The SportsTalk Shop: NFL Draft Thoughts/Sports Interviews

We had some great analysis and insights for this week’s NFL Draft on the most recent “RCN SportsTalk presented by The Morning Call” which you can see on RCN On-Demand or hear the podcast: rcn.com/rcntv/sports-talk.

Here are a few more insights/observations that either didn’t make it to air or should be emphasized as we approach this week’s Draft:

1.  Neither the Eagles nor the Redskins should be picky: take the best available player!
Both teams have multiple holes to fill and are not any one position player away for making a major jump to becoming a Super Bowl contender. Take the best option / most talented player at the spot you pick — whether you move up or down — and find a place for him to utilize his talents!

2.  Stay away from Christian McCaffrey.
Unless you move down later into the first round he’s not going to be your best available player. Durable running backs can be found much later in the draft and NFL beat writers are mixed as far as how well McCaffrey will hold up as a between-the-tackles rusher. He’s a great talent and will be a great compliment player to a team that is already close to Super Bowl contention but neither the Redskins nor Eagles find themselves in that position right now and, although he’d be a great storyline for us in the media, avoid people that encourage picking up this Stanford back.

Our beat writers on this week’s “SportsTalk” discussed in more detail some areas that should concern fans that are going “all-in” for McCaffrey that you need to hear.

3.  Although not necessarily all flashy names, there are some outstanding talents both the Redskins and/or Eagles could pick up throughout the draft who could go a long way in helping each organization. 
Some of my top names for round one who could be available “mid-round” include:

  • LB Reuben Foster, Alabama  (although he’s MY pick, word is Arizona is heavily in on him) 

On our program, Al Thompson and Rock Hoffman also had an interesting rumor regarding a certain team’s interest in the controversial but ultra-talented running back Joe Mixon, along with some great insights on “diamonds in the rough” among later round draft picks that you can hear on the podcast.
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In addition to our pro sports coverage, our “SportsTalk” cameras have also been busy keeping up with local high school sports, including this past weekend’s Colonial League “Play Day” tournament…

We’d also like to thank Lehigh Valley track-and-field Chairs Bob Hartman and Brian Geist (EPC & Colonial League, respectively) for sending me the updated “performance list” for us to highlight the top male and female track athletes and their performances to date:

4-21-17 girls top 60
4-21-17 girls relay
4-21-17 girls frosh
4-21-17 boys top 60
4-21-17 boys relay
4-21-17 boys frosh

Colonial League Boys Week 4 Link: http://www.colonialleague.org/sports/boys/boys-track-field/
Colonial League Girls Week 4 Link : http://www.colonialleague.org/sports/girls/girls-track-field/

You can catch high school sports videos and interviews on this Thursday’s program, live at 7pm on RCN-TV, including a feature on the Saucon Valley track team that posted a major tri-meet win for both its girls and boys teams last week.  We’ll also have coverage a big girls lacrosse battle—tune in for details!

Behind the Mic: Strike Two – Y’er Out!

Play ball!  Major League baseball has begun.  And, once again, a new radical idea to shorten the length of games has surfaced.  Former Mets’ general manager Steve Philips recently suggested changing walks to three balls and strikeouts to two strikes – in other words every at-bat starts with a 1-1 count on the batter.  His research indicates that 40% of the time a batter faces a 1-1 count anyway.  This is drastic, to say the least, but creates interesting discussion.  There have been many other suggestions and some have even been tried in lower levels of professional baseball.

Do you like any of these changes?

  1. A pitcher must deliver a pitch within 20 seconds. The batter must be in the box for all 20 seconds and the clock stops the second the pitcher starts his pitching motion.  If the batter steps out of the box during the 20 seconds, the pitcher may throw an official pitch anyway.
  2. The batter must keep one foot in the box throughout the at-bat. There are some exceptions.  What would big Papi do?
  3. Intentional walks would require no pitches, just an indication from the manger to the home plate umpire.
  4. Some want to limit the number of commercials, while some want to put a between- innings time limit – 2:30. At the 2:15 mark, the batter must be in the box and the 20-second clock for the pitcher begins.
  5. Pitching changes must be completed and ready for play in 2:30. Failure to accomplish this would result in a ball being called by the umpire.
  6. Only three player conferences between pitcher-catcher, player-player, or manager-player would be allowed per game. This rule would not apply to pitching changes or player substitutions.
  7. Place a runner on second base with no outs to start an extra-inning game. Statistically, a game would end after ten innings 50% of the time and 75% of the time in the eleventh inning.

It is estimated that implementation of some of these rules could save between 10 and 15 minutes in the length of the game and games would average less than three hours.

Does baseball really need to drastically change to keep their fan base and, more importantly, to grow the base of the younger generation?  For now, I do not see any of these suggestions (with, perhaps, the intentional walk modification) happening soon.

And I, for one think that’s a good idea.

Play ball (as we know it!)

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. I lost around nine hours this weekend watching the Masters. If you are a golf fan, I’m sure you found both Saturday and Sunday riveting.  Thank goodness for TiVo – speeding through commercials helps, but the Masters limits the number of commercials so it doesn’t help much.  It sure was dramatic and Sergio’s emotional win was not to be missed.
  2. Speaking of golf, in the recently completed Western Intercollegiate golf tournament at San Jose University, there were five holes-in-one. They were by four players from three teams.  Hunter Epson of Pepperdine in a shotgun start made one on his very first shot in the tournament.  His teammate made one in the same round.  Daniel List made one during the final round, but the topper occurred when Cal’s William Aldred made one in the second round and another in the third round.  They all used a different club, did not shoot under par, nor finished in the top 20.
  3. Did you notice that Tim Tebow, former Heisman winner at Florida and NFL player, hit a home run in his first at-bat as a professional baseball player.

  1. I, for one, would love to see the Eagles draft Stanford RB/WR Christian McCaffrey in the NFL draft. The McCaffrey family – Aunt Monica, Uncle Billy, and father Ed all went to, and excelled in, basketball at Allentown Central Catholic and Ed, of course, also played football at Central.  He went on to play at Stanford and starred for the Denver Broncos in the NFL.  Bring Christian to Philadelphia!
  2. We found out this week that former Pitt and Dallas Cowboy Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett has been diagnosed with CTE, a degenerative condition linked to dementia and depression. This neurological disease has already claimed the lives of more than 50 former NFL players.  The players make a great deal of money, but there is a steep cost.