There are times in our life that a magic moment occurs…we meet our future spouse (often accidentally), we find a better job even unexpectantly. Well….same is true in sports.
….the Magic Moment for Vladimir Tarasenko, was seeing his name floated around all off-season and being exposed in the expansion draft, but nothing happened. Now in ’21-22 season, he’s still wearing the Blue Note and is being productive for the Blues. He leads the team in goals, 2nd in assists and tied for the team top spot in overall points(29). We just have to accept that he’s an offensive player…he’s at his best while on the perimeter with his shooting ability. He’s just not going to check real aggressively very often or play around the net. That’s not his style. Not everyone plays like Gordie Howe…in fact, probably NO ONE ever has 😊 At that same magic moment, I’m a bit concerned about Brayden Schenn who looks a step behind everyone this year. He has just 2 even strength goals and 2 Power play goals. Blues have missed the speed of Robert Thomas & Jordan Kyrou. Both of them bring excitement and entertainment…not so sure that they check real often… but they do share the puck. Both of these 2 young players are offensive minded and will be returning soon
….the Magic Moment for the Cardinals this year WASN’T the 17 game winning streak. It happened long before that time. In late-July, early-August, the Cardinal management decide to change course with their pitching staff. They looked for control pitchers who kept the ball low (and in the ball park). 34 year old Luis Garcia was added July 9th. Garcia ultimately became the closer- – a reliable one! His sinking fastball was very effective. In 34 games, he posted a 3.24 ERA while giving up 25 hits in 33 innings. His WHIP was a scant .990. He was noticed by other MLB teams. He has already been signed for 2022 by San Diego on Dec 1. The Cards also signed Jon Lester & JA Happ on July 30th. The 37 year old Lester was added on July 30 in a trade with Washington for Lane Thomas. Lester went 4-1 as a starter. Posting an ERA of 4.36 (lower than Martinez & Oviedo). In his 12 starts he went 66 innings.. a reliable 5/game. I’m hoping that they resign him as a free agent. JA Happ went 5-2 as a starter. In 11 starts, 54 innings with an ERA of 4.00 but did Happ did squeeze out a 5-2 record. TJ McFarland was promoted on June 30th.He was used in selective spots as a left-handed pitcher. He went 4-1 as he average almost exactly 1 inning per outing.(38 appearances-38 2/3 innnings). He also had a nice 4-1 record. His WHIP was a mere 1.06. Wade LaBlanc was also signed but his arm could no longer take the stress. These moves proved to be Magical. Not only were they well timed, they were badly needed. This unusual collection of veteran pitchers helped propel the Birds through their best 17 games in Redbird history. I really don’t believe that this collection of pitchers could repeat that performance collectively again in ‘22! Apparently the Cardinals brass feels the same way. But.. these pitchers did keep the ball in the ball park, didn’t walk many while putting to work the superb Cardinal defense (5 Gold Glovers). This should be a lesson there for ALL Cardinal pitchers in 2022.
…the Magic Moment for Mizzou Football this season was the win over Florida. Their defense limited the Gators ground game (less than 100 yards) with only an average of 2.4 yds/carry. Coach Drink went for the 2-pt conversion to win the game—showing confidence in his offense! It was so much in contrast with the very conservative style of Florida Coach Dan Mullen. Mullen was fired only days after this loss to Mizzou. Running back Tyler Badie convinced most fans that he COULD produce in the clutch against an SEC team. He posted strong stats against Florida – 27c/146 yds/5.4-per carry.
…SLU Billiken Basketball may have reached a magic moment on Saturday. They lost a tough game Saturday against Auburn. The Bills were ahead most of the game but couldn’t hold onto the lead at the end & lost 74-70. The Bills controlled the boards 53-26—a good sign. Possibly, Coach Ford’s decision to go with primarily 4 players throughout the game cost them. That Foursome each played 35 minutes or more. That’s tough when Auburn didn’t have ANY player with 35 min in the game. Freshness at the end of the game is critical.
….While on SLU basketball, hopefully a Magic Moment will come to the SLU administration. The basketball program has suffered from lack of continuity with the Head Coach position for a long while now. There seems to be a 5 year itch for a SLU coach @ SLU. Ford is in his 6th year right now, sooo maybe that’s changing. However prior to Ford there were: Jim Crews-4 years; Rick Majerus-5 years, Brad Soderberg-5 years, Lorenzo Romar-3 years, Ron Ekker-4 years, Ron Coleman- 1 year, Randy Albrecht-3 years, Bob Polk-5 years, Buddy Brehmer-4 years. That takes us back to 1965. The 2 exceptions were Charlie Spoonhour- 7 years and Rich Grawer-10 years. Those were winning years for the Billikens. SLU isn’t going to get the “1 & done” guys very often, so they need a consistent approach at the top.
…this week, watching the SD Chargers v KC Chiefs, a magic moment came to me. When San Diego’s offense stalled in KC territory, I expected FG attempt on 4th down. Much to my surprise, San Diego went for it..they failed. But…that wasn’t the only time…San Diego went 2 for 5 on 4th down attempts in this game. It made the game much more exciting. Really, when was the last exciting Field Goal that you’ve seen? Rookie Head Coach Brandon Staley had entered the game 13 of 21 on 4th down plays. The team BUYS INTO IT.. it shows confidence in the offense. Further, the analytics go along the same lines that going for a 4th down instead of posting FG’s will win you more games!
….a Magic Moment came to Jacksonville owner, Shahid Khan, who fired Urban Meyer after just 13 games as Head Coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Meyer, who had tremendous success at the college level with 3 national championships, was totally miscast as a NFL coach. Using his college techniques of bullying & ridiculing players, lied in news conferences, assumed no blame as he threw players, staffers & coaches “under the bus” for mistakes publicly. Meanwhile players AND coaches were leaking embarrassing stories about Meyer. The Respect/Admiration door didn’t swing either way!! Finally, he got caught on a tape with a woman who wasn’t his wife. That magic moment led to his Pro career ending suddenly. Frankly, it seems, his highly successful recruiting as a college coach hid well his many weaknesses as a coach and person. Further, Jacksonville is claiming that he was fired for “cause”….which means they wouldn’t pay him the rest of his contract.
…Well….I’ve my Magic Moment has reached its end…. Don’t forget to check out the responses of readers on my Facebook page. Or…with additional “off” time, catch up on the older blogs that are found on http://www.bobryansportsblog.com Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas ! Bob