Thursday, June 30, 2005


Sorry folks. I have been following a light blogging schedule- taking a break after two weeks of pretty intense activity centered on Tulane baseball. This blog set and then broke its “viewing” record repeatedly last week- topping out at 361 unique servers visiting the day of the Texas CWS game. I appreciate it. It is nice that this blog has a growing community- particularly considering I had two visitors a day last September.

The only downside is getting to my e-mail. My in-box has been jammed with lots of good comments. I take some pride in getting back to everyone. If you care enough to remark, you deserve some response.

About twenty of the e-mails were breathless ascertains of my work being cribbed pretty directly and posted, without credit, over on the yogwf site on a post called “Successful Football Season”.

Look, it is not right to allow cribbed posts- and if you run a public forum you have an obligation to police it. It has happened before- and when I brought it to the moderators attention- they promptly allowed it to be sourced.

Consequently, you will get no negative reviews from me about yogwf. They run a fun site. I know a lot of people complain about their sunshine editorial policy. But it is their Forum. They aren’t claiming to be a serious source of commentary; it is a fan forum. Everyone knows that any place where people can post anonymously is simply not credible. Accordingly, yogwf can be educational, poignant or dumb- because it isn’t journalism. It is merely fun.

However, yogwf drives interest in Tulane sports- so it is a definite net plus in the world of Tulane athletics- which needs all the interest drivers it can get. If you don’t like it, it is not like there aren’t other places to put your opinion forward.

Several e-mails mentioned the fact that I don’t link to yogwf. I am going to change that. I used to not link to them because they did not link to here. When I was getting ten hits a day, it seemed kind of unreasonable to ask for reciprocity. They never needed me. And now that I have a baseline of 100 pretty regular daily visitors, and I cannot attend an event without dealing with readers, I don’t need them. But again, even thought I don’t participate in their forums, I support what they are doing- so I will be putting a link up shortly.

Apparently, there were some scurrilous attacks as well. For the record, I did not predict Navy to physically destroy the Wave. I picked the Wave to cover in that spot, and that pick is still up, mainly because I thought the Wave could compete physically upfront with that team. I was 9-1 ATS last year- go and check. And 7-3 ATS the year before that. I do think Forte was a below-average back in C-USA last year- as did every single journalist voting for all-conference. And if you did not think Ricard was frequently inconsistent last year, and that Tulane’s secondary is a real problem, I don’t know what to tell you.

Lastly, a plug. No day is complete without a visit to Anonymous Sportaholic:

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Football! Getting Warmed Up

Those of you who watched the Tulane-Louisville game on the television last December might remember this clip- one of the oddest televised moments ever in Tulane football.

I taped the game off the satellite- and was half-watching while working on some other stuff- and my ears perked right up at that nonsense.

Just shows if you watch enough mid-major football, you'll see everything.

And since we are clicking on links- still the funniest, yet oh so earnest, site on the web- featuring this classic quote:

In January 2003, Jim Miller became the fifth Athletic Director in UNO's history.

Since taking over, Miller's position on football at UNO has been made very clear:

Now is not the time.

Seriously, one almost has a moral obligation to pass this around to friends and family, who went to UNO, and insist they take this down. It is embarrassing to both Louisiana and New Orleans.

And as to this menu, I actually prefer numbers one & eleven:

Friday, June 24, 2005

Paul Tulane Still Strong

Gosh, he's still a magnificant role model for the young men of Louisiana, right? No delighted, accomplished father ever peers into his son's bassinet and loudly proclaims "I hope my son is special enough to get into LSU."

If anything, an adriot father hopes his son candidly isn't "special" enough to have to go to LSU.

In times of trouble like CWS elimination, Paul still stands as the perfect guide to what the Tulane man seeks to be.

Like many people connected with Tulane, I suppose he simply could not resist the pull of just being near Long Island. Paul went to the trustees of Princeton University and offered them a large sum of money if they would change the name of the college to "Tulane University." When the trustees stupidly refused, and thus doomed themselves to years of uninteresting I-AA football, Tulane gave his money to a certain, special school in New Orleans. This school agreed to the terms. And as such: The Tulane University of Louisiana.

Paul Tulane died, spitting to his end on the mis-spelled overtures of LSU for a hand-out for a new stadium. He would have been disgusted to see Louisiana's largest public university not spending money sending Louisiana Guardsmen to college- but rather paying for a mis-placed priority such as a new cage with a waterfall for Tiger mascots. I can hear his voice, I think, asking "Couldn't the money for the waterfall at least have gone to soldiers and veterans?"

He asked to buried with this monument, with his back facing Princeton University!

Classy to the end Paul. No wonder people are careful messing with the Tulane alumnus- we will have our revenge even in death.

Right Mike IV?


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Don't Be Blue Tulane Fans

We'll be happy again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Comfort for Tulane Fans

Now just for a moment- think about how old you are? Subtract that number from 82- let’s call the result “x”- and correspondingly, you have in actuarial terms roughly “x” years left to live. And so then be comforted, that in those “x” years, you’ll likely never see a more sickening hour of Tulane athletics.

This Tulane class has played in two College World Series- and exited both times in an utter horror show. This is perhaps a good time to prompt one another that one principal reason these guys are at Tulane, as opposed to AAA-Richmond, is that sometimes the routine, the monotonous, is still hard.

I still maintain that each individual game is not indicative of a team as a whole- but regardless, blowing that kind of lead even once is not an acceptable paradigm of a championship team. I thought Tulane was in trouble by the mid-innings, when the game shifted into, really, the most languid of affairs. Crowel slowed way down, the team lost intensity and focus- particularly at the plate. All it took was one bad error by the shortstop, almost inevitable given the pace and tenor of the game, to open the floodgates. Tulane never got back the concentration- and played defensive and scared over the last eight outs.

There were individual stories as well. It is unfortunate the top two hitters in the line-up currently cannot hit. Southard is in a slump; he’s off-balance- lunging, and making poor decisions. Eamus has hit some sort of freshman wall and has not been good really in weeks. Latham inconveniently choose last night to hit the wall too; the guy’s fastball was topping out at 82-83 mph- which is not competitive in Division I.

To me, in this CWS, Tulane just looked tired: the long season defending the number one ranking, a Cal State-Fullerton series that played like the CWS, rallying from their indifferent start in conference play, and the very tough Rice Super Regional. Couple this effort with my season-long pet-peeve, Jones' never-ending dependence on the same group of six core guys to do just about everything, and it all finally caught up with Tulane. I bet we all wish now Bogusevic, Latham, Eamus and Southard had maybe watched seven or so more games throughout this season, right?

Ultimately, the tournament left me with two thoughts about the 2005 Tulane Green Wave. First, once Bogusevic ceased to be an effectual member of the rotation, Tulane stopped being an elite tournament baseball team. Sure, they were still better than this year’s tier-two programs like LSU and Alabama. However, Tulane no longer featured the day after day after day rotation constancy to compete with Texas and such. Looking back, in the Super Regional, what was the real difference between Tulane and Rice? Owings really- and that is about it. Really, Rice was not a serious national title contender. And without an effective Bogey, neither ultimately was Tulane.

Second, while pitching stats seem to carry over, awesome offensive numbers generated in C-USA are completely suspect until validated. Out of the league and bad local schools, when did Tulane really hit? A little against Alabama. Not at all against Rice. Not much against the Titans. If you count yesterday’s second inning- one inning in the CWS? Owings and Bogusevic- Holland maybe- and that is about it. I wonder if Tulane’s wonder sticks were really largely just a creation of facing Billiken, Tiger and Cardinals’ pitching.

Since the hitting was suspect, to be charitable, in the post-season, pressure came down relentlessly on pitchers Owings, Bogusevic, Latham & Crowel- and then to play good defense behind them. In the end, the pitching buckled. Too many innings and too many appearances for Latham and Bogusevic.

Be honest. On paper right now- today- without a strong Bogey and a newly suspect line-up, this team is categorically not one of the top five teams in the country. It simply is not as strong as it was a month ago. It peaked too early- played and asked too much from the key guys in March and April. Accordingly, the club as constructed- at this instant- probably over-achieved a bit to get to the CWS and win. Had you told me prior to the tournament that Bogey would be continually ineffective and the Wave simply would not hit much, I am not sure I would have predicted Tulane would make it to Omaha.

So it is what it is. A great club that peaked a month ago- and drug too many tired players about two weeks too far. My only complaint: I wish they had been able to bow out more gracefully. They deserved better. But no season that ends in Omaha is ultimately a disappointment.

Wait ‘til next year.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Monday, June 20, 2005

Bogey's Waterloo

Not a very complex game to analyze right? Accordingly, I have little poignant to say. Up and down the line-up, Tulane could do nothing with either Longhorn pitcher.

The Tulane story seems to be that it is clear there is something not quite right with Bogusevic. He’s closing in on something like twenty starts and 150 innings. Those kinds of numbers are a lot for a young pitcher- particularly one battling leg injuries and playing somewhere every day. He doesn’t look hurt exactly, just tired- the infamous tired arm. Yes, he is not exactly a true power pitcher like Owings, and I know the “gun” ESPN provides is not an exactly finely tuned instrument, but his fastball doesn’t top out even at 92 any more. Plus, just look at him. Bogey simply isn’t sharp, everything is a chore, he labors, works so very Steve Trachsel-like slow, pushes the breaking ball. He no longer even seems capable of fifteen quality outs right now.

And yes, there are also a variety of other problems that can kill you in a short series. The frosh third baseman has hit a wall. Can Jones move him down in the line-up please- or does Eramus have to kill Tulane over forty more at bats just like his last forty? And Jones needs to get Madden’s bat and savvy offense into the line-up immediately.

Is Tulane entirely screwed then? Just about. Only the fact that Owings is completely lights out on the mound right now. Since Micah would pitch a third game with Texas- a game I bet Tulane would be favored in Vegas for (yes, okay, like tonite)- is enough to give some bare hope. So that is the goal, right? Survive until Thursday- win two then take the chance with big Owings. Thin gruel- but at least it sounds better than win three.

I am pretty confident neither Baylor nor Tulane know what sort of game they will get from their pitching tomorrow. So call tomorrow a sort of toss-up. Endure that- and a potential second game with Texas Wednesday will be a very, very tall order: Texas’ third guy versus a true amalgamation of pitching emerging from the Tulane ‘pen. Billy Mohl! Come on down!

That Wednesday game would have to be an outright steal- but I am sort of confident Tulane both can get to that game and then can definitely win the game after it- particularly with Owings going.

Formula One Cowards.

Yet more powerful evidence Europe is a total farce. But this is what you get for depending on the French unions to make tires:

Formula One tore itself apart in full view of the world last night as the US Grand Prix turned into a farce of epic proportions. Twenty cars set off on the parade lap for a race watched by 120,000 spectators at the huge Indianapolis Motor Speedway and almost 400 million on television around the globe, including an expected prime-time audience of more than six million on ITV1. But 14 cars
then peeled off into the pitlane and parked up in a protest over tyre safety.,,5923-1661513,00.html

Once again, the only people who comported themselves correctly in light of an international incident were the Americans. While attending this event, as opposed to a NASCAR sanctioned affair, is perhaps powerful evidence of stupidity, the throng rallied and showed some gumption- moving briskly and professionally from “crowd” to “mob” as the situation demanded!

Apparently told nothing about this farce beforehand, they threw bottles and taunted the French cowards that figure way too prominently in this sport. Perfect. Can you imagine Tony Stewart climbing out of a car because his tires couldn’t go fast?

Do you think we can get OSU’s Pat Casey involved here? The crowd clearly needs an advocate who can get oh-so-tearful and weep on demand. It just isn’t fair, right Pat*?

* elf or fairy?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Beavers Are Turtles in a Big Spot

Okay, you are not going to get me to talk too much trash about the Beaver team Tulane played yesterday. Well, other than Pat Casey- who I will get to in a minute. Even in my Rolling Rock induced haze, I could tell that Beaver team came exactly as advertised: guts, team speed and baseball savvy. I am convinced my original sentiment is correct- that any real difference between these teams would take a couple dozen games to extract. Game to game, day to day, each affair would be close to a toss-up. Frankly, that was about as well as Tulane can pitch, play defense and hit- particularly against a quality I-A starter pitching, not throwing, a great game- featuring an ability to throw three quality pitches for strikes. That cutter was lethal yesterday- spotted well and thrown repeatedly for strikes in tough counts.

What were the real differences between the teams yesterday? I can only really point to two that meant anything. First, Tulane brings some better power numbers to the non-core line-up spots: Southard and crew are probably more likely to get a home run from outside the 3-4-5 line-up spots than OSU. Second, when it came to the sticks, Tulane clearly had better options coming off the bench yesterday- and OSU paid a price for it. But that is it. I guess you could add Lathan was on out of the bullpen and OSU can again, flat out run.

Candidly, the difference yesterday was almost entirely Tulane’s two-out, "lots of guys on base shot to the alley" was about twelve inches better placed than OSU’s similar effort a couple of innings prior. The only snotty thing I have to say about that is I hope the Oregon papers manage to spell the name of Tulane’s talented RF correctly in today’s editions.

And since I absolutely believe OSU team could emerge to play the Wave again, I am leaving that game analysis stand as is. Tulane was better yesterday- and that is all.

Now to the umpiring- which is getting some attention this morning in the papers. My job here is to help you “think it all out”- so please permit me. I totally understand it is hard to argue you ought to have won a baseball game when the true productive total of your offense output for an entire day is a first inning infield single and a double off the end of the bat. So you need a scapegoat- and the umps have been serving that role for about 100 years.

Accordingly, the hoopla around Owings sliding into second base is a little ridiculous. The infielder in question was not affected: he made a quality throw, on target and without a hitch. Plus, any fan knows that call absolutely cannot be made in a championship game. I don't believe for a minute that Owings' contact was incidental- but it was not consequential either. Now those are big words for Oregon people, but they do summarize the issue perfectly. And to the umpire’s credit, they dismissed Casey’s idiocy about as quickly as possible.

Perhaps I have been de-sensitized to violence: living in Manhattan and watching SEC football. But if that is what passes for dirty play in Oregon, then no offense, but you’all are a bunch of fairies and elves. Now I know why the Marines get fewer recruits per capita out of Oregon than any state in the nation.

This entire nonsense is a perfect example of that notorious Pacific Northwest blue-state sentiment. The sort of behavior born out of a culture that encourages boys to play soccer (honestly, I’d rather have my children take up smoking), leagues where everyone gets a trophy and women actually coach young boys. I always supposed there was a reason why Oregon did not produce any SEC talent, but I always thought it was more geographic distance. I would gently recommend toughening up a bit- or get used to loser’s brackets.

Seriously, can you imagine, say Smoke coming out his dugout at the Box to ask for an interference call in that spot. He’d be embarrassed. “For crying out loud”, even LSU fans would say, “rub some dirt on it." Please Oregon, at the very least don’t cry; it makes you sound French.

The second umpiring point has more validity. Owings did establish the one pitch he could throw again and again was the outside fastball- and once he established the pitch, Dini kept moving further and further outside. Some of the ball-and-strike calls were almost comical. Had I been an OSU fan, I know I would have been barking too.

This is actually one time playing in a league that is not a traditional power league helped Tulane. Any fan of C-USA knows that are league is packed to the gills with suspect officiating and umpiring- particularly compared to the traditional southern power leagues. No Tulane fan watches the ACC men’s basketball tournament without marveling at the officials not having to confer eight times per game. To Dini and Ownings' great credit, they kept throwing it out there.

And accordingly: Shame. Shame on this so-called baseball genius Pat Casey. Of all the actors yesterday, the Beavers’ coach is the only one who deserved an unabashed “F”. I was singularly unimpressed. This OSU team made zero adjustments at the plate all day long to deal with the outside strike. Wasn’t Casey paying attention? Or was he concentrating on identifying key “dirty plays”? One of the beauties of baseball is the fact they have played it for decades- and you know Coach Pat, there are endless changes and adjustments to hitting approaches to compensate for an expanded strike zone away.

You can modify your stance, go the other way with the fastball away, swing early in the count and so forth. It appears either Pat elected to merely sit there, sulk and ignore the palpable problem- or his players could not internalize the changes he demanded. Either way, shame on Pat. He failed his kids yesterday in a big way. He ought to be ashamed.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Vegas Adores the Wave

If you go to:

and page down a bit, you’ll find the Las Vegas casinos’ odds on the College World Series.

For Saturday, Tulane seems to be a consensus 4 to 5 or so over OSU (ie. bet 60 to win 50)- but it moves. And Tulane and Nebraska seem co-favorites to win the whole thing.

Since I thoroughly think the pending game is a complete and utter toss up- the fact that Tulane is the narrowest of faves seems fair. You probably have to expect to give up a tick to get the consensus number one team in the country starting a pitcher coming off an impressive 3-hit shut out of a Rice team. A Rice team, I think all Tulane fans will admit, was hugely underrated entering the tournament.

I am a little shocked that Tulane is about 7 to 2 to win the whole thing- considering the nature of baseball, over a short time frame, tends to even out discrepancies. Over a one game span it is impossible to figure out who is the better club. And it does not improve much over four, five games. It seems to me everyone ought to be around 8 to 1.

Frankly, I am not sure Tulane would be a great wager at that 7 to 2 level even to win the next two in a row. Figure a 60% chance to win each of the next two- that is 36% to sweep two straight*. Okay, it is still an underlay (for just the first two games)- figuring 7 to 2 would indicate about a 29% chance to advance- but again, we are talking merely through two games.

If you factor in the fact there is probably a lack of simple partisan money on Tulane in comparison with the other seven programs, this suggests the wise guys have lots of confidence in Tulane’s ability to win this thing.

Some interesting lines on the US Open as well. For you fight fans, there is an outright steal on the board- take the prop bet Johnson/Tarver to go the distance.

Lastly, in other news, this blog got a nice shout out from Pelican Post:

Click on the link and page down to the entry entitled “This is the Stuff American Soldiers Are Made Of…” Thanks!

* Probability of two independent trials with 60% chance of occurring: (60% x 60%) = 36% Seriously, if you went to LSU do not dispute the math or technique. It is a waste of both of our times.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Is Tulane gonna win this thing or not?

Clues can be found here- a rather curious blog. I stole the picture above from there:

The author does take the time to slur the Green Wave though- which I appreciate:
It appears that they have 4 strong starting pitchers in the forms of Brian Bogusevic (13-2, 3.14), Micah Owings (11-4, 3.38), Brandon Gomes (8-2, 4.45), and J.R. Crowel (10-1, 5.00). Owings should be equally feared at the plate where he is batting .354 with 18 homeruns and 63 RBI's. Looking over these stats is a clear indication that Tulane is not lacking in the power department... Their name isn't all that intimidating however.
Like "Beaver" is? Lord. Now, it isn’t exactly bulletin board material- but as we know, I get annoyed quickly.

Anyway, my devotional this morning was Proverbs 27:1- which was a little sobering.

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.
Still, don't you get this feeling that OSU, messing around with this Tulane and LHP nonsense, rather than just simply running the #1 guy out there, is being a little naive? You absolutely do not want to disrespect the Wave in this spot. They can hang a crooked number on you real quick. Ask Rice’s Degerman. He pitched great- he is a MLB drafted player. Even so, the Wave was able to keep him in constant trouble- so a little dribbler could beat him.

Anyway, that bit of news was very heartening. I like the idea of OSU already setting up their rotation for the rest of the week.

Cute Forum here too- lacks the acid of our beloved Tulane one. A plus is that your user ID and password work here too:


Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Happy Birthday Army!

I liked being in Army an awful lot. If you are a little directionless and like loud noises, it is a fine place to be!

The Soldier's Creed:

I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself. I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Rice falls in New Orleans. Finally.

Tulane fans! I am very unhappy, vexed, about the total lack of reports about fires- general arson and such- in the Quarter last night.

Baseball is like that. It is hard, on a game to game basis, sometimes on an inning by inning basis, to determine which team is better. In major league baseball, even the poor teams win around 40% of their games- because singularly each game is such an independent result.

Frequently, a good team can be made great by running their best pitcher out there. Bogey can barely tap a ball- and have it roll by four guys, by a combines eighteen inches, for the two most important RBIs of his young life. A pretty solid LF can flat-out miss a pretty routine fly-ball in the most important inning he’s ever played.

But a three-games series provides some continuity- some perspective for a whole vision. What did Tulane learn? Speaking for myself, I'd just as soon never see that Rice team ever again. You can add them to the list of “teams I’d just as soon see go somewhere else”. You know, the list that begins with Cal State-Fullerton. No wonder Rice kicked the hell out of the Tigers- rolling them over and scratching their Tiger bellies with their Owl-like talons. Degerman is a number three starter? C’mon? Did you not utterly love this guy? His breaking ball looked completely unhittable for about two-thirds of the game. He hit just enough guys with the baseball to keep folks nervous up there. And if he’s the third guy, I hate to see their weekend rotation next year in conference play.

This was a gutty group of Owls- I am not sure Tulane would have won this thing away from Turchin.

Now, my Blog in-box is chock full of fascinating missives this morning. I can quickly identify the ones from Tulane fans- the spelling and punctuation are impeccable, the context of the notes is direct and orderly. I cannot stand the ones from the lickspittles. There is only one proper response from any LSU, or anti-Tulane, fan. Utter silence. It is most emphatically not your day, week, even season. Be still. Attempts to ingratiate yourself: “Bring home another championship to Louisiana”- are just embarrassing. Get with it: Tulane spends tons of money a year to dis-integrate itself from the horrific processes of public education in Louisiana for a reason. The Tulanian loves Louisiana- but loathes the public education system created and maintained largely by LSU alums and supporters. As a community, Tulane does not want the good-wishes of Tiger fans, because to 99.9% of America, the part that admires fluouride in the water and has strongly whipped rickets, the approbation of LSU folks is something to be admired!

In addition, many folks feel I disgraced the Skull of Mike IV, that my ownership of this fascinating curio has not been respectful, and that flaunting it at places like Pat O’Briens while drunk as a LSU Theta is not courteous:

All I know is that all LSU fans ought to be grateful frankly that I haven’t painted the damn thing green and used it as a plunger. Shame on all of you for letting me buy it- at an on-line auction no less.

Lastly, in the excitement, maybe we forgot that this was the last time we will see a lot of these guys ever play again as members of Tulane. I was wondering just how to quantify this group’s achievement. Perhaps the best way is to look at whom they are joining in Omaha: Tennessee, Florida, Arizona State, Nebraska, Oregon State, Texas, Baylor- and of course Tulane. Pretty obvious which one does not belong, right? Which one does not represent a bloated athletic program blessed with both endless resources and minor schooling requirements? Isn’t there something satisfying about that?

A public service- as you never really know where your destiny will take you:

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Owls Get Blasted

Well, it took eighteen innings- but finally the Rice Owls were formally introduced to the Green Wave bats- and they took it on the chin late- dropping a 7-0 decision to the Wave. Of course, the big story is Micah Owings 3-hit shut out. I have been on Micah some this year- wondering when the all-American would show up in a big spot? Uhm... Micah? The Super Regional was just fine. Just fine indeed. His reward- his picture on the Blog exulting over his mastery of the Owls:

Tomorrow we get Rice's Eddie Degerman (8-1, 3.07 ERA) vs JR Crowel (10-1, 5.15 ERA).

Yes- kinda scary. Off the top of my head, the last I remember Crowel was that sketchy 4+ innings vs. UAB to kick-off the C-USA tournament. I don't think we've seen him since as a result. But he is a veteran, so they might beat him- but I imagine not because he blinks.

Crowel hasn't pitched in awhile either. But the 'pen is rested, so I imagine they are only asking for 12-15 outs from the junior.

Degerman for Rice. I know nothing about him- but his line features a whole lotta walks per innings pitched.

This game feels like a big number: 11-9, 12-7- that sort of thing. The Wave is going to have to hit tomorrow to advance.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

$#!&* Owls.

Okay, today was disappointing. In the most important game of the year, Tulane played one of its worst: skittish and immature. They took their tone from their starting pitching- and the day was insufficient.

But it is just one day, one game, right? Baseball, of all major sports, is among the least deterministic. By that I mean one game, standing on its own, does not tell you too much about the relative merits of the clubs. Yes, they only have to whip the Wave once more. But Tulane only has to beat them twice.

Anyone who was a student of the Wave this year knows the Wave’s singular weakness heading into post-season play was their lack of a dominant #1 starter. I know Bogey is a first round pick and all that. But all Wave fans know that our weekend rotation this year, series in and series out, always felt like a collection of three solid “number two” starters. Not one of these guys seemed consistently capable of start after start of 110 pitches and 24 outs- scattering seven hits.

I wrote on here earlier this week this was the game the Rice was most likely to get- if just because the pitching match-up was at least even- if not slanted toward the Owls. Certainly the result was. But the next two games that match-up tilts toward the Wave. They’re still at home. Most of the big bats did hit some today. We got into their ‘pen a bit.

If we were in Vegas, and there was an individual line for each of these upcoming games, the Wave would be 7-8, maybe even 9-11- something like that. Of course, Tulane would prefer to be up one-love. But Tulane has at least four quality, pressure-tested arms left to throw at the Owls. And sure, Rice probably came in with one starter, going well, that could handle a big spot. Let’s see how the back-end of Rice’s rotation handles the pressure the rest of the weekend. I, for one, bet they can’t. For one thing, I just cannot imagine Rice coming in here and sweeping Tulane.

Point is, Rice needed this one- and to there great credit they exploited Tulane’s top of the rotation inconsistency and got it. But Tulane has beaten teams like this twice in a row all year. While it will be hard, they are hardly done.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Ultimate Test

Prepping for the G-2 Peter Pan, Reverberate cruises to an allowance win at Belmont on May 8:

This year’s Triple Crown winds up with substantially less drama than the previous determination- where a nation’s heart was broken as Smarty Jones was defeated at 2-5 in his bid for immortality by Birdstone. The Belmont Stakes, the longest major race in America, had ground down another potential for the age's champion.

The favorite this year, Afleet Alex, has no Triple Crown to shoot for. I liked him from the start- picking him to win the Derby. I liked Afleet Alex to win the Preakness as well- but I got off him when his odds shortened considerably. He romped home after almost falling to his knees in one of the gutsiest stretch runs in Pimlico history.

Afleet Alex will be about even money here- which means while I think he is the best three year old, I don’t believe the risk-return exists to justify putting him on my ticket. He is a good little horse, but he is no Smarty Jones or Silver Charm or Sunday Silence. Frankly, there are a lot of bad horseplaying angles too: a brutal campaign, a suspect jockey who loses the Derby on the best horse then almost falls over in the Preakness, and a questionable breeding for distance.

I still do not think much of the second choice, and Kentucky Derby winner, Giacomo. He was a fluke. But Giacomo did prove in the Preakness that he can run a little and stay a little. I think he has a better chance to be in the mix again.

This handicapper hit last year’s Belmont after tossing out the overwhelming favorite and betting a bunch of long shot exacta combinations chasing a 70-1 score. This feels very similar: an over-bet favorite and a second choice than cannot win. So I going back to that strategy again.

Accordingly, I like both Reverberate and Southern Africa. Reverberate ran a big Beyer in the Peter Pan- and is a definite horse for the course. He has some tactical speed. So he ought to get a preferred trip around this course- and that might just pay dividends over the last two grueling furlongs.

Southern Africa is the only horse in race, besides the big two, that can claim to have won a graded stake- albeit somewhere in Texas. The Beyer’s don’t suggest he can run with Afleet Alex- and let’s face it; the buildings get awful big for any Texan when you cross the Hudson River. But he is improving, his numbers are only a few behind Giacomo- and if Afleet Alex does not fire, he ought to be right in this. Regardless, he is fresh- and at 12-1, I’ll take a chance he’ll be one horse the extra ground helps- rather than hurts.

So let’s take both Reverberate and Southern Africa on top. Beneath both we will wheel both horses again, Giacomo, Chekhov and Andromeda’s Hero- that is a total of eight exacta combinationss. Also, I’ll weight the bet double with all the Reverberate on top combinations. That is to say, for every dollar on a Southern Africa exacta combo, I'll put two dollars on a Reverberate pairing.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The New Orleans Regional Falls

Glory. Glory. A Regional Championship.

And a victory lap too. Very classy!

Am I the only one sort of disappointed that LSU was humiliated before they got to Tulane? Stupid Rice. I know the Times-Picayune only begrudgingly covers the Wave- but the Tigers getting swept by the Wave would have generated at least some T-P coverage, right? If just along the lines of: “Tigers Swept by Wave- Sun Should Still Rise”

Regardless, I am not bringing the Skull to Turchin for Rice. No offense to the Owls, but candidly it'd be disrespectful to Mike IV, America's favorite curio, don't you think?

I don’t know much about Rice per se, other than I sense this ought to be a tougher series than we might expect. True, Tulane dominated its Regional by scoring a bunch of runs. But I tend to think Rice holds the pitching match-up in Game 1- so they have to like their chances. This is where the Wave’s lack of true lights out, top of the rotation, starter hurts.

But accordingly, the Owls really probably must get the first one. Tulane seems to hold the advantage on the hill in the next two games- and ought to be able to throw three real quality arms at Rice out of the ‘pen. And of course, Tulane truly hits like the #1 team in the country. The Wave is playing, truly, at home- in front of what will be a howling partisan crowd. You can almost sense the fans can smell it. Two more wins- and you can seriously start thinking about the two most glorious words in collegiate sports: National Championship. But not yet. Keep it in the recesses of your heart. And let the hate grow, blossom, and flower.

I am a little disappointed at the decision to play at Turchin. Okay, like most things in life, there are ups and downs to any decision. Clearly, if you just want to focus on winning, play Turchin. So I am not going crazy at this decision.

But part of me thinks this event is one of those chances for Tulane to try and partially re-connect with the people of New Orleans. So part of me wants to see them go to Zephyr, sell lots of $10 walk up tickets, and throw open the gates. Let all Tulane ID holders of any type in free. Push university employees to go and bring a neighbor. Quietly demand every Dean attend. Really try and sell this series as a "New Orleans" event: a nice night, bring your kids, family atmosphere, support the local school- that kind of thing. Give the City every chance, every excuse, to rally around this underdog program that has been kicked its share of times.

This is a nice thing for Tulane. But this is also a nice thing for New Orleans. Our kids are athletes and they go to school. They play an entertaining brand of ball. They freaking win. Tulane ought not to be shy about telling folks that. Part of having such a disproportionate out-of-state focus for students and alumni, due to the wreckage of Louisiana public schooling and local post-undergrad economics, Tulane is- deservedly or not- frankly insular to most locals.

Let's at least try to bust that open for one weekend. Rather than catering to the parochial TJ Quill's mob, the Frank Scelfo crowd, and others who frankly don't like to share Tulane sports with anyone- I would have liked to see Tulane try to move 20,000 tickets at $10- rather than a few thousand to donors and students.

Lastly, there are some great pictures at:

No American should ever get tired of pictures of helicopters and victory laps.

Monday, June 06, 2005

NFC East Follies

Seriously, the ‘skins have to, simply have to, release Taylor today. Bang. Gone.

Yes, Taylor is a very good player- with years of quality play ahead of him. But c’mon- he is a safety- probably the most unimportant, easiest-to-fill position on defense in the NFL. Very few teams in the NFL suffer from incompetent safety play. Even if you downgrade the position from very good to marginal, I would argue the effect on your total defense effort is minor. Bottom line: normally it is not smart to spend a lot of money or institutional indulgence on safeties; you can get quality play at the position cheap from a lot of people.

And Taylor has now moved from distraction to cancer. Worse, he plays for an organization that is completely incapable of dealing with anarchy. The Redskins not only feature cancers again and again, but they have proved definitively they cannot extricate themselves from these sorts of internal distractions. Someone now has to say "enough”.

Call Rosenhaus right now and say you don't care if you ever see this bum again. You know, FredEx talks too much- but he ain't a thug. This guy is.

The Post today says the team has somewhere between $18-$40 million in this guy? How stupid is that? In the one year Taylor has been in the NFL, he skipped league's mandatory rookie symposium, fired two agents and hired Rosenhaus, and repeated drunk driving arrests. He has humiliated- humiliated!- Gibbs again and again, and now sports multiple felonies.

I thought Gibbs was the great, revered asset this franchise has? Did I miss something? Why does the front-office let him be repeatedly embarrassed by a 22-year old thug? Can you imagine, in a million years, this happening in Philadelphia under Reid? Unfortunately, the Redskins have a reputation for using and then embarrassing good football people- again and again. Of course, Gibbs knew this when he signed on- so he deserves zero sympathy. Fall in with such vapid people, then don’t be surprised if you are tarred by the same brush. Just look at the Redskins’ fans: increasingly bored and undemanding in their gilded palace.

But in the Redskins’ bubble, this sounds like just the sort of guy you want to leverage you entire cap against. And again, for a safety….

Still, now he has to go. I guarantee it won’t be crippling to the on-field product. Frankly, this team isn't going to win more than six with, or without him, anyway. Or in 2006 either probably- when Gibbs quits at the end of this season. In fact, Taylor might being going to jail until 2007. In fact, he probably is. Move forward.

Some good news in all this! Wilbon delivers a shout-out- describing just how classy the Eagles franchise is operated and how much character the team possesses. See here: