Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Foul" Call

It has come to the attention of the sports world, that a 9-year old boy in Connecticut, is not being allowed to play in his little league, because "he is too good."

Thats right, organizers of the league, are banning Jericho Scott, becuase the league officals, say his 40 mph fastball, is just too much for the other kids.

Here is the interesting part, Jericho's coach and parents are saying that he was banned, 8 games in, mind you, after he turned down an offer from the league champion to play on their team, a team which just so happens to be sponsored by an employer of one of the league officials.

Now many people have differing views on this, so what the heck, why not add mine??

First, I think it is a crock that a kid should be banned from anything, at any age, especially considering that he has not hurt, mamed, or taunted any others in the league.

It would be like telling Michael Jordan he can't play basketball in the NBA, beacause he might win another MVP, and that would not be fair to the other players.


Second, games, and little league are supposed to be fun. The kids are not paid, they play for fun. But heaven forbid, that one of them be good, because then it is not fun, and they will run you off.

What kind of message does that send to kids? Play to have fun, but don't get too good, or we will not let you play.

Whatever happened to "Be all you can be? and "Strive for the best?"

Third, what does this say to kids about competition? If you truly want them to get better, then they will eventually have to play someone that is better.

The message they are sending to the other kids, is that if someone is better than you, just quit, or try to weasle the system and get the good kids kicked out of the league.

NO!! Don't quit. Make it a goal to become as good as they are.

The organizers of the league say that the league is there to "develop and promote the sport."

Really? Kicking a kid out of the league, because you feel he is too good, is developing the sport??

In all reality, Jericho may never develop into a 6'4 flamethrower, he may never get offered a college scholarship, and he might not even play baseball in high school.
Why take way something he is good at, now?
Finally, the part that really bugs me...PARENTS!!

I guarantee the people that are involved in this, are 'has been, never was, never will be' athletes in their life.

They are living vicariously through their kids, in the hopes that they can obtain some goal that they were never able to do.


I would almost venture to say, that the parents of they kids that were facing young Jericho, were either a.) jealous of the kids fastball, b.) embarrassed by their own kids, which led them to not try and help their kids, but to kick the better kids out of the league, thus making their kids better by default, or c.) appalled by the fact that a 9 year old, is better than they ever could have hoped to be.

I would say it is all three.

The point of the matter, is that, games are supposed to be fun. What is the fun of the game for Jericho? Is he to be punished by being too good?

If you were good at your job (like Ryan Peterson) would you take a pay decrease, because others were jealous?

Of course not.

I do have one question though.

If the best player in the league, Jericho, is now kicked out of the league, shouldn't the kid who was considered the 2nd best player, and is now the best, be kicked out as well? and so on?

When does a player get bad enough to be allowed to play? If he can walk, is he too good?

The funny thing is, Jericho feels bad for being too good.

He is not to blame.

I hope that the parents and supporters of Jericho, help him to realize that this is not his fault, and that it is ok to be good.

It is ok to strive to be the best.

And it is not ok, to be punished, for being the best.

Monday, July 28, 2008

2008 NFL Predictions

The N.F.L. preseason begins next week. Coleman and I have decided to make some educated guesses as to how the season will play out.

While I mulled over schedules and past trends...Coleman just selected...based on his own personal biases..(That is why Dallas is not picked to win)...

Here are our picks, lets have yours...

Ryan's Picks

NFC EAST-----------------NFC NORTH
1. Dallas --------------------1. Minnesota
2. Philadelphia (WC) --------2. Detroit
3. Washington --------------3. Green Bay
4. NY Giants --------------- 4. Chicago

NFC SOUTH --------------NFC WEST
1. New Orleans ------------1. Seattle
2. Carolina (WC) -----------2. St. Louis
3. Tampa Bay ------------- 3. San Fran
4. Atlanta ----------------- 4. Arizona

AFC EAST--------------- AFC NORTH
1. New England ----------1. Pittsburgh
2. Buffalo ----------------2. Cincinnatti
3. NY Jets --------------- 3. Cleveland
4. Miami ----------------- 4. Baltimore

AFC SOUTH ------------AFC WEST
1. Jacksonville -----------1. San Diego
2. Indy (WC) ------------ 2. Denver (WC)
3. Houston -------------- 3. KC
4. Tennessee ------------4. Oakland

Coleman's Picks

NFC EAST -------------NFC NORTH
1. Philadelphia ----------1. Minnesota
2. Dallas (WC) -----------2. Green Bay
3. NY Giants ------------ 3. Detroit
4. Washington -----------4. Chicago

1. New Orleans ---------1. Seattle
2. Tampa (WC) ---------2. Arizona
3. Carolina ------------- 3. St. Louis
4. Atlanta -------------- 4. San Fran

AFC EAST --------------AFC NORTH
1. New England ---------1. Cincinnati
2. Buffalo ---------------2. Pittsburgh
3. NY Jets -------------- 3. Cleveland
4. Miami ----------------4. Baltimore

AFC SOUTH ------------AFC WEST
1. Jacksonville ----------1. San Diego
2. Indy (WC) -----------2. Denver (WC)
3. Houston ------------- 3. KC
4. Tennessee -----------4. Oakland

Monday, July 7, 2008

Panther Nation Mourns

There's nothing worse then trying to talk to a mother who's just lost her son. It's heartbreaking. It's the one story you dread as a reporter. In fact, it's why I chose sports and not news. Sports takes you away from real life. Unfortunately, every once in a while real life comes into the sports world. So you can imagine how I felt on Saturday morning, to hear that Lufkin's very own Terrence Kiel had died in a car accident.
I had mixed emotions. I was sad for Kiel's family and friends. But I was also upset with Terrence. Toxicology tests won't be out for another six weeks, but there's reason to believe Kiel should not have been driving Friday night. Reports say friends told him not to drive himself. An eye witness told police she saw Kiel driving on the wrong side of the road before he lost control.
Those close to Kiel say he was a great person, who started making bad decisions. This was one that not only cost Kiel his life, but hurt an entire community. It was one of many bad decisions he's made since leaving East Texas. Only 27 years old, Kiel had so much potential. Unfortunately we'll never know how much.
This seems to be a growing trend for many East Texas athletes. I won't mention any by name, but so many talented young men I've covered have thrown their talents away. They haven't lost their life for it, but they have hurt their future. It's painful for me to see. When you cover these kids through high school, you can't help but root for them. I feel a sense of pride when they succeed. I'm extremely disappointed when they don't.
I'm not writing this post to pass judgment. It's not my place. But I would like to make a plea to all the young athletes in East Texas. Do the right thing! You may be great on the field, but you're not invincible. It's not tough to obey the law. It's not tough to go to class. In fact, it's pretty easy. It should be even easier when you have so much to lose. If anything positive can come from Terrence's death, I hope it serves as a wake up call.
I've often heard people say that the media only focuses on the negative. That's not true in Lufkin, Texas. I don't want to report on funerals and fatal accidents. I prefer to stick to touchdowns and home runs. I don't want to interview a mother about her lost son. I want to interview a mother about her son's game winning play.
When you leave Lufkin or any other East Texas town, you're representing more then yourself. You're representing your family, your friends and an entire community. Give us tears of joy, not tears of sadness.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Historic Week for Yankee Stadium

It is truly a sad week for baseball.

Later this week, the All-Star game will be held at historic Yankee Stadium for the last time.

The Stadium, "That Ruth Built," that saw Lou Gehrig declare himself the "luckiest man on the face of the Earth," the same stadium that saw Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin fight in the dugdout, that saw George Brett go bonkers after the "Pine Tar" incindent, the stadium that saw Jeffery Maier become a household legend in New York, and the most wanted man in Baltimore, and the same stadium that saw President George W. Bush throw out the most emotional first pitch in baseball, in the first Yankee game back from September 11th, will be gone at the end of the year.

The era of new, state-of the art ballparks, is finally hitting one of the most historic parks in the MLB, as the Yankees will no longer play in Yankee stadium.

Even if you are not a Yankee fan, or even like baseball, and as the city of New York decides to build a "new" Yankee Stadium, remember, that historical stadiums like this one, are slowly being done away with, and as teams all over the league, give in, and build new parks, I urge all you to remember the times you saw in your own ballparks...even if they dont stand anymore.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Chacon Backers Make Me Laugh

It was expected, but still makes me scratch my head. Today the baseball players union filed a grievance over the Astros release of pitcher Shawn Chacon. The union says Houston's decision to terminate Chacon's contract was without just cause.

Really? Without just cause? What about attacking the general manager. What about ignoring your pitching coach and manager several times after being demoted from the starting rotation. Regardless of how Ed Wade handled the confrontation, there's no excuse for what Chacon did. If I had shown the same lack of respect to my news director or general manager, I'd been gone in a heartbeat.

Chacon has no one to blame but himself. What business would allow an employee to stay employed for such behavior? Does the players union not understand that Chacon attacked the general manager? The only thing worse would have been owner Drayton McLane. If the Astros had kept him around, maybe Chacon would have eventually roughed up the owner.

No one wants Chacon, and now he needs his remaining salary to get by. He should have thought of that before he decided to show how tough he was. If Chacon wins his grievance, it's a sad day for baseball.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Will America Ever Get Soccer Fever?

Just watching the past month of soccer at the European Championships, has made me realize on thing, the United States will never be a soccer power.


It just is not that appealing to the American kids. The best athletes in the United States play football, basketball, baseball, hockey, basically every sport but soccer.

America is currently ranked 22nd in the world in soccer. Not bad.

But it will never reach the heights of soccer, like it has in South America, Europe and Africa.


Kids dont want to play. The "Big 4" sports have a monopoly over 99% of the best talent in the U.S.

Kids dont want to play soccer.

You look at other countries, the soccer powerhouse countries, and kids grow up wanting to be like Pele, Beckham, Ronaldo, etc.

When we grew up, we wanted to be "Like Mike" be Bo Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr. and Wayne Gretzky.

Never did I ever hear anyone say that "I want to be like Alexi Lalas."

Who? Exactly.

Soccer is life to them, it means more to a country to win soccer titles, than it does to try and avoid civil war.

But that is what it takes, dedication. Am I advocating war in order to succeed in soccer, of course not.

But America will never be a top flight soccer country, until it is made a priority to win, and right now it just is not.

That is my take...what is yours?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Should MLB use Instant Replay??

Major League Baseball officials have annoucned that they intend to start using instant replay, beginning August 1st.

Big no-no.

I am what you call a baseball purist. That is, "Don't mess with the freaking game!!"

What happens next? Baseball games get extend to 5 hours, because we have to scrutinize every call? What happens to the umpires, are they all of a sudden overridden on every call?

There are so many questions, yet no one ever has an answer to them.

Should baseball use instant replay? And risk relegating the fans to more stoppages than an NFL game?

I say no...