Category: Sideline Slants

Only in America can hot-dog eating become world famous

Anytime you see something proclaimed as world famous, you have to sit up and take notice, right? The self-proclaimed World-Famous Nathan’s International Hot Dog Eating Contest will be held on Independence Day. If you go to the website, you see the following unabashedly bold claim: “What started as a contest between friends to prove each other’s patriotism has become a […]

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A one-of-a-kind Father’s Day tribute

The scandal won’t go down in history like Deflategate or the Black Sox scandal, but my dad (Walt Kleinsasser) ’fessed up to a scandal of sorts when he was a young boy. My dad died earlier this year at age 92. Lest you think it’s inappropriate for me to share this story now, I can assure you that my dad […]

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Time to play baseball by same rules

Different can be good. But uniformity can be a good thing, too. Few, if any sports, allow as many variations as baseball. Yes, bases are 90 feet apart, the pitching rubber is 60 feet 6 inches from home plate, each team gets three outs per inning, each batter gets three strikes, and it takes four balls out of the strike […]

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Is Royals ‘Basebrawl’ good or bad for business?

Everyone is entitled to an opinion. When my agent I.M. Slick stopped by to share his, I let him pontificate and get some things off his chest. I.M. Slick: I’m telling you, the Kansas City Royals are the talk of Major League Baseball. Joe: Yeah, they followed their surprising World Series appearance last fall with a hot start this spring. […]

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You get what you pay for in basketball

Universities spend millions of dollars to succeed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. But according to an American City Busi­ness Journals report, spending can vary widely from one team to another. For example, the school with the highest men’s basketball expenses for the 2013-14 season was the University of Louisville, this year a No. 4 seed, which spent about $16.4 […]

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Court-storming a tricky debate

When I officiated basketball, I can recall being caught in a court-storming situation by fans at high school games. I don’t recall it as being particularly scary, although I had to weave my way off the court to the safety of the dressing room. By and large, the students rushing the court were oblivious to my presence. They ran onto […]

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The sun still shines in Lawrence

When Wichita State beat Kansas in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, I was happy. After working at WSU for more than 28 years in news and media relations, it was nice to get to play KU and win. But don’t expect me to gloat. It’s one game. Granted, it was a big game because it came during March Mad­ness, but it’s […]

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Odd bracket strategies you might consider

Filling out a March Madness bracket is easy. But making all correct picks is as likely as basketball officials calling a perfect game and teams making every free throw. According to Smithson­ian.com, the odds of filling out a perfect NCAA basketball bracket are one in 9.2 quintillion. You’re more likely to die an excruciating death by vending machine, become president, […]

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Things I wish I had done as an official

If I had a mulligan on my basketball officiating avocation, here are some things I’d like to do differently. The most obvious do-over would be making all the right calls. But I never had a perfect game and it was becoming more and more obvious, even to me, that it was never going to happen in my lifetime. Consider that […]

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Insanity here, there, everywhere

Let me apologize in advance to any sane coaches who may be reading this column. But then, if you are as sane as you claim, why are you reading this column? When I officiated basketball, officials often joked that coaches are temporarily insane during games. Of course, most coaches are reasonable, rational and all-around good people before and after games, […]

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