by MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – Fast Break over Bristol has returned to the pages of the Bristol Observer to open the fall scholastic season.
Again, tomfoolery is king in this most recent installment as we look around the world of sports with a rather curious eye.
Let’s start this week’s edition with a local view of things:
Observation (or question in this case): Who is going to be the surprise scholastic team of the 2016 fall scholastic campaign?
Conclusion: With all the squads in town, I think the boys soccer team at Bristol Central could be that surprise squad. The Rams had a really good team last year but injuries and “internal turmoil” killed any chance the squad had to compete – though getting to the postseason as one of the final seeds was a huge deal. With new coach Nate Jandreau in the mix, Central is going to have a turnaround campaign. Jandreau is one of the top young coaches in town and expect big things from the program. But don’t take your eyes off the St. Paul Catholic High School football program either. Both teams could be the talk of the town during the fall of 2016…
Observation: San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been stirring up the pot over the last month with his National Anthem controversy as he has refused to stand for the song before National Football League games…
Conclusion: This is a tough situation as the freedoms we enjoy, as American citizens, allows Kaepernick several rights, which includes freedom of speech, and, in a roundabout way, allows him the option to not stand during the National Anthem and wear the socks he wants – even one’s that depict pigs in policemen’s clothing. With all that said, Kaepernick receives both venom – or applause – from fans, sports commentators, and critics for making his private views public. It would be interesting to see how he’d react if some of those freedoms were suddenly ripped away from him…
Observation: In my opinion, was the Bristol American Legion baseball campaign a failure or a success and why?
Conclusion: It was a success, despite a 1-1 showing in the state tournament and a 1-2 ledger at the Northeast Regional. Bristol fielded a squad that won twenty-two games this season, was right in the Connecticut American Legion Zone 1 race to start the final week of the season and these kids improved leaps and bounds from the start of the season to the end. Coach Jerry LaPenta is a great summertime mentor for these young men and with the Junior Legion program growing and growing, good times are ahead for Post 2. Now, if we can get the postseason back to the nine inning format once again…good luck with that.
Observation: The wild card, er, wild cards for Major League Baseball. Are they good or bad?
Conclusion: I’ve talked about this before. The wild cards are absolutely bad and – frankly – unnecessary. Just allow eight teams to start the postseason for both the American and National Leagues. Forget the dumb Wild Card process. Make the MLB playoff system the same as the NBA format. One versus eight, two versus seven and so on in first round play. That first round could be the best-of-three, the second round best-of-five and for the championship series, the best-of-seven like it still is. It doesn’t water down anything and adds two additional teams with winning records to play postseason ball. With the old set-up, if the season ended today, Detroit (73-62, .541 winning percentage) would be shut out of the postseason and that would be unfair.
Observation: And finally, what can’t a video game system do nowadays?
Conclusion: This Xbox One S, or whatever the heck it is, can be used for streaming live TV, has virtual reality capabilities, etc, etc, etc… Well, not in my house that is. I can’t attach any of my six VCRs to that Xbox thingy. I can’t play any of my original Nintendo games on it and why won’t the Xbox work with my 13 inch, black and white, tube TV? For crying out loud, what happened to Basic Language, video games that loaded through tape recorders, and switches that had to be purchased from the Bradlees from Bristol, which had to be connected from the computer to the back of my TV? Wait, what’s Bradlees?