Big Trophies Need to Come from Small Markets


New York City. Los Angeles. Dallas. Chicago. Philadelphia. Five major United States cities, but population isn’t all that they have in common. The five cities listed above also have started to struggle to win trophies for their respected heavily populated areasin professional sports.

American society naturally loves the under dogs in sports; that narrative is what makes movies like “Space Jam” and “Hoosiers”, awesome! The recent big city blues in terms of titles in America’s big four sports (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL) has been something that most enjoy… As long as there’s nothing else to enjoy. Confused? Let me sooth your muddled thoughts with a logical approach to why it’s good to see small markets win!

The top hardware from the four Major Professional Leagues in America are going to America’s smaller markets like the Bay Area, Denver, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Miami, Seattle, Baltimore and San Antonio. Not the big names by any means, but that’s not such a bad thing!

In the big cities there are increased populations to compliment the area’s supply and demand of needs to fulfill those organiztion’s requirements. Plus, those bigger markets aren’t reliant on those teams to win in order to have thriving economies. They can rely on prestige and their typical annual merchandising sales. Just look at the Dallas Cowboys who backed Ezekiek Elliott’s recent jersey sales all the way to the top of the off-season window. Despite the Cowboys not having won an NFL title since 1996, they still claim the top jersey. Without a doubt, Elliott’s sales mainly came from a large following of big media fans that will always strive as long as they are top media. (6)

The smaller markets however, depend on their local professional teams succeeding with performance, which is why their rewards of titles are a good thing!

“Not only has James led the Cavs to only their second appearance in the NBA Finals since they were founded in 1970, but the effect he’s had from a business perspective is felt far and wide. New data reveal that the Cavs have seen a substantial increase in nearly every business category—from tickets to merchandise to TV time—compared with previous seasons.” (1)

The previous excerpt was snagged from an article about Lebron James’ impact upon returning to Cleveland and bringing them back to dominance. 

Not only is the resurgence of the Cleveland Cavaliers good for a less predictable NBA, that would have featured more titles for franchises like the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics, but it’s good for the Clevelandesque smaller sized market’s economy! All of the NBA’s past five winners (Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and Miami Heat twice) are below the top five media markets according to a report done in 2016. (2) But it’s not only the NBA that is seeing more dominance from the inferior markets.

Denver (the number ten media market) hoisted the Lombardi trophy in 2015. Preceding the Broncos are New England (number eight), Seattle (number fourteen) and Baltimore (number 26). (3)

Last year the Workd Series was won by the Kansas City Royals (number 33 media market) in the MLB. (5) In the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins earned the Stanley Cup as the number 23 media market in America. (4) Certainly, smaller markets could have won and these aren’t all outlandishly small media markets for examples, but they aren’t nearly as large as the cities listed at the beginning of this article The only one of those large markets that has enjoyed a title in recent years is Chicago with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015. (4) but even then, it doesn’t change the notion this article is striving for. That is that the smaller markets need to succeed over the bigger markets and it’s a good thing that they are doing so.

But why do they need this underdog success? 

Think about it. 

If the Dodgers or Yankees win the World Series this fall, yes it will be celebrated but for how long before the attention turns to the Rams and Giants/Jets? Or just in general people will move on to finer things available like Broadway in N.Y.C. or the beach in L.A. But, when the Cavaliers win the NBA Finals it is much more appreciated by the fans in the heart of Ohio who have nothing to look forward to all summer except the hopes of a good show at the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame! That trophy is something they carry with them moving forward with it being their new claim to fame and something to hold over people’s heads.

Small markets need the success to keep the fans interested in the few area teams they have available because it is typically their best forms of entertainment! Larger markets however just need a championship once in a blue moon to keep appearances a float as top dog franchises.

Humans love sports and most of the time love underdogs, and when you can get behind both in one move it really lights a fun-distraction of entertainment for all to enjoy. We love under dogs in all walks of life but our relationships with under dogs stays consistent. We love the mom and pop stores that compete with super centers. We want to cheer on the local smaller markets that are trying to get by but realize that sometimes the bigger store has more essentials that grab our attention as well. 

Still, we see better things happen when the smaller scaled markets win. Merchandise, loyalty, interest and controversy all rises with the success of the under dogs.

Every now and again the powers of Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Philly and Dallas will enviably end up on top and winning. All the more reason to cherish the times we have to celebrate a mom and pop franchise’s victory. While you may hear overwhelmingly from those larger media markets complaining that the sports world is better when the Yankees, Lakers, Cowboys and Blackhawks are good, just remember the greater good that comes from teams like the Broncos’, Royals’ and Cavaliers’ titles and what they generate for the sake of their societies!



Headliners! 06-23-16

Patrick Kane Named NHL Hart Trophy Recipient

Quick Reaction; The Chicago Blackhawks forward won the NHL honor forcefully, overpowering the opposition by 100 plus votes! It’s nice to see that the NHL voters avoided a temptation of short term memory loss. The voters did not forget Kane, whose Hawks were knocked out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first round and staying honest to rewarding Kane’s hard-earned trophy.

NBA Draft Features Two Big Names!

Quick Reaction; Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, who will have the better career? That seems to be the big question leading up to Thursday night’s draft. Why? … Lack of intrigue from other prospects according to the media. So what has it set up? An almost Lebron-Melo reiteration of NBA Draft debate. My wonder; who’s going to be the Darko  Milicic… The next bust?

New Anthem For Sunday Night Football

Quick Reaction; Carrie Underwood’s NFL on NBC’s Sunday Night Football theme “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night” will be replaced by “Oh, Sunday Night”, a new single from Underwood. The former song lasted ten years and was every autumn’s weekend NFL finale football ‘dinner bell’, but has ran its course since debuting in 2006. “Oh, Sunday Night” will premier on Sept. 11th for the New England Patriots vs. Arizona Cardinals game. However, the song will be leaked by then no doubt. Ask any artist in the music industry today how safe a song is in the technology era we live in. … Thanks, Napster!

COPA Third Place Game: USA vs. Columbia 

Quick Reaction; Following the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 4-0 loss to Argentina in the semis it was easy to pick up that the country’s got as much momentum behind the National team as a fat kid on a teeter-totter. It’ll be miraculous if the squad can console their fans on Saturday night in their consolation with Columbia. Columbia beat the U.S. 2-0 in the group stage of the COPA tournament earlier this month.

Derrick Rose Acquired by the New York Knicks from Chicago Bulls

Quick Reaction; NBA’s first big trade bomb-drop was more bang then damage! On the surface it sounds like something big but in reality it’s a belly-flop worth of damage. Really, it should only hurt the Knees–SORRY, SORRY! I mean the Knicks, sorry! New York is desperate for wins but if they’re serious about contending for the Eastern Conference in 2016 they’ll need to find more free-agency napalm!

Headliners 6-13-16

*Early reactions to headlines of topics from the day*

Draymond Green’s Game 5 Suspension

Reaction: If the Warriors clinch the NBA Championship without Green, it’s worth wondering what excuse Lebron James will have left for not winning a Chamionship in Cleveland.

Top NBA Talent Backing Out on U.S.A. National Basketball Team

Reaction: This makes for a more interesting and level-field basketball event in the 2016 Rio Olympics and allows new basketball stars to become better known within the country. Let the new crop of U.S. stars get their sunlight, water and soil and watch them grow!

Controversial Call Leads to Brazil’s Elimination from COPA America 

Reaction: Imagine you had to babysit 22 children throughout an 86,000 sq. footage field for an hour and a half and ensure  things went without a hitch. Could you do it? Because that’s what we expect soccer officials to do! It’s absurd and we need to stop criticizing officials and should instead criticize that the sport stands true to such a problematic dilemma.

Penguins Win Stanley Cup Over San Jose

Reaction: It’s hard to imagine that Southern California would create die-hard hockey fans but in last night’s game 6 defeat the Shark’s fans proved it doesn’t have to be a cold-weathered setting to love a hockey team. As the game concluded and the Pens skated around the rink in celebration, the San Jose fans carried out a moving and inspiring “LETS GO SHARKS” chant that would rival the class of even the most respected fan bases in terms of loyalty and pride! 

The NHL Needs to Make a Change!


The three-point line was introduced to the National Basketball Association during the 1979-1980 season, and the rest is history. (1) Basketball became a more open and transitional game due to the line’s existence and despite the early criticism (and sustained criticism from basketball purists), the added paint on the court has made for a better and less predictable game.

The three-point line allows for teams to stay in games longer with the added opportunity to make up for late game deficits as seen in numerous variations, which probably is the greatest bright side to the three-point line. Other than the added notion of anything can happen, the three adds hope for players that have greater shot range even if they’re smaller sized in the big man ruled world of the NBA. The three opens up the court from suffocating defenses and allows those previously mentioned big men to breathe, allowing for more variations to score more efficient buckets closer to the hoop as well.

Still, the best bright side to the extra point shot is the allure of the added points both players and teams benefit from with an added three-pointer. One of the setbacks of the three is the difficulty in finding efficient sharpshooters from beyond the arc, but when they are discovered they are adored.

Quarter century later and its probably safe to assume that the three-point line has cemented its legacy in the NBA. It changes up the same old story of 2+2+2+2+2+2=12, to be cut nearly in half with 3+3+3+3, allowing the procrastination of a built up deficit a team has allowed to be easily made up.

The other night, the St. Louis Blues took on the San José Sharks in an NHL Western Conference showdown that the Sharks went onto win 6-3. (2) In that game, seven of the nine scored goals were within a sticks distance from the crease of the goal. Sharks forward, Tomas Hertl added two goals in the first period off of point blank ricochets rebounding  from the Blue’s goalie. The ways teams are looking to score is by causing chaos in front of the net and hoping for odd bounces, kind of like when down-low offense dominated the NBA. The game is more predictable and needs a change or maybe just an addition.

In Monday’s game, the Blues found themselves down 3-1 after the first period. Personally as an at home spectator I tuned out thinking the chance for a comeback was a long shot. However, maybe that’s the cure this spectator and this game needs… the temptation of a long shot!

The Blues exchanged goals for goals with the Sharks to make the score 5-3 halfway into the third period. Even though, the NHL allows for the craziest of outcomes late in games it was hard to feel that St. Louis would get back in the game. However, the Blue’s third goal was scored from a shot beyond the Shark’s defensive face-off circles. Now, let’s say that there was a line after the face-off circles that ran to the blue line that we called the two-point zone that had a rule that said if a is shot from this area and goes in untouched by a shooter’s teammate it is worth two points!


Take our game of dissection for example. Suddenly, thanks to Jay Bouwmeester’s distance shot St. Louis only trails 5-4. Now, any second with the right shot from the right location of the ice and the Blues could have completely came back to take the lead!

The games would be more hectic, the ricochet goals would exist equally. The style of goals would flourish, and create a plethora of highlights with slap-shot style goals. Suddenly, Fulton Reed (The Mighty Ducks) power shooters have added value and the nose for the goal/trash men are less necessary. The game would be implementing a major style change, but that’s not an all around bad thing.

Of course with all change there will be a connection to controversy. Hockey purist will certainly have some hesitation to adding a two-point zone. The belief will be that the two-point shots will be ruining the game and the idea that a two point shot diminishes the glory of the goal. Just keep in mind purist out there, they said the same thing about the NBA three-point addition.

It’s been 26 years since Kevin Grevey knocked down the first trey of the NBA, and I don’t think the bonus shot has any lack of life in the future. (1) It’s time the NHL follows in basketball’s trail to the town of scoring changes, otherwise you can plan on even more at home spectators tuning out after quick first period leads.




3) Hockey template (picture)

For the Love of Great Scott


Hey NHL, you leave a loaded gun around a group of monkeys don’t be surprised when the monkeys start shooting at random, but at least own up to the fact that you left the gun out!

The loaded gun left out was a fan-decided vote to allow the NHL’s fans to pick who goes to the NHL All-Star game. And the fans, or monkeys in this analogy, took that liberty and ran a little bit in the wrong way. The fans used their voting leverage to get former Phoenix Coyote forward, John Scott, a captain’s spot of the Pacific Division for the annual event set to take place on January 29th.

One can’t blame the fans for doing what they want with the open vote format but at the same time America needs to at least realize that this is why we can’t have nice things! Still, that didn’t stop the NHL from trying to cover-up this prank of an All-Star election.

The NHL maneuvered a way that Scott could not participate in the All-Star showcase in honor of the principle of the game, no matter how much irony that statement may carry. a trade was constructed to move Scott to the Montréal Canadians, an Atlantic Division team, and also demoted him to the NHL’s minor league system of the American Hockey League. The trade went through, but not unnoticed.

Following an uproar of deserved media scrutiny towards the NHL caused enough of a tiff for justice to be served, allowing Scott back into the All-Star game lineup.

Scott is the working man’s type of player. The kind of guy who’s just trying to keep a job while doing his part for the team he plays for. Throughout his career he has only played in 285 games throughout his nine seasons for seven different NHL teams. He only has five goals over that time and is more known as a tactical player with tough guy attributes. Still, he can say he has had a substantial career and for making his career last he deserves some kind of extra reward. Especially, considering he had two stints with the Chicago Blackhawks over the past nine seasons and missed out on their Stanley Cup years.

I’m not saying that John isn’t a good hockey player, he made it almost a decade in the NHL! I’m just saying when the product being presented is supposed to be the NHL ALL-STAR game, there is no room for false advertisement. The NHL is trying to implement more reason for fans to watch the annual event for the sake of ratings and gaining followers of the sport, a prank like Scott making the game ruins that. Problem is, they trusted the fans with the vote, ultimately leading to the source of the John Scott dilemma.

I have no problem with a fan vote, I’m American, it’s what I know when it comes to elections. The difference is the fact that even when it comes to President of the U.S. at the end of the day the Electoral college has the final say in the matter. When it comes to All-Star voting, I understand the need for an NHL over ride, but if your going to imply it in the end you have to get rid of the fan-vote process. It’s precautions like this taken that keeps people like the “Deez Nuts” guy from becoming an actual U.S. Presidential campaign consideration.

The John Scott dilemma forces us to realize that sometime we are the ruiners of our fun as a society. When you improperly excerpt the responsibility flexed upon you, you deserve the act of getting it taken away.

So enjoy watching John Scott this January 29th in the NHL All-Star game. Just don’t complain about their being a lesser product representing the Pacific division on the ice when an actual All-Star that was left at home. Also, next year when you want your team’s star to earn his All-Star selection but can’t because the fan vote idea has been terminated, realize that it was our irresponsibility and the allowance of Scott to make this year’s game that caused it!


BENJI BARKS! 6-19-2015

  1. Pablo Sandoval Caught On His Phone During Game… Grow Up Sandy! – The Red Sox lost 5-2 to the Braves on June 17th, but the lower narrative from the game is what Pablo Sandoval did when he took a bathroom break mid-game. Sandoval went on Instagram and even liked a few photos while he was supposed to be using the restroom. One plus-side of social media is the ability to multi-task and it’s probably likely Sandoval was killing two-birds by looking at his phone while using the bathroom. Unfortunately for Panda, the social media move is forbidden bamboo in proper MLB etiquette. Story-aside; using the bathroom break excuse just so you can look at Instagram photos sounds like something a teenage high school girl does to pass time in study hall. When your profession is something like pro baseball player people set traps to lure your hand into the cookie jar and Pablo’s hand was most definitely caught in this case. A grown man should know better and Sandy’s been in the league long enough to know what he did was not only stupid but unprofessional. There should be no leniency for his action and I really hope people consider what they’re saying if they try to.
  2. How Long Will David Blatt Be in Cleveland? – Simple answer; ask Lebron James. While Blatt believes he will be back in Cleveland next year some people are still skeptical of his future.  Of course, Lebron James has not said anything on the matter for the record as of now but one can imagine a scenario where he would have a different opinion. Hell, him and Blatt illuminated to the viewing world several times disagreements throughout the past year in the NBA. So, why wouldn’t one think when it comes to Blatt’s future it would be any different. And let’s not play dumb, Blatt may have the title of coach, but the entire Cleveland franchise is under the control of Lebron James. You ask me, the answer to how long David Blatt will stay in Cleveland hinges on whether King James’ thumb turns up or down.
  3. Which Looks Worse: The Links of the U.S. Open or Tiger Woods? – The links of Chambers Bay have many TV viewers adjusting their saturation and hue levels, trying to figure out why the premier golf course’s grass isn’t green. the course that’s hosting the U.S. Open is overbearingly khaki and brown and while expected by regional golfers, it has worldwide viewers confused. But the golfers part taking in the course seem to be okay with it as Ryan Moore admitted to. “They’re definitely not the prettiest greens in the world, but no fescue greens are that pretty. But it actually rolls a lot better than it looks,” said Moore. Sadly for one of the golfers it doesn’t seem to matter what color the grass is that he plays on… Tiger Woods. Wood’s recent alarming low results continued on Thursday and the active golf-legend appears to be walking the plank on his career and running out of room. While no one, Woods included, seems to be able to pinpoint the reason for his decline, everyone seems to be entitled to an opinion on the subject. Mine; Tiger is simply over-the-hill and can no longer compete at the professional level. Question is, how long will he continue to play trying to fix it and diminishing his legacy.
  4. Should NHL Players Stick with Playoff Beards? – The Head of NBC Sports, Mark Lazarus was quoted saying, “I wish they all would stop growing beards in the post-season.” Lazarus wants his featured professionals to reveal their face more and make themselves more publicly recognizable to promote the sport better. The problem with that is that it conflicts with the humble way of the pro hockey player that blue collar America loves. Sure, you don’t recognize the face in the streets. However, you do recognize the team logo on the ice and at the end of the day that’s what matters most to the fans. As players, coaches and owners always say in the post-games it’s about what the fans want, right? Well, give them what they want! If that’s a scruffed up mug that hides the playing scars and masks the toothless smiles then so be it. I say keep the scruff, the humbleness and the great tradition of the playoff beard in the playoffs… Let it grow! Let it Grow! Let it Grow!
  5. New Clippers Logo, What is it Good For? – The days of Donald Sterling are long gone and Steve Ballmer has taken over. Plans for modern advances have been set in motion for L.A.’s step-basketball team: the Clippers, one call to modernity is their new look uniforms and logo. While the uniforms new type and design appear to be up to par, the logo featured the alternative red and black jerseys is puzzling. Other than the fact that the new logo looks like a cheese maze itself it leaves me lost, wondering if the modernizing was needed to that extent.


Who’s in hotter water at 0-1; Cleveland or Tampa Bay? – Cleveland forgets about the overtime period and Tampa Bay tried to survive on a one goal lead with a Chicago Blackhawks team that strikes offensively like piranha; quick and often. Both game one losses are damaging in terms of momentum but what makes the two trailing teams different is the long-term effects of each loss. While Cleveland saw Kyrie Irving suffer another injury, leading to a questioning of his future involvement with the series, the Bolts simply lost a game. The shell-shock of the Blackhawks scoring two goals in less than two minutes in the final period on Wednesday night seems a lot easier to get over then possibly losing your star point guard like the Cavaliers have. When it comes to which team is more in trouble after the pair of inaugural Final’s games has to be Cleveland. The Cavs are suffering a post-season collapse due to injuries to two of their predicted three stars from their monopoly like off season moves; Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Of course what I’m about to propose is all just food for thought but by question is; how much would Cleveland benefit now had they decided to keep the now Timberwolves Rookie of the Year: Andrew Wiggins?

Change of feelings by the base paths of Junior Lake’s antics? – Junior Lake knocks a dinger for the Chicago Cubs in Miami against the Marlins to make the score 2-6. The homer was a no doubter and Lake made an initial splash of controversy with baseball’s unspoken rules, celebrating with a bat flip as he ran to first. Fact is, baseball needs to modernize some things and let certain things go, like the bat flip. A bat flip is an innocent enough gesture (as long as it’s done in no one’s direction) of a way to pump up a team while flexing a metaphorical bicep and purist need to learn to like it. But Lake didn’t dig himself a big enough water-hole, or so he felt, and as he touched third base held a shush sign to his lips in the direction of the Marlins and the crowd. Now there’s shaky waters afoot… the Marlins reacted expectedly igniting a feud with Lake in self-defense. There are three problems with this, hang with me on this.

1) The score: It was the bottom of the sixth, and the Cubs still trailed. If Lake was trying to spark a comeback by his antics I applaud the notion of doing the bat flip, I scorn involving the opponent, especially when you’re already losing.

2) The Marlins gullible response: All the Marlins had to do in response to Lake was point at the scoreboard and grab their gloves and finish the job on the field. The hot-headed response of meeting Lake at home was something you’d expect to see in minor league ball. While you could argue that some of Miami’s players belong in the minors talent-wise, the Marlins have to be more professional than that as people.

3) The setting: Marlins Park and Marlins fans. Neither is known for being at capacity when it comes to seats or loyalty. The Park holds 37,000 but only 23,000 showed up on Wednesday for it. Following a 6-0 start up by the sixth inning it was probably a lot less full of a park then even two-thirds. So who exactly was Lake shushing? The vendors?

The reality of the Arthur Ashe Award. – Caitlyn Jenner is now being given the 2015 Arthur Ashe ESPY Award for Courage. Let that sink in, for changing her name from Bruce Jenner and her gender to female. Bruce Jenner is down in sports history as a top athlete. Caitlyn Jenner hasn’t contributed a thing to sports. Former Arthur Ashe Award notables are; Jimmy Valvano, Dewey Bozella, Pat Summit and Muhammad Ali. The 2014 winner was Michael Sam who won for coming out as an NFL player. With the LGBT world become more relevant in the mainstream of today’s society you have to wonder if Jenner’s nomination wasn’t just a nod to have her martyr that initial of the acronym. But when you think of her with what she’s done in comparison to the former winners it’s hard to feel like she has lived up to her awards predecessors. Let’s just hope next year the award goes back to a more fitting winner than 2015’s.