Sideline Slants

With wheat harvest under way these days, I thought I’d pass on a few summertime ramblings I managed to reap.

— Congratulations to the Hillsboro High School boys track team and coaches on an undefeated season and for winning the class 3A state championship.

— Ryan Jilka and Alan Yoder accounted for the majority of Hillsboro’s points at state with three first-place finishes in the hurdles and long jump, respectively, but it truly was a team effort.

— Track and field has one distinct advantage over team sports like basketball and football. It’s easier to recognize individual accomplishments. Plus, an individual can derive a sense of satisfaction even if the team doesn’t win. A case in point is Marion’s Braxton Skiles, who easily won the 3A triple jump title.

Conversely, there’s very limited recognition and little personal satisfaction if you’re a good football or basketball player on a losing team.

— HHS nearly won its first baseball title. The Trojans were the only team to give Collegiate a challenge. The best game in the 3A state tournament was the semifinal game between HHS and Collegiate.

— I’d like to thank HHS track coach Dennis Boldt for responding to a recent column for two reasons.

For one, it’s good to hear another perspective.

Second, it’s nice to show the Free Press editor that someone else reads Sideline Slants besides my parents.

— Speaking of second opinions, feel free to express yours. The major difference between my opinion and yours is that my editor expects me to have one every two weeks.

— No one expected the KC Royals to win the World Series this year, but it’s not a good sign when you’re out of contention before the combines are harvesting wheat in Kansas.

— The Minnesota Twins, who are battling Cleveland for the Central Division lead, are playing like the Royals had hoped to play.

— If it’s any consolation, the last time I looked, Texas with Alex Rodriguez is just as bad.

— In addition to the Twins, Seattle is a feel-good story. Even though they’ve lost three of their best players in recent years because of salary issues-pitcher Randy Johnson, outfielder Ken Griffey Jr., and infielder Alex Rodriguez-they’re still off to one of the best starts in Major League baseball history. Go figure.

— Do you think Texas expected to be 24 games behind Seattle in early June after paying big bucks to bring in A-Rod from Seattle? Even though Texas got Seattle’s best player, Seattle has the best record and Texas one of the worst. One player does not a team make.

— The pro baseball draft doesn’t generate as much fan interest as the pro football and basketball draft. One reason is that so many unknown high school athletes are drafted in baseball.

— What do Danny Ray Goodwin, Steve Chilcott, Ron Blomberg, Dave Roberts, Billy Almon, David Clyde, Al Chambers, Shawn Abner and Brien Taylor have in common? They were selected as the No. 1 baseball prospects in the nation.

If you can tell me what those athletes are doing now, you need to get a life. You are following sports much too closely.

— Ken Sims was once the first pick in the NFL draft and Sam Bowie was selected ahead of Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA draft, which goes to show that pro football and basketball aren’t exempt from making questionable choices.

— It’s not uncommon in sports to hear that an injured athlete is “day-to-day.” What exactly does that mean? Aren’t we all day-to-day?

— Pete Goering of the Topeka Capital-Journal writes: “It has always seemed strange that when a popular, competent employee-like say Max Urich (K-State athletic director)-retires, a school is willing to pay his replacement twice as much. Does that mean Tim Wiser (new KSU athletic director) is twice as good as Urich? Or was Max underpaid?”

— I wonder how much sleep Tabor College athletic director Don Brubacher will get this summer with all of the coaching positions he has to fill? If Tabor isn’t careful, they will have a burned-out athletic director.

— “(Boston’s) Derek Lowe is a sinker pitcher,” says Bob McGarry of the Providence (R.I.) Journal. “Every time he comes in, my heart sinks.”

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