Archive for April, 2005

Down with the NCHSAA

April 26, 2005

I really don’t like the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. Sure Rick Strunk is a nice guy, and Que Tucker seems OK, but the organization as a whole just stinks.

Why, you ask, have I taken aim at this body? Read on…

The football playoff system – Do we really need 256 teams in the playoffs? Do we really need EIGHT state champions? Is there any other reason behind this than pure greed? The answers are no, heck no and of course not.

The selection process – In a year when the SWFH 3A should be getting three or four baseball bids, it’s getting two. Burns, Crest or Kings Mountain – or maybe more than one of them – will miss the postseason. Why? Because they built a few new schools in the East. Which leads me to…

The Eastern bias – The NCHSAA palace compound, uh, offices are located in Chapel Hill. I understand the need to have the football championships in the Triangle area, but Western basketball regionals in Winston-Salem? Title games in Raleigh? What’s wrong with Charlotte, Boone, Boiling Springs (GWU) or Western Carolina? High Point Central was moved out of the East and into the West in the MIDDLE of the basketball playoffs. And there’s a lot more…

I just think it’s time that athletic directors stood up for the Western part of the state.

Somebody needs to.

Well heeled

April 2, 2005

Nobody dislikes the university of North Carolina more than me. As a South Carolina native and a Clemson fan, I have absolutely no reason to cheer for the baby blues.

Somebody asked me last month: “Who do you root for when Duke and Carolina play?” My retort: “It’s too bad they both can’t lose.”

With that piece of trivia on display, here’s the short version of my column in Saturday’s Star:

The Heels are the best team in college basketball.

Period.

They will flatten Michigan State in the Final Four before dispatching Illinois or Louisville (probably the latter) on Monday in the national championship game.

Then people will have to think of a new question to ask Roy Williams, because “Gee, why haven’t you won a national championship” just won’t apply any longer.

Of course, then we’ll have to deal with a year’s worth of amped-up Tar Heel arrogance and Blue Devil angst. Not to mention Deacon and Wolfpack envy.

You’ve gotta love life as a fan of the Big Four.

Unless, of course, it’s football season…

It’s Fantasy Baseball Time

April 1, 2005

With the bitter disappointment of my dismal-looking NCAA Tournament brackets still fresh in my mind, I turn my attention to another potentially frustrating hobby – fantasy baseball.

I recently drafted in a 10-team, 5×5 mixed league, and I think I did OK. Here are the 2005 Knife Island Rebels in the order in which they were drafted:

Miguel Tejada, SS – Hard to go wrong here
Roy Oswalt, SP – Ditto
Pedro Martinez, SP – A move to the NL may prolong his career
Hank Blalock, 3B – He’s 23 and only getting better
Adam Dunn, 1B/OF – Promises to run more to go with 35+ homers
Chone Figgins, 2B/3B/OF – Mr. Utility, and hopefully a good source of steals
Richie Sexson, 1B – Power hitter coming off shoulder injury
Mark Mulder, SP – Bad second half last year, but will pitch for NL contender
Mark Prior, SP – Get healthy, dude
Brian Roberts, 2B – Not special, but he’s fast
Paul Konerko, 1B – Led the AL in homers last year
Braden Looper, RP – I needed a closer
Joe Mauer C – If he’s healthy, he’ll be a .300 hitter
Dave Roberts, OF – Old, but fast
Latroy Hawkins, RP – Somebody has to save games for the Cubbies
Mike Adams, RP – Ditto for the Brewers
Rodrigo Lopez, SP – Hey, he’s only my third Oriole
Luis Gonzalez (ARI), OF – I thought I stole him in round 18
Craig Wilson 1B/OF – I know I stole this guy in round 19
Chin-Hui Tsao, RP – OK, this may be a really bad pick
Jason Phillips, C – Thanks to a bad league rule (see Foster, Skip), I needed another catcher
Taduhito Iguchi, 2B – A real sleeper who can hit and run

A few unbiased reviews from fellow league members who clearly have too much time on their hands:

From Star editor Skip Foster

“I like this team. Lots of nice pieces. I’m not sure they quite fit together yet (Figgins has more value playing in the infield; Iguchi is weak as a Utility player), but with some deals and other maneuvering, this could be a title contender.
The only real problem I see on offense is you’ve got two guys that are all steals, no power. It’s hard to make up the power at other positions with Figgins and Roberts hitting 10 HR between them. But, some real strengths here: Catcher — I love Phillips as a late pickup; the left side of IF with Tejada and Blalock is super; Some big time names in the starting rotation. I think Pedro is overvalued, but still nothing to sneeze at. Obviously, if Prior pans out, this will be the best staff in the league. But, if not, and if Mulder hasn’t figured things out, there is some bust potential here.
Relievers are serviceable, but not a strength.
Best pick: Craig Wilson 19.1
Worst pick: Richie Sexson, 7.2 (Hafner is better and was taken more than one round later)
PREDICTION: Title contender”

Drew Loftis, one of my predecessors

“Weak on saves, but otherwise a stout squad. SP looks
good, especially if Mulder and Prior revert to past
form. Batting lineup anchored by Tejada, Blalock,
Dunn, Sexson and Konerko. Has some SB in Figgins and
the Roberts boys (Dave and Brian). Shallow at C, with
Phillips a likely backup. A deal or two away from
being a real contender. If things go right with his
starters, and he finds a way to land a reliable
closer, Knife Island will be a contender. Otherwise,
he’ll be mired in mediocrity.”

Welcome to the Sports Page!

April 1, 2005

Hello, and welcome to my blog. This is the spot to kick around anything of interest in the local, regional and national sports scene.

So come in and post away.

RC