Notes of Note: Masters; Warriors; No Hitters Halted; ASU Shenanigans; Stanford Cuts Reverberate
Like most fans, I had never heard of Scottie Scheffler before last Thursday. But we should all get used to that name.
Scheffler had never won a tournament before February. But he has won four tournaments in eight weeks, is the No. 1 golfer in the world, and is only 25 years old. He dominated the Masters from start to finish.
Speaking of finishes, one of the best parts of the Masters telecast was watching Scheffler greet his family—wife, sisters, brother in law and parents—after he walked off the 18th green. The mutual love and affection were very obvious and heartwarming.
No Logos: One of the best things about this year's Master's was the fact that Scheffler and runner up Rory McElroy were devoid of multiple sponsorship logos on their cap, shirt and vests.
With most of their colleagues sporting up to six logos and looking like second-rate race drivers, Scheffler and McElroy had no logos other than Phil Knight's swoosh.
Warriors Resurgence: The outlook for the San Francisco Warriors has improved significantly in the last week with Draymond Green and Klay Thompson returning to form.
Green has been the best player on the floor recently, according to head coach Steve Kerr. And Thompson has scored 110 points in his last three games, including 41 in the season-ender on Sunday night, when the Warriors locked up the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
If Steph Curry returns at full speed, or close to it, the Warriors have a good shot at making a deep run.
Why Fans Are Losing Interest in Baseball: Padres pitchers Yu Darvish and Sean Manaea began their season with back-to-back no-hit games over at least six innings. Darvish went six (throwing 92 pitches) before being pulled Thursday night and Manaea went seven (on 88 pitches) Friday before he was yanked.
So the pitch count absurdity, one of the hot button issues for the Inside Track, continues. Both pitchers were pulled in the interest of "avoiding injuries" due to their abbreviated spring training, as new Padres manager Bob Melvin, the former Oakland A's skipper, took out pitchers throwing no-hitters on consecutive nights.
It's such a crock. Last year, Giants pitcher Carlos Rodon (then with the White Sox) threw a no-hitter on April 14. He threw 114 pitches. And Tim Lincecum threw 148 pitches in his no-hitter against San Diego in 2013. All 165 pounds of him.
No more. The best-conditioned and most pampered pitchers in MLB history apparently will have their arms fall off if they throw more than 100 pitches.
Bob Gibson and Warren Spahn are turning over in their graves, and somewhere, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan and Juan Marichal are shaking the heads in disbelief.
Sun Devils’ Shenanigans: Arizona State finished spring practice Saturday with the annual spring game. And somehow, Herm Edwards was still on the sidelines as head coach.
Four years ago when Edwards was named head coach at ASU we criticized the hire, pointing out Edwards had been out of coaching for over a decade and hadn't coached in college football since the 1980s. We thought he'd struggle with recruiting, the ever-changing culture of college football, and the NCAA’s somewhat arcane rulebook.
While Edwards' teams have had modest success on the field (25-18), he has recruited poorly. He has also created a permissive culture where NCAA rules are ignored and assistant coaches run wild.
Last year the school illegally hosted dozens of recruits for weekend visits during the pandemic quiet period, providing school equipment and paying for travel, lodging and entertainment.
Edwards was involved in the visits, but so far has escaped with no repercussions during an NCAA investigation. Meanwhile, five assistant coaches were given the option of resigning or being fired. Three chose option one, two chose option two.
Making it even more egregious is the fact that this happened at a school which reportedly provided the most financial support of any Power Five institution—a reported $67 million—to support its athletic program through the pandemic.
As for the NCAA investigation, let’s be honest. The NCAA has become a gutless, powerless institution. Last Monday we all had to endure watching Bill Self of Kansas hoist the NCAA basketball championship trophy three years after he was caught on an FBI wiretap making deals with Adidas to pay recruits.
Two Adidas reps are in jail, and Kansas has been notified of potential sanctions for major violations, but in the meantime, Self collects titles and a $6 million salary.
No Director’s Cup for Stanford: For the second straight year, Stanford will not win the Director’s Cup trophy for the best overall athletic program in the country. This after 25 straight years of winning the award.
The reason? Stanford’s absurd decision in July of 2020—later rescinded after 10 months of public and media outcry—to cut 11 varsity sports. These sports (men’s volleyball, wrestling, men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming) had formed the backbone of Stanford’s Director’s Cup wins.
But most of them are still suffering the after-shocks of their temporary elimination and 10 months in limbo. They all lost at least a year of recruiting and some lost their head coaches, who were forced to find employment elsewhere.
Such a needless tragedy.