Friday, September 30, 2011

University of Iowa Plans Veteran's Day Celebration

Most of us remember that on August 6th 30 American died when the helicopter they were in was shot down in Afghanistan. It was one of the deadliest attacks on US troops.

If you don’t completely remember that, you most likely remember the photograph of one of the soldier’s dogs laying beside his coffin at his funeral.

There is not a more touching, emotional photo out there.

Jon Tumilson’s dog Hawkeye never left his side. Unfortunately, Tumlinson had to leave Hawkeye’s when he was deported to Afghanistan.

So when Tumlinson came home, Hawkeye stayed by his side. He led the family into the funeral and promptly laid next to his owner.

Tumlinson is a native of Iowa, and when the University of Iowa was thinking of ways to celebrate Veteran’s Day, they immediately thought of Hawkeye. It has not been finalized yet, but Hawkeye will be part of Iowa’s Veteran’s Day plans when the Hawkeyes play Tennessee Tech.

This is a great tribute for all veterans, especially Tumlinson. It shows that war affects everyone and everything, even animals in the United States. As a dog lover and a college football fan, I am happy and proud that Iowa is putting together this tribute.

Oh, and just for reference, the dog is living with one of Tumlinson’s friends in Texas. His friend took care of the dog while he was deployed and was named as the caretaker in Tumlinson’s will.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wrong vs. Ethics: Brian Cashman and Carl Crawford

Quick post. Okay, quick rant.

I just read an article on ESPN regarding Brian Cashman feigning interest in Carl Crawford last winter so the Red Sox would have to offer him more money. The article doesn’t seem to make a huge deal about this and goes on to discuss Cliff Lee and Jesus Montero.

But is it a big deal?

I don’t know. let's see if I know by the end of the post.

My initial reaction was “Oh shit, the people in Boston are going to be furious. And so much more irritating.” But as I think about it, it’s not too big of a deal.

Brian Cashman did not actually court Crawford, he just had lunch with his agent. He did not make an offer or call Theo Epstein and tell him he was interested in Crawford. The Red Sox chose to offer him the money they did. Were the Red Sox trying to get him away from the Yankees? Probably. Are they taking this rivalry way too far if they are offering a guy way too much money because someone else “may” be interested? Yes. And what would have happened if someone out bid the Red Sox? Would this still be a story? Would it be “Cashman tried to get Crawford away from the Royals”? Probably not.

To be honest the red Sox are at the center of this story and a bigger part than Cashman is.

Although I don’t feel as if it is that big of a deal, it was a little unethical for Brian Cashman to have dinner to pretend to be involved and that I have a problem with. And I have a problem with the agent being played.

Point in all of this: Although Cashman didn’t do anything wrong, it was unethical and ethics need to be at the forefront of this sport. And the rivalry caused this and it needs to stop.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Big Business of College Sports

I recently came across this article from The Atlantic titled "The Shame of College Sports." I'll be honest- I only got through half of it. it is very long and at times complex. But it is good. And as this blog is not (completely) about what I find interesting but about bringing sports fans interesting information, I wanted to share it.

It delves into lawsuits, commercialism and paying college athletes. It mentions that college athletes are like slaves, which is a tad bit radical, but I can see the comparison. I am not knowledgeable enough to truly comment on everything it brings up but I would love to hear some of the opinions (the comments on the story are really interesting).

Note: Take from this what you want. I went to Boston University, a school with no football team. But we did and do have a tremendous, national championship hockey team. And BU is a Division I school. I was in a few classes with basketball players. Now BU basketball is no UConn or Duke or UNC, but it is DI. These players had every moment of their day planned out. They were required to take classes at specific times (usually 8 a.m.-2 p.m. two days a week) and then go to practice from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. when they then had a mandatory team dinner until 7:30 p.m. After that they had to meet with their tutors until about 9 p.m. On the days they did not have classes they were required to meet with their tutors for about 4 hours a day and they still had practices. Let me tell you, scheduling group projects was not easy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Michael Cuddyer Saved a Life on 9/11

I hope some of you had a chance to catch some of the pre-game ceremonies on 9/11. A few of them were particularly moving.

Being from Central Connecticut one of the teams I follow is the New Britain Rock Cats, the AA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Connecticut loves the Rock Cats, despite their inability to win, partially because the Twins really harvest their players and keep them in the organziation (The Twins are doing soething right, other teams should learn by example. Yes, I am talking about you, Mets). I have seen Torri Hunter, David Ortiz, Michael Cuddyer, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Danny Valencia and dozens of other major league players in New Britain. But I digress.

So when the Rock Cats posted on Facebook a link to a story with the headline "Cuddyer's Homer Keeps Teammate Off 9/11 Flight" I had to read it. I am not going to retell the story here because it is not worth it and the author is a much better writer. The MLB article cites a column that Cuddyer writes for Fox Sports North. That original article can be found here, and it provides some great insights from a baseball player's prospective, specifically a baseball player who was enjoying great success during the 2001 season. To be honest, it sounds as though he feels guilty for being so happy and proud of his accomplishments that season.

Also, and I am being a hypocrite because I have yet to do so, you should check some of Michael Cuddyer's other columns. They include things such as why BP is the way it is and how music affects the game. He provides an insight into the game that we as fans wouldn't normally be able to see, or know.And he is very personable.

And I just Googled him- apparently he can do magic tricks. I am kind of in love with him.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Never Forget.

The 10th anniversary of September 11th has been dominating the news the past few weeks. And it should be. So I want to take this time to remember that tragic day and everyone who is no longer with us because of the attacks on our beloved country.

I wanted to remind everyone that there are a significant number of sporting events happening on Sunday. It is the middle of the playoff races for baseball and it is the first full day of football (finally!). Every game will feature some sort of remembrance for the victims of September 11th. The NFL is having the same video message play at every game and there is bound to be something great (read: emotional) before the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys game at 8:20 p.m.

The New York Mets are also playing in New York Sunday night. They will have a ton of tributes for the anniversary, including members of the 2001 team throwing out the first pitch. After all, who can forget the effect Mike Piazza’s home run had on the city, and the country? The team will also be wearing the same FDNY hats that they wore after the attacks.

Back to the NFL for a moment. It just came out that Lance Briggs of the ChicagoBears plans to wear custom-made cleats and gloves for the anniversary. They are red, white and blue and feature the words “Never Forget.” There has been a lot of backlash on this matter, because it will violate the NFL’s dress code. I have an issue with this. There is no reason in my mind why Briggs cannot wear the items. He is not wearing a different jersey and they are not likely to be distracting. It is one day, an important day, that is bigger than any one sporting event. At the bottom of the article is a list of other players who are commemorating the day. In my mind, all of these are great and the players should not get fined. What are your thoughts?

So tune in to any sporting event you wish and enjoy. And Never Forget.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Over the Scholarship Limit: What to do?

Oh. My. Gosh. It is almost college football season and I couldn't be happier! Well, actually, if I had a full-time job, I would be happier, but this is reality.

Connecticut is all abuzz about football, although I have to admit our minds are still on basketball. Heck, they never leave basketball, especially since we just won a championship in men's basketball and had a Final Four appearance in women's basketball.

Side note- UConn had a phenomenal sports year: Men's basketball champions, Women's Final Four appearance, baseball Super Regional appearance and (the first) BCS bowl in football. We. Freakin'. Rule.

Anyways, I know you don't all care about UConn basketball (but you should!) but this is a topic that deserves debate throughout college basketball.

Andre Drummond recently committed to UConn. For the 2011-2012 season. After he said he wasn't going to go to college. Oh boy.

That is all well and good, and cements UConn's place at the top of the preseason polls, but UConn doesn't quite have room for him. Literally.

UConn is fresh out of scholarships after having three taken away due to NCAA violations and low APR scores. So what is a school to do in this situation?

Ask a redshirt freshman (or an international player) to give up his scholarship and either pay his own way or leave the team.

I love UConn with all my heart, but that is not right. I don't know what they should do, but it is not that.

Now, I understand that I, and we, only know what we know due to the media. And the media may not have all the information. The Hartford Courant has reported that Michael Bradley, the redshirt freshman, may be able to get a (almost) full ride due to family need. But this is a kid that may truly need the scholarship, it may be the only way he was going to college, and I have a problem with that being taken away from him.

On the other hand, UConn has reportedly talked to their two German players about going back to Germany and playing there. If they want to, they should. But they should not be forced to. Plus I think UConn is putting all of its eggs in this Andre Drummond basket. One of the German players, Niels Giffey, played in every single game last season and contributed. You want to get rid of a champion, who also has a great work ethic, for a guy who has yet to prove himself?

You have to understand, I do like Andre Drummond. A lot. He is an extremely talented player and will be able to help UConn in so many ways. But UConn is turning its back on players that are loyal and hardworking, and I don't like that.

So UConn: Talk to Andre Drummond, see if he can pay any of his own way. See if he can get a scholarship. And send more information to the media so the fans don't think you're crazy.

What do you think? Should Andre Drummond get a scholarship automatically? It is "right" that UConn is forcing others to give theirs up and possibly leave?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Messing With Tradition, and It Works. But Is It for Everyone?

I am always interested in teams that do things out of the ordinary. I love Tony LaRussa for hitting the pitcher eighth, which I think is brilliant. I love managers who put in positions players to pitch when the game is so clearly over. I also love the Brewers for having Corey Hart bat leadoff.

I was watching a Brewers game the other day and the commentator made the point to note that Corey Hart (whose full name is Jon Corey Hart - I am also obsessed with names) is the tallest leadoff man since 1974.

I mean, he is a monster.

He is kind of huge.

Ron Roenicke, the Brewers manager, decided to put Hart in that spot to try to get his bat moving. But I also think it was to put fear into the Brewers’ opponents. Usually the leadoff batter is someone who is likely to get on base and get things going. Someone who plays small ball rather than hit bombers. Corey Hart is not quite that guy. The starting pitcher is likely to have a little anxiety right out of the gate, though, facing that type of guy and that may translate into better on-base percentage and thus more runs scored. Also, starting pitchers are still getting warmed up at the start of the game and are more likely to make "bad" pitches that opposing hitters will crush.

But is messing with tradition worth it?

Apparently Roenicke’s and Hart’s way of thinking is working, but I am not sure every team should go with it. Perhaps it is because I am a fan of small ball over long ball and I believe the leadoff man is in that position to get on base. But I can also see pitchers being rattled by it and making bad pitches and forcing walks.