Sports

I say it all the time…it’s about the moments

June 9th, 2011 at 6:01 pm by under Photo/Video, Sports

There really isn’t a much better afternoon to be had, than at the ballpark.  I gotta tell you it’s like an energy drink that revives you and gives you a fresh start to the summer. Baseball helps you put life back into perspective about what’s joyous, what’s a challenge and basicaly what just is.

life, like baseball , isn’t alwasy a plesant game but we are all given opportunities and the only thing we can control is how we react to the situation. I was standing today along with a good friend of mine and we just went round the horn to all of the baseball players on the field practicing and talked about the moments they had during the Regional weekend just completed.  The pregame handshake and chest bump of roommates Corey Knebel and Erich Weiss who were also named to the Louisville Slugger’s Freshman All American Team — Coach Garrido talking about Cole Green and the fact that he came back to Texas to be all he could be as a person and when he walked off the field Monday after his inning of work, you could see it in his face for what I thought the first time all year that he had captued his moment and was ready for more. Taylor Jungmann going from the disapoointment of his outing on Saturday night against Kent State to the Band of Brothers Pitching performance monday in the championship game against Kent State because you could feel that not only Taylor…but everyone knew they had more in them that maybe they thought.  Sam Stafford — wow — went 5 innings on Friday and came back strong Monday showing everyone the doubts about starting him on friday went away with all of the other doubts folks had had previously about his ability to go past 3 innings effectively. Jordan Etier with 4 unbelievable catches  Hoby Milner with probably the biggest out of the year in the 5th on Monday against Kent State with runners at 2nd and 3rd.  I could just keep going but I’m more about moments that stats and home runs..speaking of which how bout the kevin Lusson homers. I could do the math, and I won’t, but imagine if the Horns had averaged almost 1 home run a game like they did this past Regional Championship weekend? They would lead the country in home runs.  They might have more home runs in the post season than they had all regular season (13), one never knows.

I guess all of these moments are why I enjoy Augie’s book Life is Yours to Win so much and having a job for that allows me to live the book first hand. I look forward to Friday when the horns host Arizon State in the super regionals — winner goes to Omaha and the College World Series — basically because I know that Taylor Jungmann is wanting another chance to create a different outcome than his last start.  It’s exciting that he will take the mound and put himself out there to see what happens when you try…when you prepare for the opportunities…and good things happen..or not so good things happen. Taylor will have put himself out there as well as the rest of the team to see just what happens when you want to win bad enought that you’ve made sacrifices and worked yout butt off to see if it can happen.

So I’ll be there Friday to see if this group of men can see their dreams come true. It won’t be for a lack of trying or heart — it will be in the hands of life where anything is possible


The NCAA is on “Lord of the Flies” Rules

May 31st, 2011 at 8:45 pm by under Sports

In order for the government to succeed, its constituents must comply with its rules.

This is the theme of that lovely novel, “Lord of the Flies,” that if you’re my age, you had to read freshman year of high school. This is also what is wrong with the NCAA.

Jim Tressell’s exit has sent another wave of discussion through media types and fans alike questioning the effectiveness of the NCAA, and its rules’ effects on its flagship programs, like Ohio State. Questions like: Why didn’t the NCAA further investigate similar allegations first surfaced in as early as 2004? Why was Tressell’s “ignorance” a way to abscond himself of the charges? Why is the NCAA a reactive organization, instead of a proactive one, when it comes to investigating wrongdoing? And of course…

If this went on for this long at Ohio State, is it going on elsewhere?

Yes, it’s going on elsewhere. And the reason it’s going on is because behind closed doors, boosters and program heads know the rules are questionable, as is the enforcement. If they really thought those rules were worth obeying, they’d be obeyed. Or at least self-policed through a compliance office which an institution as big as Ohio State certainly possesses.

This is the reason the NCAA is ineffective. Enough people are blatantly ignoring the rules because both the rules and the enforcement process are flawed. Example after example can be found. Cam Newton. Ohio State’s own Maurice Clarett. Reggie Bush.

Only when it seems the violations are so aggregious or the evidence is convenient does the NCAA flex its muscle. After all, it’s a business. A business that’s in the business of making money off of teams and student-athletes. And if a situation is not worth the time/money/cost/benefit to lose money, then why enforce all of the rules, all of the time?

What good is a governing body when its choice of enforcing rules seems to be selective? Why would constituents comply with those rules when many of them do not make sense, and the potential punishment comes years after the benefit of the violation does?

At least in the court of public opinion and shame the rule-breakers get punished. After fans react at the unfair advantage a school was giving itself over another school the process seemingly stops. But since enough schools are accused of breaking rules, many of which should be revisited and re-evaluated, rarely will schools call each other out. So the fans or the media does. The fans get upset. Then stuff gets done.

The schools which do comply with the rules, along with their fans, are the ones who suffer. This is the sign of a huge flaw in a ruling body. But like in that lovely novel, the conch, or the call to order, has lost its luster.

The NCAA should have the conch. It should be more effective. It can be. It would cost money. Many, many people would get upset at the result. Schools would be suffer. But at least obeying the rules would be the reward instead of the punishment.


Horns lose Big 12 tourney opener

May 25th, 2011 at 3:41 pm by under Sports

Texas has dug themselves a hole they may not want get out of at the Big 12 tournament.  The top seeded Longhorns lost to Missouri 6-4 in Oklahoma City and now will have to climb out of the losers bracket.  In order for Texas to make it to Sunday’s one game championship they will have to win single games Thursday and Friday and then two on Saturday.  That could prove tough on a pitching staff with the most important part of  the season right around the corner in the NCAA tournament.

So how bad does Texas even want to win in OKC?  You can bet they will want to get Thursday’s game against Baylor and avoid the dreaded two and a barbeque.  After that, its a matter of opinion.  Augie Garrido is never going to have his team take the field to lose, but the way they manage their pitching staff could be a telling sign.  If he is convinced that they are a lock for a top 8 national seed which means home field through the super regional,  then he and pitching coach Skip Johnson will be very careful with their front line pitchers.  If  he feels that they need more wins, then they could stretch out some arms.  The good news for Texas is that Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Taylor Jungmann is available after freshman Nathan Thornhill got the start on Wednesday.


Horns Open Big 12 vs Missouri

May 22nd, 2011 at 11:04 pm by under Sports

The Longhorns are the top seed in the Big 12 baseball tournament and will take on Missouri Wednesday at 12:30 in Oklahoma City.  Baylor and Oklahoma State round out their side of the bracket.

The other bracket has Texas A&M taking on Texas Tech at 4:00 Wednesday and Oklahoma against K-State at 7:30.

The tournament format has changed back to the two four team double elimination tournaments with the winner meeting on Sunday in a one game championship.


Aggies get their coach

May 15th, 2011 at 8:25 pm by under Sports

Texas A&M has their new basketball coach.  Billy Kennedy from Murray State may not make big headlines, but he follows a pretty successful formula for A&M.  Like Billy Gillispie came to A&M from mid-major UTEP and then it was Mark Turgeon from Wichita State.  Kennedy is the two time defending Ohio Valley Conference Coach  of the Year.  He also has tied to A&M, serving as an assistant for Kermit Davis back in 1990-91.


a must read….

May 5th, 2011 at 10:24 am by under Photo/Video, Sports

I’ve said all along how fortunate i am to have a job that allows me to meet some of the most amazing people walking. The world is full of amazing people and quite frankly, i’m sure you walk by some of these folks everyday and don’t even realize it.  They are just ordinayr folks and have learned valuable life lessons and are willing to share them. One of my favorite people is Augie Garrido. I know he’s the winningest baseball coach in NCAA Division I history and just reached a milestoe of 1800 wins, but he’s a lot more than that.

I’m lucky to get to spend some time with all of the UT coaches in some form or fashion. They are all outstanding leaders and know what it takes to win. Probably the coach i’ve spent the most time with is Augie. I’ve learned a lot about how to handle things in life and how to approach life in general. I’ve spent many an hour in the dugout just listening, most of the folks who know me would say that that’s an accomplsihment to begin with.  Listening to the countless stories and just soaking it in –has been priceless.  I’ve found that growing up, the mentors available to me were more of the quiet leaders and you never knew what they were thinking and that was difficult for me. I wanted to know more…part of the reason i’m in the media business…so Augie was perfect in that he told you how it was, when it was and didn’t hold anything back. I really had never experienced that from a quote unquote role model in my life.

I learned so much from his trials and tribulations and also victories. i was there for the 2 recetn National Championships in Omaha and also there for the disapointments of finishing 2nd a couple of times as well. I can’t begin to tell you the things I’ve learned the last 12 years visiting with Augie. I’m sure he doesn’t even know how much of a difference he made in my life and how I think.  that’s also part of the beauty in that he’s jus telling stories — the good the bad and the ugly and what he got from those. what he learned from his successes and failures. No ones life is perfect and really all you can control is how you react to any given situation.

That’s why i’m excited for you. because his long awaited book “Life is Yours to Win” is here. I could probably tell you what it says without even reading it. I’m still going to read it and know that when Augie speaks of overcoming fear and no living a fear based life….that he will have already shown me he took fear by the horn and put it to the ground.  I think most people would be surprised if you’ve spetn any amount of time with Augie that he had one fear he had to overcome to publish a book. His fear of writing….glad he did.


Durant takes it to next level

April 28th, 2011 at 4:27 pm by under Sports

Kevin Durant has established himself as one of the best players in the NBA with two straight scoring titles to prove it.  But the next step is a lot more about April thru June than November thru March, we’re talking playoffs.

Durant not only  led Oklahoma City to their first ever playoff series win (since moving from Seattle) but stepped up huge down the stretch with big basket after big basket.  Durant scored 41 points for the second time in the series and 16 of the 41 in the 4th quarter where the Thunder erased a nine point Nuggets lead.   But think about Jordan, do you know how many scoring titles he has? How many MVP’s does he have? Everyone does know the number 6, as in 6 NBA titles.  Kobe Bryant is in search of that 6th title and its amazing how the talk has intensified about Bryant’s place alongside Jordan in the history of greatest players.

Durant will score and score and score.  In his four years in the NBA he has  more than 8100 points  This from a player that is still more than five months shy of his 23rd birthday.  For perspective, Kareem Abdul Jabbar is the all time leading scorer with 38,387 points while Shaquille  O’Neal is the leading active score with 28,596 points, followed by Bryant at 27,868.

But  his legacy will be formed by what he can do in the post season.  He has taken the first step with the series win over Denver, now he waits for the Spurs-Grizzlies winner for the next step.

By the way, Jordan owns 10 scoring titles and 5 MVP’s.


Monday nuggets

March 28th, 2011 at 9:39 pm by under Sports

UT sophomore Jordan Hamilton was named 3rd team All-American by the Associated Press.  First team is Jimmer Fredette (BYU), Kemba Walker (UCONN), Nolan Smith (Duke), Jared Sullenger (Ohio St.), and JuJuan Johnson (Purdue).  Might question Derrick Williams from Arizona being a 2nd team instead of first, especially after the tournament he had.

One of the hot topics from mid-February until selection Sunday is what teams are on the bubble.  But then the argument is quickly qualified by saying “its not like any of these teams are going to win championship, so what does it matter?”  Well that is now out the window with VCU going to the final four after being one of the last four in.  Coaches want to continue to expand the field and this will only add fuel to those feelings.

We caught up with Leo Manzano on Monday to talk about his first Manzano Mile which is Saturday at the Texas School for the Deaf.  The former UT great distance runner and ’08 Olympian is trying to raise money to help fund running and fitness efforts for kids around Central Texas.  I’ll never forget being at the Beijing Olympics with him and how in awe he was of his Olympic experience and that was well before he ran.  For more on his run go to www.manzanomile.com.

Texas Baseball team dropped just a few spots to #8 despite a rough weekend at Oklahoma State.  Horns not only lost their first Big 12 series since ’09 (K-State, who else) but scored just five runs and that included their 1-0, 15 inning game on Friday.  I get to sit on for Craig Way on Tuesday’s radio broadcast (6p, 1300 The Zone) as the Horns take on Oral Roberts and try to avoid their third straight loss.

Will Muschamp held his coaches clinic this past weekend at Florida and among his invited speakers was former UT offensive coordinator Greg Davis.  There was some talk that Davis and Muschamp were at odds last season, while that was probably the case at one point or another with an entire staff going through their first losing season in 13 years, it couldn’t have been that bad if Muschamp wanted Davis part of his clinic.

 


Seconds count

March 21st, 2011 at 9:23 am by under Sports

For the second straight year the Longhorns found out just how cruel the tournament can be, but unlike last year when missed free throws and a great individual effort left no room for debate, Sunday night was much different. The five second call on Cory Joseph is a pretty rare call in and of itself, but at that time of game is amazing. For the record he called the T.O. between 4.2 and 4.5 seconds. Derrick Williams held the ball longer than that in the post on more than one occasion without a call and you could probably say the same for Tristan Thompson, but the refs let them play. The fact that Richard Cartmell who made the call is a PAC 10 official is more coincidence than conspiracy. As for the no-calls on Brown’s last second shot or Gary Johnson’s follow attempt, seems, understandable in that situation to swallow the whistle unless its blatant, kind of like a five second call with the game on the line. So Texas joins a long list of teams on the wrong side of a controversial call as their season comes to an end. After the game I spoke with Tristan Thompson and Jordan Hamilton about their comments on Saturday that they would return to Texas next season. To my surprise Hamilton seemed more certain that he will return than Thompson. But keep in mind, there will be a lot of people in their ear between now and decision time in May. One factor that could help Texas is the potential labor issues with the NBA. Okay, back to our beautiful drive through Oklahoma.


oh how fans love the dark jerseys….rooting for the underdog in march

March 11th, 2011 at 7:52 pm by under Photo/Video, Sports

I like the Yankees, I like the Cowboys and I even like the Lakers.  I don’t like professional teams that play the role of underdogs. Usually what that means is they have bad management and coaching and depend on poeple rooting for the underdog to have any fans. I mean St. Louils and the Phillies in baseball, the Saints in football…I like any team who tries and does it right from top to bottom. I don’t root for the underdogs in amy place but college athletics…then it’s fun.

There’s something to be said for rooting for the dark jerseys…the lower seed in a tournament….all coaches will tell you that in a neutral crowd it’s all about the underdog. People love to root for the smaller schools, the quote unquote “butler’s” and “Gonzaga’s” of the world. I did root for Duke by the way because of Coach’ K’s remard in Chicago two years ago. and his love for the game and helping in international play. I did rot for Butler to get to the Final Four, Just for Duke to win it…

Sitting here in the Sprint Center — I bet Colorado wishes it was in a neutral city…say like Houson where all the fans would be rooting for them…the dark jerseys…the upset…the bracket busters…but not today…it’s all Jayhawks all the time That will change next week when March Madness starts.

That’s why getting the higer seed and playing close to home can help…keeping the underdog lovers out of the arena…much like two years ago when Texas played in Greensboro and North Carolina had just finished playing and Texas was playing Duke…wearing the dark burnt orange jerseys ….well, it became a pro Texas crowd real quick deep in Duke’s back yard…because North Carloina fans hate Duke and Texas was wearing the right color.

So, all you fans of the underdog…now is your time. YOu’ll even take a hit on the bracket pool in your office to see the lower seeds win. The question this year is who will be the new Cinderella? will it be Butler again…or which team wearing the dark jersey  will capture the hearts of Americans this year….choose now and fill those brackets out with gusto. My long shot right now is St. Peter’s…who’s scheduled to play Duke in the latest round of the ESPN Bracketology….I know …. but that was last year…don’t want to get greedy now and have the Blue Devils win it back to back now. I am also picking Texas to make it to the Final Four….where….if things go as planned…would be wearning the dark jerseys….good luck