Last week, Brad Dickson had this comment in the Omaha World-Herald:
“College basketball season begins Friday night. If your office NCAA Tournament bracket is due Monday, you’re probably jumping the gun.”
If the early-season games are any indication, this season could be a wild ride. The “upstarts” took it to the “big programs”:
Belmont beat Marquette – at Marquette
W. Illinois beat #17 Wisconsin – at Wisconsin
Chattanooga beat Georgia
N. Florida beat Illinois – by 12 points
William and Mary beat NC State – by 17 points at NC State
Monmouth beat UCLA
Just in case you are worried that you have gone through a wormhole and wound up in Bizarro World, there is still some stability in college basketball. Duke and UNC both won their openers.
The MLB Hall of Fame ballots are now in the hands of the voters. Rather than go over the entire ballot and worry about who might or might not get in this time around, I want to focus on 4 players who are on the ballot for the first time this year.
Ken Griffey Jr.: It is hard for me to imagine that “Junior” falls short of the qualifications to be in the Hall of Fame. I think he should go in as a first-year nominee.
Trevor Hoffman: Relief pitchers – and closers to be more specific – are often not seriously regarded by the voters. However, Hoffman saved 601 games in his career; only Mariano Rivera had more saves (652). It would seem to me that both of them deserve to be in the Hall of Fame at some point.
Billy Wagner: If Hoffman and/or Rivera do not get in, then Wagner has no chance. He is 5thon the all-time list with 422 saves.
Jim Edmonds: He had a 17-year career hitting .284 with an OPS of .903. In addition, he was an excellent defensive player. He will not get in on his first ballot, but he might be in the Hall one of these days.
Another MLB topic in the news is not nearly as positive as talking about potential inductees into the Hall of Fame. Rockies’ shortstop, José Reyes was arrested a couple of weeks ago and charged with assaulting his wife in a hotel room in Hawaii. MLB announced its new “domestic violence policy” this summer with the agreement of the MLBPA. This is going to be the test case for Commissioner Rob Manfred. The policy gives the Commish wide ranging authority here – although there is an appeals process to an arbitration board – and it will be interesting to see what sort of precedent he sets here.
One aspect of the new domestic violence policy is that Manfred may discipline a player even if the player is not convicted of a crime. Where the MLB policy seems to differ from other sports is in areas other than punishments/suspensions. The MLB policy includes counseling and other sorts of evaluations and interventions in addition to punishments. A Board consisting of 2 representatives from the league, 2 representatives from the union and three “experts in the field of domestic violence” will come to an agreement with regard to a treatment plan for Reyes and will somehow oversee his compliance with that treatment plan. Then there is the punishment…
I have read/heard commentary that tries to put this sort of incident into the existing spectrum of baseball suspensions – 50 games for PED use or 81 games for a repeat offense or a full season if you are a serial offender who lies about everything associated with his offenses. I find that sort of discussion “slimy”. We are not talking about getting an advantage in a game here; we are talking about domestic violence. Any sort of thinking that even hints at the idea of equating the two is offensive.
It is important to note that Reyes has not yet been arraigned in this matter. His wife did require treatment at an emergency room and hotel security folks and the local police were involved in the incident. That is all that we know for sure. Rather than speculating on what Manfred and the “Oversight Board” might do in the matter, I think the proper stance is to sit back and watch how this newly created policy plays out during its maiden voyage. These are not “one-size-fits-all” situations; let us all take a deep breath and watch for progress. Oh and while we are watching for progress, let us also fervently hope that Rob Manfred figures out a way to deal with this case in a far more competent manner than Roger Goodell has handled domestic violence matters for the NFL.
I think this comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald should be sufficient to catch you up on happenings related to NASCAR:
“Homestead-Miami Speedway on deck to host season finale: NASCAR’s race Sunday in Phoenix will determine which three drivers join retiring star Jeff Gordon for the championship next Sunday in Homestead. Gordon winning would be a storybook ending. Am picturing Cinderella in a flame-retardant racing suit and earplugs.”
Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry’s column, Sideline Chatter, in the Seattle Times:
“Reader Michael Seese, to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, on the city’s 2-7 NFL team: ‘I downloaded the Browns app Saturday, and Sunday my phone began dropping calls.’ ”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………