ST. LOUIS - What are some things I believe? Well, how about this?
1. I believe this Michael Wacha we are seeing in the spring could change the entire complexion of the season. Heading into Spring Training, many thought, 'Well, the best case scenario for Wacha would be a hybrid kind of relief pitcher. You simply can’t count on him because of the scapular injury.' Now, he looks like the Wacha who was the MVP of the NLCS in 2013. He is throwing in the high 90s, and that change-up is nastier than sour skim milk. Remember the Cardinals will never outhit the Cubs. They can out-pitch them. The Chicago staff is decorated, but some of them are older than residents at The Gatesworth. It’s called alternative programming. Beat them at something else. That something else is pitching - and Michael Wacha could be something else if he keeps his health.
2. I believe basketball fans deserve a break around here. I wonder how many times it has happened in history. The two Division I programs in the area that everybody follows to have this kind of losing. Mizzou and SLU each have lost 20 games over the last three years. It’s one thing for one of the programs to be average and the other to be bad, but for both of them to be this bad for this long is remarkable. I think the amazing thing is they have been this bad this long with all that talent in town. When is the last time a blue chipper from our town right out of high school picked SLU or Mizzou and played for them as a freshman? They go to Iowa, Duke, Kansas State - but nobody right out of high school has become a really good college player at SLU or Mizzou. Travis Ford and SLU will end the slump when Jordan Goodwin from Althoff puts on a Billiken uniform. Remember much of the time when the Billikens have been really good in the past, it’s been with a lot of local talent: Anthony Bonner, Monroe Douglass, Roland Gray, Erwin Claggett, Scott Highmark and Larry Hughes. Mizzou and SLU: It’s time to seal the borders.
3. I believe we are blessed with the best group of play-by-play broadcasters in the country. Have you heard Bob Ramsey do a Billiken game? The combo of Bob and Earl Austin Jr. makes for appointment radio. Ramsey’s passion and descriptions are magnificent. Mike Kelly is now a Missouri Sports Hall of Famer. He deserves it. His commitment to excellence on Mizzou broadcast has never wavered. Dan McLaughlin is sensational. He really is. I think for a long time we tried to compare everybody to Jack Buck and that’s a bad idea. I do know that it doesn’t matter who Danny Mac works for, because the broadcast is always sensational. John Kelly and Chris Kerber are two of the best in the NHL. Being a hockey broadcaster is the toughest thing to do. I am in constantly in awe of the work done by John and Chris.
4. I believe high school recruiting in sports is just crazy. We have come to the point where high school coaches are not judged by their ability to coach but rather how they recruit 8th Grader's. Can I remind you that you are breaking the rules if you recruit. However, if you don’t recruit, you can’t win. So if you are really hard working, knowledgeable coach it doesn’t really matter. Players win games. You have to recruit talent but it’s wrong. Or, is it wrong to get a kid to a good program where he can get a scholarship when he’s finished playing. Many high schools are doing it. It’s not just private schools either. Many public schools are just as guilty. It’s just insane that we have gotten to this point. It’s not about player development - it’s about player recruitment.
5. I believe the biggest scam in sports today are these search firms. These firms are paid tens of thousands of dollars to assist in the hiring of coaches. Why? The athletic director makes hundreds of thousands of dollars. Make the hire yourself. What does an A. D. do? He has three important things: 1) Hire the football coach, 2) Hire the basketball coach, and 3) Raise money. We keep hearing how broken some of these colleges are. So, you have an athletic director; let me him make calls, let him set up interviews and let him make the hire. Or better yet, hire me. I can give you three three names and have them in your office in a week. I will do it for a steak dinner at Citizen’s Kane’s.
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