Friday, January 13, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Baylor’s talented quarterback Robert Griffin III – RG3 – is expected to leave school and enter the 2012 NFL draft. How often have we seen this type of scenario? A star player leaves before his senior year is over to test his skill in the big time. It is not unusual for successful college football athletes to forgo their senior year and declare for the draft. It’s hard to argue with the logic – why take a chance on being injured playing another year in college, when the lure of the big money is there? So they all say they will finish their degree when they have the time.

This one is different though.

Heisman Trophy winner Griffin has already earned a four year Bachelor’s Degree in  - no, not the usual jock degree – his degree is in political science. Not only that, but Griffin is nearing completion of his Master’s thesis, which he will likely complete before his first NFL training camp.

How refreshing is that? Griffin is a football star, an academic star, and by all accounts a man of character as well. We need more men like that in the public eye.

The new NBC Sports Network, formerly Versus, launched in early January. It sounded like a great idea, but for the first two weekends of this new network, it would appear that those in charge forgot something important.

I just assumed that a sports network would be showing… I don’t know… maybe sports - as in games. For the entire first weekend, there was only one live sports event – a hockey game on Sunday night. The second weekend features only two games: college hockey on Friday night, and NHL hockey on Sunday night.

Apparently I misunderstood the term ‘sports network’. Is it too much to ask that a sports network show some actual games? I realize that they are just getting started, but this isn’t some fly by night outfit – this is NBC. They should know how to do this the right way.

Am I the only one who is tired of sports reporter’s ridiculous questions? Every week… no - every game, some sports reporter asks the obligatory, stupid question.

Last week, it was NBC’s Michele Tafoya of Saint’s coach Sean Peyton: “What do you have to do to win?”

I don’t know Michele; let me think about that one. Maybe score more points than the other team. Gee, I don’t know. I can’t think of any other way to win.

Just one time, I would like the recipient of such stupid questioning to just walk away and save us from the agony of having to listen to that question again.

Another great Olympic moment will take place sometime between May and the July 27 opening of the Summer Olympics. Jim Redmond will be one of 250 people who will carry the Olympic torch during the 8,000-mile journey leading up to the lighting of the flame in London.

During the Olympics in 1992, Jim’s son Derek injured a hamstring in a 400-meter race. After a moment, Derek stood up and began limping towards the finish line – he was not about to quit. Rather than simply watch his son struggle, Jim Redmond ran onto the track and helped him to finish the race. Watch the Redmond video to see one of the most compelling moments in sports history.

It is fitting that Jim Redmond will carry the torch, twenty years later. I’m guessing son Derek will be right there just in case his Dad needs some help.

I am sorry to read that Major League Baseball owners will offer a contract extension to Commissioner Bud Selig. The Commissioner is supposed to act in the best interests of all of baseball. Fans of the Houston Astros would certainly like to see new blood in the Commissioner’s office. Selig is no friend to the Astros or the people of Houston – not since he forced the Astros to move to the American League as a condition of the recent sale of the team, or when he forced the Astros to play an important ‘home’ game in the decidedly hostile environment of Milwaukee, several years ago. Hmmm… isn’t Milwaukee Bud’s hometown?

For whatever reason, many people don’t like Tim Tebow, including John Elway, executive VP of the Denver Broncos. Some feel that he isn’t a ‘real quarterback’, but is more of a running back. I’m thinking, why not just let the guy play and see what happens? Sooner or later, Tebow will prove on the field whether he belongs at quarterback or not. His playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers should silence many of the critics. Just leave him alone and let the guy play to prove whether he can handle it or not. The last time I checked, the true measure of athletic prowess happens on the field, not in public opinion.

The National Hockey League has a great new realignment plan. Most of the time, when we hear that term, we squirm and think the worst. Not this time though – their plan actually makes sense. Several teams will shift to another division, making more sense geographically. Not only that, but right now, many teams rarely play each other. What that does is limit fan interest – fans in any NHL city have a right to expect to see their team play every other team, more than they do now. The new plan guarantees that every team will have at least one home and home series with every other team in the league. This is a very good thing for the NHL and for the fans. I hope the league can iron out the bugs and implement this plan now.

© 2012 LTM

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