This and That

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Contributing Writer
Bill Burk

Everybody who believes Rick Pitino doesn’t know what was going on with his recruits every second of their visit to Louisville raise their hand. Anybody? Anybody? No takers? It’s alleged that recruits of Louisville basketball were “entertained” overzealously by local ladies. Little known fact: at the end of a college sports season every Athletics Director and every coach in the NCAA sign a form saying that nothing illegal happened during the season (I used to sign them at JCC when I was AD. I saw the form for what it was, a way to enforce a broken rule after the fact). I assume Pitino signed that form making him culpable and punishable for the infractions (and broken laws) incurred by his staff and recruits. At the very least he’s guilty of turning a blind eye.
GREAT piece in TIME Magazine two weeks ago. The premise was, if we count pitches to make sure baseball players don’t ruin their elbows, with no real scientific evidence to suggest it’s a legitimate practice, why don’t we count blows to the head to protect football players from life-changing brain damage, which we KNOW happens?
If you’re a baseball purist, you had to absolutely LOVE the Royals winning the World Series. It was good old fashioned baseball, and it was awesome to see it rewarded. Throw strikes, play defense, put the ball in play, take an extra base every now and then. K.C. hit 13 ground balls with a man on first base and fewer than two outs, and only two resulted in double plays. The Royals also had eight ground-ball hits with runners in scoring position in the series. The Mets had two. K.C. batters struck out 37 times, the Mets 46. K.C. pitchers issued 14 walks, Mets 17. The Mets had the edge in power hitting six home runs in the five-game series, while the Royals hit just two, but the Royals had 13 extra-base hits, and the Mets had just seven (one double with the six homers). The Mets were built on the long ball, like most teams now, and they got beat soundly by a team built on fundamentals.
Why doesn’t anyone make football helmets and goalie masks completely clear? Or motorcycle helmets for that matter? I’m sure the technology is out there, and why wouldn’t any helmeted person want more peripheral vision?
Spent a few words in this space on combined football schools in New York State, and the relative unfairness of the system. By my (admittedly unscientific) count, here’s how the season ended in Classes B, C, and D. Larger schools went 52-27 against smaller schools. Combined schools were 30-20 over non-combined.
As a person who appreciates almost all sports (soccer admittedly puts me on the fence), I have a shock disinterest in all things NBA.
Ted Williams was an American icon. In the book The Kid, Ben Bradlee Jr. tells us that Williams was haunted by the fact that he was at least part Cuban, and lived in a time when that just wasn’t cool. And Williams was, if nothing else, cool. I saw it written that he was the best in the world at three different things: hitting a baseball, fly fishing and as a fighter pilot (he served as a flight instructor in WWII and a combat pilot in Korea, totaling five years of active military service. Those five years came right in the middle of what would have been Williams’ prime baseball years, and he still managed 2,654 hits, 521 of which were home runs, in a 19 year career). Not a bad list of things to be best at. John Updike wrote about Williams’ legendary reluctance to talk to reporters or fans, “Gods don’t answer letters.”
The Evolution of Professional Football (as far as you know)

20,015 B.C.
Neanderthal Brady: “What Gronk want do today?”
Gronk: “Gronk not know.”
Neanderthal Brady: “Want take Pigskin to Buffalo grounds?”
Gronk: “Sound good to Gronk.”
Neanderthal Brady: “On three. Ready break!”

2015 A.D.
Brady: “24 Z, X-out trips right, Mike power. Gronk, what would you like to do?”
Gronkowski: “Gronk not know.”
Brady: “Want to go into the Buffalo end zone and I’ll throw you the ball?”
Gronk: “Sound good to Gronk.”
Brady: “On three. Ready break!”

To read more of Bill Burk’s reflections, astute observations and a rant or two on the wide world of sports, visit www. jamestowngazette.com and click on Bill Burk’s page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.