Category Archives: Other Sports

My Issue With the NFL, and How the Cleveland Browns Are Like the Blue Jays

Let me start by clarifying a few things: I am not a huge football fan, and this is a baseball blog, but yes – I am writing about football.

Here’s why: I’m getting sick of hearing about the New England Patriots.  Everybody on Twitter has given them the Superbowl this year after Green Bay lost yesterday.  Everybody is saying that they are a super team, that they are a dynasty, that this year’s incarnation is the best ever.

To which I respond – garbage.

The 2012 New England Patriots played 16 games, and the end of season combined winning percentage of their 16 opponents was a staggering .449.  The teams that played New England lost 26 more games than they won.  The Patriots played only two (2!!!) games in the regular season against teams that finished with winning records: Pittsburgh and the NY Giants.  The Patriots lost them both.

On the other hand, take a team like the poor Cleveland Browns.  Cleveland also played 16 football games this season, only the final winning percentage of their 16 opponents was .531.  Their opponents won 16 games more than they lost.  The Browns played an unbelievable 9 games against teams that would finish the season with a winning record.  They went 0 – 9 in those contests.

So on the one side of the equation you have New England, who played 12.5% of their schedule against good teams.  On the other you have Cleveland who played 56.25% of their schedule against winning teams.  Both of those teams play in the same conference and battle for the same Wild Card spots.

Yet New England, despite playing a schedule softer than Bartolo Colon’s belly, is being touted as the best team in the league and a Superbowl lock.

That’s like Toronto being asked to play 56% of their games against Boston, New York, Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Texas, and the Angels, despite being in the same league and battling for the same Wild Card spot, only being asked to play 12% of their games against those teams, and the rest against Baltimore, Kansas City, and Seattle. 

Oh wait…

It may not be to the same extent, but this happens already in baseball thanks to the unbalanced schedule. 

Poor Blue Jays.  Poor, poor Browns.

And that, friends, is the reason why New England doesn’t deserve all the praise they’ve been given.  Yes I understand that you only play the schedule you’ve been given, but as us Blue Jay fans can attest to – not all schedules are created equal.

Win A Chance to See Canadian Tennis Star Milos Raonic!!!

 

The Real Deal” – John McEnroe

A new star…the sky’s the limit” – Martina Navratilova

A future superstar” – Sydney Morning Herald

Those are just a few of the phrases being used to describe Canadian tennis sensation Milos Raonic. The 20-year old from Thornhill has been a sensation in 2011, thrilling tennis fans from all over the world with his exciting play, down to earth personality, and crazily ferocious serve. He is currently ranked #29 in the ATP rankings, making him the highest ranked Canadian male singles player ever. EVER – and remember…he is only 20 years old. The sky really is the limit.

If it seems like a meteoric rise for Raonic it’s because it truly was: he entered 2011 ranked 152nd in the world. But in the space of a single, solitary month he skyrocketed up the world rankings to 37th – and has kept climbing ever since. Advancing to the fourth round in a Grand Slam tournament (the Australian Open), then nearly winning back-to-back titles will have that kind of impact. Despite injuring his hip in a freak fall at Wimbledon, Raonic has rebounded nicely, currently enjoying success in the Stockholm Masters event and helping Canada advance to the World Group in the Davis Cup for the first time since 2004.

In other words, he is morphing into the Jose Bautista of Canadian tennis.

And now, you have the chance to see Milos in action, live and in person at the Air Canada Centre, as he takes on tennis legend Pete Sampras!

Dubbed “The Face Off: Hero and Prodigy”, the Raonic / Sampras match is the highlight of the first ever tennis event held within the confines of the ACC. The battle will take place on Thursday November 17th at 7 PM.

And you – my loyal 500 Level Fan readers – have an exclusive opportunity to win a pair of tickets to the event courtesy of the title sponsor of both Milos Raonic and “The Face Off” event – SAP Canada.

You’re probably asking yourself two questions right about now:

1. Why is 500 Level Fan, devoted blog of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, writing a post about tennis?

The answer is easy – sports pride. I love the Blue Jays, and I know all the readers of these posts love the Blue Jays. But as a Toronto based baseball fan, I know that I share something else in common with other Toronto based baseball fans: a passion for sports, and the thrill you get when a local guy makes it big. The thrill is especially intensified when the local guy makes it big in a sport that Canadians traditionally do not enjoy a lot of success in. Think of how pumped we all were when Donovan Bailey won the 100 metre dash in 1996, when Mike Weir won the 2003 Masters, or when Toronto’s own Joey Votto won the 2010 NL MVP Award.

That is the kind of excitement that we all feel for Milos. As I said before – he is the Jose Bautista of Canadian tennis. You never want to miss an at bat (or a tournament).

2. How can I win tickets?

It’s quite simple actually. There are two ways:

– head over to the official SAP Canada Milos Raonic contest page and click “Enter to Win”.

OR

– simply make a comment to this blog post in the comments section at the bottom. Make it witty. Make it funny. Make it factual, lyrical, outrageous, truthful, or anything else you can think of. On November 8th, a representative ffom SMG on behalf of SAP will choose a winner from the comments. The winner will receive a pair of tickets to the event. In other words – the best comment wins.

(Be sure to put your email address in the comment box so you can

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be contacted).

So that’s it.

Pretty simple.

Make you sure you head over to the official contest site (also check out the videos when you’re there), and make sure you follow Milos on twitter.

And make sure you comment!

After all, is there a better way to fill the long, cold, no-Blue Jays void than with a little tennis?

Didn’t think so.

5th Annual 500 Level Fan Suicide Hockey Pool Extravaganza!

We are back.

500 Level Fan presents the fifth annual NHL Suicide Pool – and first since the site was born.  Fun, fun times ahead…

The second half of last season saw a final pot of $500 – the fourth straight time the prize has increased – and hopefully we can continue to expand it.

Here is a quick recap of the rules:

– Pick one team to win each weekend (Saturday or Sunday games are included)
– If your team wins, you advance to the next week
– If your team loses  you get a strike
– Two strikes and you are eliminated
– You CANNOT pick the same team twice.  Doing so will result in a strike
– Failure to submit a pick will also result in a strike
– Email your pick before THE START OF YOUR CHOSEN game to nhlsuicidepool@yahoo.ca
– Entry fee is $10
– Winner takes the entire pot

If you wish to join, please have your $10 to me before the start of week 2 (the games of October 16/17).  I don’t really care how you get me the money, but I want to avoid the hassle of trying to round up everybody’s entry fee near the end of the season.  If I don’t have your fee after week 2 your entry will be excluded from the pool.

Feel free to either:
a) give me the money in person if you can or
b) send it via interac email transfer to fivehundredlevelfan@gmail.com – this is the preferred option

If you want to join, simply send in a pick for next week’s games and I’ll add you to a distribution list.

As always please forward this along to anybody you know who you think would be interested.  The more the merrier.

Again – the games begin NEXT SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9TH.

Good luck this year.