New name: Natit…

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New name: Natitude on the side

After a lot of deliberation and a little thought, I’ve decided to rename the blog Natitude on the side. I will be putting more focus onto baseball but still do a little of everything. 

Thanks!

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DC Sports roundup: Jan 24

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Hey everybody.

I’ve decided to add a new feature to the blog called DC Sports Roundup. If it’s successful, I’ll make it a weekly thing.

This was a shockingly slow week in sports for DC. You know that because the main news I’m about to report is about the Wizards.

Lately, being a hipster is “in.” Their style, facial hair and Instagram filters all feel like they’re from an earlier time. However, the Wizards are not so happy to returning to an earlier time. The Wizards are currently .500 for the 5th time. Not once have they gone above.  Each time they make it back, they fall once again. They’ve already done that this week with a loss to the Celtics at home – and they bounced back in Phoenix. They have a chance tonight for Wall, Gortat and Beal to lead them past the weak defensive and offensive Utah Jazz. If that doesn’t work – then we can call it a curse. In other John Wall related news, a source familiar with the subject says that “The NBA is really pushing for John Wall to be in the Dunk Competition this year.”

In a nice break from the usual, there is some rare Nationals news. All but two of their arbitration eligible players have been locked up, and they have announced their Spring training non-roster invitees with big names like A.J. Cole and Brian Goodwin, both considered a big part of the future of the team. Also happening this weekend was Natsfest, the yearly convention where fans warm their heart by seeing the boys of summer. I cannot speak for everyone, but I enjoyed it much more than last year’s, and got autographs and pictures galore.

(From top to bottom: Me with Drew Storen, Reliever, Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo, Commentators and my autographs for the day)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embedded image permalinkSo all in all, a very slow news week in DC. The Super Bowl can’t come soon enough for some of us. 

Super Cold XLVIII – Why in the world are we playing the Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium?

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It’s been the elephant in the room for months now. When people say that “The {Insert mediocre/bad team} are going to go all the way this year”, there’s been one lingering question… how will they do at Metlife Stadium in the frigid cold? Will they mess up because they’re a warm weather or dome team, be great because they live in Sumas, Washington, the northernmost point in the US, or be okay because they’re from some city that doesn’t have some huge weather difference. 

But it leads me to this question… why would they have it in New Jersey in the first place? There are a bunch of reasons not to have it there – the weather, the location, the fan experience, the soulless stadium, it’s NEW JERSEY – shouldn’t that be enough? The argument for this stadium may seem smart. “It’s the same as Indianapolis.” “It’s the NFL’s response to 9/11 to do something for New York” “It’ll be like the winter classic”. The first argument for Indianapolis is fine. However, there have been great chances for the NFL to do stuff like this. The NFL could’ve made a donation to some 9/11 fund of some sort. I’m not trying to be insensitive –  although it’ll be great for the city monetarily, it just won’t be a great experience for the fans (although seeing Wilson or Manning go short-sleeved would be really funny.)

Many have made the argument for it being like the Winter Classic. However, let’s compare them side by side. The Winter Classic is a minor event with little to no effect on the regular season or playoffs, and only happens once a year. The Super Bowl is america’s biggest sporting event, biggest monetary gain for the NFL, cold weather is not a rare occurrence, and the most important game of the year. There’s a difference there.

I love New York, and it’s one of the world’s greatest, if not the greatest city in the world. But putting the game in a dome or a warm weather city would make this easier for everybody.

 

A-Rod’s ban needs to be the final warning

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If you can find a baseball fan who actually likes A-Rod, revoke their fan membership card for me. Otherwise, you should be celebrating like me.

Today, MLB announced that A-Rod will be suspended for 1 whole season, and if by a long shot, the Yankees make the playoffs, the playoffs too.

Now, it’s time for the rest of the league to understand. While, for the most part, steroids are not as big of a problem as they used to be, there still have been some violators, and these are big names, like Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz and of course, A-Rod.

MLB has been amping up the punishments, and even though they’ve been giving them out, they need to amp it up more. No more appealing. A-Rod knows he cheated. The world knows he cheated. He needs to take the punishment. But this needs to serve as a message to the players of the MLB – fans have stopped forgiving players for the use of P.E.D.S. And now, the odds of being caught are a lot higher than they were before.

Steroids nearly ruined this league. And if the players truly love the game like they always say, they’ll get that it’s no longer acceptable.

 

Why Bill Belichick is Coach of the Year

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Since the theme as of lately has seemed to be 2001, let’s have another flashback to then. That was the year the Patriots won their first Super Bowl with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick at the helm of the ship. Thirteen years later, the dynasty has remained.

But how have they remained at the top for so long if they have been around for so long? New tends to eventually wipe out the old in sports, and in life. However, this hasn’t happened yet. For the past two years, people have said that the reason the Pats were succeeding so late in time was because of Wes Welker, Vince Wilfork, Rob Gronkowski, Shane Vereen and Aaron Hernandez.

This offseason, Welker signed with the Broncos, Hernandez was arrested on murder charges, Vince Wilfork was injured early on, Shane Vereen played half the season, and Gronkowski played for 7 games with an injury, then promptly tore his ACL. This, was the end, surely, right? But no. It worked, and New England got the two seed this year.

So, how then? To fully understand, you have to go back to Bill Walsh’s creation of the West Coast offense, which was a system in which you can put anybody anywhere, and as long as they understood what to do, it consistently worked. And even though that’s been around since the eighties, nobody except Bill Walsh has truly used it any better.

But that’s a hard task for a coach. It really is. So to do what he does, even with the system, with what he has – a quarterback and an offensive line – he deserves that award more than anybody does.

Why isn’t Jason Collins signed?

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Let’s go back to the year 2001. George Bush had just begun his term. Airport security was a lot faster. Michael Jordan played for the Wizards – that year, the Wizards drafted Kwame Brown first overall. That same year, some kid named Jason Collins made his debut, too. Both, talent-wise, at least, have made little affect on the league. But Jason Collins completely shocked the world of sports when he announced he was gay this april, that put Kwame Brown in the dust.

But guess who had a job at the beginning of this season? Even though everybody knew he was an injury risk and washed out, the 76ers took him in 2012 and even after averaging 1.9 points a game, didn’t get rid of him. Now, to be fair, Kwame Brown did get waived two months ago. Which takes us to Joel Anthony, another center that has accomplished literally nothing in his career and could’ve been traded or waived anytime. But no, a player who is averaging 0.6 points a game and 0.6 rebounds a game is still good enough for the Heat. Last year, he gave the Heat 87 points, about 40 more than Jason Collins, which is not the difference for the Heat, almost ever.

There are a couple more examples, although it’s hard to find. I wouldn’t recommend looking. But the point I’m making is that there are players in the NBA that do what Jason Collins did and have a job.

Now, it’s not a complete outrage. Jason Collins, for what it’s worth, was a pretty bad player. He averaged 0.7 points a game last year – but that just wasn’t that much worse than some other players.

So it leaves me with this question.

Why isn’t Jason Collins playing right now?

A commonly used reason is that it’s a lot of PR to take on for a player who will do very little. But isn’t there no such thing as bad publicity?

Another reason used is that Jason Collins isn’t good enough. I’ve already debunked that one.

The other most commonly used one is that NBA owners are homophobes. I hope that one isn’t true, or else the NBA may lose me as a fan.

Until this gets resolved, all players who are gay in the NBA are going to be scared to come out as gay, and it’s going to take another Jason Collins.

At the beginning, we thought it was a huge step. Unless Jason Collins gets signed – we aren’t doing as well as we thought.