So, the story out of the NFL is there are still lots of fans who are disgusted with all the politicking going on, with no end in sight to this national anthem nonsense, and they are sick of the lousy play and refusing to fill the seats at stadiums.
Hey, you fans, here is an idea for Sunday afternoons: why not watch auto racing instead? Today at Austin, Texas was the United States Grand Prix on the Formula 1 circuit. Heck, even the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders were there! And so was Bill Clinton! The race was won by Lewis Hamilton who now has a huge lead for the drivers championship, and it clinches the constructors title for Mercedes.
I guess the real news for the day was that Max Verstappen was denied a podium finish after he was assessed a five second penalty for gaining an advantage by leaving the track. He ended up being kicked out of the room where the podium finishers had assembled; how humiliating is that?! Anyway, he and his team are mad as hell. There is never a dull moment in F1. Next race: Mexico.
The other big race today was the NASCAR playoff elimination race in Kansas that was won by Martin Truex Jr., but not before there was a huge car wreck that took out 14 cars from the field on lap 198, finishing off the Cup hopes of Matt Kenneth. Seems that in the aftermath Kenseth had to go into the pits for repairs, and it turned out one too many crew members came over the wall to work on his car, so he ended up violating some NASCAR rule and was disqualified. What a way to go out. I guess the other big news was that Kyle Larson was eliminated from the Cup due to an engine failure, which is a surprise after the big season he had.
I guess my point is that fans don’t have to be beholden to the NFL on Sundays. Yes, there are other options, and good ones. Boogity Boogity Boogity!
Well, the news from the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco isn’t the fact that Nico Rosberg won the race. No, apparently the big news out of there is that instead of having the gorgeous Grid Girls holding up their signs on the grid at the start of the event like they usually do, the organizers put in a bunch of good-looking Grid Boys instead.
I guess they want to attract more women as F1 fans. Never mind that the female fans already have good-looking guys to look at — the drivers.
Still, this move provoked the usual approval we have come to expect from the uptight political-correct people; and the usual disapproval from the un-PC people.
Decidedly in the latter camp: Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.
His comment at the post-race press conference was “why didn’t we have any grid girls today? What was that?!” He then added “now you park behind George or Dave — what’s the point of that?”
The only answers I can come up with to Vettel’s questions are pretty much along the lines of “the terrorists have won” or something similar. Really, this world we live in keeps on getting sillier and sillier.
I am wasting this snow-filled day at home watching sports on TV. After catching the end of the Aston Villa-Tottenham soccer game, I am now tuned to NFL and CFL football until the start of the auto races later today.
Yes, there are two big races going against one another this afternoon, and both are in Texas. One is the United States Grand Prix from Austin, while the other is the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Fort Worth. USA Today did a whole piece on how these two Texas races are up against each other. Personally, I think this is terrible for the fans, especially the ones in Texas.
Seriously, there are race fans who would have wanted to attend both races, and there are 52 weeks of the year in which to avoid a conflict. But these organizers forgot to look at the calendar, and so, instead of attending both of these races on separate dates, the race fans in Texas must either pick one or the other. This is going to drive down the attendance at both races, in my view.
It also stinks for me because I finally have a free weekend to be able to watch auto racing, after I spent last weekend working, and after going to a Riders game the weekend before. But now I am going to have to pick which one of these races to watch live.
Well, I’m going to watch Formula 1, because I don’t get an opportunity to do enough of that anyway, but the glitz and glamor of F1 is more my style than what you get from these good ol’ boys, these deep Southerners, in NASCAR anyway. Besides, the F1 race should be over before the NASCAR one, so I should be able to catch that one, too.
Also, I should comment some more on the TV ratings for the World Series that just ended. I notice the usual “baseball is dying” stories are out there again, with the Daily Caller the latest to declare the sport unpopular and in decline, declaring the audience as too old.
In truth, Game Seven between the Royals and the Giants got a big audience, but admittedly, these sorts of ratings don’t happen for baseball very often. I know it absolutely drives baseball people crazy when some ordinary regular-season NFL game on a Sunday or Monday night gets better ratings than the World Series.
And yet, a lot of people who have written about this point to the fact that the regional TV ratings for baseball are excellent. This is exactly the problem. Lots of these writers are saying baseball has become too regional a sport: people care about their local area teams, but they couldn’t care less about most of the other teams.
Part of the problem is the national media, who seem to fawn over a small number of big-market teams, like the Yankees and Red Sox as a really good example. But you’d never know the Minnesota Twins or the Colorado Rockies existed based on the coverage they get. As for the San Francisco Giants, they are particularly ignored year in and year out by the national media because they’re on the West Coast and their games are too late to get on the nightly highlight shows. It’s a lazy excuse, but that is what’s happened with them.
As a result, no one knows who Madison Bumgarner is, and no one cares about the Giants, a team that’s won the World Series three of the last five years!
With the NFL, their whole TV approach is totally different, with their national TV deals aimed at having fans care about the entire league, not just the local team. It seems like every team in the league gets on national TV at least once, no matter how bad they are — including even the crummy Detroit Lions every year on Thanksgiving.
Because there’s coverage of pretty much every team, a SF-KC game in the NFL becomes one people will watch and care about. But in MLB, with their focus on regional TV deals, and with the national media focused mainly on the major market East Coast teams, the local fans will have already lost interest the moment their team was eliminated — so a SF-KC matchup in the World Series becomes one they don’t care much about.
It’s not just Major League Baseball that has this problem — the NHL has the exact same issue in the USA (though people in Canada will watch any hockey game anywhere, I notice.) Also, I notice it’s getting to be a real problem with the CFL where people seem to care only about their local teams (ie. Saskatchewan) but increasingly could care less about any of the others.
Anyway, it would really help baseball if there were more attempts to showcase the other teams in the league on a national basis. They need to step up their national presence in a bigger way than what they have been doing. MLB needs to do more to market and hype up the whole month of October similar to the NCAA’s approach to basketball’s “March Madness.” That seems like a good plan to me, because honestly, most people couldn’t name most of the players in March Madness. Yet they still watch, just because it’s the NCAA Tourney.
I think this is a strategy worth pursuing. Seriously, this year’s playoffs were excellent, and there is no reason baseball couldn’t do better with its ratings in the future. They might as well hype it up and try and get people more excited about it. Anyway, those are my thoughts, and that’s all for the moment.
Well, after that 18-inning playoff baseball game yesterday, I decided I was not done watching sports on TV, so I stayed up late to watch the Formula 1 race from Japan live.
Like a scene out of the movie Rush, this race was completely rain-soaked due to the typhoon approaching the country. Conditions were so bad they had to red-flag it early on, and then when they re-started the race, the lousy weather was obviously not conducive to good racing, or for that matter good spectating. So this racing fan finally gave up in frustration and went to bed.
Unfortunately, the F1 teams and organizers didn’t give up. They probably should have, because there was a big wreck later in the race and racer Jules Bianchi was seriously injured with a head injury.
That incident marred the entire race and put an early end to the proceedings. The recap of the day here.
Now, just watch as the Americans once again do what they usually do, and use this incident as their big launching-pad to call for auto racing to be banned now, along with football. It wouldn’t surprise me.
Welcome to another News from Nowhere, this time coinciding with Thanksgiving weekend here in frozen Canada — although to be honest, around here it is not “frozen” yet. But it will be, soon enough, so I’m enjoying what is four full days off from work before all that happens.
After this post, I intend to do absolutely no journalism, no writing at all, until next Tuesday when I return to work. Also, I’m going to have to seriously think about the next few months to come — such as winter getaway plans. Seriously, there is absolutely no way I am going to spend my entire winter here in Saskatchewan. I’ve got to head someplace which isn’t cold and overrun with snow. Arrgh!!
The big story here in Saskatchewan lately has been CRIME. We’ve had some bad incidents lately around the province, but also in our own area. I wrote a column on the local situation here.
Beyond that, people have mainly been freaking out because a dangerous sex offender was on the loose. This guy had thrown away his electronic monitoring bracelet in Lloydminster, prompting schools in a number of places to go on lockdown.
We were closely following that story in our newsroom and getting email updates from the police about it. Some people were scared that he was going to come up here to our city. Now, we hear, he has fled to the States.
Anyway, it is stories like these that are the reason why I need four days off. Stories about criminals on the loose is really, really depressing.
Other news from nowhere for this week: As expected and predicted it was the Liberals who threw out the incumbent NDP in Nova Scotia’s provincial election. Not even Premier Darrell Dexter could save his own seat in what was a total rout of the NDP.
From the USA — those jokers in Congress and the White House are still haggling for a deal during this government shutdown and there are signs of progress.
Some bad news from the world of film criticism: Stanley Kauffmann has died.
In entertainment news I noticed ABC News has this report about a Baywatch reunion done for Entertainment Tonight. It turns out a lot of cast members had weight clauses that forbid them from gaining five pounds!! Some of the female cast members also spoke of some of the cattiness on the set.
Wow, brings back memories eh? I still love the Baywatch babes. (Pam! Gena Lee! Carmen! Donna! Brande! Did I say Pam?) I love the Nineties.
In sports, the Formula 1 campaign has turned into a runaway for Sebastian Vettel and I noticed this piece in the Daily Mail about him, comparing him to Fangio and Schumacher. Like those greats, though, his dominance is turning this season into a big bore. He can wrap up another title this weekend at Suzuka, Japan, with four races to spare.
Also noticed a story about Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes, who recently quit and went to TSN Radio mainly to be closer to the family. He was getting fed up with all the travel taking him away from what is really important in life.
You know, I hear him. I can relate because of all the lost evenings going to cover meetings when I could be home watching, uh, sports.
Also in sports, I noticed Slate did up a map of the USA pointing out all the regional sports. It’s pretty interesting when you look at some of the regional sports tastes down there — with North Carolina being such a NASCAR hotbed and all the boxing activity in Las Vegas, and Jai-Alai being such a big Florida sport — though I notice a lot of stories about that sport dying and so on.
One commenter over at Deadspin did up a map for Canada — which was pretty much all hockey except for a certain province that likes football, apparently. (Take a guess which one.)
I think that is it for the moment.
Tonight during the wee hours of the morning, the Malaysian Grand Prix will race. I have to say, these hours make no sense for North American viewers.
Last weekend, I tried watching the F1 season opener from Australia, which ran after midnight, but was so tired from a hard week of working that I went to bed. Tonight, this Malaysian race doesn’t even begin until just about 2 AM my time. That, my friends, is ridiculous.
We are always stuck with Formula 1 races that are either in the very wee hours of the morning, such as the Asia-Pacific F1 races are right now, or at the break of dawn around 6 AM, as is the case with most of the European races in my time zone.
The only three races on the F1 calendar schedule that can be viewed at what could be called a reasonable hour here on Sundays are the races in Montreal, Texas and Brazil.
If you want to know why F1 is not more popular with fans here in North America, or for that matter anywhere in the Americas, then look no further than the times these races are on. Seriously, it’s frustrating to be a fan of this sport when the races are on live TV at such ungodly hours.
No wonder we race fans are all following NASCAR, then, if this is what we must put up with from F1. If F1 is serious about getting more fans in North America with their superior brand of racing, they really ought to schedule more races that will run sometime during what counts as a Sunday afternoon in North America. Three races a year just doesn’t cut it.
Really, how hard would it be to put some more races in places that could telecast into the North American time zone on Sunday afternoons? I know they were thinking of putting another US race into New York, but couldn’t they also put up some floodlights at some of these European tracks and run races over there at night, like they do in Singapore? That could attract a North American audience, no problem. Anyway, they need to do something. There’s still a lot of money in North America and the Americas generally, and F1 could do a lot more with their race scheduling to cash in on all that auto racing interest out there.
The Malaysian GP is tonight, for those of you insomniacs who care to watch.
Also, later tonight the Formula 1 season goes ahead in Australia with the Australian Grand Prix, and being a big F1 fan I am very happy about that. F1 coverage here from the BBC.
With all this going on I almost don’t miss football. Almost.
Auto racing may be in the sink right across Canada — a place where fans much prefer hard-hitting sports like the UFC fights held in Montreal last night — but that didn’t stop me from following the goings-on in NASCAR this weekend as Brad Keselowski, that same guy who posts on Twitter from inside his #2 car, clinched the Sprint Cup title in Homestead, Florida.
He did it by fending off Jimmie Johnson, who had a real shot at winning the championship today. But he wound up third in points behind Clint Bowyer after a costly miscue in the pits (his crew didn’t put enough lugnuts onto the wheels, apparently), followed up in short order with the whole car smoking on the track and ending up in the garage. What a way for a championship to be decided, but that’s the way it goes in auto racing.
This was also the first title for Roger Penske who, despite winning several Indy 500s, spent over two decades of trying to win a NASCAR title. The drought finally ended this weekend.
Winning the actual race was Jeff Gordon, who just a week before got a big fine from NASCAR after he rammed Clint Bowyer’s car and then got into a fight with him after the race in Phoenix. Never a dull moment in NASCAR, I gotta say — it’s what keeps me coming back year after year, although the real reason I watch is as a replacement for football during the spring weekends following the NFL season.
So about the only racing series left to watch now for me is Formula 1 which will have its finale next week in Brazil. Thanks to Lewis Hamilton’s win today, the drivers’ title race won’t be decided until the final day, which is a nice change from last year.
Today’s F1 race was the first in the USA in a while, which is good to see. It was staged at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and as the New York Times explains, it was kind of weird.