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Archive for June, 2010

Tom Izzo Makes the Right Move…By Not Moving At All

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

For over a week, Michigan State head basketball coach Tom Izzo had been mulling an offer to coach the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, leaving hoops fans all over the Midwest in a state of limbo. Today, Coach Izzo revealed his decision – he is going to stay at Michigan State. Not even the possibility of coaching the game’s greatest player in LeBron James could convince Izzo to leave East Lansing, a place he has called home for the past 27 years, including the last 15 as Spartans head coach.

Izzo has already reached the elite level of active college coaches, and is a certain Hall-of-Famer. He has enjoyed an incredible amount of success at MSU, including 6 Final Four appearances and the 2000 National Championship. Coach Izzo has built one of the strongest, most consistent programs in all of college basketball, and now he is sticking around to try and maintain Sparty’s place among the upper echelon of college programs.

If he had decided to bolt for the NBA, Izzo would have had to try and buck the trend of successful college coaches flopping in the pros. John Calipari, Mike Montgomery and, most notably, Rick Pitino all failed in their transitions to the NBA. All three have since returned to college hoops with success. The NBA and college games offer two distinctly different styles of play, making the college-to-NBA switch very difficult. We’ll see a college coach succeed in the NBA at some point, however, it doesn’t look like it will be Tom Izzo.

Izzo is making the right call here. He has built a top-notch program at Michigan State and has become one of the top coaches in the sport. By staying put, Izzo is passing up the glitz and glamour of the NBA in favor of the black and blue of the Big Ten. That’s a choice all sports fans can appreciate.

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Categories: College Basketball

Perfect*

June 3, 2010 Leave a comment

History was made in Detroit on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, the gem thrown by Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, as a blown call at first base robbed the 28 year-old righthander of the 21st perfect game in baseball history. Umpire Jim Joyce, who mistakenly called Indians SS Jason Donald safe at first, now finds himself among the most infamous umpires in baseball history. His gaffe will forever be in the discussion of the worst calls of all-time. (Grab a seat next to Don Denkinger, Jim.) In his defense, he admitted his mistake and apologized to Galarraga after the game. While watching these events unfold last night, I felt terrible for Galarraga. I thought he handled the situation in about the classiest way possible. My hat goes off to him for holding his emotions there.

If Joyce got that call right last night, we’d be looking at an unbelievably historic pitching run. We’re barely two months into the 2010 MLB season, yet we’ve already seen two perfect games, a no-hitter, and Galarraga’s should-have-been-a perfect game. There has only been one other season in the history of baseball with multiple perfect games, and none in the modern era, yet we almost had three occur in less than a month. Not even the wisest of baseball’s wise men could come up with an explanation for what we’ve seen thus far.

Joyce’s blown call could end up having quite a lasting impact on the game of baseball. Instant replay is a topic that has been gradually picking up steam for a few years now. Last night’s lack of replay availability virtually guarantees that it will be pushed to the forefront and become the hot-button issue among baseball executives. Personally, I’m on the fence concerning the use of replay in baseball. On one hand, I’m a baseball purist who doesn’t want to see instant replay violate the sanctity of the game. On the other hand, I’m a realist who sees that replay, when not overused, can help ensure the correct calls are made in the game’s crucial moments. Whether we like it or not though, I do believe instant replay is on the horizon for Major League Baseball. Wednesday night’s debacle may have sealed the deal on this issue.

In the end, I believe Galarraga’s near-perfect game will be more memorable than the actual perfect games thrown by Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden. Baseball has always been deeply rooted in the game’s historic past, and last night we witnessed a historic baseball moment that won’t soon be forgotten.

Categories: MLB