Article Lineup
Pivotal World Series Plays Feller's Bad Luck
Baseball Short Story Ed Doheny: The Paranoid Pirate
Football Short Story Greene Wasn't Always Mean Joe
Opinion Cheating Astros and Ebbing Baseball
Basketball Short Story Gotta Have Him
 New Series: Pivotal World Series Plays

Feller's Bad Luck

A controversial call on a pickoff play cost Rapid Robert Game 1 of the 1948 World Series.

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 LSU Report: Basketball Stabilizing; Baseball Faltering
Will Wade's roundballers held on for a much-needed 86-80 win at South Carolina Saturday. That same day, the baseball Tigers broke a two-game losing streak with a victory over mighty Eastern Kentucky.

Wade & Company, once leading the SEC by two games with an 8-0 conference record, had lost four of their last five games. They were in danger of falling out of the Top Four in the conference. Why is that a problem? Because the Top Four get the coveted double-bye for the conference tournament week-after-next.
The problem had been defense, which they supposedly worked on all week. The result showed. Don't let the 80 points fool you. The Gamecocks threw in some long 3-pointers in the last minutes in their desperate attempt to overcome a 17-point deficit.
If, like me, you're thinking that an ingredient is missing from this year's Tiger team compared to last year, you're right. It's Tremont Waters, now a D-league player for the Boston Celtics. He deftly ran the team on offense and was equally effective on defense, guarding the opponent's point guard, making steals, and deflecting passes. He's missed on both ends of the court but particularly on defense.

As to baseball, the Tigers had a shameful loss to Nicholls Wednesday night. The score was 4-2, but that hides the defensive lapses illustrated by twice allowing runners to take second because no one was covering the base, trying to stretch a single into a double and being thrown out by a wide margin late in the game when baserunners were at a premium, commiting two errors, and getting only five hits off a southpaw who hadn't shown much this season. Nicholls had been swept the previous weekend by Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (twice) and George Washington.
If that wasn't bad enough, the Tigers were shutout on only three hits in their opener Friday against Eastern Kentucky. Paul Manieri's team may have potentially the best starting rotation in the SEC. But they still have to score runs consistently to contend for the conference title.
Let's just say that Omaha might as well be on another planet as far as this team's chances of traveling there this season.

 Baseball Short Story

Ed Doheny: The Paranoid Pirate

Doheny won 38 games for the Pirates over 2 1/2 seasons. Then his personal demons took possession of his mind.

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   Football Short Story
Greene Wasn't Always Mean Joe

Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Greene quit football the first time he went out for a team.

Cheating Astros and Ebbing Baseball

Consider the sports scene in the New Orleans area since the 2019 World Series ended.
  • LSU enjoyed what many commentators agree was the greatest season any college team ever had.
  • The NFL ended with a number of exciting, down-to-the-wire football games, including Saints-49ers, Seahawks-49ers (in which Seattle came within an inch of scoring the winning TD which would have given the Saints the #1 seed) and multiple playoff games as well as an exciting Super Bowl.
  • #1 draft pick Zion Williamson finally joined the Pelicans and has raised the level of NBA excitement in the area to fever pitch.
  • LSU basketball is involved in a tight stretch run as they try to defend their regular season SEC basketball championship.
  • LSU baseball began this weekend ranked #12 in the coaches poll.

And what is dominating the major league baseball headlines as spring training begins? A cheating scandal involving the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros and the commissioner's punishment of the club (or his slap on the wrist, depending on your point of view). And now the specter of pitchers on other teams throwing at Astros batters is intruding into the usual "Hot Stove League" discussion of upcoming season.

  • I wouldn't call MLB a "dying sport," but it is definitely ebbing. A poll found that the average age of those who list baseball as their favorite sport is 57.
  • Rob Manfred refused to vacate the Astros' title. However, I like what one commentator pointed out. There is no 1994 World Series champ­ion because a players' strike on August 12 caused the rest of the season to be cancelled. If we have no champion for 1994, why can't we have no champion for 2017? You can't give the title to the Dodgers because they didn't win it on the field. But you can still take it away from the Astros.
  • The Houston manager, A.J. Hinch, and the GM, Jeff Luhnow, were given yearlong suspendions and subsequently fired by the club. The ringleader of the scheme, bench coach Alex Cora, was fired by the Red Sox, whose 2018 title is now suspect. Carlos Beltran, the veteran leader of the '17 Astros who pressured all his teammates to participate, was fired by the Mets before he even managed a game.
  • Beltran was considered a good bet - not a sure thing but a strong contender - for the Hall of Fame. Now he's lumped in with steroid cheaters like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens who are still eligible for the HOF but haven't gotten enough votes to qualify. And they had a much stronger claim to inclusion in the Hall than Carlos.
  • What about current Astros players like Jose Altuve, George Springer, and LSU's Alex Bregman? They have put up HOF statistics so far in their careers. What will be the judgment of the sportswriters who vote for HOF candidates when they retire? Will they be blacklisted by enough voters to prevent their election?
  • The Houston scandal occurred 99 years after what had been baseball's greatest scandal - the throwing of the 1919 World Series by the Chicago White Sox. Only two members of that great White Sox club are in the HOF - 2B Eddie Collins and C Ray Schalk, neither of whom participated in the plot. OF Joe Jackson and P Eddie Cicotte would certainly have made the Hall were it not for their participation.
  • The '17 Astros' sins are obviously different from those of the '19 Black Sox, who were trying to lose the Series to earn money from gamblers whereas the Astros used improper methods to win their series. Neither sits well with the public at large.
  • It will be some time before Altuve, Springer, and Bregman retire - barring serious injuries. We'll find out when they qualify for the HOF ballot how much animus still exists among the voters because of their misdeeds. Will their sins be forgiven and forgotten by then? Only time will tell.
  • FINAL QUESTION: Is Bregman now persona non grata at LSU?
Basketball Short Story

Gotta Have Him

Tired of losing in the playoffs for six straight years, Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach desperately wanted to draft Bill Russell. What happened next changed the course of the NBA.

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