Sports Outside the Beltway

NBA investigating security breach in Dallas-Portland game

Female Lone Star NBA fans are so friendly. From the Oregonian-

The league is looking into the security lapse that allowed two fans to walk into the Blazers’ huddle during Portland’s game at Dallas Saturday.

Two women walked onto the court and into the Blazers’ team huddle during a timeout with 41 seconds remaining in the game. One of the woman wrapped her arms around a stunned Rudy Fernandez from behind. The women were ushered away from the huddle.

By any measure, the incident is a major breach of arena security and a league spokesperson said the league is investigating.

“We’re looking into exactly what happened,” Tim Frank, the NBA’s vice-president, basketball communications, said in an e-mail Wednesday.

What could be even more shocking – if that’s possible – is that the women were allowed to return to their seats and were not kicked out of the arena. Normally, fans walking onto the court would likely result in an automatic ejection from the arena.

Sports fans running out on the court or field doesn’t shock me. Dumb spectators just doesn’t move me very much.

As for security not ejecting the fans, there was less than a minute to go in a close game. I’m betting security wanted to view the ending, not deal with a couple of drunks who were going to leave very soon any way.


Where are my earplugs?- Anaheim beats Florida 3-0

I attended the game in person tonight but I’ll use the AP article to lead off this blog post.

It took a swing through the Sunshine State for the Anaheim Ducks to salvage a 13-day road trip.Ana-FL

Jonas Hiller made 33 saves to earn his second shutout of the season, and the Ducks beat the Florida Panthers 3-0 on Monday night.

Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry each scored for the Ducks, who wrapped up the six-game trip and snapped Florida’s five-game winning streak at home.

Hiller’s other shutout this season came on Nov. 5 in a 4-0 win over the Nashville Predators. Hiller, who has six NHL shutouts, was coming off a 30-save effort in the Ducks’ 2-1 shootout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night.


Florida’s Tomas Vokoun stopped 22 shots. Vokoun was coming off his seventh shutout of the season, a 33-save performance in the Panthers’ 2-0 win over the New York Islanders on Sunday.


The Ducks went ahead 3-0 on Perry’s goal at 17:18 in the third. He scored with a slap shot from the right circle after taking a pass from Getzlaf from behind the net.

Selanne gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead with a power-play goal in the final second of the second period. James Wisniewski’s shot ricocheted off the left post and hit Vokoun in the back, and Selanne then tipped in the loose puck.

After a scoreless first period, Getzlaf netted an unassisted goal at 15:17 into the second. He picked up the puck on a turnover by Keith Ballard and scored with a wrist shot from in front, beating Vokoun on his stick side.

Corey Perry scored the final goal of the game with under three minutes to go in the game. I was already out of my seat and getting ready to leave but saw the goal go in the net. Just prior to this the Panthers had two consecutive power plays, which overlapped one another for about 30 seconds resulting in a 5-3 for the cats. The score of the game tells you how Florida fared with those advantages.

Florida got thoroughly outplayed tonight. This was one of their worst home efforts of the 2009-10 season.

Now some random comments and occasional barbs related to my night out at the Bank Atlantic Center.

*- Tonight was my first visit to the BAC. In fact, I haven’t seen a professional team sporting event in person in almost 20 years.

It took me a while to find my way around the parking lots on arrival but did ok. On the way out, I found my car with ease and got out of the parking lots but headed in the wrong direction on the Sawgrass Expressway. South instead of north to Palm Beach County.

*- Food prices at sporting events is ridiculous. $6.00 for a hot dog. I can buy a package of buns and a 8 pack of hot dogs at the grocery store for less. 20 oz. Coke was a ‘cheap’ $5.50. If sodas were priced were priced the same amount times over hot dogs were, they would have been $10.00 or more tonight.

How does a family manage a night out at a game? Even with half off Monday, the family of three in my row had to cough up about $170 for their tickets. That doesn’t include food and anything else bought at the stadium. You better be upper middle class to go see a game or expect to make a car payment to see 60 minutes of hockey.

*- My seats were 6 rows behind(Section 102) the Panthers bench and almost right on center ice.

*- Now I know why Florida has a ticket promotion called ‘Half Off Mondays’. The BAC was only half full tonight.(Or worse)

That meant I had half a row to myself with no one seated on my right for 3 seats and only people seated on my left but with an empty seat between us.

*- Anyone attending a Panther game should bring earplugs. The BAC does what they call ‘Rock the Rink’. Loud Rock music that I could have done without. It blared incesantly all through the pre-game warmups.

*- Dumb rude fan moment of the night. A person in their twenties wanted to get out of my aisle. At the time I was standing up, he could have said excuse me and I would have moved. Instead he climbed down a row, stepping on a seat in the process. Wouldn’t you love to be the fan who had to sit there later on? NOT!

*- Should Panther fans forced to view the back of Peter DeBoer’s head all night get a discount on their tickets?

*- The Panthers have a team mascot named Stanley Panther. There’s a kids version, little stan or something. I got nothing against Mascots except they are blocking my view when the puck is in the opponent’s end of the ice. Get your big heads down!

*- One of the reasons I chose tonight’s game to attend, was the fact there was zero television coverage of it. As part of the imbecile deal the NHL made with the devil Versus, no other games are allowed to be aired during that Network’s ‘Game of the Week’.

*- BAC has a computer area where someone can check email etc before the game or during intermissions. I did exactly that between the first and second periods of play.

*- Anaheim Duck Teemu Selanne played tonight. Wasn’t he supposed to be out for over a month with a broken jaw?

*- The Florida Panther who came closest to scoring a goal tonight? Goalie Tomas Vokoun and he almost put one in for Anaheim! The Panthers were on a Power Play and the Ducks shot the puck out of their zone. Vokoun went to handle it and passed it across the goal mouth. I swore the thing was going in for a moment.

*- Florida Panther David Booth played in his second game since suffering a concussion. He played well for two periods but looked fatigued in the 3rd.(He did similarly in a game yesterday but managed an assist.)

That’s about it. Did you have enough already? I needed something to do to help unwind in preparation for bed.


Up in the air- Spectator removed from rafters at Detroit Red Wing game

Sir, can I see your ticket? From AP-

An unidentified man was taken down from a conduit above a catwalk during a Detroit Red Wings game on Saturday night.

Almost an entire section of stands in the lower bowl was cleared out when the man was noticed during the second period of the Red Wings’ 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Joe Louis Arena.

After he was removed from the area, fans were allowed to return to their seats.

“We didn’t know what was going on until somebody pointed it out,” Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said.

Photographers have remote cameras stationed on the catwalk, but no one is usually there during games.

“He got in through one of the storage cages and came out through one of the cable traps used for show cables,” arena audio engineer Ricky Gopigian said.

Why didn’t they evacuate the stadium? It is routine for airports to be emptied if someone breeches security. One guy with a bomb in the rafters could literally bring down the roof.

I don’t know if I’m being serious or not in the above criticism. On the surface, it does sound inconsistent.


Louisville basketball fans can get free pizza

Mama Mia! From AP-

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter is promising a free pizza to every fan who saw him sink a shot from midcourt at a Louisville basketball game.

He banked one in after a few tries at halftime of the Oral Roberts-Louisville game last week.

Video posted by the company on YouTube shows Schnatter celebrating wildly after hitting the long shot in Freedom Hall.

The company estimates that if all 18,868 fans claim the free large one-topping pizza, it will add up to a $174,000 giveaway.

People who watched the game have up to December 27th to make a claim. Anyone for pepperoni pizza on Christmas day?


Snow delays kickoffs of Ravens-Bears and Eagles-49ers games

What’s a little bit or a lot of snow when there is a important football game to be played? From ESPN-

Kickoff for the Ravens game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday was moved to 4:15 p.m., because of a snowstorm expected to hit Baltimore this weekend.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning in Baltimore, predicting snow accumulations of 10 to 20 inches. They expect it to begin snowing late Friday and continue through early Sunday morning.

The NFL approved the change on Friday after the City of Baltimore recommended the move, according to the Ravens’ Web site. The game was originally scheduled for 1 p.m.

Safety concerns was the reason given for the time change. I guess that is meant for the fans, not the players. Snow falling while a professional football game is taking place is hardly unique.

Update- Another NFL game has been postponed. The Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers will be kicking off late in the afternoon also.

The revised article brought up an issue I hadn’t thought of. That two NFL teams had to fly into the snow packed Northeast. The Chicago Bears original flight to Baltimore, scheduled for Friday night, was canceled.


Cyprus soccer fans will need IDs for tickets

Papers please and then I’ll take your cash. From AP-

Soccer authorities in Cyprus say all fans will need to show state identity cards to buy tickets for domestic league matches in a bid to curb violence at games.

Wednesday’s announcement follows weekend clashes between fans of rival Nicosia clubs APOEL and Omonia that left a 20-year-old man critically injured.

The Cyprus Football Association says ID card numbers will be printed on tickets starting late this month as a means of identifying hooligans and enforcing banning orders.

I seem to recall how photo identification was proposed by some American officials aways back. Also as a means of protecting the public. How well did that policy work on September 11, 2001?


Rolling Thunder- Oklahoma City beats Miami 100-87

The Heat’s Dwyane Wade was just 6 of 19 shooting the basketball. From AP-

With plenty of good seats still available around the end of the first quarter, the Miami Heat gave some upper-deck fans a rare chance to move into the lower level.Thunder Heat Basketball

If nothing else, they got a better look at Kevin Durant and the much-improved Oklahoma City Thunder.

Durant had 32 points, nine rebounds and five assists, Russell Westbrook finished with 24 points and seven assists and the Thunder added to their surprising start by beating the Heat 100-87 on Tuesday night. An early 20-1 run put the Thunder in control, and a 14-2 burst in the third quarter helped seal it for Oklahoma City.

OKC has begun the year 6-5 and is one of the NBA’s biggest surprises so far. Last year the Thunder only won 6 of its first 38 games.

Pro franchises once upon a time, would let cheap seat ticket buyers fill the more expensive areas of a stadium or arena after say a certain amount of the game was played. My late father used to tell stories of exactly that happening at the old Polo Grounds.


Goodell sees more NFL games in England

There may soon be 2 games a year played in London. From AP-

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expects the league to start playing multiple regular-season games in Britain in the next few years — an expansion that could lead to putting a franchise in London.

Goodell said Friday that “every indicator” shows the British market can support more games and that having a franchise here is of “tremendous interest” to the league. But he stopped short of giving a timeline for expanding the NFL’s overseas presence.

“The interest and the enthusiasm for our game continues to grow, and we want to feed that,” Goodell said. “We want to respond to that by hopefully bringing more to the UK.”

Goodell spoke at a sports conference Friday ahead of Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium. It’s the third year in a row the NFL is staging a regular-season game in London, and the league is now looking into playing at least two games a year in Britain, he said.

The Miami Dolphins and New York Giants played the inaugeral London game in 2007. I have intensely disliked these European games from the get go. NFL teams only get to play 8 home games a year and one is being taken away from their fans. In Miami’s case, it was a rare opportunity for them to play the New York Giants in South Florida. The Giants have only played twice in Miami ever during the regular season. Many South Floridians, including myself, are from New York originally and grew up rooting for sports teams there before our move south. We now root for the home team, and especially enjoy the games against the teams we grew up watching as kids. The NFL then takes one of these rare games away from us. Goodell isn’t a football fan and doesn’t know how much I hate him for these dumb London games and I’m sure there are many other U.S. based football fans who feel the same.


Guess who’s coming to Dinner?- NJ Nets to sell player appearances

Maybe the team’s new owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, is short of cash at present. He only spent 700 million dollars to purchase the Nets. From AP-

For $25,000, you can watch the New Jersey Nets from courtside — and have a player stop by your son’s birthday party.

In a tough economy, it’s the Nets’ latest marketing effort to sell its pricey courtside seats. It’s called ‘Your Ticket to a Player.’

For $25,000, the Nets are offering four courtside tickets for 10 games, parking, access to a private lounge at the Izod Center with free food and beverages and something more — a one-hour appearance by a Nets player of your choice at your home, office, school or party.

“It will be interesting to have an NBA player come to your birthday party or come to your Bar Mitzvah or even just coming to your house for dinner for an hour when your friends are over,” Nets chief executive Brett Yormark said. “That’s a terrific thing and it’s tough to put a price tag on it.”

The package offers a discount: Purchased individually, Nets courtside seats sell for $750 each and 40 would cost $30,000.

What a bargain for a chance to watch a mediocre basketball team play. NOT! Will there be many takers for paid player appearances? Right now based on the U.S. economy, I doubt it.


FIU handing out $500 scholarships to lure football fans

Call it South Florida’s newest raffle. From the Miami Herald-

In an attempt to get students to come out and support their football team during home games, Florida International University is offering some creative incentives.

Here’s the pitch:

During each of the next four home games — starting with Saturday’s contest — three students will be chosen at random in the fourth quarter to receive a $500 scholarship for college expenses.

Another four students will win coveted parking upgrades. The sweet deal would allow the winners to park in faculty parking spots for a month.

“We are doing this because we want to create a fan experience and build an affinity for FIU,” said Sandy Gonzalez-Levy, senior vice president of external affairs.

Admission is free to students at the 18,000-seat FIU stadium at its main West Miami-Dade campus, yet the last home game attracted only about 8,000 fans. The school has 35,000 students and tens of thousands of alumni.

And those who come to the games, usually leave early.

“We’re offering some of the gifts in the fourth quarter to persuade them to stay for the whole game,” Gonzalez-Levy said.

It sounds like a good deal to me but will it work? It may draw more spectators on a short-term basis but long term I am pessimistic. You can’t make people interested in a sport who aren’t inclined to watch it to start with it.

That FIU hasn’t had a football program for long and haven’t been very successful either, aren’t likely to help the school bring fans to its games.


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