It’s Just Sports

I am a big sports fan. I go to most Ravens home games. I watch every game I’m not at on TV. I watch every Kentucky basketball game. I’ve been a Braves fan for years. I’m not much of an NBA fan. I don’t watch hockey at all. I care about what happens with my teams. I will post during games to complain about things. Calls that go against us, bad plays, whatever. I have a weird superstition that I have to post that I’ve given up and that we will lose a game so that I will be wrong and we will win. I have complained about the one and done system in college basketball and I still think it is flawed. I’m sure I’ve complained about the coach of every team I follow. That’s a normal part of sports.

What’s not normal? Going to Twitter or Instagram after a loss to troll the family of the coach of your team. Posting negative comments and wishes that the team will fire the coach on the Twitter and Instagram of the coach’s kids and wife. What’s not normal is attacking college kids on their social media because they lost a game. What’s not normal is telling a kid you hope he tears his ACL  because he chose your rival school. What’s not normal is being so obsessed with sports that you can’t get over a loss.

If you are an adult who has trolled a coach’s family member on social media because of a loss you should get help. If you are an adult who has told a kid you hope they are injured because they picked the “wrong” team, you need therapy. It’s also possible you are an asshole and I’m not sure that’s curable. Maybe think about it this way – How would you feel if we trolled your mom about your skills at flipping burgers at McDonalds? It would suck, wouldn’t it?

It’s just sports. Grow up and deal with it like an adult

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My March Madness Teams I Hate and Love

Even though I do a bracket every year, I still have certain rooting interests that override my wanting to be right. I always root for the upset unless the game involves Kentucky or any other teams I love. I have teams I will always cheer for and teams I will always cheer against. Here is a short breakdown of those teams:

Teams I Hate:

Duke – I really can’t remember if it all started with the Laettner shot or before, but I can’t stand Duke, Coach K or anything related to the team. I want them to lose every game they play. I picked them to win this year, but I would love for them to lose the first weekend.

UNC – The dislike here isn’t as strong as the Duke hate, but I’m really tired of dadgum Roy and the Tar Heels. I hate that they got away with players taking fake classes. I hate their dumb light blue uniforms. I hate the hype the Duke/UNC rivalry gets.

Louisville – The annoying little brother who won’t go away, but also embarrasses you by getting caught with prostitutes. I think I hate them more than Duke. They are less hateable with Pitino gone, but I still hate them. I don’t know how other Kentucky fans cheer for Louisville. They are our biggest rival. You can’t cheer for your rival.

Kansas – There’s just something about Bill Self that makes Kansas easy to hate. I don’t think I hated them when dadgum Roy was there, but I do now. I can’t really explain this one.

Syracuse – I’m not a Boeheim fan. I always pick them to lose early and they always win more than expected. Stop making me look dumb!

Cincinnati – I used to live outside the city and work in the city. I liked living and working there. I never liked the team. I liked Huggy Bear, but I really don’t like Cronin. He’s a terrible person an builds a team with his personality.

Tennessee – Stupid orange team full of floppers. They flop more than the floppiest of Duke teams. I hate floppers. Stupid floppers.

Teams I Love 

Kentucky – Obvious one here. I grew up in Kentucky. I went to UK. I attended every game while there. I knew some of the players. I attended father/son camp there with my son. I will always do what I can to plan my life around watching Kentucky basketball.

Murray State – a small Kentucky school with a chance to surprise people and win a couple of games. I always cheer for Kentucky teams unless they are Louisville.

Northern Kentucky – I lived down the street from NKU for a couple of years. I did my grad school classes via a UK extension program at NKU. I will always cheer for them.

Anyone playing the teams I hate – The above three are all I have in the tournament this year. WKU didn’t make it. Morehead didn’t make it. I really only love Kentucky teams that aren’t Louisville. I get more teams to love by loving any team playing against the teams I hate. It’s just as fun to have someone to cheer against as it is to have someone to cheer for.

So, my tournament cheering is focused on upsets, Kentucky teams that aren’t Louisville and any team playing Duke, UNC, Kansas, Syracuse, Cincy, and Tennessee. It’s always interesting to see which ones I hate more once they play each other and I figure out who I want to lose the game.

Now, let the games begin!

Tater’s Picks of Madness

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! March Madness! I finally got smart and took Thursday afternoon off to watch the games. Friday is my normal day off, so I have two full days of basketball with no pesky job to get in the way. I do have to work on Saturday, so I run the risk of being at work during a UK game. I love March Madness. Now, on to my picks. This year I did not pretend to know anything about basketball. I went through the bracket, chose winners on instinct, changed a couple that I didn’t like and then left it alone. Here is the result.

Upsets:

1st round: Yale over LSU, Murray State over Marquette, UC Irvine over Kansas State, St Mary’s over Villanova, Seton Hall over Wofford

2nd Round: Miss. State over VA Tech, Buffalo over Texas Tech, UC Irvine over Wisconsin(Badgers? We don’t need no stinking Badgers), Cincy over Tennessee, Auburn over Kansas

Final Eight: Duke, Louisville, Florida State, Michigan, Virginia, Purdue, UNC, UK

Final Four: Duke, Florida St, Purdue, UK

Championship: Duke over UK. I just threw up in my mouth a little typing that..

I also did a homer bracket with UK winning.

Pick the exact opposite of this and you will win your pool

Tater’s Delayed Take on the Super Bowl

The Game – I know a lot of people thought the game was boring, but I actually like good defensive games. I would have liked it more if the bad guys hadn’t won, but I didn’t think it was boring. I also would have enjoyed it more had Brady been hit more and cried a little. I’m so tired of Brady and the Patriots. But boring? I didn’t think so. Also, I really liked listening to Tony Romo call the game.

The Halftime Show – I don’t have Maroon 5. I like some of their songs. I like Adam Levine a lot more since I watched a few seasons of the voice. Still, I thought the halftime show was mediocre. I didn’t feel the need to pay much attention to the show at all. I just don’t think Maroon 5 has what it takes to be the halftime show. I think next season needs someone iconic to bring some pizzaz back to the show.

The Commercials – As a whole, the commercials were not exciting. There were a few standouts. I really liked the Bud Light/Game of Thrones crossover. I thought the Michael Buble commercial was really good. I like Jason Bateman in pretty much everything he does, so I enjoyed his commercial. I’m sure there were more I liked when I watched them, but now 24 hours removed, those are the ones that stuck in my mind. Oh, and the NFL 100 spot with all of the great football players. That was really fun. It doesn’t count as a commercial, but the open with Peyton Manning was very good. I really like Manning and he does a good job in spots like these.

The Patriotic Part – Both God Bless America by Chloe X Halle and the national anthem by Gladys Knight were excellent, but I can’t help but feel that all of that stuff meant that the NFL wanted the Patriots to win. There were no Ram related songs. That’s just wrong.

On another note – I’m now part of the WordPress Affiliate Program. If you have considered a WordPress account consider doing it as part of Tater’s WordPress Drive!

Some Final Ravens Thoughts

I was, and still am, all in for Lamar Jackson as the starting quarterback for the Ravens. I was all in for replacing Flacco before he was injured. I argued with someone on Twitter recently who was complaining about the “snotty nosed kid” they were playing over Flacco. That “snotty nosed kid” was 6-1 at the time as a starter. It made no sense to put Flacco back in as the starter while Jackson was hot. The team did the right thing sticking with him when Flacco returned.

That being said, I completely disagreed with the team not going to Flacco in the game on Sunday. I have read some things since the game that suggests the OC did not make any adjustments at all when going in to play a team they just played two weeks before. I believe that is coaching malpractice and should result in his termination. There is no denying that whatever they were doing with Jackson in the game was not working. If you are the coach of a team in the playoffs it is your job to do what it takes to win a game. If that means bringing in a backup quarterback when the starter is having a bad game, then do it. Starting pitchers are replaced in baseball all the time. Teams use two running backs in the game and sometimes then stick with whoever is playing best. Why not try it at quarterback? It doesn’t mean Jackson doesn’t start the next game. It just means he was having a bad day and you decided to try something different. Will it hurt his ego? Maybe, but if your ego is so fragile that this would cause problems moving forward perhaps professional sports isn’t for you. I also think refusing to play Flacco was coaching malpractice and I think maybe Harbaugh should head out the door with Ozzie and Flacco. A fresh start all around might be what the franchise needs.

I do think there is a bright future with Jackson at QB. He needs a coach that will help him develop his passing game and will make adjustments when Jackson’s running game isn’t working. The offensive line needs to get better at protecting him on pass plays to give him time to throw the ball. I think he will develop to be a good NFL QB and I’m all in for him to start next year. It was a great run with Harbaugh and Flacco, but the team has grown stagnant. Changes are necessary.

Some Dumb Tuesday Tater Thoughts on Sports and Work

This season in football I’ve heard the following:

You can’t bench Joe Flacco. He’s a Super Bowl MVP!

You can’t fire John Harbaugh. He won a Super Bowl!

I can’t believe the Packers fired Mike McCarthy! He won a Super Bowl! You don’t do that to a Super Bowl winning coach!

Imagine if this was real life. I can’t imagine anyone thinking that my place of work could never fire me because I won an award a while back.

They can’t fire Tater! He won an Out of the Box Award once! You don’t do that to someone who won a bonus award!

I imagine if I had become mediocre to bad at my job the fact I won an award once would not shield me from being let go. I also can’t imagine anyone would actually care if they did. How did professional sports become a place where past wins shield you from current failures? You are hired to win games. If you can’t win games, you shouldn’t have your job. That’s just the way it is.

Other ways sports business would be weird in my life:

X Library System has traded Tater to Z Library System for a box of bookends, a cart with a bad wheel and an incompetent intern. We’re not sure who got the best deal.

The bigger branches could become the majors and the smaller branches the minor leagues. Librarians are moved up and down based on performance. I’m pretty sure I would be exiled to the far reaches of the minors forever.

Just some dumb Tuesday Tater thoughts.

What’s Good in Tater Town

A blogger friend does a weekly gratitude post. I decided that something similar would be good practice to remind myself that even in the bad weeks I should try to find the good. So, here is the first in the possible new weekly “What’s Good in Tater Town” series.

  1. Both of my kids came home for a few hours this week. Different day than the other, but both were here.
  2. I was able to take some last-minute time off to rest after a long couple of weeks at work.
  3. I met with our new CEO on Friday and she didn’t fire me on the spot.
  4. We had some days without rain this week and I was able to mow my lawn before I  needed a tractor.
  5. The Braves clinched the NL East and are going to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
  6. Kentucky football beat #14 Mississippi State last night and are 4-0. 2-0 in the SEC for the first time in a very long time.
  7. My fantasy football team is 2-0.
  8. I’m on the second day of my first full weekend off in three weeks.
  9. It’s raining, but my wife still plans to pity me and go to the Ravens game with me today.
  10. Cooler, less humid weather is here.

Ten seems a good goal for each week. Hopefully, I won’t have weeks where I struggle to come up with that many.

 

 

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Tater Talks Dumb Braves Fans

This one has been knocking around in my head for a week or so, but I didn’t write it because no one cares about my sports posts. It’s still there, so it will be written. I thought today was a good day since no one really reads weekend posts either.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a fan of the Atlanta Braves since I was a kid. When I was a kid they were one of the worst teams in baseball. When I was in college they became one of the best teams in baseball and made the playoffs every year for a while. With success came the bandwagon fans. The people who only cheer for a team when they are good. Recently, the Braves had gone through the rebuilding process. They traded away veteran players and their contracts for prospects. The plan was to rebuild with young players coming up from their farm system. This season the team was supposed to still be one year away from being competitive. Instead, in late August, they are in first place with a three game lead. You would think all of the fans would be happy. You would think wrong. Since I live in the DC area, I don’t get to watch most of the games(I miss TBS showing all of the games) so I look at scores on my phone and if I want more detail I look at Twitter. Twitter is where you find the dumb fans. The fans who probably started being fans when the Braves started winning. The following are some dumb things the dumb fans say:

The Braves should fire their manager – the team is in first place a year before they were supposed to be good. Everything I read says that the manager is well liked and respected by the team. Twitter fans want to fire him because they don’t like the way he handles the bullpen and sometimes they disagree with the batting order. They should ask the Nationals how firing a manager who was liked and respected worked out for them.

The Braves should have traded away most of the prospects in the minors to get a veteran and win now – This season is a bonus. The team was not supposed to be in first place. Many of the better prospects are still a year away from the majors. As good as the team is now, they could be better next year if these players are as good as advertised. These will be players under contract for several years. You want to throw that away for a rent a player to guarantee a playoff spot for one year? Dumb.

Most of the pitchers on the team suck – The team is in first place. I doubt they would be there is the pitching staff was as bad as the Twitter fans think. Pitchers have bad games. Pitchers have mediocre games. Most pitchers are not going to shut out the other team every time out. Demanding they cut a pitcher when he has a bad game is really dumb. Who do you think will replace him?

I’m sure there are more. It must be miserable to be this sort of fan. Your team is in first place. Your team has some exciting young players with more to come next year. Your team is fun to watch. All of this in a year when the experts said they shouldn’t be competitive. Why can’t you just relax and enjoy this?

Baseball Day Due to Rain

I am an Atlanta Braves fan living in the DC area. The only good thing about the Washington Nationals is that I have a chance to see the Braves play live each year. Tis year we looked at the schedule and decided to buy tickets to a Saturday night game. It was perfect. It was my weekend off from the library. My daughter got off work 2 hours before the game started. A night game meant less time sitting in the sun. A night game meant there was no place anyone had to be, so the length of the game didn’t matter. As an added bonus for my wife, it was going to be 80’s night. Everything seemed A-OK and then it started raining. And it rained. And rained. And rained. It rained so much and so earlier they postponed the game 5 hours before it was supposed to start. I appreciated that. It was nice to know before we headed in to the city. Now we had to wait to see when the game ould be played.

Normally, they probably would have just played a doubleheader the next day, but this was the beginning of the constant rain. They didn’t want to reschedule the game for the next day because of the chance of rain. It was a good move. It rained and delayed the one game they were supposed to play the next day. There was one series left with Atlanta in DC. It was a Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday series. Both teams had a common day of on the Monday before, so I was hoping they would schedule a game that night so we could avoid a day game in the sun and the heat and not worry about work schedules. Unfortunately, they rescheduled the game for Tuesday afternoon at 1pm. We could have traded our ticket for one of the night games, but at least one of us works every night of the series. So, Tuesday afternoon game it is. Today is that Tuesday. Here is what that means for us:

I am taking a day of vacation in order to go to the game.

My wife is going to work in DC, leaving to go to the game, and then going back to the office.

My daughter has to be at work at 6, so we will likely have to leave before the game ends for her to be there on time.

Instead of driving down together, we are taking multiple forms of mass transit and hoping for no delays that will result in missing part of the game or my daughter being late for work.

We will be at the game in the heat of a very hot and sunny day.

There is a slight chance a thunderstorm could delay the game, further complicating our day.

I hate rain.

Why my Sports Teams are My Team

I was watching the Braves play the Cardinals yesterday and one of the Cardinals announcers said that he had always followed winning teams, so his fandom changed based on who was good. When Lebron signed with the Lakers yesterday I’m sure they picked up new fans who just follow wherever Lebron goes. I think the idea of changing favorite teams is weird. I can see having new interest in a team based on a new player, but not changing teams. Same with a personal move to a new city. I do have an odd collection of favorite teams. Here they are and why I’m a fan:

College Football and Basketball – University of Kentucky Wildcats – I grew up in Kentucky and attended UK for both undergrad and grad school. I watched the basketball games when I was a kid. I attended football and basketball games as a student. As a student. I had multiple classes with players from both teams. They will always be my team no matter where I live.

MLB – Atlanta Braves – I’ve always been a baseball fan. There is no team in Kentucky. I think a lot of people are fans of Cincinnati or St. Louis because they are the closest. I didn’t really have a team until TBS arrived and started airing Braves games. We started watching the Braves because all of the games were on TV. They were really bad, but we watched anyway. I was finally rewarded for my loyalty when they went through a stretch of being one of the best teams in the game. I stuck with them when they got bad again and am now enjoying a season where they are back in first place.

NFL – Baltimore Ravens – I didn’t really get invested in an NFL team as a kid. I don’t even remember watching much football. When we moved to the DC area, nothing about the Redskins made me want to change that. I didn’t start watching the Ravens when they fist came to town. It took a few years for me to start watching and then I was hooked and I’m now a season ticket owner(though I am trying to sell them)

NBA – Washington Wizards – This is the one where I can say I started watching because of a player, but at least they are local. I am a basketball fan, but never really watched the NBA. Since Calipari has been at UK there have been a lot of UK guys in the NBA. One of those is John Wall who was my favorite player on Calipari’s first team. He was drafted y our local team. It still took a while for me to become a fan of the team, but I’m there now. I have no idea if my interest will end when Wall leaves.

NHL – I just can’t get in to hockey. I don’t know why.

Those are my teams. I don’t expect it ti change. If Wall leaves Washington it’s more likely that I will watch less NBA than it is for me to pick a new team.