It took some time for the New York Islanders to find a new home. After years of rejection by Nassau County, the Islanders have finally found a new, state of the art arena over 30 minutes away from their current location.
The arena is still technically on Long Island, if you consider Brooklyn a part of that area, so there's a positive. Public transit, a problem that the Coliseum couldn't do anything about, will not be a problem at the Barclays Center. It's a high-tech, arena of the future. An arena not suitable for a professional hockey team.
The Barclays Center was built for basketball and concerts, not a full 41 game schedule for a professional hockey club. The Islanders were going to play a preseason game at the arena. But thanks to the lockout, that test drive never happened. Even though the arena barely fits an NHL size arena on the floor, a seat capacity of 14,500 for hockey is the lowest in the league. The average attendance for the Islanders last season was 13,191.
Despite the lack of current accommodations and seats without any obstructed views, the Islanders and their fans should be thankful that the team won't be playing in Seattle, Quebec City, or Kansas City in 2015. Be thankful that the Nets were able to bring basketball to Brooklyn with the help of part-owner Jay-Z. A fallback plan that guarantees the Islanders stay in the New York metropolitan area up until 2040 was more of a hope instead of reality before Wednesday.
The Islanders went through all of their options to replace their decaying building, and they have to balance the positives and the negatives with this move.
A positive is definitely the three years before they move in. You would think that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will request that the Barclays Center be more "hockey friendly" by the time the Islanders show up with their equipment and four Stanley Cup banners from the 1980s. Adding at least two thousand seats to the hockey setup you would think.
A big negative is leaving Nassau County behind. The team campaigned to build a new arena in the area. They have played there since their inaugural season in 1972. For residents of Long Island, their commute to games just got a little longer. On a side note, does the logo get modified to show Brooklyn on the insignia? Just a random question.
The organization has to be thankful that Forest City Enterprises and ONEXIM Sports & Entertainment left the option open for the Islanders to move in. It's not the perfect situation, but moving into a new place you didn't have to pay for is nice though. Paying rent to play at this futuristic arena where you can order your food from your smartphone is not too bad. The Islanders just have to fill the seats and put together a winning team.
The raindrops are pouring in the Midwest tonight as the Giants and Cardinals are in a rain delay that has cut into a new episode of The X Factor, and the Tigers have to wait an extra day to try and sweep a depleted Yankees team to take the American League pennant on TBS, which is staying funny with Seinfeld and The Big Bang Theory tonight instead of Game 4.
While you hold out for the final few innings of Game 3 of the NLCS, think about this. If you are not a fan of any of the four remaining clubs, has the postseason lost part of its excitement as we entered the Championship series matchups last weekend?
The ALDS and NLDS games provided a lot more for baseball fans. You had two squads that weren't even considered for the fall with the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles. "Moneyball II" was in production out in Oakland with the Athletics taking the American League West title from the Rangers and the Reds blew a 2-0 series lead to the Giants by losing three straight at home.
The current matchups do not offer many great story lines other than Ibanez and A-Rod (Yankees stealing the headlines even when they're losing). Three of the four teams have won the World Series in the last three years, and wouldn't you say that it's just the same old, same old with Major League baseball? The idea that higher payrolls are competing for the world title again turns some off. It would've been nice to see the Nationals or Orioles advance. It could offer that low-payroll squad like the Rays in 2008 or the Marlins 1997 and 2003 World Series teams to generate more excitement and in other words, viewers.
If the Tigers can finish off the Yankees, that will offer us a team that hasn't won one of the three previous World Series. Detroit did made the big show in 2006 when the Cardinals beat them in five games. At least Justin Verlander is exciting, right?
A Notre Dame Fan's Plea
OK, look. I know that Notre Dame is a topic on my blog once in a while. I get that you either love the Irish, or you are like everyone else and hate what the gold and blue stand for. But just listen here.
The first B.C.S. standings came out on Sunday and Notre Dame is number five after a controversial ending (depending on who you are) to the Stanford game in the rain, giving the Irish a 6-0 record.
I love hearing the debate of whether or not they're overrated, that they don't deserve to be there and everything else in-between. Many are still hanging on Rick Reilly and Mark May's words. Look at it from my perspective.
I am a recent college graduate. I am struggling like many previous grads, looking for that job that makes my four years of a higher education worth it. I can't find that job in an economy that neither President Obama nor Governor Romney can clearly fix, and I'm working part time trying to get as many hours as possible while holding out hope that the phone will ring for an interview for that first job in my field. Living at home is a drag as well. The next chapter of my life has not been off to the best start.
Now that my sob story is out of the way, when it comes to Notre Dame and the rest of the Irish fans, let us just enjoy this ride. This team has shown the most promise since the 2002 squad under Willingham. Unlike Charlie Weis' teams, they have a respectful defense that resembles an SEC style of Alabama. The offense is a toss up with Golson and Rees swapping in and out, so hopefully Golson can get over his first year miscues as they enter tougher games against Oklahoma and USC on the road.
The Irish have put me and other Notre Dame fans through a roller coaster of emotions since their last national championship in 1988. I was too young to remember the Boston College game in 1993, but as a third generation Notre Dame fan, I've heard the stories.
So let me enjoy the ride while it may last. It's the one thing I have going right now. Every year, I take a trip out to the final home game of the season with my father, uncles, cousins and my grandfather who is reaching 90 but still makes the trip, and makes the walk from Notre Dame Stadium to the Basilica for postgame mass in record time.
I've seen a lot of stinkers and games that have meant something, (bowl eligibility, a BCS game), but the Irish could be 10-0 going into their game against Wake Forest. The excitement on campus could be at an all-time high November 17. That is a lot better than the dead campus I visited in 2007 when Notre Dame was 1-9 going into their game against Duke.
Love them or hate them, Notre Dame makes college football better. They have made things a little better for me as of late.
October 1, 2012. The Atlanta Braves come into Pittsburgh on a cool, cloudy fall evening to play the Pirates in the final series of the regular season.
The Braves have already clinched a wild card spot and the Pirates are holding onto the second spot by a game. A crowd of over 30,000 excited fans are pumped for "Buctober." Their team has already clinched a winning season, ending the streak of losing at 19 years. A chant of "Let's Go Bucs" begins as the Pirates take the field and...you wake up in your recliner, realizing it was all a dream. A dream that many thought would be reality back in August.
Sadly, you're stuck with the reality that the Pirates have already made it 20 straight years of losing and this series means nothing for both teams. The Braves have secured a wild card spot and unless they can sweep the Pirates and hope for a Nationals collapse, they are set for a one game playoff against the second wild card team. The Pirates can finish 80-82 if they sweep Atlanta. But seriously, come on. We know that won't happen.
To think of what this series could have been. The Pirates, playing the team that won the 1992 National League pennant and sent the Pirates into a two decade spiral of mediocrity, are at PNC Park for the final three games of the season. The Pirates being able to not just finish over .500 and even clinch on a game winning play at home would be destiny. Unfortunately, this is the Pirates we're talking about. Destiny means a collapse in September. The stars seemed to align for Pittsburgh. Some believing that the Reds series would be a chance to compete for the division title, and this Braves series could have been a chance to knock Atlanta out of the postseason and steal their spot.
But no. Nap time before the first pitch is the only way it's gonna happen. Instead, less than 20,000 fans will go to the games this week, get some free stuff on fan appreciation day, and just say, "Oh well, until next April."
Is this series worth watching? You be the judge. If it turns ugly, drift off to dreamland and think of what could have been this week at PNC Park.