Friday, June 28, 2013

Thoughts From the Windy City

Some observations from Don Clasen of Chicago, a former Des Moines newspaperman:

Hi,  Ron:

How 'bout them Hawks? The Chicago Blackhawks, that is.

The wife and I managed to go to only 6 regular season games at the UC. But we saw the first game in the Stanley Cup finals. My wife, the ex-banker, who supported me after I retired a few years before she did, is probably a more avid hockey fan and am. So she paid a few extra bucks to get tickets for the opener of the final series.

If you may recall, that is the game that went into 3 overtimes before the Hawks won.

It was a memorable contest to say the least. Upon our arrival we found cards on our seats that read: "NHL FAN CAM. GO HAWKS! WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2012. I WAS THERE!" Made me feel right at home.

Our seats were in the middle of a long row and after the second period, as usual, we left to go to the john. Upon leaving our row I told the guy at the end of the row, "I won't bother you again unless they go to a triple overtime." Of course, we bothered him again.

The game was over at midnight and we got home at about 1 a.m. People asked me the next day if we were tired. I replied, "Heck no. We're retired so we could sleep in in the morning." But it wasn't easy going to sleep.

Now that the ice season is over, I don't know what I'm going to do with two baseball teams in last place in their division. Like the Dodgers of old, I guess  we'll wait until next season.

Regarding the Cubs, the alderman in the neighborhood where Wrigley Field is located gave the Ricketts some disappointing news today. He said he wouldn't approve the big scoreboard Ricketts wants in left field unless it was cut down a third in size. He also opposes a small board in right and a bridge across Clark St. from the hotel he proposes to build to the ballpark. In Chicago, aldermen usually get their way.

Tom Ricketts has said he wouldn't shell out millions for the improvements if he didn'get his way. Several suburbs have made attractive offers for the Cubs to more. Until this latest obstacle, few have thought that Ricketts would consider another location. Now, I don't know,

Problem is, the ballpark is badly in need of repairs. Nets keep concrete from falling from beneath the upper deck. Several years ago, chunks of concrete broke off and fell into he seated area below. I don't know how long Chicago's building inspectors will allow this safety hazard to continue.

But the field is nice. Since my son owns a condo in the area, the Ricketts invited him and a friend to prowl the field after the season last fall. I accompanied my son to the park and was impressed with the playing surface. It is as good as the Sox park that I toured several years ago.

Hope you haven't been swamped by all the rain.

Don Clasen

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Great hearing from you, Don, and congratulations to the Blackhawks for their championship. The way things are lookings, neither the Cubs nor the White Sox will be hoisting any championship banners until the next century].

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dave Haskin New Associate Athletic Director At Drake

Dave Haskin has been named associate athletic director for external affairs at Drake University. Haskin, who has spent the past seven years as the director of marketing at Oklahoma, will begin his dutiesJuly 15.

In his role, Haskin will oversee the department’s marketing, creative services, ticketing, athletic communications efforts and the Bulldog Club. While at Oklahoma, he developed the Sooners’ marketing and ticket sales strategies for football and men’s and women’s basketball, while directing all game-day presentation elements for those sports.

“My family and I are excited to join the Bulldog family,” Haskin said. “I would like thank Sandy Hatfield Clubb and her staff for this tremendous opportunity. This is an exciting time to be a part of Drake University and the Des Moines community. I look forward to getting started and continuing the tradition and success of Drake athletics.” 

Internally, he worked closely with Oklahoma's development, event management, digital media, licensing, Sooner Sports Properties, Sooner Vision and ticket office to execute athletic department branding and marketing initiatives.

“The Bulldog family is thrilled to welcome Dave Haskin to Drake,” Drake athletic director Sandy Hatfield Clubb said. “He brings expertise in innovative marketing and a breadth of experience in intercollegiate athletics. Drake is fortunate to attract someone such as Dave, who possesses such strong personal values, a deep sense of character and leadership capacity.”

Prior to assuming his current role at Oklahoma, he served as the Sooners’ assistant director of marketing where he oversaw the department’s marketing strategies for volleyball, wrestling and baseball. He began his career in athletics as a marketing intern at Miami University during the 2001-02 season before accepting a position with the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves. While garnering professional sports experience during the 2002-03 NBA campaign, he organized group ticket sales promotions and on-court pregame events. He returned to collegiate athletics the following year as a graduate assistant at Wisconsin-LaCrosse, where he directly oversaw the marketing efforts for men’s and women’s basketball and baseball, while assisting all other sports.

A 2001 graduate of St. Olaf College with a degree in history, he also received a master’s degree in sport administration from UW-La Crosse in 2004. He and his wife, April, are the parents of a 2 ½ -year-old son, Sam, and a 7-month-old daughter, Emily. 

[This story was written for Ron Maly by Ty Patton, Drake's assistant athletic director for communications].

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Aboard Holland America's Oosterdam for Baked [And Unbaked] Alaska On a Breathtaking Journey From Seattle To Puget Sound, Scenic Tracy Arm, Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria. As the Photos Indicate, the Food Was Outstanding

The Oosterdam, Our Holland America Ship
Springtime In Alaska
Flowers in Sitka
Second and Third Generation Indians At Our Table
Courtesy Of Our Room Attendant
This Cruiser from South Padre Island, Texas, Doesn't Believe In Razors
Classic Baked Alaska

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Guest Column By Mike Swan

Dear Ron,

At the last minute, I decided to drive up for Jim Zabel’s  public funeral service and visitation on Friday afternoon, June 21, at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines.
Jim Zabel

Fortunately, my sister and brother-in-law are very accommodating and I was able to stay at their place.  As has been publicized, Des Moines was pretty well booked solid for all the events going on that weekend. 

The large church was not packed, but the message sent from there really resonated.  Most of those who spoke and performed were able to capture his story.

And that’s not easy to do.

I didn’t know what kind of service this would be.  It was solemn, fun and entertaining.  When I saw The Bear from Zabel’s long-running sports show on WHO-TV at the event, I knew it would not be that formal.  Scott Smith, who did a good job as “emcee,” was there with the Des Moines Big Band.  I was not going to take notes and photos, but I couldn’t resist taking a piece of paper out of my front pocket and making sure I captured some of the gems. 

Personally, I had hoped it would not be an affair where people spent a lot of time craning their necks to see who was there.  I hoped it would be a storytelling tribute to a man in the journalism profession who had a lot of interests.

You could tell that many who spoke had put a lot of time and effort into their remarks.

When many people think of Zabel, they remember all of his University of Iowa play-by-play over 49 years.  That part of his job ended in 1996.  But, of course, he still wove himself into coverage with post-game work and other shows. 

So, people would remember that signature call, “I love it!  I love it!  I love it!” which actually evolved out of an ‘80s basketball broadcast, but wove its way into the football broadcasts.  You can’t argue with the success of that phrase, as even a book about him bears that name.  But sometimes it seemed like that was not the perfect way to remember him.  At times that call seemed extremely entertaining and, at others, a bit cringe-worthy. 

This was a guy who also displayed a staccato-like delivery that could capture everything from a high-scoring Drake basketball game, to a girls’ high school hoops contest to a bowling competition.

And his afternoon call-in show covered many topics, including current events and politics, where he was well-versed.  People called in recipes as well, another of his interests.  And, of course, those turned into cookbooks that the station sold.

There was a nice video tribute where Zabel said he was a man of many interests, not just sports.

Maybe long-time program director Van Harden of WHO Radio captured it best.  You know, with live radio, you’ve got to have a sense of humor to go along with the inevitable gaffes.  Zabel could laugh at incidents like the ones Harden passed along:

Duane Ellett used to take his turn running the board in addition to his on-air duties and liked to have fun with Zabel at times.  Once Zabel was having a lot of trouble with coughing and would hit the button that would mute his mic.  This was happening a lot during one of his call-in shows.  Well, Ellett would jump in there and produce his own cough over the air whenever Jim would reach for the button.  Also, when the show might be dragging, Ellett would sometimes pose as a caller and be such characters as “K.O. Pectate.”

He also brought up a show that we used to listen to religiously.  It was a late-night scoreboard show, which Van Harden reminded us was called “Sports Final.”  It would have all kinds of scores, including many of the small high schools in the state.  I remember, in particular, one small school – Turkey Valley.  Whenever Jim came to that score, whoever was in the studio would launch into “Gobble!  Gobble!  Gobble!”  Okay, everyone was getting tired by then and just about anything could set you into convulsive laughter.  That did the trick.

And, thankfully, Harden reminded the audience about the world of journalism before exclusivity arrangements.  Stations could cover as many colleges’ games as they were able.  So, WHO was also doing Iowa State and Drake games on occassion.  Press row would be quite a site, with numerous newspapers and radio stations covering games.  Zabel’s Drake basketball work in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s stands out to me as much as anything.  The 1969 team that finished third in the nation and the Bulldog squads of that era had an astounding group of players under Maury John.

Ed Podolak was also particularly good.  His voice cracked at the beginning when he talked about what a great travel partner Zabel was.  He also referred to his personal issues that Zabel helped him deal with.

Two of Zabel’s grandchildren, Charlie Paul and Annie Gibson, also got up there and gave touching tributes.  Paul said Zabel, or “Z” as his grandchildren called him, would attend his Little League games, dressed in a formal suit.  That was “Z” also.  I remember working alongside him in the press room and thinking, ‘Man, he’s got some kind of spit shine on those saddle shoes.’

It was also brought out that, among Zabel’s family, several went to Iowa State.  I can remember him being razzed at more than one Iowa State game, but everyone just ate it up.

Sitting and waiting for the service to start, I struck up a conversation with an older woman from Ankeny.  She was just a follower of journalistic work in Des Moines.  We agreed on many things.  These included some of the employee cuts at the Register that had not been handled well and that Zabel was a man of many interests.  We also agreed that it was a bit melancholy that some of the old guard was gone.

Walking around the Drake campus and journalism’s Meredith Hall the next day, I wondered who would carry the torch in Des Moines.  Jim Zabel, Mike Newell, Maury White and Jim Duncan, the voice of The Drake Relays (who died back in 1989) are all gone.  Dolph Pulliam has moved.  These were guys who could laugh at themselves, and also tried to get it right. (Okay, White didn’t really laugh at himself.) It might be up to someone like Larry Cotlar.  He was one of the first people I encountered at the service, and I enjoyed talking to him.  He is one, in my opinion, who avoids some of the blather and wears many hats, including serving as Drake men’s basketball play-by-play man.

It’s nice when you return home and the memories of a trip kind of sink in.  Other associated memories also start to seep in.  You know, Zabel wasn’t always a homer and I think he knew where sports stood in the broad scheme of things.  In the ‘70s, there was a time when some of the football players got in legal trouble for a fight in an Iowa City disco.  So, from time to time he would refer to Iowa’s “disco defense.”  I can also remember him talking on-air about how people thought something like covering an Iowa football game at Hawaii would be the ultimate fun trip.  But, he said, you have to work to cover the game, and there wasn’t always a lot of time to do all the tourist things.  But you know he found some time for socializing.

Since the service was basically a smaller group setting with fewer than 200 people, it was easier to get around and talk to people.  Zabel had died a month ago but the family was very gracious and I, for one, really appreciated them doing this.

-- Mike Swan

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Drake women’s basketball program will host its second annual Bulldog College summer camp on Friday, Aug. 2, beginning at 9 a.m. Bulldog College is a unique camp created for high school and junior college players aspiring to play at the next level. Participants will be immersed in the skills that Drake women’s basketball student-athletes use on a daily basis. Several skill areas will be the focus including classroom work on how to effectively use game film and scouting reports to gain a greater understanding of one’s opponent, leadership training and media relations as well as individualized workouts. Through this camp, each participant will experience a day in the life of a Drake women’s basketball student-athlete. Camp begins at 9 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2; lunch will be provided..[This story was written for Ron Maly by John Meyer of Drake's sports information staff].

And Furthermore

More from Barney of Blairstown:

Ha ha and you were very, very close “buddy boy” – I’m in charge of the Bull Shit Appreciation Days in Bonaparte and we usually schedule it right after Cow (pie) Appreciation Days in Blairstown! We used to have a cow chip throwing contest, but one year they were all constipated – the cows, that is – and we never picked it back up!:) Yes, Jayne [Mansfield] left us way too early! St. Peter’s gain, I would suppose!

Barney the BS’er!

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Barney, you were born to be in charge. Keep up the great work].

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Barney & Jayne

An e-mail from my longtime friend Barney of Blairstown:

Jayne Mansfield

I, too, hope the Miami Heat had designated drivers for their celebration ... I also hope they had designated livers, too, and maybe even designated lovers, whatever that may mean! Enjoy Turner Classic Movies! And please let me know when the classic Jayne Mansfield films will be on air!


[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Great hearing from you again, Barney. I thought I wouldn't get any correspondence from you until after Cow Appreciation Day on July 12 in Blairstown. I know you're probably on the planning committee again.  I'll be checking the TCM schedule to see when the next Jayne Mansfield movie will be shown. I know your favorite Jayne Mansfield film was The Girl Can't Help It, so I hope that's the next one that's shown on the network. As you and I both know, Jayne died much too young. She was only 34 when she went to the big stage in the sky in 1967.]

Friday, June 21, 2013

In reference to Turner Classic Movies, the TV network I mentioned a few hours ago in the previous column, I just finished watching The Outlaw. That was the movie from 1943 that starred Jane Russell, one of a sizable number of women who became famous in Hollywood for having very large chests and very small acting skills. I recall as a kid hearing about The Outlaw, and the fact that someone my age shouldn't be watching it. My parents took me to a lot of movies when I was young, but I'm pretty sure I didn't see The Outlaw the first time around. But I recall watching it in re-runs. As long as it was on TCM again this morning, I decided to watch it. It was raining at the time, so that wiped out any chance of doing yard work. I guess looking at Jane Russell's chest on TV will beat using Weed B Gon any day of the week, rain or no rain. By the way, compared to what's on movie and TV screens these days, The Outlaw is pretty tame stuff. Heck, you can turn on ABC-TV at 7 p.m. and see more R-rated programming [or what should be R-rated] than what was in The Outlaw. Cable TV is doing daily re-runs of Friends, the NBC show that was so popular in the late-1990s and early-2000s, and The Outlaw couldn't hold a candle to it when it comes to the mention of sex. I never saw Friends when it was first around [I guess I was covering too many basketball games in those days], but I've been catching up with it via the re-runs. Like I tell people, each segment lasts 30 minutes, and perhaps 10 minutes consist of commercials. That leaves 20 minutes for the show, which was targeted at the 20- and 30-something crowd. Of those 20 minutes, 19 1/2 minutes are devoted to talking about sex. Not so much doing it, but talking about it.

Jane Russell in The Outlaw

It's obvious I've got to change my TV-watching habits. I made the mistake of switching to the NBA championship game last night during a sluggish first half, then saw the Miami Heat win the title by beating San Antonio. I didn't watch a minute of any NBA game until the playoffs, and now I wish I hadn't seen any of the games. I don't like the Heat anymore than I like the Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys or any college football team coached by Nick Saban. The only reason I switched to the NBA game last night was because I couldn't stand to watch theCubs play another lousy game against the Cardinals. From now on, I plan to watch whatever is on Turner Classic Movies.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bill Krause Dead At 78

William "Bill" Krause, who owned more than a few stores, is dead at 78..
A statement from Kum & Go said  "passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his family after battling cancer."

Krause was born in Eldora and graduated from the University of Iowa.  He and T. S. Gentle pioneered a convenience store concept where people could purchase milk, bread and eggs in addition to gasoline.  The company's first store opened in 1959.

Kum & Go now employs more than 4,600 people, operates in 11 states and has 423 stores.

Krause retired from Kum & Go in December 2003.

Gov. Terry Branstad issued a statement Wednesday afternoon about Krause:

"Bill Krause was a great Iowa entrepreneur. He built a successful family business that focuses on providing outstanding service to their customers. He was a manager for the Iowa Hawkeyes football team and a loyal Hawkeye fan. He always had a smile on his face, an upbeat attitude and was fun to be around. He will be greatly missed."

Memorial contributions can be made directed to Dowling High School, Holy Family Catholic Schools and Above + Beyond Cancer. [ via Twitter]

Ex-Drake coach Mark Phelps says, 'I’m a better person, a better coach, a better father and better husband than I was five years ago' after he's hired as an assistant at Missouri

Mark Phelps will never forget his first job. He was 15, too young to drive but old enough to find work at the Lynnhaven Mall food court in Virginia Beach, Va.
Mark Phelps

“It was a place called The Great Hot Dog Experience,” Phelps, now 47, said Tuesday.

Phelps can’t recall ever being without a job over the next 32 years.

Then March happened.

After five seasons as the head basketball coach at Drake, where his teams were 77-86, Phelps found himself in a strange place — out of work. A branch from one of college basketball’s mightiest coaching trees came crashing down when Drake fired Phelps a week after Creighton eliminated the Bulldogs in the second round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.

No team to coach, no hot dogs to sell.

“It was almost like a forced vacation,” said Phelps, who described his job the last three months as “reconnecting with his young family,” which includes wife Alissa, 4-year-old son Owen and 2-year-old daughter Laney.

“This job, at the level of Division I college basketball, it’s very demanding of your time,” he said. “There were certainly anxious moments, like, ‘Where are we going to be?’”

The answer came Tuesday when Missouri announced Phelps as the latest addition to Frank Haith’s ever-changing coaching staff. Phelps, who spent 12 years as an assistant under Herb Sendek at North Carolina State and Arizona State, replaces Rick Carter, who left Mizzou for an assistant job at Xavier. Phelps becomes Haith’s seventh assistant in three years.

Phelps first met Haith when they coached in the Atlantic Coast Conference – Haith as an assistant at Wake Forest and later the head coach at Miami, Phelps at N.C. State. During the 2005-06 season, all of Missouri’s current coaches worked in the ACC: Haith was in his second season at Miami; assistant Dave Leitao was in his first as the head coach at Virginia; assistant Tim Fuller was the director of basketball operations at Wake Forest; and Phelps was in his final season at N.C. State.

“We are all so excited to welcome Mark into our basketball family,” Haith said in a news release. “I’ve known Mark for a number of years and have always admired his approach to the game of basketball. He is tireless with his preparation and gets the most out of his players because he is there putting in the work with them.”

Last season, Phelps was one of eight Division I head coaches who had previously worked as an assistant under Sendek, joining Arizona’s Sean Miller, Illinois’ John Groce and Ohio State’s Thad Matta. Phelps won more games in his first five years than any coach in Drake history, but he couldn’t recapture the success of his predecessor, one-year wonder Keno Davis, who in 2008 led the Bulldogs to 28 victories and their first NCAA tournament in 37 years. While Davis parlayed his lone season at Drake into the head coaching job at Providence, Phelps’ Drake teams were never better than .500 in the Valley.

“It’s certainly a different experience going from an assistant’s chair to the head coach’s chair,” Phelps said. “Your plate has a lot more things on it. … The other thing I’ll say, and I’m excited about this, it’s going to be nice taking 25 things on your plate down to eight, nine or 10. I’m excited about being more hands-on with players, on the court, sweating with them, working out.”

After getting fired in March, Phelps said he “looked inward first” and considered ways he could improve as a coach before taking his next job.

“I feel like I’m a better person, a better coach, a better father and better husband than I was five years ago,” he said.  [St. Louis Post-Dispatch].

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Low Bobsled Pay Irks Lolo Jones

If there's one thing Lolo Jones apparently doesn't like about competing for the U.S. bobsled team, it's sliding for relatively paltry pay.

The American track and field star from Des Moines on Monday rankled members of the U.S. bobsledding team -- which she has been working with the past seven months -- when she tweeted a Vine video poking fun at her bobsledding paycheck, which came out to $741.84 for her training thus far.

"Seven months with bobsled season. The whole season. That's it," she says in the video before adding, "I'm going to be a little late on my rent this month."

Jones, who has numerous endorsements from her track and field career, joined U.S. bobsledding in an attempt to win an Olympic medal that eluded her over the past two summer games.

Among those miffed by Jones' action was gold medalist Steven Holcomb, the most accomplished American bobsledder in history.

"It wasn't taken very well," Holcomb told USA Today of Jones' video. "People were really kind of insulted. You just made $741, more than most athletes in the sport. So what are you complaining about?"

In response, Jones released a statement that read: "I don't want to offend anyone, and I've always wanted to help out my bobsled teammates. Some of them have debt because they've given their life to the sport. My partner Jazmine and I had to raise money for the bobsled to be funded just to finish the season, because only 2 of the 3 sleds are funded by the team.

"I can't imagine halfway through my track season having to stop and raise money to finish. The vine of the paycheck is just showing the difference between track and bobsled, and to be honest bobsledders work more hours than track! The bottom line is that all Olympic athletes dedicate their lives to their sports and do not receive lucrative paychecks like athletes in mainstream professional sports. So hopefully this will make people appreciate just how hard Olympians work, often just for the love of the sport."

Jones' first season as a member of the U.S. national bobsledding team brought her three medals, and she said she plans to resume pushing bobsleds this fall.

"When I originally started bobsled, it was just kind of to get away from track for a while, a change of pace," Jones told The Associated Press after a recent track workout in Baton Rouge, La. "I thought it would be good cross-training. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed bobsled first, and after being in that atmosphere, I got completely engulfed. I would definitely love to be there. It's not a horrific experience every time I go down in a sled now.

"I want to go to Sochi. I want to help Team USA." [].

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hawkeye Football Player Hospitalized

Iowa football player Dalton Shaull was involved in a vehicle accident Thursday afternoon in the Iowa City area.  He is in stable condition at UI Hospitals and Clinics.  Shaull is a redshirt freshman linebacker from Oskaloosa. [This story was written for Ron Maly by Steve Roe, Iowa's sports information director].

Stewart Suspended 10 Games Without Pay

Chicago Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart is serving a 10-game suspension without pay for violating the loyalty cause in his contract, according to a team official. The 10-game suspension, which came after he ranted on Twitter on Monday about his status within the organization, began Wednesday.

Stewart was answering questions from fans online late Monday and was asked whether he would return to the Cubs soon. He responded "probably never" before following up with: "I said that be because the cubs are done With me....there (sic) going to let me Rott (sic) in AAA all season and then non tender me after."

He later added: "I meant they might as Well release since I have no shot of a call up....let me Sign elsewhere."

Stewart also tweeted that he didn't expect to return to Chicago because he believes Cubs manager Dale Sveum doesn't like him and he makes the calls. Sveum disagreed with that notion Tuesday.

"I was all on board bringing him back and giving him another chance to prove what he could do at the big league level and with the Cubs, and obviously it didn't work out," Sveum said, according to

Stewart, 28, was traded to the Cubs in 2011 and re-signed with the team this offseason. Last year, Stewart hit .201 with a .292 on-base percentage while hitting five homers and driving in 17 runs. He was limited to just 55 games because of a wrist injury, and staying healthy has been problematic. He was slowed down during spring training by a left quad injury this year, keeping him off the Opening Day roster. After a rehab window closed in May, the team chose not to promote Stewart and instead optioned him to Triple-A. Stewart is hitting .168 with five homers and 20 RBIs in Triple-A.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Tuesday the two sides are talking about working out a way for Stewart to leave the team while giving the Cubs salary relief. Stewart has a one-year, $2 million deal.

Epstein also said Stewart had his chance to be a free agent and the team has received great production thus far at the hot corner.

"He had the right to elect free agency and he chose not to," Epstein said earlier this week in reference to Stewart having that option after the team didn't promote him following the rehab stint. "Currently, we have the second-best production out of third base in the league. We are getting really good defense at third base, too.

"If that were to change and Ian would excel at the Triple-A level, we would consider calling him back up here. In the meantime, we are very happy with our production at third and Ian is working on trying to figure out Triple-A pitching."

Stewart's agent, Larry Reynolds, issued a statement saying he believes it would work out best if the Cubs were to release Stewart. Stewart tweeted that he wouldn't just ask for his release, writing: "why would I quit? I'm making 2 mill in AAA like u would give that up by quitting."

"I have spoken to both Ian and Theo regarding Ian's tweets last night. Ian is very apologetic for venting his frustrations with his situation in that manner," Reynolds said in the statement. "He has apologized to the Cubs organization and does not want to be a further distraction. With that being said, if the Cubs don't have Ian in their plans, I feel it is in the best interests of both parties for the Cubs to release him and end this relationship."

The Cubs have used five players at third base this season, with Luis Valbuena making the majority of the starts, including Friday's series opener against the Mets. Valbuena is hitting .235 with six homers and 18 RBIs this year. Cody Ransom, Brent Lillibridge, Steve Clevenger and Alberto Gonzalez have also started games at third for the Cubs.

Stewart, a career .232 hitter, has since apologized for his tweets.

"I let my frustrations get the best of me and in no way want to be a distraction," he tweeted.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Willie Cashmore Will Coach Drake's Tight Ends

Willie Cashmore, a former Drake  football standout, has returned to his alma mater as the tight ends coach, coach Chris Creighton said Thursday.

“I’m excited to be back at my alma mater and in a place that I’m very familiar with,” Cashmore said. “I had a great experience at Drake as a student-athlete and want to help create that same experience for the current and future players. The expectations at Drake are certainly high and I’m excited to be a part of trying to win a third straight PFL championship.”

Cashmore will coach the Bulldogs’ tight ends after spending the last four seasons as an assistant at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs. In those four seasons, he helped transform the Reivers from a first-year program in 2009 to an NJCAA National Championship in 2012. During the national championship season, Cashmore coached the team’s defensive backs and special teams as the team recorded a sterling 12-0 record en route to the title with 10 Reivers earning all-America honors. During his first three seasons at IWCC, he coached the team’s running backs and also oversaw the program’s special teams in 2010 and 2011.

“We are extremely excited about coach Cashmore returning home to his alma mater to coach,” Creighton said. “I had the chance to get to know him as he was finishing school when I first arrived at Drake and am now thankful that things have come full circle.  He is a talented coach and an even better person.”

At Drake, Cashmore lettered four seasons  (2003, 05, 06, 07) and received a bachelor’s degree in math education in 2007. On the field, he set program records and led the Pioneer Football League in scoring with 108 points in 2006 and tied the single-game scoring record with 30 points in a contest at Jacksonville. He also ranked ninth nationally in the FCS in scoring that season while earning all-PFL honors. Following his graduation, Cashmore spent a year in China teaching English through Drake’s Teach in China Program before joining the staff at IWCC.

Cashmore, who came to Drake from St. Pius X High School in Kansas City, Mo., recently married the former Kara Engebrecht, a fellow Drake graduate and volleyball student-athlete. His brother, Pat, was also a member of the Bullddogs’ football program who led the team in rushing in 2011. [This story was written for Ron Maly by Ty Patton, Drake's assistant athletic director for communications].

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Thomson Out As Drake Women's Tennis Coach

Drake women’s tennis coach Paul Thomson will not return  for the 2013-14 season, athletic director Sandy Hatfield Clubb said Wednesday.

“I want to thank coach Thomson for his service,” Hatfield Clubb said. “We appreciate the commitment he made to the Drake and wish him the absolute best in his future endeavors.”

In his three seasons with the Bulldogs, Thomson’s teams posted a 48-27 record and a 14-7 mark in Missouri Valley Conference matches.

Drake will conduct a national search for Thomson’s replacement.  [This story was written for Ron Maly by Ty Patton, Drake's assistant athletic director for communications].

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I Agree With Bum Ian Stewart, Who Is Now Suspended. He Should Be Released By the Cubs

The Chicago Cubs will suspend Ian Stewart without pay for his critical tweets of the organization that included the third baseman claiming the team "might as well release" him.
Ian Stewart

Cubs president Theo Epstein said Stewart violated the loyalty clause of his contract and did not reveal the length of the suspension.

"I have spoken to both Ian and Theo regarding Ian's tweets last night. Ian is very apologetic for venting his frustrations with his situation in that manner," Reynolds said in a statement. "He has apologized to the Cubs organization and does not want to be a further distraction. With that being said, if the Cubs don't have Ian in their plans, I feel it is in the best interests of both parties for the Cubs to release him and end this relationship."

Stewart, who is playing for Triple-A No-Name Team in Des Moines, answered questions on Twitter late Monday night and was asked if he would be back with the Cubs soon. Stewart, who is batting .168 with 45 strikeouts in 113 at-bats for No-Name Team, responded "probably never" and later tweeted: "I said that be because the cubs are done With me....there (sic) going to let me Rott (sic) in AAA all season and then non tender me after."

Stewart was re-signed by the Cubs this offseason to a one-year, $2 million contract. If the Cubs release him they would owe him the entire salary.

"why would I quit? I'm making 2 mill in AAA like u would give that up by quitting," Stewart tweeted.
Stewart, who homered in No-Name Team's 8-5 loss to the Oklahoma City RedHawks Tuesday afternoon, tweeted later Monday: "I meant they might as Well release since I have no shot of a call up....let me Sign elsewhere."

Stewart, who was part of the first trade made by Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer when they sent outfielder Tyler Colvin and infielder DJ LeMahieu to the Colorado Rockies for Stewart and pitcher Casey Weathers in 2011, hasn't been able to stay healthy in Chicago. He played in just 55 games in 2012, batting .201 before being shut down for the rest of the season because of a wrist injury.

He hasn't played this season because of a left quad injury that has plagued him since early in spring training. Stewart, 28, was batting .091 when his rehab stint with Iowa ended in early May and the Cubs elected to option him to Triple-A rather than recall him to the major league team. Stewart elected to take the 72 hours players are allowed to report after being optioned even though he was already playing there.

When a tweeter wondered if Stewart would be recalled if the Cubs have an injury, Stewart responded: "junior lake or josh vitters," referring to young third base prospects at Des Moines.

"I honestly believe if (Cubs third baseman Luis) Valbuena were to get hurt cubs wouldn't call me Back up just MHO," Stewart tweeted.

The Cubs have used several players at third base this season with Valbuena now splitting time with Cody Ransom. [].

Monday, June 10, 2013

Al Miller Honored

An e-mail from Kyle Ealy of Cedar Rapids:
I wanted to thank you again for your help in contacting former Cedar Rapids Gazette sportswriter Al Miller.
Al Miller
Al made the long drive from Flushing, MI to be honored as a inductee into the 2013 Hawkeye Downs Speedway "Wall of Fame". Having covered the sport of auto racing at Hawkeye Downs and Eastern Iowa from 1963 to 1975, it was an honor that was long overdue in my opinion, which is why I nominated him.
It was amazing to see the people who came out to honor Al. As former race car drivers showed up that evening, most of them sought out Al to talk to him for the first time in over 35 years and offer their congratulations. These were the same drivers that Al wrote about two times a week, for 13 years in his column, "Al Miller on Racing".
A writer from the Gazette interviewed Al that same evening and there was a nice article on him on the front page of the Saturday morning paper.
As he was quoted in the Gazette, "I'm really honored. I took the job just for something to do and I had a love affair with it. I told Gus Schrader [a now-deceased former Gazette sports editor], 'Hey, I'll go out there every Friday night.'"
He was very humbled and as he left that evening, he thanked me for contacting him, the invitation and the honor.
Thanks again, Ron.
Kyle Ealy
[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Good hearing from you, Kyle, and I'm glad things worked out well with Al Miller. I'm glad he's now a member of the Hawkeye Downs Wall of Fame].