Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back to the Basics

Hidden in the Mets' seven game winning streak were fielding gaffes and baserunning lapses, and they finally reared their ugly heads in their series against the Braves. Between David Wright's poor throwing arm and refusal to charge balls and get played by bad hops and Jose Reyes' curious baserunning decisions -taking a massive risk going for a triple in the eighth inning of the second game, running on a ground ball to short and walking into a Larry Jones tag and the icing on the cake, cadillac-ing around the bases on a deep fly ball to left center that bounced off the top of the fence- there is a general sloppiness to the team that wasn't nearly as damaging when they could outslug opponents with Carlos Delgado in the lineup. Wright and Reyes are not the only culprits, but the highest profile ones: Luis Castillo also refuses to play ground balls and waits for them, and Daniel Murphy still plays left field on rollerskates. Manager Jerry Manuel and bench coach/infield instructor Sandy Alomar Sr. can run as many drills as they want, but perhaps new voices are needed to reach to the players, voices like Tom Emanski -winner of back-to-back-to-back AAU national championships- and Fred McGriff -"these are the instructional videos that GET RESULTS!"

More Fallen G's

Thought I'd stay with the fallen G theme this week. This here is Ralph Beard, a star 1940's hoopster for Kentucky who passed in November of 2007.

By all accounts Beard was a baller who should be remembered amongst the pioneer greats from the post-war hoops era. Unfortunately Beard was a grizzly bear who stayed on his hustle, getting caught up in the City College of New York point-shaving scandal that engulfed college hoops in the early 1950's. The Repercussions were extreme, to put it milder than Hunt's Ketchup.

Besides the many ballers like Beard who were blacklisted, powerhouse teams such as C.C.N.Y., N.Y.U. and L.I.U. gave up D-I hoops. The N.I.T. began to wane in dominance, and New York City in general lost its central status in college ball.

Beard obviously wasn't too happy with the outcome, giving this powerfully poetic quote to the Tampa Tribune in 1999, "“I loved this game. It isn’t like losing one of my kids. It isn’t like losing my wife, Bettye. It isn’t like going blind. But I’m telling you what — it will be with me until they hit me in the face with that first spade full of dirt — because basketball was my life.”