Wednesday, November 26, 2014

No, Do NOT Realign The NFL Playoffs

Look, I've always been one for changing things up.  Just go through this blog from ... I dunno ... 2004 until now and you will see me realigning divisions, conferences and playoffs.  So I'm not that old guy that wants everything to stay the same.

However, I'm not big on this talk of the NFL realigning their playoff format.

A little background.

Right now, the AFC North has the Bengals at 7-3-1 while the Browns, Steelers and Ravens all sit at 7-4.  One of those teams are guaranteed to miss the playoffs.  Depending on what the Chargers and Chiefs do in the AFC West, two or all three of those 2nd place teams will miss the postseason.

Meanwhile, the first place team in the NFC South is the Atlanta Falcons with a record of 4-7.  Barring either they or the Saints going 4-1 the rest of the way, the division champion will most likely have a losing record.

Yes, the 4-7 team has a better shot at the postseason than the 7-4 teams.  And, guess what?  That 4-7 squad will actually host a first round playoff game!  Is it fair?  Probably not.  Those Falcons are not a playoff caliber team and the Browns, Steelers and Ravens are much more deserving.  But that's the way it is laid out right now.

I'm fine with that.

Every once in a while this kind of thing happens.  These divisions are, for the most part, created due to geography.  Right now, all the southern teams in the NFC suck.  But one of them will win.  They have to.

The Seahawks went to the playoffs with a 7-9 record in 2010.  So it has happened.  Oh, and that Seattle team would win their first round playoff game ... at home ... against the New Orleans Saints.  Those Saints were 11-5 and had to go on the road to face a 7-9 team.  In fact, those playoffs saw the road team have more wins than the home team in 3 of the 4 first round games.  That lousy Seattle team was the lone home team to win.  Go figure.

At least N'Awlins had a chance.  The 10-6 Giants and Buccaneers both missed the playoffs while those Seahawks got in.  It's just the way it is.

And I'm fine with that on several levels.  More on that later.

Right now, people are so upset that the Falcons will be in the playoffs that some in the media are calling for changing the playoff format ... even as far as just taking all the conference teams and seeding them regardless of division.  That is a horrible idea.

Horrible idea.

Sure, this is quite an abnormal situation.  Those Seahawks were the lone sub-.500 team to make the playoffs.  The Falcons or Saints will most likely join that list.  So why change everything for this rarity?

In fact, let's look it the other way.  What if there was a change?  What if we did go by that whole "just rank the whole conference" like they do in the NHL or NBA?  Let's look at the effects.

Yes, the six teams with the best records would make the playoffs.  That would mean the NFC would look like this:

1-Cardinals (9-2), 2-Packers (8-3), 3-Eagles (8-3), 4-Cowboys (8-3), Seahawks (7-4) and Lions (7-4).

Yeah, that looks better for this year.  But over in the AFC, there wouldn't be much of a change at all.  The same six teams would be in and the Ravens and Steelers would still be out.  So other than helping the Detroit Lions, it didn't do a thing for the AFC North teams.

And unlike most other sports, the NFL has a weighted schedule.  Meaning you play each division foe twice and each opponent in one NFC and AFC division once.  Well, if you are in a tough division where everyone is beating each other, that champ may be 9-7 or 10-6 once the season is over.  What if there was a team in a bad division that had one more win than that division champ and gets in?  Under the format people are offering, that would happen.

Last year, for instance, the 10-6 Cardinals would've made the playoffs over the NFC North champion Packers (8-7-1).  Sure, the NFC West was blazing, but the NFC North wasn't bad.  The Cardinals got to face each team in the no-very-good AFC South that season while the Packers had to play the AFC North.

I know, I know.  The NFL has these sorts of things happen when sorting out wildcard teams ... but why punish a division champion that way?  With four four-team divisions, this kind of stuff happens.  It has happened in the NBA and NHL.  I love that the NFL has it where you win your division, you host playoff games.  Heck the champion of the SWAC makes the NCAA tournament ahead of a bubble team from a major conference.

Now, is your problem with who is hosting playoff games?  Well I don't think the NFL will change that for a couple of reasons.  One is the spread out nature of the playoffs.  Last year, the first round was held in Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Green Bay and Cincinnati with the second round in New England, Charlotte, Denver and Seattle.  Plus, having a road team better than the home team can make for some much better first round games, eh?

Last season, only the Bengals had more wins than their road opponent (Chargers).  Oh, the Chargers won that game.  Three road teams won their game in the first round.  Only one road team won in the rest of the playoffs (49ers over Panthers in the 2nd round).

I say keep it the same way.  I like it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ten Year 'Anniversary' Of The Malice At The Palace

                       

Ten years ago today, the Malice At The Palace happened.  Watch above to relive the moment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sportz' College Football Playoff Race (Nov 16)

Forget that College Playoff Rankings crap.  I like my postseason better.

I've done this for a few years now.  My playoff is 12 teams where the champs of the big six conferences are automatically in, the top ranked champion from one of the other conferences and then five at-large bids (no more than three teams from one conference allowed).  I seeded them by using the now-defunct BCS standings.

With the new way of college football, there is no BCS standings (I'm using a variation of that for this exercise) and there are now a big five conferences and not six.  So, we will use the champs from those five leagues, the top champ from a non-five league and then six at-large bids. 

And here is what I got: 

FIRST ROUND BYES
1-Florida State (ACC champ)
2-Alabama (SEC champ)
3-Oregon (Pac 12 champ)
4-Mississippi State

FIRST ROUND GAMES
12-Marshall (CUSA champ) at 5-TCU                     6p
11-UCLA at 6-Baylor (Big 12 champ)                      9p
10-Kansas State at 7-Ohio State                            3p
9-Michigan State at 8-Ole Miss (Big Ten champ)     12p

SECOND ROUND GAMES
Michigan St/Ole Miss at Florida St                        9p              
Ohio St/Kansas St at Alabama                             12p
Baylor/UCLA at Oregon                                        6p
TCU/Marshall at Mississippi St                             3p

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sad Times Again For A Redskin Fan

I've been a Redskins fan since the early 1980s.  That means I've seen the glory days of the franchise with their trio of Super Bowl titles from 1982 to 1991 ... and the tundra that has been the last two decades.  I've seen the amazing Hogs, Doug Williams' brilliant second quarter of Super Bowl XXII and that dominant season on 1991.  I've also watched the team I love turn into a laughingstock on and off the field.

Joe Gibbs.  John Riggins.  Timmy Smith.  Art Monk.  Darrell Green.  Charles Mann. Ricky Sanders.  Gary Clark. Mark Rypien.  Brian Mitchell.  RFK Stadium. Jack Kent Cooke.

Heath Schuler.  Jason Campbell.  Desmond Howard.  Patrick Ramsey.  Trading away Champ Bailey.  Steve Spurrier.  Albert Haynesworth.  Sean Taylor's murder.  FedEx Field.  Dan Snyder.

Well, there was Joe Gibbs again.

It makes no sense, really.  Sports teams do go into funks, but this is rather ridiculous.  Since 1992, the January of the Skins last Super Bowl victory, the NFL has added the Panthers, Jaguars, Texans and the Browns again.  The Rams and Raiders left L.A., the Oilers left Houston and the original Browns turned into the Ravens.  Those Ravens, which play up the street, have won two Super Bowls since becoming a franchise while the Redskins have only won just three playoff games since they won Super Bowl XXVI.

Why, after 23 years, am I venting on my blog that I've run since 2004 right now?  Because yesterday's game just felt differently than most of the 219 regular season losses we've suffered since beating the Bills in 1992.  Losing to the abysmal Tampa Bay Buccaneers ... at home ... after a bye week ... seems like a bottom.  I mean, it is one thing to just be a bad team with a slim ability to win NFL games and playing this bad.  It is another when you were wins over Minnesota and Tampa Bay (very winnable games) from being 5-5 right now and in a playoff chase.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

If I Expanded The NFL To Six More Teams ...

Earlier, I wrote about if I expanded the NFL by eight teams, who would those teams be and where would they go.  What if eight was just waaaaay too much and the NFL just wished to expand by four teams?  That may be more likely.

Using that earlier article, I'm going to use these as my new four franchises:  Los Angeles, London, San Antonio and Portland.  Frankfort just misses out but would be strongly looked at down the road if the London franchise works out.  Toronto just misses out due to Buffalo getting a brand new owner and not trying to steal some of their fan base.

To me, if the NFL did this, they may not like having the eight division format anymore.  That would mean half the divisions would have five teams and the other half with four.  The NFL would look something like this if they went to that:

NFC EAST:  Dallas, NY Giants, Philadelphia, Washington
NFC SOUTH:  Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans, San Antonio, Tampa Bay
NFC NORTH:  Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota
NFC WEST:  Arizona, Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle
AFC EAST:  Buffalo, London, Miami, New England, NY Jets
AFC SOUTH:  Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Tennessee
AFC NORTH:  Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh
AFC WEST:  Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, Portland, San Diego

I just am not a fan of that.  Could the NFL ... which is watching a very bad NFC South race that could end up with a sub-.500 champion ... decide to go back to a six-division format?  Maybe.  That NFL could look like this:


If I Expanded The NFL To Eight More Teams ...

If the NFL expanded to 8 more teams, of course
L.A. would get at least one of those teams.

If I expanded the NFL to eight more teams, who would I pick?

First off, let me just say that I'm not unsatisfied with the 32-team member league at all.  I like the setup of the 32 teams in eight 4-team divisions.  I love the schedule and the whole deal.

But, ya know, let's just say that it was going to happen.  And you can't just add two or four teams, right?  I wouldn't like the 1980s way of having two four team divisions while the other four had five teams.  Let all the divisions have five teams.

So who would I pick to make a 40-team league?  If any league could pull it off, it would be the NFL.  Oh, and I may go a bit out there with my new league.

Now, how do I do this?  In adding eight teams, should I make two new divisions of four teams?  Or should I add a fifth team to each division.  I'd rather do the latter, but it may be tough to do since I'm going a bit wild with some of my franchised cities.  Also, I'm going to go on the naive premise that no one is relocating.  I know that Los Angeles is trying to lure the Rams, Raiders or Chargers back to town but for this exercise, none of that is happening.

First, the cities I'd want to see teams in.

-LOS ANGELES:  LA is going to get a team if the NFL has to buy the team themselves and run it.  It will happen one way or another.

-LONDON:  The NFL also seems hellbent on placing a team in London as well.  I've been a bit torn on this since I'm not sure if London would truly support a team that was there all the time.  These few games they get a season are event games that see people from all over Europe attending.  Would that last with a permanent team?  Which leads me to add ...

-FRANKFORT:  If you are going to put one team in Europe, I think you should put a second team over there as well.  Why Frankfort?  Well, when NFL Europe was a thing, Germany really supported American Football.  The Frankfort Galaxy drew very well and the league ended up with teams in Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Hamburg.

-SAN ANTONIO:  San Antonio did a great job hosting the Saints during Hurricane Katrina, Texas is a football crazy state and they've long been the bridesmaid while other franchises use them as leverage for a new stadium.

-PORTLAND:  Portland is a great town and certainly has the wherewithal to support an NFL team.

-TORONTO:  If we were going to have some international flavor, Toronto deserves a team.  They've hosted Bills games for a while now, football is popular in Canada and we Americans are used to having Toronto in our sports leagues (see: Maple Leafs, Blue Jays, Raptors).

-SALT LAKE CITY:  I think this one is a no-brainer.  Utah has been a great NBA area and football would seem to work just as well.  Like I've always said, the NFL isn't like other sports where it is impossible to get free agents to go to smaller or less desirable markets.

-OKLAHOMA CITY:  Same as SLC.  The NBA has shown that this is a great sports town and they could certainly support an NFL franchise.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Stop It With The College Football Playoff Rankings!!!!!

The college football playoff committee is entrusted to pick the new
four team playoff, but why do we need them to pick these teams now?

Every Tuesday, ESPN and the sports world sets aside some time to unveil that week's college football rankings.  The committee who sorts through who will ultimately make the playoffs keeps releasing their "rankings" even though we are a month away from actually having all the information in front of us.  Then ESPN and the rest of college football fans and media can break it all down as if this really was a thing.

It is silly.

Does the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee gather together in January and release their tournament bracket each week even though none of it matters until the actual selection Sunday?  No.  So why do we have to have this weekly update over who is their top four teams to get in ... and why do we need a full Top 25?

I know, I know.  You can scroll down and read my imaginary 12-team playoff race and think I'm a hypocrite.  Sure, there are zillions of bracketology sites for the NCAA Tournament.  But that is just media and fans getting a grip on what could happen.  That, again, isn't the actual tournament committee coming up with their official bracket at the moment so we can gripe about it.


Sportz Assassin College Football Playoff Race


Forget that College Playoff Rankings crap.  I like my postseason better.

I've done this for a few years now.  My playoff is 12 teams where the champs of the big six conferences are automatically in, the top ranked champion from one of the other conferences and then five at-large bids (no more than three teams from one conference allowed).  I seeded them by using the now-defunct BCS standings.

With the new way of college football, there is no BCS standings (I'm using a variation of that for this exercise) and there are now a big five conferences and not six.  So, we will use the champs from those five leagues, the top champ from a non-five league and then six at-large bids.

And here is what I got:

FIRST ROUND BYES
1-Mississippi State (SEC champ)
2-Florida State (ACC champ)
3-Oregon (Pac 12 champ)
4-Alabama

FIRST ROUND GAMES
12-Marshall (CUSA champ) at 5-TCU                     6p
11-Michigan State at 6-Baylor (Big 12 champ)        3p
10-Nebraska at 7-Arizona State                                9p
9-Auburn at 8-Ohio State (Big Ten champ)             12p

SECOND ROUND GAMES
Arizona St/Nebraska at Florida State                        12p
TCU/Marshall at Alabama                                        3p
Ohio St/Auburn at Mississippi State                         6p
Baylor/Michigan State at Oregon                              9p

Sunday, October 26, 2014

NFL Coaches On The Hot Seat (Pre-Halloween Edition)

REX RYAN, JETS:  Ryan has survived the ax the last two years, but it seems all but inevitable that Ryan will be out of Gotham Green after this season.  They are 1-7 and Ryan's usually stout defense is giving up over 28 points-per-game.  Ryan has also wasted away two top quarterback picks in Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith.

MIKE SMITH, FALCONS:  I thought Atlanta's sad sack season of 2013 was an aberration.  Injuries and bad luck just strangled them.  Well, the 2014 Falcons are checking in at the halfway point with a 2-6 mark and they just wasted away a 21-point lead to the Lions in London.  Smith's Falcons have been close to a Super Bowl but didn't push through, meaning he doesn't have the kind of cache to survive this kind of nosedive.

MARC TRESTMAN, BEARS:  Chicago was supposed to contend for an NFC North title and a possible Super Bowl berth.  However, these Bears are mired in a slide where they've lost 4 of 5 games and two of their three wins have come against bottom feeders Jets and Falcons.  This pasting by the Patriots this Sunday doesn't help matters.  Chicago's saving grace is that they still face the Lions and Vikings twice each and the Packers once more ... making a surge up the standings possible.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Redskins Are 1-5 ... And Check Out Who Also Sucks

You are what your record says you are.  So despite how you want to frame it, the Washington Redskins (my favorite team) is 1-5.

Who else sucks?  Five other teams have 0 or 1 wins on the season and none of them are who you want to be associated with:

ST. LOUIS (1-4):  The Rams have been competitive this year, but they are the lone team to lose to the Buccaneers.

TAMPA BAY (1-5):  The Bucs have been horrid this season.  Tampa Bay has lost a game 56-14 and 48-17 this season.  No one has given up more points than Tampa's 204. Ugh.

NEW YORK JETS (1-5):  The Jets are a mess.  Whether it is Geno Smith cussing at fans or missing meetings because he's at the movies, it is Michael Vick saying he wasn't prepared to play when called upon.

OAKLAND (0-5):  The Raiders are scoring an NFL-low 79 points this season.  And they are the Jets only win on the season.

JACKSONVILLE (0-6):  Those Jags.  People even pegged them as a possible surprise team this year.   They are averaging a league low 13.5 ppg this season, are being outscored by 104 points this season.  They are bad.

So I'm watching these teams as if they are in their own division.

Jets 1-0  (W Raiders)
Buccaneers 1-0  (W Rams)
Redskins 1-0 (W Jaguars)
Rams 0-1 (L Bucs)
Raiders 0-1 (L Jets)
Jaguars 0-1 (L Redskins)

W11: Tampa Bay at Washington
W13: Oakland at St Louis
W14: St Louis at Washington

Monday, October 6, 2014

NBA 2014-2015 Predictions (East)

LeBron is back in Cleveland.  But can he bring with him
the success he had in Miami?

Later this month, the NBA season will be underway.  So let's look at how I ... the Sportz Assassin ... see the Eastern Conference unfolding (check the West here).

1-CHICAGO BULLS

Good:  The Bulls are a tough bunch.  They are defensively sound and won despite being limited offensively.  They get Derrick Rose back, who looked great for Team USA.  They also get Doug McDermott to be the off-ball scoring threat they've longed for.  Oh, and Pau Gasol is a perfect compliment to Joakim Noah on the baseline.  I really like this team.

Bad:  Rose has played just 49 games in three years for the Bulls.  This is a decent team without him, but Rose turns them into a legit contender.  Can you trust him to stay healthy?

2-CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Good:  You go from missing the playoffs to adding LeBron James and Kevin Love.  How can it get any better than that?  Oh yeah, you resigned Kyrie Irving to a long term deal and surround them all with guys like Mike Miller, Shawn Marion and Brandon Hayward.

Bad:  Aside from LeBron, none of their starters ... okay Anderson Varejao ... has played in the postseason.  There will be an obvious learning curve that may stunt their growth at times.  Plus, there will be a big honeymoon period right now so there isn't the pressure to bring home an immediate title like there was for LeBron in Miami.

3-WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Good:  The young Wizards finally found success last year and hung on to Marcin Gortat in free agency.  They also added Paul Pierce, which gives them huge playoff experience as well as a guy that can rise to the occasion.

Bad:  Not much, except for the fact that they have arrived and are now expected to win.  Can they handle that?

4-TORONTO RAPTORS

Good:  Kyle Lowry returns.  So does a very talented and cohesive roster.  DeMar DeRozan gained valuable experience with Team USA.

Bad:  No one will respect them, which is fine.  While they are a team that plays together, do they have enough go-to guys to make a difference when the playoffs come around?


Cincinnati TV Station Gets Their Panthers Mixed Up



Cincinnati's NBC affiliate, WLWT, must have someone in the graphics department that doesn't know their football.  The Bengals, who lost badly to the Patriots last night, will face the NFL's Carolina Panthers next Sunday.

The graphic says that the Bengals will instead play the Eastern Illinois Panthers.  Who?  Yeah, wrong Panthers.

Eastern Illinois plays in the NCAA Division I FCS in the Ohio Valley Conference.  Eastern Illinois is currently 1-4 this season.  According to the OVC's website, those Panthers will be a few miles south next weekend as they'll face Eastern Kentucky in Richmond, KY.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

NBA 2014-2015 Predictions (West)

The Spurs are the defending champions.  But will the be the
best in the West this coming season?

Later this month, the NBA season will be underway.  So let's look at how I ... the Sportz Assassin ... see the Western Conference unfolding.

1-OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Good:  Kevin Durant is coming off an MVP season.  OKC is coming off a season where Russell Westbrook missed a lot of time due to injury and Serge Ibaka missed key games in the postseason.  Anthony Morrow was added to help stretch defenses.

Bad:  Thabo Sefalosha is gone and he was their premiere perimeter defender.  As good was the Thunder have been, the core have been to just one Finals.  With KD's free agency looming, will there be some weirdness among the team?

2-SAN ANTONIO SPURS

Good:  They are defending champs who have been to the Finals two straight years.  They know what they are doing.

Bad: They are all a year older and that motivation of letting a title slip away from them isn't there anymore.

3-LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

Good:  The Donald Sterling mess has been resolved so not only is that storyline not hanging over their head, but they went from a cheap owner to one that wants to make good on his hefty investment.

Bad:  They lost some depth and they haven't really added that "it" role guy to help bring it all together.

4-DALLAS MAVERICKS

Good:  The Mavs are a talented bunch that added Chandler Parsons and Raymond Felton.  There is a lot of depth with guys like Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson, Al-Farouq Aminu and Brandan Wright coming off the bench.

Bad: But is Felton right to lead this offense?  And is this team too old?  It is starting Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler in the power spots.


Friday, October 3, 2014

I'd Like To See NHL Add Two Teams, Go To 8 Divisions

If you know my blog, I like tinkering around with divisions.  In the NFL ... keep them the same.  In baseball, I'd like the old NL and AL East and West.  In the NBA, just give me a Western and Eastern conference and screw the divisions (or go back to the 4 division format of yore).

In the NHL, I'm torn on the newer four division format.  The NHL, unlike the NBA, employs a division heavy scheduling format.  So making smaller divisions makes sense.  That's why I wasn't as angry at the six-division format the NHL had that the NBA still uses.  I don't like the current format where the two divisions in the Eastern Conference have 8 teams and the two in the West have 7.  That's not very fair when half the teams in the East get into the playoffs and 57% of the teams in the West do.

That being said, I'd like for the NHL ... as which has been rumored all summer ... to add two new expansion teams and make the conferences even at 16.  Those franchises will be, I decree, in Seattle and Houston (I'm not against Las Vegas, Quebec or Toronto getting ones either, but I think those two are the favorites).  There.

Now go against what I usually want and actually expand out like the NFL (the only other major league with 32 teams) and have two conferences with four divisions each.  Since, like the NFL, intra-division scheduling is weighted, I like this a lot.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

NORTHEAST:  Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, Ottawa
ATLANTIC:  New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia
CENTRAL:  Columbus, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Toronto
SOUTHEAST:  Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington

WESTERN CONFERENCE

MIDWEST:  Chicago, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis
SOUTHWEST:  Arizona, Colorado, Dallas, Winnipeg
NORTHWEST: Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle, Vancouver
PACIFIC:  Anaheim, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Jose

I like this.  Again, the NHL isn't like the other leagues where they really depend on geography to help with travel and align divisions accordingly.  And the scheduling is easy:

SIX games each against division teams.  Play each three times at home and three on the road.  (18 total)

FOUR games each against the teams in the same division.  Two at home and two on the road. (48 total)

ONE game against each team in the other conference.  Play half the teams at home and half on the road.  I'd like it to split each division so you'd play two teams in one division at home and two on the road.  That would allow, say, for each Western team to play a game in New York every year and every East team to play a game in the Los Angeles area.  I'll have the splits below. (16 total)

There is your 82 game schedule.  Simple, eh?  Then the champs of each division makes the playoffs with the four best non-winners from each conference making up the wildcard.  Those teams qualify for the playoffs, but seed them by total points.  There you go.

Okay, here are your splits:
Boston/Buffalo, Montreal/Ottawa, NY Islanders/NY Rangers, New Jersey/Philadelphia, Detroit/Toronto, Columbus/Pittsburgh, Florida/Tampa Bay, Carolina/Washington, Chicago/Minnesota, Nashville/St Louis, Arizona/Dallas, Colorado/Winnipeg, Calgary/Edmonton, Seattle/Vancouver, Anaheim/Los Angeles, Las Vegas/San Jose

That's what I would like to see.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Derek Jeter Tour Overblown?

When you are rich, people just give you things
We are winding down the Derek Jeter era for the Yankees Major League Baseball world and many are asking the question of whether the Love Tour is necessary.  To me ... no.  While Jeter is a Yankee legend and one of the better players of our time, this is much too much.

First off, the tour itself.  I hate them, unless you are really one of the all-time greats.  I mean GREATS.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar deserved one.  So did Jeter's teammate Mo Rivera.  Chipper Jones?  Not so much.

That isn't to belittle those other players.  Jones and Jeter are sure fire Hall of Famers.  Any player that means a lot to an organization should get some special occasion during the final homestand.  I'm one of those people who understands not only HOFers like Jeter and Jones are important to their teams' fans but gutty guys who won't make it into Cooperstown also can get some love.  Dave Concepcion in Cincinnati?  Or even a Derek Fisher in Los Angeles.  Cedric Maxwell in Boston.  Those guys and many others mean a lot to their franchises too.

Jeter is above those guys and I understand that but is a run of gifts really necessary?  Did the Reds really need to give Jeter framed jerseys of Concepcion and Barry Larkin, the two best shortstops in Cincinnati history?  Or that the Chicago Cubs gave Jeter the number 2 from their ancient hand-operated scoreboard?  Especially when Jeter played about 5 games in Wrigley.

I remember when Kareem Abdul Jabbar did his tour in 1988-1989 and he came to Charlotte.  The Hornets were in their inaugural season and Jabbar was making his first ever trip there ... yet the team gave him a rocking chair.  Welcome to Charlotte!  Sorry we didn't get to know each other better!

Unlike Keith Olbermann, I'm not going to go into Jeter's status among the greatest of the greats.  I know he is transcendent but he isn't Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky or Walter Payton.  I also know he's had a Hall Of Fame career for the biggest sports franchise in our country.  I get ESPN's fawning over the tour (moving game times to televise the Yankees).  I know he's important to the Yankees which means he's supposed to be important to us.  Maybe not as much as Roger Clemens sitting in George Steinbrenner's box, but important.  

Jeter is a pretty pure guy and in an era where we can't even celebrate our greatest players, I can see why people latch onto his legacy.  To me, Clemens, Barry Bonds, Ricky Henderson, Ken Griffey Jr and Tony Gwynn were the best players in my time.  There are others, but that was my wheelhouse.  None of them got victory tours for a variety of reasons (steroids, jerks or broken down at the end of their career).  So I get the need to express your admiration for a clutch player who played "the right way".

This, however, is right after Mo Rivera's victory lap ... which was deserved a bit.  Again, I'm not a fan of these things but if anyone should had one, the greatest reliever in the history of baseball should be one to do so.  But is this going to be a trend?  I mean, Chipper Jones had his in 2012, Rivera in 2013 and Jeter in 2014.  I mean, will David Ortiz get one when he retires?  I mean, he was a huge part of the Red Sox winning three World Series and ending a near century long championship drought.

Let's just have a national conversation about who deserves to have these tours.  I mean, Kobe Bryant will retire soon and I don't want to know what the fans in Denver will have to give to him.