LHS girls' track does well, what about Shockers baseball and NOT my MVP

I can almost bet that when eight state champions (eight, why eight in this state?) are crowned in baseball at the end of May, at least half with have teams unworthy of the moniker.

Why? The new pitch count rule that the national federation of high school wanna-be sports experts concocted to protect “children” from evil coaches.

Does it work? Yes, sure it does. It let’s people know that they are being watched.

Yet the recent rain has already put the count on alert and some recent questions about what happens on state tournament weekend has now put this move into question.

We only have six weeks left in the season and teams are trying to reschedule as many as three, four dates.

So now what goes down if a team that originally had two games during a week has to play three or four and only has maybe two reliable pitchers?

If the pitch count is too high by game two for two studs, then we go deeper into the bullpen.

Some will say, “Well, coach up your kids!” Sure I get that too, but pitching is an advanced skill and not all people can just go out and pitch like they could shoot a basketball. Oh, and if you think you are helping kids by putting a boy on the mound with no experience pitching because of some Jurassic pitch count rule, you are certifiable.

Nah, no way a kid with no pitching experience could blow out his arm by having to pitch because someone threw 80 pitches and now has to sit on a busy week.

Let’s review. If a pitcher throws: 

n 76-105 pitches = 4 days of required rest
1. 61-75 pitches = 3 days of required rest
2. 46-60 pitches = 2 days of required rest
3. 31-45 pitches = 1 days of required rest
4. 1-30 pitches = 0 days of required rest

So how does a team plan for three games in two days of a state final series?

Let’s see, take out the hot hand because he might die on the mound if he throws 31 pitches, so you can pitch him the next day in the final.

Yeah, probably won’t even get to the final under that guise.

OK, so a team with three pretty good pitchers but no hitting and an OK defense can win a state title because they out-pitch a team with two but can’t throw an ace on the mound to win the title because he threw 31 pitches the day before?

You have to win a quarterfinal and a semifinal on day one. That means if you even have both starters throw 45 pitches – starting or relieving – you can’t use them in the biggest game of all.

What they need to do is have a count for an entire week. Say a pitcher can make no more than three appearances in a week, can’t start more than twice, and with only a maximum number of pitches for that particular week (say, 160 or 170?) and if either are passed, the player has to rest a mandatory of four days.

That gives more flexibility and would give justifiable rest to someone who did have a busy week.

But to think a player could throw 77 pitches in two appearances and have to sit three days? Absurdity.

Thankfully for Leavenworth High and teams like theirs with two aces and two solid other arms behind them, this might not come to hurt them.

Others may not be so lucky, even if they are better all-around.

Quick track note

It’s early yet, and many know about the growing legend of junior Leavenworth sprinter Aarika Lister, but the big story so far this spring is the Lansing girls.

Wow, have they had some really strong performances, especially in a number of relays and individual runs.

This team is going to be a tough out and I believe is a legitimate trophy threat.

From Tori Robinson and Emma Bresser – making a fine transition from soccer I may add for Miss Bresser – Regan Gatson, Jaci Huckabee, Bailey Rees, etc., and Destini Mathis adding some great points in field events? The list of bonafide point scorers continues to grow for the Lions and I am going to be very curious to see how this story shakes out.

Go check them out if you can.

Not my MVP

Russell Westbrook will most likely win the NBA’s MVP award for averaging a triple-double (cough) in points, rebounds and assists (double cough).

I know I am going to hurt more feelings again but the reality is that Westbrook is one of the best players playing in the worst era of basketball.

First off, his assists are of the since mid-80s NBA variety. You know, pass to someone who catches it and then does something for an hour before shooting. There is not a game played in the last 30 years that you can’t find not a small, but a huge disparity between the number of assists given to the actual ones recorded (a pass that leads directly to a shot attempt).

So that’s dusted.

Oh, and his scoring.

He is shooting 42 percent from the field at last check and that’s with layups and dunks included. Forty-two percent from the field on the whole.

So, he can’t shoot in an era that has removed defensive relevance in a league that still can’t shoot as well as it did 20 years ago when people were allowed to commit assault on defense, nor in the late halves of the 80s, 90s and most of the aughts when defense-offense was 50-50.

Name the best players at similar positions? They shot 51-50-49 percent against teams that could defend.

Oh, and if they actually penalized bad offensive play? Westbrook would have fouled out of half his games before intermission with his constant wild forays called charging into the lane.

Then of course those six turnovers a game in a league that doesn’t have the same pace as the 80s teams nor the defenses that can defend?

Yeah, that guy can be your MVP, but maybe I just have a better standard for great or valuable.

Snyder returns

I just want to say that I am pleased Bill Snyder is OK after we learned he has been battling cancer.

I am sure it will never be as easy as it once was to coach, but let’s just hope he stays strong and coaches his Kansas State Wildcats as long as he wants and until he is able.


Wichita State’s move

Everyone is so excited for the move to the American Athletic Conference (AAC) for the Wichita State Shockers.

Yay for men’s basketball.

Let’s see, so they went from the Missouri Valley, which has had some teams do some good things over the years – um, them, Creighton, Northern Iowa, etc. – to a league where no one got past the second round – despite high seedings in some cases – of the NCAA tournament and flopped in the NIT.

Oh, and their national champion Connecticut team? Won the title with a team recruited to play Big East ball and has since been a major flop.

The Shockers are fun and Gregg Marshall may be the nation’s best coach, but I could also argue that over time, the Shockers’ baseball team has had more success than the men’s basketball team.

Over the last 30 seasons, the men’s basketball team has made seven national tournaments, all but one under Marshall. 

Baseball? Has made it 22 times (albeit with the last few years being down ones) and many of those years when the field was less than the current 64-team field, the same number men’s basketball has had since 1985.

Shocker baseball fans will enjoy a lot more wins in a league that really only had Tulane, Houston, South Florida and an occasional decent team from Connecticut, yet still be in a nine-team league and with more travel than ever before.

Nice move?

Alan Dale is the sports editor of the Leavenworth Times. Contact him at adale@leavenworthtimes.com