The SportsTalk Shop: Blue Mountain League Thoughts

SportsTalk Shop: Blue Mountain League Thoughts

It’s always good to sit down and chat with the people of Blue Mountain League, as we had President Bob Varju, Secretary/Treasurer Tim Fisher and Orioles Player/Manager Dave Stoudt on our most recent “RCN SportsTalk” show. In addition to talking about the first half of the season, their charity All-Star event and previewing what looks to be a certain horse race for the top four playoff spots this summer, we had to spend some time talking about the man the league was dedicating this season to, the legendary Ron Punkin Miller, and how much he meant to the league and to this area:

www.youtube.com/embed/Ifp2jniZZzQ

The entire show is available on RCN’s Video-on-Demand for free for the next several weeks.

A few other items we discussed during the program and in-between segments during our commercial breaks (when Fisher wasn’t chopping me to bits:)

 • If you haven’t been following along, this is one of the most competitive BML seasons in recent memory; as recently as this past Tuesday, there were four teams tied for first, and two more teams no more than a game-and-a-half back.

• Although rain has been a major issue and most team are very backed-up with numerous games left to be played with less than a month left in their season, pitching on most nights as been very solid. We had a nice 2-1 pitchers’ duel last Tuesday on RCN’s “Game of the Week” and there have been a bunch of young pitchers stepping up and performing well.

• Speaking of youth, how about all the major contributions of the rookies and one- and two-year players this season! It used to be rare for more than one rookie on a team to earn even a regular starting role, but the talent of the league this year has really been on the rise with multiple rookies per team making significant contributions. This should make for some great careers to come for individuals and for the league.

• Northampton Giants’ first baseman Dave Gulick has been making bats, not just for the BML, but also for local teams, minor league teams, and even bats that were used in the World Baseball Classic. If you want a good deal, get in contact with him.

What are your memories of Punkin? What BML teams have impressed you so far this season, and which squads are most likely to make the playoffs? Post a comment or email them to RCNSportsTalk@rcn.com.

To Punkin’ & Stan – Behind the Mic – March 4th

I lost a couple of buddies within the last few weeks: Punkin’ Miller and Stan Sutphen.

Both men were real sports enthusiasts and I really enjoyed talking and, many times, arguing with them.

Punkin’ and I would chat at least once a week. He was not shy about telling me what he liked and didn’t like in the sports world. He was certainly a friend of this RCN and would call me often to offer a logical and sensible opinion about my world. He loved football and basketball and he always wanted to know which team I thought was the best. However, baseball was his favorite. He loved to complain about coaching the Orioles in the Blue Mountain League, but he, also, loved to coach the Orioles. Make no mistake, his favorite sport was baseball. He was not nearly as happy during the off season.

My paths in life often intersected with Stan Sutphen. When I was in college, I was an English student teacher at Easton and one of the men who offered valuable advice was Mr. Sutphen. We maintained a friendship from that time on. I followed Stan’s team on the radio and vividly remember listening to Dick Hammer on WEST radio to the team’s run to the Final Four in the PIAA state playoffs. He and I would later serve on the board of directors for the Nor-Car Federal Credit Union and there I learned just how intelligent Stan was in so many areas.

Punkin’ and Stan were alike in many ways. They both loved sports. They both were very opinionated and, often, very right. They both loved baseball (Stan would travel to Florida to see his Dodgers up close in the winter). They both were intelligent men. Both had a great sense of humor (Punkin’ with jokes and Stan with a very wry wit). Both probably contributed to an earlier passing than necessary. Both were assets to many, many people while they were here, and both men were very easy to like and respect.

I miss them both.


 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. The Patriot League has a very good idea at the end of the season. Every team in the running for a tournament seed plays at the same time on the last Saturday of the regular season. All the men’s teams played at noon, with the exception of Navy-Bucknell. Those two teams had already solidified their seeds in the tournament. So, wouldn’t you know it, the standings all remained the same after Saturday’s games. The only teams who will repeat their Saturday matchup is Navy at Bucknell. Lafayette hosts Holy Cross, Lehigh hosts Colgate, and Army hosts American. The winners play Saturday, March 9, and the championship is Wednesday, March 13.
  2. The state basketball playoffs begin this weekend. Only one District XI top seed (A Girls) won the title. The titles were won by five #2’s, a #3, and a #6.
  3. RCN-TV produced 11 basketball games, 2 college games, and the regional wrestling tournament in 5 days this past week. We will have a college game, and 8 basketball games from Wednesday to Saturday this week. It’s the best time of the year.
  4. I see the temperatures will be in the 50’s this weekend. Time to clean the clubs.
  5. Are you ready for March Madness? Remember, the office pools are for “amusement only”.

The SportsTalk Shop – December 18th

With the holidays approaching, it’s only natural to take a look back at the past twelve months and do some reflecting, and for the 3rd straight year we’re going to be doing just that on December 20th’s “RCN SportsTalk” with our ‘year-in-review’ program.

The show is live and you’re welcome to participate with your memories of the 2012 sports calender year.  Our panelist on the program will reveal their top moments, players, teams, games and quite a few other topics and favorite moments from the year gone by.  Even though the Lehigh Valley had slightly less success in terms of state team metals, there was still plenty of great memories from the team, players and coaches in the area.  A few of mine include: 

 – Easton’s boys basketball amazing come-from-behind win over Emmaus to clinch the last playoff berth, and then to put a state playoff run together and be the ‘last team standing’ from the Lehigh Valley

 – Another amazingly competitive baseball & softball season and some very highly attended games.  The spring sports teams don’t even get close to the attention the fall and winter sports receive, but the games I saw had great turnouts (my favorite scene with Pen Argyl’s athletic director directing traffic because of so many people driving up ‘the hill’ to see the Salisbury/Pen Argyl baseball game

 – The championship season of the Blue Mountain League’s Hellertown Royals under the direction of long-time Skipper Bob Zerfass.  The team didn’t seem as dominating as in their previous championship seasons but always found a way to win, including an incredibly exciting championship series come-from-behind win after being down 2 games to none in a best of five series

 – The Central Catholic football team (who we’ll honor on “SportsTalk” on January 3rd) once again being the last football team standing this fall.  No one had them in their ‘top 5’ in the preseason predictions, but one of the smallest schools in the LVC once again dominated in districts and in the first two rounds of the PIAA and turned in a remarkable season by 5’11 running back Colin McDermott and assisted by an amazing effort by the blockers in front of him.

We’ll be recapping even more great moments on our December 20th show.  You’re welcome to give your opinions and thoughts on the 2012 sports-year by emailing us at RCNSportsTalk@rcn.com & we’ll try to read your comment on the air.  Happy Holidays!