Oregon Football’s New Locker Room Is Really Nice

The Oregon Ducks like being on the cutting edge.

Taking advantage of Nike CEO Phil Knight’s generosity to his alma matter, Oregon has received the finest the sporting giant has to offer.

But unlike the football jerseys that can be ugly, really ugly, or God-awful, everyone will be able to agree that the new locker room that Knight had built for the team is incredible.

This is the kind of thing that would have the folks at Disney drooling and the crews of MTV Cribs (that’s still a show, right?) on the next flight to Eugene.

Back in my catholic school basketball days, we couldn’t get out of the tenements they called a locker room fast enough after games. With a marvel like that, I’d never want to leave.

College teams are always looking to find ways to one-up each other to find recruits. As a high schooler, I’d have a tough time going to play somewhere other than Autzen Stadium if Oregon came calling.

This isn’t the end, however, as I’m sure other teams will be trying to get donors to get money to build the next modern marvel of a dressing room. All I have to say is bring it on.

Let the locker room wars begin.

MLB Preview: What I’ll Be Watching For This Season

As the final notes of “One Shining Moment” played at 12:08 a.m. on April 2, it was finally the official start of baseball season.

One fun part of being a fan is finding all of the cool story lines to follow during the six-month grind of a regular season. Here is what I feel will be the best things to track this regular season.

Changing of the guard in the NL East

The National League East Division has been run by dynasties. The Atlanta Braves won it 11 times in a row from 1995-2005. After the New York Mets (somehow) won the division in 2006, the Philadelphia Phillies then began their impressive streak of five straight East crowns.

However, a wise man once said, “the times they are a-changin’.” The Phillies era of dominance my be coming to an end. Injuries, age, and offensive regression has made the division up for grabs again. The Marlins had money left from their new funky uniforms and aquarium backstops in their new stadium to sign Jose Reyes which will compliment their young core nicely. The Washington Nationals also have a ton of young tallent that could be a dark horse for a 2012 breakthrough. Also, don’t forget about the Atlanta Braves who were in control of the Wild Card until their late-season collapse. They will be hungry to rebound.

The AL East is really good

I hate the Yankees. I hate the Red Sox. I really love the AL East, however. This division is completely stacked with four teams (don’t forget the Rays and Blue Jays) that could easily win any other one in the league. The fifth playoff spot was no doubt added to help the third place team in this division get into the playoffs, and the race for it will be interesting. My pick to surprise will be the Toronto Blue Jays, assuming Jose Bautista continues to be ridiculous, and the Rays lack of offensive depth comes back to bite them.

Pedro Alvarez

I knew I couldn’t go a whole baseball post without mentioning the Pirates, but I feel this is a story line that many outside of Pittsburgh will be following too. Pedro has such great potential, as many baseball ‘experts’ notice, but he hasn’t been able to consistently put it together in the majors. He lost even more weight this offseason and is in the best shape of his life, but he still can’t hit the ball to save his life (.170 AVG, 2 HR, 3 RBI, and 22 strikeouts in 53 AB’s in spring training this year). The Pirates’ level of success in 2012 could hang in the balance of this former  top draft pick. If it doesn’t click for him 2012, it may never.

Battle for the basement

Not all the fun in baseball comes from following the pennant races. In 2012, there are two teams that are shaping up to be historically bad. The Oakland A’s followed up the great publicity that the movie “Moneyball” brought to the franchise by GM Billy Beane trading away anyone of worth in a rash rebuilding effort. The Houston Astros thought they could keep their team going by completely ignoring their farm system and thinking that Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman could play forever.

These two teams could easily lose 100 games, and it will be interesting to see who ends up with the worst record in the league.

The season kicks off Wednesday night with the St. Louis Cardinals visiting the Miami Marlins and their awesome new stadium. In the great words of Mr. Huynh…..