Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. Damn, I hate getting old. After doing some yard work last weekend, I went to bed Sunday night thinking my back felt a bit tight. When I got up on Monday, it was not any better…but it wasn’t too bad, so I went about business as usual. Tuesday morning, I woke up with a full spasm in the lower back. I don’t know if you have ever experienced this, but it sucks…pure and simple. There is really nothing to do, but rest, ice and drugs… Of course, if my blog sucks today, at least I have an excuse.
With my back out, I spent most of Tuesday sitting in my recliner watching baseball. There were a few things that caught my attention and I think deserve a bit of discussion. Did you see Brett Lawrie get ejected? As this video is on MLB network, the best I can offer is the link: http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120515&content_id=31385244&vkey=news_tor&c_id=tor
I truly believe that most umpires do a great job of getting the calls right, but this ump’s zone was terrible. Some umps call a wide zone, but what he called strike three was clearly up. You can't call em wide and tall, it is just not right. Now, Lawrie should not have thrown his helmet, but did it look like the ump was doing a bit of acting when the helmet grazed him? He acted like Brett threw hot water on him or something. I am not sure what happened in this game, but it sure seemed like he had it in for Lawrie. There is no doubt that a suspension is coming. How many games do you think that Lawrie will be out? My guess is 7 games….and that is too bad. This umpire needs to remember that he is best when he is invisible.
Tuesday was the first time that Bryce Harper and Mike Trout hit HR’s on the same day, but I know there will be many more. After watching these two rookies play for the past week, I think I was wrong in my initial assessment. Both of these guys are ready to play now. Of course they will have rough days, but their talent is obvious. I would not be surprised if Harper hit 20 HRs this year. As I am currently re-reading a book about Willie Mays, I could not help but think that Mays also started professional baseball as a 19 year old. I also have to admit that I have changed my view of Harper. I like the way this kid plays. He plays with a bit of old school intensity. Willie Mays was thrown at frequently. As a high schooler playing in an industrial league, he was drilled in one of his first at bats. As he lay in the dirt crying, his manager barked at him to get up. The advice he gave Mays was to steal 2nd and 3rd as quickly as you can…this is the best way to get back at a pitcher. I could not help but think of Mays when Harper stole home on Hamels. Of course it was nice to see Harper’s pitcher hit Hamels, but stealing home was the perfect message to send Hamels. Both of these guys are following the 5 tool path that Mays blazed more than 50 years ago, but of course they have a very long way to go to achieve what Mays did.
I have to give a bit of love to the Orioles. While most think that the AL East will eventually catch and pass the Baltimore, I am beginning to sense that Buck has enough talent to hang tough much of the year. The Orioles were once remembered for hitting the three run home run, pitching and defense. While I have not seen Jim Palmer or Mike Cuellar on the mound for the birds, I do see a power resurgence in Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, JJ Hardy and Chris Davis. Did you know that the Baltimore’s bullpen has an ERA of .228 and possibly baseball’s best closer in Jim Johnson? It is funny, but Showalter is winning with three Ranger castoffs. Chris Davis, Darren O’Day and Pedro Strop are all ex-Rangers. I am not sure that the starting pitching is good enough to stay atop the AL East, but with the Yankees struggling health and the Red Sox troubles, this might be the year that Baltimore stays north of .500. There is plenty of time for them to fade, but this group of birds seems very determined to hang around. Buck Showalter is one great manager…
Most have commented that the NBA is not what it once was. I do have to admit that I thoroughly enjoy the hijinks on TNT. Frequently, I will not watch the game, but tune in to see what Charles, Kenny and Ernie are up to on the game recap. In case you missed the great shirt off on Tuesday evening, here is a video recap of the event. In short, Shaq challenged Barkley to take his shirt off and compare their abs. I think that Shaq had a bit of artistic help with his “six pack”. Funny stuff…
As usual, BOB has inspired me with a topic in his blog that I had to carry over to Wednesday. There have been rumors about Florida State moving to the Big 12. I have always wondered why Florida State was not in the SEC. Their proximity to the SEC would be a natural fit for the Seminoles and Miami for that matter. As I started to read about the situation in the ACC, it was quickly clear that money was at the heart of the discussion to leave the ACC. Apparently the new TV deal that was signed only ads about a million dollars to the current agreement. Although the announced deal sounded much better, the TV dollars are apparently back loaded, which may leave the conference under market by the time the bigger dollars are realized. Florida State is in a pickle. They have admitted to running an operating deficit and may have to trim almost 2.5 million in expenses. The rub for the Seminoles is the quality of competition in the ACC and the difficulty of selling out their 80,000 seat stadium. Here is a look at the Noles 2012 schedule:
9-1 vs Murray State
9-8 vs Savannah State
9-15 vs Wake Forest
9-22 vs Clemson
9-29 at USF
10-6 at NC State
10-13 vs BC
10-20 at Miami
10-27 vs Duke
11-8 at VT
11-17 at Maryland
11-24 vs Florida
12-1 ACC championship game
Obviously, the Big 12 would need to add two teams if they decided to add Florida State. Louisville has been rumored as an option, but perhaps Miami would be a better option? This new conference could be split into an East and West division:
East: Florida State, West Virginia, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Miami
West: Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
With a 9 game schedule, each team would play all of their division and four teams from the other division. This would be a very strong conference and would add back a conference championship game for the Big 12. Is this possible? There are some big advantages for the Big 12 to add two teams of the stature of Florida State and Miami. While the Florida teams are not what they once were, it does not take much imagination to see them back to full strength in a few years. Recruiting would be beneficial for all involved. Texas and Florida are both full of high school talent. I am sure that all of the conference schools would be happy to add visits to both states to their travel. Speaking of travel…how will the alumni embrace the added expense of traveling to out of state games? I know that taking a trip to Florida would be much more fun than visiting Morgantown, or at least would offer an easier trip.
There has been a great reshuffling of college football, but my guess is that we have only scratched the surface of changes. Now that a playoff is being discussed, it is only a matter of time before the NCAA realizes just how much money they are leaving on the table. Then, an expanded tournament will surely be next. This will lead to a push for bigger and better conferences. How long before we have “super” conferences? I don’t think anyone could argue that the SEC is the best football conference. I suspect that this is one reason that the Big 12 might consider adding two quality football schools. And of course, there is added TV revenue. But, there is the small problem for the Seminoles of how to leave the ACC. Leaving the ACC will not be free. It will cost Florida State an estimated 20 million or so to head west. How does a school that is operating in the red come up with this kind of money? Also, many Florida State fans despise the power of the Carolinas and think that the ACC is all about Duke and NC basketball. There are many in the Big 12 that complain of the power of Texas. Will Florida State find the same issue? This is a fair concern, but for my eyes, Florida State fits much better in the Big 12 than they do in the ACC. In the current environment, who can rule out anything?
We all have our favorite sports and for different reasons. One of the cool things that I have noticed about baseball is the uniqueness of the umpires. There is no set manner to signal an out. A safe call is pretty universal, but have you ever really watched how different one umpire is from another? Here is a variety of umpires that offer a bit of flair to the job:
As you can see, a good umpire is unique in the way they call a game. I suppose eventually every umpire will need an aspirin to deal with all of the knuckelheads...
That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey:
“Somebody told me it was frightening how much topsoil we are losing each year, but I told the story around the campfire and nobody got scared.”
“I hope, when they die, cartoon characters have to answer for their sins.”
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own.