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  1. #1
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 09:28 AM
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    Default Expansion - good or bad?

    What are your thoughts on expansion in sports? A lot of people think the various leagues have expanded too much, and it's caused the play in sports to be watered down or otherwise diminished. I disagree. I think that with the amount that our population has grown over the years, plus more and more players coming from foreign countries, there should be more than enough quality athletes to stock each of the various major leagues. One could possibly make a case for basketball as not only do you need to be a good athlete, you need to be a good tall athlete, but still, with players coming from Europe and the Far East, they should be able to stock all the teams with enough talent to put on a good game. I don't hear people complaining about the college game, where there are more than 50 teams with athletes that only have a four-year career span. Heck, some people actually prefer the college game (I'm not one of them). So there should be no reason that there shouldn't be enough good players to stock a league of 30 or so teams where the career span can be between 10-20 years. Look at who won the World Baseball Classic - Japan...over Cuba. Two tiny countries could pull together enough players to beat the best players from this country. Look at the Little League World Series - there are teams from Russia and Saudi Arabia. Whether any of those players will grow up to be major league calibre remains to be seen, but the fact is, baseball is being played all over the world and the talent pool is out there.

    Look at Major League Baseball - until Jackie Robinson broke the "color" barrier, there were 16 teams only pulling their talent pool out of half the U.S. male population. Now there are 32 teams, the entire male poplulation (which has grown much larger in the last 60 years) is now eligible to play, plus now they are pulling players from the Caribbean, Japan, Mexico and Central and South America. So there's no reason that there shouldn't be enough good ballplayers out there. But the anti-expansionists always tell us that there isn't enough pitching (funny, I never hear complaints that expansion has watered down hitting!). I don't buy it. If pitching is worse these days, it's because it's the way Major League Baseball has designed it. I hadn't really thought about it, but Tim McCarver was talking on Saturday about how they lowered the mound 5 inches before the 1969 season because pitchers had been so dominant in 1968, and maybe it was time to move it back to the original height. Among other comments, he thought maybe the lower mound was contributing to a lot of the arm problems pitchers seem to have nowadays. Something to think about. But besides the mound, you have the DH which was added in 1973 to do what? Add offense! You have the crackdown on brushback pitchers - a guy like Bob Gibson or Don Drysdale might even struggle in today's game without the ability to move guys off the plate when they felt like it - one warning, then they're out. How many times did Johnny Damon get drilled this weekend after homering off the Red Sox? In the old days, he would've walked up to the plate expecting it. Now he can dig in knowing that if the Sox pitchers can't throw at him, because they'll risk getting tossed and the Red Sox couldn't afford to have any pitchers tossed this weekend. Plus, with the armour some of these guys wear up to the plate now, they don't even have to worry if they do get hit. So these guys can go up there with no fear. Advantage: hitters. Then you have pitch counts and bullpen specialists - in the old days, your emphasis was on your starters, the guys in the bullpens were usually second tier pitchers that were available for blowouts. You didn't have a closer. I believe the pitching talent is still there, it's just distributed differently through the various roles on a pitching staff, and then shackled by rules designed for offense.

    Other factors that contribute to a seeming lack of quality play are money and free agency. These guys get their payday early, so there's no need to continue to strive to get better (for some). How many guys have you seen turn it on when their contract is up for renewal? Guys in college still have a reason to play hard if they want to make the pros, but once they get that payday, what's left to drive them? Some athletes are always driven to excel (just like in all other aspects of life) but others take the money and run...er jog. With free agency, you get players moving from team to team, so it's hard to build chemistry. Certain positions are better together - second base and shortstop; outfield teams; battery mates. As fine a catcher as Javy Lopez is, don't you really think the Red Sox wish they had Varitek behind the plate for this important series (well, it was important when it started) with the Yankees. He's only injured, but still, there's only so much of his knowledge of the pitchers that he can transfer to Lopez.

    I think expansion is a good thing (in moderation) as it brings teams into previously unserved markets and allows more fans to enjoy the game.

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 06:12 AM
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    I am a fan for expansion, when it is called for, and in moderation. Too many new teams too fast can create issues. Generally, it takes an expansion team a good four or five years to become competitive (Not counting extreme team owners who buy championships, or do nothing to improve their team). Too many of these teams in the league at once will provide more opportunity for bad competition (Hence all the water down talent arguements), and that isn't good for anyone. Give it a few years for the free agents to spread to the new teams and even everything out.

    I do not believe that it waters down talent. You just need to find talent in other sources.

    The NFL can definitely expand into untapped markets (Hello LA....)

    The NHL expanded too fast, and they are paying for it now.

    Baseball is at a pretty good state right now. They need to improve the teams they have (TB, Pittsburgh and other small market teams) before thinking about expanding. However in the future (More distant then close), with changes to the economic system, I can see teams being located in the caribbean and in Mexico City. Way down the line, who knows. Maybe they go overseas to Europe and Asia as well.

    The NBA just expanded. Let the Bobcats solidify themselves before expanding again.
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  3. #3
    Casting Shade
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    05.04.08 @ 05:05 PM
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    Nice posts guys. I agree with each of you that expansion is good on the whole. However, I feel that in baseball expansion should not occur for some time to come. The four recent expansion teams in MLB (Marlins, Rockies, D-Rays, Diamondbacks), do consistently poor in economic terms. Every now and then they have good seasons, i.e. the D-backs and Marlins, but on the whole these teams have been unsuccessful and receive relatively poor attendance even during good years up until the playoffs begin. Baseball is in no state to expand at the moment when so many small market teams are struggling to make it (Twins, Pirates, A's, KC), in addition to the most recent expansion teams. If teams are moved, or new teams created, they have to be in larger markets, and quite frankly, how many larger markets are left?
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  4. #4
    Atomic Punk jrk5150's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 09:10 AM
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    Good topic. I don't think there is a dearth of talent per se either. I think that it's cyclical, and part of the problem is how the sports are marketed. You have to get kids playing to have the talent pool down the road. Baseball struggled with that for a long time, but it seems to be coming back around. I think labor peace has a lot to do with it. For years, the MLB owners did nothing but try to win the PR battle by putting down the players. Not bright - demean your product, and who's going to buy?

    The NBA has been saved by the foreign talent coming in with solid fundamentals. That may or may not end up in a resergence in the US of teaching fundamentals, we'll see.

    The NFL is the NFL - if you're a good enough athlete and can take the pain, you can play in the NFL, and that probably won't change.

    I hear you about the money, and would tend to agree. I think the money has resulted in a loss of hunger and competitiveness, but you can't unring that bell.

    As far as pitching - again, it's cyclical. You've got a ton of very good young pitchers coming up, the Liriano's, Santana's, Paplebon's, etc., so it's starting to cycle back already.

  5. #5
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 09:28 AM
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    Actually, the Marlins were doing okay up until '98. I think '98 was too soon to expand again (though that is not what caused the Marlins attendance problems). 1994 turned a lot of people off, and while a lot have come back, in some cities where there is still a perceived economic disparity, they have not returned. A little winning never hurt, either. Look at Detroit - up 6,000 per game from where their average last year, and without looking it up, I'm pretty sure they were up last year from the year before. I do believe baseball should wait awhile before even thinking about expanding again.

    The NFL - expansion is a tough sell, even with L.A. in the picture. Right now they've got a good balance with 8 4-team divisions - so where are you going to put any extra teams? And you sure as hell can't expand by 8 - or even 4.

  6. #6
    Good Enough atomicpunk5150's Avatar
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    08.31.17 @ 07:33 PM
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    For some time now I have been wondering...Why are there no sports franchises from MLB, NFL, NHL or NBA in Las Vegas? i know someone will say something about gambling and pro sports but you can gamble anywhere if you try hard enough. But honestly it seems like it could, would, should be a prefect fit for at least one professional sports franchise...
    "Question is,not does love exist,but when,she leaves,where she goes. I got a feeling she don't know either. Wait like the wind,watch where she blows..."

  7. #7
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 09:28 AM
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    Default

    I think the gambling excuse has certainly been lessened by the legalisation of gambling in many other states, but it still will be held over the city of Las Vegas because that's where the biggest and best sports books are. Another black mark is that Las Vegas is considered a transient city - nobody stays for long - hard to build a fan base that way. Still, I think within 10 years, maybe even 5, someone will take the plunge. I would think the NHL or NBA would be the best bets (ha!), NFL probably least likely. MLB is a tough call unless the league or teams decide they've had enough of Miami and/or St. Petersburg.

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk BREW CREW's Avatar
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    08.27.17 @ 09:39 AM
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    The Las Vegas Gamblers. Hmmm...maybe Kenny Rogers will be the first pitcher signed to a deal that only betters will sing along with.
    Last edited by BREW CREW; 08.23.06 at 06:42 PM.
    Just go for it!

  9. #9
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    Apparently there's an Australian Rules football team of that name:



    www.vegasfooty.com

  10. #10
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    And it appears the 2007 NBA All-Star game is being played in Las Vegas as well!


 

 

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