Boos, Blues and Baseball by Bob Ryan

Boos…NFL Draft-Day 1

…in an event that many of us anticipated anxiously for many years…its gone the way of Columbus Day…remember that holiday on Oct 9?….and… I couldn’t stand to watch Roger Dumbnall smiling… with his painted-on smile.. 32 long times on day 1….ugh..but … there were still some interesting developments … maybe its easier when you’re not “involved “with the hopes of 1 team to see a bigger picture? I loved this…as did most StL fansI suppose … Roger was booed each and every  time he approached the podium..ya gotta love those Philly fans.. from the Lou we say “TU” & Roger we wish you many more!

…Bears traded up just one spot (sacrificing a 3rd & 4th  round picks this year + a 3rd rounder next year) to draft QB Mitchell Trubisky(N.Car) who has all of 13 collegiate starts on his resume…OK…not too strange…except in the off season these same Bears signed QB Mike Glennon to a 3 year, $45m contract with $18.5m guaranteed…btw…the next QB drafted was at #10 (Chiefs drafting Patrick Mahomes of Tx Tech)..doesn’t seem smart to me…

….I’ve watched RB Leonard Fournette (LSU)-drafted #4 Jaguars on several occasions in SEC games…I’m a skeptic that he’ll be a star in the NFL…somehow…I’ve never seen him have a big game against high quality teams…his “big” games come against the weak sisters of the league….he’s big, strong & fast but can he make the quick cuts, avoid the heavy contact (he’s a big body) required in NFL..Bob Shannon who I coached under for a few years indicated to me that the big, tall running backs don’t’ usually succeed at the higher levels..check it out.. many of the best running backs currently in NFL…shorter bodies with very strong legs..Coach Shannon…no one called him “Bob” has forgotten way more than I ever knew…

….only 2 players (Corey Davis, WR-W.Mich & Haason Reddick-Temple) were drafted from outside the major 5 conferences…from the 1st round…. Here’s the break down..

#of players-Team–# of draft pick(s):

4-Alabama #16, 17, 19, 31 (no surprise that Bama had the most gifted players)

3-LSU-#4, 6, 27 & Ohio St #11, 15, 24

2-Stanford-#3 & 8; Clemson #7 & 12; Michigan-#25 & 28, Wisconsin #30 & 32

1 player from each of the following Tx A&M-#1, N Carolina-#2, W.Mich-#5, Washington-#9;

Tx Tech-#10; Temple-#13, Tennessee-#14, USC-#18, Utah-#20, Florida-#21, Missouri-#22,

Mississippi-#23, UCLA-#26, Miami-#29

…most interesting pick to me Garrett Bolles (OT-Utah)…he’s 25 years old….”kicked out” of his house as a kid—vandalizing, drugging, etc…once he actually served time for vandalizing an opponent’s field….Greg & Emily Freeman saved his life..Greg had been his lacrosse coach in HS…the Boles had some simple, direct and life-changing rules…Ditch the old friends, get a job, go to church and donate to that church…long story short….he changed his life style…got a regular job… went on a Morman church mission, got up early each day, prayed frequently, knocked on doors (In Mormon method) and he changed..he attended Snow College for 2 years—was dominant and then was recruited by Utah…he’s already a success story in my book…I hope he becomes a star at Denver.

…we knew from the SEC that Florida was so-so on offense but good on defense….I guess so—check this out…LB Jarrad Davis was the #21 overall pick; ¾ of their starting secondary was drafted in the 2nd round!..Marcus Maye-Safety @#39, Quincy Wilson-Corner @ #46, corner “Teez” Tabor @#53…4 of the top 53 players in the draft from the Florida defense……oh…and at #76 it was LB Alex Anzalone…..no wonder no one could pass effectively against the Gators

 

Blues…round 2 playoffs…

gm 1….clearly were outplayed in 1st period…played much better in last 2 periods…but it’s very tough to come back from 2 goal deficit to win…yea…you can tie it up…but these playoff teams are all good…some real long comebacks of 3-4 goals are few and far between.. Allen’s 1st major goof of the post-season cost the winning goal.

Gm 2…for the first 5 minutes the Blues were “all over it”…then their dominance slipped away.. the Preds, from my eyes, seem quicker getting to the puck and  better passers as the Blues “clear it out” often against them…the 5 min major opened the door for the Blues and they tied the game up…I notice that much of their success has been shots down the middle from about 15-20 feet inside the blue line….the Preds Pekka Rinne doesn’t surrender many rebounds so you better “nail” that 1st shot..like most teams the Blues are struggling with getting the puck thru center ice against the Nashville club….I noticed the Blues doing a “give & go” maneuver on occasion in an effort to cross the blue line with the puck…maybe the next approach will be a “pick & roll …let Reaves set the pick!

 

Baseball…..Cardinals weekly snapshot…

…the 6-5 –11 inn loss in gm 1 of Toronto series was a microcosm of the early 2017 season… 4 errors…wild throw to 1B after that batter had been walked….a player (Martinez) out of position makes a misplay at 1B costing the Cards a run…why do we train guys in the minors at a position and the  tinker with them in the majors…can’t we “look ahead” and anticipate these options while these players are developing in the minors?..and then Coughlin leaps over Molina to score the winning run….I’ve never, ever seen that…what an athletic play!

…the DH sweep two days later…Grichuk..off the bench blasts a 2 run HR to tie the game with 2 outs in the 9th…let’s just accept…he’s going to hit 20+ HR, hit .230-.245, run fast, misjudge a fly or two, strike out frequently—usually on low-outside breaking balls…if that isn’t what the Cards can accept…then make a move…he is the most vulnable to being trades (Fowler & Piscotty are locked into long term deals) and with Adolis Garcia ready to knock on the big league doors with his high potential..someone will have to go…Grichuk seems like the logical one to me…. Adam Wainwright was lauded for his performance… really?…if it was anyone else…his 6 1/3 inn, 9 hits, 4 runs, 4 strikeouts, 105 pitches ..it would certainly not be praised…can we forget the name and just analyze…objectively..the performance?…I’ve admired him too…he has been super…but the key words are “has been”..Kolton Wong might drive you crazy with some of his fielding & running…but he often seems to be involved in middle of many of the key offensive innings….oh…let’s not kid ourselves….this Toronto team isn’t very good—they had 4 guys in the starting lineup in game 1 batting under .200, have the worst record in baseball at 6-16, their closer is really struggling (PC for being bad)…. but that being said…in our division (where we play the most games)..there are really only two good teams…the Cubs & Cards

….since Lyons, Garcia and Socolovich are out of options….that means that they can’t send them back to the minors without the chance of someone else claiming them..the Cards may be showcasing Garcia for a trade; Lyons is a puzzle—he was decent last year for several months but doesn’t fit in this year even though Kevin Siegrest is showing real clear signs of over use and Socolovich…where DOES he fit in?  Specialist? Mop up? 6th inning? Comedian in locker room?   I don’t think ANYONE knows his role

…btw…Bowman & Cecil each  have 13 appearances in the first 23 games…at that rate he’ll have 91 appearances in 2017…come on Manifesto…you aren’t in the casino…don’t just play the “hot” machine….oh…and Cards have 21 errors in 23 games….OMG!

…hey…how about making Rosenthal & Oh co-closers…alternate each opportunity…neither seems to be able to go more than 2 day consecutively anyway

…remember the old baseball adage….u aren’t a real MLB hitter until u’ve had 1000 AB…early success…even through 200-300-400-500 AB doesn’t indicate a long, successful career.. Piscotty, Grichuk & Wong have all just passed this 1000 plate appearances barrier… now… they should be close to what “they’ll be” in their career

 

Odds & Ends….

…it hasn’t taken too long for the cream to come to the top…Cubs, Nats, Cleveland, Baltimore are already in 1st place in their divisions..gee it took 20 games!

…Joe Kelly is back in MLB with BoSox! While Dan McLaughlin often makes comments about Boston having to pay the highest minor league salary in history to Allen Craig(he ignores the fact the Cards signed him to that deal)…well…Lackey is gone to our biggest competitor…. nothing in return… and now Kelly is serving Boston ..albeit after a minor league hiatus…in a very small sampling this year…Kelly is 2-0, 1.50 era, 12 IP, 7 H, bat avg against him 1.71 & whip 1.09…all the Cards haven’t played out yet…pardon the pun!

…UMSL Softball faced some tough hurdles this year…their star pitcher graduated after being the ace for 4 years and the Head Coach moved on to a D-1 school….nevertheless, the Tritons are 35-13, 2nd place in the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC)..congrats to Head Coach Amanda Scott and her team for another strong season.

….Bryce Harper is really putting on a show…as I write this he’s hitting .418, 8 HR, 25 RBI, OBP .535, SLG .823 in just 25 games…WOW!!! Those are Little League hitting numbers

…the most unexciting early round playoff games are found in the NBA…the talented teams seem to roll over easily the pretenders….sometimes the semifinals are decent and the championship series is usually entertaining but up to then….forget it…

…congrats to the Summit Falcons Baseball team(19-4)…ranked #1 in last local  HS baseball poll..they began the season by winning the very tough Midwest Classic and currently are in 1st place in their conference with a 9-2 league mark under Head Coach Ken Droege

…has Brandon Phillips found the fountain of youth drink in Atlanta?  The 35 year old is sprinting off to a brilliant start to 2017–.352, OPS-.894…he was born in Stone Mountain GA..a suburb of Atlanta…. so maybe it’s the home town cooking?…or maybe like distance runners.. he’s sprinting hard since he’s close to the finish line

…Jason Heyward seems to have bounced back in 2017…he’s @ .282, 3HR, 16 rbis as May 1 approaches…that average is higher than Fowler, Grichuk or Piscotty at this point!

 

BTW…this title reminds me of what Harry Caray once said about talking with the fans, “Ya just gotta talk, “Booze, Baseball, Broads & BS” & they’ll like you!! Don’t Boo me…..I’m done!

Happy Days by Bob Ryan

 This weekend was the ol’ Happy Days of Milwaukee all over again…I was looking for Richie Cunningham, Fonzie, Al Delvecchio, Mom & Pop Cunningham and the entire crew again ..things always worked out for them … somehow… despite the dire circumstances of the early minutes of the show…it all fell in line and had a “happy ending….so…as the Cards arrived in Milwaukee…happy to escape Busch III….they were in the same dire straits…weak fielding, inconsistent starting pitching, who really was the closer?, spotty hitting, yada-yada-yada..but get to Milwaukee…the ball flies out of there like planes about as often as planes take off in an airport, the Brewers pitching staff can’t find low ERA’s anyplace, Mil has speedy players but they can’t hit to get on base….after game 1…the Cards controlled the series and it was “Happy Days” all over again .

 

But prior to our Happy Days Series in Milwaukke, I heard and read all kinds of “fans” yelling for Matheny’s scalp….we haven’t played 20 games yet but those fans were demanding an immediate victim for all the losses….you would have sworn that Ted Drewes had run out of ice cream…or that HWY 270 was now a toll road….or that toasted ravs were now forbidden on the Hill with all the crabbing, complaining and calls for “heads”. As all of you know who’ve been reading my blogs…I’m not exactly the biggest Manifesto supporter.. putting it mildly…but come on….St Louis fans are spoiled….real spoiled…our Cards have been on a tremendous run this entire millennium….ya know the other teams players are professionals also…getting paid the same high salaries as our local heroes..they are paid to win too! The Cardinals are not barnstorming across America playing the local town heroes…the opponents are as professional as our local heroes they are expected to perform against the Cardinals too J . Take a gander at some of these hard facts…the Cards have been in the playoffs 5 of the last 6 years, 6 of the last 8, 9x divisional champs in the 2000’s and 12x in playoffs in the 2000’s…must they do it EVERY year?  And….there’s a good chance that they WILL end up in the playoffs this year…but time will tell.  Take a wider look at the entire MLB in playoffs since the start of the year 2000.. The most…#1 in playoff appearances  in this millennium are the New York Yankees—13x…then comes our Cards at 12x…Cards were only in 16 post seasons during all the 1900….now for much of that time… the World Series was the only post-season but here’s the rankings of the entire MLB in post season appearances—2000 onward

13x-NY Yankees

12x-St Louis Cardinals

9x-Atlanta  Braves

8x-LA Dodgers (no world series Championship since 1988), Boston Red Sox(3world series crowns), Oakland A’s

7x-LA Angels , SF Giants

6x-Minnesota  Twins

5x-Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia  Phillies, Texas Rangers

4x- AZ D-Backs, Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros , NY  Mets, Cleveland Indians

3x-Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, Cincy Reds, Chicago White Sox, Wash Nationals

2x-Kansas City,  Colorado Rockies, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Bluejays

1x-Florida  Marlins  (only in playoffs twice in entire history-won the world series both times!

 …All 30 Teams have competed in at least one Post Season from 2000 onward..

Biggest surprises to me…Toronto only twice, Phillies five times—WOW—would have never guessed that many, no wonder no one shows up in Florida for baseball-only one playoff appearance  J Oakland an incredible eight times…that leads me to my next topic…Oakland’s GM—Billy Beane

….”Billy Ball” is the technique developed and mastered by Billy Beane….he is able to sign players that produce in certain areas (probably not all areas) and form an all-around team without signing any costly free agents…it is a extremely difficult task to meld together a team like this and still win….but he has..during his time @ Oakland, his teams are 1552-1362 (.533) over the last 18 years (4th best in AL & 6th best in entire MLB during that time). The A’s have won AL West titles in 2000, 2002-03,  2006, 2012-13 and also have notched 2 Wild card spots in 2001 and 2014. His teams have been in 8 post seasons (4th in MLB behind NYY, Cards and Atlanta) and same amount as the LA Dodgers and Boston Red Sox (2 teams that spend huge amounts)

 

It wasn’t Milwaukee…but it was again northern mid-America…..Minnesota… and it was Happy Days for the Blues as they clinched the 1st series against the Wild.  Some random thoughts…

…The Wild scored only 4 goals even strength throughout the entire series…the Blues had limited chances but capitalize

…the late season signing of  Vladimir Sobotka paid off immediate dividends as he cashed in  a goal & assisted on the game winner in game 5 of the Wild Series

….it seems like are seeing the emergence to another level for our 2ne line of defensemen -Parayko & Edmundson- they’ve elevated their offensive game …each scored a goal and Parayko launched 17 shots in the series while Edmundson was a +6 for the series…putting him in the top six NHL players for the first round

…meanwhile, the Wild pulverized Jake Allen with 182 shots in the series with only 8 shots ending behind him in the net.

…we often kick around the idea that the Blues have struggled in the playoffs…and justifiably so…how about the Wild?  Minnesota won a franchise high 49 regular season games this season only to be bounced in round 1. They’ve only made it as far as the conference finals ONCE—way back in 2002-03. It sounds like we’re both singing the same tune J

 

What happened to “old” style baseball?

….Kolton Wong hits a round tripper…on his next plate appearance he attempts to bunt …oK….it is good to keep the defense off-balance.. but…come on…certain nights you see the ball better than other nights…if you hit a dinger on one AB, you’re seeing it well…at least try hitting the ball again the next time up…

…I recall when pitchers were never removed from a game if they had a no-hitter going…in a recent trend….Wei-Yin Chen was removed after 7 innings of no-hit baseball…his pitch count was all the way up to 100…pardon my sarcasm..Brad Ziegler kept the no-no alive in the 8th but Kyle Barraclough surrendered a hit in the 9th…come on…give the guy a chance to get his 1 chance…probably only chance… of special glory in the MLB…I was surprised to find that this has happened with some frequency in the last year..Miami pulled Adam Conley last year after 7 2/3 innings (116 pitches)…last year Rich Hill (Dodgers) was removed from a perfect 7 inning game..and there are more in earlier years…reason always given—protect their arm from excessive use..since when is 100 pitches the magic mark for pitchers who are bigger, stronger, better conditioned athletes than pitchers from previous eras who threw commonly 120-130 pitches? I say let them stay in the game….the euphoria of the thrill of a no-no will negate the “possible” break down…or …heaven forbid…give him 1 or 2 extra days of rest prior to the next start

…it’s not baseball …but it is old style…Danny Amendola, who had signed a 2  year $8.1 deal in 2016…was injured and ineffective (only 23 receptions last year)…so he agreed to play for “only” $1.6million to stay on the Pats…don’t tell me that winning isn’t important to him!

 

 

Snapshot of Cardinal week…

….Dead man Walking these days is Johnny Peralta—but the Cardinal Medical Staff does earn the Corporal Klinger Award for finding a way “out of action” for Johnny….”upper respiratory issue”!!…I could have accepted him having been a hernia rupture after carrying around that extra “n” all his life…but an “upper respiratory issue”….come on… I couldn’t have missed even one day of grade school for a “cold”…oops…I mean, “upper respiratory issue”….Mom wouldn’t buy it….but the Cards did…and willingly…what Johnny is really suffering from is the date on his birth certificate J

….2-1 three times?  WOW!  Pittsburgh bats were ice-cold…not sure if they’ll ever warm up this year…their lineup strikes about as much fear as a 5 year child dressed as a ghost on Halloweeen…StL fans had to be encouraged by Lynn, Leak, & Wacha’s performances but overlooked is the shabby defense..especially In game 2, 9th inning…. when 2 errors were called infield singles and Oh was late covering 1B on a ball hit to first-baseman

…Diaz seems to only see fastballs out of the zone…he’s getting doused with breaking balls and off speed pitches of all sorts

…so Mo ends the OF Matt Adams experiment publicly…probably justified…but seems far out of character for the GM to go public in such a manner…is MO feeling the heat mentioned above? So….where does this put Adams…Carp hasn’t been moved to 3B (yet)…and Carp & Adams are both Left handed hitters

…If the Cards minor league teams are so deep…and deep in pitching …what are we doing with Jonathan Broxton?…a mop up guy being paid just to finish games or innings …not win games….while cashing in $3,750,000

…while we did “beat up” the Brewers, the Cards still had too way too many mistakes on bases and in the field…some have told me that they really have a hard time enjoying the Cardinal games when they play as they’ve been doing in the first 3 weeks

…Yadi played in 147 games in 2016..thus he missed 15 games… Through 19 games of 2017, Yadi has played in 16 games….already missing 3 games..at this rate and without injury, he’ll miss 24 games in 2017…did the emotional WBC take a toll on Yadi…and several other players …in 2017?

 

Happy Days for you…you’re at the end…

Real Season – What Do You Expect by Bob Ryan

The Real Season began this week in the NHL….what are YOUR real expectations of the Blues— let’s try to think of it as must of us do…with our hearts, mind and eyes.

….With our hearts ….of course we all have high hopes…the team has played much better with Yeo as coach and actually have improved since the departure of Shattenkirk….I’m not saying that he was playing poorly…but … the Blues younger defensemen..Edmundson & Parayko ..have stepped up, Allen has come back to a high level of play after a sluggish start of the year…our heart says, “Lets Go Blues!”

…our mind tells us a couple different things must be considered…realistically….hopes have to be measured by the play of the team throughout the course of  the entire season…the Blues were a 3rd place team in their division…not really close to 2nd place team or the 4th place team…a solid 3rd place team….should we hope…maybe expect… to make it into round two?…or is making the playoffs as a 3rd place team about what we expected?  Let’s look at it statistically….this is only the 4th year of this particular playoff alignment…in this short 3 year history of this new style of playoffs ..the performance of the 3rd place teams across the league may surprise you….Six (6) of the 12(half of teams)3rd place teams over this time span lost in the 1st round…. 1 team won just 1 series…2 teams won two series; 1 team (San Jose 15-16) won 3 series & lost in finals and ….Here ya go Blues fans…two of the teams won the Stanley Cup after finishing in 3rd place in their division (13-14 LA Kings & 14-15 Chicago Blackhawks)…I guess as fans we can notice as Blues fans that both of these teams came out of the Western Conference….or is that just another straw to grab as a die-hard fan….so…yes …it can be done…to win the Cup

…. Then let’s look at it with our eyes…Jake Allen stole game 1 for the Blues in Minnesota pure & simple…he was sensational…the Wild really controlled the play but could not get it behind Allen…How about the instant pay-back by Sobotka…he scored a goal in game 1 that forced the OT…  In game 2, most would probably say that …again..the Wild had the better of the offensive play….the last goal in the waning minutes of the game stunned the entire, vivacious crowd…so our eyes have seen a 2 game lead…but…the Blues have demonstrated an outstanding defense but a only an opportunistic offense.. without much continual pressure… to this point.

 

Cardinal snapshots of the week…

…Mike Leake’s last 2 starting performance have been terrific…he looks like a right handed, non-grouchy 1985 John Tudor  who was 21-8, 1.93 era, 10 Shutouts (WOW),275 inn, whip .938 

… Trevor Roshenthal relief stint in Washington made it look like that he was “all the way back” and was ready to regain his closer spot…especially since Oh’s fast ball is off 3mph & hitters have been much more successful against him….you may recall that late last year…the final 6 weeks of the season, Oh’s numbers sagged significantly so I had concerns about him 

…Brett Cecil not only didn’t get anyone out in his 1 inning appearance in Washington but Yadi dropped 3 of his pitches…what’s going on that ball?….Yadier is as sure handed as anyone..1st one of Cecil’s pitches sticks to a catcher’s chest protector…then Yadi can’t hold onto them…sounds fishy..oops sticky… to me…btw…Cecil was 1-7 last year for Toronto with a 3.93 ERA…now I understand that if a relief pitcher has a poor outing that it is extremely tough to lower the ERA but…..it’s the same for all relievers

…I don’t doubt that defense was emphasized in spring training…but it is the same ol’ veteran players doing about the same as last year in the field..can the old dogs learn new tricks?

…Diaz really doesn’t cover much ground going to his left..why not have him “cheat” more to towards 2B to help negate his lack of range in that direction?

…Kevin Siegrest…who’s pitched in 148 games in the last 2 years….has lost 3mph in is fastball..same as Oh..?… thus far this season….let’s hope the high number of appearances isn’t taking a toll

…on the other side of the mound, Matt Bowman hasn’t permitted a run in 5 appearances…is he the new Seth Maness?

…with Carp, Fowler & Wong all under.200 and no one over .300…it’s tough to generate offense as of Thursday

 

Odds & ends….

So….St Louis is suing the NFL….is this an attempt to get a wad of cash to pay for the new MLS stadium? ….who knows…..You know Stan will have the best lawyers that money can buy to defend his decision. As a St. Louisan, I realize that Stan had an escape clause..that I’ve been told was seen for the 1st time by the Rams on the formal signing day..it was a complete shock to them..but the press, owner, city officals were all there…so…they signed it…. But… all the subterfuge by the Rams to lead the city…and fans…to think that there really WAS a chance to keep the team in town is the primary point in issue here. I wonder why the suit wasn’t filed shortly after the Rams announced their plans to leave for LA..maybe we could have slowed down the move ..maybe not…but I’d rather go down fighting(filing the suit) while the team is still here

….Generally, some of the best hitters in the league are first-baseman…it’s been that way a long time….and still is…but thus far there has been an abundant number of disappointments in the first two weeks of the season…check out some of these anemic averages for well-known first-basemen across the league..Miguel Cabrera-.182, Brandon Belt-.191, Joe Maurer-.188, Albert Pujols-.205, Joey Votto-.217, Carlos Santana-.186, Eric Hosmer-.179, Mike Napoli-.158, Edwin Encarncion-.194…that’s quite a list….I suspect most of them will start moving their mark upwards soon but for some…but maybe Fr. Time is touching some on the shoulder ..maybe some will heat up as the temp does.. …James Laurinaitis announced his retirement from the NFL… when the Rams drafted him in 2008, his college credentials were very impressive, 2x-Jack Lambert Trophy winner, 3x-1st team All-Big 10, Butkus Award Winner, Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner, Big 10 Def Player of the Year …in 7 years he started 112 games …how good is that?…well… In the 21 seasons the team was in St. Louis, only Isaac Bruce (179), Orlando Pace (154), Torry Holt (146), and Steven Jackson (119) started more games….notice he was the ONLY defense player….and he was the Middle LB! Laurinaitis led the team in tackles in each of his first four seasons, rarely missed a snap, and was voted team captain multiple times.  He was a good player…if he’d been on a good team…he may have been considered very good player or even a star.  I liked watching him play….even when other teams ran inside the tackles at him in his 6th & 7th years. I’m happy for him that he chose to end his career before a serious injury ….although his knees weres sending him signals….good Luck to James Laurinaities and Thx for the memories!

 

Easter Basket Gifts..some athletes and teams found some special gifts in their Easter Baskets….

…Yadier Molina found a Teflon chest protector to keep any pitches from sticking to his protector

…Roy Williams receives a congratulations tweet from President Trump 

…Cuonzo Martin gets a free minute so that he can pinch himself and make sure that his last 2-3  weeks aren’t a dream 

…Toronto Blue Jays receive a W in their basket since they’ve had so few thus far in the worst start of their franchise

…The Cardinals get an Easter Bunny so that they can hop away from the first 2 weeks of the season

…The Reds are receiving medication for their entire team in their basket..the extreme high heights of the Reds in the standings (1st place 7-3) has many of the players ill 

…Mike Matheny is receiving a book of matches …so he can burn all of his “new” spring training programs on improving the defense in 2017

….Lou Brock is receiving a ton of prayers as he fights a new opponent…cancer.

….All of you…get at TU in your basket for making it to the bottom!

 

Missing the Goal by Bob Ryan

This past week, the vote to build a new downtown stadium was rejected by the St Louis City citizens….now….I’m probably the only South Side kid that grew up that didn’t play soccer….being the oldest..my Mom thought it was:” too rough”….anyway…I’m listing that qualifier to some of these thoughts about the soccer stadium issues—

….considering that a good portion of the fans that would have attended the soccer games would have been county people….it seems a bit unfair to me to have the city citizens alone being asked to shoulder the burden of the cost ….now I know that it was indicated that some ….or much… of the money would come from sales of tickets….but …come on….if the city wasn’t paying something… probably the majority…..why would they even be voting on it?

… I’m hoping that someday …short of a merger…a region wide Sports Commission will be installed…it would handle sports related issues and it would include City, County and maybe even St. Charles County…it’s probably a “pie in the sky” hope but although it’s not quite as serious as a revolution, Ben Franklin said, “If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang”..I don’t mean that literally but as a region the Lou isn’t the dynamic area that it was 100 years ago…maybe even 50 years ago…. and votes like this only make Stan Kronke’s statement as he walked out the door, “St Louis isn’t a 3 sport town” seem accurate…ugh…it’s hard to say that he may have been right!

….regarding city/counties even paying for stadiums that provide income…the huge income.. almost exclusively …goes only to  the owners & players… .let them also be the entity that accepts the payment of the infrastructure to generate that gigantic income.  City governments gain some tax money but nothing like the owners…they  should assist is a mild manner…if at all.

…oh and one more thing….the next “drive, petition …or whatever to build something”…don’t hire Dave Peacock to lead the show….he’s 0 for 2 at this point J I’d put him right there with George Pickett in successful charges to success.

….somehow …somehow…I hope that St Louis gets another chance to procure an MLS team -even though it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever go to a game…how about 2 or 3 or 4 larger investors become part of the ownership group? They seem to need more “Daddy Big Bucks” to get over the hump…. where are the owners from down the street when you need them?   We really missed the goal here!

 

1st week of Cardinal baseball….

…..Johnny Peralta’s bat still seems slow to me….I don’t think that Jed Gyorko would be an effective every-day 3B….on this roster…solution is Adams 1B, Carp 3B when you want two left handed hitters in the lineup

…speaking of Carp…I wonder if he’s been moved to 1B due to his back….he doesn’t get nearly as many ground balls at 1B as 3B or 2B…I sense that his back is worse than we know

…Wainwright looks like a 5-6 inning pitcher to me at this stage of his career…there will be an exception every so often…but don’t expect it to happen too often…in this era….that’s fine.

….what a hellacious AB and trip around the bases for Stephen Piscotty huh? For those of you who didn’t see the game, he was hit on one elbow at the plate, hit on the other elbow sliding into 2B and then as he scored a throw from a field struck him in the head (helmet was on)

…Cards sign Stephen Piscotty to a 6 year deal….may have seemed premature to some….some considerations…last year played in 153 games (only Cardinal with more than 150); led team in RBI-85; led team in game winning RBI-10; led team in runs(86); led team in total bases-266; tied for team lead in SB-7; hit .363 with runners in scoring position-2nd in the National League, drove home 37 runs with 2 outs (best on team & 6th in league)…and for u stat guys…he had the 2nd best Wins Above Replacement (WAR) among NL Right fielders @ 2.8  (only behind Bryce Harper)….he isn’t flashy, demonstrative, probably never going to be the “star” of the team…but the Cards think that he’s Mr. Reliable…and we’ll tie you up for 6 years.

…so don’t go jumping off the Musial Bridge over the start of the season….look just 1 year ago at the records after 1 week..the Cards are OK….

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
CIN 5 1 .833 31 18 .730
CHC 5 1 .833 42 15 .868
SFG 5 2 .714 0.5 43 25 .730
WSN 3 1 .750 1.0 15 12 .601
PIT 4 2 .667 1.0 23 19 .587
LAD 4 3 .571 1.5 42 26 .706
STL 3 3 .500 2.0 38 28 .636
MIL 3 3 .500 2.0 21 29 .356
COL 3 3 .500 2.0 35 51 .334
NYM 2 3 .400 2.5 14 12 .570
PHI 2 4 .333 3.0 18 28 .308
SDP 2 4 .333 3.0 32 40 .399
MIA 1 3 .250 3.0 18 23 .390
ARI 2 5 .286 3.5 33 47 .344
ATL 0 5 .000 4.5 17 38 .187

 

The Cardinals…like all teams…must continue to “turn over” the roster….but I was really surprised when I looked at the roster for the start of the 2014 season…just 3 years ago…not ONE of these 5 OF on opening day 2014 are still with the team! The bullpen has dropped 5 of the guys ..which is not too surprising..but who was …is…K.Butler?  The starting rotation stll has 3 of the 5 in our starting staff… and 4 if you count the natural progression of Martinez from pen to starter. In the infield  only subs– Tony Cruz ,Mark Ellis, Pete Kozma & Daniel Descalso have left from the infield

2014 Opening Day MLB 25-Man Roster

Infield—                      Outfielders                        Starting Rotation                   Bullpen

C- Molina                 LF- Holliday                        Wainwright                               LHP-Choate

1b-Adams                 CF-Bourjos                          Lynn                                             RHP-Neshek

2b-Wong                   RF-Craig                               Kelly                                             RHP-Rosenthal

3b-Carpenter                   Jay                                  S.Miller                                       RHP-Maness

SS-Peralta                     S.Robinson                      Wacha                                         RHP-C.Martinez

IN-Descalso                                                              J.Garcia-DL                                LHP-Siegrest

IF-Kozma                                                                                                                           RHP-K.Butler

C-T.Cruz                                                                                                                              DL: J.Motte

DL-M.Ellis          

 

A quick Blues rush up the ice & other hockey stuff…

..why all the fuss about obtaining Sobotka?   He has won over 60% of his faceoffs…with their usual faceoff man –Stastny– out….the Blues are looking ahead to the playoffs when faceoffs are much more common and more important..

….top 5 Blues players in +/- to this  point..…..here ya go..

Jaden Schwartz +14, Robert Bortuzzo +11, Joel Edmundson +10,Magnus Paajarvi +9, Colton Parayko +7.. seems strange that there are 3 defenseman?

….Vladimir Tarasenko is in a 5 way tie for 5th place in the NHL for  even strength goals with 26…..much to my surprise…former Blue– TJ Oshie has 24 even strength goals…I remember him being a passer more than a scorer in the Lou

….Then….the NHL owners say….”the NHL players will not play in the Olympics…matter closed”.. right!….  I think it may change…while the owners have very legitimate points about missing 3 key weeks of hockey season….already some owners have said that they will release their players during that time….let this percolate a bit longer….there will be a concession or compromise of some sort to accommodate the Olympics..the entire sport really  missed the goal!

 

Establishing a new goal! 

The best basketball recruiter that Mizzou has ever had …ever!  Is Michael Porter Jr….it really does make sense that good players can woo other highly talented players to join them without any other incentive other than to be on a good…probably very good .. team….he seems to have one superstar and 2/3 possible players  in the top 30 ranked players ready to join Mizzou…WOW

 

Other MLB 1st week observations….

….like them or not…the Cubs defense is very good…even after a 2 error day…Schwarber is the only weak defensive player….we talk about their hitting…but their fielding is really superb

…on the other hand for the Cubs, other than the closer Wade Davis, the Cubs bullpen looks worse than last year to me….it’s their Achilles Heel…or Achilles Arm 

….seems like Cincy has made a concerted effort not only to draft good baseball prospects but to sign extremely talented athletes as indicated by two of their pitchers on Friday night.. Amir Garrett & Michael Lorenzen….the starting staff is still a bit thin but the progress in the pen is noticeable…last year Tony Cingrani was the closer…now he’s listed as #3 or #4 out of the pen..I don’t think that they are a playoff team…but they seem improved to me….and we’ll see a lot of them….the Cards host the Reds again for a 3 game set in the last days of April. The Reds  goal is .500 (which would be a huge improvement)

…can’t decide which is more surprising—SF Giants @ 1-5 or Arizona @ 5-1 after 6 games? The Giants team ERA of 5.98 (and that’s including Madison Bumgarners’ 3.00era in 15 of the Giants 49 innings!!) answered my question there…the D-Backs high  .322 team batting average has been the engine that has propelled this 1st week of wins…I don’t lk their closer, Fernando Rodney…I think he’ll be toast by July 1 and dumped from his role…but Zach Greineke has produced two strong games this week so Arizona is hoping that he’ll fulfill their hopes of a dominant starter in 2017.

…so Albert is 1 for 20 to start the season….ugh..he needs 170ish hits for 3000 hits….he may have a tough time making it this year…. last year he had 159 hits in 650 AB… in a “normal” year hitting .250 and getting 600 AB…he’ll get 150 hits… will it drag out anther year? He claims he’s 37 years old…I’m a non-believer of that stat….but he’ll keep playing until he hits the 3000 hit goal!!

 

That’s it for me….I hit my goal….getting you to the bottom.  Have a great week!!

 

 

 

 

 

April Fools by Bob Ryan

 It’s April 3….but why does all the “fooling” have to occur on April 1? …..so…..let’s spread it out….let’s make it the 1st MONDAY of April….at least for this year….so this is our April Fools this year J Now go ahead…you pick which of the statements below are April Fools Day statements and which are true … answers are at the bottom of article..no cheating

#1 Stan & Red are #1-2 in all time games played as a Cardinal

#2 Jim Edmonds has more hits as a Cardinal than Ken Reitz

#3 Gary Templeton   had more stolen bases than Pepper Martin

#4 So as Yadi signs for a $60m extension…he must feel that he needs the money since his total net worth prior to the signing  is $ 38m

#5  Matt Carpenter  has a higher lifetime average as a Cardinal than Skip Schumaker

#6 Bob Gibson has issued more walks than any other Cardinal pitcher

#7 Lance Lynn has more Cardinal wins than Jaime Garcia

#8 Adam Wainwright has the lowest batting avg against him of any other current Cardinal pitchers

———————————————————————————-

…Maybe Kolton Wong was “fooling” around when he voiced his opinion about not wanting to platoon…really?….do you think ANY MLB player wants to platoon Kolton?  Do you think that any player …any level…likes sitting on the bench Kolton?  Go ahead start hitting–right & left handed pitchers, play superlative defense, run smartly and quickly on the bases and that platoon talk will cease…until then….just play…only stars can make demands.

….Jimmy Rollins is fooling himself…he’s done as a MLB player….it would definitely be hard to admit  but come on..your 38 years old, last 2 years have been very subpar with Dodgers & ChiSox..he tried making the SF Giants this spring….they offered him a minor league contract…you’ve been in 3 all star games, earned just under $100m….say goodbye graciously…don’t be thrown out like the trash.

….former Card, Peter Bourjos seems to be fooling the White Sox brass…obtained and signed to a minor league contract in the offseason, Bourjos is now tentatively slated to start ahead of rookie CF Charlie Tilson..Bourjos carries a lifetime .243 average ..come on Sox…your future isn’t in PB

….Jason Heyward isn’t fooling anyone….he still isn’t hitting….granted its only spring training but the spotlight is on him since the flopped so badly last year….well….this spring it’s a whopping .105

….Mizzou has “fooled around’ with their football schedule for 2017…season opens on Sep 2 with a nonconference cupcake(MO State)..nothing new there …but the 2nd non-conference game is 2 weeks later (Purdue) with S.Carolina (SEC in week 2)…then…the final two non-conference games don’t arrive until Oct 21 & 28—Idaho & UConn….maybe that’s a better approach?…heal from injuries, regroup offense  & defense in mid-season outside of conference, break up all the back-back SEC games

….Are the Cards just “fooling” Matt Adams that they REALLY have plans for him? He’s been up for 4 full years, last year was the 1st time that he moved much above the minimum salary level, he hit a HR every 18.56 AB last year (16 round trippers), he’s been working out in LF, lost tons of weight, never complains in public…yet….Cards sign Wong for $20mil and Adams makes the minimum…..who’s fooling who here?

….Is Kansas…or Bill Self ….fooling the NCAA basketball committee?   On 7 different years, his team has been picked #1 in their region but the Jayhawks are only  2-7 in regional championship games.

…how does Bartolo Colon fool MLB hitters?…he’s a 43 year old, a very rotund man, average fast ball but apparently superb control…. Me…I’d try bunting frequently and make that big man move 

….have I been fooled? Did I see Pete Kozma on the NYY roster?

 

 

 

In the ”No Fooling” Category

… Since the Blues  enjoyed their 5 day break in February…when they dropped their 1st 3 games after that break they are 12-1 with an OT loss & shootout since that time …what a stretch of games…. now they have put themselves into  the  “real season” (called the playoffs) again..btw…the Blues last missed the playoffs in 2010-11…only 4 NHL teams have a longer time since they’ve missed the playoffs…and one of them..the last place Detroit Red Wings will miss it this year…the 4 teams are Detroit, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and NY Rangers…remember in our 25 year span of consecutive playoffs people complained because we weren’t going deep into playoffs….guess ya can’t pls everyone

….some other Blues thoughts….Goaltending has been superb for several weeks now…since the Shattenkirk trade…it seems to me that our defensemen (Pietrangelo & Bouwmeester) have upgraded their play….and….very significantly…the infusion of several youthful forwards seems to have injected more life (and speed) into the team….finally….I like coach Yeo’s approach of ….who’s ever playing well in that gameon that night…gets the minutes late in the game…young or old….nothing is given away due to age or experience….

….the NCAA semifinals displayed some terrific basketball players and unbelievable athletes… here’s a few NCAA thoughts….you have to admire Mark Few (Gonzaga) for building his team…oops…they call it a “program” now…from a low level to the biggest stage of all….Frank Martin was a very good coach @ K-State and with the better athletes at S.Carolina—his team will be a contender in many …if not…most years…he actually began has a High School coach & Math teacher…now I can really identify with that!…..Roy Williams’ teams seem to play unselfishly despite most of them being Premier HS all-americans…Oregon’s team was a very good basketball team…but…I think that they could have played almost any sport…and played it well…..considering the  athleticism of each player.

…So S.Carolina sends both their Mens and Womens team to the Final Four this year….sounds good but….their top officials had to keep flying back & forth between Dallas (Women’s games) and Phoenix (Mens games).. why don’t they hold the Final 4 for both sexes in the same city….make it a 4 game package deal for the consumers….women (Fri-Sun), men (Sat-Mon) you might actually have some people watching the women’s games J  btw….congrats to Mississippi State Women who snapped the 111 game winning streak of U. Conn Women (what a streak!) to reach the finals.

 

#1 April Fools…nope  Stan is #1  with 3026 Cardinal games (his whole career), Brock is #2, #3 is Ozzie,  in the 4th spot is Enos and Red is #5 with 1795 …remember Cards traded him to  the Giants when he was 33 years old.. a year later he was pedaled to the Milwaukee Braves where he was a leader for them as they marched to the 1957 & 58 World Series…facing the Yanks each year…winning in 57 & losing in 58

#2 April Fools…each has 1033 hits wearing the Cardinal uniform

#3 April Fools…Pepper has 148 and Templeton 138…now Pepper did play in 450ish more games than Templeton

#4 April Fools…Yadi is worth $51m…he probably wants to double his worth with the next contract

#5  April Fools…Schumaker  hit .288 in 2442 AB for Cards; Carp is .284 in 2579 AB

#6 True…by far…. he has 1336 walks,#2 with 870 is Jesse Haines

#7  April  Fools…Garcia had 62, Lynn has 61

#8  April Fools….It’s a tie….Lance Lynn & Wainwright are each at .248 against them

 

Hope you enjoy a wonderful April Fools Monday  

 

 

Countdown to MLB Blastoff by Bob Ryan

1 week out from the start of the MLB season…..around here…that  means almost all talk is about the Cards….let’s take a look backwards at the off-season and the late parts of 2016 for some additional info on the Cardinals…

…in the off-season, the primary …really only…acquisition was Dexter Fowler.  Fowler was signed to improve defense(moving Grichuk over to LF to replace Holliday), to be a lead-off man and to “lighten” up the clubhouse. Hitting-wise..Fowler hit .276 last year, 13 HR, 13 SB…he’s 31 now so one shouldn’t expect those numbers to jump upwards significantly due to his age.  Some other MLB writers have speculated that…Grichuk may be better than Fowler in CF… so why not get a corner OF with speed, defense, maybe younger and surely cheaper.  Losing Alex  Reyes for the season due to injury  was a severe blow to the starting staff.  Another loss ….overlooked for the most part…was the injury and loss to Zach Duke.  Duke, LHP, had several strong outings last year for the Cards after they acquired him from the CWS. In August, Duke had 1 SV, 2 HOLDS, and ERA of 0.73 with 17 K in 12 inn, 14 appearances. This was one of the best..if not THE best stats of any Cardinal hurler in August. In Sept, he tailed off a bit but…14 appearances again(that’s a rate of 84 games per year…and you wonder why his hurt is unable to go in 2017?), 4 HOLDS and a 3.27 ERA. Brett Cecil has been acquired to replace Duke’s role as the 2nd lefty (behind Siegrest) in the bullpen. GM MO has decided to “hold his cards” for the most part in other areas…most of the talk in camp has been about the back-up OF position…not the biggest concern…especially when the Cuban signee Adolis  Garcia seems to have been penciled in for the 2018 since he already is 24 years old….they can’t let him wait too long…it appears to me that Garcia will begin 2018 as a sub and will be expected to push Fowler…or whoever… out of the lineup with his bat.  His hefty signing bonus $2.5m will dictate that he doesn’t take bus rides in the minors for any real length of time. The “hands-off” attitude of Mozeliak is a bit puzzling when one digs into the stats of the Starting Staff for the last 2 months of the season… Assuming that Martinez, Wainwright, Leake, Wacha and Lynn are the 5 starters to open the season …..Lynn missed the entire 2016 season due to arm injury so his innings must be monitored closely throughout the year….I’m saying…6 inn and ur outta there….I must say though…I have confidence that Lynn will win 10 games..which for a #4 or #5 is very good. The other four starters all have questions…In August, this foursome was 4-5 in 17 starts, (Wacha was already being held back), ERA 4.82 and WHIP 1.4. When the calendar changed to September, the numbers of this starting group didn’t change much: these four starts went 8-6 (Martinez & Wainwright each won 4 games) in Sept, their ERA was 5.10 and the WHIP was a sour 1.63 (that means that there was 1.63 hits or walks on average every inning).  In order to contend, the starting staff must go deeper, be better and get outs quicker in 2017… a repeat of the last 2 months (their most recent pitching months) spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E

….the Cards MUST get out of the blocks quicker this year….last year, the Cubs felt little or no pressure all year long…take a look—On Apr 15, Cards were 3 games out already; on May 1, Pitt was 3 games out and Cards were 6 down in 3rd place; by May 15, the Cubs had opened a wide gap, Stl was 20-18 for the year and were 8 games out (Pitt was 7.5) June 1 saw the Cards 9.5 games behind with a 35-30 mark for the year…the distance was still 9.5 games on June 15, and 10 games on July 1…it was over for the Cards…..StL MUST NOT let Chicago jump out front so quickly again this year.

….so what did the CUBS do since the end of the World Series celebrations?

The significant players no longer on the Cub roster: Aroldis Chapman, Dexter Fowler, Jorge Soler (couldn’t earn a starting spot so was expendable), Jason Hammel, Travis Wood.  The free agent signees were: Jon Jay (backup OF), Koji Uehara(7th,8th inning pitcher), Brett Anderson (6th, 7th, 8th pitcher), Brian Duensing another man in pen—so nothing special there…many veterans being used to plug spots…none too expensive so easy to dispose of during the season if necessary. The Cubs acquired in trades Wade Davis (to be the closer), SP Eddie Butler (weak attempt to fill a starting role) and a few others who are in triple AAA minors as “possible” substitutes later in season.  Pedro Strop was re-signed to be 8th inning man. All in all…Cubs’ rotation of Lester, Hendricks, Arrieta, Lackey & Anderson  looks older, a bit more worn after the long post season and many innings in the last 2 years for Lester & Arrieta.  I think that their starters will take a step back so Cub management went out to strengthen their pen….I’m not real impressed by their names…so we’ll see what 2017 brings to the plate.    

 

Some of the other best moves in the 16-17 off-season in the MLB…

…Cleveland…waited, and waited and waited until the price came down….then the signed Edwin Encarnacion for 3 years for $60m…this is a guy who hit 42 HR last year ….not 5 years ago..with 127 RBI…his booming bat and the starting staff along with several other younger stars have to make Cleveland the favorite. To give you an idea of this bargain…Johnny Peralta is getting $10m and Dexter Fowler (with his signing bonus ) earns $16.5m this year…compare their number to Edwin 

….the Giants acquired Mark Melancon…so they’ll be able to discard the closer-by-committee concept…as a matter of fact…do you know of ANY committees that really  work…in baseball …or out of it? He’ll improve the Giants team.

…Red Sox traded away 3 bright prospect to play for today as they snatched Chris Sale from the CWS…Porcello, Price and now Sale…. Bostonians are already talking Cy Young for this talented lefty.

…..the most changed team is the Chicago White Sox…theChiSox traded away vets Chris Sale and Adam Eaton and in return landed a bevy of  premier MLB prospects – Yoan Moncada (ranked #2), Lucas Giolito (#12), Michael Kopech (#16) Reynaldo Lopez (#46) amoung others…and they did it all within a 24 hour time frame….guess the golf links had some openings on upcoming days of the winter meetings 

 

Advancing through NCAA  brackets

….I won’t recap the games or tell you AFTER the games about how I knew so & so would go as far as they have gone in the tournament….to me…Gonzaga was the 1st mid-major to gradually work its way into the “Major” school classification…although it took more than 10 years… Wichita State is  following the same trek now.. Why were they called mid-major my wife asked me?  Well….the conferences that they competed in throughout the year are NOT considered one of the major basketball conferences…namely the ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 10, Big East.  Butler & Xavier took a different route to becoming a “major”….they joined a “major conference”,the Big East, to elevate their status .  So….teams belonging to other conferences are referred to as “mid-majors”…..PC talk for “you’re not one of the big boys”. 

….the prototype players now are around 6-6, 6-8 and can handle the ball, shoot on the outside, drive to the basket and still rebound. Few play with their back to the basket any longer. Only a few teams are using the back to the basket post-man…it’s a game of movement, quickness, 3 pt shooting and slashing to the basket.

…..I really enjoy Wisconsin’s style of basketball….the move continually with a purpose, creating space for the ballhandler and possible shooter, all are willing to set picks, they capitalize on any mismatches offensively.

…..Bob Huggins team (W.Virginia) was riveting to me….they weren’t really good shooters but they pressed with maximum effort throughout their Gonzaga game….clearly, Gonzaga had better basketball players but the Mountaineers took it to the final play….they trailed by 3, out of time outs, and had 7 seconds to get a 3 point shot….they dribbled out the last 7 seconds seeking a shot…I really loved their constant effort

….Major conference survivors & record for Sweet 16… Pac 12—Arizona, Oregon, UCLA—8-1 in NCAA tourney as a conference; SEC 7-2 Florida, Kentucky, S.Carolina; Big 12  8-3 Baylor, Kansas, W. Virginia; Big 10 8-4 Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin; Big East 5-5 Butler Xavier; ACC 7-8 N.Carolina….guess its fair to say that the ACC was overrated by the committee

…the teams of the Final Four are really fresh to the “big time”…Gonzaga, Oregon, S. Carolina and …not so fresh…N. Carolina…it should be fun with some different teams for the final weekend of college basketball

 

Local Odds & Ends….

…The news that Nancy Fahey accepted the Head Coaching job @ Illinois after 31 years @ Washington U was very interesting.  Fahey was incredibly successful at Wash U—737-133 record…that’s 84% …for 31 years!!!…5 national titles …Josh Whitman, current AD at Illinois had previously been AD at Wash U so there was a connection there… at this stage of her career, she may have wanted a new mountain to climb…clearly she can coach but she’ll have to hire two top notch recruiters as her assistants because at D1…athleticism supersedes x’s & o’s ….ask Kim Anderson

…so Yadi returns from the WBC all excited about playing with his young teammates and suddenly tells the Cards that they have 1 week to work out a contract…. That proclamation makes it sound like he REALLY doesn’t want to stay in the Lou….surprising since he’s idolized here….if he doesn’t sign this week…we’ll have a battle with the Cubs to sign him.

…an update on Mizzou baseball…their 20 game winning streak was snapped by Arkansas on Friday.  The Tigers record drops all the way to 20-2 now 

….Frosh SS Braxton Burnside knocked in 10 runs in a Mizzou softball (17-11) victory over the weekend. Not a bad week of RBI’s….much less one game!

….Archie Miller was on my short list of Mizzou candidates….Mizzou didn’t talk to him but Indiana did….and signed him….he’s a very good coach.

…..all of the “pub” Mizzou baseball is receiving(well deserved)….don’t overlook St Louis U baseball…Coach Darin Hendrickson has the Bills at 16-4 for the season. Hendrickson has led the Billikens to 4 straight Atlantic-10 regular season championships.

….High school baseball teams off to a good start are some very familiar names—Oakville 6-1, Vianney 6-1, Ft Zumwalt West 5-2, Gibault 6-0(small school)…March games count the same as May games but never felt the same to me….I mean….playing baseball in the 50’s just doesn’t seem right 

 

 

 

From Norfolk State to Cal-Berkeley by Bob Ryan

It was March 2012…the Mizzou Tigers basketball team was rolling as they began the NCAA tournament seeded #2 in the West. Frank Haith had put behind him the scandals at Miami dealing with Nevin Shapiro as his Tiger team seemed destined for huge success. They were ranked #3 in the USA, 30-4 for the season, Champions of the Big 12 tournament, highest scoring team in the country …. man…like couldn’t be any better. But the very next game seemed to send them down a miserable road for the next 5 years! Shockingly, the Tigers were upset by Norfolk State 86-84 in the 1st round of tournament. From that point on….Tiger bball fortunes have staggered…I’m being kind. …the 2011-12 Frank Haith1st team had 7 seniors, they were 4 of the top 5 scorers on the team scoring 67% of the points. Haith was the AP Coach of the Year…Phil Pressley was a terrific point guard, Laurence Bowers & Ricardo Racliffe were the inside muscles at 6-8 and Marcus Denmon was the leading scorer. The shocking upset sent these Seniors…who had dominated the playing time… packing with a horrible taste in their mouth as well as many sour attitudes

…the 12-13 team still had one starter, Presley, returning but a heavy influx of transfer players (Alex Oriakhi, Earnest Ross, and Keion Bell coming into Mizzou. This trio was expected to contribute immediately. Some did…some did not. Haith’s 2nd team…now in the SEC…Tigers went 23-11, 11-7 in conference…while this was still a “good” year it was a significant dip from 11-12 year. The Tigers fell in Quarterfinals of SEC tourney to Ol’ Miss and again were upset in the 1st round game of the NCAA tournament to Colorado State. But trouble seemed to be simmering…Mike Dixon got removed from school and Laurence Bowers suffered a midseason injury. When he returned later, he really wasn’t the same quality player.

….the 13-14 season for Frank Haith again had 1 starter returning (Jabari Brown) so more transfers filed into Columbia. The real excitement centered around transfereea, Jordan Clarkson, Zach Price and Jabari Brown. The Tigers went 23-12, 9-9 in conference. The Tigers failed to make the NCAA and lost their 2nd round game of the NIT to S. Miss. But…more importantly in Dec 2013, NCAA violations on Level I, II, III, IV were charged against Haith and his Mizzou basketball program. Levels I & II are considered serious by the NCAA. Shortly after season ended, Haith asked for a contract extension when Mizzou declined, Haith bolted to Tulsa University. Leaving the violations behind…and completely unknown to his successor Kim Anderson ..who was hired after determined that they couldn’t’ swallow the asking price for Wichita State’s Greg Marshall.

…Anderson, a Sedalia, MO native was living in his dream job after taking his Cen Missouri team to the NCAA –D2 championship, he failed…pure and simple….coaches are hired to win these days…you aren’t there to “develop” players into men or women. Anderson’s record at Mizzou for 3 seasons was 27-68 and 8-46 in the SEC and required his departure. Was it due to the Peter Principle? Was it an avalanche of restrictions that would prohibited anyone from digging out? Was it poor evaluation of talent? Was it inept recruiting ? Probably it was a combination of all ot them…who knows. While I respect highly Kim Anderson….Mizzou HAD to release him.

….that brings us to Berkeley California and Cuonzo Martin. Martin was raised locally so he has many ties to Missouri. His record @ Cal was 62-39, he finished T-8, T-3 and 5th in his 3 years in the Pac 12. His team lost in the 1st round of NCAA in 2016 and the 1st round of the NIT in 2017. He has demonstrated the ability to recruit and do it legally. He works hard. So from the dismal, dark day in 2012 when Norfolk State upset the Tigers, then the tumultuous 5 years that brought us to Berkeley to hire Cuonzo Martin

….already it appears that the worm has turned for Tiger basketball…how?…well, when Lorenzo Romar was fired…sorry not PC….when Romar was “let go”… in Washington ..a secondary…an important secondary step transpired…Asst Washington Coach Michael Porter (who had only been hired last off season) was released from his contract…importance?….his 6-10 HS Sr son, Michael Porter Jr, is considered the top prospect in the entire USA…and Cuonzo has a good rapport with Porter..in fact.. he’s probably already hired Porter….and….you win the bonus prize too…his younger bro. …JonTay (class of 18) also a top 10 USA prospect has already decommited from Washington…yes…Mizzou will change their entire program….in part…due to the Romar firing in Washington…let’s hope that the next 5 years continue as well as the 1st week has for Cuonzo Martin and for Missouri and Mizzou fans

 

…more Mizzou stuff….

….the hottest news in Columbia is the baseball Tigers! After losing the opening game, Coach Steve Bieser has seen his Tigers rattle off 16 straight wins…including 7 by one run!

He coached @ Vianney & SEMO …where he won 3 consecutive Ohio Valley Conferences. Bieser played professionally and made it to the MLB for 2 seasons…a very unusual event for someone drafted in the 32nd round. His versatility kept him playing professional for 9 years and now the all-around knowledge of all positions is being put to good use as a college coach.

….Mizzou women basketball (21-10) are playing in the NCAA tourney this weekend with their 1st round game against S Florida.

….Missouri received $39,382,365 from the SEC network in February. Mizzou’s total enrollment (undergrad & post-grad) is 33,266. That means that the income from the sports network was worth $1183 per student. Since the total budget is $3 billion, $39m might seem trivial..but not to me..that’s some cash. I would like to raise a yellow flag here about long term payouts from SEC network… ESPN is suffering severe losses in subscribers. In Nov, ESPN dropped 621,000 subscribers – the most in any one month. Will this become a growing issue across the country or any other sports networks? Nothing lasts forever. I remember the days when Friday nights were dominated by boxing.

 

NCAA tourney thoughts …

…So defending NCAA Champion, Villanova racked up 31 wins…the most of any defending NCAA champ only to lose to Wisconsin in the round of 32

…the inconsistencies in the NCAA approaches to NCAA championships….in basketball, champions of conference or conference tournaments are ensured a spot—in football, conference title are meaningless in the choice of the 4 playoff teams; in basketball, the NCAA tournament lasts 3 full weeks …I would have to assume that players miss classes on 10-12 days—in football, the NCAA says it must limit playoffs to 4 teams so that players don’t miss so many classes…and on top of it…the bowls are often during holiday break… reminder…I’ve proposed 8 teams in football playoff—5 champions of the 5 major conferences and 3 wild card teams.

….Wichita State got the shaft in their placement in the brackets…the Shockers were ranked #8 in KenPom and #29 in the RPI but the committed put them @ #38.…so…..winning game 1 put them up against Kentucky in round 2….how many teams in the country can beat Kentucky? 1 ? 2? 3?

….”play in” games are a joke…does anyone in the entire country think that any of those play in teams has ANY change….ANY change…of winning the title….sure…I know that fans love the underdog in the early rounds but ….gimme a break…isn’t 64 teams enough?

….Kansas looks unbelievably strong to me….and to think…at one time…decades ago…Mizzou took a pass on Bill Self

…here’s a suggestion…considering that the NCAA owns the NIT tournament and the NIT tournament where reportedly for the next best 32 teams play at the same time as the NCAA…do any of you know more than 5 of the 32 teams in that tournament….I sure don’t……here’s an idea….bring back the final 8 (elite 8) NCAA teams…to start the next season….This 8 team tourney would be held in a neutral site.

It’d be a fun way to start the next season…sure would beat playing 3 cupcakes to guarantee 3 wins.

…watching all the Aussies playing for St. Mary’s was watching a different style of basketball…clearly they weren’t as athletic as most of the other teams but their fundamentals made them entertaining to me. They won a play-in game, then beat VCU before bowing to Arizona.

 

Missouri HS basketball thoughts

….it was a clean sweep for St. Louis in all the Class 4 and Class 5 championships. Vashon won the Boys 4A, Webster Groves the boys 5A titles. On the Girls side it was Incarnate Word in Class 4 and Kirkwood in Class 5….Congrats to all those coaches who reached the top of the mountain in 2017.

 

Tracking Down the Tiger Coach by Bob Ryan

The Missouri basketball program will be looking for a new head coach following news that Kim Anderson is stepping down after three seasons. I feel that considering that he had absolutely NO idea that the school was under investigation when he signed his contract that the school should create a temporary position for him as they did for Pinkel (who won plenty of games but the “strike” in his last year has scarred Mizzou)….I doubt Mizzou will do it…but it’d be the honorable thing to do to an honorable man.

 

As life moves on…I’d look for proven Head Coaches…if possible from a top level, winning school….those are often very  tough to procure and someone who can really coach….many of the names I hear can recruit but somehow the teams rarely win at a very high level. Now AD Sterck claims that he wants a successful D-1 coach …with experience…..and says that he can double the $1.1m contract that Kim Anderson signed…big deal….the good coaches…really good coaches are up in the $3-4m area…get up with the times…so….here’s my picks if I were Mizzou’s AD…

 

#1 choice– Tom Crean would be my top choice…the folks of Indiana have frowned on his 17 win season this year….it’s not up to their standards…rather haughy….and their memory is very short…just last year he won 27 games and reached the Sweet 16…he’s 50 years old so he has 18 years of head coaching experience (9-Marquette, 9-Indiana) and yet plenty of time remaining in the “prime time” years of his coaching life. He’d be expensive…he earned $3.16 mil but it’s time for Mizzou to put their $$$ where their mouth is….and 1st year head football coach Barry Odum earns $2.35 before coaching as a head coach at any other D-1 School….. while at Marquette, Crean increased attendance by 70%….he’d have that same challenge @ Mizzou… you get what you pay for….he’d be my man that I’d go after hard. To get him:  offer ideas of fresh start, new challenge, escape the unpleasable Hoosier fans, more money (that always seems to workJ, Mizzou needs YOU—a proven winning coach.

 

#2 choice would be a young and up & coming coach….it’d 38 year old Archie Miller (Dayton).In his 6 years as head coach he’s 139-60 (.698) . This year his 24-5 team should reach the NCAA for the 4th straight year….they’ve reached round of 64 (once), round of 32(once) and the Elite Eight in the last 3 years. His current salary of $692,000+ will easily be topped handily. Mizzou did this type of thing long ago when they hired a 32 year old alum named Norm Stewart! To get him: stepping up in prominence, reaching the big-time, huge salary increase

 

#3 choice would be Scott Drew(current Baylor head coach for 14 years-46 years old) has an impressive resume 277-177 (.610)….in his first 3 years @ Baylor he was 21-53…if you wipe out those ‘start over” first 3 years…his mark is 256-124…he has a terrific lineage in coaching (following his Dad footsteps as a successful D-1 coach)..earns $2.7mil so a salary increase would put him up with the top level coaches in the USA…. to get him—time for new challenge, closer to your roots, tougher competition, more money

 

….then I’d go the young guys…on the way up….high potential and with some proven work….but not much……

  • Kevin Keats (UNC-Wilmington) is a Rick Pitino disciple…this 44 year old is in his 1st head coaching position and has elevated an unknown program to the spotlight. His 72-27 record speaks for itself…..Pitino says he has the full package as a coach…he’s 44 years old so…..he’s been around awhile already
  • Will Wade-age 34…coach Chattanooga 2 years (40-25) and last year took over VCU and guided them to a 25-11 mark, this year they are 24—7 but most wins are NOT against the power 5 conferences

..…of these two…I’d prefer Keats strongly…both are unproven at the higher levels as a Head Coach but their credentials seem to “open the door” for them to enter into the fray against the “big boys”

 

I’ve passed on the local favorite sons……Cuonzo Martin(45 years old)…known as a fantastic recruiter but he’s only made the NCAA 1 of his 3 years @ California and has struggled mightily in the Pac-12-14-18-28…. whatever it is now..

Also being bypassed was Lorenzo Romar (58 years old)..he’s been at Washington 15 years now….his current club is 9-21 (so I’m sure Washington would be happy for us to take him off their hands)….he hasn’t been over .500 in conference since 2011-12 season…generally touted as having “terrific”recruiting classes…but….I wonder what happens to them?

…..I’ve reference conference play for both of these coaches since it is in conference competition where opposing coaches have similar athletes the x’s & O’s matter more…neither of these guys have exhibited the ability to outcoach their opposing coaches.

…If Mizzou hires an assistant coach from ANY program….they heard more “NO’s” than a 16 year old wanting to buy a brand new car 

 

A name that has popped up in most accounts is Travis Ford.  This shouldn’t be surprising….as a player, Ford jumped away from Mizzou for “bigger” Kentucky. As a coach, he’s been a climber—Campbellsville, U, E. Kentucky, UMass, Ok State. He parted ways with the Cowboys after 8 years…don’t you love the words that are now used for “fired”?….the last 2 years were very disappointing. So…one would have to surmise that Ford COULD and probably does have interest in a SEC program as opposed to a A-10 team.  I think he’s a good coach and a good recruiter but he always seems to have his bags packed and ready to leave on a jet plane…TU Peter, Paul & Mary.

 

Baseball news from Florida & Arizona..

….most…if not all baseball owners are smiling now….they’ve just learned that Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is likely to sell his team.  Loria has mismanaged (I’m being kind today) the Marlins badly….he’s really making out like a bandit though…he bought the team for $158 mil in 2002 and will have an asking price of around $1.4 to 1.7 BILLION now…sure he spent some money on the stadium, signing Giancarlo Stanton but for the most part he’s kept his hands on his wallet …in his pocket….baseball will be better off without him…it’s the ol’ addition by subtraction idea.

….the continuing back ailment of Matt Carpenter may be the only reason that Matt Adams still has the Birds on the Bat on HIS jersey…this isn’t new for Carp…he’s faced back issues for a couple years now….most of you MUST have noticed his back stretching moves each time he enters the batters  box

…the two step delivery… has been outlawed by MLB…in the two-stepper…the pitcher hops forward off the pitching plate with his rt foot (about a 10-14 inches) and THEN takes the step with his left foot….thus he actually shortens the distance by a foot or so on his pitch…not many use it…I do think that Jonathan Broxton is one of them…not 100% sure however….I kept yelling “balk” on every pitch as I watched at home….at least until the General got tired of hearing it 

…the Cards GM, John Mozeliak, has too much invested in Kolton Wong…his scouting of him, signing to a 5 years contract….it appears that he may feel obligated to give Wong any possible chance ….at least this season 

…Speaking of GM MO….he’s been the GM for 10 years already…I wondered if that was a Cardinal longevity record for general managers… not even close….Branch Rickey was the Cardinal GM from 1919 to 1942…of course Mr. Rickey is credited for building the outstanding teams in the 20’s and the 40s.  When he left…he was pushed out… he went to Brooklyn and built the Dodgers into their 50’s dynasty.

…if the most recent Cardinal Cuban signee Aroldis Garcia is as good as their signing bonus indicates….the Cards expect Garcia to have a booming bat as an OF….if that pans out..we could have major reshuffling so… there are 2 possibilities….Garcia shoves aside Fowler into a backup role in a year (assuming Grichuk  & Piscotty hit this year) or…one of this group play 1b and Carp goes back to 3B

 

….odds & ends…..

…..I had the chance to announce the outstanding OT STATE Sectional game between the St. Mary’s Dragons & the Vashon Wolverines….it was a tremendous game with the Wolverines winning in OT…many tremendous players and athletes on the court for both teams….both well coached….if you want a glimpse…

…I’m not an NBA fan but ANY basketball fan has to tip their hat to Dirk Nowitzki. This 38 year old NBA player whose played in Dallas his entire pro career…still playing in the NBA at 38 should be a record in itselfJ…broke the 30,000 point barrier. He’s the 6th player to achieve that lofty plateau….Kareem, Karl Malone, Kobe, Michael Jordan, Wilt and now Dirk…he also has 10000+ rebounds and 3000+ assists.  I seldom hear his name in the top 10 NBA players of all-time…but maybe he should be there

…at the HS hockey level in St. Louis, it’s been CBC for a long time now.  The Cadets won their 4th straight title with a 4-1 win over SLUH. It was ….amazingly… the 12th title in the last 17 years—WOW! Congrats to all around especially the coaching staff—Head Coach-John Jost and his two outstanding assistants—Randy Staub and Nic Carosello.

….I gave you notice a few weeks ago about the new Mizzou baseball Coach. Coach Steve Bieser has turned the Tigers into a machine…a winning machine. The Tigers have jumped out to a 14-1 record …keep your eyes on them

…the Blues will need to upgrade “down the middle” this off season. Their center-ice-men are capable but none are really of the “higher” levels.  I’m not a hockey expert but I can’t remember really good teams not having ANY very strong play from their center of their forward lines

…a final local HS note….Incarnate Word Academy has reached the STATE basketball semifinals tor its 8th straight year! The only constant has been the Head Coach Dan Rolfes…congrats to him and the Red Knights.

 

I’m done tracking now…..btw…this is about as close as I’ll ever come to hunting ANYTHING down 

Bob Awards by Bob Ryan

Prior to the BOB award show …some other more serious Cardinal spring training observations and  thoughts…that is……as if sports is EVER serious?

…Mike Leake looked terrific in 1st outing…but….if you watch the clip….almost all of the swings & miss …and there were many….were pitches out of the strike zone….I would think that hitters in mid-season will lay off of those type of pitches.

…..I think that Trevor Rosenthal will start the season as our “bridge” man…i.e. get us from starter (6th inning or so) to mid-8th or 9th inning.  A guy who does that could really “save” the bullpen.…without getting any “saves”

…I guess it was Senior Citizens Day on Thursday in Florida…the Cards started Adam Wainwright (35 years old, 134 wins) vs Bartolo Colon (43 years old, 233 wins)….I would have never guessed that Colon has 99 MORE wins than Wainwright! Our home-town perspective often blinds us.

….I’m just saying…Tommy Pham will be 29 when the season opens….isn’t it time to find a younger backup for the OF? Tommy hit .226 last year and struggles against RHP. The Cards thinking has always been to keep “younger” guys in minors to increase their game experience.. which is a sound idea…but when you’ve hit 25 and ur still taking bus rides in the minors…you aren’t going to be a MLB star..by younger…I mean 24-25ish …that’s the type of guy that I’m thinking should be our OF backup

….despite all the raving about Sandy Alcatara….possibly except for multiple injuries to starting pitchers in Florida, he has a very slim chance of sticking with the club…at least at the start of the season (see below…the info on becoming arbitration eligible)

……They talk about it all the time…but it’s still very hazy….at least to me….Here’s the real scoop on when MLB’ers become eligible for arbitration…it’s based on service time. Service time is, very simply, a running count of how long you’ve been on a a major league roster(or the DL)…not how many games you’ve played.

 

  • 172 service days = 1 service year–Players max out at 172 service days/year; seasons usually have 183 service days
  • Players needs six full years of service to reach free agency
  • Players need about 2.130 years of service to reach arbitration or 366 days of being on MLB roster…so…if I’m concerned about player A becoming eligible too early….I keep him down in minors…bring him up in June/july/Sept—make it 98 days. Do the same the following year so you have burned 196 days ..that leaves you 170 days…for the 3rd year (note a year maxes out at 172 days)..gain yourself another year prior to eligibility that’s why they fly these guys up a day prior to game…and then put him on the  roster the day he pitches…save those days!!!

 

 

It’s time for the BOB Award…the BEST Of Ball or in some cases—the BUMMERS Of Ball!  You’ll have no trouble distinguishing one from the other. Some…maybe many … the tongue in cheek policy has been employed…here goes the Bob Awards and the 1st presenter is Steve Harvey.

Steve Harvey, “It’s a pleasure being here for the prestigious BOB awards. I’m hoping that the teleprompter’s work better than the 2016 Miss America Pagent! Let’s start…so far ..so good

 

“The Winner of the The Steady-Eddie Performer of Cards is Stephen Piscotty.  Piscotty had 153 games, 649 plate appearances, hit .273, OPS of .800, 22HR, 85 RBI and steaks of all kind were limited…..that’s right, we didn’t need him streaking

 

“The winner of the Titanic Award for being the biggest disappointment in 2016 is…..Jason Heyward!” Of course, the Cardinal fans smirked the entire season of his batting average while the Cubs fans bit their lip as Hayward hit .230, just 7 HR, 93 strikeouts with 122 hits.. that strikeout to hit ratio is similar to many that I’ve coached in grade school baseball

 

Steve chuckles as he says, “ Here’s a good one…the prize for Where size matters Award…this should be good…..oh…. oh… really…..and the winner is the NHL.. it’s there that the  gigantic cities who can generate more local money have a distinct advantage over mid-size cites.. clearly the lack of huge national TV contract is a decisive factor in this wide discrepancy between large vs mid-size or small

 

“The Winner of the Pinocchio Award is……..Kevin Shattenkirk who infers  that Parayko and Pietrangelo would be expanding their games and ever-so-slightly  moving him out of key roles….cut it out….it was money….huge money pure and simple…that’s OK….I’d probably do the same but don’t concoct other reasons.  Congratulations Kevin…well…I made it…” said Steve Harvey as he exited quickly…..but wait 2 minutes later…Harvey returned, head down

“ I’m so sorry folks..it happened again….the real winner of the Pinocchio Award for 2016 goes to N. Korea. After losing 2-0 to Germany in Womens’ world Cup a few years ago, N. Korean Coach Kim Kwang-Min said his players were tired because they’d been hit by lightning at training match. Really??   Folks….this one takes the cake….and I’m exiting stage left”  Steve Harvey departs wiping the egg off his face again.  Bob Ryan will now present some awards without any quotes

 

The winner of the Budweiser Award for aging overnight is Brett Favre…when I look at him now, he looks old..real old to me…but he played as recently in the NFL in 2010! Makes one wonder if the NFL players agree to let the ol’ QB who has faced many blitzes in their day get a break from the pass rush late in their career?

 

The winner of the Rex Hudler Fans Award for 2017…is Greg Garcia …the winner of this award generally is white….does not play too often and really not  too well…. has a good week about once every 2 months…. usually it means he can sacrifice bunt, runs out ground balls, seldom strikes out, makes few errors, signs autographs willingly, smiles.

 

The winner of the Pink-Bunny Award for continuing to “keep ticking” is Yadi Molina…Yadi claims he’s 34 ….he’s been in the MLB since 2004, he’s played 1611 games but last  year’s totals of  .307, 147 games (most ever), 581 plate appearances (most ever), 164 hits (most ever) makes us believe that he’s ticking along..and along…and along….and along

 

The winner of the Judge & Jury Award goes to Rick Pitino….last year when Louisville was caught red-handed in violations, Judge Rick Pitino, whose club was much weaker than normal, “accepted” not going to the NCAA tourney for THAT year…so that he’d be eligible THIS year (when his team was better)…what did he really lose?

 

The winner of the Jethro Bodine(Beverly Hillbillies) Award for mental ability—Draymond Green(Warriors) after many  of his “smart” statements to the press reveal  a shallow side to him…mostly above the shoulders….but….let’s be positive…Green is a great athlete, period.

 

A final presenter will be Warren Beatty. Right off the Oscars, Warren is attempting to rescue his name for the totally inept Oscars performance……here’s Warren…”thank you, thank you (did you notice that everyone says thank you twice in the media?)…now to more awards.”

 

“The winner for the most over-rated sports fans is…as he tears open the envelope…he looks around and says hesitantly, “Is this some type of joke?   The answer here is “La-La Land”..no worries Warren ..just continue, you’re doing just fine…it IS the correct answer….why?….sure LA has millions and millions of people but what % are real fans….heck…we can all follow, support, brag about winners…is that being a real “fan”…go ahead Warren….is this case…La-La Land WAS the correct answer.

 

Warren continues with more poise now, “The winner of the “Best job in the MLB or any sports” ….and the winner is Eugene Koo. Warren proudly exits stage right, head held high, his signature smile flashing across his face. Koo is the translator of Seung Hwan Oh….let’s see… he’s used on the mound about once a month and is a personal assistant for OH the remaining time….he travels around the USA, has time to sight-see, visit, hang-out while the company picks up his tab..or his boss does….seems like a good choice….but wait  Warren is trudging back with his head down…..Beatty looks up, “It’s wrong….wrong again…how could it be? …again….anyway the winner is Bob Ryan”…how could you beat this “job”! I’m very lucky to have this opportunity. Thanks for making it to the end of BOB Awards Show

 

Madness in Sports by Bob Ryan

Madness around the sports world….

….Kevin Garnett set off many basketball folks when he said  “AAU has killed our league” recently…I will grant you that the very, very good players have improved with all the traveling, competition, etc as they play spring & summer AAU ball. For the many “good” players, it seems to me that they are “picking up the freight” as the costs get doled out. From my view, most of the player at this level(vast majority of players are NOT NBA bound), are being misled about their skills.  From a playing point of view, no question that individual skills are emphasized and have improved all players at the cost (to me) of team play, situational play, passing, real individual & team defense. The Me-Me attitude prevails …and in my view…encouraged… in AAU…so surprisingly, I am agreeing with Kevin Garnett.  The epitome of AAU basketball was the so-called NBA all-star game….what a complete joke to call that a basketball game…I’ve seen better defense in a 3rd grade game.

…speedup baseball by removing intentional walks…what a “mad” approach…there were 932  intentional walks last year (season has 2430 total games)…so its 1 intentional walk every 2.6 games….come on 2 min every 2.6 games….boy….that’ll make a real difference!  Whitey Herzog points out that the number of pitches in a game has increased dramatically in recent years…so the length of the game has increased dramatically….how do you prevent that….easy…throw more strikes..and umpires call more strikes….the top of the strike zone isn’t the belt..it’s mid chest…any part of the ball over any part of the plate is a strike…do that and you’ll have more action….and….it’d help the hitter!!..here’s proof…back in 2008 a statistician compared hitters who hit the ball on 1st pitch vs 7th pitch or longer… For one-pitch at-bats the slash line was .344/.349/.543 for an OPS of .892; for seven or more pitches, it was .230/.406/.372 and .778. Get up there to hit!

….real “madness” from the losing Super Bowl team… Mohamed Sanu of Atlanta Falcons has the feeling that his team blew their huge lead to the Pats due to the long halftime! It definitely did,” Sanu said.  I guess that the Patriots had a shorter one, heh?  This guy is really reaching for straws…

….maybe…maybe…the Cardinals were too tight last year…all the music, glad-handing, high 5’s, no cliques (what is this Jr high?) and generally good spirt being emphasized this year is fine….as long as you win!  Losing teams look foolish doing all of that stuff.  The “mad” idea that fun wins instead of talent is a bit “mad”

….the madness of using Kolton Wong in the outfield…no less at a windy Wrigley Field last year…still haunts Birds as Wong’s injured shoulder from that ill-advised OF day…still bothers him this spring

….”madness ruled in Florida” as a rain delay took place in the Reds-Indians opening pre-season game…that’s unusual enough in Florida ….but it was a totally different type of rain delay…the sprinkler system went haywire as both teams were ready to begin the bottom of the 8th inning

 

It’s that time of the year….college basketball takes center stage for a month of basketball.  The one & done thought lingers in the back of every player, coach, AD’s mind.  It’s heavy stakes…huge money involved for school, coach…hopefully not player J…recruiting is impacted by success, coaches resumes may get fattened or squashed in this month…it’s March Madness! Now…here’s a fun thing….I’ll give you the stats for 5 college coaches…but not their names…decide which coach that you’d hire….we’re not considering age, salary, or other factors other than their record….just their stats…here goes..

Coach A: 600+ WINS, 1 NCAA championship, 2x-final four, 16x-regular season champs, 8x conf tourney championships

Coach B: 900+ wins, 1 NCAA championship, 5X final four, 8x regular season champs, 5X  conf tourney championships

Coach C: 600+ wins, 1 NCAA championship, 6x final four, 12 regular season champ,  12x  conf tourney champ

Coach D:  800+ wins, 2 NCAA championship, 8x final four, 15 regular season champ,  7 conf tourney champ

Coach E: 700+ wins, 2 NCAA championship, 7x final four, 8 regular season champ, 12 conf tourney champ

Now…obviously…all these guys are good….real good…so you couldn’t go too far wrong on any of them..but sometimes I think we have a predisposed idea about how good/great a coach is…maybe we like his style, his pizzazz, his clothes, his ability to talk in a mic, his showmanship … whatever…now you’re judging them on their record only…answers at bottom.  We’ll talk more about brackets in the coming weeks.

Other coaching notes…

…heard Dabo Swiney (Clemson football coach) on the radio recently…this Alabama guy has it together…he was fascinating, down-to-earth, sincere and had some of those good ol’ Southern expressions to make his 18 minute interview fly by for me.

….Edwardsville’s softball/girls basketball coach, Lori Blade has reached historic levels as a coach.  I don’t’ believe that there will be another one like her. She has won 600+  games as a softball coach and 600+ games as a girls basketball coach. An intense coach, masterful at developing players, forming teams, maximizing skills…should I keep going on?….think about that ….1200 wins! WOW! I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting Coach Blade and …after many attempts….convincing her to play in the Prepcasts Girls Shootout years ago….It was unbelievable for me to see her use her high level of coaching skills in person….and she’s like the pink bunny….still ticking 

…also heard Army Head Football Coach, Jeff Monken.  That name rang a bell…but I couldn’t place it…it turns out that 5 of his uncles coached HS Football…including at least 1 on the East Side—Jim Monken…man, it’s a small world.

 

 Bits from Around Town…

…SLU Womens’ basketball did not win the A-10 championship, but the Lady Bills have really been an exciting team to watch this year …and last year….The Billikens were 26-8 last year and lost in 3rd round of WNIT. Expectations were much higher this hear as Confernce Player of the Year-Jackie Kempf was returning for her Junior year. In 2016-17, the Lady Bills are 22-7 including their signature win over Mizzou. After an embarrassing 94-65 loss to Duquesne on Jan 18, the Bills are 8-2 and both losses were tight (one in OT, the other by 3 pts)….keep it rolling  Coach Stone through the A-10 tourney and any post-season tournament. Btw…Coach Stone is only the 7th coach in the 41 year history of the women’s program.

….Congratulations to former HS coach and long-time current high school basketball referee,  Vince DeGreeff , who will be celebrating with his teammates this weekend, the 50th anniversary of their NAIA National Championship (3/18/1967) for St Benedict’s College, (Atchison, Kansas). Vince along with his St Louis teammate Darryl Jones will be honored at a banquet in Kansas City by the Benedictine College board of directors and quests. St Benedict’s won 71-65 versus Oklahoma Baptist despite 47 points by future pro Al Tucker.

….Izzy Farrell, Sr-Fox High school…broke the school basketball record for scoring this week….no not the girls record…the school record!…it’s very unusual at a co-ed school to have a female scoring leader…kudo’s to her!!

 

Oh yea….those coaches listed above…who do YOU choose if you wanted a coach for a season (or longer)?…A-Bill Self;  B- Jim Boeheim; C-John Calipari; D-Roy Williams; E-Rick Pitino

 

Enough madness…back to the daily world (and more madness)