$tanton $weepstakes $aga by Bob Ryan

The past couple weeks all the buzz about the Cardinals has centered around their effort to procure GianCarlo Stanton from the Marlins…as you all know..it went south….some thoughts…

…I actually think the Marlins actually tried “pushing” $tanton a bit to accept the trade by trading their outstanding 2B Dee Gordon to Seattle ….indicating to $tanton the road that they are traveling…any player with a substantial salary will be removed….so….Miami was saying to $tanton …you better agree soon because there won’t be any other players around you…how much fun will that be….clearly he got the “hint” and out of nowhere…it seemed…$tanton was going to be a Yankee.

…$urprising? …not really..so $taton made it clear that he wants to play on a winner…a big winner… he’s NEVER played on a .500+ team, much less go to the playoffs….and he wants to live on the  coast….originally, we thought it was the west coast…it  sounded like the LA Dodgers were his goal?  After all.. Who else wins “big” on the west coast … none of the AL west coast teams are big winners… or even .500 these days…Why didn’t the Dodgers want to play in the $sweepstatkes ?…well… LA has spent $237m in each of the past several seasons…if it happens again next year, LA will have to pay an extra 45% surcharge tax and their top draft pick of 2018 (#30 overall) will drop 10 spots….LA’s stated goal is to sink to the measly low level of $208m…and that’s without ANY potential additions and clearly not playing in the $tanton $weepstakes…soooo..Stanton swaps coast lines and uses the same criteria to sign with another financially healthy team….the Yankees. The Yanks have bought $uperstar for decades.they   began their purchases of $uperstars way back in 1920 when they procured a guy named Babe Ruth.

….I was a bit puzzled why the Cards REALLY  felt like they needed $tanton in the middle of the lineup…I think it may have been the Aaron Judge phenomena….look at the buzz that he brought to NY this year with his prodigious blasts…the Cards were/are looking for that buzz.  Now NYY will have a Ruth/Gehrig look with Judge & Stanton back-back in the lineup…impressive.              

…on the other side of the deal……the early joy of Derek Jeter being an owner in Miami has also gone further south….one Miami newspaper said, “Jeter’s two months at the helm have been tone-deaf, incompetent, and callous, and Rob Manfred may need to save him from himself” Jeter had a low bar to jump over the previous owner…besting the weak efforts of Jeffrey Loria who ruined Montreal & Miami as baseball cities…now Jeter has fired everyone associated with the old front office and refusing to replace them with new people to save on payroll, is constantly shopping around for new investors to help him stay solvent, shops around is best players ($tanton & Gordon) for financial reasons, and now according to Jeff Passan, fired a scout who requires a kidney transplant while the guys is still in the hospital recovering from colon cancer surgery…. everyone knows that baseball is a big business…but Jeter’s indifference to fans and people in general has been extremely sad… in fact, MLB baseball may be forced to act on him as Bowie Kuhn did to Charlie Finley as he wanted to ship off ALL of his stars in Oakland years ago.. Kuhn did not allow Finley to unload Rollie Fingers, Joe Rudi and Vida Blue for not much more than handshake and some cash….maybe MLB will need to step into Miami with the same “big stick” clause ?

Where does this signing…or lack of signing… leave the Cards?

…So the Cards open the $igning $eason by signing relief hurler Luke Gregerson to a 2 year contract. This one-time Cardinal prospect has been in the MLB 9 years as a relief hurler. Last year as a 33 year old he was 2-3, 4.57 ERA, 65 appearances with a WHIP of 1.344…the ERA & WHIP numbers were the highest of his career. Clearly the Cardinals are expecting him to work the 7th or 8th inning. I’m luke-warm on Luke…his numbers from last year concern me….but….it’s a start.

…I’ve even heard rumors of Evan Longoria….his numbers are just a bit above Jeff Gyorko…yes …he can field better..but …is his larger contract worth  the small difference of play?  …not to me…

…I also have heard interest in Alex Colome (closer Tampa Bay…I would suspect we’d have to send them some type of relief hurler, a top OF prospect (Tampa had NO starting batter over .275 in their lineup last year) and another player (probably an OF or pitcher)

…I DO think that the Cards ownership wants the buzz mentioned above…I think Many Machado of Baltimore is the most likely candidate….it’d take 4 players….at least 2 very high quality & pitchers.

…outside the $weepstakes $aga…

….Mizzou football loses 2 key assistant coaches(Heupel & Elarbee)….I would assume that most assistant coaches want to become Head Coaches….when the opportunity presents itself to become a Head Coach or a better Asst job…”better” has many possible considerations.. generally after you’ve coached a winning team…move on….that’s the business….Barry Odum seemed a bit upset with Elarbee (offensive line coach) decided to join Heupel’s staff @ U Central Florida…..I should remind him….this is the time that coaches often move….Odum fired his defensive coordinator after 2 games of the season and seemed comfortable doing it at that very awkward time for a coach to land another job…that door swings both ways big boy..

…The Heisman Trophy winner was Baker Mayfield.  Generally, it is won by a very successful, nationally recognized team. In recent years, it generally goes to the best player on the one of the best team of the country….Mayfield had some very impressive statistics in leading OU to a banner season…in his acceptance speech, he recognized former winners…especially from OU…his competitors, his coaches, his teammates…it touched all the bases….nice approach however….I guess that they don’t teach public speaking in schools any longer….he gave his speech with the hands in his pockets…ugh…. and…now I’m nit-picking …he used the same couple phrases over and over again…come on…pay someone else to write the speech if you have a limited vocabulary…no one will remember the speech unless it’s  not good .

…speaking of the Heisman’s….since 2000, there have been 18 Heisman winners….15 have been QB! As recently as the 90’s (10 winners) there were 5 QB and 5 non-QB….The game HAS changed…passing is the primary staple of the offense for most teams…as indicated by the choice of so many QB. For many, it was the end of their notoriety as star football players… Chris Weinke (2000,Florida St), Eric Crouch (2001-Neb),  Jason White (2003-OU), Matt Leinart (2004-USC), Troy Smith (2006 the Ohio State), Tim Tebow (2007, Florida), Johnny Manziel (2012-Tx A&M)..the 3 running backs since 2000 ….what a great trivia question…2005 Reggie Bush-USC -later removed for the scandal under Pete Carroll; 2009 Mark Ingram –Bama; 2015 Derrick Henry-Bama. Lamar Jackson (Louisville) won it last year….had another terrific season (3000ish passing yards & 1000ish rushing yards) but was 3rd in the voting this year ????  Btw…Mayfield is the 1st Senior to win the Heisman Award since 2006 (Troy smith-Ohio State)

…a special treat on Saturday for me….watching the Army-Navy game….it was snowy…cold…windy…a great game to watch on TV….the two teams…based on discipline both utilizing run offenses since these teams aren’t built around players hoping to go to the NFL…these offenses are designed to chew up the clock with short, consistent gains…e.g. each team had the ball ONCE in the first quarter!..these men still view it as a game…. their real  training is in learning to defend all of the rest of us. You may not like the styles of football offense…I actually do….but you have to admire their supreme efforts, skill, timing and discipline…that word again, I must be following the Baker Mayfield school of writing  ….the camaraderie at the end of the game with both teams moving from one end of the stadium to the other to stand and listen to the school songs of each academy…what entertainment…oh…btw…it was a super game…Navy led going into the 4th quarter, Army marched down the field in a typical long play drive(10-12 plays) .. to take a 14-13 lead….with 3 minutes left..Navy moved back down into FG range…but inexplicably had not 1 but 2 motion penalties so the their kicker had a 48 yard FG attempt…his kick was long enough and high enough…but the wind blew it just wide…. Army wins 14-13…but I felt like the winner as it was a real pleasure watching our academies represent themselves so admirably.

…Baseball HOF idea…

…sure…the voting isn’t until January but….I’d like to again…as I did it about year and a half ago .. raise the awareness of Ted Simmons for the MLB HOF.   This isn’t based on being my favorite player…as he was for my brother…but simply comparing him to the current catchers in the HOF.  In the past 2 years, the HOF added Mike Piazza & Ivan Rodriguez…two tremendous and certainly HOF worthy catchers… the HOF now has 15 catchers… If Simmons was to be voted into the HOF in January, Simmons would become in the comparison of him to the other current catchers in HOF—2nd in HITS (2472), 2nd in RBI (1389), 7th in HR (248), 5th in RUN (1074)tied for 8th in Batting Average (.285), 9th in OBP .348, 14th in Slugging% .437….he hit over .300 in 7 seasons; his best year was 1975–.332, 18 HR, 100 rbi’s OBP 396 slug .491 ops .887…but incredibly….he didn’t make the all-star team that year. He was in 8 All-Star games but a guy named Johnny Bench dominated the voting for NL catchers throughout Simmons prime years. It seems to me that the HOF would be overlooking a player that belongs in their midst.. downsides….some say he was weak defensively….well…he was clearly better than Piazza..to name just one … and one voted in recently.  Others say that he wasn’t on winning teams…well he was on 2 Milwaukee playoff teams but not a World Series teams…many players fit into that situation of no post season heroics …poor Ernie Banks pops straight into mind and I’m sure that there are many, many more HOF who didn’t play in any post-season.

…Travis Ford is already showing signs of extreme frustration with his early, strong reactions to officials during games and his comments during media interviews…poor guy….it’s been a long season for him as we hit mid-December..ugh

….btw…why is Lovie Smith getting a “pass” at Illinois? He’s 5-19 in 2 seasons at Champaign.  His last winning season of any kind was 2012. He DID have strong successful seasons in 2005, 2006 and 2010 in the NFL as a HEAD Coach. Coaching College is a different animal…the Head Coach not only has to be a good on the field coach but…more importantly.. he needs to recruit….and recruit the top athletes. Apparently his NFL days are buying him “stay out of jail…oops…or stay employed” cards.

…in the Nearly Forgotton League..

….I know many of you don’t follow the NFL any longer….bear with me…I watched the Rams-Eagles game yesterday. Both teams had young, talented QB that could really throw the ball. Both defenses had strong pass rushes and both offenses  could…and did…move the ball… it was a high scoring, fun game to watch. There were 5 lead changes and the finalscore of 43-35 was a bit misleading.  The Eagles kicked a FG with 0:01 second left to take a 37-35 lead. On the Eagles kickoff, the Rams were trying to lateral the ball to keep the game alive…one of their laterals were intercepted and ran in for a TD by Philly..no PAT attempt was taken…hence 43-37. The only real downer …. To me… was the injury to the tremendous Eagle QB Carson Wentz..bummer…he’s a real talent…

 …on the other hand…..I watched part of the Steelers-Bengals game last Monday….it was vicious.  It appeared to me that the players were deliberately attempting to injure their opponents….winning the game seemed secondary….now I’m all for hard hitting ….and these athletes are incredibly strong, fast, aggressive  and agile men  but hard hitting can be done fairly without taking shots at the opponents  body that will severely hurt him. Of course the $20b man-Roger Dumbnall probably didn’t see it…he was counting some of his money from his newly signed  contract. I didn’t watch it long.

…Well the $tanton $weepstakes is over but the Cardinals hunt for a Red October continues. Have a fun week.

 

 

 

NCAA Football is Like Cinderella by Bob Ryan

Over Thanksgiving I read the story of Cinderella to my grand-daughter….it got me thinking…The NCAA football season and post-season resemble the story of Cinderella…take a look….in late-summer the bids go out…129 invitations are sent out to all the contestants… who will be hoping  that the glass slipper of the NCAA Championship fits them this year.  The contestants arrive being escorted by their dancing partner (coach)… There will be 12 dances(games)…if any contestant slips…or worse…falls..7x …they will be asked to sit out.  Their dancing partner come with various degrees of skill…and or rewarded accordingly. These partners were compensated …some very, very well….for their skill, experience and work throughout the evening. Generally the first 3-5 songs are slow and rather easy to stay in the competition…. the only dancers falling or slipping or the ones who have not invested huge sums of money in learning their craft, improving their athleticism or are poorly led by their dancing partner (coach). The best dancing partner for the football maidens are highly compensated for this evening of dances. As the evening rolls along….the music to the dances picks up the tempo and slips become more prevalent….around the 7th dance…the judges (NCAA committee) begin notifying  the best dancers of their ratings for the entire evening. Now during these dances….mysterious things seem to happen…some dancers get bit by the injury-bug and can no longer continue.  Other dancers looked brilliant in the earlier, slower dances but were unable to compete in the faster, higher paced songs. Still other dancers are breezing along until suddenly they get knocked over by a weaker dancer…sometimes that fall is fatal towards the final voting by the NCAA judges. Some dancers who were highly rated prior the dance beginning are found to be only average and certainly not worthy of any dances beyond the original 12 dances.  By the 9th or 10th dance….most dancers have at least 2 or 3 slips…..a fall is disastrous (losing big)…the judges really lean to the dancers with the experienced, well-known  partners or dancers who have made the “final” room frequently…. at the end of the 12th dance…56 dancers are invited into the “bowl” room….this is the expected goal of each of the dancers…any dancing partner not achieving this appointment to the “bowl” room is usually removed on the way out of the ball room…. just 4 dancers are invited into the BCS room to dance…who would the glass slipper fit?  There were just 2 dances more…always there were slips by two of the dancers in the 1st dance….sooo…the BCS final dance would determine which dancer wears the “glass slipper”.  The dancing partner was assured …if he wished…to return the following year…the maiden was thrilled that the glass slipper fit…but it was only a temporary fit…starting 8 months later….it would no longer fit…and the process will begin all over again

…the 2017 committee(judges in Cinderella) had 3 direct, easy choices- Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia…the last spot was between the Big 10 Champion-Ohio State and Alabama…a 1 loss team that didn’t make it to its conference championship….both teams are good..very good…I lean towards Ohio State….they played 4 teams in the top 12 of the rankings (at the time when they played)… beat #2 Penn State; beat #4 Wisconsin, lost to #5 OU (a NCS semifinalist); and beat #12 Michigan State..their blemish was a disastrous 55-24 loss to Iowa(7-5)…the Big Ten commissioner made the point that the Big-10 plays 9 conference games (most of any conference…hinting that upsets will occur more often..Alabama played 4 teams in the top 16 of the rankings…Beat Florida ST in opening week..who was ranked #3  in pre-season.. but finished 6-6…Bama also beat #19 LSU 24-10, #16 Miss State and lost to #6 Auburn 26-14…and the team that beat them…Auburn…was a 3 loss team….the Crimson Tide did play Mercer (FCS team) for one of their wins…Personally….I don’t think that ANY wins over FCS teams should count towards any positive consideration for a national title and should actually be counted AGAINST them for scheduling such a weak-sister…

OK….now away from the mythical world of Cinderella and NCS final 4…and go directly to the FIRING SQUAD…..ya know…the life of a SEC football coach seems to be about as long as a worm trying to crawl across a major 8 lane highway at 4:00pm on a Friday.. good luck!…take a look at the turnover…there have been Six SEC coaches..almost half the league..  fired since the July 2017… 

…The most notable was LSU firing Les Miles 4 games into the season (his 12th)… Miles had very impressive credentials –record of 114-34 (77%), five Top 10 finishes, 2 national title game appearances and 1 national title (2007) …what was the reasoning provided?…well.1)  his teams had slipped to 8-5 and 9-3 over the last 2 seasons 2) Alabama & Auburn (combined) had won 5 national titles since LSU last won their last title 3) final straw…ranked #18, trailing Auburn 18-13 with just seconds to go…LSU scored what appeared to be a game winning touchdown on the last play of the game but upon review …it was determined that the play missed getting snapped by a micro-second..negating the TD…thus LSU lost the game…result LSU goes 2-2 & Miles was shown the exit. Btw…had that played remained it would have been Auburn’s 3rd loss of the season and….there isn’t any way that the Tigers would still be in the BCS talk with 3 losses… one play taken away by a replay changed the fate of both of these teams.

…The Firing season began At Ol’ Miss….Hugh Freeze (Mississippi) was fired July 19th in a scandal….interestingly, Hugh Nutt (Freeze’s predecessor) had been accused of improper ethics and sued U of Mississippi for defamation… his lawyer then turned over the material to the NCAA .. and… it turns out that these improprieties and others… like several phone contacts to “special dating services”… took place under Freeze’s watch… bye-bye Hugh. Money doesn’t seem to matter to these SEC schools …who apparently … are rolling around in cash…Freeze had just signed a contract in 2015 that raised his salary to  $4.8m for 2017.

…Jim McElwain was fired by Florida on Oct 29…McElwain had won two of the last 3 SEC East championships. The 42-7 loss to Georgia sealed his fate days prior to his firing…they said, “his program has gone off the rails”  I guess losing several players(7) for the season …including one of top receivers in NCAA .. for inappropriate off-field actions doesn’t carry much weight.

…Butch Jones (Tennessee) fired Nov 12.  The fatalistic blows….1) no wins in SEC this year 2) severe loss to our Mizzou Tigers…his buyout should tidy him over quite well–$8.125m

…Brett Bielema (Arkansas) was notified as he walked off the field after his final game… boy.. how would you liked to have been in THAT locker room..”well…boys…you lost to Mizzou today and I lost my job….which is worse?” After taking his team to 3 straight bowls Bielema failed to do so in the last 2 years and was 4-8 this year..bye-bye

…Kevin Sumlin (Tx A&M)…had been over .500 in all 6 of his seasons…no losing seasons…a bowl appearance each year  but he was viewed as being “stuck in the middle of the SEC West pack”….he’ll heal his wounds with a $10m buyout and it appears that he’s set for another job.

…another opening just popped up at Mississippi State  as Head Coach Dan Mullen has decided to accept the more lucrative job ($30m) @ Florida. Mullen was 69-46 in a place that had been commonly accepted as the door-mat of the SEC West. He’ll now have a far larger budget to use in this recruiting, hiring of ast coaches, etc.   The replacement for him is of the same mold as Mullen (no prior head-coaching experience)-Penn State off Coordinator-Joe Moorhead. 

Sports odds & ends…

…SLU basketball is really having trouble scoring…66 ppg and a dearth of scoring from beyond the arc…also depth is a real issue as only 7 players are averaging more than 7.6 min/game…. one has to wonder what is delaying judgment on the 3 “accused” players …it seems like there has been adequate time to reach a fair judgment for all involved….  the pre-season hype led us …or maybe just me…to think that after 6 games the record…and level of play…. would be better than 3-3…but as I write this…the best record in the  A-10 is 4-2 so hang on until conference play ….things could improve.

…watched most of Mizzou-Cent Florida bball game…Tigers won…struggled… but won….some personnel observations–Sr Jordan Bartnett was the best player for Mizzou on that night… Frosh Jontay Porter…who skipped his Senior year of HS appeared to be “over his head”…very limited time, shot a hurried air ball…looks like he actually need that 4th year of HS. Frosh Ctr Jeremiah Tilmon continues to be plagued by foul issues…the opposition realizes that weakness so they work hard to feed the post man that Tilmon is guarding. It’s early in the season…so quick development should be coming…at least hopefully… over the next 4-6 weeks  for these Freshman players…or it’ll be another long season in CoMO.

….keeping up with our Blues….that “thud” you just heard was the Blues as they were flat on a 5 game home stand going 2-3… on the bright side ..at the ¼ mark of the season, Jaden Schwartz leads the league 5 on 5 average assists for 60 min @ 1.73…he also is the leader with the same parameter @3.81.  the white elephant in the room is the play of Jake Allen…sure.. he does make many terrific saves but…his Goals against is 2.77 (21st in league), his save % is .907 (25th in the league)….now…granted…many goals may be due to inefficient defense in front of the net, spectacular shots or whatever…but the fact remains…at this moment…the Blues are giving up too many goals to go deep in the playoffs….on the immediate radar for the next game  is the historic Montreal Canadians…Montreal will be in an angry mood after being embarrassed by Detroit 10-1 on Saturday night…ten goals!…coming from a team (Detroit) who holds a mediocre 10-12-5 record.

…on the boys HS basketball scene….we’re very, very early in basketball season…in snapshot view…some clubs off to a good start.. In North County…Hazelwood Central & McCluer North are each 3-0, Parkway Central3-0) who won the Parkway round-robin looks to return to the MSHSAA  State Tournament again this year. St. Mary’s 6-0-won the Alton tip-off Classic – plays large school, CBC on Friday night as the Cadets (2-2) play their 1st game in Missouri this year. Other unbeaten teams are –St Charles Pirates 4-0, Orchard Farm Eagles 3-0 and Mehlville Panthers are 3-0 after winning the South Side Classic. Vashon is 3-0 with 2 very impressive road wins over Charleston & Whitney Young. Some schools have only played a game or two in this early season play..some of the above teams are looking to go deep in STATE …others are happy that they have started out of the starting blocks quickly.

…defense wins…we hear it all the time…in NCAA D-1 team defense (written prior to this weekend’s game)…Wisconsin was #1 in team defense and the Big Ten had 4 of the top 9 schools in that category…does that mean that the Big 10 is THAT good on defense or that the offense in that league isn’t the best in college football. The #1 team in Team offense is Oklahoma…no surprise there..7122 total yards, averaged 8.56 yds/play.

…a statistical gold nugget for you…Drew Lock is #5 in the NCAA D-1 in passing yards with 3695 yards. Mizzou is 14th in the USA in passing yards (due to Lock)! The most amazing stat(s) to me is that Lamar Jackson (Louisville) is 10th in NCAA in passing with 3489 yards AND 10th in rushing with 1433 yards—5300+ yards of offense for him.WOW!  Thanks for dancing with me through Cinderella…the glass slipper doesn’t fit me… but neither does the firing squad…. so I’m OK .  Thx for reading.

It’s all Blue(s) by Bob Ryan

The Blues have now played just a bit more than a ¼ of their season….there’s a lot of good going on with the “Note” but there are some sports fans “blue” because of recent or long-time ailments…take  a look first at the Blues…

…In the revamped rules of the NHL , scoring has increased…as it was intended to be.  It’s imperative to have scoring now in the NHL….yes defense still has to be solid…particularly in playoff time…but….you have to score to win to be a true contender.  Playoffs are a different matter…less penalties makes defenders stronger.With that as the premise… the St Louis Blues are moving in the right direction.  As of Sunday night the Blues had 84 goals… at #2 in goal scoring in the NHL..but…they had the most points & most wins…. The Blues were a +21 in goals vs goals against… Tampa Bay is #1 in goals ..2 more than the Blues. Meanwhile….if you’re wondering about the best defensive teams….San Jose has given only 50 goals..but have scored just 58..their record? 12-8-2….it seems clear to me that a NHL team must score to be a contender in these days. Some of key the scorers for the Blues  have been obtained in trades…but clearly not all… Jaden Schwartz was the #1 choice in 2010.…but….in 2009, the Blues drafted @#17 in the 1st round and selected David Rundblad…Rundblad was sent to Ottawa on June 25, 2010 for the 16th overall draft pick…and that choice was Vladimir Tarasenko. So the Blues in that year, chose Schwartz @ #14 & Tarasenko @ #16…WOW what a draft!  Now…I might add as I scoured through the Blues drafts in recent years, I seldom recognized ANY NHL players from the later rounds …that is…past round 1…that’s not so good…. Recently acquired Braden Schenn was drafted in the 1st round of the 2009 draft with the #5 overall pick by the LA Kings.  He was moved to Philly and now lands ….at the height of his career (26 years old) in my mind…in the Lou. The Blues sharp drafting in recent years with their 1st choice– 2014-Robby Fabbri; 2015-Vince Dunn; 2016-Tage Thompson; 2017-two 1st rounders-Robert Thomas & Klim Kosten look very solid… now I’m not a hockey expert…some would say that I know very little…but…I’m thinking on my gut from what I’ve read (haven’t seen him play yet) is that Kostin will be a good…maybe very good… player for the Blues.  Obviously…wise draft picks are the lifeblood of any team….take a look at the names that I recognize that have been Blues contributors from pre-2009 drafts….

2008-1st round-Alex Pietrangelo; 2nd-Jake Allen                 two good to very good Blues

2007—1st-Lars Eller; 2nd-Ian Cole;  3rd-David Perron        Perron is the best of a weak crop

2006-1st Eric Johnson; 2nd-Patrick Berglund        

2005-1st-TJ Oshie; 3rd-Ben Bishop; 5th-Ryan Reaves        solid  players with lengthy careers  

2004-6th-Roman Polak                                                                

….while we’re on the ice…it’s good to see that the Blues have found a suitable location for a new practice rink…apparently the area in Maryland Heights will have many other attractions, stores and places of interest to draw spectators to the area…if I understand it correctly, the facility will be kept in use by floods…maybe a poor choice of words in Maryland Heights… of youth teams –practices and games.   

But…some people are “Blue” or wear Blue…

…in Columbia, MO…many are really “Blue” with the latest medical news on Michael Porter Jr…the excitement of the 17-18 bubble burst with the announcement that he was undergoing back surgery and out for the season.   As I mentioned last week…something just didn’t seem right with the lack of news about Porter…this injury may or may not cause Porter to skip his college career and go directly to the NBA. While we’re on it…fans are clamoring for the NBA to abolish the current rule of “1 year” in college…as we all know…it really isn’t a meaningful year….those “1 & done” players…take the lowest, simplest courses in the 1st semester and then register but barely attend any classes in the 2nd semester … to me…it’s makes a shame of the word “student”.  For years the NBA did allow HS graduates to try to go directly to the NBA…some stars “made it”…Kobe, LaBron and a few others….but many, many others tried and were way over their head, failed and then floundered around aimlessly…and very BLUE…not only in basketball but in their life…..sooo…the NBA “thought” that the year of maturity would help them…I agree but don’t use the sham of being called a “student”…it’s an insult to the real students….how about trying to draft them out of High school but…have their developmental league expand and assimilate these youngsters into the pro basketball world in the D-League.. a mild version of the MLB minor league system…..sure some will still fail…but at least they will have experienced a year..or two.. of maturity on and off the court.

…The Blue & White of St Louis U basketball are really blue after dropping a 72-70 game to D-II Detroit-Mercy. The Bills shot 6 of 24 from the 3pt range against the Titans zone, played just 7 players(depth?), and shot 12 of 20 from the free throw line…all in all…good reason to feel blue. I suspect the Bills will be seeing many more zones until they prove that they can score against it consistently.

…the Blue & Gold of Pittsburgh stunned #2 ranked Miami U with their 24-14 victory. The “U” …when at their best …are highly energized and very emotional but not on this day.  They were meticulously, methodically beaten by Pitt. The game was actually much, much closer than the final score. Pitt scored a TD in the last 2 minutes of the game on a QB bootleg.  The Panthers used a balanced attack 192 passing yards & 152 rushing yards.  On the other side of the ball, Miami had just 41 rushing yards so with only the passing dimension available-it was stymied at 171 yards.

…in the Nearly Forgotton League…Denver is suffering through the most  “Blue”….given strong pre-season ratings…the Broncoes are 3-7 and getting worse…of course…like almost always in the NFL…the problem begins and ends at QB…Trevor Siemian led Denver to 3 wins in first 4 weeks…but after the bye week, the wheels fell off and then Siemian was injured…. now Broncs have lost 6 in a row…ugh… could they lure the venerable Payton Manning away from his hundreds of commercials these days….hmmmm?….NO

…in the midst of success on the field, Mizzou Tigers football program is a bit blue about recruiting…. not on the same public scale as MPJ’s injury… but impacting the future  nonetheless…James Foster, one of the 1st Tigers 2 recruits of 2018, is “going back” on his commitment.  Foster is the 3rd of the 3 Alabama recruits who have all recanted on their commitment of last fall to Mizzou. Foster is a highly rated QB and with Drew Lock now appearing to… at the minimum…considering entering the draft THIS year (his Jr year)… a solid QB replacement is vital for the Tigers immediately. …We can’t leave Mizzou football without recognizing the tremendous turn-around. As I pointed out last week, the Tigers still haven’t beaten a +.500 team…but….7 wins is 7 wins…congrats to Barry Odom for keeping his team together…..personally, I can’t see Drew Lock coming back for his Senior year next year….why take the chance of injury?

…football fans of the Blue & Gold of Michigan U are a bit blue as rumors circulate about Jim Harbaugh….Harbaugh has been on 4 year cycles as a head coach…4 years @ U of San Diego, 4 years @ Stanford and 4 years @ 49’ers…3 years are now under his belt now @ Michigan and rumors about returning to the NFL make the Wolverine fans concerned …many thought that he’d be a lifer like Bo Schemblacher .

…an accepted…but probably grossly underappreciated commodity takes the snaps for the Blue-Clad Detroit Lions….QB Matthew Stafford who entered the league in 2009 as the 1st overall pick of the draft was the fastest QB to reach 20,000, 25,000, and 30,000 passing yards in a career…now he has passed for more yards than any QB under 30 years of age…he passed up Payton Manning and broke the record of 33,189 yards this past weekend…without post-season play and wins…recognition is scant… sooo.. Stafford remains rather anonymous.

…the NCAA football committee is anything BUT blue…the committee now will have the conference championship games to whittle their field down to 4 teams for the NCS bowl games.  The winners of these championship games should  be in the NCS  Bowl  games—1) ACC champ-Miami or Clemson; 2) the SEC champ; 3) Big Ten Champ  4) the Big 12 champ. From my own view, I don’t see any conference that deserves two teams. At this particular moment, I’d have as my Final Four…who cares who’s #1, #2, #3, #4…each of these teams is good..very good..their only benefit of a higher seed is to wear white uniforms….who cares…my  top four are Clemson, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Auburn. It’s becoming increasingly clear that losses in the first 3 weeks of the season don’t matter as “much” as losses late in the season.

…on the High School level….

Some very familiar teams competed in the Championship again…Why is it that the same schools are “always there?” Most of these smaller schools don’t usually have many…if any… high level D-1 players…it’s  the superb coaching that leads the team diligently though the off season work, staying current in their football schemes, evaluating talent, building a football culture around the school  and making in-game adjustments. Congratulations to all  the of these outstanding teams for great seasons… even those that lost Championship games.

…the Blue & White of Ladue fell to the Webb City Cardinals 14-0. For the Cardinals it was their 14th state football championship.  Defense and terrific line-play were outstanding for both teams as the score was an ol’ fashioned-like 7-0 until the last 0:58 when the Cardinals scored their 2nd TD of the game. It’s really incredible… I must say I was a bit blue when I read that the Ladue team had left the 2nd place trophy “rest” on the turf after it was presented to them.  I’ve always thought sports was about working your hardest to win but accepting defeat graciously when you fall short.

…the Lamar Tigers had made most…if not all of their opponents “blue” in recent history… Lamar won its 7th straight Class 2 championship over Lafayette County 37-20. The game was close ..16-14…at the end of the 3rd quarter as Lamar held onto a narrow lead. AT the 7:24 mark of the 3rd, it all changed.  Trevor Medlin (5ft 6 in) galloped 48 yds for a TD…on the ensuring KO, Lamar recovered a fumble…3 plays later..another Lamar TD…party was over…Congrats to Head Coach Scott Bailey! Lamar has won 49 straight games, the Tigers graduate 17 seniors but don’t expect a huge dropoff @ Lamar next year.

…”title town” is the description that the Monroe City players used in referring to the Blue-clad Valle Catholic Warriors. Valle has won 14 state football championships. Valle has players whose fathers, uncles and other relatives won state titles…it’s seemingly in their blood.Their tradition goes all the way back to 1966 (2 years before Missouri had HS state championships). Valle not only won every game…they shut out every opponent!  But…here in 2017…the Warriors fell just short…. Monroe City fell behind 7-0 in the 1st quarter, then scored in the 2nd quarter but missed the extra point and was still behind 7-6 until the 3rd quarter when they scored again  and held onto the 12-7 win.

I hope YOU aren’t blue because of the blog….have a great week!

 

Not Off-Season but GM Season by Bob Ryan

Baseball General managers DO work year round…they have to adjust rosters due to in-season injuries, in-season lack of production, international drafts & contacts, keep an eye on the minor league players development, amateur drafts, sign or resign players…so there is plenty to do for them…but….this next 10 weeks is really the GM season.  This is the time when rosters can be modified…mildly or drastically….with trades and now…more often…free agent signings….for the Cardinals this is a HUGE GM season.

…The Cards have head loudly and clearly from their strong fan base that change is expected… real change…a supreme power hitter, a closer and a reshaped bullpen, a starter, and probably a 2nd power hitter of less skill….and a general reshaping of the team…..all these seem to be the goals of Cardinal nation.

…Cards management team is under real PRESSURE….the fan base is expecting a lot of them.. this High pressure expectations is the highest of any point in my memory… sure the fan base is spoiled….totally spoiled by a run of two decades of consistent post-season appearances ala Atlanta in the 90’s…none the less the bar has been raised… and the Cards image still fights the idea that percolates around the Lou that the the DeWitts are penny-pinching in the world of free-flowing cash income with 3mil @ turnstiles, ballpark village busting at the seems, part ownership in Fox-Midwest and now a huge 3 building complex…I don’t know if that’s true…but …perception does become reality in our minds.

….but at the core of this is the GianCarlo Stanton issue…..many, many Cardinal fans are expecting him to be wearing the Birds on the Bat uni next spring….his enormous contract…it raises to $25m next year, 2019& 20 -$26m,  2021&22-$29m, 2023, 24, 25-$32m, 2026-$29m, 2027& 28-$25m…he’s 29 years old next year so at his peak payment years he’ll be 34,35 and 36 years old…Albert again you say?  Further, Stanton can opt-out after 2020 and the club could buy him out after 2028 for a measly $10m….But….right now…do YOU expect the Cardinals to get him and would you say anything short of that is not enough?  I’d love to read Your thoughts…my feeling about the fan base is that they DO EXPECT to obtain him. ..and the Cards management is hearing and feeling the PRESSURE to make a “BIG MOVE”

….In this age of power HR hitters….this insatiable appetite for more HR for the Cards seems strange to me….StL was 8th in the NL in HR…most of the playoff teams were ahead of us but not by a huge amount… the Cards were 7th in the NL in runs scored.. ultimately the goal of the offense…score runs…in any shape or form…fielding wise the Cards were 8th in the NL in fielding percentage, on the mound the Cards were 6th in team ERA at 4.01….the Dodgers …far and away…have the best team ERA at 3.38…so of the 15 NL teams, we’re in the top half but not the top third across the board in hitting, fielding & pitching….from where I sit …we need improvements in ALL areas  not just in acquiring one gigantic boom-buster.

…I DO think that the Cards will modify their sites and aim for Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna of Miami..Yelich will be 26 years old in early December…he hit 18 HR in 2017.. a modest total but committed just 1 error, stole 16 bases, hit .282 in 156 games…the most games ANY Cardinal played last year was Matt Carpenter at 145 games…so he’s durable, can run, play defense and is young ….btw…Yelich earns $7m this by 2022 he’s at $15m..a million here… a million there…what the heck..

…Ozuna is listed as 27 years of age….as many of you know…I’m always very skeptical of the given ages of Latin American players….I’d do the same….I’d take a couple years off of my age when signing time approached….anyway…be it as it may….Ozuna is a step above Yelich in most areas…he’s more of a slugger/hitter…37 HR-3rd in NL &  3rd in NL in RBI with 124, his .317 average last year was 7th in the league, , was 4th in NL in Hits-191, silver slugger in 2017…he’s more durable than ANY of our current OF….159 games played-4th in league AND to me this important area..is a better defensive OF than anyone that we currently have on our roster…he was a 2017 gold glove, has played CF previously but his year was LF who was ranked #1 in NL in range factor of LF…pls don’t ask how they calculate that ??!! :).. was 2nd in the NL as a LF with 10 assists last year. In 2018, Ozuna is 2nd year arbitration eligible…so his salary of $3.5m will double or triple.  I’d favor Ozuna over Yelich…I would offer Grichuk, &/or Fowler, and 1 or 2 pitching prospects…1 very high level, the other younger & more uncertain.

…while I’m at it…this “prospects” that the Cards treasure so dearly….in my mind, this word “prospects” has its roots in the word “prospectors”…ya know those guys digging for gold…and we know how many of them actually found gold…same in baseball…how many of these “prospects” actually turn into “gold” type players…amount the same level as the gold miners found back in the day. 

….the Cards MUST sign a closer and step up the quality of the 7th/8th inning performers. The latest trend is to go short term with these bullpen arms…you never know when their arm will go “kaput”.  Look for Birds to sign an experience closer…maybe not the highest quality but still effective to a 1 or 2 year deal. Rookie Sandy Alcantara will be our 7th or 8th inning guy when the season begins and may be our closer by the end of the year. This 22 year old will be a replica of Trevor Rosenthal…his blazing fastball & slider are 1 or 2 mph faster.

…we start the real GM season with MO & his sidekick feeling real pressure to “make the move”..it should be fun to see it all play out…What would YOUR approach be…tell me now….not after the trades.

NCAA football…

…I must start with Mizzou…I didn’t think that I’d ever say this in 2017 but it sure looks like the Tigers will be bowl bound….Vandy & Arkansas are clearly two beatable teams…the strong run game has permitted Drew Lock to get time and throw his long-range missiles that are spot-on for quick scoring TD’s….once the Tigers get ahead in the game…they seem to relax….and the run game keeps the opposition from running the ball as often (seemingly a weakness on defense) because they feel like they must score quicker and more often….now….it seems like Drew Lock is getting evaluated for his NFL possibilities…so this could be his final year.. I still think that if you make him throw on the move, knock him down a few times that he’s a different QB…but let’s enjoy the sweetness of victory…bravo to the Tigers

…another terrific weekend of games for the top-ranked teams….

Alabama showed their pedigree against a strong Mississippi State team…the Bulldogs tooks a 24-17 lead early in the 4th quarter on a FG. Bama tied it with 9:29 left on a 14 yd run & PAT. . after an exchange of possessions, Alabama missed a 41 yd FG attempt that hit the upright with just over 2:00 left in the game. Miss State went 3 and out as they tried running plays on all 3 downs. The Crimson Tide took possession with 1:09 left….then the Tide’s top level coaching staff showed its stuff….like the pros, Alabama had run multiple formations earlier in the game with pre-determined calls but the OFF coordinator noted how Miss State was defending each formation sooo….when the last minute arrived, the O-coordiator used this knowledge to attack their weaknesses against these formations…Bama ran 3 sweeps to the wide side of the field with the same formation and a fresh, seasoned running back, then 2 slant passes againt blitzing LB (when they blitz their coverage area–short Middle, is wide open and finally an audible pass play called at the LOS by QB Jalen Hurts found the mark and a touchdown….Miss State had one more possession…after a 1st down and time almost expired, the ball was thrown a loooonnngg, way into the end zone in the midst of about 10 players (5 from each team)….an Alabama defender fearful of a Hail Mary TD, tackled the receiver…yea it was pass interference but in college that’s only a 15 yard penalty…the next hail may attempt was thrown too deep…went out of the end zone….game over.

…all that being said…my Bob Rankings for the final 4 at this moment are..with plenty of provisions.

  • Alabama 2) winner the Miami-Clemson ACC championship game  will be in final four… Miami (9-0) or Clemson…who has 4 wins over teams currently ranked #10-20 (who cares what they were ranked back 6-7-8 weeks ago) 3)Oklahoma      4)  if Wisconsin stays unbeaten…it’s tough to include them since  the Badgers played a non-descript non-conference schedule and the Big 10…like the SEC…is down…the ACC is not down…but Wisconsin has Michigan, Minnesota and the Big 10 championship game coming up…so if they win those 3 games…they have to go in.  Pac 12 conference looks like it’ll be on the outside looking in…If Wisconsin loses, AND the Miami/ Clemson game is very close…maybe both of those teams. WHAT does YOUR final 4 look like?

I remember years ago…many,many years ago at a district basketball seeding meeting, Jim Gant, a very successful basketball coach at Central High School said,’ Don’t ask me who I lost to….that doesn’t take any skill to lose…ask me who I beat”. Just because you lose to a good team doesn’t make YOU good…He’s right.

High School Football

….two teams familiar with Class 6 finals will meet next weekend for the 2017 title. Blue Springs vs CBC at Springfield,  MO 7:00pm next Saturday. CBC beat a fired up Eureka team 42-7 in the semis. CBC scored late in the 1st quarter and led 14-0 at half.  After scoring on the 2nd of 3 Brett Gabbert TD passes in the 3rd qtr at the 10:48 mark, the very next play from scrimmage was a Pick-6 for the Cadets when Larry Williams snatched a pass and scampered 25 yards to turn the tide in this game between these two very  strong teams.  CBC(12-1) won it 42-7 as they potent offense has been held under 40 points twice all season. Gabbert, younger bro of Blaine Gabbert, has passed for 2712 yards while Bryan Bradford has rushed for 1382 yards to provide the blend that Coach Scott Pingel desires. Pingel will be taking his 3rd team to the Championship game in his tenure which began in 2008 @ CBC.  The Cadets lone loss was to CBC-Memphis 36-27. Eureka completes their season at 12-1 as they enjoyed the tremendous season of Sr. Hassan Haskins. Haskins rushed for 2197 yards and scored 34 TD’s as Eureka kept  their customary power run style of game in high gear throughout the season. Eureka won the Suburban West-American conference title this year. The Wildcats have an outstanding record of 77-16 since 2010.

…in Class 5, Ft Zumwalt North (12-0) reached the semifinals with an impressive 42-7 win over the Lebanon Yellowjackets. Head Coach Joe Bacon led the Panthers to the championship game last year before falling to the Vianney Golden Griffins.  Vianney lost to Pattonville on Saturday…next week’s opponent for Ft Z N. The Panthers expected a much tighter game from Lebanon but…it played out this way…after receiving the KO, FZN drove 84 yards in 11 plays . Mareon Lowery powered over on a short plunge for the TD.  Lebanon, running the triple option…a rare occurrence in this era of passing….had been led by 2000 yard rusher, John Berry. On the 3rd play from scrimmage, Berry was crunched by a heavy hit from the FZN defense and suffered a separated shoulder…out for the game. It was all Panthers from that point on. 

It’s an exciting time of the year…thanks for reading an hoping to read your thoughts on the GM season!

 

Wrapping up World Series by Bob Ryan

The thrilling World Series between the two best teams in baseball in 2017….just won by Houston…a 1st for the franchise….was lots of fun to watch….now..some personal “awards”, comments & observations…

…game 5 was….if not the best game in series history….oopps…in St Louis….that designation will always be the David Freese night in 2011…so let’s call this “one of the very best”….

….it was a HR derby for 5 games but the last 2 games looked more like real baseball games to me.

…I’ve always felt this way…go with your best…if he “runs outtta gas”….or “doesn’t have it” so be it….but don’t wait until you’re behind in the championship game to bring in Clayton Kershaw….start him….he’s your best…further considerations 1)Grab the early momentum with his strikeouts and quick innings 2) In 2016 playoffs, with 2 days rest, Kerhshaw pitched  7 innings and gave up 2 hits…so why start anyone else?

….Alex Bregman wins my World Series “Gold Glove” award

….I think Altuve was posing a bit too much for the cameras…but…even so….he’s fun to watch and really good….despite his .194 series average

…I still don’t understand the quick hook by both managers on some of their starting pitchers..I mean taking out a starter because the next batter hits from the other side of the plate in the 3rd inning?

…I would  have liked to shake Brendan Morrow’s hand for his endurance ..he pitched in all 7 world series games and in all but one playoff game…but he couldn’t raise his arm J  His fastball had lost all its zip by games 5, 6, 7 of Series….but this post-season will extend his career ..which was in doubt earlier this year.

…George Springer was clearly the Series MVP…5 HR, .379 avg, slug% 1.000 (that means he averages one base for every AB) and slugging %  of 1.471

….I’m sure that many NL pitchers were taking notes on how to pitch to LA 1B, Cody Bellinger…he struck out 17 times in 28 at-bats….I’ll save em the time….fastballs high & away, breaking balls that start at the knees and break low & inside below the knees….

….last minute shopping results for World  Series teams varied…….

….LA signed Yu Darvish as their trading deadline acquisition…. His  free agent value for next season was probably cut in half by his two flops in the Series….2 starts, 3.1 inn, 9 hits, 8 Earned Runs, 2 walks, 0…yes…zero strikeouts…..he sure didn’t look like a real top level #1…he probably drove up the value of Lance Lynn.

….on the other hand…Houston  snatched Justin Verlander literally seconds prior to the deadline…he  DID look like a true #1….2 starts in Series, 12 inn, 3.75 era, whip of .583…well worth his money …

World Series history Book since 2000……

When Houston won their 1st ever championship this year …the Cubbies won their 1st Series in over 100 years last year and Kansas City won after a long drought in 2015….it drove me to dig out the Series “team” participation & post-season participation since the year 2000….here’s some of the stats that seemed interesting… again..just since 2000..

….ALL 30 MLB teams have been in the playoffs since 2000!  That stunned me!…Florida is the only team to be in only one post-season (2003) and they won the Series that year. The Cards & Yanks lead the MLB with 12 post-season appearances in this new millennium . Then comes the Dodgers… who  have played in 9 post-seasons.

…the Nationals have been in the last 4 post-seasons and 5 of the last 6 years …but..sorry Dusty …ya  gotta win one series…. Atlanta was in nine times with SIX straight post-seasons (from 2000-2005); Boston has experienced post seasons  8x with 3 world series championships

…Now come the big surprises..at least  to me…again…this is since (and including} 2000…Oakland has eight appearances-most recent 2014; Anaheim has tasted post-season waters 7x with only 1 World Series appearance …that they won…in 2002.  The Giants have been post-season 8x with 3 Series titles; Minnesota has been to the post-season seven times (including this year)..they were in the post season 4 of 5 years between 2002 and 2006.I was also surprised that Tampa has been post season in four different seasons (08, 10, 11, 13)….Poor Seattle has had a long time between drinks…their last post season was 2001 after being there in 2000

…regarding World Series appearances, the Cards, Giants and Yankees have been there 4 times but Boston is 3 for 3 (3 appearances and 3 titles)…now it’s time to close the world series book….

Cards baseball thought….

…so why am I not surprised that the headines today talk about the Cards looking for a less expensive option as a closer without any trade ramifications….come on…do you REALLY want to win?

NCAA Football…

So….I’m sure that the committee was trying to be extremely fair and non-judgmental when they chose Georgia over Alabama in their 1st poll….clearly they thought that Georgia had more wins over “good “teams than Bama at this point…I see Georgia’s  1 point win @ ND but the last 4 games have been big blow-outs against SEC teams(none in the upper echelon)…meanwhile Bama’s only win of consequence was their opening week victory over Florida State…Bama has a list like Georgia of crushing several SEC teams….in the probable SEC championship game….Bama vs -Georgia ….I’m still going with Alabama.   I still see Drew Lock winging those long passes over the heads of the Georgia secondary….can’t Alabama do that also?… but  It’s only the poll for this week…you can’t vote on what you think MAY happen in the  future…. vote only for how it has played out to this point…

….Mizzou really crushed Florida…Drew Lock, when given time and has a running game established , he can really throw the long ball…his deep-ball  accuracy is very good….right now, Florida is reeling…lost many players for off-field incidents and then fired their coach…btw…these “temporary head coach” status just doesn’t cut it….we all know the saying, “ a dog only has one master”….well speaking as a long time HS coach …it’s true in coaching also..a team has but one master…and that IS the head coach.  Let me put it in another way…the same is true in teaching….think back now of YOUR thoughts when you had a “substitute” teacher for the day…… I rest my case.

More on Florida…..so I’m going out on a limb….Florida wants a high-profile, experienced, offensive minded coach….Jim McElwain was supposed to be Jim Mcl-win for the Gators but became Jim McE-lame…I’d shoot real high….and pay real high … for Chris Peterson of U of Washington…Peterson gained notice with his 92-12 record as Head Coach @ Boise State before moving to Washington. We’ll see if the lure of the SEC over the Pac 12 does hold water.  If you want a coach with local contacts already established and is less expensive…how about Scott Frost of Central Florida….those are my 2 choices for this attractive job.

High School Football …

….I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to announce the Class 2 football game between the Lutheran North Crusaders and the Trinity Titans. I didn’t know if I’get in on time…I arrived at the Lucas & Hunt exit (about 1/4mile from the Lutheran North… the line of cars reminded me of the line of cars at the ending of Field  of Dreams movie…play it…and they will come.  It was a really an outstanding game…North won it 48-46…there was a little bit of everything….one team preferred passing,  the other a  power running game, so we saw magnificent catches, power & speed on runs, pick-6’s; a KO return for a TD, fumbles on punts that had bounced on the ground, kicking situations were often unpredictable,  interceptions on passes that should not have been thrown,completions on passes that should not have been thrown; trickerations on extra points and lots and lots of hard hitting and dazzling speed….it was really a super high school game in front of about 5000 folks. Trinity scored with 38 seconds left in the game to cut the margin to 2 points….of course they went for two points…they had hoped to isolate one of their star receivers, Marcus Washington for the quick slant or alley-oop pass … RC Owens revived !!…..North put 2 defenders on him…so QB Isiah Williams tried running…as he had done well many other times…for the goal line…he was hit about ½ yard out and driven back by a bevy of North defenders….this game had a plethora of future college football players…I would guess about 15-20 players will someday be wearing college football uniforms. I’ve never done this before  but … there’s always a 1st time…many have asked about the game…well…here’s the link…hit “demand” button, Trinity-LN game link, wait for arrow…click…and go…here’s the link…

Click here …

….another dandy was the Hillsboro-Cape Central game….these 2 schools often hook up in some wild and wooly games in district championship games….with the score tied 28-28 in the 4th quarter after Cape had scored 2 TD in the 3rd quarter to tie it…the Hillsboro Hawks marched their way to the title…and I do mean march…the Hawks went 80 yards in 14 plays and 6:30 seconds to take a 36-28 lead on way to their 1st district title in 4 years…Congrats to Coach Lee Freeman & the Hillsboro team.

….on the pro football level…KC Chiefs are a fun team to watch…if you like offense….as of today… Alex Smith is the top rated passer and tied for #2 in TD passes, RB Kareem Hunt leads the league in rushing and total yards, the #6 & #7 receivers in the NFL are Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.

High School Soccer..

Finally…..I want to congratulate my friend, John Mohrmann, who guided his Priory Rebels to the Class 2 Soccer Championship over Lincoln Prep 3-0 last Saturday. John was an excellent player himself at St. Thomas Aquinas HS….my memory is that he played on a state winning team there.  He has won 5 state soccer championships as a Head Coach at two schools. John led Rosary HS to state titles in 1985 & 1987. He has directed Priory to 3 state championships in 2005, 2011, 2017…6 year itch…so to speak.. In between,   he also took the tiny Prep Seminary HS into the Soccer Playoffs.  He was able to enjoy a real special thrill this year as his son ,Will , was a member of the team. Congratulations!

I’m wrapping up the 2017 baseball season now….we’ll be into off-season changes shortly…NCAA football rankings, Blues, and other sports stuff starting next week…

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween for MLB Managers by Bob Ryan

Tomorrow night is Halloween……you remember the question that always came to you on Oct 30 through your “early” days….what would you “be” on Halloween?..some years it worked out well…sometimes not so much….but…every year there seems to be a “new & more favorite” costume…..well…this year…it’s a Major League manager dressing up in disguise…They dress in the manner that they feel like! Look what happened…..

….so here’s our 1st person walking up to the porch… Jean…dressed as a General….for obvious reasons around the house… and I …usually sit on the porch together greeting our Halloween visitors…hello…I see that you’re dressed as a ringmaster at a circus..like ur coming and going….so what’s your joke?

#1….My  joke is that I managed this team for 4.5 years …got fired…was away for 5 years…and I’ll be darn…I’m back at the same place managing again for another 5 years…I come & go like the circus… I’m John Gibbons of the Toronto Blue Jays

Well…..so long John…boy that WAS strange…here’s another…but he’s in street clothes?

#2…Hello…I’m on the streets looking for a job….my joke is that  I have 910-710 lifetime record and I just got fired because I couldn’t win a 7 game AL Championship series… oh…..btw…I’m 6th in our franchise history in wins…I’m Joe Ghirardi…formerly of the Yankes…what?….oh yea…those top 5 winning managers are JoeMcCarthy -1460, Joe Torre-1173, Casey Stengel 1149, Miller Huggins-1067 and Ralph Houk—944

Well..thanks Joe….I’m sure you won’t be out of work long….what…you weren’t sure that you were coming back to NYY anyway….you’ll be back…maybe not this year….but soon…wouldn’t he fit in Washington?….anyway…..Jean, here’s another coming up our walk.. dressed as a farm boy…ya know… untrained …still learning

#3…Hello…Hello…I’m …my joke is that I’ve never managed anyplace other than a Puerto Rican league and I just got hired by the team that won the AL East- Boston Red Sox…I’ learning on the job so to speak…like a farm boy…..I’m feeling good…I have all those good, young players coming back just because I was a bench coach at Houston this year…I’m Alex Cora

…well…good luck Alex…Boston can be tough on managers…John Farrell just got fired after winning back-back divisional championships…he really doesn’t know what he’s in for in Boston…here’s a new mgr… dressed as Old Man Time…

#4 Man….life’s good….I’m in a great city…doing what I love for 17 years now…I just keep rolling along like o’ man time…I’ve been here so long…no one knows any other manager…My joke is ….these folks have been trained to want stars out here…glamour….pizzazz….who cares about the w’s? I’m Mike Scioscia of the Anaheim Angels

….well…Mike glad to talk with you….you have been the AL Mgr of the Year on 2 occasions, 2002 & 2009 and you DO have a winning record 1416-1176..but be careful….Mike Trout …the star that you mentioned…may be leaving in a year or 3…and Albert isn’t Albert any more…take care… Mike…as Mike saunters off into the sunset…boy….I didn’t even hear this guy coming up…hi there..

#5…didn’t hear me did ya….no one DOES!…I’m dressed up as a silent mouse….I’ve snuck up on everyone….My joke is that I’m a third year manager that missed 1st place for the 1st time in my career…and….NO ONE knows me….I’m Jeff Bannister

…well…Hi Jeff…yea…I had forgotten that you won the AL West in your first 2 years at the helm for the Texas Rangers. Not many knew ya as the bench coach for the Pirates when they finally broke their historic 20 year streak of losing seasons and you’re RIGHT …no one still knows you…oh wait…where did he go…he got away without anyone knowing it but who’s  swaggering up to our porch now….he’s got twinkie wrappers in 1 hand & Tony the Tiger in the other..

#6  I just took over the Detroit Tigers …my joke is just when I developed the Twins…they released me…and I’m starting over…. I managed for 13 years for the Minnesota Twins and led them to 6 post-season appearances… I know how to manage young kids and make them into winners—like I’ll do with the Tigers…I’m Rod Gardenhire

….Well….Hi coach….you sure led the Twinkies for a long run and the Tigers are rearming their team…pardon the pun….and need a firm…yet fair…hand to take over….good luck in Detroit…of late…they’ve been squeezing in the Tigers in between the Red Wings & the Lions..about a 2-3 month stretch as a mild diversion from “real sports…..so that buys you some time….what do we have here…. dressed as Houdini?

 #7  Yes…I’m like Houdini….every other team fires the manager AND the staff….not for me…I disappeared so just my staff got the hack job but I survived…I’m Mike Matheny

….well, well Mike…I’ve read…ooops…written … a lot about you….what a houdini you are …. that is very unusual in the MLB…staff goes and yet YOU remain…thx goodness for MO, heh?….careful though Mike….you better be well above .500 by June 1st or you may be using that houdini outfit again as you disappear …for good…..but….who do we have here….he’s dressed as Rodney Dangerfield… Hey…hey… what are you doing?

#8…I’m dressed like this because nobody respects me…I was rated #28 of 30 MLB managers last spring… I have no respect….none!….sure…I have good players…but I have to massage them, coddle them, give them pity, smile at their flubs…all the while pretending that I don’t know their huge salaries… I have no respect …..I’m Dave Roberts of the LA Dodgers

…yea Dave…LA is so different….they let the Angels slide away annually…and yet they expect the Dodgers to win every year ….maybe….someday…you’ll get that respect…..well…who’s that coming now? He’s wearing a crown and carrying a map of the US with only the small states showing?   Hey….hey there…who are you?

#8  Many..maybe most…think I was the manager of the year…the joke is  no one across the USA votes for me because I’m not from a huge megatropolis …they ignore me…they don’t even know mu name.. so I’m ignoring those big states now….I’m Greg Counsel-Mgr of Milwaukee

…well  Greg…you DID do a magnificent job but in today’s world only 1 thing matters…who wins the overall championship…it doesn’t matter if you took average players and made them good and good players and made them good+….well Jean….let’s close the door and go inside …I’m done with Halloween—Manager’s nite 

 

More Baseball observations…

…1st of all…it’s a terrific World Series…very entertaining…I’m hoping for Houston for some reason…really don’t’ know why…but LA is a very good team also

…why would any 3B coach stop any runners from trying to score any more….I see about 1 of every 10 throws from the OF on target…keep waving them around would be my motto.. I read that OF & IF pre-game practice has been eliminated in recent years….guess that they are too busy rushing to get in line for the in-door batting cage…who needs fielding when you are negotiating your contract? It’s all about HR these days.

…Both these managers are “killing” their bullpens….one time….Houston brought a unused starter into the game in the 5th and he went to the 9th…..wouldn’t something like that work on a more consistent basis?

…Jose Altuve…whom I REALLY like as a player…has gone rogue this post-season…he’s abandoned his 200-hit swing to swing for the fences..darn

….Carlos Correa was Jeff Luehnow’s #1 pick in his 1st Houston draft in 2012…not bad, heh… that’s my hockey talk coming out early btw…the Cards had two 1st round picks that year—Michael Wacha (good) and James Ramsey (who?)…some other notes from that 1st round….Addison Russell was drafted by Oakland out of HS and Corey Seager by LA Dodgers..but to be honest…these guys from 2012 should be in the MLB by now….not many are … I’m not an expert but…I don’t recognize…at all…15 of the 30 guys chosen in the 1st round!

 

Speaking of hockey….to me that means Blues Hockey…I really can’t tell you much about any other team.. of course…some would say that I can’t tell you much about  the Blues either 

….I usually am not in the mood for hockey until after January 1 when it is cold outside.. I mean they do play the game on frozen ice…cold…ya know…. But…this year is different….for me there is less interest…but still some…in the NFL..so it drives me to hockey earlier….. some early observations…

….the Blues can skate…..in fact, the entire league appears to be flying down the ice…it’s a new era … the old, slow, heavier defensemen (e.g. Noel Picard, Bobby Plager) aren’t around any longer

….speaking of defensemen….Coach Yeo is utilizing the d-men in an offensive way… GREAT..it’s harder to stop 5 guys than 3 guys defensively.

…the Blues appear to be attacking with a wider assortment of players …not Just Tarasenko(5 goals) alone…Jaden Schwartz currently leads team with 7 goals while veterans Alex Pietrangelo & Paul Stastny each have 4 goals. I dropped my crystal ball a few years ago so I’m not sure if it’ll continue but….it is a wonderful trend.  

…the regular…yet ..not constant…use of #2 keeper appear to be working like a charm

 

College Football World

….OK…just when I TCU lined up for the National Championship Final Four last week….Iowa State knocks them off yesterday. Who is this Iowa State?  Who’s their coach?  He’s a 2nd year coach-Matt Campbell.I’m wagering that there is 10% of you who knew the answer to that question. The Cyclones jumped into the top 25 (#18) with their win over the Horned Frogs (TCU) 14-7.  Iowa State has upset two Top 5 teams this year…to put it in perspective..  Cyclones entered this year 1-56-2 all-time against teams in the top 5. The crowd went crazy and swarmed the field at the buzzer…the euphoria was unbelievable…Congrats to them… it’s really wonderful to see a door-mat rising up to a place of prominence….even if only for a week

… one of my other picks last week was Penn State….the Nittany Lions fell off the cliff when Ohio State made an epic rally to snatch the 39-38 win. Penn State led 35-20 with 7+ min left in the 3rd quarter before the Buckeyes rally.QB J.T. Barrett (Ohio State) went 13 of 13 passing for 170 and 3 TD’s to quiet his critics about his play in “big” games.

….Mizzou crunched UConn 52-12…sure it was a cupcake…but unlike MO-State (who’s 2-6 for the season)…Mizzou clearly dominated the action. Bravo!

 

On the High school football scene….I actually had a couple folks asking where this section was last week..thx for the note…..this week was the semi’s of district so in most cases the #1 seed played #4 and #2 played #3..there wasn’t too many close games…but..

….Lindbergh, under head coach Nathan Norman, edged the defending State Champion, Kirkwood, 16-14.  What made it real interesting was what led up the  game winning 35 yd FG by Garret Butz with a mere 8 seconds left in the game….so big-time pressure there alone…. But… Butz had missed an extra point attempt earlier in the 4th quarter that failed to tie the game at 14-14 that left the Flyers fell a point behind until that memorable game winning FG.

…excitement in Class 6 (the largest schools) on the west side of the state.. Rockhurst & Lee Summit West….both teams came into the semis after dramatic wins in the opening week of districts…Lee Summit West had to go 2 OT to beat Raymore-Peculiar (commonly call Ray-Pec)  37-30…meanwhile the Rockhurst Hawklets won by a narrow 7-0 margin last week against Lee Summit North. It was another thriller for both teams this week…..Rockhurst edged Lee Summit West 20-17.. tied 7-7 at half, West kicked a FG in the 3rd qtr but the Hawks answered immediately with a TD also in the 3rd quarter, both teams scored early 4th qtr TD but Rockhurst iced the game by holding onto the ball for the last 6 min & 9 sec of the game…they ran out the clock for 6+ min-Wow!  Rockhurst advances to the district championship against Park Hill..Winner advances to Class 6 STATE semifinals.

….in my mind, Kirkwood and Webster Groves are often linked together…their traditional Turkey Day game, their good football programs, their vibrant communities, the closeness of their localities… anyway…. when both teams lost Friday night…it seemed unusual to me for BOTH teams to lose on the same day…well…it turns out it was the 2nd time this year that they lost on the same day…but…prior to this year…it had been since  2008 (Sep 12 & Sep 19) that both football teams lost on the same day…sooo…there’s your trivia for the day 

 

YOUR comments are always welcome…either post them directly on site or send them to me in an email…if you want … if you prefer, I’ll publish w/o your name…I’ll use initials.  Many times…your responses are much better than my stuff….thanks for reading….Happy Halloween!

 

 

Excitement of Post-Season by Bob Ryan

Excitement of Post-Season ….

Even though, it’s not the same without our Birds in the post-season….sure…there have been some great games but the buzz around the area about baseball is a whisper w/o our Birds flying into deep October….however …there is ALWAYS a buzz about post-season…on all levels.

Post-Season Baseball….

…from my view, it’s actually much tougher to repeat as world Champions…you must win two series against very high level opponents…. Not just 1 series (World Series) as was the custom for about the first 100 years of baseball…starting pitching must not only be good…but have the ability to go deep in the game(7 inn+)…or…bullpens become exhausted and …as we saw this year…starters are then used out of the pen to win divisional series…which makes it even tougher to win in future games.

…post season is a crap-shoot…who expected the World Champion, Indians to fall to the Yankees?

..Cubs hitting really disappeared…although…remember for the first 80-100 games, the Cubs weren’t exactly hitting the cover off the ball…but the playoffs were abysmal for them at the plate…Kris Bryant .200, Anthony Rizzo .135, Addison Russell .176, Wilson Contreras .219,  Javier Baez .077, Kyle Schwarber .176 as the key batters…in 10 post-season games , the Cubbies scored more than 3 runs in a game ONE TIME…Now I realize many StL fans sole cheering focus was on the Cubs losing….some want to buy the White flags that would have a big “L” ..not “W” like last year – they didn’t really care who else won..looking back it’s amazing that they won even one series….their aging, overworked staff allowed 1 run and hurled a shutout in their 1st two post-season games….after that it looked totally different..the runs allowed in the remaining post season games were 6,5,8,4,5,6,2,11 ..part of that is due to the fact that the Cubs “went all in” to beat the Nationals by hurling any pitcher who could get outs….or even an out…and they hung on… for that series…but nothing was left for the Dodger bats ..especially by game 5. The Cubs have small consolation that they are only the 2nd World Series Champion in the past 15 years to win its division the year following the World Series celebration.

….the Dodgers … for the vast majority of the season…were the best team in the National League…yes…they did lose for 2 straight weeks  but even with that ugly time…they won the most games in the MLB-104 games….they have a marvelous blend of youth, experience, power, speed and 1-2-3 starting rotation punch (Kershaw, Darvish, Rich Hill)

….the Astros were the best team in the AL throughout 2017… they were led by their explosive hitting up & down the lineup…Houston had a team batting average of .282-#1 in MLB….Jose Altuve is the straw that stirs the offensive drink for the ‘stros.  Acquiring Justin Verlander just minutes prior to the trading deadline really solidified their starting staff….so….the short of the long of it…we have the 2 best regular season  teams in the MLB competing in the upcoming World Series….thats good to see

…for years there were certain suppositions that a team must do to “get to post-season

#1 have good defense to win at a high level ….  well..not so much any longer…take a look at post season teams….Cleveland was #2 in fewest errors in MLB, Colorado #3, Minnesota #4, Washington was #10 , LA Dodgers were #12 in fewest errors, NYY were #17 and Cubbies #18, Houston #20, Boston #24 and Arizona #26…so the three best defensive teams in MLB were all bounced out in their first post-season series?!  Who had the fewest errors?  Miami-73…. now…. hold on…I will agree…that making errors alone may not be a single, solitary way to judge defenses..can the defensive players cover more ground and get to balls that many other fielders may not is also a vital, positive element.  Btw..Cards were right in the middle of the pack #16 with 94 errors….btw…that’s .58 errors per game…or slightly more than 1 error every 2 games…. that sounds “weak” to me for a professional team at the highest level.

#2 that you MUST have strong pitching to go deep in post season…it’s still true …teams pitching stats put Cleveland #1, Dodgers #2, Az #3, Boston #4, NYY#5, Washington #6, Cubs were #7, Milwaukee #9 , Houston was #11  (remember there are 10 post season teams)…..it’s an easy assumption to say that Colorado will NEVER be in the top 10 of pitching stats since they play ½ their games in the light, mountain air.

#3 win the 1-run games….the Nationals won the most 1-run games…they were 30-21.. next best % were AZ 29-23, shockingly the Angels were 27-22 in this area, Cubs 26-17, Seattle went 26-15, Dodgers were 25-19 in 1-run games…to me as I look at these stats…it doesn’t seem so important how many win alone…how many did you lose also is relevant…so with that the factor..in 1 run games…. Wash was a +9, Seattle +9, Cubs +9, Az +6,  Dodgers +6 ..our StL Cards were 24-29 a -5….who was in the most 1-run games?  Phillies!!! 57 games– 21-36.

…of the 4 last teams in the MLB playoffs—Astros, Dodgers, Cubs, NYY—who has the most sustainability for the long term right now?  I’ve read that the Cubs have depleted their stockpile of highly rated prospects while these other 3 teams still have some very talented “blooms” on the farm. Reportedly, the Dodgers, Yanks & Astros still have some very highly rated “prospects” in the pipeline….I’m always a bit skeptical of these “prospects”…how many really become stars?

College Football post-season thru binoculars…

..in the past couple years, I’ve written about a numerical plan to choose the teams….that’s not going to happen….so….on Oct 22…at this moment,  looking long range through my binoculars…these are my 4 teams…I maintain the right to change if upset losses occur to the favorites….….#1 of course Alabama … an NCAA Football final 4 without Bama is like an ice-cream soda without the ice cream;  #2 Penn State (who’ll win Big 10)   #3 winner of TCU-Oklahoma game …I’m leaning towards TCU; #4 winner of Miami – Notre Dame game…I watched ND dismantle USC yesterday…the fighting Irish dominated … I mean … really dominated with their Offensive & Defensive Lines… interestingly…after last season Coach Brian Kelly was on the hot seat @ ND with his 3-7 record…what did he do? He completely overhauled his coaching staff…went away from his “personal network” of coaches and brought the best he could find…and…it’s working.. they are a different looking team..more physical, disciplined, prepared. The “U” is unbeaten and looks like a favorite in the ACC.

High School Post-season…

…the MSHSAA softball post season ….the softball championships…were held in Springfield this past weekend…. Congratulations to the Marquette Mustangs on winning the Class 4 (the large school class) 2-0 over Blue Springs South to cap off a 29-3 record for the season.  To win STATE softball, you MUST have a tremendous pitcher….and Marquette did have one…Annah Junge twirled a 1-hitter in the championship game. She raised her record to 19-2 and lowered her ERA to 1.17 in 22 games. The top three leading batters for the Mustangs were Lillie Knesel .530, Kelsy Lenox .505 and Tabitha Cacheris .495. For Blue Springs South it was a tough pill to swallow…they had lost the championship game last year also…that time to Troy.                  Outside post-season…..

…hockey post-season….nope it’s still 6 months away but…the Blues are piling up points here in October that count for just as much as the points in March

….Mizzou….good & bad…..great to see all the excitement about the KU basketball exhibition game & the resounding win over an overmatched Idaho football team(it cost us $1.3m to buy that win). Please note that our two wins are over teams that combined 3 wins for the season but…let’s smile for a week and enjoy the win… I was sad to see Gary Link..long time basketball “color” man, loyal supporter, fund raiser, represented Mizzou at many functions over the years…seemed to bleed black & gold.. get totally shoved out at MU….from afar it seems that the earth is still shaking in Columbia, MO.

…can’t the Blues build their ice complex on the old Ford plant property? 

….thanks for making it to the bottom 

 

 

 

Too Big To Fail by Bob Ryan

 Ok….losing is one thing….but losing to a country 1/100 our size is ridiculous… some thoughts…

 First of all….I’m not a soccer guy…never played soccer a second in my life…but as an Athletic Director & announcer, I’ve seen many soccer matches….I’m not claiming that type of experience makes me an expert but….we all have our thoughts..soooo…..

 

The USA loss to Trinidad/Tobago in soccer is totally unbelievable to me. Decades ago, Americans claimed that our kids don’t start young enough…now,  “herd ball” begins around 6 years of age….then it was we don’t have enough quality coaching…so….amateur soccer …in our area called CYC (Catholic Youth Council)..was shoved aside for “select” teams…and then “academy” teams…we have all that in place and NOTHING has changed in the results…please don’t give me the “it’s too soon to tell”…we’ve been traveling down this road for decades… here’s a list of random thoughts that may …or may not…change things but I feel should be discussed by the “leaders” of the sport”…

 

This is walk on thin ice ….but here we go…

1) The training academy’s have become places for the middle to above middle class families to send their kids.  From my understanding, some of the overall leaders of these academies are making nice…very nice… incomes from these multiple “select teams”.  Make them FREE…as they were for years under the CYC format…or let the USA Committee pay the coaches, evaluators, scouts, administrators.

2) Find highly qualified evaluators who can determine…as much as possible.. potential vs “skill level”….everyone has a ceiling in their skill level…USA needs to find the kids with the world class potential…not necessarily.. the best 14 year old players.

3) Sort kids by ability not age….the age limit was devised to help teams compete.. the USA wants the kids to improve…who cares who wins these intramural games.. let the best players compete by ability…move some players up or down as their play continues to improve or levels off in performance.

4) Find ways to have kids play on their own without adults hovering over them….let them develop, practice their individual skills, moves, shots with their own creativity.

5) The traveling, select team concept has FAR too many teams….I mean are there really 500-1000 kids at every age level that “might” some day might be on the USA soccer team?…no way…. Who are we kidding?…I’m sure that all those players are good players…but being a world class player is a different animal… there are very few… Weed out the good players…develop the high potential players. Some…probably many .. parents feel that if their child plays traveling select ball…at a high cost…the payback will be that their child will “make” the HS or college team of their choice. That should NOT be the goal…the goal is to develop world class players.

6) Maybe the teams are started too early…throw the ball out there…let the kids play in small groups…6 year olds who can’t read yet are being instructed to spread out, pass the ball, kick it OOB if you’re on defense…..yada-yada-yada…you don’t see 6 year olds playing on basketball teams but we’re the best in the world.

7) A way must be found to incorporate the poor kids into these pay-to-play systems.

8) High Level Coaches from all levels—High School, College, Professional… should be holding clinics, seminars for themselves to help “grow” and share ideas about the development of players & teams.

8) Let these USA teams play more games…let them compete against professional teams or the best college teams…sure it isn’t World Cup but it seems to me that scrimmaging all the time against your teammates gets stale…play someone else.. if you lose…you have the wrong players…or coach(es). Don’t wait until Trinidad/Tobago beats you 2-1…ugh…it wasn’t even just one lucky goal.

Something has to change in the USA Soccer program….losing to large nations is one thing but…losing to tiny countries about the size of one  metropolitan city in the USA is not acceptable….We aren’t TOO big to Fail!…we are failing! Your thoughts…

 

Post Season baseball has been wild…

…managers have ditched their usual methods of the regular season…starting pitchers are relieving… relief pitchers are going longer…this makes it very exciting for the fans but…you could never use this style for 6 months of  play

….the teams that have advanced do have a strong 1-2 punch in the starting rotation

…more teams swing at the 1st pitch in the post-season

…game go too long….way too ..long…4.5 hours for 9 innings (that’s a ½ hour for every 2 innings..ugh) is NOT entertainment..at least to me…the Pearl harbor attack didn’t go that long 

…Jose Altuve is THE most exciting MLB player…he has over 200 hits for 4 straight years, has stolen over 30 bases/year for 6 straight years, has 24 HR in each of the last 2 years….he is the complete hitter…his dash around the bases from 1B with the winning run against NYY was …to me…really exciting…I’d prefer that type of action as to watching a HR sail..time & time again per game.. into the seats and the batter jogging around the bases. The excitement of the HR stems from the days when it was a rare occurrence…it’s become far too common now.

….teams that have been eliminated have to be watching the way that these post-season batters are being pitched….I would think that Aaron Judge will now see trillions of low breaking balls on the outside of the plate 

…the Cubs ability to come-from-behind wins with big, quick innings has surfaced again as they’ve won their 4th consecutive win or be eliminated series. Their “bat around” inning against Washington was a classic example of quick explosion at the plate and speed on the bases.

…Dusty Baker has now lost 14 straight series-final games and the 4th time in 6 years that the Nats won the NL East division and were bounced out in the 1st round of the playoffs…sorry…Dusty…I like you but….winning teams have to WIN a post season series once in a while…so… C U later…

..don’t be surprised if Cincinnati jumps into the free-agent waters to snatch a quality starting pitcher or two…they can hit…have some arms in the pen…now they need to get to the 7th inning. When “We’d like to get the most talented player we can get,” said Reds general manager Dick Williams. “We’ll just have to see what that money level is. I think we’d rather concentrate our resources on fewer players that have a chance to be more impactful for us than we do going out and getting a bunch of low-dollar guys.” Sounds like a pitcher to me….top candidates to me for them are Alex Cobb & Lance Lynn..both are on the lower end of the pitching pay scales…I’m choking as I write low end…I mean it is $16-$18m per year for multiple years…. and yet would be improvements for them.

 

A College Football fly-over….

…2 weeks ago, LSU was ready to fire their Coach, Ed Orgeron. Last week the Tigers upended Florida and this week they rallied from a 20 point deficit to beat #10 ranked, Auburn 27-23…now they luv him  …..the love of college football coaches by their fans reminds me of teenage romances…easy come..easy go 

….Mizzou has found an offensive threat…the deep HR ball…but the Tiger defense was toothless as Georgia played ol’ time smash mouth football all night long. At the same time, there were some inexcusable breakdowns in outside run coverage for Mizzou. Georgia turned those egregious alignments into TD runs. That type of scheming error should never happen …much less at the collegiate level.

…Five of the 13 unbeaten teams tasted their 1st defeat this weekend

…a couple special upsets…. #5 Washington fell to Arizona State 13-7…coming into the A-State game, Washington was a 17.5 point favorite due largely to the fact that Arizona State was ranked #119 in the country in team defense..the Sun Devils had surrendered more than 30 points in 11 straight games…please note the score again..13-7….Washington didn’t help their cause…their FG kicker missed FT attempts from 27 and 21 yards..generally “gimme’s” for any college and most HS kickers….the “karma” of the game manifested itself very late in the game … a 4th & 3..with all expecting a punt…A-State went for it…the Sun Devils completed a 30 yard pass that inexplicably floated  past 5 players ..2 ASU and 3 Wash players … seemingly guided by someone’s guardian angel, and was caught by the TE..it was as one writer said, “the 4th down version of a blackjack player hitting on 19 and then drawing two consecutive aces” With Washington’s cream puff schedule….their college football playoffs bubble has probably burst with the upset loss.

..then there was #2 ranked Clemson (last year’s national champs) being shocked by Syracuse 27-24… sure losing your QB,Kelly Bryant in 2nd qtr, hurt but the Tigers just made too many mistakes, personal fouls, a fake punt that failed, and a “makeable” FG missed. Further, failing to convert on only 2 of 11 3rd downs doesn’t add to offensive continuity. The defense let them down also… after pinning ‘Cuse inside the 10 yard line twice with punts, the Orangeman were able to move it out of this area with substantial drives (one helped by a Clemson 15 yd personal foul)..but Syracuse didn’t win on luck or just good fortune…they outgained Clemson 440-317 yards in the game.

…#8 Washington State was crushed by unranked California 37-3…footnote…I can’t remember both Washington teams being in the top 10 at the same time…well, this week both of them were upset.. Cal didn’t out gain Wash St by much 365-337 in total yards….it was the 7 turnovers by the Cougars that sent them wheeling  out of the unbeaten waters.

 

New Twist on Protests during National Anthem…

In Hong Kong, IT’s the FANS who are protesting during national Anthem. Those fans are very unhappy with the Chinese control in this semiautonomous city.  So Fans are booing, giving the 1 finger salute and generally making their displeasure known.  China’s authorities are already planning tough measures for these protesters..they are approving a law that prohibits disrespect of the anthem, barring the songs’ use in commercials or parodies and outlining the punishments for fans who “do not stand with respect” and “maintain a dignified bearing” when the national anthem is played.

 

Losing the “Way”…

…we’ve heard a great deal about the Cardinal way…how George Kissell & Dave Ricketts particularly…formed the ideas that should be taught at all levels….it was updated by Kissell with the Tony LaRusso staff… now farm director John Vuch keeps an updated version on his desk. Cards fans have moaned about the lack of fundamentals…Cardinal way…in the past couple years…but we aren’t the only ones who have lost “the way”…the Atlanta Braves are also “looking back” at their way that has been tarnished…they’ve been branded as cheaters and seen their organization crumble. This once proud franchise went to 15 post-season appearances in 16 years from 1991-2005.Bobby Cox was a terrific manager who was criticized for not winning the World Series often enough (he won 1 series and lost 4 others). GM  John Schuerholz & Cox worked hard, followed their scouts recommendations, played fundamental baseball…they were so good…that the Braves fans got spoiled and stopped attending regular season games….after all…there WOULD BE post-season games. Now the Braves are entangled in a real mess….sure last place team last year….the newer management (Frank Wren, John Coppolella, John Hart) didn’t follow their scouts recommendations, if you disagreed with them…you were gone…this trio had all the answers…well maybe it was all the answers on how to follow the Titanic in the baseball world….now….inappropriate signings of international players and other signings are ushering in another sad episode and the hierarchy of the Braves is in disarray…maybe .. we Cardinal fans should be grateful ..we may not agree with it all…you know that I don’t….but … our issues are solved much simplier…a couple talented players at the right times of their career and in the right spots …put us right back into the playoffs. We may be lost but the trail isn’t far away.

 

High School Focus…

…this week the Missouri high school teams open up their District competition. Using a point system through the first 9 weeks based on wins, margin of win (up to 14 pts), size of schools, record of opponents..and probably a few other areas..this point system is used to seed the teams from #1 though 8.  Then the usual 1 vs 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6, 4 v 5 tournament schedule is established. Any loss for a team from this point onward concludes their season. There are 6 classes of teams based on size of school… not skill level.

 

Well…I’m not failing to get too big…or too long 

Shuffling Deck from the Bottom by Bob Ryan

Cards begin shuffling the deck by dealing from the bottom….at least …. It seems like the pitching coach was the LEAST of their concerns but…MO felt diferently

Cards shuffle deck…

Earlier this week, the Cards brass & Manifesto announced that Derek Lilliquest (pitching coach) and the bullpen coach….did anyone really know HIS name?….were being let go…PC for fired….Some thoughts on this….the Cards say that they want a coach with more use of technology ….OK…fine….why not just hire a techy to be In the clubhouse ..or wherever….with a computer feeding info to manifesto who would have a computer in the dugout receiving it….call him the Info Coach….I doubt that Coach Info can help our pitchers with release point, balance, slide steps, tipping pitches, mixing pitches to batters in hitting sequences, adding new pitches each year,  varying delivers to home with runners on base, pickoffs…mentality of nibbling vs control on corners…btw…according to Bernie Mikaslaz…in the last 5 years, Cards pitching was #3 in the entire league in several categories… but we’re removing the pitching coach ?

…I don’t know what the bullpen coach’s responsibilities were during the games…or…for that matter…at any time…..abolish that spot for the newly designed “Info Coach”

…going down this line a bit further…between the lines I’m reading that Manifesto didn’t think the Lilly used tech info enough to help him in making pitching changes….hey…big boy…YOU ARE the MANAGER…not the pitching coach…you make the decisions…not the pitching coach…YOU have overused ..almost to the point of abuse…and clearly to the point of ending their careers many pitchers repeatedly in your tenure…. but especially in the last 3 years. Let these relief hurlers …who have an easy inning…pitch another inning….let the starting pitcher throw more than 100 pitches….I mean in the State of Missouri…high school pitchers (15 to 18 years old) can pitch 105 pitches before being removed…can’t a professional pitcher..a man  in the prime of his life go 150 pitches…I’m not asking for the 200 pitches of 50 years ago…just 150…train them in  spring training…develop a plan to build up to 150+ pitches all through spring training….let them pitch in those games that don’t matter….I mean…if you always remove a pitcher at 100 pitches…eventually, his arm will get tired at 100 pitches…push that total upward to 150 and help him, the bullpen and the team…and….I think Lilly was a scapegoat this year….somehow…some way…the Cardinals brass are convinced that Manifesto…who has replaced or lost all of his coaches already in 6 years …. Is the man to lead us deep in the post-season.

Early Wild-Card & divisional series odds& ends…

…both of the 2nd wild card teams were eliminated…so all that hype to reach the final spot in the playoffs…poof….gone..no home game…no nothing other than a hollow title of 2nd WC team.

…the new wild-card format DOES put the wild card teams at a disadvantage…as it should. Winning the World Series …as Cards did in 2011 as Wild Card is much more difficult to accomplish now…btw…they only clinched that wild card spot on the very last day of the regular season…so maybe …maybe … that’s why we still hold out our hopes so deep into the season now

….I noticed that the Astros & Cubs go up to the plate swinging….they belt those 1st pitches…as a result their rallies seem to come like a blitzkrieg to the opposition…

…as a continuation of the point above, Keith Hernandez…on one of those network’s panels…pointed out that trying to take pitches early in the count to “wear down” a starter is foolish in post-season… manager’s are very quick with a hook  in the post-season..no need to worry about taking pitches

Backhanded Compliment…

KMOX had Chris Landry as a guest on Thursday night. Landry is a former NFL scout and hosts his own weekly football show…he was brutally honest when asked about Mizzou…Landry indicated that he felt the Odum was not a skilled recruiter and was…in his words…not ready for the high level position in the SEC. He thinks that Mizzou must release him soon….like during this season..before the damage is too deep.  He mentioned several different young coaches who are the way up to succeed Odum…as if it was a given.  The Best thing about Odum was…according to Landry … the inexpensive buyout! Boy…what a compliment.  Landry indicated that LSU is stuck with a $10mil+ buyout of their current coach, Ed Orgeron, who also is walking the plank this season.  It was awkward for KMOX  who cover the Mizzou Tigers football team.

So…shuffling all the talk and playing…

…on Saturday, Mizzou played their best game of the season…I was lucky, I suppose…I was at a large gathering and indicated that I’d like to go home to watch 2nd half of Mizzou game….you can imagine the scoff’s, chuckles, raised eyebrows that came my way….I watched all the 2nd half…Mizzou was very entertaining…they provided Drew Lock with time…which I think has been the primary culprit of the deficiency of the passing game to this point of the season…he picked apart the “vaunted” Kentucky defense…several good schemes had our speedy WR’s  guarded by LB on deep routes…no chance for the defender…the offense ran the ball downhill with consistency….the Black & Gold … in the 2nd half…were very stout versus the run..the last 2 minute drive..without any time outs was a brand new experience for the Mizzou squad…it came up a bit short …but all in all…a huge step forward..hope may return after looking around the scores in the NCAA…

Shuffling the NCAA football rankings…

…if you love some great college football, Saturday was YOUR day…Iowa State upends Oklahoma 38-31…this would be as startling  as the NCIS crew being unable to solve a crime.   The Cyclones actually came from behind.. which makes it even more amazing..down 24-13 at half, Iowa State scored 25 2nd half points to pull off this shocking upset.

…After falling behind,  20-17 with 1:16 to Florida State, Miami rallied…drove the field and scored with just 6 seconds left in the game to pull out a 24-20 victory. The U is now 4-0 & Seminoles fall to 1-3.

…LSU was really humbled when it lost 24-21 to Troy in their previous game…the ax was being called for the head of  Head Coach Ed Orgeron  but the Tigers held on to a 17-16 victory over Florida…who whatta expected a missed extra point following a Gator TD in the 3rd quarter to be the last points of the game..LSU shuffled their starting lineup this week…starting 3 Frosh in the O-Line…WOW!

Shuffling the Line-up too much!….NOT ON THE FIELD ENOUGH

…Carpenter was the only batter with over 600 Plate appearances ; just Molina (529)& Pham (515)topped 500 plate appearances….how does this compare to the best teams of the MLB…Houston Astros had 3 players over 600 plate appearances and 4 players over 500…even Carlos Beltran..whom we dumped due to his age had 500 Plate appearances…Cubs had 2 players over 600 (Rizzo & Bryant) & 6 players over 400 times at the plate. Cleveland Indians had 2 players with 700+ times in the batters box and 2 others over 600x there! Washington Nationals were the exception…they had 3 players way over 500 AB and 3 over  400 …Now… Bryce Harper & Jayson Werth were on DL for long periods of tim….even Milwaukee…who finished ahead of us….boy..is that hard to type…had 4 players with 500+ appearances and 4 over 400+….It seems to me that the best teams PLAY their best players much more often than the Cardinals…maybe that’s a reason why they have more WINS….the Cards shuffling of the Sunday off-days, day after night-game, day off after or before off days, makes us miss out on using our best players too often. Another perspective…if any player receives 2 games a month “off” from  a game…that would put him at 150 games…these 2 game-day off days supplement the normal 2-3 days off for the team…I’m probably naïve but…a professional athlete in the prime of his life needs more time “off” than 4-5 days a month just for rest….in addition to a 4-5 month break….give me a break..but not them.

NCAA entertainment…and not just the Directors of Athletics & Coaches scurrying for cover.

…Some of the 5 best college players to watch (according to Mel Kiper & Todd McShay)…so look for them in the future as you have a plethora of 40+ college games to choose each week  on the tube…

Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State; Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma;  Sam Darnold, QB, So. Cal; Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M;  Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

Shuffling the myth that pitching dominates….What a Game!

…it’s the time of the year for district softball tournaments…those game often get “lost” in the midst of post-season MLB games, NCAA & HS  football, and other fall sports…however, there was a really terrific district championship game between Oakville & Seckman this past weekend… Oakville jumped ahead 3-0 after 1 inning….often 3 runs is enough to win in games between two good teams…because pitching often dominates…but not here….Seckman had a 5 run 3rd inning and had a 6-4 lead after 3 innings. Oakville has another big inning—5 runs in the 4th..now its 9-6 Oakville. Seckman scores 1 run in the 5th & 2 runs in the 6th to tie the game at 9-9. Now its extra innings…both teams score 1 run in the 8th. Seckman scores 3 runs in the 10t , Oakville crosses the plate only once and Seckman wins 13-11 in a wild, thrilling finish. Congrats to both teams..what a game!

Some more Cardinal stats to muse over….

…Luke Voit(.246) had a higher average than Matt Carpenter(.238)

…we obtained Dexter Fowler…seemingly.. to have a good OB% as a lead off man…Fowler trailed Pham, Carpenter, J. Martinez, Wong and Greg Garcia(in that order)  in OB% this year

…the Cards had 6 players with over 100 strikeouts…ugh..the experts claim that’s the “modern game” the Astros had just TWO players with over 100 strikeouts…maybe the ol’ school still does work.

Cards have the #19 pick of this years draft…seemingly all the “future stars” are gone after about 5 or 8 picks.. but the Cards have managed in the past to find quality…maybe not HIGH, HIGH quality players but players who often become starters… later in the draft

Shuffling the high school  post-season football system…

MSHSAA has devised a very good system for ranking the teams in the first 9 weeks of the season…it has may parameters…wins, size of school of opponents,  record of opponents, # of pts that you win by in a game (max 14 pts that matter)and maybe a few more that I’m forgetting….all 8 teams in a district are ranked and all 8 advance to the district tournament ..which actually IS the 1st round of state..those 1st round games used the seeding of the point system…so..#1 plays #8, 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6, 4 v 5….3 of those games are generally huge blowouts…I’d like to propose….keep the ranking system for the first 9 games…but…only advance the top 4 teams to the STATE tournament…let #5 play #6 and #7 vs #8 in the 10th week but it isn’t included in the state tournament…WHY?  1) How many teams seeded # 5,6,7,8  ever win state …or even district? 2) Save a week on this schedule that begins too early  when it is dangerously hot….this year Aug 19th   3) let those weaker teams play a competitive game in the last week…their season as already been sooooooo long why beat them down & embarrass them once again with another trouncing? Who gets hurt by admitting that the bottom 4 teams of a district aren’t going to have a chance to win STATE….really?….is that news?

Shuffling around the league…

…the top 5 teams in the draft are 1) Detroit Tigers  2) SF Giants    3) Phil  Phillies  4) CWS  5) Cincy

…will the Pirates deal Andrew McCutheon?

…due the financial albatross around his salary, Stanton could be dealt…..I really think that the Cards could get him for a) assuming his salary  b) a regular OF and a couple prospects

….I look for Cincy to fire their manager…he was wonderful for handling young players prior to their prime…now they need a sterner task-master to demand consistency

…Terry Francona is a really good manager …he has the world champion Indians in the hunt again…as you recall..we passed on him with our last managerial opening

…time for me to shuffle on outta here….

 

 

Fat Lady Sings by Bob Ryan

The phrase, “it ain’t over until the Fat Lady sings” meant originally “Nothing is irreversible until the final act is played out”.  Now…it’s come to mean that the event, game, whatever is completely finished.The derivation of this expression ..as best as I can determine…. Originates from Richard Wagner’s  opera–Gotterdammerung, the last of the very long 4 opera Ring Cycle(lasted 14 hours)..one of the characters Brunnhilde(usually portrayed as a “good sized” lady… sings a 10 minute solo to end the opera..sooo…when she finally sang…it was over. The Fat Lady is singing now for the Cardinals as their Division & Wild Card hopes…as remote as they seemed to many fans…have evaporated… who else is she singing as we move into October

…the Fat Lady is definitely singing on the ol’ fashioned way of NCAA sports….the lid has been blown off…we’re just at the tip of the iceberg with Rick Pitino…it’s gone on for years according to many former players…only the money has increased…don’t be surprised if Kentucky, Kansas, N. Carolina and maybe even Duke get pulled into this spider web of deceit..football isn’t far behind…some immediate results will be the dissolving of AAU basketball which has become loaded with $$$ for some teams, players and coaches…7 on 7 football camps for “special” players has probably seen its last days…I haven’t had enough time to fully work out my basic idea of future NCAA competition …but.. I’ll get it a try…. overall, my idea is to have a budget set by your conference for each team & each sport…pay the entertainers …like you’d bring in a rock band…these players are entertainers… DON’T require that they are a student at your school….we’ve made a huge sham of these pretend students for years on college campuses  …pay them an agreed fee to represent the school …as you would an entertainer — even with healthy salaries to these entertainers, I believe it’ll be cheaper for the schools…no more jock dorms, no more special kitchens, no need for the dozens of special educations “advisors”, medical care, tutors, plane rides, cars, or money on the side.  The school could return to its basic function…educating young people to become good citizens….let the entertainers play until they are 21 years old(max)…then they either turn pro ..if they haven’t already done so…or their entertaining career ends.  This idea is too radical to be accepted now…but that’s the road we’re turning on now…. watch…these athletes will start getting paid by the schools in the upcoming years. It’ll start small… then increase little by little until its obvious that these athletes are only entertainers…not students.  As it is now…the Div II and Div III players are the only true college athletes in most cases. Ur thoughts?

….prior to skipping past the Cards…some comments on the final days/weeks….it seemed so fitting that the winning run in the WC elimination game in the 11th inning was set up….at least in part…by a throwing error by the Cards…couple things to touch on….defense has plagued the Birds all season and cost them countless games….another…Bowman was out there for his 75th game of the season…he was terrific through mid-June….we’ve mentioned it several times about Manifesto’s over use of the bullpen….but…what seems to ironical to me is his extreme… probably excessive… concern for the weariness of the field players…he sits them out often to “stay fresh”…Carp leads the team with 145 games played then comes Molina @ 136 games.. they play 162 games a season..the bullpen gets a totally different touch from Manifesto  than the everyday players…of the top 10 relief hurlers in SAVES…only one has pitched in more than 70 games (Corey Knebel-Mil)…watch him next year …he’ll fade after June 1….the pitching arm can’t be overused that often and still perform at  a high level

…the fat lady is singing for the SEC according to Paul Finebaum (host of the SEC football show on the SEC network.  Several of the top SEC football programs have declined as some of the top coaches of SEC schools  have departed.  Finebaum claims only Nick Saban reigns as a top level coach in the conference that has lost 3 of the top 10 college coaches since 2000–Steve Spurrier & Urban Meyer (Florida) &  LSU lost Les Miles…who btw…had a better winning percentage @ LSU than Nick Saban! Two coaches who left after 2015 were Gary Pinkel …won 2 consecutive SEC east crowns…and Mark Reicht (Georgia-145-51).  Other SEC coaches who have departed..either being fired or “moving on”….Phillip Fullmer who was 152-52 @ Tennessee departed after 2008 season. Houston McNutt departed from Arkansas after 2007 (75-48)…Some…maybe many …attribute this defection… or firings…as the Nick Saban syndrome…since Saban took over the reign of Bama in 2007…NOT ONE SEC coach …past or present..has a winning record against him. Finebaum’s thoughts are, “It’s time to tell the truth down here. The SEC won six straight national championships and owned college football but it doesn’t anymore,” Finebaum said. “I think a lot of the coaching hires have been very questionable.”

…one has to wonder if the Fat Lady is singing on the harmony of the Cards Clubhouse…in recent weeks, I don’t hear our two most seasoned veterans (Yadi & Carp) being quoted about the key plays, impact of game and stuff like that any longer after game…I hear a 28 year old rookie, Tommy Pham doing the talking. In fact, I haven’t heard a peep from Yadi since his 1 day campout in the bullpen….. wonder if that friction  between he & Manifesto  is fully healed?

….as the Fat Lady sings on the end of the baseball season…my vote for NL Manager of the Year is Milwaukee’s Greg Counsel….did anyone….I mean anyone.. think that the Brewers would go from 73 wins to 85 in one season? I sure didn’t…he deserves the kudos. Meanwhile the Fat Lady sings on the demise of the Toronto Blue Jays…this year the Jays were 75-86…tied with Baltimore for last place in the AL East…just 1 year ago the Jays were a wild card team with 89 wins…wow that’s a quicker drop than a mountain climber wearing the wrong shoes 

…I know…the Fat Lady sang a long time ago about the Rams….but….on Sunday I was flipping around stations and lo & behold…the Rams were competing against the Cowboys…I didn’t want to do it…but I was torn…it was a good game…how could I watch it?…they looked like a different team…my sports side won!….no turnovers, no jumping off-sides, no hot-dogging, ran & passed the ball, ran the clock down at the end of the game…..who didn’t drop the ball …even Tavon Austin  dove to the ground before he was pushed OOB in the waning minutes, Jared Goof had become Jared Goff ..he had protection, stood tall and hit the receivers in stride..they played like a good team…was I surprised or what? …I actually enjoyed the game as Rammies beat the Boys in Dallas…even my wife ridiculed me about watching the game…but …old habits do die hard 

….clearly when the Fat Lady sings for a division champion, that team has pitching but….you must have hitting also….the Washington Nationals were the only team in last Friday’s game to have FOUR consecutive .300 hitters in their lineup..they have pitching  AND hitting.

….while we’re on the  Washington Nationals  ….Dusty Baker made his 1st MLB appearance as a 19 year old in 1968…he played 19 years, has managed 23 years for 4 different teams (Giants, Cubs, Reds & now Nats) ..he’s never won a world series but he has led all four teams to the playoffs.. currently… he’s a 68 year old manager…the fat lady could be singing for the end of his career if the Nats “go all the way”

….as the Fat Lady sings on the Cards ….one small aspect…that really slows the game down…is the many challenges by the Managers….with a distinct advantage over the umpires who call a play with their eyes in real-time while the MGR has the video slo-motion man to determine if  they should make an appeal…the Cards have made 164 challenges this year and had 82 overturned.. that’s ..50% total..considering we’re all waiting at home as Manifesto stands on the top step waiting for his “video man” to recommend to him about the appeal and the Cardinals only appeal when they think they’ll win and overturn the call…50%  seems to me like a very low percentage …clearly I’m not a proponent of the system…I’d like the Manager to have 15 seconds to make his appeal…make him use his own eyes like the umpires….I assume mistakes will be made….every batter makes mistakes (swinging at bad pitches, fouling off pitches) and every pitcher makes mistakes (grooving pitches or throwing “balls” instead of strikes)….so why should we think that the umpires will be perfect?

…has the Fat Lady already sang at St Louis U?…amidst the allegations of sexual assault on the SLU campus involving 4 students…some alleged to be basketball players…Coach Travis Ford has blocked off vision of any of his workouts thus far…with the pre-season excitement about the upcoming SLU season percolating…this rumor cloud douses a lot of energy about a successful “turnaround” 

…the Fat Lady isn’t singing…but warming up her voice…as Mizzou kicks off WR Dimetrios Mason from the roster.  Since last year, Mizzou WR corp as been depleted…and Mizzou is a passing team!  Keon Dilosa was kicked off for domestic assault. DeSean Blair left for Valdosta State…that hurts…Valdosta State –where is that?…2 HS recruits never qualified academically.. O’Shea Clark was removed prior to 1st pre-season practice..DeRon Davis failed to qualify academically… recruiting means more than signing players…it means signing good football players who will get on .. and stay on ..the football field for their entire career….the Mizzou staff & head coach bear responsibility for the judgments on these former players.

…the Fat Lady didn’t really know when to sing in the Hazelwood Central-Pattonville football game on Saturday..on the final play of regulation in the 27—27 game, a Hail Mary pass was launched by the Pattonville QB.. it fell incomplete but there were holding penalties on BOTH teams..so an additional play was run with no time on the clock. Another Hail Mary from Pattonville..this one was intercepted by Dallas Craddieth (Haz Cen)…he raced down the sidelines..was knocked out of bounds in mid-field but another penalty flag was thrown for him being hit out of bounds! Initially, the officials ruled that the game was going into Overtime…Hazelwood Cen Coach Brett Chojnacki lobbied the officials crew about why his team didn’t receive an untimed down since a there was a penalty on the last play but his appeal was denied. On the 1st play of the OT, Pattoville’s pass on was again intercepted by Craddieth..2 interceptions on 2 plays! Four plays later Haz Central scored to win the game in OT 33-27

…while we’re at it….the origination of the “Hail Mary” pass comes from a Boston –Miami football game on Nov 23, 1984..Miami was defending national champion & ranked #12 at the time….Boston  College was ranked #10….on the final play of the game with Miami holding a 45-41 lead and winds blowing  in his face at 30 mph…Flutie called for a play that all his receives to go deep from Miami’s 48 yard line….the Miami secondary didn’t think that the diminutive Flutie could throw it over their heads (about 60 yards)…well…you know the ending…he did…and Boston College won 47-45…it became a national “moment”…even Saturday Night live had a skit on it…shortly after the game. Flutie was quoted as saying, “ Without the Hail Mary pass I think I could have been very easily forgotten. We would have gone to the same bowl game, the Heisman voting was already in, and the direction [of his career], everything would have been the same, except that pass put this label on me as ‘It’s never over ’til it’s over’ guy”. Watch it for yourselves ….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-_uYyVlxrk

…I watched…on a whim…a good part of the Oklahoma State-Texas Tech game on Saturday…very entertaining, fast paced game with all facets of the game – offense, defense, special teams playing a role in the game…btw  the fat lady has been singing about the past, futile fortunes of Oklahoma State football…it was often the weak sister of the Big 8 from the 40’s through 2000 with an occasional year or three of success… Coach Mike Gundy has really “turned it around” and established a strong football program. A graduate of OSU himself, he’s been head coach since 2004, his record is 108-51 and he’s taken his team  to 11 straight bowl games. Mizzou was 29-23 against OSU in their series.

…well…the Fat Lady is singing for me now…..have a good week. Put YOUR thoughts…agree, disagree..some of each…doesn’t matter…put them on the Prepcasts site just below this article