Friday, March 20, 2009

A Friday Column

Clearing the morning fog on a foggy morning, one multiple-subject column at a time...

  • When the SDSU baseball team catches the ball, they can shut down just about any team with their pitching staff.  When they fail to catch the ball, games such as last night's 6-2 loss to BYU happen.  With two outs in the 3rd and nobody on, Nate Solow gave up a little chop single to left, just off Erik Castro's glove.  Next, BYU's big hitter Sean McNoughton hit a little ground ball to short, easiest play in the world. Ryan O'Sullivan didn't get in front of it and tried to pluck the ball, and it stayed down when his glove came up.  The error opened the gates, and as has happened many times in Nate Solow's career, trouble followed.  Nate walked the next better on four pitches, and then grooved a 2-1 fastball to Brandon Relf, who ripped a three-run double down the left-field line.   3-1 BYU, and their pro prospect starter Jeremy Toole, with a mid-'90s fastball and just-OK slider, worked 8 strong innings to protect it.  The Cougars made every play in the field, including two double plays, a diving catch in center, and a runner thrown out at home plate.  The Aztecs gave up two more unearned runs in the 8th on three walks and a missed flyball in right by Cory Vaughn.  Realistically SDSU could have won the game 2-1 if they had just made routine plays in the field.  Oh well, six-game winning streak by the boards.  Strasburg throws tonight, so get there early, hoping for another 2000+ crowd.  
  • Oh, just mentioning it again, the BYU/SDSU game tonight will be on XTRA 1360, and I will be doing the play-by-play.  5:45pm pregame, 6:05 first pitch.  Somehow that information didn't make the U-T this morning but did find its way to the North County Times.  Tomorrow's game will be on the radio as well, a 1pm start.  That's part of a 619 Sports-laced doubleheader, as I hand off after the game to Chris Ello at Cox Arena for the SDSU women's first-round NCAA game against DePaul, a 5pm tipoff.  
  • I really wish I could be in two places at once, because the SDSU 2nd round NIT game tonight should be a unique affair.  USD's Jenny Craig Pavilion packed with Aztecs fans, and Kansas State in town.  The smaller venue and the out-of-place feel might even enhance the experience.  I hope the atmosphere and energy lift the Aztecs, because there is some concern about the matchup.  The Wildcats have the size underneath to make life very difficult for SDSU.
  • 3 hours, 42 minutes.  That was last night's time-of-game for the Korea/Japan game at Petco Park.  A 6-2 game.  Way.  Too.  Slow.  Add the postseason-style ad package to any baseball game and you instantly make the game far less enjoyable.  The slow pace of international play just adds to this.  And, the games are played at times when nobody in their right mind would be watching past the West Coast.  I've got to say, as a big-time fan and supporter of the WBC from the start, they are losing me a bit this time with the space between games and the pace of games.  How can you get a feel as a team when you've played six games in well over two weeks?  
  • So much of what's wrong with the WBC comes from the half-in, half-out mentality of MLB.  The 2nd and 3rd rounds are played in the U.S., and spring training is extended and revised to make room for the Classic.  But clubs are wary about risking their stars to the competition, and stars are concerned about injury and disruption.  To me it's clear what needs to happen.  Every four years, you actually treat this thing like a World Cup or Olympics.  You bring MLB to a halt for four weeks in the middle of the season.  Right smack dab in the middle of summer.  Everyone plays.  All the stars are in midseason form, the arms are stretched out and loosened up, and you'll find the players loosening their fears about playing for their country.  It's all about routine for baseball players.  March is for conditioning, not angry games.  June-July is for playing ball.  Put the classic at a time when it can be played well.  Add games to the schedule.  Let people grow and fall in love with the teams, instead of barely being introduced to them before they are gone.
  • Oh, but but but...what about the money lost by stopping the season?  What about all the other players, what do they do?  Figure it out.  The NHL closed down for the Winter Olympics.  Soccer clubs loan players and make adjustments.  This is what I mean: if you're REALLY committed to the idea of a WBC, go all-in to make it a great event.  This half in-half out mentality leads to a half-assed Classic which still is OK but could be much, much better.
  • Maybe it was just the weak slate of games yesterday until the UCLA game at night, but the first day of March Madness didn't really grab me like it normally does.  I mentioned it in the comments of yesterday's thread, but once again, the networks are doing their best to ruin the sports they pay ungodly sums of money to broadcast.  College hoops games should be 2 hours, period.  Adding 30 minutes of ads and promos just makes the game uneven and fitful in its pace.  And I really am trying not to wish ill on the obnoxiously precocious "very smart little girl" who wants to have her "big girl seat" in the Chevy pickup truck.  Please go away from my life "very smart little girl", and never return.
  • Spring has officially begun.  This pleases me.  Last winter sucked.


  1. I did notice that SDSU's game tonight was not mentioned in the UT. What is up with that?
    Not everyone lives in the North County, nor get the NCT for that matter.

    By the way, a friend mentioned to me that you had mentioned podcasting in one of your blogs? Is that true?

  2. It's true. It's just taken a bit longer than expected. Chris and I are not experienced web builders and we're in the process right now of launching a bigger and better 619 Sports website, complete with daily podcast content. It's just a matter of time, soon, soon...stay tuned!

  3. I thought last night's games were awesome. Ucla and Gonzaga had great battles. I'm invested in Villanova so I wish I could have seen the game but to see them down 14 on the tracker and slowly battle back was fun. I picked the Western Kentucky game and thought I was home free with a 12-5 upset only to see them nearly blow it. Clemson some how worked their way back into the game against Michigan and had a chance to tie. Day one was great!

    The biggest problem is the lack of opportunity to see each game in its entirety. Commercials suck and they do hurt the viewing experience. I think soccer also sucks but at least they start the game clock and stick with the game straight through the end. Rugby does the same. I alway laugh when people say they dislike baseball because it is boring...they watch Football! With commercials/TV timeouts/injury time/ridiculous halftime shows and gamesmanship by coaches (w/use of TOs) football is horribly boring. I love it...but it takes WAY TOO MUCH TIME to complete a game!

    Howie Long is much more annoying than the little girl. She has no choice in her dialogue...Howie Long however, could object to lines that make him sound like a condescending pri#K....just my take.

  4. Well that explains it. I was out for most of the good games, watching the Aztecs baseball game. Thus I only saw a couple of good finishes late.

    The most annoying part is that our smart little girl is insisting all commercial long that "she's a BIG girl!" but then at the end when Howie says oh-so-condescendingly "a very SMART little girl" there she is nodding in enthusiastic agreement. If she was so damn smart she'd stomp Howie on the toe and say "BIG girl, A-Hole, that's the whole point of the ad!!"