by Bert Beiswanger
With a mixed bag of thoughts on various sports topics the past week, locally and nationally, I could have pounded out an article a day given the time. Since life gets in the way sometimes, you do what you can. So I thought it best to hone in on a few freshly squeezed items and head to the express checkout on this beautiful Saturday morning.
Ball State Homecoming
Speaking of beautiful Saturday mornings, I will be heading up I-69 soon to witness the Ball State Homecoming game against Kent State (3 p.m., espn3.com). What I’ll look most forward to is once again watching the #2 ranked quarterback and receiver in the country, Keith Wenning and Willie Snead. Despite racking up a ton of injuries the past few weeks, Ball State is starting to put together more complete game and gathered some votes in this week’s USA Today coaches poll. The 5-1 Cardinals are coming off an impressive win at Virginia. Say what you want about Virginia but a 21 point win at an ACC school is impressive. It’s Homecoming weekend, sunny and 75 degrees. Tailgating should be good and Scheumann Stadium will be full. For the price, Ball State football is the best bang for the sports buck around right now.
Uncle Verne and the Gators/Tigers
My favorite sports time slot of the week is Saturday, 3:30 p.m.: CBS, Uncle Verne Lundquist (as sports radio personality Steve Czaban so appropriately refers to him) and Gary Danielson on the call for the SEC Game of the Week. This week it’s the No. 17 Florida Gators at No. 10 LSU Tigers. Florida has had an offensive spark in recent weeks with the play of backup quarterback Tyler Murphy. If nothing else, he’s steadied an offense that was prone to shoot itself in the foot over and over with Jeff Driskel at the helm (see Miami game). Timing in sports is a funny thing. Driskel’s unfortunate injury may be the Gators’ gain as it seems the No. 4 defense in the country now has some support. Florida has had its share of big losses on defense due to injury, but the Gators still play at a very high level on that side of the ball. This will a good one. If you’re out and about, DVR it.
Grand Prix of Indianapolis
With the announcement that the IndyCar Series will kick off the Month of May in 2014 by racing on an updated and improved Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, racing purists voiced their concerns that this could take away from the prestige of the “500.” How? How could this hurt the “500?” I’ve looked at this from every angle and I just don’t see a downside. Let’s be honest, opening weekend in May had become pretty stale. The crowd was friends and family and “Alley Cats” only, so the addition of the the grand prix weekend really provides the fans with excellent racing content leading into the “500.” Also, the race will be on ABC, not to mention the possibility of a title sponsor coming on-board and IMS having more of a product to sell to corporate suite buyers. Look, no one is expecting a “500” type of crowd or anything close. But I suspect we will see a nice race crowd in the 50 thousand range. When you put it all together, it’s a win for the series and a great lead-in to the Indy 500. NBC Sports commentator and RACER Magazine contributor Robin Miller has said there wouldn’t be 40,000 people if they made the race free. The race isn’t free, but very affordable. “R,” I’ll take that bet.
“The Hawk” Wasn’t Soaring in 2013
After getting fired last Friday, Dusty Baker said, “”All the coaches get blamed for everything.” To which my son replied, “Apparently, he hasn’t paid attention to the White Sox this year.” The boy was dead-on with that comment. I’m not sure I’ve witnessed a more fundamentally unsound team in all my years of watching Major League Baseball. If the coaching staff isn’t to blame for the debacle of 2013 and the comedy of errors, then I’m not sure when you would blame a coaching staff. Actually, I’m not sure why you would even need a coaching staff. Heck, I can sit on the bench and yell, “Catch the freaking ball!” The weight of the White Sox pom poms were even too much for announcer Hawk Harrelson. The clip below from earlier in the season could actually be packaged as “The 2013 Chicago White Sox Year-in-Review” and sold in discount bins everywhere for $1.99. By the way, if you don’t have time for the full 3:30 of this year-in-review, simply watch the first minute and fast forward to the three minute mark:
And now, please rise and kindly remove your hats as we kick off this sports weekend with the anthem of the SEC on CBS:
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