Archive for June, 2009

CWS Reflections
Thursday, June 25, 2009

Louisiana State is the 2009 national champion. The Tigers won 15 of their last 16 games to take home their first title since 2000.

Here are some superlatives as I look back on the College World Series that was.

Best Team: LSU

They won the College World Series.

Best Fans: LSU

This doesn’t require much of an explanation. The Tiger fans come in droves, and more importantly, they come with food.

CWS Team we will forget was ever here this year: Southern Miss

Cinderellas leave indelible marks… when they actually win games. The Golden Eagles went two-and-Q. We hardly knew ye, USM.

Best Soundbite: Pat Murphy.

It’s never much of a contest when Arizona State is in the field. His best bite of the bunch came after beating North Carolina. “Great win, great game… great pulled pork sandwich I had in the second inning…” Apparently he had someone buy him one at the concession stand during the game. Another classic soundbite came when someone asked him why he started pitcher Josh Spence instead of Mike Leake. “Brilliance,” he dead-panned.

Worst coach when it comes to delaying the game: Augie Garrido

Three hours and thirty six minutes. That was the average length of the games in this year’s College World Series. I would venture to guess that 20 minutes of that average can be attributed to Texas coach Augie Garrido. The guy sure knows how to keep an inning going. I’ve never seen a coach come out of the dugout to have multiple conversations with BATTERS during a game.  What, is the third base coach not communicating properly?

Best media food: Burgers and Dogs

If members of the media were honest with you, they would tell you they look forward to the free media food more than they do the actual games. Games can be entertaining, but they do little to fill the belly. That’s where Maggie comes in. She is the fabulous backbone to the Centerplate crew that produces the nightly entrees. Pork tenderloin, chili dogs, chicken fried chicken, bbq pork and tacos were all part of the CWS cuisine. But Monday night’s “ballpark buffet” took the prize. A burger topped with all the fixings, coupled with a hot dog and beans? That is the key to my heart. And my heart was full after that night.

Most annoying aspect of dealing with the NCAA and ESPN: Standing in a rank stairwell after the championship game while waiting to go on the field.

There are so many rules and regulations to follow when it comes to covering NCAA championships. One being that at the end of the championship game, we are not allowed into the field until ESPN is off the air. So, as LSU was dog-piling at the pitchers’ mound, yours truly and 25 of his closest friends were jammed in the stairwell underneath the LSU dugout. NCAA rules actually permitted us to hang out in the dugout itself, but we were blocked by an official who pleaded ignorance. This stairwell was not only hot and humid from the outside temperatures, but also from the clubhouse dryers in use at the time, creating an atmosphere that would make the smell of a hockey locker room seem appealing.

Add your superlatives by clicking “responses” above.

*Note: This will likely be my last post for at least ten days. Vacation calls.

Manny not Coming to Omaha
Friday, June 19, 2009

Well, it was fun to think about.

Now reality has set in.

Manny Ramirez will not be playing in Omaha.

According to published reports, the suspended Major League slugger will join Triple A Albuquerque on Tuesday for a three-game series. He will then leave the team to join Class A Inland Empire for a three-game series starting June 27th, before joining the Dodgers July 1st. Albuquerque opens up a four-game series in Omaha on June 27th.

The Royals also play in Albuquerque June 18th through 21st. Manny is set to join Albuquerque June 23rd.

Oh…… so close.

Is Ed Servais Leaving Creighton?
Wednesday, June 10, 2009

As I told you on Wednesday’s six o’clock newscast, Creighton baseball coach Ed Servais has been contacted by Wake Forest about its head coaching vacancy. A source close to the situation tells KETV that a decision could come this weekend.

Servais just finished his sixth season with the Bluejays. He has averaged nearly 40 wins per season. The three-time Missouri Valley coach of the year has led Creighton to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances.

Meanwhile, Wake Forest chose not to renew the contract of Rick Rembielak after five seasons on the job. The Demon Deacons finished last in the ACC this year, failing to qualify for the conference tournament.

When reached by phone on Wednesday, Servais declined to comment.

Servais could have a decision to make. He has been down this road before, but this opportunity could be too good to pass up. Does he stay at Creighton and continue to push this program to its limits (which it may already have reached)? Or does he head to a disfunctional program in a larger conference and build from the ground up?

There would likely be a considerable pay raise, but I’m sure this decision will be less about money and more about happiness.

What do you think?

Stay tuned…

2009 College World Series
Monday, June 8, 2009

The field is set. 

Texas, Arizona State, Cal State Fullerton, Southern Mississippi, LSU, North Carolina, Virginia and Arkansas.

It is obvious that northern schools have a competitive advantage in college baseball.  When are the southern schools going to catch a break?  Right.

Here are your opening matchups for the double elimination tournament:

Bracket One (SATURDAY)

1:00pm Arkansas vs Cal State Fullerton

6:00pm LSU vs Virginia

Bracket Two (SUNDAY)

1:00pm  North Carolina vs Arizona State

6:00pm  Texas vs Southern Mississippi

I’ll take North Carolina in bracket one, and Fullerton in bracket two.

My national champ:  Cal State Fullerton.

Who do you got?

Conversation with Trev: Part One
Sunday, June 7, 2009

Recently, I paid a visit to the University of Nebraska-Omaha to chat with Trev Alberts. My interview with the athletic director was rescheduled three times because of issues that popped up that he had to attend to. That should give you an idea of just how busy he is… which is how I began our fireside chat.

Part one of my interview deals with the search for a new hockey coach. I will post the other parts in the coming days.

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Schick: What’s been the most challenging part of your first six weeks on the job?

Trev: Trying to keep everything straight. Trying to figure out what day it is, what time it is. It gets to be three o’clock and I think , gee I forgot to have lunch today. But it’s a blast. It’s a lot of hard work. I enjoy working with the people in this department and the coaches. We’re really gonna enjoy it once we begin to see the fruits of our labor.

Schick: What is the status of the search for a hockey coach?

Trev: We’ve had great response for our opening. We decided to wade through all of the applicants and maybe pick a few that were really qualified folks. Then there’s gonna be a process of reaching out to see how much interest there is. Some of those people didn’t apply, and some did. We have not had any on-campus interviews, and going forward we don’t have any on-campus interviews scheduled. We need to find out the interest-level and then see if we can hire them.

Schick: How many applicants?

Trev: I don’t know the exact number. It’s a lot. I will tell you there’s a couple of folks that no one can figure out exactly who they are (laughing). So I’m not sure that they count. We’ve done some research, trying to properly vet some of the candidates, and we don’t find any evidence they actually coached hockey. That’s a bit of a disqualifier.

Schick: Have you narrowed it down to a list of finalists?

Trev: We don’t have finalists. I don’t think we have to get to a point where we name finalists. I’m a little different. I don’t want to have a parade of folks come in. That’s just not in my being. I just want the committee to come together and find a list of folks that they are interested in and maybe find a person and see if we can sign that person to be our hockey coach.

Schick: When do you expect to name a coach?

Trev: I would like it to happen tomorrow because that could be one thing I could check off. It’s a process, it takes time. We’d like it to be in the middle of the month of June. We will not rush this decision. It’s too important for our future. We will do all of our due diligence. We’re going to aim for the moon, and try to get the best possible candidate that we can to try to convince him to be our head coach. If that happens soon, great. If it’s later, that’s okay too. We need to get the right fit.

Schick: Is it safe to say that if you don’t name a coach before the College World Series that you will do if after the College World Series?

Trev: I don’t want to take anything away from the College World Series by naming a hockey coach. Is that what you mean? (laughing) No, I know what you meant. The College World Series is very important to Omaha. It’s important to gain energy with the announcement of a new hockey coach. But we don’t want to overthink it. Would it make a lot of sense to sit on it for two or three weeks if we’ve found someone?

Schick: What will be your expectations for a new hockey coach?

Trev: One of the things that we can do as an athletic department is sit down with all of our coaches and establish our expectations. I don’t know that we’ve done a very good job at that. Obviously, championships are fun. But I’m also a realist. I’ve always thought that you oughta finish in the top-half of your conference and you oughta win a conference championship every five years. At least be making progress towards that. You don’t wanna make a statement that that’s all we wanna do. We want to win a national championship every year. But we also understand the reality of our situation. I just want all of our programs to be making progress. Part of them getting better is giving them the tools and resources to get better. We can’t have unreasonable expectations on our staff and then not allow them to be successful. I assure you that we will reinvest in hockey and we will get the resources in place we need to allow said coach to be successful. There will be expectations probably different with hockey. With resources come expectations. You pick your poison, right? We’ll see what happens. I truly am looking for someone who one day will hang a banner for UNO. If we are not in the business of those expectations, Matt, then I clearly am in the wrong business.

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Click on “responses” above and add your two cents.

Mannywood Coming to Rosenblatt?
Wednesday, June 3, 2009

There’s an interesting story looming on the horizon. If it happens, it will be one of the biggest stories to hit Omaha since Michael Phelps hit the water.

Manny Ramirez is serving his 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy. He will be back in the Dodgers lineup on July 3rd. Under the league’s policy, a player is permitted to play in ten minor league games before the suspension ends.

Here is where it gets juicy.

As I first told you Wednesday night on KETV Newswatch 7 at Ten, the Albuquerque Isotopes are scheduled to come to Omaha for a four game series from June 27th through the 30th. Albuquerque is the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

You see where I’m going with this.

There is a distinct possibility that Manny Ramirez could be playing with Albuquerque when the team plays in Omaha.

I asked Omaha’s general manager Martie Cordaro about this on Wednesday. “We’re very excited about any opportunity that we may even have to have a Manny Ramirez play left field at Rosenblatt, especially with Rosenblatt going away in a couple years. But right now it’s just pure speculation. Until we get closer to that date I can’t comment on it. It’s not that I don’t want to, I would love to comment on it, but I really can’t at this time because it’s just pure speculation.”

I jokingly asked him if ESPN had sent in its request for media credentials yet. “We haven’t got those requests yet,” he said. ” But I think that if they come in that’s gonna tip me off as to they may know something about him showing up in Omaha that I don’t.”

Last week, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt told the Los Angeles Times that he expects Ramirez to play in minor league games to prepare for his activation.

It’s all speculation at this point. But could you imagine the scene? Not a bad way to chase away those post-CWS sorrows.

Since they call it “Mannywood” in Los Angeles, would we call it “Mannyha?”

A Month? Really? Wow. Shame on Me.
Monday, June 1, 2009

I was perusing the Internet recently and came upon a page entitled, “Schick’s Shtick.”  It was a link I found through ketv.com.  I couldn’t believe that the author’s last post came in the first week of May.  I was prepared to inform this “blogger” of his laziness by sending an email laced with hate and juvenile vitriol, signing it “anonymous”… until it dawned on me.  The page is mine. 

I also checked the number of “clicks”.  It turns out that despite my lack of posts, I’m still getting about 50 clicks per day.  My, how fruitless those mouse-clicks turned out to be.  My apologies.

Forgive me for my lack of contact recently.  Sometimes the ambition simply drains out of my body, much like my sweat does while peeling an orange.

I also need to apologize to the blog itself.  My dear blog,  I have forsaken you for your cousin “Facebook”, and your step-child “Twitter.”  While I cannot promise I will be able to restore our relationship to what it once was, I will commit to bringing back the trust that made our relationship so special.