Saturday, April 30, 2011

NFL Draft Notes

Honest, I have been trying to get excited about the 2011 NFL draft, but it's been hard. Especially now that the lockout has been restored, rookie players can't even talk to coaches, or come to the team practice facilities, never mind starting their contract talks. Except for those drafted before the judge put the order out that restored the lock out, the players didn't even get a chance to get a play book or anything. That being said, some intriguing choices have been made by the teams I care about.

The New York Jets drafted two defensive line players, two wide outs and a quarterback. The New York Giants drafted mainly for defense, including a first line cover guy, two linebackers, a defensive lineman, an offensive lineman, a running back and an another defensive backfield player. The Kansas City Chiefs drafted a wide out in the first round, an offensive lineman, two defensive linemen, two linebackers, and a defensive back. They also drafted a full back and a quarterback. The Chiefs draft featured the Chiefs snagging a couple players who seemed to fall past what their anticipated draft spot would be. Assuming there are no character issues, this looks like the best of these three drafts. All three teams addressed their needs--no funky "best player there" picks here.

Assuming there is football, there is a lot to look forward to as these rookies come into camp...

Royals Like That Home Cooking

Alex Gordon hits a three run HR in the 8th. Charlie Riedel/AP via

After a dismal road trip with horrible starting pitching and no timely hitting and occasionally shaky defense and 7 losses, the Royals have come home. The starting pitching has been better, the hits coming when needed and lo and behold, the Royals are winners of two in a row over the Twins of Minnesota. The Boys in Blue sit at 14-13, good for second place 4.5 games behind the Indians in the scuffling AL central.

Friday night, they won with small ball and speed. Tonight they put the smack down with 8 runs in the 8th inning. Friday there was 31 K in the stadium and apparently the place was buzzing. There were 22 K at The K tonight. This may be the way this season is: we end up at .500 with streaky play. A young team with sometimes wobbly starting pitching will do that.

.500 would really be fine with me! Anyone got any extra tix?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

If There's Football in 2011, Here's the Sked...

Well, assuming we have football, our Chiefs will be on prime time a few times and will finish up with a pretty tough bunch of games...

Sept. 11 vs. Buffalo, noon
Sept. 18 at Detroit, noon
Sept. 25 at San Diego, 3:05 p.m.
Oct. 2 vs. Minnesota, noon
Oct. 9 at Indianapolis, noon
Oct. 16 Bye
Oct. 23 at Oakland, 3:05 p.m.
Oct. 31 vs. San Diego, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 6 vs. Miami, noon
Nov. 13 vs. Denver, noon
Nov. 21 at New England, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 27 vs. Pittsburgh, 7:20 p.m.
Dec. 4 at Chicago, noon
Dec. 11 at New York Jets, noon
Dec. 18 vs. Green Bay, noon
Dec. 24 vs. Oakland, noon
Jan. 1 at Denver, 3:05 p.m.

We start out "easy" with Buffalo and Detroit (although the Lions at home can be tough), then almost all the games that are not division foes are with some tough teams. Miami and Minnesota might be down a bit this year, and both those games are here, but overall this is a much harder group of games then last year. Also there will be no sneaking up on people this year.

I hope there is football...

Royals Doing All Right

Long suffering Kansas City sports fans are suspicious of success at this point. Our default is that the wheels will fall off any time, and we will be thrust into the abyss of countless loses by our professional sports teams. Thus the 10-6 start of the Royals was a challenge to the fan--how do we think of this with this team, this "just wait until all the youngsters are up in 2012" team?

This is like the Chiefs last fall. Anything at this point is gravy. If the Royals play .500 ball, or even better all year long, well, aren't you just drooling thinking about the future?

Now, last night we had one of those games. Starter Kyle Davies pitched lights out, the offense got the lead and it was looking very promising for a win over the currently first place Cleveland Indians. Until the bull pen pitchers all forgot where the strike zone is and the Royals first gave up the lead, and then the game. Tonight Bruce Chen is pitching well in his start, and the Royals offense has plated 5 runs to this point, and it is looking like a promising bounce back from last night's disappointment. Current score 5-2 mid 7th inning. If the Royals hang on and win--and likely it will come down to relief pitching again--this is a great bounceback for this young team.

Attendance is down but the weather has been poor for much of the schedule. People are still skeptical--all we heard all winter was how bad this team would be and how we have to wait for 2012. I think this season will be more exciting than that. I am looking forward to each and every game. That is the thing about baseball--it's a one day at a time sort of thing. Each day the sun rises is a new day, each game is a new game, with fresh possibilities. I'm planning on enjoying each moment.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

College Hoops Championships and Stuff

So what were you expecting from a Butler-Connecticut title game?

Not what we got, especially in the second half, when a tiring Butler team could not hit from outside or in, overwhelmed by UConn's length and quickness inside. A scintillating defensive game by UConn but very bad basketball at bottom. (Bill Walton on radio was awesome on this--in fact, the radio side with Gus Johnson, Bill Raftery and John Thompson is a better team than the TV announcers at the final--just saying.)

Butler shot 19% for the game. The halftime score was 22-19 Butler. Final 53-41 Connecticut.

The ladies halftime score was 35-33 Notre Dame. The final score 70-76 Texas A & M.

Both games were exciting in their own way, but the ladies game had momentum flowing back and forth and more exciting plays. The men just were grinding it out. There are lots of critics of the lack of "athleticism" in the women's game but in this case, I would say the women were just as exciting to watch as the men. All that flying through the air isn't very effective if you can't put the ball through the hoop.

A & M's Kansas City connection served them well as Danielle Adams (Lee's Summit) led scoring with 30 points and Tyra White (Hickman Mills) made an important late hoop. Nice ESPN article by former Star newsie Mechelle Voepel here.

Oh, yes, the Mizzou coaching drama ended with the controversial hiring of one Frank Haith, a coach from a football school (Miami) with a losing record. Mr. Haith is going to have to win over skeptical fans in both Columbia and in the conference that he is a serious possibility to do well and stick around for a while. I think when he gets in a full Mizzou Arena and realizes that these fans do give a damn is when he realizes what a tough job he has.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

NCAA Final: Connecticut and Butler

Huskies and Bulldogs will fight it out on Monday night for the NCAA mens basketball championship. Both semis were tense tight games, but you could see the eventual winner drawing away with a couple minutes left.

56-55 Connecticut

70-62 Butler