From the Backpage to the Frontpage

I’m still old school….still get a morning paper and spend a casual, time going through most of the sections of the paper. In the sports section, I’ve come to realize that the Back page has some real nuggets. Maybe more worthy of the Frontpage..at least my Frontpage!

….For example, recently the Back Page listed all the MLB transactions for the MLB teams this off-season. It filled 1/3 to ½ the page.  Yet, the Cardinals had just ONE transaction listed—ONE! All of the other MLB teams had multiple transactions. Yet, the signing of catcher Wilson Contreras was the sole transaction listed. I know that the Cardinals treat their minor league system as…almost..their sole source of resupplying the MLB team. No doubt it’s terrific but…you do need to make trades involving those “prospects” to improve the team. Recently named HOF’er-Scott Rolen, Jim Edmond, Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock, Adam Wainwright, Willie McGee, Matt Holliday, John Tudor were all obtained in trades. On the current roster our 2 best players—Paul Goldschmidt & Nolan Arenado were both obtained through trades. There are plenty more but these are the headliners. Sometimes….maybe many times…you need to use your “farm system” to obtain proven quality players. Which of our OF or middle infielders are proven? If the “farm” is as deep as they claim, then there’s plenty of wiggle room to part with a couple of them for proven players!

…It’s commonly accepted that the Cards need to upgrade their starting staff. In this era of HR- Walk- Strikeout, the Cards staff was dead last in the MLB in strikeouts-30th! They were 14th of the 30 teams in walks allowed and were 20th in the MLB in saves. From a career point of view, the Cards staff was 20th oldest of the 30 MLB teams! Enough said….improve the team…obtain more starting pitching. I realize that pitching is a bigger gamble than field players due to the longevity of their arms that can be great one year and kaput the next. But…you gotta “roll” big to win big!

….Not even making the Back Page…you have to go to the Internet to find it… the Brewers obtained the “other” Contreras—catcher William Contreras recently. William is just 25 years old. He batted .278 with 20 HR in only 378 AB for Atlanta. In a 3-way team trade, the Braves obtained Sean Murphy with William Contreras eventually ending up in Milwaukee. William Contreras posted some impressive batting numbers last year. He slugged out a .278 avg/.354 obp/.506-slug/ .860-OPS with 20 home runs in only 376 AB’s. The Brewers gained at least five years of play by adding the 25 year old William Contreras, who is one of the game’s top young power hitters and dead center in the prime years of his career.  Wilson, age 30, signed with the Cards for $87m/5 year contract. It makes me wonder….it sounds like William would have been a less expensive, younger, better model of Wilson?!Did we get the wrong Conterras? Oh…yes… the Cards may have been forced to trade some “prospects” to obtain William. But, it may have saved them money in the long run!

…on another day, the Back Page listed the REAL NCAA M-Basketball ratings–the NET rankings (NCAA Evaluation Tool). Mizzou was ranked 46th in the NET so they are in good shape regarding the Tourney. Some surprise rankings (at least to me) …Houston (20-2) held the top spot, St. Mary’s (Cal) was #6  just ahead of U. Conn & Kansas. Creighton was at #18; Boise State-#21, New Mexico-#30, Kentucky-#35, Oral Roberts was #53 just ahead of Miss St, So. Cal, & Oklahoma! Seemingly far different, and probably more accurate, than the national polls voted on by the local & national writers.

…baseball quiz time (not on the back page 😊)…. this player was contemporary of Hank Aaron. In fact for the their first 12 years, this player had more HR’s than Aaron, 445-442 & was a 9x All-Star. His HR rate (HR/#of AB) was higher than Reggie Jackson, Fred McGriff, Stan Musial. He didn’t cooperate much..or as little as possible… with the press in his career. So his fame was less than it could have been in another setting. Who Am I? Send in your guesses…I’ll use your initials.

 …On Thursday the back page was a break-down of the Pro Golfing tourneys this weekend. It seems to me that eventually, the PGA &  LIV will learn to live together. I’m sure that the PGA, which had monopoly for decades, was stunned to see real competition. There are plenty of “choice” weekends to be shared by each organization and by television. Just do it…. And everyone will become a winner and become even richer $$

….Not really on our back page, but on others—there was a turnaround.  Nick Saban rejected the demands of 2 players who were demanding, not asking, for $1.3m in NIL money. Saban sent them on their way. It’s easier for him to do that with a cart load of the highest level HS players ready to become a part of the Crimson Tide. I hope other Coaches do the same.

…Almost on the back page on Saturday was a lengthy tribute to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He has been the leading all-time scorer in NBA history since April 4, 1984 (almost 40 years ago)  This tribute to Jabbar had paragraphs titled—Greatest HS Player Ever; The Most Famous Recruit; The Best Freshman Ever; The Greatest Collegiate Player Ever; He Changed College Basketball-part 1—(eliminated the dunk for several years so he developed the “sky hook”); Changed College Basketball-part 2 as UCLA v Houston played in front of over 52,000 fans in the Astrodome; He was the MOST Heralded Rookie; He was the most consistent player ever; He is the top Scorer—soon to be passed by LeBron James. More on Kareem—He was the Rookie of the Year, member of 6 NBA championship teams, 6-time NBA MVP, 2-time NBA Finals MVP, 19-time All-Star, 2-time scoring champion, and a member of the NBA 35th and 50th NBA Anniversary All-Time Teams. This comparison leaves out Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt didn’t play as long as either Kareem or James but clearly changed the NBA with his dominance. In 1972-73, Wilt made an unbelievable 72.7% of his shots!! All records are made to be broken—Congrats to Lebron James.

…oops…almost forgot… the Quiz Answer is Eddie Mathews.

…Well….I’m finished with the back page….Would love to read ANY of your thoughts  on any of the topics-baseball trades for Cardinals, the Contrerases, Mizzou B-ball, NCAA-M basketball rankings, Pro Golf, Bama football, Kareem &/or NBA stars. Email to me  or post directly on FB or my Web page-  bobryansportsblog.com or whatever other way suits you. YOUR response will be FRONT PAGE for me 😊 Thanks for the read!  Bob