Monday, March 27, 2006

The "Yes, This Blog Is Still Alive" Post

As our faithful readers have probably noticed, productivity here at Sports Matters has been down the past few days. The main culprit for this has been the beginning of the draft for the first season of The Alberta Baseball Confederacy, the fantasy baseball league that five of us are a part of.

It's not so much the draft that has been occupying us as it is the chat room, which as Andy aptly put it on the Battle of Alberta site, is like going down the rabbit hole. We're making good progress, at any rate, and should be ready to rejoin the real work by Opening Day.

As for our resident Calgarian Nathan Muhly, he hasn't been lost to the baseball chatroom, so I can only assume that he has receded to the dark confines of the St. Louis Hotel to drown his sorrows on the heels of his beloved Calgary Flames' embarrassing loss to Columbus on Friday night. I imagine that he'll resurface to post a snarky reply to this, only to dissapear again after I humiliate him in the playoffs of our fantasy hockey league this week.

Anyway, I thought I'd pop in with a few notes on the world of sports. The baseball preview should get going again soon, though between the fantasy draft and an unexpected spell of busyness at work, it's behind schedule.

Karma's a Bitch in the National Football League
Less than a week after an arbitrator ruled in favor of the Minnesota Vikings' poison pill provisions in the Steve Hutchinson case, the Seahawks have shot back. This weekend, theysigned Vikings Wide Receiver Nate Burleson to an offer sheet, containing the following two "poison pill" provisions:

1. All $49 million would become guaranteed if Burleson plays five or more games in the state of Minnesota in any season of the contract. The Vikings, of course, play home games in Minneapolis, at the Metrodome.

2. The second provision would guarantee the full contract if Burleson is paid more on average per year than all of the Minnesota running backs combined. At least for now, the averages of the Vikings' tailbacks fall well shy of the $7 million average of the Burleson offer sheet.

Suffice to say, unless the Vikings have a secret plan to flee the Twin Cities in the next five months, the first provision makes this a guaranteed contract. You have to think that the Vikings are going to challenge this, though the implications of this deal extend beyond the situation with Burleson and the two teams involved. If the arbitrator upholds this deal, it will basically signal the end of restricted free agency, as teams will simply be able put any sort of "poison pill" they want to into a contract to pry a player away. I'll bet Tagliabue's successor will love to have that one to deal with as he or she steps into office.

Just Give Me The Damn Ball!
I recently wrote about Keyshawn Johnson's travels. I should note that he has now officially signed in Carolina. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how Keyshawn does playing second fiddle to Steve Smith with his new club.

Ring Out a Cheer For Our Alberta

Since all six of us have attended the University of Alberta, we would be remiss in not mentioning that the Golden Bears won a record 12th hockey championship last night, defeating Lakehead University 3-2. It was their second title in a row, both coming on home ice.

Go Bears!

A Little Love for Calgary Too...
Calgarian Stephen Ames won the Players' Championship yesterday, and in the process earned himself a ticket to The Masters in two weeks. Ames' impressive round helped him hold off a strong field, and earn the berth in Augusta and a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour. If nothing else, we can look forward to seeing his name next to a Canadian flag on the "didn't make the cut" part of the TSN ticker.

Seriously though, it was a great performance by Ames, and I look forward to following him at Augusta in two weeks.

Patriot Games
Finally, if you're not a student or alumnus of UCLA, LSU, or Florida, and are not on the George Mason bandwagon, then you have no soul. That is all.

Back soon. In the meantime, enjoy your fantasy baseball drafts...or whatever's keeping you busy these days.


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