Sunday, May 07, 2006

Better Start Saving Your Money for Parking And Beer--Kerry Wood Will Likely Be Stopping By At No-Name Ballpark Friday Night

Next stop, Des Moines.

Whether Des Moines wants Kerry Wood to stop by or not.

Wood is one of the multi-millionaires in the growing "Mr. Rehab Club" on the Chicago Cubs' baseball team.

He always pitches well in places like Peoria and Des Moines.

He's always got his arm in a sling in Chicago.

Wood, who is hurt more than he's healthy, struck out 12 of the 18 Lansing Lugnuts he faced last night while pitching for Class A Peoria.

I mean, what did you expect a team called the Lugnuts to do against Wood's fastball --- actually hit it?

Naturally, two or three Cub fans are excited about the latest development.

But, really, what has changed?


Wood is hurt every year, and every year he has what some regard as an awesome rehab appearance in a minor league park.

Usually, it's in Des Moines -- at what I still call Sec Taylor Stadium, or sometimes No-Name Ballpark.

It's a place where the owners have their hands in your pockets before you get off the freeway.

Wood is expected to be pitching here at 7:05 p.m. Friday when the Iowa Cubs play Colorado Springs.

Then you can pay $5 to park and $5.75 for a cup of beer to watch Wood again throw 94 to 97 miles per hour to minor league batters.

Mr. Rehab will probably pitch his first game for the big-city Cubs May 17 against Washington.

I can't wait.

* * *

Actually, I think Peoria would be a great place for Dusty Baker, too.

* * *

Although they may have been edited out of some of the recent newspapers you've been reading, a few comments by Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro deserve a look today.

When Barbaro showed up at his press conference following the race in Louisville, he immediately nodded at Des Moines Register reporter Dan Johnson.

"Great to see you, Dan," the horse commented. "You've been loyal to horse racing over the years and I want to thank you for coming to Louisville again this time. Every horse in America owes you a debt of gratitude for your longtime coverage.

"You've been great for our sport. In this era of shrinking news budgets, I appreciate it that you came all the way out here from the great state of Iowa to cover the Derby.

"I read your stuff every chance I get, and I hope your bosses give you a bump in pay."

* * *

No hard feelings, Barbaro, but I was hoping Lawyer Ron [right] would win the Derby.

* * *

When Bud Appleby of Des Moines heard that former Drake women's basketball coach Lisa Stone is being pressured to win by her bosses at Wisconsin, he told me:

"Maybe she'll come back to Drake."

That tells me not everyone is happy with present Bulldogs coach Amy Stephens -- whose record is a modest 47-42 -- nor are some folks pleased that Stephens has had her contract extended through the 2010-2011 season.

Indeed, the new athletic director at Drake -- regardless of who it is -- will inherit some potential problems when he or she steps into the job.

It has already been decided that Keno Davis -- the son of present Bulldogs men's coach Tom Davis -- will take over that job and be around at least through 2010-2011.

Like I said earlier, I hope it all works out at a place that's trying desperately to get back some respectability in basketball.

Meanwhile, the athletic director candidates -- Sandy Hatfield Clubb, Robert Fourier and Jerry Wellmering -- will be touring the campus, starting today.

* * *

A man identified as "Locust Liar Alum 1997-2001" sent this e-mail:


"I was skeptical of The Des Moines Register's new page layout and design when the new management came on board a few months ago. I mean, c'mon, it is newsprint, what can make it any better?

"Honestly, it has really cleaned up the pages and made it a quicker read! I read the whole damn paper in less than 10 minutes this morning and got it right into the recycle bin! No haste -- no waste!

"I will admit I slowed down to read the advertisements, though -- a lot of 4-color ads looked like they were printed while maintenance was using a jackhammer on the pressroom floor.


Locust Liar Alum 1997-2001

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: "Locust Liar Alum 1997-2001" is an expert on the things he mentioned. When he says them, I believe him].

* * *

"Locust Liar Alum 1997-2001" followed with another e-mail:

".....Great forum and article about Jane Burns -- right on target, too!

"Two other things...

"Juice -- talked to marketing staff -- they don't have a 'street team' anymore because of promotional budget cuts (duh - I could have guessed this one) - but it still was a strong part of their initial promotion last year. Each week gets more interesting with the Juice because recently you can stack four Datebooks next to Juice and still be shorter! Are they going to pull a 'Press Citizen' and kill the Datebook and insert in an expanded Iowa Life? Hmm...

"Word from an ISU rassler insider is that Frank Santana (7 Flags) used his financial leverage to expedite the Bobby Douglas ouster. Hmmm..."

Locust Liar Alum 1997-2001

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Dear Locust Liar Alum 1997-2001, you might be reading publisher Mary Stier's mind!]

* * *

Old friend Harold Yeglin checked in with this great e-mail:


"Move over, Igor from Independence. This is Foo from Roanoke.

"Good reading about Jane Burns, a great kid to have around the ol' sports desk in those days of yore. She was a bright kid whose good cheer offset that former pain-in-the-ass named Sotak. (Just kidding, John; you;ve long since become a man of the collar and genuine good guy!)

"Couldn't find a thing about the Drake Relays in Roanoke and Washington papers. And the only reason the Penn Relays got a paragraph in the Roanoke Times -- which has a pretty good sports section -- was that a guy from Radford U. (where's that? you say) won the (good grief!) hammer throw.

"People hereabouts haven't a clue about Drake U. (as unknown here as Elon is there) or its Relays. That's no indictment of Drake or the Relays. People here don't (1) know where Iowa is and (2) just don't give a s---t about track unless it's Olympics stuff.

"A couple of weeks ago [my wife] Milka and I took in a great recognition banquet for hometown hero J.J. Redick. It drew 900 people at $25 a head. All this after Redick won the Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete.

"Redick is a Nile Kinnick type. Smart boy. He gave a 15-minute speech off the top of his head that wowed 'em at the banquet."

Harold Yeglin
a.k.a Foo from Roanoke

P.S. Where's Radford U.? The answer: About 15 miles south of Blacksburg/Virginia Tech on Interstate 81. In other words, 45 miles south of Roanoke. (The hammer throw. Good grief!)

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: It was great hearing from Foo from Roanoke. He's always been an enjoyable guy. John Sotak knows you're kidding, too, Foo! By the way, I think I once wrote a story about the hammer throw for a newspaper. I've been trying to forget it -- the hammer throw, I mean -- ever since].

* * *

"Sandy in Boone" writes:

"I think Barry Alvarez would make a good athletic director at Iowa. He would be back working with some of the guys he worked in the past with. Kirk Ferentz, Dan McCarney. Iowa needs to get a people person, one that can sit and talk to you as a regular person. A Hayden Fry kind of guy!!!! Thanks for your time."

Sandy in Boone

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: We all got to know Alvarez well when he was on Fry's Iowa football coaching staff after being at Mason City High School. He's probably too entrenched at Wisconsin as athletic director to come back to Iowa].