It’s the return today of Friday musings. Since it’s a Friday, it seemed like a good day to mark its return. Thursday would not have worked.
So let’s get started, shall we?
* I’ve played two rounds of golf this year. Two rounds. And one of those was in a scramble. Life’s priorities change from time to time, which isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing. It keeps like fresh and new.
* Have you heard Sam Smith sing yet? If you haven’t, make it happen.
* I think Kansas State is going to have an outstanding football season in 2014. Quarterback Jake Waters will be one of the three or four elite quarterbacks in the country. And we all know how Tyler Lockett can change a game. The issue is finding a dependable running game, but when has Bill Snyder not been able to do that? The Wildcats have lost 1,855 rushing yards with the graduation of tailback John Hubert and the transfer of quarterback Daniel Sams. That’s significant.
* KSU has had a 1,000-yard rusher in nine of the past 13 seasons. In the 51 seasons from 1950 through 2000, Kansas State had only four 1,000-yard rushers. Can you name them? Answer at the end of the musings.
* What is Kansas State’s ceiling? How the Wildcats play on the road will have a big impact. The only game that looks un-winnable away from Manhattan is the Oklahoma matchup on Oct. 18 in Norman. Otherwise, K-State is at Iowa State, TCU, West Virginia and Baylor. The Cats play tough teams at home, though, starting with Auburn on Sept. 18. Their Big 12 home games include Texas Tech, Texas, Oklahoma State and Kansas. A 10-2 record seems reasonable, but will take some doing.
* The best thing about the Royals’ surge in the American League this season, and their hot, hot, hot streak of late, is that it has people talking baseball. I love that because I’m Baseball Guy. It doesn’t have to be all NFL, all the time. It’s fun to talk about baseball because there’s always so much to talk about with a particular team. The day-in, day-out drudgery of baseball builds character. Look at me, for example. So good luck, Royals fans, as you endure what could be a harrowing final six weeks of the regular season.
* The St. Louis Cardinals, the team I follow, has helped me build an immense amount of character this season. The Cardinals have been unable to find any offensive rhythm to the season. They have struggled to hit from the first day of the season until right now. It’s been difficult to watch. But here they are, right in the midst of things. Just one hot streak would push them over the edge. I’m waiting for that to happen.
* I worry that rookie right-fielder Oscar Taveras, the most-hyped Cardinal to come through the farm system since Albert Pujols, is in over his head as a big leaguer. But I also worry that third-year manager Mike Matheny is not the ideal skipper to bring out the best in a player like Taveras.
* The Royals are doing that thing all legitimate contenders to in the final couple of months of the season - they’re never out of a game. Thursday’s win against Oakland was a great example. Kansas City rallied against the vaunted A’s bullpen to win in the late innings. KC has the look of a team that’s not going away.
* The top concern I would have as a Royals fan is watching the innings pile up on young pitchers Danny Duffy and Yordany Ventura. These guys have never pitch the number of innings they’re going to be asked to pitch this season. And in a pennant race, no less. Something to keep an eye on.
* My roast, to celebrate 40 years at The Eagle and to raise money for League 42, is happening two weeks from today, Aug. 29, at the Abode. I hope you’ll buy tickets - you can do so by going to league42.org. or calling Shannon Boone at 316-650-9646. Scheduled roasters include: Brent Kemnitz, Wichita State pitching coach; Chris Davis, Campus basketball coach; Weston Schartz, West football coach; Kevin Haskin, Topeka Capital-Journal sports columnist; Ted Woodward, KNSS radio personality and the star of Gridiron; Tom Shine, assistant managing editor at The Eagle; and Bonnie Bing, who needs no introduction. Longtime Wichita radio personality Don Hall will emcee the event.
* One of the highlights of my summer was seeing the band Three Dog Night in Salina at the Stiefel Theater. There are still four original members in the band, which has been around since the late-1960s. They sounded tight. Which means they sounded good, FYI.
* I’m contemplating seeing the Eagles for the 28th time on Sept. 6 in Des Moines. Kansas State plays at 11 a.m. game in Ames against Iowa State that day. Des Moines is 30 miles south of Ames and it’s tempting to stop off at the Wells Fargo Arena and take in another show.
* Can’t wait to go through my Fall Movie Preview issue of Entertainment Weekly that arrived in the mail yesterday. Summer movies, for the most part, just don’t do it for me. I’m more of a cerebral movie-goer. I don’t mind a good action flick now and again, but I prefer movies that make me think. Especially while I still can think. I’m getting to that age, you know.
* Anybody watching The Leftovers on HBO? What do you think? Talk about austere. Yet I look forward to each episode, even though I’m not at all sure what’s going on. I know many of you read the book. But I don’t read many books, which shames me. I keep telling myself I’m going to read more, but I’m lucky if I get in two or three books a year.
* I paused to look through Twitter and found a post from Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt about the red artificial turf on the infield of Nebraska-Omaha’s baseball field. Yuck. Let’s hope this does not become a trend.
* That’s what I get for pausing to look at Twitter. It’s amazing the hold social media has on me. And probably you. Admit it, you’re hooked. I’m envious of my friends who don’t partake in Facebook, Twitter or any of these other social media mental traps. But I’m a lost soul now, unable and sadly unwilling to let go. I’ve convinced myself that the world needs me in social media. And how can I let down the world?
* Here are Kansas State’s four 1,000-yard rushers from 1950-2000: Cornelius Davis, 1,028 yards, 1966; Isaac Jackson, 1,137 yards, 1973; Eric Gallon, 1,161 yards, 1991; J.J. Smith, 1,072 yards, 1994.
* Thanks for reading. Be back with more musings next Friday.