Spring Training is rolling; opening day is only about 3 weeks away. Looking back at coverage of the early parts of Spring Training I noticed that the formulaic stories made their brief appearances. For example:
- Joe Flabeetz showed up in camp this year with an additional 15 pounds. He pushed extra hard in his workouts over the winter because he felt that he had tired himself out by the time September arrived and the added weight/strength will obviate that problem in 2018. Meanwhile …
- Sam Glotz reported to Spring Training looking lean and mean. He hired a nutritionist over the winter who put him on a probiotic-paleo diet that added lean muscle but took off 15 pounds of useless fat. Glotz said that he had felt burdened down with that extra weight last year, but he was raring to go in 2018.
I ran across an article that talked about non-roster invitees to Spring Training. These players are not on the team’s 40-man roster, but they are participating in the major league camp. Some teams invite their top minor league prospects to participate with the “big guys”; some teams offer those invitations to veteran players who hope to impress the coaches sufficiently to get themselves put on the 40-man roster. Most of these players will not be involved in Opening Day games but some could get a shot with the big club later in the year. As I scanned a list of non-roster invitees for various clubs, 5 names jumped out at me:
- Taylor Clarke (Arizona): This name means something to me because he was a pitcher for a traveling youth baseball team here in Northern Virginia and the coach/manager of that team was a former colleague of mine.
- Nick Gordon (Minnesota): I checked to make sure; yes, he is the younger brother of Dee Gordon. So, if you believe in genetics…
- Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels): Of course, he is the most interesting name on the entire list for obvious reasons.
- Fernando Tatis, Jr. (San Diego): His father is the only player in MLB history to hit two grand slam home runs in the same inning. OK, son; top that…
- Tim Tebow (Mets): If the Mets’ season goes in the toilet (distinctly possible), I hope they call Tebow up to the majors just to put a punctuation mark on that whole experiment.
Back in the middle of the NFL season, Jerry Jones just about lost his s[p]it when the NFL handed down a 6-game suspension to Ezekiel Elliott and Jones hired a lawyer threatening to sue the other owners who were negotiating a new contract with Roger Goodell. That showdown never happened but the league and the owners on the Compensation Committee incurred legal costs. Now Goodell is reportedly going to fine Jones and make him pay those other owners for their legal costs. It seems to me that this kerfuffle has an obvious end-point. Various courts have ruled that the Commissioner’s authorities with regard to meting out disciplinary events is wider than a mile. [/Henry Mancini]. Here is what I would like to see come out of all this:
- Both Jones and Goodell come out of the whole process looking like spoiled-brat rich kids and that they are forced to go to their rooms without supper until they can make-nice with each other and keep their big yaps SHUT.
- Not gonna happen…
I know that the answer to this next question is “Money!”, but I will ask it anyway:
- Why is the Big 10 men’s basketball tournament going to take place in Madison Square Garden?
This still makes no sense. The closest schools to NYC would be Rutgers and Penn State; neither school is a basketball blue-blood and neither team has a rabid following in NYC. The Big 10 is a conference that has been around for almost 125 years and it has always had its center of gravity in the mid-west. For most of those 125 years, Michigan and Michigan State were the easternmost teams in the conference and the drive from NYC to Ann Arbor is more than 600 miles. If you stop and think about which teams in the Big 10 might put on a great show in the NCAA tournament, you would probably come up with:
- Michigan State
- Michigan (maybe)
- Ohio State
In prior times, the honor of Big 10 basketball has been represented by:
So, I ask again, why take the teams to NYC for the conference tournament? As one option, consider that the Pacers’ home court is Bankers’ Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. It is in the heart of the Big 10 geography and it seats about 18,000 folks for basketball games.
Finally, here is a comment from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“Former Anchorage Daily News desker Roy Neese, via Facebook, after the U.S. topped Canada to reach the gold-medal match in men’s curling: ‘That’s like the U.S. beating Italy in pasta-making’.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………