It’s Cold … in many ways! by Bob Ryan

April has brought us several days of chilly, to cold, to very cold days….that’s not all that’s cold around the sports world….

…as of April 16, there had been 24 cancellations…forcing Doubleheaders….in some cities..they will be back-back, one admission…in the cities that really love baseball…e.g. StL….it’s day-night so that 2 admissions may be charged…isn’t that backwards?….charging more to the cities that really “follow” their team…oh wait… the goal is to make money…

….last week a new record….one that no team would like to hold…was established….On Tues, April 24, the Colorado Rockies played the Atlanta Braves….at 1st pitch it was an ice-cold 23 degrees!!!… Come on, this was suited more for the Alaskan Iditarod than Baseball…in fact the huskies pulling the sled probably outnumbered the crowd…oops…wrong word…really not a “crowd”…the gathering  @ Denver

….regarding the extremely cold temps in this very early part of the season….Nancy Armour of USA today writes that all inter-league play should be eliminated….it would provide a 142 game schedule…starting april 15  ..world series ending by Oct 15….do you feel the “cold” of the owners to that suggestion? Of course the players would have to see THEIR salaries reduced proportionately for the fewer games….. oops…now do you feel the players turning cold? Even colder that when they dressed like “bank robbers” or people snowboarding in November.  There’s no guarantee that it’d be warmer after April 15th but …. even without Vegas….we know the odds are much better.

….I can’t warm up to Manifesto because of these types of moves…..after pitching  Tyler Lyons for 1 inning, 17 pitches on Friday….MM brings in Lyons again on Saturday..it’s clear immediately that he doesn’t have his “stuff”….he falls behind the first 4 batters that he faces..Reds score 3 runs..which for them is really HUGE ….I realize that Manifesto has been cut all the way back to 7 relief hurlers in the bullpen…but why the back-back after a long outing?  Mike Maddux might as well be sitting in the Arch.. or on top of it…… instead of the dugout..what difference does he make?

…Head Coach Lovie Smith must have experienced chills up & down his back when he looked at  the 2018 Illini schedule…according to my research…it’s the first time in over 50 years that Illinois will NOT have Ohio State, Michigan or Michigan State …any 1 of the  3 of them…on their schedule. I’m still not sure that they can win 6 games to earn a bowl bid! Btw….how does Lovie keep “getting a pass” for these poor teams?

…many…many batters have come out “cold”….as I write this, there are 29 MLB hitters with averages UNDER .200….some unfamiliar names to this Frigid beginning….Hunter Pence .172, Gregory Polanco & Giancarlo Stanto ..each at .197…btw …. Stanton has already heard the cold boo-birds of New York….it has to be a shock for him….in Miami…he could hear the beer vendors trying to sell their wares…now he actually sees AND hears the fans..the cold list continues….slugger Chris Davis is at .145…the Cards aren’t exempt….Matt Carpenter at .182, Dexter Fowler @ .181 and Kolton Wong .133….sure you can find Randall Grichuk at an ice cold mark .086 and smirk…..but reaaallllyyy is it that much different?

…after decades of being frozen out on my TV… the NBA has returned…at least for me….I’ve began watching it again…. no…can’t go a whole game yet….but it’s really a cleaner, faster version of college basketball…clear outs, phenomenal outside shooting, tremendous athleticism, crisper passing, less fouls. Just watched the Cavs-Pacers game….it was outstanding!…coming right down to the last 15 seconds with multiple possessions….the Pacers with a raucous crowd cheering them on….beat the Cavs.  NONE of the my Hawks favorites that I cheered for in the Lou back in the day could play for ANY of these teams. A good friend of mine asked me about 50+ years ago…why I didn’t just watch the last 4 minutes of the Hawks games….he was probably right…..it seems to me that the vast majority of NBA games DO come down to that final 4 minutes.

…..Does anyone else wonder about Yadi’s sudden power surge in the last 2 years?…He hit 18 HR last year…has 6 already this year…in 10 of his seasons he didn’t reach double figures in home runs for the entire year. Maybe my judgement is just getting too cold about “jumps” late in a players career.

…death of Earl Bruce brings back the chills that I enjoyed as I talked with him about one of my Varsity players in the early 80’s….Bruce was Head Coach at Iowa State at the time…..my player ended up going to Mizzou so that his family could watch him….sad part of the story…by the time he became a starter..in his 4th year at Mizzou, his Dad had been transferred by McDonnel Douglas to Australia.

….regarding the increase in strikeouts across the league….this “new” upward swing has been in vogue for a couple years now….pitchers, pitching coaches and managers have studied the swings and have found antidotes.  Sure….hitters are still taking the round trippers…but usually it’s with no one on base and the batters averages & hard contact …outside of those HR swings….has dropped to an icy low level.

….Bryan Price’s firing by Cincy management team shows clearly that don’t understand the low level of the talent on this 3-17 team. 3 wins in 3 weeks….ugh….It seems like a Siberian cold  feeling to me…..this team wasn’t assembled by the manager.. so.. in 20 games…he’s gone….he’s clearly a scapegoat.

…the oft icy, slippery slope of many players making the transition  from college to the NFL  often derails  many players…not so at Northwestern, Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald currently has 9 of his players in the NFL..when asked if they were  “prepared” for the NFL….the response is “The No. 1 thing guys (from Northwestern who make the NFL) tell me — midway through their first year I will text and ask them did we prepare you? — and to a man the answer is the same: ‘I was over-prepared.'” He said. “The active learning environment and expectations academically, our guys take the path less traveled. We hope they achieve the goal of playing on Sunday for a long time, but that is Plan B. Plan A is life.” Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about? Btw…Mizzou has 21 players in the NFL!!

…..Another team with a glacier like start to the season is the Kansas City Royals.  The Royals just notched their 4th win after 3 weeks of games…that isn’t cold….its freezing.  As we all know….the Royals core of players that carried them to the post season for a couple years reached free agency… and…. Bolted outta town …seems a bit cold… like most of us…they are going to sign for the most money…. wherever it may be

…so Dez Bryant gets the brumal touch from the “Boys”…..probably one of the 1st times in years  that he’s realized just how good he had it in Dallas.

…Boston Red Sox leaped off to a 17-3 start…despite the frigid weather in Boston….the Red Sox schedule for those 16 wins included the two Florida teams (Miami/Tampa Bay), ice cold Baltimore, Angels, A’s and one genuine series….against the Yankees…Boston took advantage of this weak schedule.

….the MLB attendance figures tell the true story about the imbalance of the league…..there are 10 teams averaging 30,000+ fans/game; 10 teams averaging more than 20,000 but less than 30,000 and 10 teams trying to cross the cold tundra of sports dollars  with less than 20,000 per game.

…throwing around cold cash like they are printing it….the NY Mets contract with Adrian Gonzalez have a  freezes out some other poor ones…. Gonzalez is being paid $11.44mil….it is estimated…not by me but by others…that his performance value is -$6.4m….I don’t know how negative money works…anyway… by this estimate his contract is -$17.4 in value.

….buried deep way back in the frozen part of our mind are thoughts of some of the old, very unique baseball stadiums… one that really strikes me is the Polo Grounds in NY….some history here…opened in 1890 closed in 1963…demolished in 1964… when built, writers indicated that it was much more suited for polo than baseball…and hence…that idea led to the name of the Stadium. The upper deck in Left field extended out over the field, reducing the already short lower deck distance of 279 feet to a ridiculous 250 feet, and actually making it hard to hit a home run into the lower deck…although the famous HR from Bobby Thompson in the “shot around the world” did just that…landed in lower deck…. Center field, which was already a ridiculously far 483 feet away, also had an overhang that was part of one of the clubhouses, and therefore made a home run to dead center a whopping 505 feet away. Right field, although without a deck, was still just 258 feet away. However, right center was nearly 200 feet farther away at 449 feet. Simply put, we will never see a baseball stadium with as unique of dimensions as the Polo Grounds. I’d like to see one built like that….those unique dimensions could make for a more exciting, unpredictable game…some cheap HR, long-long extra base hits to the power alleys, etc.

….so after giving the cold shoulder to Vianney baseball for the first several weeks of the season and after suffering their 1st loss….I must give them their due…..The Golden Griffins, ranked #1 by StLtoday, #7 by USA Today, #5 by Collegiate Baseball and #4 by MaxPreps with a 22-1 record, are coached by Scott Brown. Vianney beat CBC 15-3 Friday to gain their 21st victory.  That victory was VERY unusual…Vianney’s pitching staff gave up 3 runs…the staff has 8 shutouts and Vianney seldom scores 15 runs …who does?J  8 shutouts is really incredible…to get just 1 shutout in this day & age of “hitting” is tough enough. Coach Brown’s roster has 16 seniors of which at least 6 different pitchers who will be pitching at the collegiate level next year.  That pitching staff has kept the opponents bats ice cold while allowing a scant 27 earned runs in 21 games! Sr Luke Mann, who is headed to Mizzou, is the leader of the staff. He’s 4-0 with an ERA of 0.77….but check out these other earned run averages. Brendan May is @ 0.43 in 7 games….Mitchell O’deKirk is 0.25 after 5 games..Caleb Buehrle holds a 3.23 ERA, Noah Niznik comes in at 2.74, Ryan Insco is 2.4. While the pitching has been truly unbelievable, the batters average 7.24 runs per game. Soph CJ Cepicky is batting at a .474 clip and Luke Mann…..as often occurs in the high school level….the best pitchers are often some of the best batters…. hits at .448 with 4 home runs. Last the Golden Griffins finished 3rd in MSHSAA STATE championships. I go WAY back with Coach Brown….when he assumed his 1st HS Head Coaching Position in 1992… he had a assistant with the initials BR. Lucky for him….he didn’t have to put up with blogs at that point.

I’ve reached the end of my tour on the cold tundra….thx for making it to the end…now warm up.

Comments

  1. Kevin Niewoehner says:

    It seems that whomever takes over as manager of the Reds has an impossible task. Isn’t the real solution for Reds fans to riot and demand a different ownership group that will spend money?

  2. Great article! Scottie Brown…What a guy!!
    He thinks I am following him around lol…I had no idea you coached with him In 92.
    That’s when I started @ CB in 92…5 years later 1st tennis STATE title !!
    Back to your stuff..So sad Marlins are Barely getting 8000 People to their game..
    Matheny I am not a big fan of his..Thank goodness they have been playing the minor Laegue Reds wow!
    I had no idea about Lovie not playing the Trio power.. They may make a bowl this year!
    Baseball is just too Slow for me… like watching Hamilton for 3 hours.
    Have a good week

    MB

  3. “I’m all for MLB ending season in October. However, starting the season in late March?? Not enough warm weather mkt teams/ domes to deal with early season poor weather.

    Solution… 154 games. Again , greed ($)

    Announced today that Under Armour has signed uniform deal with MLB… big UA logo on jerseys…. lovely! For years, Rawlings & Russell had subtle branding…shirt tail/ back pocket of pants. Combine these deals with annual increase in ticket, concessions & parking, life long fans have had enough!

    Nearing May, and Carpenter, FOWLER & Wong are well below “ Mendoza Line”. Back field work, limited game action during spring training must stop for players counted on to be team leaders. 7 months work for these contracts…. c’mon, man up boys! ” JP

  4. Carter Cassell says:

    Vianney Baseball does it right and I have seen it before I even got there with their summer camps. There’s a system and foundation built at the Varsity level and as long as you put in the work during the offseason and practice, you won’t fail. Usually, coach had one or two aces and a couple go to bullpen guys but I can’t believe the amount of stud pitchers they have this year, especially when most are going to Division 1 schools. They had a really close and unfortunate defeat last year in the State Final but I know they’ll be hungry for more in the coming months.

    Carter

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