Bob Lutz

15th annual Bob Lutz Survey: Readers respond

Thanks to everyone who responded to my 15th annual Reader Survey, all 997. I wish we would have made it to 1,000, but I’m told three people were out of town.

There are some interesting results concerning some hot topics. I also appreciate the comments many of you left, both online and through the mail.

Here’s what you said:

1. Wichita city manager Robert Layton announced a few weeks ago plans to eventually close one of the city’s five municipal courses. If one is closed, which should it be:

Clapp Park 332

Consolver 160

Auburn Hills 144

Sim Park 92

MacDonald Park 81

Bob says: I’m not convinced the city needs to close a course. Golf courses are a treasured part of a community. So as difficult it is for me to pick a course to close, if I absolutely have to pick one, it would be Clapp Park. But don’t worry, you guys and girls down at Clapp. I’ll be down there protesting if this comes to pass.

2. The Wichita Thunder recently was sold by Horn Chen to the Steven brothers, the first time the franchise has had local ownership. It joins the Wild (indoor football), Wings (indoor soccer) and Wingnuts (independent league baseball) as niche sports in the Wichita market. Which is your favorite?

Wingnuts 413

Thunder 177

Wichita Open golf 162

Wings 103

Wild 96

Bob says: Perhaps it’s not fair to call all of these sports “niche,” but it’s the only description I could think of. I do love the Wichita Open, which has been a launching pad for numerous professional golfers who have gone on to great PGA Tour success. And I think the Wingnuts have turned out to be a real positive for the community, although I’m not sold that affiliated baseball can’t work in this market. More on that when we get to No. 16.

3. Perry Ellis has narrowed his list of college choices to four. Which of the four schools that Ellis is considering is most likely to land him?

Kansas 568

Wichita State 184

Kentucky 116

Kansas State 108

Bob says: I’ve thought all along Kansas had the upper hand.

4. The 2013 list of Baseball Hall of Fame-eligible former players is incredible, including Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Which of these six players will be first-ballot Hall of Famers?

Curt Schilling 626

Mike Piazza 467

Craig Biggio 404

Roger Clemens 215

Sammy Sosa 197

Barry Bonds 189

Bob says: Biggio is the only lock on this list. He has more than 3,000 hits, one of the landmarks of automatic inclusion. Schilling and Piazza might have to wait another year and the three players alleged to be a part of the Steroids Era won’t be getting an invite any time soon.

5. Kansas State’s basketball team made it to the Elite Eight in 2010 and to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season. Will a Frank Martin-coached K-State team ever get to another Elite Eight?Yes 533

No 437

Bob says: Not next season. I think it’s difficult to project the Wildcats as an Elite Eight team anytime soon, given that there are no Michael Beasleys or Jacob Pullens in the pipeline. It’s all about recruiting and Martin is in the process of re-stocking.

6. Here’s a question that has been on my mind for months. When Wichita State’s basketball team won the NIT in March, some said it was a bigger accomplishment than just getting to the NCAA Tournament. Do you agree?

Yes 528

No 443

Bob says: I just don’t get it. But apparently there are a lot of you who think winning an NIT is a bigger accomplishment than getting to the NCAAs. My thinking is that getting to the NCAA means you’ve done something during the regular season above and beyond, such as winning a regular season or conference tournament. The Shockers got a boost in winning the NIT, and it was fun for fans. But it’s all about the NCAA Tournament in college basketball.

7. Which of the following is your least favorite athlete?

LeBron James 332

Tiger Woods 206

Alex Rodriguez 158

Michael Vick 139

Lance Armstrong 126

Bob says: I think James is probably the best guy of this group. But the whole ESPN special and South Beach thing sure didn’t go over well. Are we surprised Vick got as many votes as he did? Killing dogs isn’t easy for people to forgive. My vote’s for Woods.

8. Among the following, which is your favorite sport?

College basketball 314

College football 281

NFL 166

MLB 123

College baseball 37

High school sports 22

PGA 16

NHL 15


Bob says: Wow, do you see the number of votes for the NBA? I realize Wichita isn’t exactly that league’s test market, but five votes? The NFL probably does a lot better in many markets, too. This is a college sports town. And basketball in Kansas runs deep. I’m a Major League Baseball guy, but I’m all about the college games, too.

9. Who will still be coaching basketball at their respective schools in five years?

Bill Self, KU basketball 866

Frank Martin, K-State basketball 435

Gregg Marshall, WSU basketball 255

Gene Stephenson, WSU baseball 185

Bill Snyder, K-State football 159

Turner Gill, Kansas football 154

Bob says: Five years is a lifetime in coaching. It wouldn’t shock me if none of these guys is around by that time. I’d certainly be surprised to see Snyder or Marshall still coaching, for separate reasons. I think Snyder will retire by then and Marshall will be coaching somewhere else. The safest bet is Self, by far.

10. The experts cite the Chiefs’ 2011 schedule — which on paper looks extremely difficult — as a reason why KC will have difficulty matching last season’s 10-6 regular season record. What will be the Chiefs’ record in 2011?

8-8 2759-7 251

7-9 160

6-10 or worse 129

10-6 110

11-5 35

12-4 or better 7

Bob says: Not much faith in the Chiefs. Only 152 of 967 respondents have Kansas City equaling last season’s record. These people, of course, are paying homage to a much-tougher Chiefs schedule and probably a little bit of a lack of faith that last season was really a signal for better things to come. I think the Chiefs are headed for 8-8.

11. The Kansas City Royals have initiated a youth movement and newcomers will continue to infiltrate Kauffman Stadium in 2012. Which of the KC newcomers will have the best career?

Eric Hosmer 630

Mike Moustakas 108

Johnny Giovotella 70

Aaron Crow 53

Danny Duffy 46

Bob says: There are some positive signs in KC, but none of it will much matter if the pitching remains near the bottom of the American League. Hosmer I like Hosmer a lot. He looks like a perennial .300 hitter with nice pop. Moustakas, though, has the potential to be a 35 home-run guy, something the Royals could really use.

12. NBA owners are locking out players and there is strong speculation that training camps will not open and much of the regular season could be in jeopardy. What best describes your feelings about the NBA?

Don’t care at all 481

Don’t care about regular season 232

Wish it would get taken care of 235

Gonna lose it if I don’t have

NBA 19

Bob says: Again, it does not appear passion for the NBA runs deep. Or runs at all. I’m an NBA playoffs guy. I love the postseason and pay little attention to the regular season.

13. Wichita State’s baseball team has missed making the NCAA Tournament in two of the past three seasons. And in the season the Shockers did make it into the tourney, 2009, they were only 30-27 during the regular season. Which of the following best describes your feelings about Gene Stephenson’s job status?

It’s time for a change 438

He gets to coach until he decides to leave 387

He is the right person to be coaching the Shockers 148

Bob says: This is a tough one. Stephenson is 66 and is the architect of Shocker baseball. I get why some people think he should be the coach until he decides he’s finished. But the Shockers haven’t been as good in recent years. There’s no getting around that. If that trend continues, Stephenson should face the consequences. I think the 2012 season is big for him and Wichita State.

14. Which do you care more about, your favorite NFL team or your fantasy team? And I’ll throw in a third choice.

My favorite team 680

Neither 183

My fantasy team 95

Bob says: I was worried about this question. Because of the proliferation of fantasy football, I was concerned that more people would put their fantasy team first. Fortunately, that’s not the case. Props to you people who are keeping your football in perspective.

15. Wichita, I contend, is a melting pot for college sports fans. Wichita State is going to carry the day here, for sure. Kansas and Kansas State have a strong following. But there are lots of fans of other schools, too. Which college’s sports teams do you support?

Wichita State 741

Kansas State 548

Kansas 513

Other 229

Oklahoma 130

Oklahoma State 128

Notre Dame 127

Nebraska 68

Missouri 39

Bob says: I love them all from the bottom of my heart.

16. Which would you rather see as a sports option in Wichita?

Affiliated minor-league baseball 645

NBA Developmental League 190

Higher level of minor-league hockey 79


Bob says: I’m not going to pile on the poor WNBA. It’s interesting to me that our fine city allowed Double-A baseball to leave town because of apathy and that four years later, in my survey, 645 of you are saying it’s something you’d like to see. You people upset me at times. Wichita should have minor-league affiliated baseball. We had it and we let it go. Shame on us.

17. Wichita State has now been without football for a generation, 25 years. Even though this has probably been the most-asked question in town for a quarter of a century, here goes again: Should WSU bring back football?

Yes 525

No 443

Bob says: A predictable response. If the response was more overwhelmingly supportive, I’d say there might be an uptick in interest. But I don’t think so. I think Shocker football is better left in mothballs for the time being.

18. How confident are you that the NCAA will ultimately award Wichita’s Intrust Bank Arena with first- and second-round games in its annual basketball tournament?

I’ll believe it when I see it 473

No doubt about it 423

It’ll never happen 66

Bob says: I understand your skepticism. But trust me, the NCAA Tournament will come to town within the next five years. If not, I’ll jump over the Intrust Bank Arena on a motorcycle.

19. Which basketball player will be Wichita State’s most valuable during the 2011-12 season?

Garrett Stutz 293

Toure Murry 287

Joe Ragland 163

David Kyles 62

Other 51

Carl Hall 47

Ben Smith 39

Bob says: Who could “other” be? Anyway, I’ll go with Murry. He’s a senior and a veteran starter with the most experience of any Shocker. He’ll have his best season yet.

20. Major League Baseball is likely to change in the next few years. Which change would do the most to make the game better?

More liberal use of instant replay 353

Elimination of the DH 232

HGH testing 193

Expanded playoffs 172

Bob says: Several respondents say they’re in favor of expanding the DH to the National League. Those people are dangerous revolutionists and should be avoided at all costs. I’m a strong proponent of eliminating the DH. Bring back the game the way it was intended to be played.