Behind the Scenes by Bob Ryan

Sometimes we see “stuff’ in front of us….but sometimes…the REAL ACTION is behind the scenes where deals are done, info is spread,  ideas are planted for future harvesting, often we learn about it later..much later… about these deal….or…maybe not at all…

…Clearly the talk behind the scenes in CoMO recently about Barry Odum wasn’t flattering..or even positive… prior to the Florida game.  The Tigers….who wear a different uniform each week (why all white?-aren’t the colors black & gold?)….anyway…were very well prepared and had an outstanding game plan for the fleet footed Gators….they used running fakes then quick outside screen passes and used a running game that made the speed of Florida work against themselves …. the primary running play was a stretch play that saw the Florida defenders fighting to get outside only to see the Mizzou back cut behind his blockers and run north-south for good yards, the short passes to the TE (until he was injured) and backs out of the backfield was followed by the fake and then throwing the ball deep. Drew Lock played a terrific game in front of a national audience.  The O & D lines were better than Florida’s….and that’s where you REALLY win the game. Barry Odum did a “number” on the Florida Gators with his a approach offensively.. meanwhile Mizzou’s defense  was aided by Felipe Franks…the starting Gator QB….who threw every pass like  a fastball…. And for that matter …ran like most MLB pitchers ….his fastball  worked on down & outs and short passes….but the lack of arch on his long passes made the chances of success for the deep balls very low. Florida didn’t pull him until it was too late. The announcers commented that Franks often “got down” during a game….I don’t think that he’ll have to worry about that any longer….he won’t be in the game…to get down about his play. 

…..Interestingly, long-time  HOF baseball writer Rick Hummel gave HIS grades for the Cards field players for 2018…maybe you haven’t seen these grades previously since  they’ve been behind the scenes for most of the StL area.. Matt Carpenter- A-;  Patrick Wisdom- B;  Paul DeJong –  B; Kolton Wong- C+;  Jedd Gyorko-  C; Matt Adams-  C; Greg Garcia- D;  Yadier Molina- A+; Francisco Pena-  C;  Carson Kelly- D; Jose Martinez- A-;  Harrison Bader- B+;  Tyler O’Neill- B; Marcell Ozuna- C+, Dexter Fowler- F; Field Staff- C-.  Obviously, these grades compare actual production to the expected production…I mean Patrick Wisdom didn’t produce more than Jedd Gyorko..but he surprised most observers with his play after languishing in the minors for many years. Even before Halloween, Garcia and Francisco Pena were pushed out the door. The grade for the Field Staff must be based on the last month when the club faltered, matchups seemed less favorable for the Cards, errors in judgment about misusing or not using players were highlighted as the playoff ticket slipped away. I personally wouldn’t rate Martinez with an A-….his fielding cost us several games.

….Right out in the open…not behind the scenes …are my weekly NCAA rankings…I only go 4 deep because….how many teams make the NCAA playoffs?  FOUR!….1) Alabama  2) Clemson, 3) Michigan  4) Notre Dame….I flip-flopped ND & Michigan this week…I think Michigan is improving as the season progresses and their defense is terrific.

…Behind the scenes,  there must be concern by the MLB management….after a drop in regular season attendance, the ratings for the World Series between two of the biggest  Market teams (Boston & LA) averaged 14, 125,000/game….down 25% from last year’s 18,909,000 average viewers.  It’s the 4th lowest total EVER!  Those painfully, sllllooooowwww, long games where one sits 20-30 minutes between fleeting moments of exciting plays doesn’t appeal to many Americans…who are accustom to instant pics, news now, replays on demand, exciting plays or a fast moving contest don’t want to sit and watch guys strikeout.

….Behind the scenes, there HAS to be talk about the inept Oakland Raiders. Jon Gruden has really flopped thus far. Some whispered rumors are  that the players have quit on Gruden.. Gruden’s July quote “If I can’t get it done, I’m not going to take their money,” is starting to boomerang in his face….It’s only half a season but…the Raiders ARE really bad. There’s no pity or sympathy in the Nearly Forgotten League for the downtrodden.

…..Behind the scenes…..is anyone else wondering why 3 of the Brewers coaches have left their staff this off season…this coming off of a Playoff Production year?  Is it environment? the Manager?, the salary? the expectations? The management? Hmmmm?

…behind the scenes at Florida State where the pressure has mounted and all the “talk” about what a horrible hire 1st year Coach Willie Taggert has been thus far for Florida State. The Seminoles were humiliated by Clemson 59-10 and their record sank to 4-4..Taggert tried emphasizing in a press conference that he wants his players to embrace being a “Seminole”.. that’s not real inspiring for a team  who may miss a Bowl for the 1st time in 42 years!!!!  

….behind the scenes when youngsters are very, very young…their parents are often instructed to have their children specialize…don’t waste time playing other sports….it seems so foolish to me…how does one know the best sport for an 8 year old, 10 year old, even 16?…anyway…one of the all-time best NBA basketball players…Wilt Chamberlain won three straight Big Eight Titles in the High Jump and was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame… Athleticism trumps at the higher levels.

…Behind the scenes for many years in the Lou has been pro basketball….when Ben Kerner (owner of the St. Louis Hawks) declared in 1966 after the Blues opened shop.. that this city wasn’t big enough to support two winter teams, he left for Atlanta. NBA has been on the back-burner ever since….only..it seems when a local (Larry Hughes, Bradley Beal, Jason Tatum) makes the NBA and is a significant player does one hear anything about the NBA…but.. the latest plan of the NBA could revamp college basketball. The NBA has developed its own minor league system….beginning in 2000, most of the NBA teams sponsored teams for players who weren’t in college, were 20 years old but demonstrated some possibility of playing someday in the NBA. Called the NBA-G league (because Gatorade sponsored much of it)…some 40%of NBA current players have experienced some time in the NBA-G league. The League plays a 50 game schedule, has two rounds of 1 game playoffs and then a 3 game series for the championship. Starting this year will be a new approach….18 year olds….formerly designated as the “one and done” college players…may now skip the pretend college experience where they attend class 1 semester and not much…if any .. in the 2nd semester and go directly to the NBA…Now they’d go to the NBA-G league and will be paid  $125,000 salary under a new ‘select” contract. Recent HS graduates   may only play for 1 year in this league under this new “select” clause at which time they’ll go directly into the NBA draft. Will it work?  Who knows…. It does like an effort to remove all the shoe “hush money” that gets funneled to the HS and college players. (Does anyone REALLY think that any of these big-time NCAA coaches don’t know of this going on behind the scenes? Their biggest effort is to stay clear of any way showing involvement.) It may work out that the players will still “play along” with the shoe money, get 1 year of college notoriety and THEN jump into the NBA-G league mid-season . It sounds like a step towards more openness ….but…time will tell how the system actually works out.

….behind the scenes in many cases, was the best NCAA GOW… W.Virginia 42 Texas 41. This game had TEN different lead changes, 1 tie and the winning score came with only 16 seconds left. When WVa Gary Jennings’ caught a 33 yd pass from Will Grier, that cut the Texas lead to 41-40.  Will Grier ran a bootleg for the 2 point conversion to give the  Mountaineers  the thrilling 42-41 win. This 3 hour 49 minute game was played before 100,703 people in Austin. Grier passed for 346 yards for WVa while Sam Ellinger(Tx) had 354 passing yards to his credit. WVU had 9 different receivers and a total offensive number (run+passing yards)  of 583 yards. The Longhorns were held to just 539 yards of total offense…yep…1100+ yards of total offense in this wild game.

…on the High School scene…oft behind the scenes, St. Charles West Boys Soccer team 24-1 for 2018, has assembled an outstanding season and has advanced to the Final Four of Class 2 Boys Soccer Championships with a convincing 6-1 win over Christian O’Fallon. The Warriors had a much, much tougher opening round in the STATE tourney (called Sectional) as they edged Whitfield 3-2 in OT. In that game, all 5 goals of the game were scored by just 2 players!  For Whitfield it was Tyler Arulsamy scoring both goals. SCW’s “turkey” belonged to SR Evan Eickhoff.  The leading scorers for SCW ,however,  has been the metropolitan scoring leader, SR Nick Schreiber who has a whopping 46 goals this year. Following him in scoring for the Warrriors is JR Adam Mays with 22 goals. This prolific offense has netted 115 goals this season…that’s 4.6 goals per game.  The only loss suffered by St Charles West was way back in August as they dropped a 2-1 match with Trinity. SR Keeper Logan Lingle has 10 solo shutouts and has permitted only 17 goals all season. While scoring goals and stopping goals ARE very significant, a tip of the hat to the other seniors on the team since total team play is required to win—(in alphabetical order)  Trent Champagne, Devon Emrick, Eddie Garcia, Aiden Gremminger, Clark Justin, Jason Maull, Mitch Smith. Best of luck to the Warriors,  as they take on Pembroke Hill in the STATE semifinals.

Comments

  1. Arthur J Hanff says:

    OMG, I can’t argue with your take on the MLB World Series, but if you’re right, it means that the MLB will be dead soon because, based on your assessment, the non-baseball people in the MLB front office will panic and continue screwing with my sport to make it more palatable to the general public and non baseball fans. IF the general public isn’t interested in real baseball anymore, LEAVE IT ALONE and have the playoffs and World Series played during the day, when it was meant to be played, when it was ALWAYS played in its golden era. Real fans will love it, flock to it, and it will thrive. To hell with the casual, know nothing millennials.

  2. If Mizzou had not blown that lead to Kentucky last week, they would be sitting at 6-3, having just beat two ranked opponents in a row, #12 Kentucky and #11 Florida and would have most likely been ranked in the top 25. Congrats to Barry Odom for rallying the troops and getting the job done vs. the Gators. Rick Hummel’s rankings of Matt Carpenter is a joke. He must have been delusional when he gave him a grade of A-. He hit .257 and struck out 158 times, while only getting 145 hits. All he did was hit home runs. With 36 dingers and only driving in 81 runs is terrible. Jose Martinez, with only 17 home runs drove in 83. I give Carpenter a grade of C-, and that’s being generous BK

  3. It’s good to get back to wet and Cold St Louie
    Great article…I disagree your NCAA pigskin Ranking–
    I saw ND beat Blue in South Bend.. ND is still undefeated & has the Head to Head on my Bro Blue Team..ND is #3 to me
    Agree with Cards Rankings…Martinez probably a B–He’s so horrible in the field
    Kudos to Lutheran South winning State –Katie’s Viz team beat them this season. You never know
    Incarnate Word Knocked out Viz who Borgia beat Incarnate Word and I thought who would Win State
    Boys ⚽️ great game between CBC & V…Everyone said that was like a State Championship game
    CB beats V 2 nill.. Good to see ZOU beat a rank Opponent after that collapse vs Kentucky
    Can’t wait till Tues NCAA basketball Going to be some great early Season games
    Finally I wish Chucky went back to Tampa Oh well Have a great day! MB

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