Fat Lady Sings by Bob Ryan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  1. Joe Parisi says:

    One of your more interesting takes!

    I couldn’t agree more with your take on the future of college athletes…. not in my lifetime but makes a lot of sense.

    Re: The Cardinals…I think they need more than a ” middle of the line up bopper”.
    Need more quality starts from the rotation..bullpen simply can’t be overused and last the entire season. Defense and base running must be a prime focus during spring.

    Carp is not the answer at 1st Base…the outfield carousel must come to an end. Best players play… period! No more trips to Memphis.

    Don’t follow college football closely enough to comment on SEC, however, Mizzou has been a major disappointment.

    The coaches/ shoe companies scandal.. probably has been going on for years. Again, taking your approach to paying players as entertainers just got more valid.

  2. Adam Ryan says:

    Don’t agree about student athletes only being in D2 or D3 in “most cases” or your solution to the NCAA problem.

    The facts are that 87% of all NCAA athletes graduate from college. The national average dropout rate (not graduating in 6 years since high school graduation) in 2014 was 55%. These are averages, not taking in consideration the difference in graduation rate among minorities.

    Black students tend to have the lowest graduation rate. Black NCAA athletes also have the lowest graduation rate, but on average is higher than non athletes. To take away sports and not require education as an athlete will further seperate the racial inequality.

    In my opinion, the sad part about D1 NCAA athletes are those whose name sells tens of thousands of jerseys but the only place they can afford to live at is 10 miles from campus and they don’t own a car. The dorms are great for freshman, but they realistically don’t support Juniors or Seniors. The basic necessities aren’t there for the Juniors and Seniors.

    This conversation can also stem from the change in the purpose of college. It’s no longer there to avoid being drafted or to secure a job that you can always pay your mortgage. It’s there to get an interview. Grades matter less in the workforce (besides engineering and teaching) and leadership matters more. Meaning, who cares if they have tutors and help to get their degree. They have shown more leadership and business tactics than most undergraduate students.

  3. A few brief comments. Regardless of all our protestations, our beloved leader of men will return to direct the Cardinals. I just hope that the leadership, Mozielak and Girsch can get some players who can win. I am shocked, shocked…that the NCAA has realized that many of their schools cheat across the board. It took the FBI to enlighten them Really ? Just pay the players. Make them officially employees of the university. If they want to go to class, then arrange adjustments to their “salary”. As for the Rams, as usual, my response is that I have not followed the NFL for two years and counting.

  4. The Cardinals season is gratefully over for me. Watching games in the last two months were painful and caused me to lose sleep. I am a Cards fan through and through and hope that next years changes will bring them back to respectability. They should concentrate on two things, speed and defense. Pitching is, of course , important but I think we have enough young pitching to get by. That formula works because speed never gets into a slump and if you don’t give runs away, you don’t have to score as many to win.

    As for the Rams, I never cared much for them in the past and even less in the present. However, just how bad was Jeff Fisher as a coach, when a young untested coach comes in, with the same team team that Fisher left, and is winning? Fisher sure had the ownership fooled with his lack of ability and promise of winning.

  5. Like your blog post. Be careful, “body shaming” melts snowflakes.
    No need whatsoever for balls and strikes video apoeals. Use technology to Take the call completely out of the umpires hand.
    Put a reflector in the ball and a sensor under the plate.
    Measure the players strike zone and program the sensor for each player.
    Send a signal to the umpire with a receptor in one pocket for strikes, the other for balls.
    All batters and pitchers would be treated equally. All Stars and chumps, both batters and pitchers, home team and visitors treated the same.
    NL & AL strike zones would be the same, eliminating the advantage of the umpires location from home team In interleague play.
    Just for fun, let’s imagine optional receptor locations and intensity.

  6. Jim Pleimann says:

    Nobody can get in word edgewise with Tommy Pham around. Only Pete rose quoted his stats more than our Tommy boy! Heck, everybody says “Good, now I don’t have to do an interview, Pham has it all covered”
    We need a bopper, a stopper and not so many players who can do… or not do the same things.
    Every manager is by the top step not just Manifesto…
    Did the rams play Sunday?? Thursday? Monday night? ZZZZZZZZZ
    Amazing to me only five teams in the American League were over .500! Not one non-playoff team had a winning record!
    Dodgers vs Houston? Or will Washington finally get there? Can’t ignore the Indians – they are very good.
    I would like to come back in 50 years and see how the NCAA is run. THAT will be interesting.
    Pull up a chair and watch the Blues opener on Wednesday night!! LGB!! Sorry I had to do that! Hehehe

  7. jJoel Delpha says:

    It’s sad to see money and greed (as well as the desire to win at all costs) ruin sports. Alas, sports is a reflection of not an escape from the world in which we live.
    I would submit Paul Molitor as the AL Manager of the Year.
    Finally, I always thought that the term “Hail Mary” originated with Roger Staubach? Oh well. live and learn.

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