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Relentless Royals

November 5, 2015

The Kansas City Royals won their first World Series in 30 years last weekend by employing a true team approach to the game. The team’s Game 5 clinching win over the New York Mets was a trademark Royals victory.

Kansas City trailed 2-0 heading into the ninth inning and managed to extend the game by manufacturing two game-tying runs off of Mets ace Matt Harvey. The Royals maintained for a few more innings before exploding for five runs in the 12th inning to win the title.

Kansas City played with a chip on its shoulder all year following a tight, seven-game World Series defeat to the San Francisco Giants last season. Evidence of this showed itself often during the 2015 campaign, especially in Game 4 of their American League playoff series against Houston when the came back and beat the Astros after trailing 6-2 late in an elimination game.

The Royals were deserving champs and is a team that is hard not to like. And you have to like the way they built their team through their minor league system vs. accumulating free agents.

Beamer Ball

Legendary Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer announced recently that this will be last season in Blacksburg, VA.

Little is known about his story. I will try to give you a short version to his unlikely story.

Beamer grew up just over an hour away from Blacksburg. He built a rural school into national relevancy in football. It all started when Beamer played cornerback at Virginia Tech and later coaching his alma mater for 29 years better than anyone else ever had or had envisioned.

Beamer will retire as a dying breed: The coach who stays at one school seemingly forever. He joins the likes of Bobby Bowden and Howard Schnellenberger as self-made coaches who created national programs out of virtually nothing. Before Beamer, Virginia Tech had one 10-win season. Beamer enjoyed 13 seasons with 10 wins or more. The Hokies won 59 percent of their games from 1892 to 1986; they won 76 percent with Beamer from 1993 to 2011.

Beamer could have left many times. He came real close to ending up with the Green Bay Packers and received overtures from many college programs, including Alabama and Georgia.

Beamer accepted the North Carolina job in 2000 and then changed his mind.

I read in his 2012 autobiography that during the short flight to Chapel Hill to work out the contract details, he got cold feet and came home.

Coach Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech

As loyal as Beamer was to Virginia Tech, the school was equally as loyal to him. He had a 24-40-2 record during his first six years in Blacksburg. The president and athletic director who hired Beamer were all gone by the sixth year. Beamer inherited NCAA sanctions from his predecessor, Bill Dooley, upon signing a four-year, $80,000-a-year contract in 1986.

The decision to keep Beamer Ball in Blacksburg paid off during the 1990’s. In 1993, Virginia Tech went 9-3 and began a streak of 22 consecutive bowl games. Beamer pointed to the 1995 Sugar Bowl win over Texas as a “game changer” for Virginia Tech. The Hokies became a program that sold out a 60,000-plus-seat stadium for 93 consecutive games. Beamer’s numbers are staggering at a school like Virginia Tech: seven top-10 final rankings, seven conference championships (three in the Big East, four in the ACC), and one national championship game appearance.

Beamer Ball was defined by the team’s greatness in special teams. Virginia Tech averaged five blocked kicks a year from 1991 to 2010 while everyone else averaged one.

The end has been coming for a while. Beamer is 26-22 in his past four seasons. The Hokies need to win two of their last three games against Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia to keep Beamer’s bowl-eligibility streak intact.

I like the way this is playing out. Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock has capably navigated a potentially treacherous end for a coaching legend. There will be a celebration of Beamer’s career, not an ugly departure like Florida State and Bowden or an abrupt one by Steve Spurrier as he quit on his South Carolina team during the season.

Kenseth Loses Respect

With regards to Matt Kenseth last weekend, NASCAR pretty much had to make what is usually a tough decision, a decision to suspend one of their top drivers. That is how obvious Kenseth’s action of crashing race and points leader Joey Logano out of the Martinsville race.

NASCAR has to react when someone 10 laps down takes a leader into the wall.  I don’t care what the history is between the two drivers.

Five years ago, you would never think or see Kenseth with this type of behavior. That was back when he came across as mild-mannered with an easy-going reputation. Times have changed the past few years. I remember a similar incident with Brian Vickers in Martinsville a few years ago and who can forget his famed post-race tackle between the haulers of Brad Keslowski in the Charlotte Chase race last year.

I am not sure if a two-race suspension is enough of a deterrent to stop future incidents. I hope so. I sure would hate for Kenseth or anyone else to perform this cowardly act when it affects a championship run.

Coach Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech

 

 

 

 


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