Sunday, July 24, 2011

State Tournaments Done Right , Lock It Up Lockout, Testify NASCAR Fans!


Nice to have a slow day between tournaments.  Softball wrapped up last week.  The folks in Fort Dodge put on a great tournament in a terrific facility.  Great atmosphere all around.  Wasn't their fault Mother Nature was such a witch with the heat and storms.

Now it's full tilt on to baseball.  Granted we've already had two days on Friday and Saturday.  Personally, I love this tourney.  I covered it as an intern in 2005 the first year they played it at Principal Park.  I know the grounds crew hates it since they have 40-50 some games on that field, but it's a lot of fun to see kids and fans get into it and play in the state's best baseball park.  Gilbert had 2-1 walkoff win on Friday.  The scene on the field and in the stands is what it's all about.

Which gets me to two things I REALLY like about these tournaments that usually don't happen in most state tournaments anywhere.  Personally, I've covered state tournaments in five states over the last five years.  First up, I like that we don't have a ton of consolation games (in fact there are none for baseball).  I get that parents and kids spend a lot of money to come here, but I can't tell you how many times I've been to a tournament where they play consolation games on the same field as the championship game and the title game gets pushed an hour or more back because of it.  From what I've seen Iowa does it right.  In softball consolation games were on other fields and actually (I believe) had a time limit.

I also wonder what kids think of consolation games.  My high school sport was football, and there ain't no third place game.  Part of me would have loved one last chance to strap on the pads and go out a winner.  But for the most part, I and my teammates were so disappointed at not winning the title, that I don't think a consolation game would have made us feel better.  Sometimes there's a good life lesson in dealing with defeat.
Where A State Tournament Belongs

The other thing Iowa is doing right in this tourney is the venue.  I think state tournament championships belong in the best venue in the state.  I will admit to being a bit of a hypocrite here.  When my Loveland Indians won the state football title in 2000 we played at our home stadium (Colorado moved title games to Mile High Stadium in 2006).  Playing in a smaller venue made the crowd seem that much larger (we had about 5,000), as opposed to a large stadium where the crowd can get swallowed up by 80,000 seats.  That said, I'd have loved to play in a pro or college stadium.  I knew I wasn't going to play in the pros (or college for that matter), so I think it would have been fun to experience playing in a pro venue.  Same deal here.  All due respect to the UNI dome (and yes I know weather would come into play), if you're a prep football player, wouldn't you want to play just once at Kinnick or Jack Trice (depending on which college team was away the week of title games)?  Again, I think Iowa is doing it right here with track (Drake Stadium), baseball (Principal Park), and hoops/wrestling (Wells Fargo Arena) among others.  There are exceptions (Fort Dodge has a better and larger softball facility for example than any college in the state).  I do wish they'd work some kind of rotation between the UNI Dome and Kinnick and Jack Trice though.

Apparently the NFL lockout is ending tomorrow.  The best news in all of this is not that we'll have football, it's that the labor deal is believed to last for about ten years.  If there was one thing worse than the lockout, it was listening to the coverage and legal speak about the lockout.

Sure sign that the lockout is ending?  There's talk that Brett Favre wants to come out of retirement.
The Menace Maniac-An Good And Under-Appreciated Mascot (Albeit a knock off of Mr. Met)
 The Des Moines Menace qualified for the PDL soccer playoffs today with a 1-0 win at St. Louis.  Yes I know it's soccer (say, was there a World Cup recently?  Like most of America I can't remember) but two thoughts:  1.  Give dap to organization.  They get pretty good crowds and put out a good product with a sport that's not overly popular in the US.  2.  They beat a team from St. Louis.  It's a chance to bust on Andy Fales love of all things St. Louis.

The Chicago Cubs won their third straight game for the FIRST TIME all season.  If somebody kept a stat for that type of thing that has to be a record.

The NASCAR preacher had to be getting some money under the table from sponsors to throw out this prayer didn't he?   At least he remembered to score a few points with the wife.....

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