“Stick it, A-Rod”

May 11, 2010

Those were the words of Dallas Braden’s grandmother, Peggy Lindsey, moments after her grandson pitched the 19th perfect game in Major League Baseball history. Sure, she retracted her statement a day later, saying she didn’t mean to say that, but don’t tell me that those words weren’t exactly what Braden and Lindsey were thinking after Braden’s pitching gem on Sunday afternoon. In fact, I don’t think they were the only ones thinking it either. Braden may come off as mouthy, or even a little bit of a punk, but it’s still great, not only for him but for baseball as a whole when something like this occurs. Also, contrary to A-Rod’s statement made a couple of weeks ago, Braden is receiving much more than “15 minutes of fame”. This guy has come a long way, evident in the tough times he went through before making it to the MLB. Regardless of how the rest of his career plays out, it is likely that the first thing that will come to people’s mind when talking about Dallas Braden will be “the guy pitched a perfect game”. As for A-Rod, no matter how great his career ends up, it will always be marred by the fact that he took steroids. Quite frankly, I’d rather be a guy who took his 15 minutes of fame and ran with it than a guy who cheated the game.

The possible expansion of the Big Ten has been a hot topic lately, and since my readers are primarily from the Midwest, it is even more prevalent and interesting. It is anyone’s guess as to which teams will join which conferences in the next few months (or years), but here is one thing that I am confident in saying: the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will not join the Big Ten. There are a couple of reasons for this. One reason is that their contract with NBC to broadcast their football games is much better than anything that Jim Delaney and the Big Ten Network can offer. Also, rather than having to share the revenue with ten other teams, Notre Dame pulls in all the money with their current contract. Another reason that Notre Dame will stay independent in football is because, at least as of now, it looks as if the Big East will stay relatively intact. With that being said, Notre Dame is part of arguably the best basketball conference in the nation in the Big East. Unless the Big East were to be decimated by the Big Ten and the ACC, Notre Dame would have no reason to switch conferences from purely a basketball standpoint. It looks as if the Big Ten is looking at expanding West (by possibly taking some Big 12 teams) rather than East, which means that the Big East will likely survive as a conference. The last reason that Notre Dame will keep its football independence is, simply put, history. Much of Notre Dame’s rich history in college football (which we all know they love to bring up) is due to the fact that they played quality teams week in and week out because they were not limited to the confines of a conference. Although as of late their schedule has been significantly watered down, independence is still something that the Irish hold near and dear. Notre Dame losing its football independence would be as tragic to some Irish faithful as Touchdown Jesus being sold for advertising space. The bottom line is it’s not going to happen.

Last week I put up a poll asking readers “who would you rather have on your team” in which the choices were Milton Bradley and Pacman Jones. Pacman received twice as many votes as Bradley, but I am going to have to disagree with my readers on this one. Although Pacman is arguably a more productive player than Bradley (and believe me, that is arguable), Bradley has never had an altercation with the law. Pacman’s problems are external, while Bradley’s are internal issues that the team can handle on their own. If I were management of a team, I’d much rather deal with a guy on my own than have to cooperate with the police. Also, from a media standpoint, who causes more trouble? Pacman’s issues with the law are conversation on Sportscenter for weeks, while Bradley’s issues usually only stay relevant in the news for a day or two.

For the next poll, I want to hear your thoughts on which team(s) the Big Ten will take when they expand. I realize that they may take more than one team, which is why this poll allows you to vote for more than one choice. I’m sure this will generate conversation, so leave me a comment in the comments section, or send me an email at aroundthecornsportsblog@gmail.com with your thoughts. Thanks guys.

– K. Becks

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