THE POINT AFTER

 

I am taking some time away before the new sports season gets underway at the end of July with girls golf. It seems the off-season really isn’t an off-season at all these days. Don’t worry…we will still bring you the daily “SPORTSPAGE” and all the headlines as they happen. I am also trying not to think about my 30th season covering local sports in the Richmond area. That simply means I am getting old.

Before I gets some rest and relaxation, I needed to get a couple of things off my chest.  I recently had a conversation with a long-time Red Devils fan about the current state of Richmond athletics. We didn’t talk a lot about Richmond specifically, but more about the future of Richmond in the NCC. I know, you have heard my arguments about getting out of the conference and joining a league that makes more sense because of traveling distance, time and expenses. All three aspects of high school athletics in Richmond have gotten out of hand for both the student/athletes and the fans.

Outside the student/athlete, fans aren’t willing to travel the way they used to. Going to Logansport and Lafayette Jeff will NOT draw fans from Richmond. Those days are long gone!!!! So why not make it easier for the fans to want to go? It’s called LESS and SHORTER road trips.

Now, before we get in too deep, the one word that some fans like to use is “tradition”. Yes,  I know all too well about that word. I hear it from old-timers all the time. These are the ones who are living so far in the past it’s not even funny. They remind me of that athlete who is always re-visiting his glory days with his stats and honors getting bigger and better every year.

My argument is very clear….tradition doesn’t mean a whole lot these days. Schools at all levels change divisions, conferences, leagues etc., and still find a way to make “new” traditions. I can make a very good example in the New Castle Trojans. They made the decision a few years ago to leave the NCC because of travel and cost and everything is going fine for them in the Hoosier Heritage Conference. If you don’t believe me, look at the football program.

Getting the “powers to be” to understand travel time and distance for Richmond travels, and the time away from class plus the cost is no longer acceptable…especially missing class time. The last time I checked, they are called student/athletes, not athlete/students.  I have watched all too often over the past few seasons student/athletes leaving school early to make sure they make the trip to Lafayette or Logansport. Remember when NCC athletic Directors told all of us there would be “LESS’ travel when the conference was to be split into divisions?  I must ask them….when will this happen?

Well as you know, I have come up with a formula (at least for football and basketball) that will work..if they will listen.

Let’s start with football.

Split the conference into two divisions….the North (McCutcheon, Lafayette Jeff, Harrison, Logansport and Kokomo)….the South (Richmond, Muncie Central, Anderson, Marion and Tech).

Teams in the North will play in their division four games. There would be two cross-over games, one at home and one on the road. There would still be two non-conference games at the beginning of the season. In week nine, all 10 teams will play a final NCC game…East vs. West in the seeded tournament.

Here is an example of what Richmond’s schedule would look like:

Week 1….vs. Connersville

Week 2….@ Mt. Vernon

Week 3…vs. Muncie Central

Week 4…@ Anderson

Week 5…vs. Lafayette Jeff

Week 6…vs. Marion

Week 7…@ Tech

Week 8…@ Harrison

Week 9….NCC Tourney….East at West in the first season, West at the East the next season (rotate every season)

Week 10…Sectional

Now for Boys and Girls basketball…..Same divisions as football.

There would be 10 total NCC regular season games. 8 with-in the division as a home and home series and two crossover games (one home-one away), then the final NCC tourney just like football….East teams at West the first season, then West teams at East the next season etc.

Here is what Richmond’s NCC schedule may look like:

vs. Muncie Central

@ Anderson

vs. Marion

@ Tech

vs. Harrison

@ Muncie Central

vs. Anderson

@ Marion

vs. Tech

@ Lafayette Jeff

NCC Tournament (1 game)

11 total games

Then there would be 13 non-conference games.

I believe the home-and-home series may make the games more interesting and bring back some rivalries. Colleges do home-and-home, why not the NCC?

I am sure there could be some tweaking, but overall, I believe it’s a formula that will work for the student/athletes and the fans.

 

Finally, why am I getting a bad feeling about Major League Baseball? Yes, I like the homerun, if it’s legit. We are seeing a record number of baseball’s flying out of ballparks this season. In the first hours of the season we saw 46 dingers, tying the most of all-time (1999).  The Diamondbacks and Phillies combined to set a new home run record Monday as Arizona walked away with a 13-8 win.

After the Diamondbacks hit back-to-back-to-back home runs to open the game, the teams would combined to hit 10 more to finish with a total of 13, setting a new single-game MLB record. Arizona had a team-record eight homers, while the Phillies added five. The original record of 12 set by the Tigers and White Sox in 1995 stood for more than 24 years. The National League record of 11 stood for more than 40.

So why are we seeing a surge in power? Perhaps the baseball’s are wound tighter. Maybe the pitching is terrible. The ballparks are so much smaller. I believe it is a combination of all three, but my belief is this….the baseball is juiced. I know the hitters are bigger and stronger but when I see a player like Eloy Jimenez hit a 462 foot homerun, I must wonder. Albert Pujols hitting a 462 football homerun I can believe…not Jimenez.

Major League Baseball needs to look at the baseball’s before many fans believe they are watching the WWF.