Rant and Rave

Even though MLB has instituted rules to speed up play, games still seem too long. Making pitchers deliver quicker and keeping batters in the batter’s box longer have helped but extended use of instant replay with umps in a circle listening mutely on headphones negates all that. Umps have always done a pretty good job of calling close plays and that’s been a fun part of the game. To wit, the Tampa Bay Rays have issued eleven challenges so far this season, every one confirming the ump’s original call.

If Victor Cruz returns healthy from an injury and Odell Beckham duplicates his rookie season, the happiest guys on the the New York Giants are going to be their tight-ends. Seldom has an NFL team had players with the raw speed and ability to go deep as the Mara-Men will employ. Eli Manning should have a banner year knowing the short areas down field will be vacant much more often with their two outside threats stretching the coverage vertically.

College football players will be paid $2,500 per year in addition to their fully paid scholarships if proposed NCAA rules pass. If regular tuition-paying students, however, wish to be in their school band cheering the team to victory–spending countless hours practicing in the process–he or she will have to cough up an additional $7,000 for doing so. And in places like Alabama where coach Nick Saban makes $7.5 million per year, that just doesn’t seem fair. I remember Thursday afternoons in college when we shared the practice field with the band as we prepared together to get ready for Saturday. I felt as proud of them as they did of us, both playing for the love of the school and football.

Duke and Kentucky both made it to the Final Four this year with Duke winning it all. That came one year after Duke fell to Mercer in the opening round, an upset equal only to Appalachian State beating mighty Michigan in football a few years ago. Duke coach Mike Kryzewski set out to make sure that wouldn’t happen again by recruiting one-and-done players like Kentucky had been doing for several years. The NBA allows players with only one year of college to enter the professional ranks. So attractive is the lure of the NBA’s millions that the eleven top scorers combined on Duke and Kentucky this year, all underclassmen, declared for the draft, foregoing college. That system is broken. I’ll keep you posted.

LeBron James is the best basketball player on the planet, and behind Michael Jordan, arguably the second best ever. Why, in the name of Bill Russell, would Boston Celtic fans boo him every time he touches the ball in the play-offs? They are only making him better. Short of running out on the floor and tackling him, Boston fans will never stop him. Cheer on your own team instead. You’ll feel better. Either way, he’ll beat you, but you’ll at least feel better. Guaranteed.

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4 responses to “Rant and Rave

  1. Having watched them all, I would say Lebron has passed Jordan as the greatest talent ever on the court. And I am a Celtics fan.

  2. Jim,
    Lehigh beat Duke in the 2012 opening round. An upset that may be larger than the Mercer upset.