Friday, August 29, 2014

I don't read much of anything in the paper these days. Sometimes I'll go a week or more without seeing it. But it seems that every time I pick it up, there's a story about a football game I covered in my 40 years at the place. Lately, the paper has been running a series of stories about the biggest football games played by Iowa and Iowa State. It's good stuff. It seems that every time I read one of those stories, it's about a game I covered. More often than not, quotes from the players and coaches that I got in the locker rooms and/or interview rooms are included in the stories. It's nice to re-;live those games and the postgame happiness of the Hawkeye and Cyclone coaches and players. An added feature that might contribute even more historical significance to those stories, though, would be for the paper to write something like this: "After the game, Iowa coach Forest Evashevski told Des Moines Register sportswriter Bert McGrane, Gus Schrader of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, John O'Donnell of the Davenport Democrat and other journalism heavyweights, 'I couldn't be more proud of a group of Hawkeye players than I am today after this victory over Notre Dame." Or: "Following the Cyclones' mammoth upset of Oklahoma, coach Jim Walden told Des Moines Register sportswriter Ron Maly and a roomful of other reporters , "I was sick in bed with the flu throughout most of Friday and into Saturday morning. My players found a way to cure my sickness and do some wonderful things for Iowa State's football program by shocking Oklahoma." Or this: "Following the Cyclones' supreme effort, coach Earle Bruce told Des Moines Register sportswriter Buck Turnbull and others in the interview room from papers in Nebraska, Oklahoma and Kansas that it was a "brilliant example of how a football team on a mission can stun the football world."

Forest Evashevski. Photo courtesy of Google.

I've written about Daniel P. Finney, a man who obviously has a lot of problems, in these columns a number of times. Hopefully this will be the final time. The troubled Finney, who works for the paper, wrote the other day that he has twice been in an emergency room with suicidal thoughts. I'm sorry to hear that. Like I said, I've learned over the years that Finney has lots of problems--suicidal thoughts among them, I guess. Finney first came to my attention a few years ago when one of his friends forwarded a Christmas card [more accurately a Christmas letter] that said he thought he had no future in the newspaper business and intended to become a high school teacher. I'm fairly certain Finney also had some information in the letter about his hobby of collecting comic books. All of this on the heels of Finney losing his job at a newspaper in St. Louis. He had created a phony name and was criticizing his bosses at the paper under that name in what he regarded as a personal website. His bosses in St. Louis didn't particularly like Finney's manner of critricizing them, and proceeded to tell him he was no longer welcome in the newsroom. Despite thinking his journalism career was finished, the paper here gave him another chance. The next thing I knew, Finney was covering high school football games in Des Moines for the paper. Then he for some reason was named the editor of the Indianola paper [which is owned by the Des Moines Register], but he didn't last long there either. He found a way to get dumped. Now he's writing again for the paper here. I don't read anything he writes. I don't know if anyone else does either. The Internet says people at Gannett Co. papers, like the one here, will soon have to re-apply for their jobs. I can't believe Finney would be re-hired again, but who knows? All I know is that, hopefully, this is the last time I write anything about Finney. I won't mention his name again unless someone points out to me that Finney has done some other dumb thing that pisses me off.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Drake's Non-Conference Basketball Schedule

Ty Patton at Drake tells me the Bulldogs' 2014-2015 non-conference basketball schedule includes  five opponents that advanced to postseason play in 2013-14 including NCAA tournament Sweet 16 participant Iowa State and tournament champion Murray State.

Fans can get their first look at the team in a Nov. 8 exhibition against Coe College of Cedar Rapids at the Knapp Center. A week later, the regular season  tips off at home against Bowling Green. Drake then travels to DePaul on Nov. 18 and Western Michigan on Nov. 22.

On Nov. 25, the team returns home to host IUPUI before traveling to Nashville, Tenn., to play three games in three days at the ‘Challenge in Music City.’ The event will pit the Bulldogs against three-top notch opponents on a neutral court with play opening against Valparaiso on Nov. 28 followed by contests against Portland and Murray State.

North Dakota, a tournament participant, visits the Knapp Center on Dec. 6 prior to the Bulldogs traveling to Green Bay on Dec. 13.

The team closes out the non-conference schedule with three straight games in Des Moines starting Dec. 15 against Jackson State followed by the annual Big Four Classic on Dec. 20 against Iowa State at Wells Fargo Arena. The non-conference slate wraps up on Dec. 22 against nearby Simpson College.

Drake’s 12 non-conference games will combine with the Missouri Valley Conference’s always exciting 18-game schedule to give the Bulldogs an extremely challenging 2014-15 schedule. The Valley schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.

Season tickets and flex packs for the upcoming season will go on sale to the general public Sept. 18. Current season ticketholders can renew their season tickets up through Sep. 5 by visiting the Drake athletic ticket office or calling 515-271-3647. Single-game tickets will go on sale to the public on Oct. 22.

2014-15 Drake Men’s Basketball Non-Conference Schedule
Nov. 8
Coe College (exhibition.)
Knapp Center
Nov. 15
Bowling Green
Knapp Center
Nov. 18
at DePaul
Chicago, Ill.
Nov. 22
at Western Michigan
Kalamazoo, Mich.
Nov. 25
Knapp Center
Nov. 28
vs. Valparaiso (Challenge in Music City)
Nashville, Tenn.
Nov. 29
vs. Portland (Challenge in Music City)
Nashville, Tenn.
Nov. 30
vs. Murray State (Challenge in Music City)
Nashville, Tenn.
Dec. 6
North Dakota
Knapp Center
Dec. 13
at Green Bay
Green Bay, Wis.
Dec. 15
Jackson State
Knapp Center
Dec. 20
vs. Iowa State (Big Four Classic)
Wells Fargo Arena
Dec. 22
Simpson College
Knapp Center

Monday, August 4, 2014

Well, it's about time. Javier Baez, who likely is not the second coming of Babe Ruth, will play his first big league baseball game for the Chicago Cubs tomorrow night in Denver against a Rockes team that is so bad that it's worse than the Cubs. I guess Baez has been hitting the heck out of the ball lately for theTriple-A team that plays its home games in Des Moines, and its road games all over the western half of the U. S. Baez probably told Chicago CEO Theo Epstein that he couldn't stand to be around Mike Gartner at Sec Taylor Stadium here one more day, so Epstein said something like, "I understand your feelings. I wouldn't want to be around Gartner, who is the Official Asshole of Ron Maly's columns, very long either. So get your butt up here and play second base with the semi-big boys in Chicago." The fact that Baez will play second base means Starlin Castro will continue to screw up things at shortstop for Chicago. As far as I'm concerned, Baez surely can't be as good as Chicago fans think and hope he is. The pressure on him to lead the Cubs to the World Series in upcoming seasons will be enormous. Baez's presence will likely sell a few more tickets to Chicago's games the rest of August and into September, but I seriously doubt he will throw enough of a scare into the Cardinals and Brewers that they will cancel their next series against the Chicagos. Babe Ruth and Ted Williams are yawning in their graves. So is Sec Taylor.