Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Apparently the rule I stated yesterday about which arm to use when facing a switch-hitter, applied only to the minors. The MLB rule is the PITCHER must first outwardly declare which arm he will start with, then the batter picks a side. After at least one pitch, both players have the option to change, but only once. ...Please don't make me repeat that.
***THE SPORTSWRITERS WERE AMUSING TODAY***
DWIGHT PERRY: Talking about the St. Louis Blues leading their division in penalty minutes, five-minute majors and 10-minute misconducts - "In other words, Beat Me in St. Louis."
STEVE SCHRADER: On Albert Pujols sporadic back problems - "I'm no doctor, but here's a tip if they flare up again: Don't ask the hitting coach what he would do."
SCOTT OSTLER: "I don't want to say I'm worried about the Dodgers, but they recently lost to the Chinese All-Stars. Approximately 29 people in China play baseball."
Speaking of amusement, our old friend Bob Matthews is making his annual baseball predictions this week, one division a day. I have to keep looking at the header on the page to make sure I'm not reading the comics. I'll let you all know next what he thinks (sorry, bad choice of words).
***CONNECTICUT WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM ROLLS***
Into the Final Four with a 90-50 win over Florida St. (could have been the WHOLE state). Their leading player, Maya Moore, was quoted as saying "We still have some things we need to improve. We're not perfect." I'm sure Florida St. feels better after hearing that!
After watching the highlights and the celebration afterwards, Annie-O commented, "Gee, they even have time in practice to choreograph a victory dance."
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
So we might as well have a little fun. There is a good chance Girardi will let Pat Venditte throw a couple of innings today. As you may recall, this is the fellow who throws BOTH right and left-handed. He wears a six-finger glove with a thumb on both ends and, I suppose, the instructions on wearing it, written in the palm. It would have been interesting to see what happens when he faced a switch-hitter. Would the hitter switch from side to side while Venditte kept changing glove hands? Alas, that would be carrying fun a little too far. Apparently, they have established a rule that the hitter must first decide. I wonder if the pitcher can change arms (boy, does that sound weird) in the middle of an at-bat?
Scouts say he doesn't have the talent to pitch in the majors and will probably be assigned to Single-A Tampa for the 2nd year in a row. Bummer. We need to have more fun.
Vod and his very charming wife, Laura, should be returning from a scouting trip into the deep south this week. He has been missed: no one has sneered at me in two weeks (I don't count Annie-O).
Friday, March 26, 2010
***WHEN IS DEFENSE NOT NEEDED?***
When the other team keeps throwing the ball away. Syracuse was described on the ESPN highlights as "Sloppy Joe." I couldn't agree more. A couple of times, they looked like they were throwing the ball to a 'ghost' player, someone who wasn't even there. The offense didn't really click, either. The Orange is not a 'walk-the-ball-down' team, they run-and-gun. It's one thing to get beat when you're playing your game and the other team just happens to win. It's an other when you're not in sync at all. It's too bad. They were a great team and should have gone further but they can still be proud of their season.
***WHEN IS DEFENSE NOT NEEDED? PART II***
A reader writes:
"Chad, You may not like Coach Cal but show me in black & white writing where he has NCAA violations charged against him. there are coaches out there coaching now who have put programs on probation and I don't hear them getting bad mouth like Cal does. Why ? Is it because he is at KY ? Remember, what you say about Cal will come back to haunt you." ...Anonymous
I wrote about this in the last 2 postings. Both times I stated that there was no proof of Calipari's knowledge of wrongdoing. I merely used his name as an example of a suggestion I felt may help keep coaches from breaking the rules. You have to admit that twice programs have gone on probation for offenses that took place while he was the coach (U Mass & Memphis). Do you honestly believe that this is just bad luck? To paraphrase and old expression, "Where there's smoke, there's Calipari." This is why I dislike Coach Cal. Bobby Knight may be a rude, sarcastic snob with a vicious temper, but he ran a clean program and his players graduated. If you look at the third picture on the right, you'll see he is one of Vod's candidates for...
...And I like Kentucky.
***BUSTER OLNEY CAN FINALLY TALK ABOUT IT***
As previously mentioned, Buster mentions Vanderbilt in all (or at least most) of his columns. It took him almost a week, but Vandy is back (sort of). Says Buster in today's column:
"The NCAA tournament is dead to me since Vanderbilt was knocked out. Dead to me, I tell you."
***ARE YOU GETTING THE PICTURE YET, GARY?***
Gary Matthews, Jr. wanted out of the Angels because he wasn't getting enough playing time. You'd have to say Mike Scioscia knows what he's doing, since the Angels are a perennial pennant contender. So Matthews gets traded to the Mets over the winter, definitely a team needing help. So what's happening now? We aren't even out of spring training and the Mets are already shopping Matthews. Doesn't look too good, Gary.
***OKAY, HE'S NO BABE RUTH, BUT...***
Bob Eucker claims that he, too, went to a hospital and promised a kid he found there that he would hit a home run for him that night. Things didn't go too well when Bob struck out 4 times and had 2 passed balls. Bob said later, "I heard the kid had a relapse and they blamed it on me. I found out afterwards he was an outpatient anyway."
I caught some grief because I don't like John Calipari. How much grief am I going to catch because I put down Duke and they're still in it, at least till tonight.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
***EVEN JANICE HOUGH NOTICED THIS ONE***
"Apparently for the newest “Pirates of the Caribbean”, Disney has asked that only aspiring actresses with “real breasts, not implants” apply for the roles. Auditions will be held in Los Angeles whenever both candidates can make it."
***KEEPING US INFORMED***
A newscaster on ESPN was updating us on the Ben Roethlisberger situation down in Georgia. He reminded us that Ben."... was accused of sexual assault. For those of you who don't know, what that means is, he is being accused of an assault of a sexual nature." Okay, NOW I understand.
Do these guys actually pay attention to what they're saying?
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The NCAA claims that in 2008, Memphis and coach Calipari used an ineligible player all season while compiling an NCAA record 38 wins, finishing 2nd in the national tournament. Apparently the player, believed to be Derrick Rose, falsified SAT scores and was therefore ineligible. However, the Educational Testing service had initially declared that player eligible. So Memphis played him. No problem, right? The Committee sent Rose a letter asking for more information about some discrepancies it discovered. When was this request sent? March 14, 2008, and again on April 10, 2008 while Memphis was in the middle of the tournament. The NCAA then declared the player ineligible in May of 2008!
Quite a quandary: Memphis shouldn't be given a clean slate because they did use an ineligible player, but the real fault lies with the testing committee for not being very timely with their inquiries. The biggest question is whether or not Memphis or Calipari KNEW before the season (or anytime during the season) that there was some kind of problem. There is no proof that that was the case.
So what do we do? The NCAA has what they consider a fair answer. Throw the book at Memphis and disregard any contributing factors by the Testing agency, the Infractions Committee or the NCAA itself. So Memphis has an asterisk placed by it's name for the season, has to return $615,000 in tournament awards and take down it's banner in their arena. The NCAA has to...well, do nothing. ...except maybe wash their hands.
Monday, March 22, 2010
***IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE***
Syracuse won by 22 points, but if they had heard what Robert Sacre, Gonzaga center, said before the game, Gonzaga might have been beaten by 52 points. "The Orange are soft," he said, "They're just a bunch of pretty boys," as he came out of the locker room to start the game. Apparently he turned the wrong way in the hallway because it didn't appear he showed up for the game.
***COULD BE A TOUGH WEEKEND FOR KENTUCKY***
Sure they're playing a 12-seed, Cornell, but the Big Red has shown that they are not overwhelmed by being in the big show. They sure played Syracuse tougher than Gonzaga did and they'll have the "home field" advantage in the Dome this week.
***SOME ANALYSTS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS***
Jay Bilas knows what he's talking about, Dick Vitale gives me a migraine, Bill Raftery needs a name change, but Digger Phelps takes the cake. Instead of his characteristic matching marker and tie, he should just be given a shovel. When asked what he thought about the match-ups for the Sweet 16, Digger was at his "best," ignoring the question and launching into his best trite-filled, ex-coaching bulls**t: "THIS TIME OF YEAR, YOU BETTER HIT THE GLASS...AND PLAY DEFENSE, OTHERWISE IT COULD BE TROUBLE," he screamed and looked at the other announcers. They just stared at him. Didn't know you had to play defense, did you?
***ESPN COMMERCIALS ARE MY FAVORITE***
They use their own staff and major sports figures and usually make fun of themselves. And they're hilarious. The latest is a spoof of Superman/Lois Lane, using my girl, Hannah Storm and LeBron James. Really funny and played for real by the two stars.
***FROM MIKE LOPRESTI, ROCHESTER D & C***
"All-Americans Sherron Collins, Kansas, Scottie Reynolds, Villanova, James Anderson, Okla State, and Luke Harangody of Notre Dame, put up enough bricks in the tournament to build their own school."
***FROM CENTER OMAR SAMHAN OF ST. MARYS***
One of his text messages read, "I can't believe you won. You really messed up my bracket, but that's great." It was from his mom.
***FROM JANICE HOUGH***
"No one made money on Cornell in Vegas, because after all, anyone smart enough to have graduated from Cornell was also probably smart enough not to have bet on them."
"At one point during his ESPN interview, Tiger Woods said of his repeated affairs – “I tried to stop and I couldn’t stop. And it was just, it was horrific.” Ladies and gentlemen, I think we’ve just found the new U.S. spokesman for Toyota."
***FROM BILL LITTLEJOHN***
"Foreclosure proceedings have begun on the residence of the Octomom. She reportedly is in negotiations for a cheaper shoe."
***IS DISNEY GOING TOO FAR?***
This is not a joke. Disney Studios has banned actresses with 'artificial enhancements' for the next "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie. The casting call included the following specifications: "Seeking beautiful female fit models. Must be 5ft 7in - 5ft 8in, size 4 or 6, no bigger or smaller. Age 18-25. Must have real breasts. Do not submit if you have implants." And if that weren't bad enough,they warn that there'll be a "show and tell" day. Potential lassies will have to undergo a Hollywood-style "jiggle-your-jugs" test and jog for the judges. This is right out of an article in the NY Post. Where is Gloria Steinem when you really need her?
Joe Mauer has signed for $23 million/year for 8 years with a no-trade clause. Rob Neyer says that ends the talk of Mauer in pinstripes for a long time. Uh, Rob, the Twins uniform has pinstripes.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Yeah, that's it. It not that we can't pick winners, it's just that the seedings are all wrong. And those analysts (I almost said experts!) keep pulling the wool over our eyes. One of the best Big East teams, Villanova, bit the dust yesterday as did the team most likely to win it all, Kansas. Or so we were told. I watched an interview with Dick Vitale this morning, explaining what happened yesterday. By the time he was done, he made it sound like he knew it all along and we should have listened to him. Truthfully, I don't usually listen to him 'cause I don't like it when my ears bleed. Well, it will be all over soon and I can stop sitting in a corner with my thumb in my mouth.
Syracuse better watch out today.
***ANYBODY NEED ANY TICKETS?***
The Vice President of Ticketing for the Boston Red Sox, said that requests for the opportunity to buy tickets (I love THAT phrase) to the home opener with the Yankees, numbered in the 200,000s. He said a factor was that ticket prices were 20% lower by average than last year. I guess we'll have to watch it on TV. But wait...there are really upwards of 6500 seats still available, about 16% of the capacity. Granted these tickets are only available thru Stub-Hub and other "legal scalpers," but they are there. Just make sure your checking account is in good order.
***WHAT'S BETTER THAN MANNY BEING MANNY?***
Why it's Milton Bradley being Milton Bradley. Baseball's true 'Bad Boy' has already been kicked out of TWO spring training games. How do you get kicked out of spring training games? I thought spring training was the time you worked on your weaknesses, not your strengths. It can't be Bradley's fault; so far he's blamed: 1.) His teammates 2.) A manager 3.) A general manager 4.) The umpires 5.) The media 6.) A whole city. Who's left? Those pesky hot dog vendors? This doesn't bode well for the Mariners.
Friday, March 19, 2010
First Washington admits getting caught using cocaine last year, then he admits using amphetamines & marijuana when he was a player. What's next, he played golf with Tiger Woods?
***MY BRACKET IS IN SHREDS***
Theoretically, the first round of the NCAA's should be relatively easy to predict. Oh, you have the 8-9 seeded game, which can be head-scratching, and the usual 12 seed upset win over the #5 seed every year, but come on now. Only 16 games played and 7 high seeds are already out? 3 powerhouse(?) Big East teams gone and 'Nova's still in only by the skin of it's teeth. Why should I be surprised? Back on March 4th, I listed the reasons why I liked college basketball and #3 was "ANYBODY CAN WIN." C'mon, you knew I didn't mean the teams that I picked against. I want a do-over.
***THAT'S WHY HE GETS THE BIG BUCKS***
Buster Olney, discussing the contract negotiations between Joe Mauer and the Twins, "If he does sign, it will either be in the next two weeks or sometime down the road." Way to nail it down, Buster, we couldn't have done it without you.
Buster is obviously a Vanderbilt alumnae and gives us an update on their sports teams at the end of his columns and finishes with "And today will be better than yesterday." Since Vandy lost last night, I guess there will be no tomorrow. Sorry Buster.
***RUDY'S AT THE LOOP IS OPEN***
But Annie-O won't let me go. Could someone please UPS me a Fish 'n Chips with extra tartar sauce? Two, while you're at it.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
***THE NATIONAL HEALTH SURVEY***
In telephone interviews, people were asked if they drank alcohol. To qualify as a "drinker," you had to have at least 12 drinks in your lifetime. Only 61% of the people qualified. Picasner qualified at every fraternity party he ever attended. Obviously, somebody's not pulling their weight.
***IAN HAMILTON, LEADER-POST, SASKATCHEWAN***
Commenting on the signing if 48-year old Chris Chelios by the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team: "He played 13 minutes, blocked one shot and threw one artificial hip check."
While we waiting for the 'Big Show,' there is another tournament in NYC. Connecticut is in this one and managed to win their first game, 59-57. No truth to the rumor that it was a Skins & Shirts game. North Carolina also won, beating William & Mary, 80-72, but only because William didn't show up.
***STUPID RUMOR OF THE WEEK***
St Louis considering trading Albert Pujols to the Phillies for Ryan Howard. Obviously, the National Health people neglected to include the St. Louis front office in the drinking survey.
***NOT EXACTLY A CIVIL WAR***
But it is brother-against-brother in the SU-Vermont game. Syracuse forward, Kris Joseph's brother, Maurice, is the shooting guard for the Catamounts (How did I miss this nickname?). Because of SU's zone, they won't be matched up, but Kris says, "I know his game. I can close my eyes and guard him." I predict this comment will be on the Vermont bulletin board.
***I NEED AN EXPLANATION***
Okay, I don't claim to be the big expert on college basketball, but I don't understand the predictions about Duke. I may be all wet on this one, but Duke plays in a conference that wasn't that strong, never played anyone in the top ten, yet is being touted as a final four team. I can't see it. The best I could say about them is that nobody knows how good they are, not even their coach. Well, that's why they play the games.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Jose Reyes, who missed most of last season with knee problems, is having doctor issues again this year. Maybe we can excuse last year because I think the Mets Medical team was busy finishing medical training at Guatemala Tech. This year, they say that Reyes has a thyroid imbalance and needs complete rest for anywhere from 2-8 weeks. This sounds like erring on the side of caution, until you hear Jose say that HIS doctor says there is nothing wrong with his thyroid and says Reyes is out of condition but otherwise healthy. In the meantime, the Mets medical team is working on an alternate career, auditioning for the roles of the Three Stooges in a remake of some of their movies.
***SELIG'S CRACK BASEBALL SYMPOSIUM***
After being told they have free rein to suggest ANY change to baseball, the best they have come up with so far, is to eliminate maple bats. The rest of their ides have been so outrageous that even Selig is dumbfounded. One suggestion to shorten games is to add another roster spot, specifically an extra pitcher. This way, they say, there won't be as many pitching changes. This like saying you could lose weight by having two hot fudge sundaes for breakfast, that way you won't eat as much at lunch. Yeah, right. Should work. I should add that this suggestion came from Scott Boras and you know he has no axe to grind.
***THE REALIGNMENT OF DIVISIONS***
This gets kicked around every year and sinks in the sunset every year, because it gets very complicated, between travel schedules, various rivalries and the fluctuating strength of the teams. John Romano, however has come up with the PERFECT solution. Simply split up the Yanks & the Red Sox. Move the Sox to the Central and both divisions would have a powerhouse team. ...Oh yeah, and then the Tampa Bay Rays would have a shot at getting into the playoffs, adding another good team into the mix.
By the way, Romano writes for the St. Petersburg Times. That wouldn't have anything to do with your idea, would it John? I'm sure the Yanks & the Sox would be willing to give up 6 stadium-filling games so Tampa could sneak into the playoffs.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I don't understand Boston's thinking on this. Boston signed him to a one-day contract so he could retire as a member of the Red Sox. Garciaparra was a very good hitter and a decent fielder with an unfortunate tendency to make errors in crucial situations. However, Picasner's lasting memory of Nomar, is him sitting (pouting, really) on the bench in that stirring 14-inning game against the Yanks, when everyone (well, ALMOST everyone) on both sides played their hearts out. Even if he was hurt and couldn't play, he still remained on the bench when everyone else stood on the top step, hovering on the railing. Why would you want to honor that?
***ANOTHER ROUND OF TEAM NICKNAMES***
Sometimes they make sense, like the UCONN Huskies (Yukon!), sometimes you have to wonder. You might not see all of the following teams in the NCAA Tournament, but this should help you remember their nicknames if you do:
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers - How many of you really know what a Chanticleer is?
Georgetown Hoyas - Same here. Maybe this is why they don't have a team mascot.
Sam Houston State Bearkats - Apparently, remedial spelling is not taught here.
Wichita State Shockers - I could have understood Oilers or Drillers but what are they shocked about?
Saint Mary's Gaels - Is this a religious term? Another misspelling? A monk with a sense of humor?
Wake Forest Demon Deacons - Good witch-bad witch?
Question: If the Fighting Irish played the Fighting Illini, would they really need a basketball?
***FROM KEVIN GLEASON ***
He writes for the Middletown Times Herald-Record, who's front page probably consists only of their name: "John Calipari of Kentucky twittered: 'An old African proverb states: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.'
Kevin responded, He forgot the last part: 'And if you want to go on probation, go to Kentucky."
***BETTER RETHINK THIS***
Adrian Beltre, Red Sox third baseman, told the Boston Globe that he still refuses to wear a protective cup despite a bad-hop grounder that allowed him to sing soprano for about 2 weeks last year. "If the ball's only going to hit me there every 11 years, I'll take my chances."
You should probably review that policy, Adrian. Major League hitters are known for finding and exploiting a defensive "soft spot."
***VERY BAD TIMING***
ESPN's latest commercial showing coach Jim Calhoun of Connecticut, giving a pep talk to some ESPN announcers, might have been more effective if the Connecticut team was any good. Probably should have used Geno Auriemma, the women's coach.
***SYRACUSE-GEORGETOWN AT NOON TODAY ON ESPN***
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Texas Ranger catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, was being touted as the next superstar last year, but there are signs that he's developing the 'Catcher's Syndrome.' He's having trouble throwing the ball back to the pitcher. Former Yankee, Butch Wynegar, had the same problem. At 30 years old, after 3 fairly productive years as a catcher, he developed this problem and was out of baseball two years later.
***DIDN'T THIS OCCUR TO ANYONE?***
The Los Angeles Dodger owners, Frank & Jamie McCourt, are going thru a well-publicized divorce. They expect legal bills to exceed $19 million. $19 million? Why not just go their separate ways and split the $19 million. Then they might be able to afford to attend 4 or 5 Yankee games.
***JERRY JONES, ALWAYS PROMOTING***
Now Jerry wants to hold an Olympic qualifying swimming meet in his multi-million dollar Cowboy Stadium. At least he won't have to worry about a scheduling conflict with an NFC Championship Game.
***FROM JUDYMARIS, A LOYAL READER***
Judy reminds us of a famous Buzzie Bavasi quote about the late Willie Davis:
Former Dodgers general manager Buzzie Bavasi once said of Davis: "There was nothing more exciting than to watch Willie run out a triple. ... He could have been a Hall of Famer, but he had million-dollar legs and a 10-cent head."
***IS VOD OPTING FOR A NEW CAREER?***
Picasner has commented on ESPN's use of silly descriptions of various sports plays. Vod's first two entries seem to fit right in. Blue Bayou? C'mon Vod, you did better when we use to root for Dooley Womack and Ike Delock. (Oh, and Carlings Black Label - @50 cents a bottle at Bucklands)
Having been associated with the theatre business for some 30 years, these latest terms were relatively easy for Picasner.
BEST BOY: He's the guy who...(continued on next pizza)
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
The only running Picasner is interested in is running out for pizza, running out for beer, and the fear of running out of meaningless comparisons between baseball legends and pinch running utility outfielders.
So You Think You Know Baseball
The answers to last week’s questions:
Dial 8 became associated with home runs back in the day when most rotary dial telephone systems required the user to dial 8 for long distance.
Linda Ronstadt became a term for a good fastball through a reference to her hit Blue Bayou.
Given that its Oscar week, this week’s questions focus on the movie industry. Anyone sitting through the credits at the end of the movie will see a reference to the following positions:
If you think you know the definitions, spell out your answers in pepperoni on a large pizza and send to 1 Picasner Plaza, Rochester, NY. Any correct, uneaten answers (not likely) will be announced next week.
Sunday, March 07, 2010
At least Picasner will have conference tournaments and March Madness to fill his days until the games are played in anger.
Vod will be no help as he and his lovely missus are heading south for a couple of weeks. I'm not totally sure of any activities he has planned. Picasner is interested in sports and sports related activities (such as running), while Vod's interest, however, seems to lie in the athlete's choice of underwear. Well, to each his own. Maybe he'll post a report.
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Friday, March 05, 2010
Brett Gardner, in his rookie season, delivered a game-winning walk-off hit against the Boston Red Sox. In the last 30 years, two other Yankee rookies achieved the same thing. Who were they? Answer at the end of the posting.
Speaking of Gardner, when he hit his inside-the-park home run, he was timed at 14 seconds around the bases. Considering that Mickey Mantle was once timed at 3.1 seconds from home to first, that time is incredible, especially since Gardner had to make three turns while doing it.
***THE BEST GENERAL MANAGERS***
Tim Marchman of Inside Baseball, has ranked all 30 GMs.He rates Andrew Friedman of Tampa #1, based on his ability to put together a winning team without spending outrageous sums of money. Brian Cashman is 3rd, based, I guess, on his ability to sign checks. Just for the record, Dayton Moore of Kansas City was ranked last. For you Red Sox fans, Theo Epstein was #2 (and why are you reading a Yankee Blog!).
***HEADLINES YOU NEED TO READ TWICE***
From AP's Spring Training: Johan Santana faces live batters. Too bad, those dead ones were easier to strike out.
From Boone County, Miss., KBIA News: Boone County Commission says Baseball Field may be Used for Baseball. Gotta love those Southerners, always ahead of the curve.
***YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING***
Nick Johnson has missed a game with a bad back. And Generalissimo Francisco Franco...
Barry Zito hit Prince Fielder today to retaliate for last season’s theatrical home run celebration. The Brewers’ first baseman, however, didn’t charge the mound. Probably because it was Zito’s fastball, and until the umpire told him to take a base, Fielder hadn’t even noticed he’d been hit.
***WAY TO GO, COACH***
Texas A & M Commerce coach Guy Morriss praised his football team for stealing all 2000 issues of the college newspaper, which had a story about two team members arrested on drug charges. Said Morriss, "It was a great team-building exercise, plus I didn't know they could read." (I made up the last part)
Quiz answer: Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly
Thursday, March 04, 2010
1. The fans get excited, sometimes too excited (more on this later)
2. The cheerleaders (Best watched in person, of course)
3. Anybody can win...and I mean anybody. It's disheartening to watch Chattanooga run 40 football players out onto the field and then watch 110 Alabama players invade the stadium. Guess who's coming out on top in that one? But in basketball, Slippery Rock (enrollment of 8,400) could actually beat Michigan (enrollment of 110,000). Why? They can BOTH only bring 15 and only play 5 at a time.
4. The fans can amuse you. Listen closely during a Duke home game on TV. Those fans are very inventive when razzing the other team. (Sometimes TOO inventive.)
5. Even though the final score doesn't look it, the games very often come down to the last 60 seconds.
6. The venues. You gotta love names like Phog Allen Fieldhouse (Kansas), Cameron Indoor Stadium (Duke) or Pauley Pavilion (UCLA). Certainly a lot better than HSBC Arena.
...and did I mention the cheerleaders?
The rankings are a good source of arguments, mostly because it's all subjective: ("I think this team is the best. No, it's that one!") Even the Coaches Poll can be messed up and you would think that at least the coaches would have a better understanding of the strength of the teams, but no, they're as screwed up as the sportswriters. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, in an interview says they played one of the toughest schedules in the country. Really? I looked it up: Duke only played 5 games against ranked teams (none higher than 14th) and only won 2 of them. And Duke is ranked 4th in the country (at least until last night's loss to #23 Maryland).
One of the more exciting events in College B'ball is the "Stormin' The Court" after a big win. I've never seen that in pro basketball. Rick Reilly of ESPN, thinks it's overdone (by the way, Bland Rick calls it "Rushing the court"). "Rush the court after Indiana beats Minnesota? Why, that's like pantsing the chess club." Come on, Reilly, loosen up a little. It isn't like they tear down the basket or anything. Certainly better than just sitting quietly and politely applauding. Where'd you go to school, Rick? Thurston Howell III Prep? "Oh, wonderful win, Lovey. Maybe I should stand up."
Monday, March 01, 2010
I was going to write today to mention a book that was reviewed in the NY paper called "The Baseball Codes, Beanballs, Sign Stealing and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime," by Jason Turbow with Michael Duca. It discusses the so-called 'rules of etiquette' in baseball. It includes such stories as:
Yankee great, Lou Gehrig played for 2130 consecutive games, a record that stood for 56 years. But he was helped along the way when he was bed-ridden with the flu but luckily General Manager Ed Barrow called a rainout that day...Only there was no rain.
Read about Luis Tiant appearing on the field clad only in a towel (but smoking a cigar), Nolan Ryan's "Noogie Patrol" and Bob Gibson in the middle of a beanball war...in an old-timer's game.
I can hardly wait for Annie-O to read it to me.
If there is anything more boring than spring training I’m fortunate not to know what that might be. So here’s a few baseball nuggets gleaned from Bill Bryson’s Made in America, to help wile away the weeks before opening day.
In 1859 the National Association of Base Ball Players was formed. The title was a little ambitious since all clubs were from greater New York. The league insisted on amateurism and gentlemanly conduct. It got neither. The Brooklyn Excelsiors were paying a salary to a pitcher and the New York Mutuals were charging an admission of 10 cents (they must have been owned by a Steinbrenner). Fair play was rarely the rule. At least one crucial game was decided when the owner of one team had his dog frighten off an outfielder chasing a fly ball. A later day Yankee team used Billy Martin for a similar purpose, although Bill typically frightened his own players more than the opponents.
During its long adolescence in the 19th century, baseball contributed a vast vocabulary to our lexicon. Terms still in use today include walk for a base on balls, goose egg for a zero (1866), fungo and double play (1867) bunt (1872), bullpen (1877), shutout (1881), bleachers (1882), raincheck (1884), charley horse (1888), fan in the sense of a supporter (1890s), and to play ball in the sense of to cooperate (1901). For hit alone, more than a hundred terms had been recorded by 1938 including Texas Leaguer, squib, nubber, banjo, humpie, stinker, drooper and so on.
This week’s So You Think You Know Baseball stumper -
Baseball remains one of the most fertile grounds for inventive wordplay. Among recent notable additions are to dial 8 for a homerun and Linda Ronstadt for a good fastball. If you think you know the meaning and derivation of either of these terms, write your answer on the back of a 10 dollar bill and sent it to:
So You Think You Know Baseball
1 Picasner Plaza
We’ll draw a winner from the thousands of correct entries and that lucky individual will be relieved from the tedium of reading this blog for the remainder on spring training. Ahha – so there is something more boring than spring training.