Your Football Fix…And RIP Robby
Greetings From The Booth!
As the Shenandoah University basketball season winds down and Spring sports start easing into the schedule, a quick word about SU baseball. Hard to believe, but Kevin Anderson’s juggernaut begins play next Saturday. The Hornets are a perennial power in baseball on a national scale, but too often fly under the radar. get out and catch a few games!
Well, if you need more football and don’t feel like watching all those replays on the NFL Network, the all-new Alliance of American Football begins play this weekend. The new AAF has a network (CBS) and you’ll recognize names like Christian Hackenberg, Trent Richardson, and “The Ol’Ball Coach,” Steve Spurrier.
One of the league’s goals is to play games in 2 1/2 hours, and to that end, there will be no kickoffs, no onside kicks, and an extra official known as a SkyJudge to immediately correct erroneous calls made on the field. I don’t know about you, but “SkyJudge” sounds like something from those Terminator movies. If I were the other officials, I would be frightened…
The AAF seems to be more thought-out than Vince McMahon’s XFL from a few years ago. I guess the only question will be one of demand. By February, do we want more football or do we need a break from it? Time and ratings will tell.
Finally, the sports world is mourning the loss of baseball great Frank Robinson, who lost his battle with cancer this week at 83. When Robinson was traded from the Reds in 1966, he was called “an old 30.” What he proceeded to do in the American League was help the Baltimore Orioles to 4 World Series appearances in his 6 years with the team, including 2 World Championships. Robinson was part of that O’s team that included Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell, Mark Belanger, and Jim Palmer, and averaged 97 wins a season from ’66-’71.
He was a 2-time MVP (once in each league!), a 14-time All-Star, and when he retired, was fourth on the all-time home run list, and was the total package. He hit for average and power, could steal bases, run the bases, take walks, and play defense.
Much like another Robinson, Jackie, Frank broke the managerial color barrier in major league baseball as the skipper of the Cleveland Indians, and was the very first manager of the Washington Nationals.
His Nats teams didn’t win any pennants, but were competitive, a reflection of the way Robinson approached and played the game.
For me, Frank Robinson was part of a golden age of baseball, when a pack of baseball cards actually contained a stick of bubble gum, we followed our heroes like Mays, Mantle, and Gibson by reading The Sporting News and the box scores in the newspaper, kept a scorebook when our Dads took us to a major league game, and listened late into the night as baseball was brought to life for us on our AM radio.
I can only hope that today in Baseball Heaven, the legendary Oriole broadcaster Chuck Thompson is describing yet another Frank Robinson highlight with his trademark: “Ain’t the beer cold!”
RIP Frank Robinson…and , from 33rd Street, “O-R-I-O-L-E-S!”