August 28, 2014

South Dakota State “Not going to collect a check.  They’re not going to just play a game…they’re going to try to win” (Google Hangout)

Tyler Merriam, the voice of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, said this preseason top 10 FCS football team is coming to Columbia on Saturday with the goal of trying to win a football game.  For head coach John Stiegelemeier, it’s not just a game to collect a payout from and move on.

South Dakota State is coming off a 2013 season in which it made its second straight appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs and third in five years. Missouri State fans are familiar with SDSU, sharing the same Missouri Valley Football Conference.  The Jackrabbits tied a school record for wins in a season en route to a 9-5 overall record and tied for a second-place finish in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with a 5-3 mark.

They’ll present some interesting challenges on both sides of the ball.  The strength of Missouri’s defense in on the line and they thrive on shutting down opposing running backs.  The Tigers get a tough test from senior running back Zach Zenner, who already holds the league record for career all-purpose yards and needs less than 300 yards to set the conference’s all-time rushing mark. Zenner has rushed for 2,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.

With questions about Missouri’s receivers, Merriam says the strong suit of SDSU’s defense is their secondary.  Jimmie Hunt, Bud Sasser and Darius White may be tested.

Watch my Google Hangout with Tyler Merriam

The South Dakota State football roster features six players from the state of Missouri. Two of those players, backup defensive backs Mark Pickerel and Freeman Simmons, will be making a true homecoming Saturday as they are both graduates of Columbia’s Rock Bridge High School.Pickerel is a junior, while Simmons is expected to make his collegiate debut after redshirting during the 2013 season.

Other Missouri natives on the Jackrabbit roster include:
• Jay Carlson, Jr., kicker (kickoffs), Parkville;
• Auston LaBlance, Sr., defensive lineman, Kansas City;
• Andrew Mueller, Sr., offensive lineman, Peculiar;
• Dom Wright, Sr., wide receiver/kick returner, Lee’s Summit

Lead grows in the AL Central as Royals blow past the Twins late with six runs in the 8th

Lorenzo Cain slides past Kurt Suzuki with the tying run in the eighth inning. (photo/MLB)

Lorenzo Cain slides past Kurt Suzuki with the tying run in the eighth inning. (photo/MLB)

The Royals held in check again until the late innings, blew the game wide open with six runs in the eighth for a 6-1 win over the Twins.  Combined with the Yankees knocking out David Price with an 8-4 win over the Tigers, the Royals have a 2.5 game cushion in the Central Division.

Raul Ibanez led off the rally with a blooper to right, and Mike Moustakas beat out an infield hit with a dive to first base. Two batters later, Dyson’s bunt allowed pinch runner Lorenzo Cain to score tying the game 1-1.
Nori Aoki followed with a single to left field to give the Royals the lead, and Butler and Perez added four more runs with a single and triple.

Wade Davis (8-2) pitched a perfect eighth for the win.  The Royals have won 11 of their last 13 at home.

Liam Hendriks made his first start in the majors in nearly two months after coming over from Toronto in a trade.  He retired the first 14 batters he faced, and crusing until Kennys Vargas singled with one out in the seventh.
Oswaldo Arcia followed with a double off the wall to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.

Holliday homers, but Davis goes deep again for the Pirates as Wainwright denied his 16th win.

Adam Wainwright delivers a pitch at Pittsburgh (photo/MLB)

Adam Wainwright delivers a pitch at Pittsburgh (photo/MLB)

Ike Davis, the hero of Tuesday night’s game, homered for the second game in a row.  His two run shot in the second inning put the Pirates on top to stay as they win the series over the Cardinals with a 3-1 final Wednesday afternoon at PNC Park.  Adam Wainwright has lost for the fifth time in nine decisions, failing to become MLB’s first 16-game winner.

Wainwright hit Russell Martin with one out, before Davis’ 10th homer of the year.

Matt Holliday made it a one run game when he hit his 18th homer in the third.  It came off Pirates starter Jeff Locke.  He went 7.1 innings, allowing just six hits for the win.  Pittsburgh answered Holliday’s homer with another run in the third.

Locke singled to start the inning and scored on a sac fly from Andrew McCutcheon.  The Pirates had runners on second and third with one out and had Wainwright on the ropes, but he got Neil Walker and Martin to strike out, ending the threat.  Wainwright went six innings and allowed eight hits and a walk.

Prior to his start on July 2nd, Wainwright pitched past the seventh inning eight times.  In the 11 starts over the last two months, Wainwright has not made it into the eighth inning.  He’s 4-5 since the early part of July.

Throttleman involved in the Lake of the Ozarks boat crashed has died (VIDEO)

photo/screen shot YouTube

photo/screen shot YouTube

Forty-four-year-old Michael Fiori died Tuesday evening at University Hospital in Columbia.  Fiori was the throttleman of the 46-foot SC Outerlimits boat that flipped as high as 50 feet in the air before landing on his side of the canopy before coming to rest right side up.  The boat was running more than 150 mph this past Saturday at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.

Frank Sciacca, general counsel for Fiore’s company, Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats, said in a statement that Fiori died from complications from surgery after the accident.  Sciacca says Fiori was married with three young children.

**VIDEO WARNING–STRONG LANGUAGE CONTAINED IN THE AUDIO THAT MAY BE OFFENSIVE TO SOME

Next round of NHL expansion will not include Kansas City, as four other cities take the lead for 2017

According to a tweet from SportsBusinessNews’ Howard Bloom, the NHL plans to add four cities by 2017 with teams playing in Las Vegas, Seattle, Toronto and Quebec City.

Howard Bloom Tweet
After Kansas City opened Sprint Center, they’ve tried to attract the NHL by hosting preseason games.  The last game was on Sept. 27, 2011 before the Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins played in front of a sellout crowd.

If this comes to fruition, Vegas will land its first major league professional sports organization.  Seattle has always drawn interest from the NHL.  Toronto, home to the Maple Leafs, are the highest grossing team.   Canada’s second biggest city could certainly maintain a second team.  Quebec City, who lost the Nordiques to Colorado, is opening a brand new arena in 2015.

In late 2011, I had the chance to talk with Bernie Federko, longtime Blues player and now television commentator on the broadcasts.  I asked him if he believed Kansas City would ever get another NHL franchise?  (The Kansas City Scouts played two seasons at Kemper Arena from 74-76 before becoming the Colorado Rockies…now the New Jersey Devils).

Federko said he didn’t see that happening.  He said there wasn’t enough of a grass roots fan base where the sport could grow.  He pointed to the youth hockey leagues in St. Louis as an example of how a fan base will continue to grow in the St. Louis area.  Kansas City, not having a foundation to build on,  would make it unattractive to the NHL.

Hockey on the minor league level has thrived in Independence with the Missouri Mavericks.  I get Quebec and Toronto.  Those cities can certainly support hockey.  The appeal for Vegas is that it could draw a lot of out of town fans who want to watch their hockey team play in the middle of winter, plus take in the sights around Vegas as a vacation.  Seattle is the wild card in all of this.  That city last the Super Sonics…could they sustain an NHL team?