|Ah, for the old days!|
|Saturday, May 31, 2014 8:00 PM|
By JIM METCALFE
With the summer starting to heat up, can football be far behind?
Doesn’t it seem as if, more and more, the seasons come together.
Think about it: years ago, when I was a younger pup, this time of year was all about baseball.
Locally, it was players getting ready for the season at Stadium Park, whether it be T-ball, Minor, City or even Pony.
Nationally, whether it was watching or listening to my favorite teams: the Cincinnati Reds — who cannot remember listening to Joe Nuxhall and Marty Brenneman on WLW or WIMA on their Snoopy radios (or whatever radio in your possession) at night? — or the Baltimore Orioles — they were the second team I can most remember as a kid, with Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar, Scott McGregor, Dave McNally and Mike Flanagan amongst one of the best pitching staffs ever assembled; baseball was the sport we thought about, whether in the back yard or at the park.
Baseball cards were fantasy baseball.
The NFL and even the NBA were not really on the radar yet at the end of May. There was little or no fantasy football, for example.
In those days, 20 wins were far more common, as were pitchers that threw 250-plus innings and far more complete games.
That was before the game got so “complicated” and statistics beyond home runs, batting average, runs batted in or earned run average were all that was it.
Now, you have stats such as Runners in Scoring Position (I thought ANY runner on base was in scoring position), on-base-plus-slugging percentage, batting average with a 2-2 count, etc.
MoneyBall has taken the place of a manager’s gut instinct.
I get that things change and with the increased use of technology, Sabermetrics and other measurements, the game would have to become more “sophisticated” and eggheads would become in vogue in MLB front offices.
Still, to me, it comes down to the 1-on-1 battle between a pitcher and a batter, the stats be hanged.
Of course, I am a goofball.
Getting back to my original tangent, May is no longer simply baseball.
You have the NBA Finals right around the corner — as I wrote before, I can remember the Finals being showed on taped-delay on CBS — and the NHL post-season is still in swing.
The NFL Draft is almost the start of pre-season camp for most franchises, with OTAs and such.
On the local level, coaches are putting together their summer camps, leagues, conditioning plans and such for their charges to start preparing for the 2014-15 season.
I know many are concerned about young student-athletes having childhoods and chances to be kids during the summer but the days when there actually was an off-season are like a dinosaur; gone by the wayside.
I don’t think I will get into trouble for writing that, nor this: as long as coaches — and players — feel heavy pressure to have success every year, I cannot blame them for wanting “their” players to focus on “their” sport or wanting to do “everything.”
These men and women/boys and girls are in a bind; acknowledging they need time off but not wanting to fall behind their competitors.
Plus, we all want “our” teams to do well and do it the right way: hard work, dedication, good sportsmanship and team play.
What a vicious circle it can all be, eh?
What was my original point?