I’m always amazed by the loyalty of Wichita State basketball fans.
Last night, the Shockers played Alabama A&M. And they drew more than 10,100 fans, just a few hundred short of a sellout.
It was a dull game, marked by an uninspired first half, a raucous halftime talk by WSU coach Gregg Marshall and a spirited second-half effort that resulted in a 30-point win.
I didn’t go to the game. It’s my little way of protesting the kind of buy-in games that offer nothing except a night out. And this isn’t an indictment on WSU or Marshall for scheduling Alabama A&M games and others like it. I understand that in today’s world of college basketball, that’s the way it’s done.
Just don’t ask me to participate.
Unfortunately, season-ticket holders have to participate, at least financially. To get tickets for the good games, you have to buy tickets for the bad games. I would think that a bunch of the 10,000-plus at Monday night’s game had to swallow hard before getting out in the cold and heading for Koch Arena.
Maybe not. Shocker basketball is an event, and perhaps I’m dead wrong about this. Maybe everybody in the building was juiced to be there for Alabama A&M. I just know I wasn’t.
Fortunately, the buy-in games are a thing of the past now. The Shockers have no more patsies on the schedule, unless you count some of the bottom feeders in the Missouri Valley Conference. After a game against LSU in Shreveport on Saturday night, Wichita State returns home to play Tulsa at the Intrust Bank Arena a week from tonight.
I’m really looking forward to that game for a variety of reasons: The renewed rivalry game with the Golden Hurricane; a game being played so close to Christmas and a game being played at the IBA, which will have about 15,000 fans inside. All of whom, I’m sure, will want to be there.
* Cliff Lee to the Phillies. Didn’t see that coming.
Now Philadelphia can roll out Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in a four-game series. Yowzer!
So is it a done deal in the National League? Are the Phillies a lock for the World Series?
Not so fast.
Sure, if you believe starting pitching is the most important facet of a team then yes, the Phillies are a step up on everyone else.
But Philly wasn’t an offensive machine last season, despite having some lethal weapons in the lineup. And many of those weapons are getting older; only one projected Philly starter is less than 30 years old.
And look at how left-handed the Phillies’ lineup projects: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez are left-handed hitters. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins and center fielder Shane Victorino are switch-hitters. Youngster Dominic Brown, who could be the guy who replaces the departed Jayson Werth in right field, is a left-handed hitter. Werth, who was probably the most valuable Philadelphia offensive player in 2010, is a right-handed hitter who’ll be plying his trade in Washington this season.
So the Phillies have a few question marks. None of them, though, are about starting pitching. Which makes them a heavy favorite in the National League.
I’m headed to North tonight to watch sensational sophomore Conner Frankamp play for the Redskins against Bishop Carroll. I don’t remember a player providing this kind of early-season City League fireworks before. Will I provide the Frankamp jinx?I am absolutely hooked on “The History Channel” show “Pawn Stars.” I can’t get enough. I record as many episodes as I can and watch them ’til the cows come home.I recently switched from DirecTV back to Cox, a move that made me uncharacteristically nervous. It was weird. I actually went back and forth a few times before making the final call. And I’m still not sure I did the right thing. It’s odd for me to behave like this.On a day the Phillies signed Cliff Lee, the Cardinals signed back-up catcher Gerald Laird. Couldn’t the Cardinals have waited a day to make that move? Jeez.I enjoy doing “Sports Daily” every day, but it’s even more fun when Brent Kemnitz joins the show on Tuesday. Many people are confused about the relationship I have with Kemnitz, the Wichita State pitching coach considering how we argue on the radio show. Don’t worry, we’re all good. Brent is one of the best guys I’ve known in this business and someone I consider to be a close friend.Now Haertl, that’s a different story.I am so excited right now I could pluck a rooster.I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s. I’ll especially love it this year.
Who is the Opinion Line contributor?
Yes, it’s Tuesday again. Which means I’ve perused The Eagle’s Opinion Line and come up with some dandies. Better yet, I’ll tell you, generally, who is responsible for these OL posts. Ready? Here we go:
I agree that the Wichita water department is not run efficiently. I have experienced busy signals and 45-minute wait times. It needs to be put in order before services are added.
First of all, I want it documented that there are 45-minute wait times when people call the water department. Really? Who would hang on the line 45 minutes to talk to someone from the water department? Anyway, this person is a woman because I can tell you from experience no man would wait on a phone line for 45 minutes. I don’t know of a man who has that amount of patience. This woman cooks a lot, so water is very important to her. She has a family of five, so water is also precious to her. She loathes anyone who wastes it. In her neighborhood, she is referred to as “The Water Lady.”
And across town lives her polar opposite, who wrote the following in the Opinion Line:
I have always found the customer service at the Wichita water department to be nothing but helpful.Obviously, this woman works for the water department. That’s about all I know about her.