Another year on this globe

I officially turned 41 a little less than two hours ago. Of course, not as big a deal as last year, but it is Friday the 13th, the sixth time my birthday fell on a Friday. I was born on a Wednesday in case you’re curious.

My 13th birthday DID fall on Friday the 13th. I was in eighth grade at Brother Martin High (most of the Catholic high schools in New Orleans have an eighth grade), and I recall Tropical Storm Jerry formed in the Gulf of Mexico. It was pretty gray and damp the rest of the day and all of the next day.

This is the first Friday the 13th birthday since 2006, when I turned 30. I was busy that day: woke up in Wichita, drove up the Kansas Turnpike to Emporia for a tennis tournament, then went to Abilene for a football game, and finally back to Russell, becuase I had to turn around and cover a vollyeball tournament the next morning.

Last year, I was in Hays for a volleyball tournament because Cailtyn was playing and Peggy was coaching. This year, I’m in Kansas City.

My parents always leave town around the time of my birthday to go south, first to visit my brother and his family near Nashville, then down to New Orleans to visit my Uncle Jerry and also gamble on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. My parents were going to go to Biloxi right after visting Nashville, but had to alter their plans when Hurricane Nate came ashore in Mississippi last Saturday night. They went yesterday instead.

The first professional sports event of my lifetime was Game 4 of the 1976 American League Championship Series, which started a little more than five hours after I came into the world. The Royals needed to win in the rebuilt Yankee Stadium to stay alive. They did, prevailing 7-4, setting up the fifth and deciding game the next night. Of course, the Yankees won that one 7-6 when Chris Chambliss hit Mark LIttell’s first pitch of the bottom of the ninth (barely) over the right-center field fence to send the Bronx Bombers to their first World Series since 1964. Maybe it was best the Royals missed out on that World Series, because Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine destroyed the Yankees in four straight. I don’t think Kansas City would have fared any better.

The Royals lost to the Yankees in the ALCS in both 1977 and 1978 as well before finally breaking through in 1980 (the Orioles defeated the Angels in the 1979 ALCS). At the time, Kansas City tied the Mets as the fastest MLB teams to reach the postseason (8 seasons), although the Metropolitans won the World Series in 1969.

Not going to be a particularly busy birthday. Lots of trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings and a visit to Minksy’s later. Same for tomorrow. Sometimes routine is good.

LSU=lousy football

LSU football is a mess.

Ed Orgeron’s first full season in his “dream job” is not going as he, nor the hundreds of thousand LSU faithful, had hoped.

The Bayou Bengals are 3-2, and that is unacceptable.

LSU’s schedule has been quite meek.

BYU, whom LSU beat 27-0 in the first game, is a dumpster fire. The Cougars had trouble beating lower level Portland State in its first game and has been routed every time out since, by LSU, Utah, Wisconsin and Utah State in that order.

Chattanooga is a lower level team LSU beat 45-10 in game two.

Mississippi State stomped LSU 37-7 in Starkville in week three. The Bulldogs have proven they were a paper tiger by getting waxed 31-3 by Georgia and 49-10 by Auburn their last two games.

LSU had all kind of trouble with Syracuse before winning 35-26. The same Syracuse which lost at home to Middle Tennessee. I’m sorry, but an ACC team cannot, must not lose at home to one from Conference USA.

Then came Troy last Saturday.

Troy, a Sun Belt team. Troy, a school whose home city in southeast Alabama is only a few thousand people larger than the capacity of LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center, which seats 13,000.

Troy, a team which has beaten Missouri and Oklahoma State in the past, but both of those games were at home on a weeknight, where the Trojans were getting rare national exposure against a power conference team.

This was a Saturday night in Baton Rouge. Tiger Stadium. Death Valley. The stadium LSU brags about being the toughest venue for a visiting team to play in all of college football.

Troy came into Tiger Stadium last Saturday and acted like it owned the place.

The final score, 24-21, was misleading. LSU needed two late touchdowns to make the score look good. The Trojans led 17-0 and 24-7.

That’s an ass-kicking. A serious ass-kicking.

Hiring Ed Orgeron may or may not be a mistake. I’m hoping against hope he will pull LSU out of its morass.

LSU’s biggest problem isn’t Orgeron.

It’s the man who hired Orgeron.

That means YOU, Joe Alleva.

LSU’s athletic director should not be occupying that position in the first place.

He royally screwed up during the investigation of Duke’s lacrosse team, throwing coach Mike Pressler under the bus by firing him, then refusing to hire him back when all the allegations of rape against players were found to be patently false.

The LSU Board of Supervisors and then-chancellor Sean O’Keefe fucked up big time by hiring Alleva, who has hired two bad men’s basketball coaches (Trent Johnson and Johnny Jones), a mediocre women’s basketball coach (Nikki Caldwell-Fargas) and now a football coach (Orgeron) who appears to be well over his head in the SEC.

Alleva had a chance to land a big fish when he fired Les Miles four games into 2016. He had a two month head start on anyone else. When the only person he really coveted for the job, Houston coach Tom Herman, chose Texas over LSU, Alleva waved the white flag.

Nanoseconds after Herman announced he was heading to Austin, Alleva stripped the “interim” off of Orgeron’s title.

Orgeron took a hometown discount ($3.5 million per year) to be LSU’s head coach in order to pay his coordinators, Dave Aranda (defense) and Matt Canada (offense), at least $1.5 million per year each. They are by far the highest paid pair of coordinators in the country.

Alleva still owes Miles a hefty buyout, which will not be completely paid off until 2023.

Many LSU fans and media who cover the team were not enamored with Orgeron’s hire. After the losses to Mississippi State and Troy, they were furious, calling for Alleva to fire the Larose native who was a teammate of former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert’s on South Lafourche High School’s 1977 Louisiana Class AAAA (highest class) state championship team.

You want to fire Orgeron now? Better have $12 million.

That is not a typo.

TWELVE MILLION DOLLLARS to buy out a man who was 10-25 overall and 3-21 in the SEC in three seasons as Ole Miss’ head coach. TWELVE MILLION to buy out a man who will not leave LSU unless he is forced to.

Nice job, Joe Alleva.

Want to point the finger at Orgeron? Fine. But a bigger one has to be pointed at Alleva.

Making OT count less

The Arizona Cardinals are 2-2 so far this National Football League season, right?

NOPE.

To this Arizona Cardinals rooter, someone who has been rooting for the Cardinals since they were in St. Louis, the Cardinals’ record in my book is 0 wins, 2 losses, 2 ties.

Both Cardinal victories this season were in overtime, vs. the Colts in week two and the 49ers yesterday, which speaks to just how bad Arizona’s offense is.

Carson Palmer, retire. Bruce Arians, retire. Larry Fitzgerald, DON’T retire, or the Cardinals’ offense will relapse into the pitifulness it knew when luminaries such as Tom Tupa, Stan Gelbaugh, Chris Chandler, Dave Krieg, Jake Plummer, Josh McCown, Shaun King, Matt Leinart, Max Hall, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley were playing quarterback for the Cards.

The Cardinals are going nowhere. That they needed overtime to beat two bad teams shows they are a hot mess.

I am completely opposed to overtime in regular season games. I understand the need for it in the playoffs, where one team must advance to the next round, or to determine the champion in the Super Bowl.

In regular season games? Not necessary.

If the NFL is so hellbent on player safety, then why not eliminate overtime?

Yes, the NFL reduced the overtime period from 15 minutes to 10 this season, but it still stinks–although it’s much better than the asinine college and high school format, which I’ve railed against in a previous post.

The Bears are also winless in my book. Their lone victory came in overtime vs. the Steelers in week three. 0 wins, 3 losses, 1 tie. The Jets beat the Jaguars in OT yesterday, but they own a regulation win over the Dolphins.

If the NFL INSISTS on playing overtime, it should devalue an overtime victory. Go to a system like association football—3 points for a regulation win, 2 for an overtime win, 1 for a tie or overtime loss, and 0 for a regulation loss. Easy as pie.

Under this system, the NFL standings look like this (I’ll update after tonight’s Redskins-Chiefs game):

NFC WEST–Rams 9, Seattle 6, Arizona 4, San Francisco 1

NFC SOUTH–Atlanta 9, Carolina 9, Tampa Bay 6, New Orleans 6

NFC NORTH–Detroit 9, Green Bay 9, Minnesota 6, Chicago 2

NFC EAST–Philadelphia 9, Washington REDSKINS 6, Dallas 6, Giants 1

AFC WEST–Kansas City 9, Denver 9, Oakland 6, Chargers 0

AFC SOUTH–Jacksonville 7, Houston 6, Tennessee 6, Indianapolis 1

AFC NORTH–Pittsburgh 10, Baltimore 6, Cincinnati 3, Cleveland 0

AFC EAST–Buffalo 9, New England 6, Jets 5, Miami 3

Easy, right? I know nothing will change. At least I’m thinking.

NFL vs. Trump: both sides are wrong

I have had it up to here with National Football League players refusing to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner prior to games.

I have had it with Donald Trump bitching about NFL players who don’t stand for the Star-Spangled Banner

I have had it with the media highlighting the protests.

Just go away already.

I watch football to get away from the stress of the everyday world. The United States of America has enough problems worrying about Kim-Jong Un, who has no compulsion about killing millions of people with a nuclear weapon, whether they be in another country or his own. His father, Kim-Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim-Il Sung, didn’t have any problems killing milions of Koreans becuase they didn’t subscribe to their worldview.

I want to watch FOOTBALL when I turn on an NFL game. FOOTBALL. I don’t want to hear about Malcolm Jenkins giving the Black Powe Salute, I don’t want to hear so and so too a knee, I don’t want to hear about the Seahawks and Titans choosng to remain in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem, and I don’t want to hear about Collin Kaepernick’s protests.

Also, I’ve had it with people making excuses for why Kaepernick doesn’t have a job with an NFL team right now. He is not good enough to play quarterback in the NFL. Period. His skill set probably translates better to the Canadian Football League, where the field is longer and wider, there are 12 players on the field, and receivers can gain a running start by going in forward motion prior to the snap. A lot of quarterbacks similar to Kaepernick who couldn’t make it in the NFL have thrived in the CFL. Condredge Holloway, the first black quarterback in the Southeastern Conference for Tennessee in the early 1970s, is a lot like Kaepernick—athletic, not the strongest arm, but dangerous in the open field.

Trump made the comment that NFL players who do not stand for the national anthem should be fired—if not fired, then suspended without pay—was a little harsh. I believe the flag of the United States of America deserves the utmost respect and people should stand at attention when the national anthem is played, but the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allows for freedom of speech, and that includes protesting the flag. We do not want to become North Korea.

On the other hand, NFL players are paid quite handsomely to play a game. I believe that once a player puts on a uniform whether it be in practice or a game, it is work, and he should be held to the rules and regulations of the worplace, the NFL. If players wish to PEACEFULLY on their own time, more power to them. But once they are in uniform, they are there to do a job.

I barely watched the NFL last Sunday. I did not watch any of the early games, which was partly to protest the fact the Fox affiliate in Wichita insisted on showing the Giants-Eagles game instead of Falcons-Lions. The reasoning of the station was that becuase the Giants and Eagles are in the NFC East, they felt it was important to show the game, as it would afect Cowboys fans, who are many in southern Kansas. PLEASE.

I watched a few minutes of Chiefs-Chargers, but once Kansas City led 14-0, I tuned out. Did not watch one snap of Raiders-Redskins Sunday night nor Cowboys-Cardinals Monday night. I watched a few plays of the Bears-Packers game on Amazon Prime last night, but that’s it.

I’m not missing the NFL that much. Not really.

The SEC’s toothless tigers

Two of the three Southeastern Conference football teams nicknamed Tigers are finding out the cheap hire is often the wrong hire.

Missouri is a dumpster fire. Barry Odom is in over his head. He might have been a fine coordinator under Gary Pinkel, but as the man in charge, he is trying to navigate the Missouri River in a canoe.

The Tigers looked absolutely pitiful yesterday in a 35-3 loss at home to Purdue. Yes, the Boilermakers have been in the Big Ten since the conference was formed, but when was the last time Purdue was mentioned consistently among college football’s elite? Hmmm….I want to say it was when Jack Mollenkopf was coaching, and last I checked, he retired after the 1969 season, seven years before I was born.

The Boilermakers won the Rose Bowl after the 1966 season, when Bob Griese was a senior. Since then, Purdue has made it to Pasadena ONCE (which is still one more time than Minnesota and the same number of times as Indiana and Northwestern in the last 51 seasons), and that was with Drew Brees.

Purdue plummeted like a rock once Brees departed. The school from West Lafayette has been in the lower division of the Big Ten every year since 2000, and the Boilermakers were absolutely dreadful under Darrell Hazell, who was 9-33 in three and a half seasons before he was fired at the mid-point of the 2016 campaign.

Jeff Brohm, a former standout quarterback at Louisville under Howard Schnellenberger and then a very successful head coach at Western Kentucky, has got Purdue going in the right direction. The Boilermakers gave Louisville a major scare in the season opener, and have now destroyed Ohio (more on the Bobcats later) and Missouri. Purdue isn’t going to be a factor in the Big Ten race this year, but it should be a consistent bowl team under Brohm.

Missouri is going in the opposite direction as Purdue. The Tigers have been a hot mess since racial tension on campus two years ago, which led to Pinkel’s resignation. Odom’s defenses have been nothing short of awful. Rockhurst High in Kansas City has a better defense than Mizzou.

Odom has got to be on the hot seat. If athletic director Jim Sterk is not seriously vetting candidates, then shame on him. The longer Odom lingers at his alma mater, the better the chance Mizzou relapses into pitifulness, which was the state of the program for much of the 1980s and 1990s.

I fear the Tigers will slip to the point where they were under Woody Widenhofer (1985-88) and Bob Stull (1989-93), which was fighting like hell to stay out of the Big Eight cellar. Mizzou teams of that era routinely were destroyed by Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma, were dominated by Oklahoma State (prior to 1989, when the Cowboys were severely sanctioned by the NCAA), and had trouble with Iowa State and Kansas. Kansas State was the one punching bag the Tigers routinely beat, but that all changed under Bill Snyder, who turned the tide completely in favor of the Wildcats in the series by 1991. \

After consistently going to bowl games under Dan Devine (1958-70), and then making semi-regular appearnaces under Al Onofrio (1971-76) and Warren Powers (1977-84), Mizzou went 13 seasons (1984-96) with no bowl games. NONE. Larry Smith, the former Tulane, Arizona and USC coach, took the Tigers to minor bowl games, but Mizzou was back at rock bottom in 1999 and 2000.

It took Pinkel a couple of years to turn Mizzou around, but once he did, the Tigers became bowl fixture. In 2007, the Tigers ascended to number one after beating Kansas in the regular season finale, but they fell to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game.

Mizzou is not going to a bowl game this year unless something turns around right now. I can’t see the Tigers winning an SEC game, not with Kentucky and Vanderbilt much improved, and with Florida, Georgia and Tennessee all well above Mizzou. Not happening.

Now on to my alma mater.

There was a team wearing LSU’s uniforms last night in Starkville. The names on the players’ jerseys were the ones which were listed on the roster released by the school.

Yes, the Bayou Bengals were there in body. In spirit? No way.

I expected LSU to have a very difficult time with Mississippi State. I went in feeling the Bulldogs had a great chance to win. The Bayou Bengals went in having won eight consecutive games in Starkville, and I figured the Bulldogs were overdue.

State had a huge advantage at quarterback, where Nick Fitzgerald was an All-SEC selection last year. LSU’s Danny Etling is competent and nothing more. Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen is an acclaimed offensive mind, having helped Florida win the 2006 and 2008 national cahmpionshp and molding Tim Tebow into a Heisman Trophy winner. LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada has been as popular as his boss, Ed Orgeron, since his hiring earlier this year, but I was skeptical. Still am skeptical.

The game which unfolded bore out every point I listed above.

Not only did State win, it embarrassed LSU. Bulldogs 37, Bayou Bengals 7.

How bad was it? State’s largest margin of victory EVER over LSU.

The Bayou Bengals and Bulldogs have been playing each other since 1896, and continuously since 1944. Counting last night’s game, LSU has played Mississippi State–once known as Mississippi A&M–111 times, more than any other opponent.

Last night was State’s 35th win in the series, compared to 73 for LSU, with three ties.

The Bayou Bengals had two touchdowns called back by penalty, although they got one of those back two plays later. In the second half, two defensive players, Donnie Alexander and Neal Farrell, were ejecting for hits to the head of Fitzgerald.

LSU was penalized nine times for 112 yards. It is on pace to commit 120 penalties for over 1,000 yards.

If Orgeron is as committed to discipline, he will suspend Alexander and Farrell for the entire game vs. Syracuse this week, not just for the first half as mandated under NCAA rules.

Regardless of what happens, Orgeron was a very disappointing hire for a team which has one of the largest budgets of any university.

LSU does not want for cash. It doesn’t have as many deep-pocketed donors as some schools, but it is the flagship university, the only one in a Power Five confernece, and there are big fans from every corner of the state. LSU consistently is deep in the black and pays its coaches handsomely.

Orgeron’s hire falls squarely on the shoulders of athletic director Joe Alleva, whom I believe should never have been hired in the first place.

The way Alleva severely mishandled the Duke lacrosse case when he was the Blue Devils’ athletic director should have precluded him from getting any other job as an athletic director, much less at a power school like LSU. I don’t know what LSU saw in him, unless Mike Kryzewzski convinced the administration Alleva was the second coming and was the only person worth hiring.

Alleva hired LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Caldwell-Fargas, who I do not like. If Alleva were smart, he would have gone to Waco and had a blank contract for Kim Mulkey, who has been at Baylor for nearly two decades now. Alleva would have asked Mulkey to fill in a dollar amount. LSU could certainly afford it.

LSU women’s basketball was a dominant program in the middle of the last decade, reaching the Final Four five consecutive years (2004-08), although it did not win a single game.

Now, the Bayou Bengals are at best a middling program in the SEC. They have been passed and lapped by Mississippi State and South Carolina, have fallen well behind Kentucky, and are still way behind Tennessee, even though the Lady Volunteers are not the superpower they were under the late, great Pat Summitt. LSU also lags behind the SEC newcomers, Texas A&M and Missouri.

Had Mulkey been hired, I’m certain at least one national championship banner would be hanging from the rafters of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center right now.

As for Pistol Pete’s old program, it is as low as the Marianna Trench right now.

Alleva is on his third men’s basketball coach, Will Wade, who came from VCU, where he succeeded Shaka Smart after he left for Texas. The 35-year old has brought youthful energy to the Bayou Bengals, but will that energy translate into victories? It won’t in 2017-18, but if it doesn’t in 2018-19 and beyond, then it will be another bust, right up there with Wade’s predecessors, Johnny Jones (2012-17) and Trent Johnson (2008-11).

LSU has won ONE NCAA tournament game with Alleva as athletic director. In 2015-16, the Bayou Bengals had Ben Simmons, regarded as the greatest basketball player to step on campus since Shaquille O’Neal. Simmons could not get LSU to the NCAA tournament, then skipped school and became the #1 overall pick of the 76ers in the 2016 NBA draft. Last year, LSU tied Missouri for dead last in the SEC. This year, LSU will likely occupy the cellar by itself, since Missouri has brought in a stellar recruiting class under Cuonzo Martin, who took over for Kim Anderson, who like Odom and Orgeron, was grossly in over his head.

Alleva cannot take credit for baseball coach Paul Maineri, because he was hired by Skip Bertman, Alleva’s predecessor who built LSU baseball into college baseball’s Death Star, winning five championships from 1991-2000 and 870 games in 18 seasons (1984-2001). Maineri led LSU to the 2009 national championship and the College World Series championship series earlier this year.

Orgeron was hired as LSU’s defensive line coach in 2015, and was elevated to interim head coach after four games in 2016 when Les Miles, hired by Bertman to replace Nick Saban in early 2005, was fired. Ironically, Orgeron’s first game in charge at LSU a 42-7 victory over Missouri in Baton Rouge.

Oregeron is not currently in dire straits like Odom (or Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M, Bret Bielema at Arkansas or Butch Jones at Tennessee), but if Orgeron goes 7-5 this season, the grumbling will be heard long and hard in the bayou.

Yes, Orgeron is Louisiana through and through, growing up in Larose, playing for a state championship team at South Lafourche High in 1977 and then playing in college briefly for LSU and more extensively at Northwestern State in Natchitoches. Orgeron was the most popular hire LSU has made in recent memory, much more so than Nick Saban was when he came from Michigan State and Miles when he came from Oklahoma State.

Alleva was ready to hire Tom Herman when Texas moved quickly to fire Charlie Strong. The Longhorns are the one program which can pay a higher wage than LSU, and paid it to swipe Herman from Houston. With Herman out of the picture, Alleva simply waved the white flag and took the “interim” off of Orgeron’s title.

Nobody doubts Orgeron is a great defensive line coach and recruiter. He coached Warren Sapp at Miami. He coached some great players at USC, including two-time All-American Shaun Cody. And he was recruiting very well at

As a head coach, Orgeron just doesn’t cut it. He was brutally bad at Ole Miss, going 10-25 over three seasons, including a pathetic 3-21 mark in the SEC. The Rebels bottomed out under Orgeron after winning 10 games in 2003 under David Cutcliffe. Ole Miss bounced back under Hugh Freeze, but that was because Freeze broke more than a few NCAA rules to build his teams.

Alleva should have hired Brohm or someone proven as a head coach. If Orgeron didn’t like it, he was free to find another job. I’m sure Pete Carroll would have offered Orgeron a position with the Seahawks had Orgeron not been able to find a college job.

There is no excuse for Alleva’s laziness. NONE. LSU should never have hired Alleva in the first place, but the Bayou Bengals have got to get someone new in the athletic director’s chair, or LSU may rot from within.

The Saints are down 20-3 to the Patriots at the end of the first quarter. It’s not a good weekend to be a football fan in Louisiana.

More of this BS OT

The Iowa-Iowa State game is in overtime.

FUCK ME HARD.

God I hate overtime in college and high school football.

No, check that. I don’t hate overtime in college and high school football.

I DESPISE IT.

In case you have been living under a rock, college football games which end tied after four quarters use a tiebreaker where each team has a possession beginning from the opponents’ 25-yard line.

There is one man to blame for this bullshit format.

His name is Brice Durbin.

In 1971, Durbin, then Executive Director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, came up with an idea to break ties on the field, rather than determine the team which advanced in case of a tied postseason game (notice I did not say “win” the game, because the game actually ended TIED) using statistics.

At the time, the first statistical criteria to determine the team which advanced was first downs. If that was tied, then it was the team which had the greater number of penetrations inside the opponents’ 20-yard line (the “red zone”). If that were tied, then the winner would be determined by a coin toss. Fortunately, no games needed the coin toss.

Durbin came up with a tiebreaker where each team would receive possession at the opponents’ 10-yard line, first down and goal. The team which had more points at the end of the overtime period (similar to an inning of baseball) won. If it were still tied, the game would go on (and on and on) until one team had more points.

The 10-yard line? Give me a break. You want to talk about tilting the playing field. Asking a defense to stop a team from making two and a half yards per play for four plays is way too much. Any offense which can’t average three yards a play isn’t worth a damn, either.

Even worse, the KSHSAA format precludes a defensive touchdown. So let’s see here…a defender intercepts a pass and has nothing but open field to the other end zone. Instead of rewarding the defender with a game-winning touchdown, you’re going to reward the team that turned the ball over by giving them a chance to stop the opponent? What the heck?

Kansas first used it in 1971, but no other state (smartly) adopted it for many years.

In 1972, a Louisiana Class AAAA semifinal between Monroe Neville and New Orleans Brother Martin (my alma mater) ended 0-0. The Tigers and Crusaders were also tied in first downs (9-9) and penetrations (1-1).

Louisiana High School Athletic Association Commissioner Frank Spruiell suggested to the coaches, Neville’s Charlie Brown and Martin’s Bobby Conlin, to flip a coin to determine the winner. Brown and Conlin told Spruiell to get bent. Spruiell then suggested a “sudden death” version of the KSHSAA overtime, where one team would take possession at the 10. If it scored, that team won. If it didn’t, the defensive team would have won. Brown and Conlin said no to that too.

The next day, the LHSAA executive committee told Neville and Martin to play again the following Tuesday in Alexandria. The Tigers won 8-0, then defeated Bossier City Airline three days later in Monroe for the championship.

Eventually, Louisiana and the National Federation of State High School Associations codified the KSHSAA overtime into the rule book.

The NCAA would adopt a modified version of the KSHSAA overtime for its playoffs at all levels except the top level in the late 1970s. The differences were the series started at the 25; teams could make first downs (the only way to make a first down under the NFHS rule was on a defensive penalty which carried an automatic first down, and there are very few of those in the rules); and the defense could score on a turnover.

Texas and Massachusetts, which play under college rules, finally adopted the NCAA overtime in the 1990s. Previously, Texas used first downs and penetrations to determine the team which advanced if there were a tie in a playoff game–EXCEPT in the finals. If a championship game were tied, the teams were declared “co-champions”. This was the case for Georgia championship games into the 21st century.

In 1995, the NCAA extended overtime to bowl games at the I-A (major college, now Football Bowl Subdivision) level, and in 1996, it came to the regular season. After numerous games went several overtimes, the NCAA added a new rule in 1997 stating a team had to attempt a 2-point conversion beginning with the third overtime.

The National Federation now allows states to modify the KSHSAA format. Missouri starts from the 25-yard line, except it does not allow the defense to score, nor does it require a team to go for two starting in the third overtime. Louisiana still starts from the 10, but it now requires teams to go for two starting with the third OT. Oregon allows the defense to score with a turnover.

I have seen way, way, way too many people on social media demand the NFL adopt the college format. They’re smoking some powerful crack. The 1985 Bears defense would have a hell of a time stopping an offense from scoring from 25 yards out.

I don’t care. I still despise it college overtime. It’s terrible. Unless a team has a godawful kicker, they are in field goal range to start the possession. And again, a team needs to make three yards per play to make a first down. Three yards per play over nine plays is a touchdown unless my math is faulty.

High school overtime REALLY turns my stomach.

I don’t see what the problem is with leaving a tied game tied. If colleges and high schools insist on breaking ties, limit it to the postseason (which means only conference championship games and College Football Playoff semifinals and finals in FBS), then use sudden death. And REAL sudden death, not the crap the NFL has now adopted.

Or better yet, adopt a system similar to association football, where there are two periods of equal time (5, 6 or 7 minutes), and the game is over after the periods are played. If the score is still tied, then it becomes sudden death.

Iowa won 44-41 in case you’re curious.

 

All hail the fat man!

The Kansas Jayhawks kick off what figures to be their ninth consecutive losing football season tonight when they face patsy Southeast Missouri State in Lawrence. Nothing like opening your season with a challenging opponent, right David Beaty?

Beaty, entering his third season as Jayhawks coach, was once an assistant to the man who led Kansas to its last winning season.

A man who will be inducted into the University of Kansas (don’t get me started about how KU appears on nearly every piece of apparel for the Jayhawks, but the official title of the school is the University of Kansas; it’s that way at Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma, too) Athletics Hall of Fame.

A man whom I despise. A man whom I have absolutely zero respect for. A man whose mere image gets me riled up.

Let me put it this way: if I had a choice of being on a deserted island with this man and former President Obama, I’m choosing Barack every time.

Mark Mangino.

Mangino coached the Jayhawks from 2002-09. He guided Kansas football to arguably its most successful season in its mostly wretched history, leading the 2007 Jayhawks to a 12-1 record and victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. That victory fully eradicated the memories of the Orange Bowl following the 1968 season, the one where Kansas, led by John Riggins and Bobby Douglass, appeared to defeat 10-0 Penn State 14-13, only to be called for having at least 12 players (some accounts report as many as 14 Jayhawks on the field) during the Nittany Lions’ 2-point conversion attempt after their second touchdown. Penn State didn’t blow its gift, and converted for a 15-14 victory.

Kansas won its first 11 games of 2007 and rose to #2 in all of the major polls of the time: Associated Press, coaches, Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and Harris Interactive, which replaced the AP as part of the BCS formula in 2005. Ironically for me, my alma mater was #1.

The night before the Jayhawks were to play archrival Missouri in Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, LSU lost 50-48 in three overtimes to Arkansas in Baton Rouge. It was the Bayou Bengals’ second triple overtime loss of 2007, having fallen 43-37 at Kentucky on October 13, my 31st birthday.

I don’t like college overtime, period. I think it’s bush league to give a team the ball on the opponents’ 25-yard line and ask the defense to hold up, knowing the offense needs only 10 yards to keep the drive going. I think overtime should be eliminated in all regular season football games, whether it be high school, college or professional. If the most popular sporting league on earth, the English Premier League, lives with draws during its 38-game schedule, why can’t American football? But if the NCAA is going to insist on determining

In my mind, LSU was 10-0-2 after the regular season. I’m saying Kentucky and Arkansas TIED LSU, but the Wildcats and Razorbacks simply scored more touchdowns in the shootout. It’s the same procedure for association football (soccer), where the match is officially recorded as a draw, with the team which scores more in the shootout advancing.

Kansas was poised to move to #1 if it defeated Missouri; instead, the Tigers won 36-28 and took over the top spot, with West Virginia going to #2. The Tigers lost the Big 12 champiosnhip game to Oklahoma, the Mountaineers were shocked by Pittsburgh at home, leaving the door open for Big Ten champion Ohio State, one of two one-loss teams remaining–the other wa Kansas–to play SEC champion LSU, which was 11-2 officially (11-0-2 in my book), in the BCS championship game.

Despite losing to Missouri and not playing in the Big 12 championship game, Kansas received an at-large BCS bid to play in the Orange Bowl against Atlantic Coast Conference champ Virginia Tech. Missouri got bumped down to the Cotton Bowl, which was in its period as a second-tier bowl game, to play Arkansas.

It was revealed Kansas recevied the Orange Bowl bid because athletic director Lew Perkins guaranteed the committee to purchase an absurd number of tickets. It was also hinted he provided the committee with, uh, inducements to pick the Jayhawks instead of the Tigers.

That’s another story for another blog post, which will not be long in coming.

Back to Mangino.

Following Kansas’ unexpected season, he was voted national Coach of the Year by just about every organization, beating out the coach of the national champions, LSU’s Les Miles, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel, Ohio State’s Jim Tressel and Illinois’ Ron Zook, whose Illini beat Ohio State and went to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1983 and only the second time since Dick Butkus led Illinois to the game in 1963.

It figured any man could lead KANSAS, which would win the NCAA men’s basketball championship in April under Bill Self, to a 12-1 record would be first in line for a job at a school which places a higher priority on football, right?

Mark Mangino received exactly ZERO interviews in late 2007 and early 2008 to fill vacancies. And there were vacancies at schools in major conferences.

Lloyd Carr retired at Michigan after 13 seasons. The Wolverines did not place the call from Ann Arbor to Lawrence, instead hiring Rich Rodriguez from West Virginia, who one year earlier agreed to become Alabama’s coach, but pulling out at the last second. Instead, the Crimson Tide hired this guy Nick Saban to replace Mike Shula. We know how that turned out.

West Virginia, which won the Big East in 2007 and has been a top-tier program since Bobby Bowden coached there in the 1970s, would be a step up for Mangino, even if he would step down in conference. The Mountaineers instead promoted assistant Bill Stewart, who coached West Virginia to victory in the Fiesta Bowl over Oklahoma.

Chan Gailey left Georgia Tech to coach the Buffalo Bills. The Yellow Jackets opted for Navy coach Paul Johnson, who returned the Wishbone to the upper level of college football. He’s still there.

Ole Miss fired Ed Orgeron, who drove the Rebels straight into the ground with three horrible seasons. Mangino, who weighed north of 500 pounds then, would have loved eating southern cuisine in Oxford. The Rebels instead hired Houston Nutt, who had burned his bridges at Arkansas after 10 seasons.

Arkansas will certainly take a chance on Mangino, right? The Razorbacks are the only team in the Natural State (I don’t count Arkansas State, being so close to Tennessee and Missouri, plus being minor league for most of it existence), and Mangino would be the highest paid and most powerful person in the state, since Frank Broyles was set to finally retire as athletic director after almost 50 years in Fayetteville as football coach and AD.

Broyles’ successor, Jeff Long, instead plucked Bobby Petrino from the Atlanta Falcons. Petrino, who coached Louisville for four seaosns prior to taking the Falcons’ job in early 2007, resigned after a Monday Night Football loss to the Saints, leaving a typed note in each player’s locker. Twenty-four hours after the game ended, Petrino was in Fayetteville, “calling the hogs” with the Arkansas cheerleaders and numerous big-money boosters, which there are a lot of in Arkansas.

Petrino is a scumbag, too. One step above Mangino. One VERY SMALL step.

Why would Mangino not get a single interview after such a successful season?

It wasn’t because of his morbid obesity, which had to be a serious concern for KU officials, even if they would not say so publicly.

It was because he was one of the biggest ASSHOLES to ever roam a college sideline.

Yelling and screaming is a way of life for coaches in all sports in all levels. It is the preferred method of fommunication for football coaches, who believe the higher the decibel level, the more effective the message is. Tony Dungy, who hardly ever raised his voice, would beg to differ, but most of the great coaches yelled and screamed their way to the top, save Tom Osborne and Darrell Royal, who presented low-key images to the press, but probably did their fair share of vocalizing behind closed doors.

Mark Mangino is a world-class screamer.

But there was a problem with his screaming as big as Mangino’s waistline.

He was a sadistic bully.

Mangino had the one of the highest turnover rates of assistant coaches of any program. Nick Saban has been known to burn through assistants at a rapid rate because he works them to death and is so demanding those coaches often feel like they are trapped at the bottom of the ocean in a vacuum with no air hole.

Mangino was much worse than that.

When a player made a mistake, not only did the player feel Mangino’s wrath, but often his position coach did, too.

This was the big reason Bill Young, who was Mangino’s defensive coordinator in 2007, left the Jayhawks after that season to coach at Miami,, which at the time was sloghing through mediocrity under Randy Shannon.

Mangino was just as cruel to his players.

In 2003, it was reported Mangino made a KU player do tortuous bear crawls on the artifical surface of Memorial Stadium, where the temperature on the field was in excess of 150 degrees. The player ended up with burns and lost skin on his hands.

Following the Orange Bowl, starting linebacker Joe Mortensen went home after suffering a knee inury in the game, isntead of retruning immediately to Lawrence to rehabilitate the injury. Mangino punished Mortensen for three months by subjecting him to harsh conditioning, drills which led him to tear ligaments in the same knee.

Mangino’s verbal barbs were just as bad as his physical ones.

Reportedly when a player was charged with underage drinking, he said that player would one day be “drinking from a brown paper bag in Oakland under a bridge”.

He asked another player if “he wanted to be a lawyer or an alcoholic like his father”.

And the worst of all was when he told a player whose brother was injured by gunfire in St. Louis that he could “go back to the ‘hood and get shot with his homies”.

Bear Bryant would rise from his grave and kick Mangino in his family jewels if he could. Nick Saban might join him.

It’s one thing to scream. It is crossing the line when you get personal.

Mangino got personal.

Yet it took Lew Perkins until November 2009, when Kansas was in the midst of a seven-game losing streak which would drop it from 5-0 to 5-7, that Perkins began to investigate.

Mangino, who was owed a $6 million buyout if he were fired, refused to step down, claiming he did nothing wrong.

Faced with lawsuits and a revolt, Perkins negiotiated a settlement, paying Mangino $3 million to quietly resign.

Kansas fans went nuclear.

Most loved Mangino and claimed he as a victim. Lew Perkins was called every epithet you could think of.

I’m sorry, but Mangino got what he richly deserved. Mangino can go fuck himself.

I have no pity whatsoever for the Jayhawks. I find it quite amusing they are so horrnedous. It is karma for hiring that fat piece of shit and for buying the Orange Bowl bid.

Tonight, Mangino will be inducted into such company as Riggins, Douglass, Gale Sayers Phog Allen, Danny Manning and the man who invented basketball himself, Dr. James Naismith.

And guess what? Many are pushing for a bronze statue of Mangino outside Memorial Stadium.

John McEnroe said it best: YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS.

Congratulations, Jayhawks. You have disgraced yourselves. Just don’t disgrace yourselves more by even considering a statue for this disgrace of a homo sapiens.

Nixon and college football coaches–peas in a pod

Richard Nixon was infamous for being the most paranoid man to be President of the United States.

He was also the biggest football fan who ever occupied the White House.

In 1969, Nixon traveled to Fayetteville to watch the game between #1 Texas and #2 (Associated Press)/#3 (United Press International) Arkansas, known colloquially as “The Big Shootout”. The game was for the UPI national championship, since the coaches would not take a poll after the bowl games, while the winner would not only earn a trip to the Cotton Bowl as Southwest Conference champion, it would have the inside track to the Associated Press championship. The AP would vote again after the bowl games.

After Texas rallied from a 14-0 deficit with two fourth quarter touchdowns to win 15-14, Nixon went to the Longhorns’ locker room and presented a plaque to coach Darrell Royal and his players. The presentation incensed Penn State coach Joe Paterno, whose Nittany Lions were in the midst of a 21-game winning streak. Paterno felt his team should be national champions in the UPI.

However, Paterno screwed his own team by refusing to accept a Cotton Bowl bid, instead opting to take Penn State to the Orange Bowl vs. Big Eight champion Missouri. The Nittany Lions went to the Orange Bowl the previous season, defeating Kansas 15-14 (how ironic)

Two years later, Nixon called Dolphins coach Don Shula at 4 a.m., a little less than 10 hours after Miami defeated the Baltimore Colts to win the AFC championship. Not only did Nixon want to wish the Dolphins well–Nixon had a compound in Key Biscayne–he suggested a play to Shula, a down-and-out pass from Bob Griese to Paul Warfield.

Listening to Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star on 810 AM in Kansas City this morning, it hit me why Nixon loved college football.

Today’s college football coaches are as paranoid as Nixon.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who is eccentric to say the least, refuses to issue a depth chart, fearing it will give his opponents an unfair advantage.

Come on, Jim, this is a football GAME played by young men between the ages of 18 and 22, not the nuclear launch codes.

So what if Florida, this week’s opponent, knows your starting nose guard? What’s the big deal? Jim, if Michigan is the better team, Michigan will win. If not, the Wolverines lose. Simple as that.

Les Miles, who was fired at LSU last September, was notoriously secretive. He shut the media out of practice and never, ever divulged injury information.

There are now HIPAA laws governing injury reports, but that was started before HIPAA was in place.

The father of hiding injury information? Bill Snyder, the walking definition of “paranoid” and “control freak”.

Ask Snyder about an injury question, and you will be dressed down by Kansas State’s sports information director. Snyder won’t do it himself. He’s not Nick Saban. Bill Snyder also closed practice tighter than a drum when he got to K-State in 1989, which wasn’t uncommon in the Big Eight–Tom Osborne did it at Nebraska way before anyone knew who the hell Bill Snyder was.

Snyder wouldn’t know what to do in the NFL, which requires injuries to be disclosed. Of course, some coaches–Bill Belichick and George Allen come to mind–have abused the injury report by putting way, way, way too many players on it. Tom Brady being on an injury list, other than 2008, when he suffered a torn ACL in the first game of the year vs. the Chiefs, is preposterous. Unless Brady can’t walk, he’s playing. GIVE ME A BREAK.

Nick Saban is the ultimate control freak. On the other hand, he isn’t as evasive as Miles, Harbaugh or some others. Maybe Miles and Harbaugh learned it from Bo Schembechler, who cut out media access to practice in an era where that was unheard of.

I really don’t care to watch football practice. I saw enough of those at LSU to know just how tedious they are. On the other hand, I understand why the media needs some access. They are doing their jobs as REPORTERS, and they are REPORTING on something their readers really want to know about.

Harbaugh and Florida coach Jim McElwain are engaged in a pissing contest in advance of Saturday’s game in the Dallas Cowboys’ Arlington Stadium.

McElwain refused to name a starting quarterback for most of the days leading up to the game. Since McElwain did not, Harbaugh refused to name his starting QB. This morning, McElwain capitulated and named freshman Felipe Franks. Yet Harbaugh refuses to say anything, and he’s likely going to keep the media guessing until kickoff at 2:30 p.m. CT Saturday.

Kansas coach David Beaty won’t name a starting quarterback for Saturday’s game vs. Southeast Missouri. Come on. SOUTHEAST MISSOURI? Who are you trying to fool, Beaty? Kerkhoff said it best: the Jayhawks really don’t have a starting QB. If Beaty can’t settle on one two days before a game against a lower level team, it say Kansas has nothing at the most important position.

Why do college football coaches feel the need to be so evasive?

I understand they are under tremendous pressure to win. But they are getting compensated very well to do so. Many college football coaches are the highest paid employees in their respective states. Nick Saban makes over $8 million a year, 20 times what the President of the United States earns.

There are days when I miss being at LSU. There are others where I don’t. Honestly, I’m glad I’m not putting up with it anymore.

Houston flooded? Texas Rangers say too bad

The Texas Rangers have always been a low-rent, low-class organization in my mind.

The stunt the organization pulled this week simply confirmed it yet again.

The Rangers were scheduled to play a three-game series in Houston against the Astros. While Minute Maid Park, the Astros’ home field, was not flooded, most of Houston was, and every major route in the city was flooded and impassable. Also, the resources of the Houston Police Department and other first responders, already stretched beyond the breaking point, would have been stretched worse to provide security at Minute Maid for the games.

The simple solution to this problem would have been for the Rangers to host the series this week, then go to Houston in September when the Astros are scheduled to come to Arlington for the final time in 2017.

Easy. A lot easier than if the teams were not in the same division, since each team visits the other teams in the league not in their division only once per season.

The Rangers said hell no.

Their excuse: they did not want to “inconvenience” their fans who held tickets for the September series by switching on short notice.

Excuse me, Jon Daniels (Rangers general manager), but what do you think Hurricane Harvey did to the people of Houston? That’s not an inconvenience. That’s what’s called a catastrophe.

Just how catastrophic would it have been if a few thousand Rangers fans could not have attended the series this week? NOT AT ALL. On the inconvenience scale, it would rate at most two out of 10.

THREE games out of EIGHTY-ONE. How many people attend all 81 home games of an MLB team’s schedule? Not many. Likely only those who are retired or not working because they can afford not to work. And even some of those people would probably need a night or two away from the ballpark.

So what if fans don’t show up? The White Sox and Orioles played a game in front of NOBODY two years ago when there were riots in Baltimore following the Freddie Gray shooting. Many a European football match has been played in front of an empty stadium due to hooliganism. Fans are not necessary to play a game. If nobody wanted to show up in Arlington, let them watch it on television.

Instead, MLB forced the Astros to play their “home” games in St. Petersburg at Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays. If the floods weren’t injury enough, MLB insulted the Astros by forcing them into MLB’s worst facility (if not, it’s the second worst; only the Oakland Coliseum rates that badly) and playing in a city which does not deserve to even have an MLB team. The Rays have proven year after year after year they don’t care, always finishing at or near the bottom of MLB attendance.

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred proved himself a gutless coward. GUTLESS COWARD.

All Manfred had to do was exercise his “best interests of baseball” clause and forced the Rangers to switch dates with the Astros. And if the Rangers didn’t want to play the games in Arlington this week? Fine, they would have forfeited.

Instead of Manfred doing the right thing, he kicked Houston while it was way, way down. As bad as that is, you don’t want to see what I’m going to say about Manfred if he ever approve the designated hitter for the National League.

If this had been the National Football League and it had been the Texans and another AFC South team playing a regular season game, Roger Goodell would have told the team scheduled to play in Houston that it would have to host, and they would have to go to Houston later in the year. That’s that. No appeal.

Had the Saints been scheduled to host Carolina in week one of 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, I’m sure Paul Tagliabue, Goodell’s predecessor, would have asked the Panthers to play in Charlotte, then travel to either San Antonio or Baton Rouge later that season, and Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and then-coach Jon Fox would have had no problem with it whatsoever.

Instead, Rangers GM Daniels uses a cheap, petty excuse to screw the Astros, who are running away with the American League West. Texas is below .500 and only in the wild card race because the DH league is a whole bunch of mediocrity, except for the Astros and Indians at the top and the White Sox, Athletics and Tigers at the bottom. How else would the Twins go from 59-103 in 2016 to leading for the second wild card spot this August 31? If the Rangers played in the National League, nobody in Dallas/Fort Worth would give a damn.

Why am I not surprised by the Rangers’ pettiness? It’s in their orginazational DNA.

It began in 1968, when the Rangers were still the second incarnation Washington Senators.

The team was purchased by a Minneapolis businessman named Robert Short. Short was exiled from the Twin Cities in 1960 when he moved the Lakers to Los Angeles, then made a nice profit by selling them to Jack Kent Cooke in 1965. Cooke and later Jerry Buss turned the Lakers into one of professional sports’ iconic franchises.

Short probably wanted to buy the first incarnation of the Senators and move them to Minneapolis, but Calvin Griffith beat him to the Twin Cities in 1961 and renamed the club the Twins.

The second incarnation of the Senators were a laughingstock, just like the first team was after Walter Johnson retired in the late 1920s. The Senators were fortunate in that the Kansas City Athletics were just as terrible and kept the new Senators out of the cellar many years.

Somehow, Short convinced Ted Williams, probably the greatest hitter who ever lived, to manage the Senators. Williams led Washington to 86 wins in 1969, the franchise’s only winning season in the nation’s capital, and was AL Manager of the Year. Washignton hosted the 1969 All-Star Game at RFK Stadium.

Yet Short only cared about the almighty dollar, and he thought he could not make enough of them in Washington.

Near the end of the 1971, cheapskate Short conned owners into allowing him to move the Senators to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and play in a mionor league stadium halfway between the two cities.

Arlington was just another town on the Dallas/Fort Worth Turnpike (now Interstate 30) not too far from where the new DFW Airport was being built. It had Six Flags, but not much else.

Ten of the AL’s 12 owners at the time–the White Sox (John Allyn) and Orioles (Jerold Hoffberger) said no–let Short take baseball out of Washington. This greatly angered commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who despearately tried to get Short to sell. Yet Short showed he was just as egotistical as he was cheap, refusing an $8.5 million offer from grocery magnate Joseph Dazansky so he could put one over on the nation’s capital.

Williams quit after his first season in Arlington. He hated Dallas/Fort Worth and especially hated the shithole that was Arlingon Stadium, where more than 40 percent of the seats were aluminum bleachers in the outfield, where it was hot enough to fry eggs most days. Whitey Herzog was hired following Williams, but Short thought it was a big mistake from the start.

Herzog said it best when at his first press conference he declared “This is the most horseshit excuse for a Major League team I ever saw”.

Unfortunately, Whitey, the Rangers are still a horsehit organization.

Short forced Herzog to pitch 18-year old David Clyde less than a month after his high school graduation. Clyde eventually became an alcoholic, developed arm trouble, and eventually flamed out of MLB by 1981. The only reason he isn’t considered the worst #1 overall pick in MLB history is because at least he played in MLB, unlike Steve Chilcutt (1966) and Brien Taylor (1991).

Herzog was fired with 24 games to go in 1973 and replaced by Billy Martin, the same Billy Martin who would be hired and fired five times by George Steinbrenner. Martin led the Rangers to 84 wins in 1974, but the better news was Short sold the Rangers to Brad Corbett, a local pipe salesman.

Corbett’s ownership was just as horseshit as Short’s, and the Rangers were pretty terrible for 15 years, save for a season of contention here and there (1977 most comes to mind).

Then came George W. Bush, future governor of Texas and 43rd President of the United States. His predecssor, Eddie Chiles, left the son of the then-POTUS the gift of Nolan Ryan, who was offered a boatload of cash to come north on Interstate 45 from Houston.

Bush turned the Rangers into a semi-respectable outfit. Ryan filled decrepit Arlington Stadium every time he pitched, including once when my brother, father and I watched from the left-center field bleachers for Ryan to face the Brewers in what turned out to be his final season, 1993.

Yet Bush 43 made one gigantic mistake.

The Rangers got a new stadium under Bush’s ownership. Arlington Stadium was demolished in 1994, about 15 years after it should have been.

The bad news? NO ROOF.

Let’s see: we’ll build a new baseball stadium in Dallas/Fort Worth without a roof after fans have suffered for 22 years in the extreme heat in Arlington Stadium, a shithole where many fans had to burn the butts–literally–on metal benches.

I visited the new stadium in Arlington, currently called Globe Life Park, once, in 1996. It was better than Arlington Stadium, but much crappier than Kauffman Stadium, and certainly nowhere as good as PNC Park, which I visited in 2005.

The Rangers are correcting Bush’s gigantic mistake by building a new stadium with a roof, set to open no later than 2021. But the Rangers should have got it right the first time.

If that were the Rangers’ biggest problem, I wouldn’t have such a beef with them.

But it isn’t.

In 1999, when Ryan was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he went in wearing a Rangers cap on his plaque. It turns out the Rangers offered him financial inducements to wear a Rangers cap, even though he pitched four career no-hitters with the Angels and played nine seasons with the Astros. I don’t care if he collected his 5,000th strikeout and pitched two no-hitters with the Rangers.

Last I checked, it’s called bribery when financial gain is offered in return for a favor. If it happened in a political arena, the briber and the bribee would both be in federal prison. Instead, Ryan is a hero in Dallas/Fort Worth, even though he is from south Texas and played the longest with the Astros.

In 2002, the Hall of Fame said enough was enough and told Gary Carter his plaque would have him in an Expos cap, even though he wanted to wear a Mets cap on his plaque. Now the Hall of Fame determines the team cap on the plaque.

Wade Boggs tried that shit when he wanted a Devil Rays(??!!) cap instead of the Red Sox. The Hall of Fame said no.

Too bad the decision is not retroactive. Reggie Jackson should be wearing an Athletics cap, not a Yankees cap.

Catfish Hunter had it right when he insisted on a blank cap on his plaque, not wanting to offend the Athletics or Yankees. Greg Maddux (Cubs and Braves) did the same.

The Rangers continued their reign of error by signing former crack whore Josh Hamilton, the former #1 overall pick who was banned from baseball for a time for extreme drug usage.

It hired Ron Washington, a former admitted coke junkie, as its manager.

And now this.

There are some teams I just will never like.

The Reds are one. Pete Rose can get fucked, and Marge Schott should rot in deepest hell.

The Cubs? Obnoxious fans. Just because your team won its first World Series in 108 years does not mean you rule the earth.

The Marlins? Jeffrey Loria is a fuckwad. Jose Fernandez killed two other people because of his abject stupidity. He is not a hero. Besides, I can’t stand Miami to begin with. I despise the Heat. Dolphins and Panthers just as much.

The Texas Rangers fall into that club.

I hope the Lord has something nice in store for this dirtbag crew, who gave a giant middle finger to their in-state neighbors just because they couldn’t handle a very minor inconvenience.

One overhyped event down, one to go

The solar eclipse came and went Monday. Could not see a damn thing in Russell, where it was overcast. Good. I’m glad. I was in my basement working on something Frank needed done when the eclipse passed.

Now it’s on to the other overhyped happening of August 2017, not counting Patrick Mahomes’ performance in the Chiefs’ exhibition vs. the Bengals the other night, or the Royals’ playoff chances.

McGregor-Mayweather.

UFC fighter Connor McGregor faces boxer Floyd Mayweather this Saturday in Las Vegas.

Count me out.

I have never, ever watched UFC, unless it happened to be on while I was in a Buffalo Wild Wings, and even then, I did my best to ignore it, playing trivia and trying to watch other sporting events–even if the other events included the NBA (good Lord).

I don’t like Mayweather. He has a long history of domestic violence. He is boastful to the point where Muhammad Ali was downright humble. I didn’t watch one second of his fight vs. Manny Pacquiao two years ago, and there’s no way in hell I’m watching this farce.

Buffalo Wild Wings Zona Rosa usually shows UFC cards, but it will not be televising the McGregor-Mayweather fight.

Mayweather’s promoters contorl the pay-per-view rights, and his fights are routinely far, far higher to buy than a typical UFC card. It would cost the consumer $99.99 plus tax to watch the fight–if it is availlable on their cable system, that is. It won’t be on the cable systems in Russell, Hays and northwest Kansas. Too freaking bad.

I recall two years ago there were scores of angry people who came into Buffalo Wild Wings at Zona Rosa hoping to see the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, only to find out B-Dubs wasn’t carrying it.

I have done all I can to tune out McGregor-Mayweather. The hype is going to ramp up signifcantly between tonight and the fight, and it won’t subuside until the fight is reviewed ad nauseam Sunday and Monday.

The next total solar eclipse is in 2024. Oh boy. At least Kansas and Missouri are far from the path of totality.