RIP William Nack

William Nack – one of the great writers for Sports Illustrated in the 70s, 80s and 90s – died over the weekend.  He wrote a “biography” of Secretariat which SI excerpted in the magazine; it was a great read.  He also spent several years tracking down chessmaster Bobby Fischer who had taken up a hermit-like existence.

Rest in peace, William Nack.

There is a story on this morning which indicates that mankind has not yet run out of bad ideas.  In the pantheon of Bad Ideas – – probably right next to the idea of playing leapfrog with a unicorn – – is this latest entry from the Alabama High School Athletics Association (AHSAA).  Starting this Fall, high school football games in Alabama will use instant replay to assist officials in “getting it right”.  This will not just be for the championship game or even for all the playoff games leading to the championship game; instant replay will be part of all high school football games.

Maybe the august members of the AHSAA mistakenly thought that fans attending high school football games were feeling slighted at those events because they did not get to sit through all of those less-than-exciting sessions where the officials go to the sideline to “check the monitors”.

  • Memo to AHSAA:  No one wants to see more of that nonsense.  Instant replay hardly guarantees the officials will “get it right”.

Make no mistake; instant replay in high school games will require school athletic departments to spend more than a couple of dollars.  Obviously, Alabama schools are so awash in funding and currently provide their students with the most advanced facilities and technologies for learning that instant replay for football is not a luxury; it is a necessity.

Moving on to football at the NFL level – where instant replay has shown several things:

  1. It is anything but instant.
  2. It sometimes – but not always – corrects a call on the field to everyone’s satisfaction.
  3. It happens far too often.

Anyway, there were several NFL actions in the past several days that need a brief mention.  Here is an observation from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald yesterday that will give you the essence of one of those “actions”:

“We’re 11 days until the draft’s first round, so before we get fully immersed in that, new Fins receiver Danny Amendola tells ESPN that his former Pats boss, Bill Belichick, is both a brilliant coach and a person who could be “an a-hole sometimes.” Um, Danny, doesn’t that sorta go without saying on both counts?”

Here is Greg Cote once again addressing another NFL action that produced a lot of sound and fury last week:

“Dallas rather abruptly cut Dez [Bryant] this week. Yes, and other than his age, injuries, diminishing production, huge salary and itinerant attitude issues, it was a real shock!”

A much more serious NFL-related issue involves Niners’ linebacker, Reuben Foster.  Recall that Foster was arrested recently related to a domestic violence incident; last week he was charged with 3 felonies in that matter:

  1. He is charged with battery
  2. He is charged with “forcefully attempting to prevent the victim from reporting the crime”.
  3. He is charged with possession of an assault rifle with a high capacity magazine.

Potential jail time for all of these charges is 11 years.  Foster is not going to be convicted and sentenced to 11 years in jail, but this matter demonstrates that Foster remains a troubled young man who is going to need mentoring and monitoring as he works to mature into a socialized adult.  Foster shows great promise as a football player, but his career is very near a precipice.  Remember, the NFL can and has meted out suspensions and other penalties even without any convictions.

There was an oddity in MLB last Saturday.  The Braves led the Cubs 10-3 as the Cubs came to bat in the bottom of the 7th inning.  The temperature in Chicago was just below freezing so no one would have blamed any fan who left early to get into a warm bar in the Wrigleyville neighborhood.  The Cubs scored 2 in the bottom of the 7th making it 10-5 but Braves’ fans probably still thought this game was in the bag.

Well, it wasn’t because in the bottom of the 8th inning, the Cubs scored 9 runs to win the game 14-10.  That was not the oddity; teams score 9 runs in an inning more than once a season.  The oddity was how they did it; in the bottom of the 8th inning the Cubs got their 9 runs on:

  • 3 hits
  • 5 walks
  • 2 hit-batters
  • 1 wild pitch – – and – –
  • 1 error.

The Washington Generals could not have blown a game any better…

Finally, here is Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times commenting on the release of Dez Bryant:

“Does anyone else find it bizarre that, right after the NFL finally clarified its definition of what constitutes a catch, the Cowboys drop Dez Bryant?”

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