You may or may not be aware that I am a massive baseball fan. I love it. You, however, may not be and you are probably expecting a column on soccer in this spot of the site. Dont worry, it is coming. Stay with me. The 2014 Major League Baseball season is not yet three weeks old and it is in a bit of a mess. I often use that great sport as a companion in my down time, away from the beautiful game I am blessed enough to cover. During this time I will watch many games, very often not complete ones, around the continent by using my remote control to allow me to jump into numerous different ballparks. I will read plenty and listen to many smart baseball media personalities talk about the game. Except, this season has been very different. Those pages I turn, the sites I visit and the podcasts and stations I listen to have been flooded by debates about replay, challenges and rule changes. When is a runner out at first base? Where does the ball need to land in the glove? When is a lane not being opened for a runner heading from third for a play at the plate? When is the catcher breaking the rules by blocking the plate when in possession of the ball? Why is a Yankee being called safe, even after a replay call, when the world can see on their own monitors live that he was tagged by a Red Sox player while his foot was off the bag? Why, while dealing with replay issues, is the sport taking a moronic approach to another fight about the transfer of the ball to the glove after a catch? Blah blah blah. My ears hurt. Back to soccer. For a minute. One of the true charms of the sport, for me, has always been the amount of discussions that surround what actually happens to the players between the white lines. Yes, the sport has a gambling and a fantasy component but most discussions about the sport are about the sport. In fact now, more than ever, thanks to the fine work being done by tactical writers like Michael Cox and analytical, statistical authors like Simon Gleave and many others, more than ever we are surrounded by insightful analysis around incidents and conclusions that have been determined on the pitch. Pundits like Gary Neville on Sky Sports has also taken his industry to a different level and I like to think the fine team here at TSN that I am a part of helps to deliver a similar message. Entertain and inform the audience about what is happening on the field. Compare this to the NFL, which in the United States is as enormous as the Premier League is in England. Except, the analysis around it is much different. The majority of their fans desire discussions on betting lines and fantasy previews. While this is being delivered to them, what actually is happening is the audience is getting less educated about what kind of players play the game. They see their wide receiver, for example, on their fantasy team and look for his stats but they dont know what kind of routes he runs to confuse defensive backs. Theyll hope their fantasy quarterback will deliver the goods on Sunday but if he doesnt most arent told why not and by Tuesday they dont care as the planning goes into the following fantasy week matchup. Over the last decade, Formula One racing has mastered a way to feed hungry fans with a lot of stories away from their races, because, quite frankly, many on-track narratives in the last few years havent been interesting enough. Baseball, for me, was always different. I love hearing why players are struggling or improving and so many other nuances on the diamond that make it so great. Except now the sport is searching for perfection in an imperfect world. One respected writer said this week the replay system is not a mess, sure its got problems but they are still now getting more calls correct than they used to. Yes, but at what cost? The sport is all over the media and for the wrong reasons. Or, perhaps, the right reasons and not just the reason I want. Despite record revenues and attendances, baseball does worry about his lack of coverage compared to other big sports like football and basketball. Maybe this is a way of combating that. Maybe. Soccer certainly does not need such attention. As the world evolves in front of our very eyes, attention spans are getting smaller and smaller yet more people than ever are watching the game globally. And in a World Cup year that number will grow again. Eyes in every nation across the world will focus on what is happening between the white lines. For a sport that plays shorter games than most and nowhere near as often as most, that is a significant achievement for both those who cover it and those who watch it. Combined in 2014 they have managed to accomplish what the purpose of sport is in the first place. Anything with large sums of money involved will always have complications and politics, but throughout that it is important for us all to never be distracted from the magnificent accomplishments athletes reach on a daily basis. They are the reasons people flock to watch professional sports and they are deserving of the coverage. They bring great joy and pleasure to lives that can be full of difficulties. When the public actually gets time to read, watch or listen to their sport they deserve to be told more about the people who attracted them to the sport in the first place. And this brings me back to my original point. Technology does not have every answer to questions thrown up by the game. Goal-line technology is now here to stay and does not disrupt the game or dominate news cycles for weeks on end but that is where is must stop. There are many ways for the sport to progress and help referees but further technology is not one of them. Yes, mistakes will continue and during the World Cup this summer one will likely happen where more people will call for technology to change the game. Except, it doesnt just change the game, it changes the focus. Sure, if you have time this summer read up all on the politics of Brazil 2014, the bidding process around the next two World Cups, the issues with stadiums and potential crime but if you are a true fan of the sport nothing should be more exciting for you than Brazil vs Croatia on the opening day. Eight weeks today it kicks off. I can hardly wait. Fake Raptors Jerseys . Jamies number grades given are out of five, with five being the best mark. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (5) – He had a brilliant game; it was a huge response for his average games before. Toronto Raptors Shirts .C. - Nick Merkley and Damon Severson each had a goal and two assists as the Kelowna Rockets downed the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds 6-3 on Saturday in Western Hockey League playoff action. https://www.cheapraptors.com/. It was a loss. But it was also a learning experience. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson had 24 points each to lift Brooklyn to a 94-87 win over the Raptors, making their first playoff appearance since 08. "I thought we played a little bit as expected as it is our first playoff game," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. Toronto Raptors Pro Shop . The Redblacks are taking on the Edmonton Eskimos in their second regular season game Friday night. Catch the game live on TSN as the back end of a doubleheader starting at 10pm et/7pm pt. Wholesale Raptors Jerseys . Or how his team has defended Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Or just about anything that has happened on the court in the first-round playoff series. Instead, Rivers and his players spent Saturday talking about how they would respond to an audio recording of a man identified as Clippers owner Donald Sterling telling his girlfriend not to bring black people to games.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Saying his team followed every rule to the letter, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick described in detail how his team prepares its footballs on game day and defended his players from chatter that they made it to the Super Bowl by cheating.At no time was there any intent whatsoever to try to compromise the integrity of the game or to gain an advantage, Belichick said in an unscheduled availability on Saturday afternoon, eight days before the Patriots will play the Seattle Seahawks for the NFL championship.Quite the opposite: we feel like we followed the rules of the game to the letter, he said. We try to do everything right. We err on the side of caution. Its been that way now for many years. Anything thats close, we stay as far away from the line as we can.Speaking once again with authority on a topic he previously professed ignorance of, Belichick said the team conducted an internal study on the process of getting game balls ready.Most of the steps are designed to make them tackier, which has a noticeable effect on how it feels, he said, but the process could also affect the pressure inside the ball, which is harder to tell by touch.Im not a scientist. Im not an expert in footballs; Im not an expert in football measurements, Belichick said. Im just telling you what I know.The Patriots reached the Super Bowl for the sixth time in Belichicks tenure when they beat the Colts 45-7 in the AFC championship game on Sunday. But later that night, Indianapolis TV station WTHR reported that some of the game balls provided by New England for the use of its offence werent sufficiently inflated.The NFL said its initial investigation confirmed that some of the footballs used in the first half of the conference title game were underinflated. On Thursday, Belichick deferred questions on the game balls to Brady; the quarterback also denied any impropriety.Wide receiver Matthew Slater, who also serves as the teams union rep, said Saturday that the players had been instructed by the NFLPA not to comment on the situation.But in the slow news off-days before Super Bowl week, the allegations received disproportionate attention — and Twitter hashtags such as Deflategate and Ballghazii — along with comparisons to the videotaping scandal of 2007, when the Patriots were hit with unprecedented penalties after Belichick was caught recording opposing coaches sending in signals from the sidelines.ddddddddddddBelichick denied that there is a pattern of rule-breaking, or even of pushing the rules to their limit.It was wrong. We were disciplined for it. Thats it. We never did it again. Were never going to do it again, Belichick said of the scandal that came to be known as Spygate. And anything else thats close, were not going to do either.A football lifer who only seems happy on the sidelines, if at all, Belichick is known for an absolute attention to detail that prepares his team for every imaginable situation.But instead of getting ready for the Super Bowl, he said he has spent far too much time the past week studying the science and learning about bladders, air gauges, stitching, pressure, game day football preparation, rubdowns and so forth.Im embarrassed to talk about the amount of time that Ive put into this relative to the other important challenge in front of us, he said. It sounds simple, and Im not trying to say that were trying to land a guy on the moon, but there are a lot of things here that are a little hard to get a handle on.But Belichick seemed most emotional when he came to the defence of his team. Among the questions he and his players have been asked this week is whether they cheated to get to the Super Bowl.Belichick praised his players, who went 12-4 in the regular season, won an 11th division title in 12 years, made a fourth straight trip — and ninth overall — to the conference championship game, and have a chance for a fourth NFL title in his tenure.Theyre a physically and mentally tough team that works hard, that trains hard, that prepares hard and have met every challenge that I put in front of them, he said.This team was the best team in the AFC in the regular season. ... The best team in the post-season, thats what this team is. I know that because Ive been with them every day. And Im proud of this team.___Follow Jimmy Golen on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/jgolen .___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL ' ' '