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Archive for May, 2009

    imagesLots of Q-and-A-ing on Wednesday as the WNBA had a conference call in the afternoon, and I chatted with Lauren Jackson during the evening in Australia. Yeah, she was in Oz, not me, and it was Thursday afternoon there.

  LJ is in the wedding of Seattle teammate Suzy Batkovic on May 30, then she flies to the United States on Sunday. Remember the poll here after she re-signed with Seattle in early May, where I asked if fans considered her to be one of the 10 best players ever? Eighty-seven percent of the respondents said yes.

  Naturally, Jackson is not the sort to say, “Oh, yeah, of course they did,” when this was mentioned to her.

  “That’s a flattering, definitely,” she said. “But I don’t really see it like that. I’ve been around so many great players, and I feel like I’m lucky to just be a part of it. I had good timing.”

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  DSC01164 Today, May 26, is the 50th anniversary of Harvey Haddix’s legendary Major League Baseball feat: He pitched 12 perfect innings, but lost in the 13th inning.

   Haddix, a left-hander then for the Pittsburgh Pirates, set down 36 consecutive Milwaukee Braves batters on May 26, 1959. Then an error, a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk and a home run ended the game, 1-0. Yes, 1-0 … because the runner on first base, Hank Aaron, didn’t realize the ball had left the park and thought the game was over when the runner who’d been on second, Felix Mantilla, scored. 

  Aaron rounded second base and headed to the dugout; the home-run hitter, Joe Adcock, passed him on the basepaths. The Braves attempted to correct Aaron’s mistake, but Adcock’s hit ended up being ruled a double, and only Mantilla’s run counted. But one run, of course, is all the Braves needed.

  The only one of these players I actually saw play was Hank Aaron, and at that point he was with the Atlanta Braves (who moved from Milwaukee after the 1965 season) and became the home-run king in 1974. That was the same year I got the book, “Strange But True Baseball Stories”  _ which contained the story of Harvey Haddix _ from the Arrow Book Club at school.
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Take a look at Texas A&M’s roster for 2009-2010, and you see one of the problems for Missouri’s women’s basketball team. Three players from the Kansas City area will be competing for the Aggies next year. Tanisha Smith and Tyra White are returners; Danielle Adams comes in after being the national juco player of the year this past season.
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  5f07b5de5f1e4266     One of the ongoing issues in the Big 12 is how the North schools can keep up with the South. In general, the South schools have bigger athletic-department budgets and they are easier to recruit to for most sports because of weather and population base. 

 Among the North schools that for the longest time didn’t seem like it was really going to be able to compete very well in the Big 12 was Missouri. Not that this was a big surprise, since the school was too often just treading water in the Big Eight from the early 1980s until the Big 12 began in 1996. 

  But in recent years, things have changed for Missouri. The latest success – the softball team advancing Sunday to the upcoming Women’s College World Series _ just adds to what some Tiger fans are calling the best year in the school’s history. And to really appreciate that, let’s go back about a quarter century.
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ESPN.com update

 Yes, the ESPN.com women’s basketball page has been super-duper dead for the last month or so. Things will liven back up starting this week, as we begin to look toward the start of the WNBA season.

  BTW, the reason that page contains both college hoops and WNBA is because there just wasn’t  a lot of traffic during the off-season for either one when they were on separate pages. It just made sense to combine them. It was a sign of disrespect as some people saw it  … I really pushed for it, in fact. Because I’d  sometimes write a college story during WNBA season that it seemed no one would ever see. Same with a WNBA story during college season.

  Anyway, that’s old news, but just something I wanted to explain.

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     league_of_their_own_ver3Are you ever amazed by the randomness of how the same topic can appear in your life for no particular reason two days in a row after you hadn’t thought about it for quite some time?

   Such is the case with the movie, “A League of Their Own.” Just got back from vacation, where the movie came up in a discussion with a friend. She played college softball at Texas Woman’s University in the 1970s, and we were discussing how administrator/advocate extraordinaire Donna Lopiano was recently named chair of the women’s baseball committee for the International Baseball Federation (IBAF).

  The organization’s goal is to get women’s baseball – not softball – added to the Olympics. A few years ago, softball and baseball were voted out the Summer Games (after 2008, that is) in a decision that many feel reflected – among other things – a negativity toward Major League Baseball for its laissez-faire attitude until recently about performance-enhancing drugs. It was also seen as, to some degree, a vote that was prompted by negativity toward the United States. 

  Softball seemed to be a “victim” of this vote mostly because it was “linked” to baseball. Softball officials, players, coaches and fans were devastated by this decision and have been working ever since to try to get it reversed. 

  Lopiano, of course, is a legendary women’s sports figure who is a member of softball’s Hall of Fame. Now she is working toward getting baseball for women added into the Olympics. And I was telling my friend, with some initial trepidation, that I fully supported this.
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  imagesRalph Waldo Emerson famously wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” – with the emphasis, one would assume, on “foolish.”

  Because plain, old consistency (the non-foolish kind) is one of the most desired traits by everyone, isn’t it? And, certainly, something you look for in other people. Inconsistency is seen as annoying at best and a serious weakness at worst. 

  I bring this up because of having a personal lack of consistency about something, which bugs me. Saturday, thanks to Rachel Alexandra, I was reminded of it again. I strongly disapprove of horse racing … except I still get excited at times watching it.
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