Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Penn State sanctions a tough call

I've had a little more than a day to try to digest the NCAA's sanctions against Penn State over the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case and I'm still not completely sure where I stand.

Among the penalties the NCAA hit Penn State starts with a $60 million fine (about the amount of one year's football revenue) that would go to outside programs devoted to preventing child sex abuse; a postseason ban for the next four seasons; the loss of a number of scholarships over the next four years; and the wiping out of Penn State's 111 victories from 1998-2011. Taking away those wins cost legendary coach Joe Paterno his place as college football's all-time winningest coach.

I completely understand the argument from those who liked what the NCAA did and those who disagree with it.

In the for category, severe sanctions had to be taken and could have resulted in the suspension of the program in its entirety for a specified/unspecified period of time (known in college athletic circles as the 'death penalty.') Those in favor called the sanctions both punitive and corrective, and they make a good case. The actions of Sandusky (Paterno's former defensive coordinator) were heinous enough before you begin to add the non-actions/cover-up of those in power in the wake of the Sandusky scandal at State College.

In the against category, a solid case can be made that these sanctions (with the exception of the money) do nothing to help the victims of this crime. With Sandusky in prison presumably for the rest of his life, Paterno dead and those who were in power above him all no longer at Penn State, an argument can also be made that with the loss of scholarships and the postseason ban, the NCAA is further punishing the innocent players and student who had nothing to do with the case.

Both sides make strong cases, but the bottom line is no matter what the sanctions were or weren't, nothing the NCAA or Penn State itself could completely make up for what Sandusky did to those young boys in the shower and locker room at Penn State.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

All-Star nonsense

Typically, the week during the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is one of the most quiet times in professional sports. However, with a couple of things that took place, the All-Star break has become more of a give me a break.

First, Reggie Jackson spouts off about Alex Rodriguez and the Hall of Fame credentials of others, including the late Gary Carter. I think Reggie believes he is more relevant than he truly is, but that's also Reggie being Reggie. I think the Yankees might have made it more of a big deal than it needed to be by telling him to stay away from the team for the time being, but they are also well within their right to do so.

While Reggie Jackson does not represent the Yankee brand, so to speak, his comments reinforces the belief of those Yankee haters out there that this is how all arrogant Yankees feel toward other teams and their players. Hopefully, this story will be just a one-day story.

Turning to last night's Home Run Derby, I can sort of understand the reaction of Kansas City Royals fans to Robinson Cano not picking hometown slugger Billy Butler to participate, but really, you're going to boo Cano during every swing and then to give him a standing ovation for him not hitting a home run. In the end, this is a meaningless exhibition. Maybe Cano could have had the forethought to invite the home-team guy, but there were many more deserving of the invitation than Butler (Adam Dunn, Juan Encarnacion, Adam Jones to name a few) and they weren't invited either.

What I think is funniest about it is the media reaction. They gave the fans a pass, saying this just shows how passionate Royals fans are about their players and that's a good thing for baseball. I only wonder if these same folks in the media would have the same reaction if the roles were reversed and it was Butler who did not pick Cano for the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium and the Yankee fans booing Butler for every non-home run? Somehow, I think those fans wouldn't get the same pass.

Finally, on to tonight's All-Star Game. How can you take the game seriously (as Major League Baseball wants us to) and have a manager who's not even managing this year (Tony La Russa) not pick the NL's top pitcher SO FAR THIS YEAR (the Mets' R.A. Dickey)? I'm totally dumbfounded by the decision.

You can throw all the excuses you want (All-Star catcher Buster Posey might have trouble catching Dickey's knuckleball; NL starter Matt Cain has had a better career than Dickey) and none of them hold water. The honor should be given to the player/pitcher having the best year. And, so far, that would be R.A. Dickey in just about every major statistical category.

For a game that supposedly matters, there seems to be a lot going into it that makes it meaningless.

Friday, July 6, 2012


A quick congrats to our baseball and softball All-Stars and to all those from the area who made the All-State teams.

As both Kingston and Coleman Catholic have proven with their state championship victories, baseball in the area is as good as ever and on a par with the best baseball being played throughout NYS. All these players should be extremely proud of themselves that they earned these postseason accolades.

I look at the announcing of our All-Stars as the unofficial end of the 2011-12 scholastic sports season, and it was quite a good one all around. Let's hope 2012-13 will be just as noteworthy.

And for those wondering, high school football practice begins August 13, with all other sports starting a week later.