Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Phillies and the Mets

So they are the team to beat in the NL East huh. Normally this would drive me crazy, but I am actually loving the fact they are completely discounting the Braves this year.

They haven't been to the playoffs in two years, and you would think the entire franchise is in complete shambles. Fact of the matter is, with three weeks to go last season, Atlanta was right in the thick of the NL East race, not to mention the wild card race.

With a pitching staff of Smoltz, Hudson, Glavine and hopefully a healthy Hampton and the Braves are going to have a pretty salty rotation. Then you put out a lineup that includes Chipper Jones, Jeff Francouer, Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira.

If Rafael Soriano can do the job as the closer, there is no reason to think the Braves won't be right in the thick of the NL East race.

So the Phillies and Mets can spend all their time talking about who is the front runner, whole the one team that dominated the league for 14 years quietly waits in the background poised to take the title back.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jackass of the Year - Candidate No. 1

Texas Tech head baseball coach Larry Hays

Some people just don't know when to shut their mouths. John Rocker comes to mind. But Rocker has taken his fair share of verbal abuse. This is about Texas Tech head baseball coach Larry Hays.

Hays' Red Raiders were scheduled to open the season at home against Northern Illinois. Because of the recent shooting on campus, the Huskies may not make the trip, leaving the Red Raiders potentially without any games on opening weekend.

Hays told the Lubbock Avalanche Journal he was looking at some options on where to play if Northern Illinois can't make it.

"(The NIU situation) is a deal that we have total respect for and we're not going to say anything one way or the other," Hays said on Sunday.

If only he would have stopped there. But no, like so many other people who get into situations like this, he kept talking.

"At the same time we've got to look out for ourselves on the deal and if we
lose four games, we could never make that up. Losing one game out of this will
be difficult enough."

Yeah. losing a game is sooooooo difficult. You only have 52 more to play. You know what is difficult, losing a kid. Something some Northern Illinois parents are having to deal with. But I guess the pain and suffering they are going though pales in comparison to what this might do to his pitching rotation.

"That messes up two weeks of pitching rotation right there," Hays said. "(Associate head coach Dan) Spencer has worked hard to get our rotation the right amount of rest and to get our pitching staff in position at the end of the year where we have live arms ready to go. If we end up with a dead-arm situation right off it destroys everything we've done up to this point."

What a complete Jackass. This interview was probably conducted on the field during practice, so there was nobody from the university there to put an end to that interview. You know they are cringing after reading those comments.

Hays had a chance to do something positive with the situation, yet he comes off looking like a total ass. I know losing four games to start the season isn't easy, and behind closed doors he can say anything he wants. But, when talking to the media, this guy has to think before spouting off like this.

It is still early in the year, but he is a strong candidate for the first "BSF Jackass of the Year" award.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mark May is an idiot

I have never really liked Mark May. Every time he talks he comes across as so smug. It is great to hear other people taking shots at his as well.

Terrell Pryor, the top recruit in the nation is still undecided and on Monday, broke his silence about signing day by taking a shot at May.

"That day was tough because I was being criticized by everyone for not making up my mind and signing," he said. "Mark May from ESPN is criticizing me on national television and he doesn't even know me. That kind of stuff really bothers me, when people who know nothing about me are talking about me like they know anything. There was so much media there that day that I had to address the issue, but I'd prefer to be left alone."

That is great. I think Pryor's decision to wait is one of the most refreshing of this signing season. So many colleges are pressuring these young men to make a commitment to their program as a junior or they will leave them hanging out to dry.

Too many times, kids decided on a college too soon and end up regretting the decision they made. I talk to kids every year who say the same thing. Pryor is taking his time on this and making sure the school he chooses is absolutely the right choice for him.

I commend him for it, and applaud him for taking a shot at May. If only more people would, maybe ESPN would realize they officially have an idiot on their hands and can send him the way of Trev Alberts.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The 2-3 Zone

It never ceases to amaze me how good of a coach Jim Boeheim is. He is one of the best guys you really never hear of outside of the Big East.

I have seen his team play a few times this year, and they never really impressed me, but as the season has gone on, they seem to be getting better. I think the main reason is they are starting to run that 2-3 zone to perfection. I am watching the Georgetown game right now, and they look like they have never seen this defense before.

The Hoyas are too good of a team to get down by 20 in the first half, but they have no answer for what the 'Cuse are doing (on another note, those Syracuse uniforms are horrible). They may come back and win this game, but it won't be because Boeheim isn't doing the job from a coaching stand point. He has a young team right now and has already lost one of his top players for the season in Eric Devendorf (it seemed like he has been there for seven years).

I know a lot of teams run the 2-3 zone, but no one seems to do it like Syracuse. Over the years, Boeheim's defense has become the model for how to run it. After Pat Knight's first win he told ESPN reporters he got out the Jim Boeheim 2-3 zone defense video and really studied it. He was almost embarrassed to mention that on air, but it just goes to show the respect he has for Boeheim.

I flipped over to the UConn/South Florida game, and the Bulls are running the 2-3 against the Huskies pretty effective right now as well.

BTW, I love ESPN360. All college campuses get it for free, so I am sitting in my office going back and forth between the two games.

UPDATE: Syracuse held off Georgetown to pull off a 77-70 win and kept their NCAA hopes alive.

UPDATE2: What a finish in the UConn/USF game. A big 3 by the Bulls at the end of Regulation to force OT and then a pair of baskets in the final 6 seconds and UConn won it by 1. I really do like ESPN360.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mmmmmm, meat pies

I forget how much I like meat pies.

There isn't a whole lot that comes out of Louisiana, but meat pies are one of them. A few years ago I discovered Lasyone's in Natchitoches. We had heard that they make a mean meat pie. I had never had one before so decided to try them.

I had no idea they would be so good. From then on, trips to Natchitoches revolved around a stop at Lasyone's. And then they changed their operating times, and were no longer open for dinner. I haven't had a meat pie in about four years.

Last night after practice we went to dinner at a place called The Landing. My love for meat pies was rekindled. While I didn't get a full order, what I had was just enough to remind me of the deliciousness they possessed.

On another note, I practiced with the team last night. I was doing some post drills. It was about a 10-minute workout. This was the first time I have participated in full speed basketball action since that fateful night in Johnson Coliseum eight years ago.

Last night went slightly better. My left ankle is only slightly swollen. It wasn't as bad of an injury this time, but still hurt pretty good this morning when I woke up. I was able to finish the drill without anyone knowing.

I don't know that I will ever play full speed basketball again.

Monday, February 11, 2008

My health and sports

This is kind of in support to my welcome post.

There is an article in the New England Journal of Medicine linking heart failure to die hard sports fans.

The study was done during the 2006 World Cup in Germany on Germans watching the games. They found that on days the German team played, cardiac emergencies more than tripled for men and nearly doubled for women. How the team played, the overall importance of the match and whether the winner was determined by a shootout all affected fans’ heart risks.

The risk was highest for fans who already had heart disease. Their chance of having a heart attack or other cardiac events during the tournament was four times higher, while risk doubled for those who didn’t have a prior history of heart problems.

Of course the study made no mention of the fact many of these German fans were probably regular drinkers and probably mixed in the occasional hot wing, nacho, cheese fries or whatever the hell they eat.

That stuff couldn't have helped either.

I really don't like officials

I try not to make a big issue about this, especially on the air. There is nothing I hate more than someone blaming a game on the officiating.

I'll admit, I did rip into the officials once this year during the Bearkats nonconference game against Central Florida. Jeremy Thomas was leveled out of bounds in a two-point game with less than a minute to play and the officials called it a turnover I think I called the call trash.

But Monday night I saw two things that probably would have caused me to loose it had I been broadcasting the games. Both Villanova and the Rutgers women have reason to complain after the outcomes of their games on the ESPN family of networks.

First off let me say I am a fan of Georgetown. Depending on their draw, I'll probably have them in my final four, but they got a gift in their 55-53 win over the Wildcats. With less than a second to play in a tie game, Nova's Corey Stokes was called for a bump foul, more than 70 feet away from the basket.

Jonathan Wallace went on to knock down both free throws to give the No. 8 Hoyas the victory.

"At first I thought I stepped out of bounds," Wallace said, "because I was trying to make a play with the time running down. But I did kind of [feel a] nudge when I was trying to turn the corner."

"So," Wallace shrugged, "a call's a call."

Villanova coach Jay Wright didn't have much to say on it after the game.

"I can't complain about it," Villanova coach Jay Wright said, "because I didn't see it."

In other words "No comment."

Vivian Stringer, the coach for Rutgers, was a little more vocal after her squad fell to the Tennessee Lady Vols in Knoxville. Trailing by 1, the Vols got an offense rebound with .2 second left to play and a foul was called sending Tennessee to the line to win the game.

I wasn't watching this game, but after seeing the highlights, Rutgers got screwed. There is no doubt there was a foul after the rebound, but the only problem is, it occurred more than a second after the clock ran out.

"The game did not deserve this. Tennessee didn't deserve this. Pat didn't deserve this," Stringer said. "Those great players didn't deserve this and neither did my great team deserve this. It is what it is."

Now I am certainly no Stringer fan, but I am glad she came out and said something.

I go ahead and speak for both coaches and steal a line from Mike Gundy about the calls at the end of both games.

"It's garbage."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Most overhyped day of the year

Well, it is national signing day.

I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.

Now for most of the country, no one will know what that means. I try to explain it to my family and they don't understand. Quite frankly I don't really get it either, and this is all my day is consumed with today.

I actually heard there are people who take the day off from work just so they can sit at home and see who is signing where. ESPNU has dedicated the entire day of coverage to signing day.

Seriously, if the highlight of your life is to see what an 18-year-old kid is going to do, you have issues. I understand the interest in the day itself. Wanting to see who signed with what school and you can start breaking down the next season. You can take a look and see if any of the guys might play immediately.

But outside of that, all of the attention is insane. Our office phones start ringing at 8 a.m. from people wanting to know if our list is done yet. Just sit back, worry about your work and when you get home this evening, check out the list. Load up the press conference and see what the coach had to say and then be done with it.

Anything else is just unhealthy.

They last thing I need is to find out some guy who should be following the radar at air traffic control, is on his laptop hitting the refresh button on to find out if Terrelle Pryor has made a decision yet.

Experts will get on the TV and tell you who were the winners and losers this year on signing day and they will rate the top classes in the nation and by conference.

I'll go ahead and do that now with out ever looking at a list. You know who had the best signing day today? The team that wins the national championship in about three years.

If you want to sit down and look at a signing list, get the one from about three or four years ago, and see which players have panned out the most and then rank them for me. I bet you are going to find out LSU, Georgia, Ohio State and USC all had pretty good days. I don't need Todd McShay to tell me that, I just got a pretty good hunch.