I must begin today with an erratum. Last week I was writing about Mark Richt’s firing at Georgia and mentioned that his winning percentage of 74% put him in the company of Urban Meyer, Nick Saban and Bob Stoops. That statement is absolutely correct – but it is not as inclusive as it should be.

I received an e-mail last Friday from a former colleague who is a devoted football fan and an alum of TCU. The e-mail informed me that “this proud Horned Frog” knows that I did not omit the name of Gary Patterson intentionally but that I would “give offense to all who follow TCU” if I failed to correct my error. Not meaning to give offense, my former colleague is exactly correct. Gary Patterson’s record at TCU – his only head coaching job at the collegiate level – is 142-47 and that winning percentage is just north of 75%.

Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa…

Yesterday, the Portland Timbers captured the MLS Cup by beating the Columbus Crew in Columbus. The fact that two “small market teams” played in the final game surely did not enhance the TV ratings for that game going up against a full slate of NFL games. However, the presence of two “small market teams” in the final game does present MLS in a positive light with regard to the competitiveness of the league and the ability of any city to field a team that can compete for a championship.

Let me say one other positive thing about MLS here. The league has spent a lot of money and effort on player development. Youth academies continue to open and operate putting young players in a skills-learning situation as opposed to an environment where much of the time is devoted to games. In addition, MLS and the United Soccer League (USL) have created a third level of US soccer as another way to develop players. MLS is the top-tier of professional soccer in the US; the North American Soccer League is one level down from MLS; the USL is a third tier of pro soccer in the US consisting of 28 teams. Just as MLB incurs costs for developing young players in the minor leagues, MLS is involved directly with teams in the USL to develop talent that one day could show up in MLS or other professional leagues.

The NBA and Anheuser-Busch have extended their marketing agreement. I was glancing through a report about this extension and ran across this paragraph:

“A number of Anheuser-Busch’s flagship brands will activate as part of this partnership. Starting this season, Budweiser and Bud Light will run NBA marketing activations at the same time, with each brand owning year-round platforms and different marquee league events, including NBA All-Star, NBA Playoffs, The Finals, NBA Draft, and WNBA All-Star.”

I am pretty sure that I could define every word or phrase in that paragraph. Nonetheless, I am positive that I have no idea what that paragraph means. This is a value-subtracted process – as opposed to a value-added process. Here we have words I understand arranged in sentences that make no sense.

    What does it mean for a flagship brand to activate? Does that mean that cans of Bud Lite will open themselves and pour themselves into mugs?

    What is the significant change that I will notice now that “Budweiser and Bud Light will run NBA marketing activations at the same time”?

    What does it mean for a brand to “own year-round platforms”? Should I expect to see Budweiser trucks floating on barges in lakes? Maybe the Clydesdales will be on the roof of an arena near me?

Here is something I am sure that I do know about all of this. None of this management-speak is going to change the fact that Bud Light is undrinkable…

After the Arizona D-Backs signed 32-year old Zack Greinke to a deal reportedly worth $206M over the next 6 years, someone went back through the myriad records kept for baseball games and figured out that Greinke had thrown “more than 33,000 pitches in his major league career”. Talk about a pitch count… I checked his minor league stats and found that Greinke has had a couple of “rehab assignments” to the minor leagues and he threw 333.1 innings in the minor leagues as he was coming up to the major leagues. Seems to me that is an awful lot of pitches for an arm or a shoulder but then I did one other calculation:

    Nolan Ryan struck out 5714 batters in his career. If I estimate that it took him 4.5 pitches per strike out – probably a low estimate but good enough – that means Ryan threw 25,713 pitches just to his strikeout victims.

    Ryan pitched a total of 5386 innings meaning he got 16,158 hitters out. That means 10,444 hitters were retired in some way other than a strikeout. Conservatively, that is another 20,000 pitches…

    Ryan walked 2795 batters. At 5 pitches per walk, there go another 13,975 pitches.

    Ryan gave up 3,923 hits in his career. Round that off to another 10,000 pitches

    Using conservative estimates for all of these situations, Nolan Ryan threw at least 68,900 pitches in his career. By that measure, Greinke could be only in the mid-day of his career…

Finally, since I mentioned the NBA and Anheuser-Busch and their new marketing agreement, let me close with something from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times at the intersection of sports and beer:

“Canadian Lewis Kent broke the world record for the beer mile — four laps around a track, and downing a bottle of ale before each one — running it in 4:51.9.

“In terms of miles per gallon, though, that makes a Winnebago look like a Prius.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………