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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Sunday Observations

1. Roy Halladay's first 18 pitches against the Mets yesterday were strikes.

2. The ESPN crew today pointed out that after Halladay won the Cy Young Award last season, he had a replica made and gave it to his catcher, Carlos Ruiz.

3. Just wondering who the Philadelphia Eagles will play at cornerback and on the defensive line next season. Also wondering how many seasons a 26 year-old guard will have left in him, even if he didn't start to play football until age 22.

4. Is Father Time starting to catch up with the Boston Celtics?

5. As teams advance in the playoffs, their weaknesses become more pronounced. The Flyers' 7-3 loss to the Bruins in Philadelphia yesterday underscores that despite how much his teammates might like him, Brian Boucher is not the answer in goal for the team. And neither are his back-ups.

6. Will Andre Iguodala be back in Philadelphia next season? Will there be a season next season? The NBA players need to be cautious about one thing -- their game isn't quite as popular as professional football. If the players walk, causing a shortened season or no season, the fans will view it as an opportunity to save money for a season.

7. Talked to an acquaintance with knowledge on the topic -- Stephon Marbury is doing fine in China, because he's embracing the Chinese culture. That's interesting, because the talented guard had trouble embracing the U.S. hoops/pass it first culture in the U.S. Perhaps, though, Marbury will be to Chinese hoops what the Buick is to Chinese cars -- get there first, and they'll love you.

8. Talked to a friend who runs a local baseball/softball association. Another friend once remarked that he was the girls' softball commissioner in his northern New Jersey town and that he once played college rugby, and that softball administration was rougher. Well, this fellow told me that the parents are relentless, and that travel organizations are cannibalizing his desire to build stronger rec leagues that send all-stars to post-season tournaments (as opposed to having full-year travel teams). One parent led an insurrection that took half a travel team to a nearby organization, only to have another leader of that group apologize afterward for participating in it (realizing that he had made a mistake). Sheesh! I told him that he should have his association award certificates to the parents of would-be travel kids that certify their travel worthiness (so that they can display them on their cars) but then skip the travel organization altogether. He laughed. As it is, he's trying to make tryouts much more objective, so as to award spots to the best players (and to avoid the worst aspects of daddyball). After getting an overall commitment in a meeting that went past midnight, he told me that the intrigue is starting again, and pockets of resistance are forming. Stay tuned.

9. I told the commissioner of my idea, which he liked. First, involve "empty nester" dads who played in college, coached it, taught it, etc. and have them run the travel programs. Have them run the tryouts and serve as the nominal head coach of the team. Second, hire (at a reasonable stipend) recent college grads learning to get some coaching credentials to coach third base and make the lineup decisions. Most likely, these folks also can teach the fundaments pretty well. Third, parents would have the role of scorekeeper and "team parent." Even with that, you'll have the bands of parents of talented players trying to muscle organizations to make room for their kids in a packaged deal (think LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh) and then to call the shots regarding coaching decisions. Perhaps you can prevent that, perhaps not, but local organizations should do more grass roots work, do more to strengthen their rec leagues, and do more to make all experiences more enjoyable.

So, those are the observations for Sunday. What are yours?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your observations about travel team politics reminds me of what is often said about academia: The politics are so fierce because the stakes are so small.

3:03 PM  

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