Auto Racing Archives

Sep
2015
24

The 10 and only 10 American Sports

If you are an American sports fan you know all about Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and the websites DraftKings and Fanduel as they have inundated TV, radio and internet with countless ads. These sites have taken advantage of a loophole that makes fantasy sports legal to allow Americans to lose a lot of money not gambling. They advertise that it is not gambling and they are going to payout billions of dollars in prize money. We have different definition of gambling and for whatever they pay out you know they are taking in at least 10% more. I wrote about “The Explosion of Daily Fantasy Sports” back in May and you can read the article just by clicking “Fantasy Sports” under categories. Fanduel only allows games in the four major team sports: American Football (NFL an NCAA), Baseball (MLB), Basketball (NBA and NCAA) and Hockey (NHL). DraftKings has all of those and Golf (PGA), Soccer (UCL, EPL, MLS), Auto Racing (NASCAR), and MMA (UFC). I actually enjoy entering contests in PGA, Champions League, Premier League and NASCAR more than the major American team sports (no MMA). It’s not that I am bigger fan of those sports, but that I have played season long fantasy in the Big 4 every year usually with multiple teams. The exception is hockey and because of that I play in many NHL games on the DFS sites. Therefore I play a lot more on the DraftKings platform. Both sites send e-mails at least once daily with some promotion, Tonight DK sent a message “Introducing the next BIG thing.” The last similar announcement was for the debut of DK’s NASCAR daily fantasy contests. Something I had been eagerly awaiting and thought was long overdue. Tonight my reaction was quite different. “1-Day Fantasy eSports are now on DraftKings”. I was in complete shock.

My first reaction was this ridiculous and that DraftKings was really overreaching. E-Sports, is not sports. It is watching people play video games. I don’t understand how this could possibly qualify as a sport. I don’t see how this is entertaining. You could theoretically be watching the demo. How do you know that a human is controlling the characters? I can’t wait for the first major cheating scandal or the six-fingered player, who comes in and dominates the game. Is there Adderall testing? What happens when the game freezes like my old Nintendo used to do? I don’t even know what I’m talking about. I actually went in to make a lineup in a free game in LoL. No, that is not “laughing out loud”, but League of Legends the video game they are playing. The draft screen looked like it was in another language. I skimmed the rules and that didn’t clear anything up. I put in a totally random team that got just under the salary cap. I can’t say I am eagerly awaiting the results.

What really blew me away was how many entries have already been submitted. They had 16k free entries (which is high as you can only make one line per account), but also many pools were already about 20%-30% and these games are being played October 1st, a week from today. DraftKings is obviously not overreaching. They are going to jump in on this gravy train and skim cash from E-Sports fans and will be “LoLing” all the way to the bank.

I will define sports in the next paragraph, but I will tease that the first condition is “physical exertion”. Playing video games is the opposite of physical exertion. It is what you do to avoid exercise. These players are just using their fingers. I am typing all of these words with my fingers. This is not exertion, my waistline proves that. DraftKings had the gall to call them “athletes” when stating 5 gamers earn over $1 million per year. I put the quotation marks in, they didn’t. DK did also state that E-Sports had $143 million in revenue and a global audience of 134 million with 32 million watching the North American championship. That is obviously significant, but should be classified in a different branch of entertainment, but not sports. It is similar to poker which is shown on ESPN, but requires no physical exertion and is a game not a sport. I can’t say I’m an athlete by pushing in a stack of chips into the middle of a table. All while I’m eating a bag of chips.

When writing about the great sports weekend that was the first weekend of May 2015, I mentioned that I believe there are 10 and only 10 major American sports. I didn’t want to get into the debate at that time, but I will now. First let’s define what a sport is. As you do in the 21st century you type “sport definition” into Google. First thing that pops up: (noun) an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. I was very happy to read that as I would have had a very similar, but less eloquent definition. The key part of the statement that will disqualify much of what some consider sports is “physical exertion AND skill”.

What that does is eliminate the majority of the “Olympic” sports like track and field and swimming. I don’t believe these are skills. Running, jumping, throwing and even swimming are basic human movements. These are things you learn how to do so you can play a sport. They are not sports by themselves. I would consider track and field as “athletics” and not sports. I look to the Boy Scouts of America. They have separate merit badge for Sports, Swimming and Athletics. To earn the Sports Merit Badge a scout must participate in a season of: baseball, basketball, bowling, cross-country, field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, water polo. There are various other requirements as well. Cross-country is my only objection as that really is just running. Surprised to see it on the list, every other one is clearly a sport. I’m was a little surprised to see field hockey and softball on this list as these are almost exclusively sports for girls in youth and high school sports. Either way I think there is a clear delineation between sports and other athletic competitions. Ultimately many of these athletic competitions you aren’t really competing with other humans, but with the clock or measuring tape, that’s another knock against.

I am not a fan of the vast majority of the events in the Olympics. I don’t care about them during the 3 years in between and only have passing interest in the Olympics even when a top American is competing. However I downright loathe cycling. I don’t consider it a sport for a bunch of reasons. I don’t think riding a bike is a real skill. It is something you should learn to do as a young child as a mode of transportation. Cycling really just is a test of endurance. The more interesting competition is among the “doctors” who manipulate the human body with drugs and other means of doping. The other problem I have with it is I don’t see how it is entertaining. You are watching people exercise. I would rather watch bike messengers and Chinese food delivery guys navigate the New York City streets than skinny men in bike shorts climbing up a mountain in France. The fact that there is only one event that matters and it is in France would disqualify it from it being major or American.

That leads us to defining what a “major American” sport is. I would think it would require network TV coverage, major annual events on US soil, significant annual attendance, large age range in participants and wagers offered on results (in Nevada) on its professional level. This knocks out the Olympic sports as they don’t have annual events of note or attendance. I also think that extreme sports or the X-Games would not qualify either as there is a very narrow age range in participants and fans. The “X” in the X-Games should stand for exhibition as the only scoring is based on the opinion of the judges.

The ten American sports (note the logos on top of the webpage) are as follows:
American Football
Basketball
Baseball
Ice Hockey
Soccer
Auto Racing
Golf
Boxing/MMA (Fighting Sports)
Tennis
Horse Racing

This list is in order of importance, though it is very hard to differentiate between much of the positioning from sports 4 through 8. I will have more on the ranking of these 10 to come.

I had written way back in May that I lumped together Boxing and MMA into one as “Fighting Sports”. This probably would upset fans of both sports as there seems to be some animosity between the fan bases. I feel that most Americans are fans of one or the other or neither, but very few both. In fact they often have major events on the same night. I am a boxing fan, but not an MMA fan. Without the major cross-over in fans, I think they can be lumped together, just as betting information website Don Best does.

Lacrosse is the 11th sport and I think will be added to the list of major American sports in later part of the next decade. It is still mostly a regional sport and doesn’t have a strong enough professional league. Lacrosse has strong roots in Canada and is very popular in pockets of the Northeast, in the Mid-Atlantic, in areas of the Carolinas and Colorado. The sport is showing incredible growth in the state of California and if it ever gets popular in Texas baseball is in serious trouble. Lacrosse and baseball both share the spring athletic season for youth, scholastic and collegiate sports. Where I grew up in the outskirts of the New York City suburbs there was no lacrosse at all, now there is significant participation taking away from boys and girls who would play baseball or softball. There is a professional league, but it doesn’t move the needle in terms of attendance or TV viewership. Also, I have never seen a betting line or odds to win on any lacrosse game or season. I will need to see available wagering first before it can be considered a major American sport.

Bowling believe it or not might just be the 12th sport. I know it may be hard to consider bowlers “athletes”, but it does fit the definition and qualifies as a sport for the Boy Scouts. There isn’t much physical exertion, but drop a ball on your toe my friend, talk about a rush, you’ll be throbbing, you’ll see visions. There is a significant professional league the Profession Bowlers Association. They play for considerable prize money and players come from around the world. The sport has always had a place on television here the states. ESPNU shows quite a bit of women’s college bowling. It actually is entertaining to watch. There still are a lot of youth leagues, for four seasons I bowled in a league as a kid. There also has been huge growth in the game in urban areas as cool bowling/rock venues have been built, like Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, Las Vegas and London (shameless plug). I haven’t seen any widespread gambling on bowling, though I know that odds are posted for the big PBA event in Reno, Nevada.

A sport I feel I need to mention which certainly isn’t an American sport, but has tremendous growth potential is cricket. To use trader’s speak, along with lacrosse, cricket is a sport to get long. This may sound surprising as our bat and ball game, baseball is losing popularity. Cricket’s growth is all about demographics. I think there will be massive emigration from South Asia to the Western world. The countries of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and especially Bangladesh are projected to see explosive population growth while water and consequently food supplies will be a problem. There already is a 24-hour dedicated cricket cable channel that I occasionally will watch, called Willow, which shows games from around the world in stunning HD. The sport is popular on many islands in the West Indies so it does have some “American” roots. I often seen cricket played in fields and even basketball courts throughout the New York City area. I have never seen “stickball” being played, a street version of baseball that is virtually dead in NYC. I can’t imagine the sport will gain many traditional US sports fans, but with the vast number of South Asian and West Indian immigrants along with ex-pats from the UK, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, cricket will have a increasingly important place in the American sports landscape.

I certainly need to mention Rugby as there seems to be some increasing popularity that sport as well. The Rugby World Cup is going on and I have heard quite a bit of buzz about the Eagles, Team USA’s nickname. I am not a rugby fan. The game is similar to football, but without the best part, the forward pass. I’m not sure why it seems like there are more Americans gravitating towards rugby, we have a much better version in gridiron or American tackle football. I feel that in Australia the Victorians and in the South and West have it right. Aussie Rules Football is the superior game as the forward pass makes it far more exciting than the code that is more popular up in New South Wales and Queensland.

Other minor American sports include volleyball, water polo (which is only a major sport in Hungary), field hockey (for girls and women only here in the States.) These are played at the scholastic and collegiate levels, but have little to no professional opportunities. Beach volleyball had a moment of popularity, but was really just a flash in the pan. I should mention sailing as the biggest event in the world is called the America’s Cup. I do think that is a sport, but is an elitist sport and has a similar audience to polo. Polo and sailing as spectator sports are really excuses for the super rich to get drunk together with ultra-luxury brands sponsoring.

There are games that get confused with sports. Like chess, which is a board game and can be played by mail (post or electronic) and by a computer. Poker as I mentioned is not a sport it is a card game. If card games are sports, than I was a world class athlete as I couldn’t be beaten in “Go Fish” as a kid.

Pub and basement games aren’t major American sports. Billiards (pool), ping-pong (table tennis), or darts don’t make the cut. Ping-pong is a sport, but only a major one in Asia and maybe some other pockets. Though I will throw out another shameless plug, if you are looking for a table and are in New York City go to SPIN NYC on 23rd street. I’m not sure if billiards or darts requires enough exertion, sorry Phil Taylor. If darts qualify than it is a major sport in the UK.

I was half joking when I mentioned that watch cycling is watching other people exercise. From what I understand people attend and view on television the Cross Fit Games. This is literally watching people exercise. I am having a hard time figuring out what passes for entertainment these days. The world strongest man competitions were watchable because they were tossing around barrels and doing other crazy feats of strength. Here the competitors are doing squats and pull ups. There is a gym in the building I live in, I could just take a seat there and be a spectator to those exercises. I’m sure that will go over well. Watching people play video games doesn’t sound that bad compared to this. Do the Cross Fit Games have a radio broadcast?

Hopefully I have convinced you that there are only 10 major American sports. I will get into ranking these 10 in the coming days.

May
2015
04

The greatest sports weekend of my life

This was the greatest sports weekend of my life. There are 10 sports logos at the top of my website. Those logos were specifically chosen by me to represent what I believe are the only 10 major American sports. If you look at my list of categories these are the only 10 sports I have written about in the 6 years of this blog. I am a fan of all of these sports. Many of the “sports” that you may think are missing I actually don’t like at all. I pride myself on having a very strong knowledge base on all ten. I don’t want to get into this debate right now so I am going to list them in a general order of importance. Those logos represent:

American Football
Basketball
Baseball
Ice Hockey
Soccer
Auto Racing
Golf
Boxing
Horse Racing
Tennis

Just to quickly quench some of the immediate outrage. MMA is 100% a major American sport I have a boxing logo, but it should read “Fighting Sports” which puts MMA and Boxing in the same category. I still feel that we have 10 American sports as there are very few fans that like both boxing and MMA. I am a boxing fan and not an MMA fan. I have only a very basic knowledge of MMA and have never written about it. I have very rarely been asked about it on radio. Cage fighting is banned in the state I live in (New York) and until very recently the state I comment on radio for Victoria, Australia. Without the major cross-over in fans, I think they can be lumped together, just as betting information website Don Best does.

Lacrosse is the 11th sport and will be added to the list in later part of the next decade. It is still mostly a regional sport and doesn’t have a strong enough professional league. The sport is showing incredible growth in California and if it ever gets popular in Texas baseball is in serious trouble. Also I have never seen a betting line or odds to win on any lacrosse game or season. I will have see that first before it can be considered a major American sport.

Nine of those ten sports were either in full activity or having their largest event of the year or in a decade. Only tennis had an off weekend and Here is a recap:

American Football: The NFL draft from Chicago, Illinois. A 3-day affair starting on Thursday night and airing again primetime Friday night and then Saturday. It is the biggest off-field event in American sports annually. This should never have been scheduled for this weekend. It still had excellent ratings so much bigger than NBA or NHL playoff games, but down 25% from last year. First year it hasn’t been in New York since 1964 and neither of the first two picks were in attendance. Fans came out in Chicago in droves, over 200,000 attended draft related fan activities.

Basketball: NBA playoffs final games of the first round and opening games of conference semi-finals. Highlighted by a classic game 7 won by the Los Angeles Clippers 111-109 over the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. I would be surprised if there will be a better series the entire playoffs.

Baseball: Full weekend of Major League baseball. Mother nature cooperated so you had all 30 teams playing Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Those 45 games drew well over one million fans. Highlighted by the biggest rivalry in the game the New York Yankees sweeping the Boston Red Sox. Some New York Mets bias here, but Matt Harvey out dueled Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals in a battle of a couple of the best pitchers in the game.

Ice Hockey: NHL Playoffs opening games of the conference semi-finals. Highlighted by a double overtime win by the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Montreal Canadiens in game 1 and Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin displaying world class talent in splitting their first two games in New York against the Rangers.

Soccer: MLS full weekend of action with 9 games that probably drew around 150,000 fans, including 25,000 at Yankees Stadium to watch NYCFC and the Seattle Sounders. Judging by broadcast coverage European soccer is a major American sport. Chelsea defeating Crystal Palace to clinch the English Premier League I’m sure drew very strong ratings early Sunday morning on NBC Sports Network.

Auto Racing: NASCAR from Talladega Superspeedway one of the most popular tracks on the circuit (with the fans, maybe not the drivers). It produced maybe the most satisfying result of the weekend as crowd favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. won for the first time since 2004. It seemed that all 75,000 or so in attendance stayed well after the race to see their hero celebrate in Victory Lane.

Golf: World Golf Championships Match Play tournament played in San Francisco, California. Wild tournament with so many upsets was won by the number one seed and World number one Rory McIlroy. He defeated 52nd seed Gary Woodland 4 and 2.

Boxing: “Fight of the Century”, I recapped it yesterday. Total revenue will exceed $400 million and it had to have been responsible of over $1 billion in total economic impact. It was billionaire and an icon convention and seemed to have as many Academy Award winning and nominated actors and producers than the actual Academy Awards.

Horse Racing: Worlds most important horse race, the Kentucky Derby. Friday Kentucky Oaks day drew a record crowd of 123,763, only to be followed by 170,513 for a record breaking Derby attendance. I was happy to contribute to both of those figures. Thank you Mother Nature!

Sep
2011
26

All Night Appetite (SEN 1116)

cbsboston.com

cbsboston.com

The Buffalo Bills defeat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in what is becoming a head shaking season already for the Bills.  Plus, do officials treat Michael Vick unfairly?  Today, I discuss the big news in the NFL with an in-depth rundown of this week’s games.  Listen to today’s show for MLB Wild Card action, news on Tony Stewart and NASCAR, and more!

[podcast]http://thechiefsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/chief-9-26-11.mp3[/podcast]

Sep
2011
19

All Night Appetite (SEN 1116)

mjbsportsnetwork.com

mjbsportsnetwork.com

Today, I discuss some of the standout teams this year in the NFL.  Heading the pack is Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.  Plus, the Boston Red Sox seem to be in a tailspin and their wild card spot in limbo as they lose to the Tampa Bay Rays.  Listen to today’s show for in-depth MLB and NFL coverage, and updates on the NBA Lockout and Tony Stewart’s win in NASCAR’s chase to the championship.

[podcast]http://thechiefsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/chief-9-19-2.mp3[/podcast]

Aug
2011
15

All Night Appetite (SEN 1116)

askachother.com

askachother.com

Aussie Marcos Ambrose takes the win at NASCAR’s Sprint Cup making him one of the few non-americans to win in the sport.  And in Golf, American Keegan Bradley wins the PGA Championship defeating Justin Duffner by one stroke.  Listen to today’s show to hear an in-depth MLB rundown, news on the NBA Lockout, US Open picks, and NFL preseason updates!

[podcast]http://thechiefsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/chief-8-15.mp3[/podcast]

Jun
2011
19

All Night Appetite (SEN 1116)

heathoops.com

heathoops.com

Today, I discuss which drivers to watch in NASCAR with Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Carl Edwards at the top. Also in racing, I discuss the differences in Australian and US races.  Plus, with the NFL collective bargaining agreement disappointing football fans across the United States, the potential for an NBA lockout has me and many basketball fans on edge.  Listen to today’s show to hear more on the lockout, possibilities for the NBA draft, and MLB updates!

[podcast]http://thechiefsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/chief-6-19.mp3[/podcast]

May
2011
28

Pick for the Indianapolis 500

It is Memorial Day weekend in the United States, and with that comes The Indy 500 which is a auto racing tradition, even though open-wheel racing has been dwarfed in popularity by stock car racing (NASCAR).  It is race I rarely ever miss and I should be able to catch a lot of it after Jimin’s early round.  This is a race with a lot of appeal here in Brazil with 3-time winner Helio Castroneves in the field along with 3 other Brazilians (including Ana Beatriz, one of 4 women in the field).  This is another incredible international event with 12 countires from all 6 continents represented.  I am going to go with an Australian in Will Power (7-1) to win the Indy 500.  He is starting 5th in the 33-car field and has 2 wins out of the 4 IRL races this season and leads in points.  He came in 8th last year and 5th in 2009 and is primed to add an Indy 500 win to his growing resume.  He is favored in his two head-to-head matchups vs. Townsend Bell and Dan Weldon and has taken money in both.

I wanted to make a pick for the Coca-Cola 600 in NASCAR, but because the Nationwide race is run tonight, there are no listed odds or matchups at this time and because of the early tee time (8:42am Atlantic time) I won’t be able to.  I’m sure smoking hot Carl Edwards will be the favorite and the Roush Fenway cars will be the ones to beat.

Feb
2011
22

All Night Appetite (SEN 1116)

baynews9.com

baynews9.com

Today, Trevor Bayne wins NASCAR’s Daytona 500 as the youngest driver ever!  The NFL collective bargaining agreement sets a deadline for Thursday to settle the dispute.  I discuss what  this means for next year’s season if the dispute remains unsettled.  And, in the NBA All Star Game, Lebron James nearly single-handedly brought it to a close game in the second half, but Kobe Bryant proved his star power as he took the West to victory earning his 4th MVP Award. Plus, the Carmelo Anthony Saga nears an end with the New York Knicks extending their offer.  Listen to today’s show to hear why I think he may be damaging his future team’s ability to make a championship team!

[podcast]http://thechiefsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/chief-2-22.mp3[/podcast]

Nov
2010
22

All Night Appetite (SEN 1116)

20090425_zaf_m42_003.jpgToday, Brad Childress, head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, gets sacked! Leslie Frazier takes over as interim head coach, and the rest of the Vikings’ season is unsure.  In other NFL news, the New York Jets win an another tight game this time against Houston.  In Nascar news, Jimmy Johnson wins his 5th straight Sprint Cup Championship in an incredibly close, chase race with Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick.  In NBA news, Clippers rookie Blake Griffin embarrasses the New York Knicks with 40+ points and 15+ rebounds and a huge Dunk demo over the backs of New York players.  He and John Wall are the big rookie of the year contenders.  All this and more on today’s show.

[podcast]http://thechiefsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/chief-11-23.mp3[/podcast]

Feb
2010
14

All Night Appetite w/ Darren (SEN 1116)

allleftturns.com

allleftturns.com

Super Bowl 44 is over, and, today, it’s recap time!  Also, I take a long look at the NFL’s Salary cap-free 2010 season, what will be the biggest NBA All-Star game by audience ever, the soon approaching NBA trade deadline, the Daytona 500, which is sure to be big, and how Marcos Ambrose guns it for a spot in the Chase for the Cup 2010.  Plus, the NHL takes a break for the Olympics.

[podcast]http://thechiefsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/feb14.mp3[/podcast]