Why I Don’t Like “Grantland” Right Now

Bill Simmons is one of my favorite sportswriters, and I believe a lot of what I’ve written and said about sports has been inspired by him. However, his brainchild, the new sports and pop culture website, “Grantland,” leaves a lot to be desired.

The thing that has always made Bill Simmons great, is the fact that he has written from the fan’s point of view. He always took on (for me) the likeness of the type of fan I enjoyed talking to. Growing up just outside of Philly, I have been exposed to some people who fancy themselves football “experts” just because they sit around, get drunk, watch the Birds, and curse at whoever is playing quarterback, and bash Andy Reid for being fat and having red hair. Those types of people don’t actually know a lot about football, and they are frustrating to talk to. Reading Bill Simons, who didn’t write with the type of pretense that people like Peter King and Don Banks did, but still brought a sense of knowledgeability on topics to the table, was refreshing. Throw in the repeated pop culture references and self-depricating humor, and it was a near perfect blend of entertaining sports media.

Obviously, I am not the only person who enjoyed Bill Simmons’ work, and his popularity and creativity have ballooned into ESPN giving him the ability to develop his own project. Thus, Grantland came to be. He would bring in people who knew their stuff on sports and all things Hollywood, and it would be wonderful. It didn’t have to try to live up to the “worldwide leader,” but it would be a place where people who felt like they knew their stuff could read from other people who knew their stuff.

Bill Simmons' new venture has left me disappointed

I have no problem with that. However, I have a problem with people who evidently don’t know their stuff parading around like people who know their stuff. The Hollywood articles on the site are so mind-numbingly pretentious that it’s hard to believe that the people writing them are actually taking themselves seriously. Here’s a newsflash: Bashing the movie “Cowboys versus Aliens” and the television show “Lopez Tonight,” doesn’t make you smart, or hip, or anything. The same goes for the article on Shia LaBeouf; we all know he’s a self-absorbed clown, you didn’t need to remind us. It just makes you like everybody else. I haven’t read an article from the pop culture area of the site that hasn’t felt like it was trying to make me feel out of touch, but without providing any actual insight. The whole reason that Bill Simmons was successful at ESPN was because he wrote knowledgeably on topics, while still seeming relatable. The Hollywood writers at Grantland don’t seem the least bit relatable. Everything at that corner of the site seems condescending and unwelcoming.

The sports aspect of the site seems, if nothing else, kind of muted. This truly looks and feels like a sports website run out of an office in Los Angeles. My biggest gripe with their site right now is the use of Bill Barnwell. He seems to be their NFL specialist. I have read nothing from him that indicates he should be considered a legitimate source on anything NFL. He wrote a freee agency “winners and losers” column today. It was honestly less insightful than a horoscope. There was more depth and analysis in our predictions posts than in Barnwell’s free agency article. I bolded that, because there’s no reason that a couple of Marist College Juniors should be able to out-analyze a guy getting paid by ESPN to write about sports. I think Schwartz and I are both pretty smart dudes, and we know a decent amount about sports. But that guy’s getting paid! We still have a lot of growing and refining to do. He’s supposed to be the guy we’re learning from. We have just as much of a chance at being wrong about our predictions, but there’s no disputing that we put more thought and effort into the things we wrote than Barnwell did in his. That, in addition to his KC Joyner-esque creation of statistics that are of such little consequence that the very mention of them makes me feel like less of a sports fan, has made the NFL analysis on the site almost un-readable. Of course, there was Chuck Klosterman’s bit on how all of the Hall of Fames don’t actually exist. He rambled and rambled on, taking (I think) the stance that people who are on the fringe of the Hall of Fame, who have to get argued for every year, stand to gain more from not being in the Hall than actually being in. Whatever the hell kind of theoretical, AP English, type of crap was being pushed with that, I will never know, but it didn’t work. Maybe I just don’t get it. Like I said, maybe I’m out of touch.

If the editor-in-chief at Grantland, Mr. Simmons, could maybe help his writers in the Hollywood section of the site seem a little more down-to-earth, and possibly find somebody who actually knows something about football, to write about football, then maybe Grantland would work for me. But right now it doesn’t. There’s a mix of knowledgeability and relatability that makes Simmons great. Right now his site is far too heavy on what it assumes is knowlegability, really elevating them to the likes of people like Peter King and Don Banks who just pretend they know what they’re talking about. This site has too much confidence for something that hasn’t even justified its existence yet, and for now that will keep me from enjoying it. If nothing else, I think the site that seems to find a way to criticize everything has a real lesson to learn from Thumper, the rabbit from Bambi, who famously said: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Steve Sabato is a contributing writer for Home Field Advantage

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Ah Summer- the College World Series

For the 67th time, the NCAA will hold the College World Series, but this time, it’s in the brand new TD Ameritrade Park. But don’t worry, it’s still in Omaha, Nebraska.

Rosenblatt may be gone, but its memory lives on as host to some of the best baseball around, a rich history. Those lucky enough to attend a game at Rosenblatt love the atmosphere and the history, where guys like Terry Francona, Larry Walker, Pat Burrell and Rod Dedeuax roamed.

College baseball has seen a slight rise of popularity in the past decade, due mostly to expanded media coverage and more money for programs. More athletes are recognized in the college ranks in the baseball world, primarily through the College World Series. Plenty of ball players are still drafted out of high school, skipping college, but more are going to school. This year has no shortage of potential talent, and excellent pitching.

The 2011 College World Series should be a part of your summer sports television lineup, if it wasn’t already. 3 North Carolina, 6 Vanderbilt, 2 Florida, 7 Texas, Cal, 1 Virginia, 4 South Carolina, and Texas A&M are the World Series teams, a mix of blue bloods and newcomers. Virginia, the #1 national seed cruised through the regionals and super regionals, while Cal, a sleeper team from the Pac 10, took over the Houston regional and beat Dallas Baptist for a spot. Every team is a one seed, except for Cal, but many are new to the college post season. The CWS is double elimination in bracket play, and then a best of three championship series.

North Carolina Tar Heels
2011 Record: 50-14, 20-10 in ACC, 3rd in the ACC Coastal Division
Hosted and won both the Chapel Hill Regional and Super Regional
CWS Appearances: 9 (1960, 1966, 1978, 1989, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011)
CWS Titles: 0
MLB Notables: Dustin Ackley, BJ Surhoff, Chris Ianetta
Drafted Players: SS Levi Michael (Twins 30th), RHP Greg Holt (National 247th)
Batting Leaders: BA- .335 Colin Moran (FR, IF), HR- 9 Colin Moran (FR, IF), RBI- 69 Colin Moran (FR, IF)
Pitching Leaders: W- 13-1 Patrick Johnson (SR, RHP), ERA- 2.27 Patrick Johnson (SR, RHP), K- 120 Patrick Johnson (SR, RHP)
Young team with excellent pitching, defense carried the Tar Heels for the most of the season and has been instrumental in their CWS run. Their offense is nothing to scoff at, young bats will have to step up in the first game against Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt Commodores
2011 Record: 52-10, 22-8 in SEC, 3rd in the SEC Eastern Division
Hosted and won both the Nashville Regional and Super Regional
CWS Appearances: 1 (2011) CWS Titles: 0
MLB Notables: David Price, Pedro Alvarez, Mike Minor
Drafted Players: RHP Sonny Gray (A’s 18th), LHP Grayson Garvin (57th Rays), 3B Jason Esposito (64th Orioles), RHP Jack Armstrong (99th Astros), 1B Aaron Westlake (106th Tigers), LHP Corey Williams (117th Twins), RHP David Hill (187th Nationals), RHP Mark Lamm (206th Braves), C Curtis Casali (317th Tigers), RHP Navery Moore (446th Braves), RHP William Clinard (928th Twins), OF Joseph Loftus (1384th Diamondbacks)
Batting Leaders: BA- .357 Jason Esposito (JR, IF), HR- 17 Aaron Westlake (JR, 1B), RBI- 59 Jason Esposito (JR, IF)
Pitching Leaders: W- 13-1 Grayson Garvin (JR, LHP), ERA- 1.21 Navery Moore (JR, RHP), K- 119 Sonny Gray (JR, RHP)
All-around solid ball club with two big time starters and an excellent pitching depth. Offense is powered by Westlake and Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson Mike Yastrzemski, especially in the postseason. If their pitching is on target, look for Vandy to excel in the CWS, starting in the first game against UNC.

Florida Gators
2011 Record: 50-17, 22-8 in SEC, 2nd in the SEC Eastern Division
Hosted and won both the Gainseville Regional and Super Regional
CWS Appearances: 7 (1988, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2011) CWS Titles: 0
MLB Notables: David Eckstein, Mark Ellis, Matt LaPorta, Al Rosen
Drafted Players: LHP Nick Maronde (104th Angels), RHP Anthony DeSclafani (199th Blue Jays), LHP Alex Panteliodis (282nd Mets), RHP Thomas Toledo (341st Brewers), 1B Preston Tucker (498th Rockies), C Ben McMahan (701st Brewers), RHP Matt Campbell (751st Phillies), CF Tyler Thompson (1387th Nationals)
Batting Leaders: BA- .376 Mike Zunino (SO, C), HR- 18 Mike Zunino (SO, C), RBI- 68 Preston Tucker (JR, UTL)
Pitching Leaders: W- 10-3 Hudson Randall (SO, RHP), ERA- 1.72 Steven Rodriguez (SO, LHP), K- 83 Karsten Whitson (FR, RHP)
Always a strong unit, the Gators rely more on offense, but have above average pitching. The entire staff goes through ups and downs, which could hurt in a very defensive CWS. Keep and eye on freshman RHP Karsten Whitson, drafted early 1st round last year but opted to go to school, whose stuff is filthy. They start the CWS against Texas

Texas Longhorns
2011 Record: 49-17, 19-8 in Big XII, Conference Champions
Hosted and won both the Austin Regional and Super Regional
CWS Appearances: 34 (1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1993, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2011) CWS Titles: 6 (1949, 1950, 1975, 1983, 2002, 2005)
MLB Notables: Roger Clemens, Huston Street, Drew Stubbs
Drafted Players: RHP Taylor Jungmann (12th Brewers), LHP Sam Stafford (88th Yankees), SS Brandon Loy (167th Tigers), RHP Cole Green (295th Reds), LHP Andrew McKirahan (639th Cubs), 1B Tant Shepherd (732rd Mets), RHP Kevin Dicharry (1261st Phillies), C Kevin Lusson (1380th Rays)
Batting Leaders: BA- .358 Erich Weiss (FR, IF), HR- 5 Tant Shepherd (SR, IF), RBI- 44 Erich Weiss (FR, IF)
Pitching Leaders: W- 13-2 Taylor Jungmann (JR, RHP), ERA- 1.15 Corey Knebel (FR, RHP), K- 123 Taylor Jungmann (JR, RHP)
Texas has been plagued by the new college bats, in a power drought, but the pitching staff is one of their best of all time. Jungmann is a star, and the other starters are winners. Pitching will determine how far Texas can go, starting with Florida.

Cal Bears
2011 Record: 37-21, 13-13 in Pac 10, 6th in the Pac 10
3 seed won the Fort Worth Regional and the Santa Clara Super Regional
CWS Appearances: 6 (1947, 1957, 1980, 1988, 1992, 2011) CWS Titles: 2 (1947, 1957)
MLB Notables: Jeff Kent, Bob Melvin, Xavier Nady, Conor Jackson
Drafted Players: RHP Erik Johnson (80th White Sox), SS Marcus Semien (201st White Sox), RHP Dixon Anderson (277th Nationals)
Batting Leaders: BA- .335 Tony Renda (SO, IF), HR- 7 Chad Bunting (JR, UTL), RBI- 42 Tony Renda (SO, IF)
Pitching Leaders: W- 9-6 Justin Jones (SO, LHP), ERA- 1.59 Kyle Porter (FR, LHP), K- 100 Erik Johnson (JR, RHP)
Cal, well, they stunned the college baseball world. No one expected them here, and now they are gaining the underdog fans. A well rounded team, doesn’t do anything spectacular, but they are getting the job done. They will have to battle to stay alive, the begin versus #1 overall Virginia.

Virginia Cavaliers
2011 Record: 54-10, 22-8 in ACC, 1st in Coastal Division and ACC Champions
Hosted and won both the Charlottesville Regional and Super Regional
CWS Appearances: 2 (2009, 2011) CWS Titles: 0
MLB Notables: Eppa Rixey, Ryan Zimmerman, Mark Reynolds
Drafted Players: LHP Danny Hultzen (2nd Mariners), C John Hicks (123rd Mariners), RHP Will Roberts (158th Indians), 3B Steven Proscia (213th Mariners), RHP Philip Wilson (305th Orioles), C Kenneth Swab (636th Royals), RHP Cody Winiarski (1101st White Sox)
Batting Leaders: BA- .366 David Coleman (SR, OF), HR- 8 Steven Proscia (JR, IF), RBI- 58 Steven Proscia (JR, IF)
Pitching Leaders: W- 12-3 Danny Hultzen (JR, LHP), ERA- 1.49 Danny Hultzen (JR, LHP), K- 151 Danny Hultzen (JR, LHP)
A dominant team, which has held down the nations #1 spot in the rankings the entire year, the Cavaliers are very good, but not unstoppable–but close. Hultzen leads a ridiculous pitching staff, and the offense has excellent depth. The team has experience, and talent. Only way to beat the Cavs is by jumping on the pitching staff and score–a lot. They start out with Cal.

South Carolina Gamecocks
2011 Record: 54-10, 22-8 in SEC, 2nd in SEC East Division
Hosted and won both the Columbia Regional and Super Regional
CWS Appearances: 10 (1975, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1985, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2011) CWS Titles: 1 (2010)
MLB Notables: Adam Everett, Landon Powell, Justin Smoak
Drafted Players: OF Jackie Bradley (40th Red Sox), RHP Matt Price (184th Diamondbacks), SS Peter Mooney (649th Blue Jays), OF Adam Matthews (695th Orioles), LHP Bryan Harper (907th Nationals), LHP Steven Neff (1257th Giants), LHP Jon Webb (1465th Reds)
Batting Leaders: BA- .359 Christian Walker (SO, IF), HR- 10 Christian Walker (SO, IF), RBI- 60 Christian Walker (SO, IF)
Pitching Leaders: W- 13-3 Michael Roth (JR, LHP), ERA- 1.02 Michael Roth (JR, LHP), K- 95 Michael Roth (JR, LHP)
The defending National Champs are back, complete with last years CWS MVP Jackie Bradley Jr. USCeast has another strong team, also lead by pitching. The offense is even strong, leading me to think they will be hard to beat. If the Gamecock pitchers are getting outs, look out. South Carolina leads off against Texas A&M

Texas A&M Aggies
2011 Record: 47-20, 19-8 Big XII, 2nd in the Big XII
Hosted and won the College Station Regional and won the Tallahassee Super Regional
CWS Appearances: 5 (1951, 1964, 1993, 1999, 2011) CWS Titles: 0
MLB Notables: Chuck Knoblauch, Cliff Pennington
Drafted Players: RHP John Stilson (108th Blue Jays), RHP Thomas Stripling (288th Rockies), RHP Nickolas Fleece (415th Reds), RHP Adam Smith (779th Yankees), RHP Brandon Parrent (921st White Sox), C Kevin Gonzalez (1090th Astros), RHP Steven Martin (1120th Astros)
Batting Leaders: BA- .390 Tyler Naquin (SO, OF), HR- 7 Matt Juengel (JR, IF), RBI- 49 Matt Juengel (JR, IF) & Jacob House (JR, UTL)
Pitching Leaders: W- 14-2 Ross Stripling (JR, RHP), ERA- 1.68 John Stilson (JR, RHP), K- 110 Michael Wacha (SO, RHP)
The Aggies silently floated into the CWS defeating a good Florida State team to get here. The pitching staff is a strong point (surprise), but the offense may struggle at times. They are a scrappy team, almost feast or famine, but they’ve been lucky enough to feast most of the year. They will be hungry and will battle hard, starting off against the defending champs, South Carolina.

Bracket

This College World Series will definitely be interesting; it’s the first year with the new, less bouncy aluminum bats (reason for the low homerun numbers and stud pitching numbers), and the new stadium. Scores will be low and pitchers will need to stay on the mark for all 9 innings, for letting up just one big inning could hurt any of these teams.

I see it coming down to Vanderbilt and Virginia, two strong, all-around teams whose bats can sustain a long enough run to win it all. Hultzen and Gray will be the headliner pitchers, their performances the turning point of the Championship Series, but the real test will be in the 2 and 3 starters for both. Who can keep the runs off of the scoreboard. Ultimately, Virginia will win it all, the second year in a row an team wins its first title. Hultzen will become a household name for his work on the mound, and Yaz 2.0 (Mike Yastrzemski) will capture a large audience as he performs well for Vanderbilt. Virginia has been good enough to be #1 all year, and rarely do I chose that season long #1 to win it all, but UVA has been consistently too good, they’re only misstep was against Miami in the regular season (you should know me, have to plug the Canes).

Sit down and watch starting Saturday, June 16th, live on ESPN. And if you chose to watch only a little, the championship series will surely be a dandy. It’s college baseball baby, and it’s hit the boiling point–let’s get it on!

Michael Schwartz is a staff writer for Home Field Advantage

HFA Stanley Cup Preview

Before I get knee-deep in Stanley Cup Finals analysis, I must be forthcoming with you guys about something. I care more about the Calder Cup Finals than I do about these Stanley Cup Finals. At least in the Calder Cup, I get a good look at the Ottawa Senators’ future, as their AHL affiliate Binghamton Senators take on the Houston Aeros. In the Stanley Cup I get a Northeast division rival playing against a Canucks team that really evokes no emotions in me whatsoever.

What to Expect: Low scoring games. Tim Thomas of Boston and Roberto Luongo of Vancouver are not Vezina finalists for nothing. They are probably two of the top three goalies that you would want on your side in a game that decided your life. Vancouver has more Defensemen to like (Bieksa, Edler, etc.) but Boston has the one D-Man that intimidates every player on the other team. His name is Zdeno Chara, and he will, in all probability, kill you, if you get under his skin. However, beyond him, there really isn’t much to love about Boston’s defense, and that has become evident through a series of situations that has led to him getting hung out to dry on odd-man rushes. I give Vancouver the defensive edge. On offense, Vancouver has way more firepower than Boston, with the Sedin twins, Mayson Raymond, Ryan Kesler, and company. Boston has a lot of talent, with guys like Nathan Horton, Tyler Seguin, and Michael “Easy” Ryder, but it is a matter of them being able to break the goalie who won Canada the 2010 Gold Medal in hockey.

The key for Boston is going to be winning the battles on the boards. Guys like Milan Lucic, Chara, and Johnny Boychuk are going to have to take advantage of the fact that Boston is a much better checking squad than Vancouver. Gritty players cause turnovers, rough people up, and keep the other team’s offense in check. No pun intended. Maybe a little.

The Verdict: Vancouver in 6. I just don’t see Boston generating enough offense against Luongo, much less to counteract what the high-octane Canucks offense will likely produce. The Cup will finally return to Canada.

Fun Fact: Did you know the Sedins were planning to refuse to play unless they were on the same team? For example: If Daniel was drafted by one team, Henrik would refuse to play for whoever drafted him, until he hit free agency, and signed with the team that drafted Daniel. They’ve always been creepy, Stranz-and-Fairchild van Waldenberg close (Blades of Glory reference, don’t judge me) and this just makes people like them less. However, without their petty antics, the city of Vancouver would have been robbed of a lot of offensive magic on the ice. All good things come at some cost.

Steve Sabato is a staff writer for Home Field Advantage

This Week…

Happy Memorial Day everybody! Hope the weather is beautiful in whichever part of the country you find yourself!

This week, we mark our first week of covering general sports. No city, no fancy breakdowns and no individual analysis. We’ll cover any and all stories we see necessary and will do our best to keep you up to date!

Make sure to keep checking in to see what we have to say!

The Other New Guy: With More Trains and Blueberries

Before I get to formally introducing myself to all of you wonderful people, I think the first matter of business should be to thank Kaiti and Greg for this opportunity. Greg actually kick-started my progression through the ranks at WMAR at Marist, and gave me the affectionate nickname “Stat-Boy Steve.” It all happened one fateful Saturday afternoon during a Campbell vs Marist football game. I’ll That’s the first time that sentence has ever been used, so on that note, I’ll leave the rest to your vivid imaginations.

My name is Steve Sabato, and I live in Hammonton, New Jersey, the Ronald Reagan-proclaimed Blueberry Capital of the World. Which is good news, because I don’t very much care for blueberries. He said that in a speech he gave in our town, which we commemorated with a large rock in the center of town. I always found that amusing. Ronald Reagan got a rock.

What do Charlie Brown and Ronald Reagan have in common?

My life as a sports fan started on a Sunday afternoon in Berlin, New Jersey. My dad was concerned that sports had not taken hold with me yet, and I was already a whole four years old. He pointed out to me that the Colts were on TV, and they were blue, like Thomas the Tank Engine. After that, it was all history. I cried real, five year-old tears when the Colts lost to the Steelers in the ’95-’96 AFC Championship Game, when Jim Harbaugh’s Hail Mary pass was ruled incomplete (it wasn’t.) I rooted for the Colts to take Peyton Manning in the draft after I had started to like him at Tennessee. That worked out, and it has been a great 12 years of pro football fandom for me. I am also a Purdue Boilermakers fan, because around the same time that I had started to like the Colts, I learned that Purdue’s logo was a train. So, I root for the Colts and the Boilermakers, all because of Thomas the Tank Engine. Weird, I know.

Thomas the Tank Engine is the primordial soup of sports for Steve Sabato

In baseball, my love lies with the Phillies. It started with the Diamondbacks, as one of my first sports heroes was Randy Johnson, but after he left, it just became a harsh charade of forcing feelings that weren’t there. Meanwhile, the Phillies were on TV every day during the summer, and by the time I was in 8th grade, I had already started to follow and like the Phillies more. In hockey, I like the Senators, because, in the first hockey game I ever owned, NHL 99, I discovered that their logo was a Roman Centurion, they had a dazzling Swede named Daniel Alfredsson, who I quickly fell in love with, and my best friend’s dad had nicknamed me the Senator, because as a kid, I enjoyed using big words. Jeff Friesen scoring the game-winning goal with 2:14 left in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to send the Devils to the 2003 Stanley Cup ahead of the Senators is one of my all-time worst sports fan moments.

So that’s a background on why I like the teams that I like in sports. It’s a little different, but I don’t mind. I look forward to getting my opinions out there on this great blog that Katie and Greg have started, and that Schwartz and I have been added to. I can’t wait to get my first non-introductory post out there, and hope that it contributes to the growth of the site as a whole. Thanks for getting to know “Stat Boy Steve” a little better.

Steve Sabato is a staff writer for Home Field Advantage

The New Guy: Now With More Oregon and John Jaha

It’s fitting that Greg Kaplan would write me an email May 26th about coming on as a staff-writer. It’s even more significant that I would begin writing this today, the 27th, the birth date of John Jaha.

Yes, think about who that is, John Jaha. Interesting name, may strike the faintest chord in the back of some baseball minds. Jaha played for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1992 to 1998, then signed to play with the Oakland A’s for the 1999 season. His first year in Oakland, he was Comeback Player of the Year, and an All-Star, but after that, not much else. Jaha would retire in 2001, relatively unnoticed. I know, most of you are asking why is this guy going off about Johns Jaha. Jaha was born in Portland, Oregon, just like me, new Home Field Advantage staff writer Michael Schwartz. Good connection, right? Let’s move on.
John Jaha

My parents hail from the east coast, but I was born in Portland, Oregon (like Jaha). All I ever had to cheer for locally was the Portland Trailblazers, and I did, until the arrest sheet became the image of the franchise. So as is with most west coast people, college football was my heaven. Oregon versus Oregon State football was the highlight of the year, and as a Beaver fan, the early years were easier–1998’s double overtime thriller closed out by Ken Simonton is something I’ll never forget, especially since the Ducks are light years ahead now. And those who know me, know I can’t go without mentioning the Miami Hurricanes, who I fell in love with in 2000, and I’m still a diehard Canes fan.

In good ol’ Oregon, I played football all four years of high school, as well as some lacrosse, track and field, intramural basketball, and baseball growing up. College football and baseball are my passions, the histories, I find to be better than anything else in American history. The Negro Leagues are one of my favorite topics, and Josh Gibson is my all time favorite ball player.I know a lot of trivia, but I do have to concede the fact that Greg Kaplan beat me in Sports Trivia Night one fateful night of the spring 2011 semester at Marist College. My only comment on that: I do not like Brooks Robinson.

So really, the John Jaha thing and Oregon State are my only hometown plugs. I’ve always been a New York Yankees fan, it runs in the family, and someway, somehow, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are my NFL team. This sort of phenomenon happens when you’re from Oregon.

But I don’t think that’s why I was invited to write for HFA–I think it was my part in Marist College’s radio/tv/film and sports communications department as a rising Junior, vice-president of WMAR Marist Radio, assistant sports director of MCTV, I co-host a weekly sports talk show “Steve & Schwartz Talking Sports” on WMAR, with the other new writer Steve Sabato, and I can eliminate any east-coast bias–sort of (I love college football and I’m from Oregon, that’s about it for my west coast persona). I look forward to writing for HFA, spreading some knowledge, and honing my skills. Thank you both Greg Kaplan and Kaiti Decker for the opportunity, watch out for more articles, I have to go deal with some rain here in Oregon. Stay excellent people, go watch some baseball.
Oh and Happy Birthday John Jaha.

Michael Schwartz is a staff writer for Home Field Advantage

Improvements on Home Field Advantage

Welcome back, folks!

As Kaiti and I settle into our chaotic, post-graduation lifestyles, we’ve been working on how to make Home Field Advantage better for you, the viewers.

Here is what we’ve come up with:

First, we’d like to welcome aboard our two newest writers: Mike Schwartz and Steve Sabato!

Both are fellow Red Foxes, and they are still amongst the undergraduate ranks. We wanted to keep our connections to where this all began. Knowing Mike and Steve personally as I do, they will offer opinions that differ from the ones you have been hearing non-stop for the better part of five months. They are also hosts of the critically acclaimed (maybe) sports radio talk show, Steve & Schwartz Talk Sports, which is another show ran through Marist’s own WMAR Studios. Come September, when they return to the airwaves, so will HFA Radio as a branch to their show. Make sure you stay tuned for that.

Later today, we will allow Mike and Steve to introduce themselves to you the viewing public and we will start getting things moving towards our brand new idea:

We are eliminating the City of the Week feature and expanding this site to an all-encompassed sports blog. We will talk about the news of the day, opinions on stories that broke and our take on the latest controversy on America’s biggest stage. We know that the site was founded off the City of the Week principle and the examination of sports culture from around the country. But, through our work over the last semester and on HFA Radio, we discovered that the best way to possibly do that is to examine a story from the neutral, outside prospective, talk with someone from that direct area, then mesh together the two takes into one broader scope.

We’re really excited about these changes and even more excited to add Mike and Steve into our arsenal. HFA will begin to blow up your Facebook’s and Twitter’s in a few days, don’t you worry.

Until then, happy almost summer everybody!