Monday, February 13, 2006

Reader Praises Randle-El, Says Eric Crouch's 'Career In the NFL Was About As Long As the Wait-Time In the Drive-Up Lane At Starbucks'

Barry Crist of West Des Moines writes about the recent Super Bowl in this e-mail:


"One of the most egregious errors in Heisman Trophy voting was rectified at the Super Bowl. Antwaan Randle-El passed for a touchdown and now proudly has a ring symbolic of being a world champion Pittsburgh Steeler. Eric Crouch was the Heisman winner as he played for a great team at Nebraska, while Randle-El was a one-man show at Indiana.

"Ironically, Antwaan had decided to attend Indiana over Nebraska because he wanted to double-sport and play for Bobby Knight. He certainly would have led Nebraska to an even greater record, while forcing Crouch to play wide receiver or safety.

"Crouch's career in the NFL was about as long as the wait-time in the drive-up lane at Starbucks. He now sells playground equipment."

Barry Crist

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Randle-El [right] was a load of talent when he played for Indiana teams that generally were piss-poor. Crouch certainly was an outstanding Nebraska player, but that ability didn't transfer to any of the several NFL teams with which he tired out. In the end, a Heisman Trophy is a nice thing, but doesn't earn a guy a nickel in the pro league].


The Ames paper says there's a chance Iowa State could bring baseball back from the dead in the university's athletic program in the next 10 years.

Maybe men's tennis and men's swimming, too.

Dumb idea.

About baseball, I mean.

Iowa State hasn't had a baseball team since 2001, and there's no sense bringing it back now or in the future.

Because of weather in the midwest, the collegiate baseball season lasts about two weeks in Iowa.

Nobody showed up to watch baseball games when Cap Timm coached the Cyclones -- and took one of his teams to the College World Series -- a number of years ago, even when they were letting fans in free. And nobody would show up now or 10 years from now for a game.

Keep baseball where it is at Iowa State -- in the history books.

Hell, if the University of Iowa wanted to save money, one of the first things that should happen is to drop the baseball program.

It's already half-dead.


"Midwest Fan" has several things on his mind in this e-mail:


"It was an interesting January, I must say. I would comment on [fellow Wartburg alum] Brubaker being named managing editor, but Bud Appleby did it for me. Thanks Bud!

"Your blog on Jan. 30 about the makeup of the Iowa team may seem surprising to some. Well, even before the Ohio State game, a website that is dominated by mostly journalists talked about the fact that Iowa had four white regulars in the lineup against Illinois.

"The link to the post:,21310.0.html

"For what it's worth, it's not surprising to me at all. Being an East Waterloo grad, I take it for granted that current coach Steve McGraw and former coach Murray Wier would have five black regulars in the lineup in a state like Iowa.

"Going back to your post a while back about the travails of Valley High boys basketball, there is a good story I wanted to share. There is a young man by the name of Cashes Mason, who transferred from Kansas City and played for Valley last season. He now is playing for Wartburg College, which is currently 18-4 overall, 11-3 in Iowa Conference play and is ranked 23rd in the latest Division III polls.

"Mason, from the games I have watched him played this year, has found a great fit in the role of coming off the bench and helping the Knights and their wide-open game, which is giving conference foes fits. When I saw him at Valley, it appeared that he was having difficulty getting adjusted to how Valley ran the court and played defense. That is not the case up in Waverly. I think he will do well at Wartburg.

"The Knights are coached by Dick Peth, a former Hawk under Lute Olson and was a member of the 1979-80 Final Four team. He came to Wartburg in 1997 after coaching the University of Denver [where Terry Carroll is currently the head coach]. Peth has been nothing short but great for the program and the school.

"Finally to end with Wartburg, next weekend is the final time Knights Gym will host an athletic contest as the Knights and Cornell will play the final women/men doubleheader in the facility. Knights Gym and the Physical Education Center will be razed later this spring to make way for a new $30 million Wartburg-Waverly Wellness Center/Gym. Since 1949, Knights Gym has been an important part of the Wartburg campus, including my graduation ceremonies. There is no doubt that legendary hoops coach Buzz Levick will be there to close the place down. He has attended nearly every single game in Knights Gym since his retirement in 1993, not counting his career on the bench.

"I will heading up there to visit with former classmates and alums and watch the final two games, then a program to honor the gym, then a campus-wide dinner in the PEC fieldhouse afterwards. It should be a great time in Waverly!"

Midwest Fan

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Thanks for the update on what's going on at Wartburg. The Brubaker mentioned by "Midwest Fan" is Randy Brubaker [left], the new managing editor at the Des Moines Register].


Former Iowan Max Thomson sent this e-mail about Joe McGuff, the former Kansas City Star sports columnist and editor who recently died:

"I used to attend Missouri football games and write occasional columns for a small Missouri daily.

"In 1984, Warren Powers had just ended yet another frustrating season with yet another humiliating loss to Kansas. At Missouri, a poor season is one thing; losing three times to KU is quite another. [Gary Pinkel be forewarned: You have lost two in a row.]

"The postgame press conference was held underneath the east stands near the Missouri locker room, but it could have been held in a Columbia funeral home. To his credit, Powers answered every question -- knowing, but never admitting, the grim reaper would soon visit.

"It had come full circle for Powers. The same Missouri alums who contributed money five years before to ransom him away from Washington State would soon contribute money to buy out the last years of his contract at Mizzou. And completion of that circle would also be the end of the line. I barely knew Joe, but he and I were two of the last to leave the press conference.

"As Joe walked out, Powers said, 'I'll talk to you tomorrow, Joe.' Joe knew the only reason he would have to talk with Powers on Sunday was if the coach had been canned. Joe stopped in his tracks, turned and went back to shake Powers' hand.

"I walked back to the press box with Joe. 'He might not be a very good coach,' Joe said. 'But I've never seen a coach handle that situation any better. So what's your lead?'

"I told him what I thought I was going to use. He asked some questions aimed at sharpening the focus of what I was going to write. Then, remarkably, he told me what he was going to lead with and asked me to critique him.

"Wow, what an experience. What a gentleman and what a class act. He would later become editor of the Kansas City Star, but he remained a key player in keeping Kansas City a 'major league' town.

"The newspaper racket and the world need more guys like Joe McGuff. I was sad to read of his death."

Max Thomson
New Castle, PA

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: McGuff made numerous visits to Des Moines and other cities in Iowa while covering the Drake Relays, football games and basketball games. Indeed, he was a class act].


"South of the Border" writes:

"Bruce Pearl's ejection did not make the news down here, but neither do a lot of other things. I never liked the guy at Iowa, but he's turned into a good coach. Don't know if I'd recommend him to Bowlsby, though."

South of the Border

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Pearl is the former Iowa assistant basketball coach who was ejected from a recent game played by his son in Knoxville, Tenn. Pearl's Tennessee team is one of the best in the nation, and he could be a candidate for national coach of the year. "South of the Border's" comment about not recommending Pearl to Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby means he doesn't think "Bruce With the Yellow Suspenders" would be good fit for the Hawkeyes if Steve Alford should leave].


"Davenport Dave," who knows his journalism, noticed that the Des Moines Register was recently named Iowa's newspaper of the year. But he's wondering. Here's his e-mail:

"Hey, Ron,

"My question is how the Register was picked Newspaper of the Year when it didn't win any of the major section categories? From the awards, it looks like the Gazette had the best year."

Davenport Dave

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: The Gazette referred to by "Davenport Dave" is the Cedar Rapids [and Iowa City] Gazette, which does a consistently good job covering the news].


Paul Delger of Kanawha has been following and writing about sports for many years. Among his favorite teams are North Carolina State in basketball and the St. Louis Cardinals in baseball. Here's his latest e-mail:


"A followup on your comments regarding Herb Sendek. Herb's an intelligent guy who graduated from Carngie Mellon. According to my Wolfpack source, he's a private guy and not too excitable. I've probably been really following the Pack for 10 years or so and he'sprobably got his best team since I joined the fan base. I thought
they might really miss Julius Hodge [like Phil Rivers in football], but they have a veteran team. I think Herb runs a tough ship. It will be interesting to see how their do in the NCAA tournament. Last year they were on the bubble and made it to the Sweet 16."

"One thing I enjoy doing is going to midwest sporting goods stores and asking them about Wolfpack gear. You'll find an occasional hat. I usually ask the clerk why they have so much North Carolina stuff. The response: Because it sells."

Paul Delger
Kanawha, Ia.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I've always thought it would be difficult coaching basketball in the same state where Duke and North Carolina rule the roost, but North Carolina State hangs in there pretty well against the dynamic duo. Thanks for writing, Paul].