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Sport Speculator: The Heisman Award for the best

The Heisman award is not for the best athlete in college football. It's for the Best offensive skilled position player from a BCS Division 1 school. Since 1987 there has been 24 winners of the heisman. 15 have been quarter backs, 6 have been running backs(I'm counting Reggie Bush), 2 have been wide receivers and 1 has been a Corner Back. Why is that? The last time a Wide receiver won the award was Desmond Howard in 1991 before that Tim Brown in 1987. I think they don't get real consideration because they don't have the ball very often and aren't seen as being in control of their own destiny. The quarterback has to always give them the ball. Also even the best wide receivers will only get the ball maybe 6-8 times a game. They are not viewed as a game changer.

Only once has a defensive player ever won the Heisman, Charles Woodson(Michigan 1997) and he didn't win it because he was the best at his position. Which would happen if it were a quarterback or running back. He won(barely) because he was good also throwing the ball, returning punts and kick offs, running on trick plays. With out the extra he wouldn't have won. An argument against him has been that he didn't have a massive amount of interceptions (8) he was a shutdown cornerback. He would either break up the pass or intercept it so teams stopped throwing in his direction.

Defensive players are not seriously considered. Dick Butkus(linebacker) finished 6th Ndamunkong Suh finished fourth in 2009. A defensive player hasn't finished in the top 2 since the seventies.  The last offensive lineman to finished in the top 5 was Orlando Pace in 1996. Only 2 tight ends have won the award. So basically since 1935 only 5 players other than quarter back and running back.

If you want a Legitimate award for the best College athlete try the "William V. Campbell Trophy" on for size. It factors in on field performance, academics and community service. It's not based just on stats and it's open to every college level(1aa, 2, NAIA). Plus you don't have to be from a BCS conference. Example winners 1990 Chris Howard Air Force, 1999 Chad Pennington from Marshall 2002 Brandon Roberts from Washington University in St. Louis and most recent 2011 Andrew Rodriguez from Army.

Another nock against the Heisman is the voters. The voting seems segregated. Especially in the south. Voters in the south always seem vote for whoever in the south. Also there seems to be some unofficial rule where you can't vote for a freshman or sophomore(no reason is given) or for a non RB or QB. If this is truly for the best player in the country why focus only on two positions?


Sport Speculator: We Got Next? WNBA

Over under when will the WNBA go under? Within 2 or 5 years. It shouldn't ever go under but then again it shouldn't exist as is. I'll explain in a moment. 

It seems no one really cares about the WNBA. Women's college basketball is more talked about than the WNBA. Men don't watch it. Women and young girls (the target demographic)don't either. There are people out there that believe that the WNBA should go away. I disagree. Without the WNBA around and also on television young girls won't  really have any reason to believe that there can be an female equivalent for (EX)Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas and the like. There are women's leagues overseas but no one watches that and most people are ignorant about them. Without the WNBA female basketball players will have a small number of places they can go to pursue their dream and make a living.

There were several issues the WNBA had at startup:1 Fundalmentals, Marketing, Location, Readiness.

The League wasn't ready. When the WNBA was being marketed initially the one stop point was women's basketball is fundamentally better than mens. the firstt few games were sloppy there wasn't any chemistry. Missed passes, missed shots constant turnovers. The american public only gave it one chance and haven't been back since. As the season went on it got better. Despite this it still had chance to succeed. 

Location. It seems the idea was to have a association with already existing NBA Teams, hoping that that teams popularity would bleed over. These are the WNBA teams that either moved or went defunct:Charlotte Sting, Detroit Shock, Houston Comets, Miami Sol, Cleveland Rockers, Orlando Miracles, Sacramento Monarchs, Portland Fire & Utah Starrz. Practically half of the teams were disbanded or moved. The problem it seems is that after the initial interest dissipate people in these cities found other things to do. The League may have been fundalmentally better than the NBA but fundamentals aren't exciting. It also says something that the NBA didn't really try hard to save these teams. Between the Houston and Detroit teams they won 6 titles combined and now they no longer exist. That is the equivalent of the Lakers and Celtics disbanding.

The previous Women's Basketball league was located in cities that didn't have a NBA team at the time(or any pro sports team really)so it was the only game in town and thus controlled everyone's interest. Example it had teams in Connecticut and Oklahoma City(this was pre the Seattle Supersonics being moved there).

Marketing. Who did the WNBA want to attract? I suppose women and young girls. Initially it was shown on NBC, Lifetime and ESPN(later occasionally ABC). However it seemed they didn't go the extra mile. Nearly all of entertainment was directed towards women but they didn't seem to do the things that television and the movies do to draw their attention. At least not on any major way a major corporation would. At first it seemed that they wanted to aim at both men and women. This wasn't going to work because their target demographic was going to have to be women. Men had the NBA and men have never showed an interest in female sports before even in big events such as the olympics and the NCAA.

One demographic that the WNBA should have gone after harder is the Lesbian(gay)one. The WNBA wanted to come off as family friendly but the family dynamic has changed over the years. Also I think they may have been afraid of any possible sexual connotations(Example only lesbians play in the WNBA or lesbians only watch because they find the players attractive).

Some years ago the WNBA had a campaign that wanted men to take their daughters or nieces to games. This sounds good but the problem is women should be doing this more. Picture this: ladies night out going to the WNBA game or mothers taking daughters to games.The league didn't focus on this as much as it should have. Men aren't going to ever leave the NBA for the WNBA. Also games are expensive if you are going to take your son or daughter to a game where are you going to get more bang for your buck?

The majority of entertainment is aimed towards women. The WNBA should see how television, movies and radio attract customers and use those methods as well. Have special events at half time or before the game that will get the women excited. It may seem cloying but if you want to attract young girls invite musical groups and other entertainers by for a performance or a meet and greet.

Earlier I said the WNBA shouldn't exist. That may have been to strong. It shouldn't exist as it is currently constructed. Other leagues like

American Basketball League (1996–1998) 


Women's American Basketball Association 

have existed. One thing that leagues like this did right was start with teams in cities that didn't have NBA franchises so they were the only team in town. The NBA should have done that also The league regular seaon should be during part of the baseball season(from June (maybe late May) to the end of August(before football season begins) have only 15 games to start. A livable wage for the players. Most importantly for the first year do not show it on TV until teams have played at least 7-10 games in. Because the games will be sloppy but eventually they will get cleaned up and when the games are shown on television everyone will see the games at their purest and best.


Sports Speculator: The Next Big Thing?: Soccer

Why isn't soccer (Football) popular in the United States even though it's been played consistently since the 70's? Because Americans don't have a great love for it. Everywhere else in the world loves Soccer more than any other sport. It's inexpensive, all you need is a ball. You don't need any special equipment or shoes. People play it everywhere. In the desert, jungle inner city, country ,and suburbs. The rules are simple to master.

In the 1970's soccer became a niche sport in the States and then only in the suburbs. Looking at the history of sports in the U.S. if only one segment of the society participates in a sport it won't gain cross over appeal. Also the parents that had their children participate in soccer didn't love the sport themselves. Kids liked it at first because it's a group activity and they can run around with their friends. The problem is unlike NASCAR, basketball, football, baseball, or hockey families didn't sit around for years together watching and loving soccer(exceptions immigrants from other countries where soccer is popular).

Parents put their kids into soccer teams not because the parents or really the children love the the sport but because it will keep them in shape and it's largely non violent. In most cases kids will try other sports and activities and stop taking an interest in soccer. Sadly they usually never come back. There was a national pro soccer league in the late 1960's to mid 1980's(North American Soccer League) that even had arguably the most famous soccer player of all time Pele' that that couldn't sustain interest in the sport.

So can soccer ever become popular in the States? Perhaps. Like I said we get our love of a sport usually by our family(usually a male family member)father typically introduces the sport to us and because we want to spend time with them we check it out and gradually the love of the sport that they have is imported to us as well. With soccer since none of the parents or family as a deep attachment to the sport the children never care for the sport as well. Tv networks (NBC, FOX & ESPN) are trying to do what they can by scheduling more of it. So far no luck. What needs to happen is that the parents and children in the country and inner city need be involved. I see more kids playing basketball, baseball and football in neighborhoods than soccer. The only time I see soccer being played is when I go by the local universities. 

Recently the MLS has moved most of it's teams from football stadiums(holding at least 45,000 people) to smaller stadiums holding around 16,000 - 19,000 people because there isn't enough of an interest to fill up the larger ones. Also teams in the MLS have been trying to sign away major international soccer stars. Unfortunately the only big get was a past his prime David Beckham. The problem with this was  while he is popular internationally he isn't in the top 5 of the best players. Another problem he's more of a passer than a scorer and the main problem americans have against soccer is lack of scoring.

After the 1999 Womens World Cup the with the United States won a Soccer League was created the:

Women's United Soccer Association

The talk was the women winning the World Cup changed everything. That the public was ready and wants womens soccer. It only lasted from from 2000 - 2003. The MLS started in 1993 and is still ongoing today. It began a year before the World cup matches would be held in the USA the next year. They went big and right after the World Cup they were riding high until the next year. Soccer is beyond just a niche sport it seems to be the equivalent of an olympic sport. Americans watch events such as the Olympics because it is a big event. and we love big events we just don't want to see those particular sports which we have no love for on a daily or weekly basis.

To finish up, a sport will only be massively popular when it crosses several sections and demographics(poor, rich, middle class. inner city, country, suburbs...etc). Soccer is the worlds most popular sport. Easy to learn and play. Maybe this is just as well, America's most popular sport is football and the rest of the world is puzzled or doesn't care about it. While it would be nice if everyone could enjoy the same sport or at least have the same amount of popularity some things are not meant to be.


Disney Overview: A Mickey Mouse Operation?

It looks like pretty soon Disney will own everything. Now a handful of companies own the majority of channels it seems(Warner Brothers, Comcast, Disney, Paramount, Viacom). Disney bought ABC and it's subsidiaries( ABC Family) for $19 billion, ESPN $800 million, A&E $3 billion, Marvel $4 billion and now LucasFilm at $4 billion(about $30 billion). It's interesting that Disney keeps buying these companies for the intellectual properties but not come up with much themselves. The Saturday morning lineup was done away with 2 years ago and before that they only showed old reruns for disney xd shows that were either cancelled or almost done.

One positive about Disney buying these properties, for the most part the companies are already successful and they allow the companies to continue working as they did before. Most companies when they buy another they don't do that(hint technology & telecommunication companies hint hint). One negative: 6 companies seem to own all the major Broadcast Networks and basic cable stations. Can paid cable be far behind.

Disney (alleged)legal practices is a problem however. It's estimated that all of Lucasfilm(THX, Lucas Arts,etc...) estimated worth is at least 30 billion. So how did the government(SEC) let them get away with under buying at just under 5 billion. Possible the same reason Mickey Mouse will never come up for the public domain. 

The Sonny Bono law aka The Mickey Mouse Law was allegedly Disney spoke or offered money for the CTEA (Copyright Term Extension Act) the copy right last the live of the author (Walt Disney) plus 50 years or 75 if it's a work of a corporation. Not anymore now it is 95years after original publication and 120 years if it's a work of corporate authorship. So it's conceivable that they had their lawyers smooth over the SEC and allowed LUCASFILM to be under sold. 



I really enjoy One Piece. Who wouldn't like a story of super powered priates searching for the world greatest treasure(One Piece) and have tons hairraising adventures fighting absurdly powerful enemies?  It's highly creative and fun. In a lot of ways it's my favorite comic out. It's not perfect however. You wouldn't know it by checking forums however. The basic consensus seems to be it hasn't had a down period in over a decade while Naruto and Bleach are unreadable. There are entire forums discussing that.

What's interesting about One Piece however is what should be it's weaknesses are also is it's strengths.

The Look: Most of the characters are tall and lanky. Clean and not a complex design. In a way they look like a child could have designed them, because of the energy and sense of fun you get from it. A negative about this is nearly all characters (especially the females) a built the same. and the women have the same face minus a couple exceptions. Example of the ame face: Nami & Keimi(mermaid) or Boa Hancock and Nico Robin. Unless it's a young child or an old women. It's basically the same woman with different hairstyles.

One negative I have is the evolovution of the character designs. After the White Beard Saga(Paramount War is the VIZ translation)there is a time skip of 2 years. Most of this characters are nearing or just past 20 yrs old(Robin was 28). After the timeskip everyone lookks basically the same with the exception of Franky(he's mostly a cyborg now). Nami's hair got longer. Robin wears a dress(or is that just a large sarong) now and Ussop gained a *little* muscle. 

A postive is even though the characters are almost unreal to look you get drawn into them. Whatever emotions possitive or negative the characters feel as a reader you feel it too. It shouldn't work. Rubbery limbs, over exaggerated faces and emotions, but it does.

The Villians: Every villian character design is unique. Their powers are well thought out and they have a humorous distinct laugh. Unforuntely that's it. Their personalities are one note. Why do the things they do? Their evil. The motivations aren't interesting. Unlike with the main cast you don't delve into threir reasoning on why they do what they do. They just seem to be evil just for the sake to be evil.

I know people complain about Bleach and Naruto but at least in those series many of the characters have layers to them, villians included. An example is "Naruto". There are no 100% evil villans in "Naruto" with the exception of Nato the Gangster(Land of Waves Arc). None of the villians see themselves as such and have realistic and understandable motivations driving them. One of the main villians Tobi wants to have peace in the world. Unfortunately he wants to remove everyones freewill and put them in a massive hallucination.

Romance/Love: There is no real sense of romantic love in the world of One Piece, which seems unrealistic but it brings up an interesting issue in Shonen comics. If early in the comics run there aren't any potential romantic interests introduced then it won't be. In an interview some years ago Ochiro Oda(creator of One piece) stated that is a shonen story so that is why there is in romance. I disagree with this take. Whether you enjoy American comics or not I appreciate the possible love interest subplot. It makes the story more relateable. By removing this you are effectively neutering the characters emotional development to a degree.  

The first volume of One Piece is called "Romance Dawn" meaning the the dawning romance of the adventure of One Piece I assume. There is also the love of "Nakama" meaning close friends or comrades. Because this is a Shonen(Shounen) title and aimed at young boys I can understand a bit where Oda is trying to do but his target demographic are a age where they are beginning to get these feelings and it just feels like a cop out that none of the characters acknowledge these feelings. I am not including Boa Hancock wanting Luffy or Sanji wanting every pretty girl because those are just done for the sake of comedy so nothing will come of it.