* I watched a terrific baseball game last night between the United States and the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. I’m hooked. I know we’re smack in the middle of college basketball’s conference tournaments, but most of these big-time conference tournaments mean nothing. They’re simply money grabs to fill television programming time. Nothing significant comes out of them.
* That’s not the case with the WBC, which American sports fans have not warmed to. I’m not sure why, exactly. It’s international competition and if you saw the way the DR reacted to its 3-1 win, boosted by a two-run rally in the ninth inning against invincible Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, you know it’s been warmed to in other parts of the world.
* I love baseball. I watched 10 or 11 exhibition games, for crying out loud. So I’m probably out of the norm. But the WBC has plenty of everything a sports fan looks for, including drama. And who doesn’t love drama?
* The previous endorsements are paid for by MLB commissioner Bud Selig.
* I was reading my morning newspaper – you should try it – and I was drawn to our All-Metro high school boys basketball team, picked by The Eagle’s high school beat reporter, Joanna Chadwick. It’s a 6-foot-2 and under team this year, but that’s fine. The five chosen – North senior Conner Frankamp (6-foot), Kapaun Mount Carmel senior Braden Hullings (5-11), Derby senior Taylor Schieber (6-2), Andover Central senior Zach Winter (6-2) and Goddard Eisenhower junior Trevon Evans (6-feet) are outstanding players. Congratulations to them.
* Then I started looking at the accompanying area all-league basketball teams and was flabbergasted – flabbergasted, I say! – to see that six players were chosen to the City League’s first and second teams. Six? Don’t basketball teams consist of five players? Yeah, I thought so.
* Then I see that all four divisions of the AV-CTL picked six players to their first and second teams. Does does the Central Plains League. Meanwhile, the Central Kansas and Heart of America leagues choose seven players as first- and second-teamers. Do I hear eight?
* This is over the top acknowledgement. It makes no sense except as another indication that our high school sports culture is out of touch with reality. It’s tough out in the real world and not everyone gets rewarded. That’s just how it is. Sorry, but this artificial system of rewarding athletes is one of my biggest pet peeves. When the prestigious City League, the best basketball league in the state for decades, starts to name six players to its all-league team, it waters down the honor. Being an all-City League player starts to lose prestige. During the best years of CL basketball, five players were annually chosen to be first-team players. Five. Even with a case could be made for six or more players, the first team was limited to five. Being an All-City player meant something.
* It’s time for these high school administrators and coaches to get control of this situation. It’s out of hand. If that sixth or seven player has his or her feelings hurt by not being on an all-league team, tough. Better luck next time.
* Wow, I got a little worked up writing about the previous topic. I was pounding the keys on my laptop pretty hard. But, man, that one gets to me. I didn’t even mention that besides six first- and second-team players, the City League also handed out honorable mentions to another 27 players. That comes to 39 players for nine teams. The league is good, but it isn’t that good.
* OK, off to other topics.
* Wichita State is now being mentioned as a possibility to play in one of those first-round NCAA Tournament games in Dayton. Please, please, please – no. Please.
* Can Kansas get to a 1 seed by winning the Big 12 Tournament? I don’t think so. I think the Jayhawks are locked in at 2. Still, I expect KU to be in Kansas City for second- and third-round games and to be in either Indianapolis (Midwest) or Dallas (South) for an NCAA Regional. The geography sets up well for a KU run.
* It’s good to see Perry Ellis coming into his own at KU. He had eight points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes against Texas Tech on Thursday. I think Ellis has turned a corner.
* I really hope Matt Cassel is successful with the Minnesota Vikings, although it’s a tough blow that the Vikes dealt Percy Harvin, their most dangerous receiver, to Seattle a few days before Cassel went to Minnesota as a free agent. I’m reading that Cassel will be in competition with incumbent QB Christian Ponder. But who are the Vikings’ receiving threats? Jerome Simpson? Michael Jenkins? Stephen Burton? Devin Aromashodu. Kyle Rudolph? Good luck with that group, Matt.
* I’m looking forward to tonight’s Miami-Milwaukee NBA game. Yes, I said that. The Heat are riding a 20-game winning streak and the Bucks are 4-2 against Miami since April 2011. Milwaukee, though, has been playing poorly and is just 8-12 in its past 20 games. Still, intriguing since tonight’s game is in Milwaukee.
* I feel sad when an episode of “Justfied” ends. That’s how much I love that show.
* I also love “American Idol,” which seems to cause many of you who read my blog or follow me on Facebook or Twitter great angst. Why is that? This year’s crop of singers, especially the females, is outstanding. I expect a superstar or two – in the Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood realm – to emerge from this season.
* I’m not impressed with the camouflage uniforms you’re throwing out there at me, Adidas. Please stop. I also believe the KU brand is harmed some by wearing those hideous uniforms. Call me a traditionalist, but not everything can be about money. Can it? Does it have to be?
* I’ll be hitting the road for the NCAA Tournament next week. This is one of the best perks of my job. You’re jealous, aren’t you? Anyway, have a great weekend. I might have something to blog about Saturday or Sunday, so please check back. Later.