As the Sports World Turns by Bob Ryan

Constantly, continually….the sports world turns…..like real life….nothing stays exactly the same…for long….before plowing through some of those “turning” areas…..my thanks to Jim Pleimann for holding the fort down for the last 2 weeks as Jean & I went on a vaca

….For Alabama, the world was spinning far too fast last week as Clemson not  only upset them, the Tigers slaughtered them…no one that I know ever expected that type of game….now ….I didn’t see any of the game but…..I had seen Bama play a couple weeks earlier…. Back-back plays stuck out to me….a SR offensive tackle for Alabama…jumped off-sides twice…on back-back plays…..EVERYONE knew who had committed the penalty..it was obvious…..he was yanked out of the game and Saban really made a big show of chewing him out and sending him to the bench. He really humiliated the player in front of the world. I know as a coach, that type of “leadership” doesn’t cut it any more….ONLY a guy with Saban’s record could ever get away with it….and I wondered if ….behind the scenes as the world turns, players change…when things start to go sour.. which they seldom do @ Bama…..how was Saban with his staff & players?  I’m not saying that HE lost the game or that Clemson didn’t deserve the championship…but I’m wondering who the real Nick Saban currently is…. on the sidelines and off the field….is it always someone else’s mistake when things go south?…and I don’t mean to Alabama J ….btw….5 coaches have left Alabama this year so only 2 coaches remain from the 2015 championship season…..hmmmm?

…For the Blues…..there now is some ….probably ….only a tiny bit….but at least… some hope…. of reaching the playoffs. It exists while the Hockey Season continues to turn & spin in many different directions for our Blues..  As you recall, I’m not really “into” winning the division titles in hockey…so what ?….the real season is post-season.  Just qualify for the playoffs…that’s the story. While still looking with their hopeful eyes, the Blues have 36 games remaining (as I write this part on Friday night)… that’s plenty of time….only Edmonton….gee….I guess Hitchcock found that winning touch that the  Blues thought that he had lost for them….has a better record against winning teams than the Blues out of the remaining teams “looking in”for a playoff spot. If Berube has ANY chance of staying on the bench, he MUST get into the playoffs…. soooo..LGB.

….the hockey world stopped spinning for Patrik Burgland…the former Blue….traded earlier this year to Buffalo…walked away from his multi-year, multi-million dollar contract….He just wasn’t enjoying it. He did play in 10 seasons, scored 168 goals. It stunned most fans. Most fans dream of playing and can’t imagine getting tired of it.  In his defense….he’s probably been playing hockey competitively since he was a very young boy…think of the hours of skating, practicing, chalk talks, various coaches trying to “motivate” you, yada-yada-yada….to use an ol’ time expression….he got “burned out”.

…the world spins differently for HS basketball players being recruited….they are wooed, praised, fawned over in ways that may make it hard for them to see the REAL world….St Louis U lost  Carte’ Are Gordon about the time  we left StL….I wasn’t surprised….he’d left his 1st high school, he left his original AAU team… we all know those kind of guys…the grass is always greener else where…I’d seen him play…he was good…especially when considering that he was only a Freshman but he wasn’t anything like the “one & done” Freshman that cycle in & out of Kentucky every year. I later learned that he wasn’t the easiest teammate to have on your team….his loss has really impacted the Bills…they’ve won 5 straight since his departureJ

…the world is spinning a bit quicker for the MU Men’s Basketball team after their impressive, dominating win over Texas A&M 66-43…now holding a 10-6 record…This was one of their best wins of the season. 4 of their previous wins were over Cen Arkansas, Kennesaw State (by 4 pts), U-Tx Arlington and Moorhead State… none of those wins really count for much. In the other 5 wins, only a couple were wins with some quality to them –by 2 pts over UCF, 6 pts over Oregon State (11-5)-THAT was a good win, over Oral Roberts (8-13 of Summit league), Xavier (11-7)-nice win, Illinois(5-12). The devastation of losing the Porter brothers has been difficult to overcome for the Tigers….but yesterday Jordan Geist hit some early 3’s, Jerimiah Tilmon didn’t even have a foul until long after the outcome of the game had been determined and scored inside very effectively with his hook shot (the hook shot is coming back into vogue, and the MU defense forced A&M into long, hurried…sometimes out of control shots. GOOD  road win got the Tigers.

…the college football world was spinning a bit out of control with the retirement of Mark Reicht (Miami) it surprised many….I have to wonder if the Miami AD realized that Richt had played the easiest schedule of his career (according to sports reference.com) and yet finished with the lowest rating (according to same reference) of his career….his glossy career record of 171-64 was tainted in 2018….maybe HE recognized the decline in his own efficiency or maybe THE MIAMI AD recognized it and asked him to resign (or retire)… or be removed

…the world hasn’t been spinning much for the Cards …..only the hype has been spinning ….soooo…the Cards starting staff for the start of 2019 looks like—Carlos Martinez, Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright & Michael Wacha…same as it was in the final months of 2018….no doubt about Mikolas & Flaherty being there ..probably as #1 & #2….however, Martinez actually seemed better as a reliever last year….facing batters for the 1st time as a starter the batting avg against him was .222, the OBP-.338 and OPS 6.49, facing them the 2nd time as a starter… same categories…214, .308, .630 and the 3rd time facing the same batters it looked like .289, .388, .759. As a reliever, 1st time facing them… the avg was .180,OB%- .292, OPS-.521…2nd time thru as a reliever: avg- .000, obp-.500, OPS-.500. He claims that he’s 27 years of age…I always wonder about those Latin American ages….at any rate…Martinez seems more fitted to be a “long” closer (2+ innings) than a starter to me. Wacha and Wainwright both require more than 4 days rest….a start once a week suits their arm difficulties, arm strength, “stuff”, much better….I’ve been clamoring for a 6 man rotation….starters can use the extra day and hopefully go deeper into each game…hence saving the pen a bit. Andrew Miller will be the new closer with the set up men mix-matching….The 2019 Miller will actually have a difficult time outperforming the 2018  Bud Norris for his work over the first 5 months of the season. Compare the work of each in 2018…. In April, Norris had 12 appearances, 5 saves & 2 holds; May—12 appearances, 6 saves, 1 win, 1 loss; in June –10 appearances, 4 saves; 2 wins, 2 blown-sv, 1 loss ..editorial note here…so by July 1 he had pitched in 34 games; he had 15 saves, 3 wins, 2 losses…in July,Norris-10 appearances,  5 saves & 1 loss; August saw 11 appearances, 8 saves, 1 blown save…by September the 32 year old was toast…8 appearances; 3 losses 1 blown save, 0 saves or wins. Norris is still unsigned… personally…with a bit more rest…I think that he’d be a terrific set up man(which were the original plans last year)….at any rate, Miller’s 2018 stats look like this….Mar/Apr-11 appearances—zero runs during that time!!  1 save, 1 win, 4 holds; May-just 6 appearances-3 blown saves, 3 losses, 1 save..era now 4.40..ugh.. He missed all of June and July! In August, Miller was in 10 games, 3 holds, 1 win..era down to 3.38 by the end of the month. September had Miller in 10 games, 2 holds, 1 save, 1 loss. ERA for the season 4.24. I personally think 10 games should be the max per month per pitcher…. that’d be 60 games a year. I’m of the belief…pitching 70+ games in a season damages your arm…and 75 games makes the cliff even steeper for the relievers. Now…the story line is that Miller was injured….my thought is….once you have experienced a bad arm….does it EVER get back to its original strength & durability..on occasion, it does.  Often it does not.  Let’s hope that Miller has fully recovered.

…the world was spinning out of control…at least for a minute…while scanning the Top 25 NCAA-M basketball list…I found @ #16 — Buffalo!!!  Huh? Where did they come from? They are 17-1 at the moment! It’s great…that team has beaten 17 of 18 opponents should get recognitiion….including W. Virginia, Syracuse, S. Illinois-twice(they beat the Bills). The Bulls…this is no bull…..are averaging 85ppg. I’m not forecasting that they will win the NCAA … or even get picked for the NCAA…but give them their “due” when appropriate. Enjoy the ride Bulls

….if you haven’t noticed…the world has been spinning quicker for the Cincinnati Reds this off-season. Already possessing a strong lineup, the Reds added Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp. I’m not a big fan of either…one is a hot dog and the other more talk than performance… but… each should improve the team. Puig DID have a very strong 2nd half for LA last year (remember when his HR killed the Cards in a key home game). On the mound, Cincy acquired Alex Wood & Tanner Roark to boost their staff. Both will provide experience, innings and probably more wins. Returning starter Luis Castillo had a terrific 2nd half of 2018…he was the ranked # 27 for that period. HE may really be the ace in 2019. Closer Raisel Iglesias is legit….and….he goes more than 1 inning if necessary. The Cards won’t be able to count on those sweeps against Cincy as often next year as in the recent past.

…for the Metro Panthers Girls Basketball team….the world just keeps spinning along in the usual way…. Head Coach Gary Glasscock has his team holding a 13-5 record and sitting atop the PHL standings at 4-0.  This isn’t anything new for the Panthers….they’ve been unbeaten in conference play the last 3 years!  Metro is 13-5 for the season as they play a wide assortment of teams. 5-9 Jr Faith Bland leads the club in scoring(18.0 ppg), rebounding (11.0/gm) & blocked shots-39. Other leaders on the Panthers are the only 2 seniors on the team….Mikenzie Burt (20 points in the last win over Visitation) & Micah Goldman (assist leader). If the name of “Glasscock” seems familiar to you from the past, earlier in his career, while Head Coach at Cor Jesu, he coached Niele Ivey. Ivey was probably the best players of her era while she starred at Cor Jesu.  Ivey went on to star for Notre Dame at the collegiate level from 1996-2001. She finished her career after 2 seasons in the WNBA. I had the “opportunity”…while coaching….of facing Cor Jesu with Ivey….it was a looonnnggg game for me J  Hope that YOUR world is spinning around just right for you!

 

Comments

  1. Welcome back Bob!
    It was nice that Clemson beat Roll Tide Roll. The kid QB –wow a cool calm Manner FR– like it was another game put on a show with those Acrobatic WRS. Plus I can say my Irish lost by less points to the Champion than Sabin!!
    The Blues have to roll with da KID in goal. They play so much better with him in the nets. You
    can just see the energy. Hopefully they do that.
    I am not surprised about Cartier leaving SLU; you can see he did that in high school too.
    SLU hasn’t lost a game since he left them 6-0
    Nevada &Buffalo are fun basketball teams!
    Teams to watch. Reminds me the days of Loyola Marymount–Run & Gun
    They BOTH will make it to Sweet 16 in da Big Dance!!
    Like SLU chances making it in to da Big dance more than ZOU basketball
    MB

  2. I was a bit surprised how Clemson easily won the game against Alabama. Clemson’s QB was amazing and it’s hard to believe that he will stay in college more than one more year. He’s the real deal but their line played quite well and their receivers certainly got themselves open. Honestly, I wanted Bama again as I like Coach Saban. I think he’s “old school” and I like that style and dedication. That said, your reference on how that coaching style might not be as effective with today’s athlete may be right on target. Probably exactly what happened to Bobby Knight as I’m sure the AD was hearing it from parents, administrators, students and probably players. His style was causing concerns…that said, he is probably the most popular person in Indiana even today.

    Don’t follow the Blues much but enough to believe that the team plays much better with the young goalie in the nets. I also thought Hitchcock was a good coach and they should have never let him go. I know they stated it was his decision but I’m sure it was a mutual let’s part ways in the way they did it. Plus, having the next/new coach on the bench with you at the start of his last season was a disaster waiting to happen.

    SLU basketball has improved without Gordon. I don’t think I have heard one good word about him other than he can play ball. I like Coach Ford when he talks basketball but not sure he will be around long. I think he’ll look for a bigger program. I do like the Coach at MU but losing the Porter brothers certainly put a damper on his plans for the program. The college team that I saw a bit was Greenville. I don’t know the coach or much about the team but saw his style of play. Run and shoot with fast pace offense. The more shots your team takes the better and he preaches a quota of shots per half. I don’t know their schedule put saw they score close to 100 or more points per game. Tough to beat a team scoring that many points. I don’t follow the college game too much until March Madness but my favorite team is UConn…. maybe I just like Husky’s.

    The Cards new 1st baseman was a great a great pick up IF they can sign him long term. They don’t have a solid starting pitching staff as yet. Adam will get a shot but I think will have a short lease. That might depend on the fans though as he’s going to get to take his final year tour. I sure hope Reyes is back and healthy. I think they’ll try him in the BP and then if all goes well, make him a starter – I hope. I don’t care much for Puig nor Kemp but they will be a plus for Cincy. They picked up two everyday good players. If they are on, they will really have a much better team and Cincy will get their $$$ worth. JJ

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