In the same week the NCAA revealed that I really don’t have a plan if something goes wrong in your Indiana NCAA Tournament, and Les Miles and Jeff Long showed what kind of people are really in charge, the state of Michigan may have taken the cake. That is, if the cake was sponsored by Betty Crocker.
We will let you tell you:
“Michigan State Athletics could not compete at the highest level without the support of our corporate partners like Rocket Mortgage,” he said. Bill beekman, Michigan State Director of Athletics. “We are grateful for Rocket’s continued commitment to the Spartans and their unwavering support for our programs.”
Under the new five-year contract, Detroit-based Rocket Mortgage will be the title sponsor of the famous men’s basketball team that will now be known throughout the Breslin Center as “MSU Spartans presented by Rocket Mortgage. “The team is a perennial powerhouse, making eight Final Four appearances in the NCAA Tournament since he was head coach. Tom Izzo took the helm in 1995.
The new partnership also ensures a sizeable brand for Rocket Mortgage throughout the Breslin Center and Spartan Stadium, which will be highly visible to television audiences. Integrations include multiple static and digital locations across university athletic facilities, MSU men’s and women’s basketball team benchmarks and clipboards, and logos prominently displayed on the soccer coach Mel tuckerheadphones, making the company synonymous with Spartan athletics.
It is written alone. Here’s a basketball show that hands everything over to one sponsor, to the point where “Rocket Mortgage” will be in the real name when the Spartans are playing at home. Michigan kids have surely dreamed of running under a banner adorned with Rocket Mortgage logos and being told that they are simply vehicles to promote that name. Oh, and a mortgage company that would likely suffer a massive collective brain bubble if it ever provided a mortgage in the neighborhood where most of these players come from.
However, gamers, who make the show what it is, will not see a penny of this. Tom Izzo will. The AD will. The school will do it. But the ones that actually get the job done? They can get crowded, apparently. Again.
And what did Tom Izzo have to say?
“As our season’s presenting sponsor, your presence will be an asset as we compete for championships.”
Is that so, Tom? I could get Tom a raise someday. Maybe some better facilities. But something else? Help to Tom interferes with sexual assault investigations within your team? Maybe I’ll give you more hush money to throw away, and in a way that could help the state of Michigan compete. Not that they didn’t find additional ways to look the other way if they needed to. But never piss off your corporate overlords. I think the first thing they teach you in college.
At least we don’t pretend anymore. This is so blatantly naked that you can’t argue with what college sports are. Here are some hired servants, brought to you by a giant corporation that enriches some people who have nothing to do with education. You have to appreciate the clear relief that this brings to all of this. Why try to hide it anymore? And MSU probably won’t be the last.
With MLB taking over the minor leagues, the only thing they can do is try things out in them for future use in the MLB game. And apparently that is exactly what they are going to do.
The one that will get most fans cheering is the use of an automated strike zone. This is the one whose time has come and MLB needs to accelerate this. Umpires have been guessing at a strike zone for the entire history of the game, and it becomes increasingly difficult with increased speed and movement of the pitchers. The idea that the zone won’t change from game to game because of who is behind the plate that night is exactly how the game is supposed to be umpired. And it will relieve us all from the torture of seeing Angel Hernandez doing the show in one of every four games in any city.
The most unique rule is the limitation of the pick-off shots and step-offs that a pitcher can employ during an AB. The idea is to promote stolen bases and attempts. Pitchers would be limited to two pick-offs or off the mound, which means they would actually only get one. If a pitcher used both before an AB ended, there would be nothing to prevent the next pitch from being a court encounter. It’s a bit contrived, and the problem with the game isn’t that there aren’t enough stolen bases, but at least it’s something new.
There is also the change limitation, initially keeping all the players in the box in the box. MLB hasn’t said yet that it will keep two infielders on either side of second base, but it’s on the table. Again, this has become a solution in search of a problem. Due to the change, the batters have tried to lift the ball over him. Launch angle, as you’ve probably heard. Reducing the change will not prevent hitters from trying the most profitable approach, which is to hit the ball hard, up and out of the park. It is unlikely that any batter will choose to retry to ground through the hole. Maybe a few more shots will turn into hits, but enough?
Limiting change also does nothing about increasing pitchers’ speed and hitting strikeouts. The game needs more contact, not positioning.
But hey, it’s better than doing nothing and just waiting for things to get better.