Archive for July, 2008

Rules of Expansion For The MLL

July 31, 2008

When Major League Lacrosse began in 2001, they planned to expand in 2006 to 10 teams, four western teams, which happened on schedule. They also planned to expand to 12 teams in 2008, which did not happen. However, with the Barrage barnstorming around the country this summer and some success in Boston and Denver, expansion is once again a possibility for the MLL. I was bored one night and decided to look up all the different football leagues (CFL, AFL, af2, XFL, World League/NFL Europe). I was looking at some of the trends amongst the different teams and leagues that failed so I could give my advice to the overlords of the MLL and any potential investors. Here is what I found:

1. Never have a team called NY/NJ-I know that both New York and New Jersey have a lot of pride for their states, and I know that the MLL already has teams on Long Island and in New Jersey. But this is a pretty basic rule. The World League tried this with the Knights, and so did the XFL with the Hitmen. The MLL would be smart by moving the Pride since they are doing pretty poor at Rutgers, and lacrosse fans can migrate to Long Island.

2. San Antonio is the Siren Song of Expansion-Not only did the CFL try San Antonio with the Texans in their 1990s U.S. invasion attempt, but so did the World League with the Riders a few years earlier. The NFL also considered San Antonio as a replacement home for the New Orleans Saints. San Antonio is also very tempting for the MLL. It is a growing lacrosse area that has hosted a few college lacrosse games and has a giant stadium that is empty 95 percent of the year, (I am sure it gets used for other things besides college football). I don’t think it would be enough to support an MLL team, but then there is Baltimore and Philly who couldn’t do it either!

3. So is Sacramento-The capital of California has hosted a World League (Surge) and a CFL (Goldminers) teams. The MLL already has the Dragons who have tried San Francisco and are working on San Jose as a Northern California team. One team in Northern California should be enough for a while.

4. Don’t Expand Too Fast-This rule is pretty much clear based on the dozens of failed teams and leagues, which is why the CFL didn’t last in the U.S. The World League was eliminated from North America and eventually just existed in Germany before being killed off by the NFL. Arena Football League cuts just as many teams every season as they create, and the National Lacrosse League has seen its share of teams fold. The MLL is smart and have only expanded once, they were very smart putting a team in Denver. I still think Columbus and Seattle are safe expansion cities since they had decent attendance at the MLL games they hosted.

5. Other Safety Cities-I think these cities are also good places for an MLL team: Salt Lake City, St. Louis, Dallas or Houston, San Diego and Detroit. The reason I think these cities would work out is that half of them have a Major League Soccer team/stadium. By having a venue and another pro team of the similar caliber as the MLL, the teams would be able to promote themselves during boring MLS games. San Diego, Detroit, and St. Louis don’t have MLS teams, but have pretty good lacrosse already and could do just as well as most of the other current MLL teams. I think the MLL needs to choose either Houston or Dallas, then see how it goes. Texas should have an MLL team.

6. Cities That Will Fail-The MLL lists Cincinnati and Portland as possible expansion cities. In my opinion, neither are currently capable of hosting a franchise.

7. Risky Business-Another possible city that might be able to host MLL team? How about Toronto? They already have one of the most successful National Lacrosse League teams. They also have a MLS team that could house a lacrosse team. Toronto would be the fourth largest American city if it were in the U.S. They might take the Buffalo Bills in a few years, why not the MLL? Pulling a Green Bay might be worth a try for the MLL too. Put a franchise in a city that doesn’t have any other professional teams. See if the locals are so grateful that they will all go to the MLL games.


Trudie’s Top 10 Division III Colleges I Would Have Gone To: #5 Tufts

July 30, 2008

Ten years ago I was preparing to be a Freshman student and lacrosse midfielder at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. While it was an unbelievable and life changing experience. There are several schools that I would have gone to if given the opportunity to start college over again. This is a  weekly series featuring some of the schools I would have liked to have attended.

#5 Tufts University

Tufts is another college that I have never been to, but there are many reasons why I would go to school there: 1. Its located in Boston. The second best college city next to Baltimore. 2. Its full of smart people, I think every vet I’ve taken my dachshund to has graduated from Tufts. 3. They have pretty bold school colors, who else would think of Brown and Carolina Blue? 4. They have the absolute best nickname in the history of the world…The Jumbos!

I don’t really need to plug this school’s academic reputation, because if you’ve never heard of Tufts, you’re probably not smart enough to go there anyway. It was ranked as one of the top 30 colleges in the U.S. Also, Boston is one of those cities that you either like or dislike. I happen to really like it which is why I wish I would have gone to a college there in undergrad or grad school.

I first got to know the Tufts lacrosse team when I was in the infamous spring break lacrosse mecca of New Port Richey, Florida playing for Goucher in 2001. One of the dozens of teams that was in town that week, we practiced next to them a few times, and got to meet a few of their players. They seemed like cool guys. I know from various lacrosse media outlets that they are a pretty good team. They compete in the tough NESCAC conference. They are usually ranked in the top 20 every year, and have gone to the NCAA tournament a few times. The school has awesome facilities too. If the great academics and lacrosse program weren’t enough to be sold on.

If I were 18 again, maybe I wouldn’t be good enough to do much on the lacrosse team, and maybe I wouldn’t even be smart enough to be accepted at Tufts. However, if given the chance. I would definitely give it a shot!

Trudie’s Top Four MLL Teams: Week 12

July 29, 2008

Two weekends left of the regular season! Its becoming very clear on who is playoff worthy. Only a few more chances left for any teams that aren’t already in my top four! Here’s who looks promising this week:

1. Rochester Rattlers-The Rattlers (7-3) had a pretty convincing win over Boston last weekend. They have two fairly easy games to end the regular season. This weekend they play the Long Island Lizards, who lost to San Francisco by one and will probably not make the playoffs. The Rattlers last game is against Chicago.

2. Boston Cannons-Boston (6-4) is ranked higher than Denver because they were missing John Christmas for the Rochester loss last weekend, and I think the Eastern Division is a lot better than the West. Boston will probably face two playoff teams the end of the season, they play the Barrage this weekend and Denver for the finale. There is a chance of them getting dropped from the playoffs if they lose both games and Long Island and the Barrage win their games. However, I think the Cannons will be able to win both games, and are my underdog pick to win the Steinfeld Cup.

3. Denver Outlaws-The Outlaws are 8-3, they recently beat Chicago and have this weekend off before their final game against Boston. They had a pretty easy season in the Western Conference, which is why I don’t think they will do well in the playoffs despite having a good team.

4. Barrage-A loss to the Riptide dropped the (6-4) Barrage down the rankings, but they should be in the playoffs. They have a chance to sweep the Cannons this weekend, which I don’t think will happen. They play New Jersey the last week of the season, which should get them a victory.

Out by a hair-Los Angeles Riptide and Long Island Lizards-The San Francisco Dragons have already screwed over Long Island’s playoff chances. They probably can’t beat LA two straight weekends to finish out both their seasons, but neither can the Riptide. A season split won’t be enough for the Riptide to sneak in.

No Spoilers! No Playing for Pride! If you’re not going to the playoffs this weekend. You’re just going to take it easy!

MLL Playoff Race: Making Things Interesting

July 28, 2008

The only game I managed to watch this weekend was the shootout between the Rochester Rattlers and the Boston Cannons. The Rattler’s won the game 26-19 and were the only Eastern Division team of the four trying to gain ground in the tight playoff race. Boston was the latest Rochester opponent who got the loss, Long Island was upset by San Francisco and now has little hope of getting to the playoffs. The Barrage and Boston Cannons are still tied in the East with 6-4 records and now has to contend with the Los Angeles Riptide out of the Western Conference who also has a 6-4 record. Three teams are competing for two playoff spots as the first two playoff spots were claimed by Rochester and Denver.

Someone is going to be disappointed the next few weeks. It could be the Boston Cannons who have to play The Barrage and Denver, the Barrage have to play the up and coming New Jersey Pride in addition to playing Boston, and Los Angeles has a fairly easy road playing its last two games against San Francisco, but if the Dragons want to continue being playoff spoilers, this would be the chance to do it!

Lacrosse Spotting: ESPN SportsCenter

July 27, 2008

Saturday night’s edition of SportsCenter featured two highlights from games which I have not seen yet. Which by seeing the highlights gave away the final scores, something I hate. At #9 was Buggs Combs and his 8 goals that he scored in a loss to the NJ Pride. At #3 was Kevin Leveille’s circus shot against Denver. Apparently the Outlaws won that game.

Don’t Tell Me!!!

July 27, 2008

Due to a combination of watching my daughter, working, and going to a family birthday party, I was not able to see any of the MLL games on TV today. However, they are waiting for me tomorrow morning on my DVR. So nobody better tell me what happened! I will be avoiding all sports scores for the next 24 hours!

Champ Camp Memories!

July 26, 2008

One of the best lacrosse camps, Champ Camp, takes place this weekend in Baltimore. Thanks to my good networking skills, I was able to get a spot at Champ Camp in the summer of 1997. I was a pretty decent athlete from Arizona who wanted to play lacrosse in college, so I was lucky that someone was curious enough about my skills to put me on the Dixie 2 team.

While I didn’t thrill any of the coaches with any goals. I did get a lot of gb’s to get some attention from the DIII schools, which wouldn’t have happened if I would have sat on my butt the whole summer.

My team won one game the whole camp. It was over a team from Houston, mostly Kincaid players.

Glory Days

Glory Days

Trudie’s MLL Preview: Week Eleven

July 25, 2008

With just a few weeks left in the regular season. Here is who I am picking this weekend:

Chicago Machine at Denver Outlaws-This game is being played at 4pm MST on Saturday in Denver, but it will not be televised until Tuesday July 29th at 3:30pm EST on ESPN2. It will be one to wait to see though. Chicago upset Denver a few weeks back in Chicago, plus they are coming off a big win against the LA Riptide. However, Denver is back to their winning ways as well, and is close to sealing the Western Conference title. I give Denver the win since they are playing at home, but Chicago will make it interesting.

San Francisco Dragons at Long Island Lizards-The Dragons travel to Long Island on Saturday for a 7pm EST game shown on local cable TV. There is no way Long Island is losing this game, they need to win out if they want to make the playoffs, and San Francisco can only ruin other teams chances of making it to the playoffs. Travel will also be a factor. I think the Lizards will win by a handful.

Barrage at Los Angeles Riptide-The Barrage take their road show to LA this Saturday afternoon 4pm PST for a rematch of last year’s Steinfeld Cup title game, also shown on local TV. The Barrage are in the middle of a close playoff race in the East, while Los Angeles is barely in contention for the playoffs. Both teams need to win. I think the Barrage will pull it off since it doesn’t seem like they are going to lose anytime soon.

New Jersey Pride at Washington Bayhawks-Both of these teams have no real reason to play for anything besides pride. The game is on Saturday night at 7pm EST at George Mason shown on local cable TV. New Jersey has been improving the last few weeks, while the Bayhawks have lost five straight games. So I am going with Danowski, Thompson and the rest of the Pride to get the road victory.

Boston Cannons at Rochester Rattlers-If there was one game to see this weekend. I would pick this one hands down. Its at 7:30pm EST in Rochester and is live on several cable channels. Both teams are battling for a spot in the playoffs, and potentially the Eastern Conference Championship. If either team loses, they allow Long Island to join the playoff race and will be evened up with the Lizards for the final spot. I think both teams have phenomenal players, but I am going with the Cannons potent offense to win this one.

Great Ideas, Poor Execution…Lacrosse Style

July 24, 2008

There have been several ideas in lacrosse that made sense, but just didn’t succeed. Here are my favorites:

1. MLL Helmet Camera-I don’t know why the MLL even tried this out. I remember the old World Football League in the 1990s tried doing this, and it was unsuccessful then. I am sure it was a pain in the butt for goalies to wear too. Now its the Dick’s Sporting Goods Slo-Mo. I think its stupid to try and make a sport better by strapping on heavy electronics to players on the field, it just limits their skills.

2. Blast Lacrosse video game-I remember when this game came out in the year 2001. I was on a road trip for my college team and one of my buddies had his PS2 in his hotel room.  I played it a few times. I actually enjoyed it so much that I later bought a PS2 myself just so I could play Blast Lacrosse. Of course it was a poorly executed design, and the game barely resembled anything that looked like lacrosse, but do you see any other lacrosse video games out there?

3. 1999 Canada vs. US Lacrosse World Cup-A year prior to this event, Team USA beat Canada in the World Games at Johns Hopkins in overtime. This was in the middle of the USA steak of winning all their games, so the fact that Canada almost won was appealing to lots of people and since Major League Lacrosse wasn’t in existence yet, someone figured they could capitalize off a three game series between Canada and USA. It was a good idea, the only problems were that Canada didn’t show up with the same intensity as they did in the World Games and got swept in the first two games, and there wasn’t much enthusiasm for this event as the World Games, no exposure. Back in those days no sports networks touched lax with a ten foot pole.

4. National Lacrosse League Outdoors-This never happened, and from the looks of it, will not happen. It was a good idea considering the NLL does a good job in getting people to arenas and filling the seats. So they might be able to do the same thing if given an outdoor stadium. The problems were that they wanted to make a bunch of rule changes like shorten the field and keep the ball in play with sideboards, a lot of their teams are in markets where outdoor professional lacrosse wouldn’t be successful (Edmonton, Calgary, Minnesota, Toronto, NYC), and most of their players had no interest in playing outdoor lacrosse. The simple fact is that most people see indoor/outdoor lacrosse as seperate sports.

Trudie’s Top 10 Division III Colleges I Would Have Gone To: #6 Colby

July 23, 2008

Ten years ago I was preparing to be a Freshman student and lacrosse midfielder at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. While it was an unbelievable and life changing experience. There are several schools that I would have gone to if given the opportunity to start college over again. This is a  weekly series featuring some of the schools I would have liked to have attended.

#6 Colby College

I have never been to Colby College, so why is it on my list? Because I have been to Waterville, Maine. Where Colby is located. I was working at a summer camp there. In fact there are a handful of summer camps in that location, a good job if you are looking to go to Colby and make some extra bucks! Waterville is a town the size of 15,000 people and home to both Colby and Thomas colleges. Waterville is pretty small, and one of its main attractions is the Super Wal-Mart, but there is some decent night life there, and they have a killer 4th of July fireworks show. Its near a lot of bodies of water, and other outdoors activities. The region also features a lot of good blueberry themed desserts and killer whoopie pies.

Colby College has a pretty good reputation as being one of the better liberal arts schools in the country. I know just from meeting random people across the country who have gone to Colby, a few of them in my home state of Arizona. They offer a lot of different courses, if you’re not sure what you want to do. I have no idea what the campus or sports facilities look like.

Colby offers a large athletic program. Their lacrosse team went 6-8 in 2008 and just hired a new lacrosse coach. They play in the competitive NESCAC conference, so there are no easy games for the Mules!