Pitchers Are Back In Power Again

Bobby Curran
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Friday - July 21, 2010
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After watching the annual Midsummer Classic, as base-ball’s All-Star game is called, a couple of things are evident. For one, the days of power pitching have returned. Watching Tampa’s David Price reach 100 mph on the radar gun, and Detroit’s Justin Verlander and Florida’s Josh Johnson register pitches at 99, it is obvious that velocity is back in vogue. Other pitchers were routinely over 95 mph. Seems like just a few year ago, there was greater emphasis being put on pinpoint control and changing speeds, a style epitomized by Greg Maddux. But a number of the young power pitchers seem to have both aspects, rendering the already difficult job of hitting a moving target almost impossible.

It also appears that the pre-game festivities are getting longer every year. Introductions alone took nearly 20 minutes. And what was with all the Malibu surf shots? Anaheim isn’t exactly on the water.


 

* But all of that pales compared to the nonsense that went on with “The Decision,” the one-hour paean to LeBron James that set a benchmark for contrived melodrama. As one wag put it, never has so much time, energy and money been spent to damage one person’s image. James came off looking like an incredibly self-absorbed young man, oblivious to how he’d be perceived in other places, especially in Cleveland.

The show, as grim as it was, pulled in more than 10 million viewers, out-drawing the All-Star Game. Some make the argument that if the ratings are good, the show must be good. If ratings are the sole basis, we’re doomed to endless reality shows and America’s Most Inane Videos.

It is quite clear ESPN is going down that road. The ESPY award show, held last Wednesday in Los Angeles, now tries harder than ever to emulate the Academy Awards, complete with hokey comedy and video skits.

For all of its corniness, ESPN did a magnificent job on the Ed Thomas story, the small-town Iowa football coach and community leader who was gunned down by a mentally unbalanced former player. At its best, ESPN is capable of bringing substance rather than just glitz and glitter.


And it was cool for the Rainbow Wahine softball team to be nominated in the biggest upset story.

* It’s hard for me to believe that the student activities fee to support UH athletics has become such a political hotpot. And it is ironic that two campus features that students are charged fees for, the newspaper (Ka Leo) and radio station (KTUH) are both entities that could be argued don’t benefit all the students. But both those organizations, just like athletics, make UH a more vibrant institution and contribute to the breadth of the campus experience.

I’m still waiting for the student vote on tuition. Think they’ll volunteer to pay that?

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