GOING BACKWARD OR FORWARD? Teams don’t ever stay the same…they’re either moving FORWARD OR BACKWARD.

…Clearly the Blues are going BACKWARD now with the hopes of moving FORWARD in the future. After being a leader for the Blues in their 1st Stanley Cup Championship, Ryan O’Reilly was moved in a clear BACKWARDS MOVE. The Blues are hoping that these draft choices will propel them FORWARD in a few years not in the next year or 2. O’Reilly is hoping that he’s moving FORWARD with the Toronto.  But, it’s been since 1967 that the Maple Leafs hoisted up the Cup. The Leafs have been in the Playoffs 6 straight years (this year will by #7). Not much of a consolation for the Toronto fans.

…But the Blues have fallen BACKWARDS badly this year. Missing the playoffs has to be a “wake up” call. Tied up by hefty salaries currently, the Blues will need to change the face of their team by parting with veterans especially their defensemen.  Surprisingly to me, Colton Parayko, Tory Krug & Justin Falk each have a contract for 2023 of $6.5m as does Forward Brayden Schenn.  The Blues are stymied by those 4 salaries. They aren’t the only ones….there are several players who have moved BACKWARD in intensity & production. Some of those players are veterans, some are the highly paid youngsters. Winning hockey involves constant checking, passing, and playing defense. The Blues can’t move FORWARD until at least 2 of that foursome is moved. To me, Falk has been the best of this 4-some on the ice.  

…the MLB is trying to move FORWARD in fan interest. They’ll be implementing new ways of shortening the game and, they hope, adding action.  While attempting to move FORWARD, new rules will be enforced. Some…may…cause real change for fans & players. For example–the “throws over to 1b” are limited to 2 per batter. Sooo…what if the 2 throws are made to 1b. How big of a lead will a runner be able to have then? The pitcher can’t throw to 1b after the 2nd throw. Could a runner take a 15 ft lead off? 20 ft? 30 ft? what is the limit?

…The MLB thinks that the use of the pitch clock will make many pitchers CHANGE their slow routine and move the game FORWARD. Last year, there were 59 pitchers who averaged more than 15 seconds (the new standard) with bases empty. The Slowest in the league was the Cards Giovanny Gallegos who averaged slightly over 19 sec/pitch. With runners on base, there were 49 pitchers who didn’t match the ’23 required time of 15 seconds. Gallegos & Kenly Jansen averaged over 24 sec/pitch. Will the concern of timing with stop watches move the game FORWARD or BACKWARD.

…Moving BACKWARD in time for our Sports Quiz TODAY, this former Whiz Kid was 1 of a trio of pitchers for the ‘64 World Series champions. That trio pitched 777 inn & won 57 games combined. This pitcher had the lowest WHIP on the team. Who am I?

…To any fan, we all know that to move FORWARD in College sports in 2023, you must have NIL money for the athletes…oops…students.  It doesn’t take long. Please note that Alabama Basketball Team has suddenly become a powerhouse and is currently ranked #2 in the USA. The Crimson Tide b-ballers have only made it to the Regional Finals ONCE in 110 seasons. According to the data available, 4 Bama basketball players received NIL money. Generally, not to the same extent as football players but one reportedly received $310,000. 4 very good players on a 12-man team could bring about significant change in a hurry.

..It is easier for some SEC teams to move FORWARD because of the passion in their states for sports.

For example,  Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, & Kentucky are able to move FORWARD quickly at the college level since those college teams have no professional team competition at all!. They don’t have any MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL teams there AT ALL!! Even in Louisiana, all the pro teams are in just 1 city-New Orleans. Joining the SEC next year is Oklahoma with only 1 professional team-The Thunder.  

…In Collegiate sports, TO MOVE FORWARD, especially in football, recruiting is the lifeblood to success. A “strong” recruiting class is based on how many 5 star, 4 star and 3 star rated recruits a school can bring into the program. According to a recent rating, Mizzou was rated 33rd in the country in their recruiting rankings. That sounds fairly strong. However, the problem is that MU was rated 14th (of 14 teams) in the SEC in that same recruiting poll!  Is MU going FORWARD or BACKWARD in SEC football?

…Answer to quiz is Curt Simmons. The other successful starters IN ’64 were Gibby & Ray Sadecki.

…Moving BACKWARD in the NCAA Football Portal were Texas A&M (after signing a glorious class in ’22, then going 5-7 with only 2 SEC wins, 2 dozen players lefts including 13 from classes of ’21, ’22) Arkansas (lost 7 starters); S.Carolina (lost 3 offensive playmakers & 2 key defensive starters). According to experts, MOVING FORWARD—Colorado (Deion Sanders-new HC) had the most & biggest upgrade in talent through the portal.

…It’s been a tremendous MOVE FORWARD for Mizzou Basketball. Coach Gates has implemented an upbeat, constant pressure, long range shooting team. Almost through February now, the SEC stats have real significance. In SEC games, the Tigers are 2nd-Scoring;  2nd in 3-pt shots; 2nd in assists; 1st in steals; 10th in Blocks &  14th (last) -Rebounds. The Tigers hold a 20-8 record (terrific). But,the Tigers have dropped 2 of the last 3 games including a real wipe out by Auburn. Also, remember I mentioned 2 months ago that the Tigers were 10-0 against a very soft December schedule. With a current 20-8 record, that means the Tigers have gone 10-8 since Dec 10. That’s “OK” but 3-5 on the road (not counting neutral site games) is a bit worrisome. In order to continue to MOVING FORWARD the Tigers will have improve their play away from Hearnes Center.

…Well, I’m done moving FORWARD😊 Thanks for the read! I (and so do others) always enjoy YOUR thoughts, please share on FB or through email. Have a great week!  Bob