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Speed It Up

February 23, 2017

Spring training is here in major league baseball. And this has led to talk nationally on how to improve the game for the average fan. Pace of play is one issue that is commonly mentioned. And I agree.

Commissioner Rob Manfred is relatively new at the job and he has some ideas on the subject. I do not think he goes far enough but I will address that later.

He has been reported as saying that he is in favor of raising the strike zone (top of the knee would be the bottom of the zone), eliminating intentional walks and putting time limits on elements of instant replay.

Commissioner Rob Manfred

Manfred also offered some support for starting extra innings with a runner on second base as an experiment in the minor leagues.

I am not sure lessening the strike zone will speed up play. I believe giving the hitters another advantage will lengthen games. I think it will lead to more offense and we will see longer games with scores like 9-8.

Eliminating intentional walks and putting time limits on replay will only save a few minutes a game. I will not take Manfred seriously until he addresses the time it takes between pitches. I am not into batters stepping out of the batter’s box after every pitch to adjust their batting gloves, batting helmet, and uniform etc. Professional baseball should be like pick up softball games. Stay in the box, stay on the pitching rubber and let’s see a pitch every 20 seconds or so. That will pick up the pace of play and it has a chance of keeping the fan’s interest.

The commissioner clearly favors subtle change in order to shorten games, but it's likely baseball will remain comparatively long form of close to three hours a game for the foreseeable future.

Wolfpack Will Try Again

When it comes to basketball at North Carolina State it seems like there is always something wrong with the head coach.

Those who are doing the hiring cannot seem to find a coach who can both advance in the NCAA Tournament while being popular with the fan base.

It’s always something at State. Les Robinson lost so much that there was a joke that they nicknamed the ACC Tournament play-in game in his honor. Herb Sendek got into the tournament but didn’t beat Duke or Carolina enough. Jim Valvano’s program got busted by the NCAA.

That brings us to Mark Gottfried who just got fired last week. Even though he has taken the program to the Big Dance, the rap on him is that his teams do not play defense.

Back to those who are making the decisions. I read last week that NCSU has not had a single coach, since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams back in 1985, leave for a better job or retirement. That fact says a great deal about those who have been hired. In other words, what they are doing is not working.

State now has a headstart of at least three weeks on just about everyone else who will looking for a new coach. Some of that time can be utilized developing a mission statement that does not include having to have a “name” coach.

The last time the Wolfpack needed a coach, following Sidney Lowe’s failed tenure from 2006 to 2011, the administration shot through a list of “name” candidates. They approached the likes of Gregg Marshall of Wichita State, Shaka Smart now at Texas, and Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin. They basically got laughed at, kind of like what John Calipari did in 2006 prior to the school taking on Lowe.

I can see that happening again with the likes of Archie Miller who is now at Dayton. Miller has built that program and has been patient, while being well-paid, waiting for an ideal next job. He played for the Wolfpack so that may help. But Miller has the best job in the Atlantic 10. He will likely not sacrifice that to take a risk. N.C. State would have to convince him their job isn’t a risk and that could be a tough sell. Remember the history I just told you about. Odds are he will stay at Dayton.

If so, that means the administration will have to do their due diligence and find someone who can break recent history in Raleigh. Winning at North Carolina State can happen because it has in the past. If the next coach can break the recent mold and stick around for a decade or so, he could be the top coach on Tobacco Road. After all, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski just turned 70, and North Carolina’s Roy Williams will be 67 in August.

I guess that could be considered a selling point to potential coaches. There are not many more at this time.

Vince Young Making A Comeback?

It has been reported by a few outlets this past week that Vince Young is hoping to make a comeback in the NFL.

Before ruling it out, remember how bad some of the league’s backup quarterbacks are.

Young is about to turn 34 years old. He had skills to win NFL games in year’s past.

And this is a league where Connor Cook, Case Keenum, Blaine Gabbert, and Matt Moore started games last year.

Vince Young

I know Young was a mental case in his final years that came to a close in 2014. But he did go 30-17 in Tennessee while seeing playoff action and two Pro Bowl appearances. Those are things that Keenum, Cook, and company will never do.

There are anywhere between 64 and 96 quarterback jobs in the NFL every year, depending on how many teams carry a third quarterback, for whatever reason.

You would think someone would take a look at Young.




















































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