by Mack Williams
3 October 2014

I. Friday Night Lights

Today marks the one week anniversary of my trip to what turned out to be a mini-family reunion in MD/DC, as we traveled to see my young cousin play in a JV football game. Travel costs: about $60.00. Hanging with family: Priceless. Seeing him on the field: not so much. In fact, not at all.

Memo to coaches, from one who has coached basketball and baseball from T-ball on to the travel and high school levels: when you’re up by six touchdowns with 5 minutes to go, that is the point in time to empty your bench.

II. Make It Last Forever

One of the topics of interest being discussed as the NBA teams report to training camp is how effective Kobe Bean Bryant will be, coming off of an injury…returning to what many think to be a mediocre team at best…at the age of 36 (after having walked in the door at 17).
For years, when people would wonder aloud when the “next Jordan” was going to show up, I would say that he’s right here, wearing #24 in purple and gold. This year that point may be proven yet again as, just like Mike who adjusted his game post-baseball, Kobe might need to tweak his game post-injury.

A telling sign of his condition, and what is to come, may be that Kobe is putting no specific date on his retirement. I believe he still wants to go out the all-time leading scorer.

III. Hammer Time

The Cinderella team in this year’s baseball postseason would have to be the Kansas City Royals, who haven’t even been to the playoffs since an umpire’s missed call helped gift them the World Series in 1985. And so far they’re off to a good start, up 1-0 in the American League Division Series over the Los Angeles Angels after beating the Oakland A’s in the Wild Card game.

As for the A’s, if not already, their fans in Oaktown may soon curse the day this summer that the Oakland front office laid the Hammer on their lineup by trading cleanup hitter Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for Jon Lester. In 2015 Cespedes will likely help lead the Red Sox back to the playoffs.

IV. See Ya

Minnesota Twins fire manager Ron Gardenhire. Not unusual to see a coach or manager fired…often a scapegoat is needed, since you can’t fire 15 or 25 or 50 players, many of whom are under guaranteed contracts. That said, I hate a situation where the front office – for one reason or another – has failed to put a credible team out there, and then turns around and fires the skipper for not winning.

V. Metrics Schmetrics

I could care less what these new “metrics” may say about Derek Jeter as a shortstop relative to some of his peers. Those metrics weren’t flying into the third base line seats after making that running catch against the Red Sox, they weren’t unbelievably there by the first base line to flip that overthrown relay home to get Jeremy Giambi, nor were they the heart and soul of five championship teams. Whoever doesn’t vote for Jeter as a first-ballot Hall of Famer has got some ‘splainin to do.

VI. Truth or Consequences

There is no justification for the actions of Ray Rice in that infamous elevator video.

But…Ray Rice hit his fiancée – now wife who is alive and well – and is on indefinite suspension from his job without pay. Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown to death, and he is on paid leave from his job. Really?

Meanwhile – to the consternation of Republicans – voter registration has surged in Ferguson since Brown’s death. It won’t bring him back, but hopefully Michael has awakened a sleeping giant. If only that would happen elsewhere as well.

VII. Please Don’t Go

Eric Holder, who has done an outstanding job as Attorney General – often seemingly taking positions and actions that the President may have chosen not to publicly champion in as forceful a manner – is resigning once a successor has been found.

Since Republicans have become so good at blocking what Obama wants, just because he says he wants it with no consideration of how it will affect the people, maybe they will block all of Obama’s choices for the position and Holder will have to stay on.

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