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Bill Pucko - Chief Editor

Today's Best

by Walt Bogdanich, New York Times 4/18/14
The case has unfolded as colleges and universities across the country are facing rising criticism over how they deal with sexual assault, as well as questions about whether athletes sometimes receive preferential treatment. The Times’s examination — based on police and university records, as well as interviews with people close to the case, including lawyers and sexual assault experts — found that, in the Winston case, Florida State did little to determine what had happened.

by Andrew Brandt, 4/17/14
The Kevin Costner movie had unprecedented access to capture the inner workings of the NFL draft and how front office executives go about their business. I lived that life for a decade—here’s what Hollywood got right and wrong.


Home Grown

by Jeff DiVeronica, Democrat and Chronicle 4/18/14
A football season of only routine hits to the helmet might inflict enough injury to the brain that six months of normal, non-contact activity afterward isn't enough time for it to heal. That's what a University of Rochester research study of 10 of the school's players suggests. The results, published Thursday, provide a new look at the lasting damage athletes risk every time they take the field.

from 4/17/14
I hope they don't become too vague or muddled. I'm wary of the "mix and match" possibility. The team should not become a group of varied personalities, at least not visibly so. But in terms of aesthetics, I find them to be of-the-moment and sleek. Always great to move into the 21st century. They definitely look like the uniform of a modern-day warrior.


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Our Contribution

Getting a Handle on Time

by Bill Pucko, 4/14/14

1963 was a long time ago.  51 years if you're keeping score.  Gasoline cost 29 cents a gallon.  A new car ran 32 hundred dollars on average.  And a baseball game took 2 hours and 20 minutes to play.
These days gasoline is pushing four dollars, a new car is over 28 thousand dollars, and the average baseball game takes 2:58 to play.  That may not seem like a lot but on a percentage basis, it's 27 percent.  The game as it is played today would run 11 1/2 innings in 1963.  Every single game.
This has caused some well meaning people within the game to support tinkering with the game.  An unnamed executive suggested reducing the game from nine to seven innings, as they play it in high school and Minor League doubleheaders, would fix everything.  It would give back 39 minutes, but not much else.
To start with professional baseball games have been nine innings since the sport gained wide acceptance in the 1880s.  The record book is built on nine inning games.  And the record book is almighty in baseball.  It is why we still consider Babe Ruth the best player of all time.  This despite the fact that Ruth last played in 1935 and has been dead for 66 years.
No other major sport in the United States is as attached to its history as baseball.  It would be ludicrous to suggest that any basketball or football player from the 1920s was the best ever.  Neither of those sports were even fully evolved back then.
So while it was fun to discuss radical makeovers like reduced innings and perhaps starting every player with a 1-1 count, tricks of the trade at the amateur level, they would never, ever be seriously considered. So let's look at what we can do.
There's a rule in the books that says a pitcher has to deliver a ball every 20 seconds.  Make him.  An umpire can deny time-out to a batter if he so choses. Do it.  If a pitch is coming in every 20 seconds, the batter has little time to waste playing with his gloves.
Why should a manager or coach be given a little alone time with the pitcher on the mound.  They spend half the game together on the bench.  Surely any true words of wisdom can be imparted then.  Ban the visits.  Take a tip from tennis where players in a match aren't allowed to be coached.
In what other sport does the coach appear on the playing area to personally remove a player?  Is the pitcher unable to find the dugout without assistance?  Changing pitchers is no small matter here.  4.8 was the average number pitchers used per game in 1963.  That figure has risen to over seven and a half.  What's the cost in time of three extra pitching changes per game?
Limit or eliminate the visits.  Keep the batter in the batters box.  Enforce the twenty second rule.  And everyone will go home happy from a baseball game in well under three hours.



from 4/2/14
Five experts weight in with their first round picks.

by Scott Gleeson, USA Today 3/25/14
Which teams win on the weekend to reach the Final Four? We'll take it a step further. Which team wins it all? Here's a breakdown of our 16 teams most likely to have that One Shining Moment.



by Michael Beller, 4/18/14
If you didn't take notice of Justin Masterson early last season, you missed out on a pitcher who became a fantasy star. If you chalked up R.A. Dickey's early success in 2012 to the beneficence of the sample-size fairy, you willingly passed on what was to develop into a Cy Young season. While you should be dubious about the yearlong prospects of someone having an unlikely strong start to the season, not every hot April is a mirage. And with that, I would like to spend a little time talking about Garrett Richards.

by Steve Gardner, USA Today 4/17/14
One of the top prospects in the minor leagues, Springer slugged 37 home runs and stole 45 bases last season in Class AA and AAA. But with the Astros coming off three consecutive 100-loss seasons, the front office didn't seem in any hurry to rush any of the team's talented youngsters to Houston.