Monday, May 30, 2011

Two Good Moves

Two good moves were reported in sports news today--they were both initiated by the people with the issues.
The first is that after blowing his third save in a row for the Royals, Joakim Soria went to manager Ned Yost and asked to be removed from the closer role. He said in his post game interview that he was doing this because his ineffective work had lost games for the team. If I remember right, Soria has blown 5 saves, and the Royals lost all but one of those games. Aaron Crow, the Mizzou product, will get the job for now. Good on Soria for going to Yost and all but forcing his hand to make a change. The plan is to pitch Soria in "low pressure" situations and hope he gets his stuff together. I would send him to the doctor too, even though he says he feels fine, just to be sure.
The second is that Jim Tressel resigned as coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team. I am very glad he did this, as the program had gotten out of control. Talk about lack of institutional control! Ohio State players were found to have sold school stuff for money, gotten deals on cars and gotten money. Tressel at times has made a big deal out of integrity and being a Christian blah blah blah but has gotten into trouble--and not just picayune trouble but big trouble--at the last two schools he coached teams. He needs to think about what it means to profess Christ with his mouth and to do what God desires in the cut throat world of big time college sports. I am glad he had the guts to resign--he needs a good spiritual retreat and time to figure out what he wants to be--perhaps he would do better at the pro level where the rules are different?

So two needed step aways--one we will see results right away, the other not until the fall when the new Buckeyes take the field.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Professional Basketball Winding Down

Four teams left:
Oklahoma City Thunder
Dallas Mavericks
Miami Heat
Chicago Bulls

What?! No Celtics? No Lakers? Nothing to love--or hate?

The best I can do is work up annoyance at LeBron because he is not a New York Knickerbocker.

I hear tell the basketball has been pretty good watching though.

Josh Gets Some Love From ESPN

How about that? One of the "cover stories" on the NFL home page on ESPN! Makes me smile.

Verwy Verwy Quiet...

As Elmer Fudd would say, "...Verwy verwy quiet..."--on the labor front with the NFL. There is increasing pessimism that the 2011 season will start on time or play all its games.

Ray Lewis thinks that crime will increase as football fans, deprived of their games, and bored will look for crime to get into. Here's the quote from the ESPN interview:

"Do this research if we don't have a season -- watch how much evil, which we call crime, watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game," Lewis told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio.

That's because, Lewis said, the NFL lockout affects "way more than us" -- the owners and the players.

"There's too many people that live through us, people live through us," he said. "Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I'm not talking about the people you see all the time."

I think he's on to something, I really do. I think there is a segment of the population, mostly male, that lives through the games, the violence in the games, the identity that the teams give. Call me crazy. I hope I'm wrong, especially if there isn't a season.

I much prefer football to crime. No contest.

These Are Probably the Real Royals

The Royals have played worse than .500 baseball the past couple of weeks and have seen the quality of some aspects of their play go down. Billy Butler and Alex Gordon have both cooled off at the plate, a few errors have been committed in the field, and base running gaffs have cost important runners in late innings of close games. Pitching has been inconsistent. Starters have gone shorter in games and relievers have been wild at times. 13 walks cost the Royals a victory in the Sunday game against St. Louis.

I suspect that this is the revealing of the real Kansas City Royals--a team that will dazzle you one night and make you hold your head the next. A team that will pull one out of the fire one day, and kick one away the next. A team that will not make the play offs and will have a record of say, 81-81.

I heard one radio commentator talking about how all the prospects could fall apart--how pitchers will need surgery and position players won't be able to hit at higher levels. It really depressed me. How is it that our default position has become the grey cloud--waiting for calamity to hit our team? I personally prefer optimism to pessimism and joy in the good, rather than despair in the bad.

Someone else opined that in baseball, it is better to keep an even keel, to not go too high or too low. I agree with that. Because of its long season, baseball is a bit more like life than most sports. "One day at a time, one moment at a time, taking hardship as a pathway to peace."

Play ball!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Royals Rough Streak Caused Many Changes

A four game losing streak and injuries to two Royals starters plus the implosion of one prospect have caused a bit of roster upheaval out at Kauffman Stadium. After the dust settles, we have a slew of new names and numbers to learn, and a pitching youth movement in full force.

Adcock and Duffy are new names to get used to. We hope for Bruce Chen's rapid recovery to add some stability to what has become a very young rotation.

The Royals have dipped under .500 for the first time this year. This is the moment where we find out a bit more about the young players and about manager Ned Yost.

Yost has come under fire for leaving Vince Mazzaro out to take an awful 14 run beating. Mazzaro suffered two and 1/3 of the longest innings in major league history and many are questioning if he can come back from that beating. To me it is not his head--it's his stuff. He threw pitches in places you just cannot put them to major league hitters. If he gets back to doing and performing in the way that caused you to be called up in the first place, he will be fine. It could be that that will not be with the Royals in the future. That's OK--not all the younguns who make the majors will make it with the Royals.

I just hope we can continue to play close to .500 ball and keep it exciting, smart and competitive baseball all summer.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Royals Call Up Hosmer

Just a quick bit of breaking news--the Royals are calling up Eric Hosmer and sending Kila Ka'aihue to Omaha. Ka'aihue has struggled this season to hit. He is hitting .195 with 2 homers in 23 games. This I think explains the recent appearances of Wilson Betemit at first base.

The Royals took two out of three from Baltimore this series with a serious offensive breakout and a 9-1 win today. This home stand then, they are 5-1. Next are the Oakland A's in for three.

The news is from the Royals FB page. If you are a fan, you should "like" them!