last season!  That is a huge number and would be eye opening for many businesses.  You can see there are many reasons being given ranging from the debates, deflategate, unappealing match -ups, too many prime-time match-ups, younger fans watching the game differently, and of course the Kaepernick effect.  The owners sure seem to have a lot of excuses and most would have applied to last year except for the debate and Kaepernick taking a knee.

Mark Cuban called this happening a couple of years ago.  When the NFL completed their last TV deal he felt they were getting too greedy.  I think he compared the NFL to hogs! If you look at what he is saying, it makes a little sense.  When you have something really good going, you should not mess with it.  Rocking the boat might cause some problems.  When you add product to the market, as the NFL is doing it can cause it to become watered-down.  The NFL is trying to get more teams involved in Nationally televised games and that leads to a poor product at times.  Also, if you have a person that has time for one-two games a week, but not necessarily the third it can cause a line to be drawn and the person will not watch.

The recent Sunday night game with the Colts vs. Texans, drew the lowest rating in 5 years.  It was not facing a debate on other channels, so what gives?  Could it be the match-up, could people have been tired of football at that point?  Could it be people not wanting to support the NFL since many of the players are taking a knee during the National Anthem to bring light upon social injustices?  The NFL has to be careful around this topic because they are in a bad spot if they were to choose either side of the fence.  The NFL sent an internal memo showing that their numbers are not declining from the protests.  Personally, if I agree or disagree with the method of the protest, it might cause me to be angry at a certain player, but not the entire NFL.

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There seem to be plenty of reasons for the decline and you could argue that all of them make sense for the decline.  Instead of one reason for the decline, maybe it is an accumulation  of all of the reasons.  How about weather?  Can that be a factor?  I would think if the weather in general has been nicer, people tend to watch less TV.  Not too mention a lot of the Southeastern US had bigger issues with a hurricane bearing down on them and then wreaking havoc.  Whatever the reason, I can bet the owners of the NFL are secretly sweating out this issue.

–Victor Mandalawi

Hurricane Matthew

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As many know, Hurricane Matthew has been the most recent weather event to bring destruction. When it finally made landfall on  October 8th in South Carolina it was a category one.  Seems like that would be somewhat manageable?  That would be an incorrect assumption.  Damage and devastation spread from southern Florida up through North Carolina.  For all of the beauty this part of the country has to offer, it seems that when these events happen it can change your mind about the benefits of living there.  The death toll continues to rise and the damage report will not be complete for so much longer.  The human suffering is staggering and quite sad.

Many people not living in an area prone to Hurricanes seem to rely on the category ranking.  This was billed as a category 4 and that is scary, but then it did not make landfall until it was a category one.  That rating only refers to the wind speed.  It does not take into account the rainfall and storm surge that happens during a hurricane.  Many times rainfall and storm surge are the most destructive part of the storm.

The east coast of Florida was battered by the storm without even making landfall.  It was estimated that 1.1 million people were without electricity in Florida.  I can not imagine watching transformers blow up, watching debris fly all over the place, and seeing trees downed all over.  At one time only 4 people were killed from the storm’s effects, that is very sad but it really is great that more were not killed.  Evacuations might have had something to do with that!  Even the happiest place on Earth was closed.

Matthew then made its way north and finally made landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 storm.  The rainfall and storm surge has been really devastating for South and North Carolina.  You can never underestimate the power of flowing water, it can create massive amounts of damage.  There are a few videos here that show the power and destructiveness of the storm.  Some areas received over 15 inches of rain to go along with the wind.  That would be a scary event for anyone!

The most recent death count in the SE from Matthew is 38, that is very sad.  Some are avoidable and some are just extremely unfortunate events.  The Gov. of North Carolina is telling people to stay away from the water, because it can kill.  What is sad is that entire towns are flooded, entire towns are even blocked because of the flooding.  Many outlets are reporting that the flooding will continue as creeks and rivers in some places have not crested.

If you can look past the death and devastation, here is an interesting find caused by the hurricane.  A local walking the beach noticed Civil War era cannonballs.  It is pretty scary to think they were just below the surface of the sand waiting to be uncovered.  I can not imagine digging into the sand and finding one of these!

—Victor Mandalawi

 

 

Fan Violence

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Fan violence is not a new thing.  I am sure it has been happening since games had spectators. Can you picture fans at the Roman Colosseum throwing punches at each other?  I can!   I am not sure what causes the violence.  It could be alcohol related, it could also be the feeling of euphoria that some people may feel during competition.  Seeing a big hit in a football game might get people “amped up”.  The next thing you know you are yelling at someone in an opposing team jersey.  Then the fists start flying.  Whatever causes it, it should probably stop, even though it may not for some time.  Fan violence is not limited to one sport or even one country.  It happens all over the world.

Recently, a man at a Baltimore Ravens game was in an argument with Raiders fans.  The argument led to punches being thrown.  Those punches led to a man falling down, hitting his head and now he is in the hospital with a 30% chance of survival.  Of course it was a fight between opposing fans.  Can that be stopped?  No, anyone should be allowed to cheer on their team no matter the circumstances.  What happens is the good natured ribbing turns ugly and the fan is left to defend themselves.  Or the person getting picked on does not have thick enough skin to handle the abuse and that leads to a fight.  I am not sure any of that will ever change.

How about fans at College football games?  Do you think the violence happens on college campuses? The answer is yes! These fans at the University of Iowa were so enraged that they felt it would be a good idea to throw bottles on the field to protest a referee call.   It seems harmless to throw a water bottle onto a field.  I am not sure that is the case.  Freak injuries occur all of the time, what if a bottle hit someone in the perfect place, that could cause serious injury.  Of course, one fan felt obliged to offer the 2 finger salute.  That seems harmless, but what if a little kid happened to see that?  I am not sure they should be subjected to that trash.

On Tuesday, there was a fan that threw a bottle of water onto the field in the middle of a play in the outfield.  What does the fan get out of doing this?  If the bottle hits the player or the ball, you know the umps will just deem it an out.  If the bottle hits the player and it hurts them, you could get into serious trouble.  Is it really worth going to jail just to throw a bottle onto a field?

Does fan violence only happen in the US?  No, it happens all over.  Here is violence at a soccer game in the UK. It seems that violence is really bad overseas during soccer games.  They even have a term for these people, “soccer hooligans”.  I have seen flares thrown onto the field, the stands have been lit on fire, can you imagine the man on man violence?

I personally see no reason for all of the fan violence.  It really does not make any sense.  Do the rules of society no longer apply because you are at a game?  You will never stop fan violence.  However, if alcohol sales were stopped completely I would argue that the numbers will go down dramatically.  I have been to a number of sporting events in my life.  I would bet 90% of poor behavior is caused by someone that has had too many adult beverages.  Getting the stadiums to stop selling will be a serious fight.  They can charge $10 for a beer that might have cost $.50. That is a healthy profit margin and cash is king to owners of professional franchises.

 

—Victor Mandalawi