Saturday, April 30, 2011

If JoePa tweeted

No, Joe Paterno doesn't have a Twitter account. If he did, it would be interesting, to say the least.

A clever individual actually created a Twitter account titled, "IfJoePaTweeted." It has a little over 1,000 followers and the tweets are hilarious. Some samples:

April 27: Go Spurs!" Now that's what I call VANILLA!! #NBAplayoffs

April 26: Exactly how many Werther's Originals would I have to give to recruits for it to be considered "lack of institutional control?"

April 23: Anyone catch OSU's spring game? Their defense looked so bad I'm thinking we may score in the double digits in this year's game.

April 12: Hey, 5-star DT Jarron James.....Welcome to PENNNNNNSHHHTTTTTAAAAAAAATTTTTTTEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!

April 8: Eventually I will pick a starting QB, but first.....Murder, She Wrote marathon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 6: Good morning internets!

March 24: I wonder if this rash has anything to do with this Jimmer Fever thing everyone has been talking about.

March 20: I really enjoyed LOL'ing out loud to Pitt's misfortune. Hey, I'm really getting good w/ this interweb lingo!

March 8: How will OSU ever get by mighty Toledo Rockets w/o The Vest?? HOW????

Jan. 24: R.I.P. Jack LaLanne...thank you for teaching me the proper technique for my morning squat thrusts.

Dec. 23: You know what I did to help my mother during the Great Depression? I got a free tattoo.

- Mark Podolski

Kentucky Derby blog #7

Back to some normalcy, folks.

Calvin Borel, the super jockey who has won 3 of the last 4 runnings of the Kentucky Derby, has a mount in Twice the Appeal. Uncle Mo - the Breeders Cup Juvenile champ - is back on the track and looks healthy.

Now we can start Kentucky Derby week.

We will take a look at the main contenders and all the scenarios that will affect the Run for the Roses on May 7 over the next seven days. Also, keep an eye out for a local tie to the Kentucky Derby by a local vet from Mentor.

Stay tuned.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Madden cover: Great for Hillis, but let's not get crazy

I must be getting old, out of touch or both.

When it was announced that Peyton Hillis would be on the cover of the newest take of the John Madden video game, I didn't see what the big deal was.

It's cool that fans banded together for a cause, but that's about it.

To me, this is a case in which video-game players attach a lot more importance than those who aren't gamers. Guess which group I'm in?

If Hillis goes on to NFL glory - or has a bad year - it won't be because he was on the cover of a video game.

It's good for him because he'll earn some endorsement money. But is it news? Not really.

- Howard Primer


Thursday, April 28, 2011

A rule the NBA should take from college basketball

The Spurs' comeback to stay alive in their playoff series with the upstart Grizzlies on Wednesday night is an example why most last-second shots in the NBA have nothing on college basketball.

Gary Neal's 3-pointer to save San Antonio is Game 5 was exciting, but on a scale of 1 to 10, how difficult was it compared to some of the most unforgettable shots in college basketball history? Not very difficult. It was simply catch and shoot off a half-court inbounds play. Trained professional basketball players can do that in their sleep.

Could they do just as easy with the game on the line ... off a full-court inbounds play? Yes, they could, but the degree of difficulty would go way up.

Hence, everyone remembers Duke's Christian Laettner's shot to beat Kentucky and Tyus Edney's driving banker to save UCLA during March Madness. Why? On each play, the winning team had to go the length of the court. In other words, it was a man's baksetball play, not some cheapened way to create more opportunities to score in the NBA like we saw with the Spurs' Neal.

Imagine if, after Brandon Knight's shot put Kentucky up, 62-60, during the NCAA men's tournament, the Buckeyes could have received the ball at halfcourt with a much easier attempt at a shot to tie or win the game? It might have saved OSU's season.

Instead, Aaron Craft dribbled the ball almost half the court and passed to a running William Buford, whose 3-pointer was just off the mark. It was a tough play because the Buckeyes had to go to the full length of the court, but had Buford made the shot it would have been one of the most memorable plays in the history of OSU basketball.

Neal's shot? It was nice and saved the Spurs' season ... for now. That's it.

- Mark Podolski

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rainy days are taking a toll

So this is the wettest April on record since 1961?
Can you believe it?
I can't.
It's driving me crazy.
Today I was going to cover a girls lacrosse game at Lake Catholic. When I called the school to verify the game, I found out it was played yesterday at Laurel. The game was supposed to be played today at Lake Catholic, but it was changed due to wet fields.
Very understandable, but also very frustrating.
On Thursday, I'm covering another lacrosse game. This time it's West Geagua boys at Kenston (if the weather holds up, which I doubt).
On Friday, I'm at the Captains game. Saturday I'm back to track, which is the main sport I cover in the spring.
I'll be at the Mentor Relays and I'll bet money that it won't be canceled.
Not only has this weather been frustrating for the myself and the sports staff at The News-Herald, I'm sure it's just as bad for local athletes, coaches and fans.
After practicing all winter inside, I'm sure they are dying to get outside. But I just don't know when it's going to happen.
In the meantime, I've been writing feature stories to keep busy which is a lot of fun. I enjoy listening to stories from various athletes. It's an opportunity the sports staff doesn't always get. But when we do, we make the most of it.
So if you have any interesting ideas, please send them my way.
In the meantime, I'll be praying for sun just like everyone else.

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia

Dillon Stewart - Lake Catholic Senior Project blog #2

Tonight I completed my second of four days shadowing Bill Tilton, and once again I had a great time. Unfortunately, we were not able to go to Progressive Field and cover the Indians game, because we had to go to Chagrin Falls to cover a high school game between Chagrin Falls and Kenston. Although I was looking forward to seeing an Indians game, this experience showed me how spontaneous, fast-paced, and ever-changing this job could be. Plus, I got to see an exciting, high-scoring game that ended up going into extra innings!

So, Mr. Tilton and I arrived in Chagrin Falls a little bit before 4:30 p.m. and the teams were already warming up. Before the game started we approached each of the coaches and received their starting lineups. Throughout the game, I kept the stats and score of the game and I took notes on some of the important events in the game.

As I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to see an extremely exciting game. This game was explosive from the get-go, with a leadoff home run from Kenston’s Pat Porter. Unfortunately for Kenston, a quick start was not enough. In the end, it was Pat’s cousin, Timmy Porter, who led Chagrin Falls to victory with a walk-off single in extra innings, to put the Tigers up, 7-6. He was accompanied by a great performance by Kurt Vidmer, who had a home run, two doubles, three RBI, and six strikeouts in relief.

After the game Mr. Tilton and I interviewed Porter and Vidmer about their individual, as well as their team’s, performance throughout the game. Mr. Tilton used a Flip video camera to record the interview. I found it really interesting that he used this tool to conduct his interview, rather than just a paper and a pen. This is just another trick of the trade that I have learned in the past two days! After we left the game, it was time to write the article. The notes that we took throughout the game, our observations, and the post game interviews all went into writing the article that will be seen in Wednesday’s paper.

Today was a great opportunity to learn about reporting and conducting interviews, when covering an event. This was a completely different aspect than what I saw yesterday, which is awesome, because I am getting the opportunity to see everything the job entails. I had another great experience today, and I am looking forward to learning even more tomorrow!

-Dillon Stewart

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Florida's Jenkins is an interesting option

It's been a while since the NFL supplemental draft meant anything to anyone.

The last time the supplemental draft meant anything to the Cleveland Browns is when the Browns used the late draft to bring Bernie Kosar into the fold.

The main NFL draft, to be held this weekend, is what everyone focuses on. The handful of names that make themselves eligible for the supplemental draft a few months from now are often considered afterthoughts.

That probably changed on Tuesday when Florida coach Will Muschamp booted three-year starting cornerback Janoris Jenkins off the team for another arrest.

Jenkins has some baggage, obviously, but he is a superb talent and worthy of being a first-round draft pick this year had he not gotten injured and sat out the Gators' trip to the Outback Bowl. He resisted the temptation to head to the NFL, choosing rather to return for his senior year and get healthy again.

According to an Associated Press report, Muschamp kicked Jenkins off the team after being arrested for the third time in the past two years recently. This time it was marijuana possession.

That being said, he has a red flag attached to him if he DOES in fact make himself eligible for the supplemental draft.

But he is unquestionably a lockdown type of cornerback.

How lockdown is he?

Consider this gem from the AP report: He pretty much shut down the league’s best receivers. Georgia’s A.J. Green, Alabama’s Julio Jones and South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery averaged 38 yards receiving against Jenkins and had one touchdown between them.

As in A.J. Green and Julio Jones, soon-to-be top 10 picks in the 2011 NFL draft.

Jenkins has some problems, no doubt. But he has talent like no other player has ever had when making himself eligible for the supplemental draft. It's almost a no-brainer that he will.

The next step is in the hands of the NFL teams. Do you take a flier on a potential Darrelle Revis-type of lockdown corner while looking past his baggage?

It's a tough call. But passing on someone as talented as Janoris Jenkins, who did the impossible and made A.J. Green and Julio Jones look pedestrian, is one heck of a gamble.

Almost as big as the one taken by selecting him in the draft.

- John Kampf

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dillon Stewart: Lake Catholic Senior Project blog

My name is Dillon Stewart, and I am a Senior at Lake Catholic High School. I played defensive end on the football team at Lake and I have been involved with our school newspaper, the Lakeline. Next year I will be studying journalism at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.

Every spring at Lake Catholic, seniors have the option to take a week off from their studies to participate in Senior Project. Senior Project is an opportunity for students to shadow someone in the occupational field that they are interested in pursuing. Not all students take advantage of this opportunity, but the ones that do, find it to be a great experience and a good indicator of whether or not they truly want to pursue this occupation in the future.

I decided to take advantage of this opportunity by shadowing someone who was involved in the journalism field. As a former high school football player, I immediately thought of Bill Tilton because I had read many of his articles throughout my high school career. When I contacted him, he told me that he would be more than happy to allow me to shadow him for the week.

Today was my first day, and so far things are going great! Upon my arrival, I was given the grand tour of the News Herald offices. I met many of the people that work on the paper, and I saw a little bit of what goes on in the office, throughout the day. I am extremely excited for tomorrow because Mr. Tilton and I will be heading to Progressive Field to cover a Cleveland Indians game!

I am thrilled that I was given this opportunity by Mr. Tilton and I am excited to continue to learn the ins and outs of being a journalist as the week goes on!

-Dillon Stewart

Kentucky Derby blog #5

Dialed In to the Kentucky Derby yet?

Maybe, just maybe you are. And maybe, trainer Nick Zito is, too.

Zito's trainee is the consensus choice as the favorite in the upcoming Run for the Roses, and deservedly so after a crazy prep season in which so many contenders faltered.

Dialed In won the Holy Bull and the Florida Derby in late-charging fashion. Dialed In has the pedigree and the racing style to win the Kentucky Derby, but what's proven almost year in and year out is that is not always enough. Short odds might hurt is playability, but don't overlook this Mineshaft son. This horse has the goods.

Perhaps not a household name, but if he rallies to win at Churchill on May 7, that could all change.

A worthy favorite, let's see if he stays healthy the next two weeks.


Two draft picks from one high school class

Seems almost unheard of, but over the next few months, two graduates of 2006 from The News-Herald coverage area are almost certain to be drafted as professional athletes.

How far we have all come.

Lake Catholic grad Ricky Stanzi should be plucked off the board by Friday night as a middle round pick in the NFL Draft. In June, VASJ grad David Lighty should see his name pop up during coverage of the NBA Draft.

That just doesn't happen, folks.

What are the odds, in an area that only has 30 high schools, that in one graduating class, TWO student-athletes would be good enough to reach the pro status?

Think about the great players of the last decade? How many, from the NH area, are going pro? Now, think, how many in one graduating class will do that less than 2 months apart?

Stanzi and Lighty played in the 2006 NH Classic, and now share something much more special as prospective pro athletes.

Hard to imagine we will see something like that in this area again any time soon.

- Bill Tilton

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The rules of covering track

Anyone who knows my coverage over the last 10 years of area high school track and field has probably heard my rant about the one steadfast rule I always try to honor - never approach an athlete for an interview until they're done competing for the day. It's all about respect.

After Saturday's Ranger Relays at North, perhaps I should add two more steadfast rules:

- Always pack sunscreen to avoid sun burn
- Never park by the discus field

Thankfully my car didn't suffer any damage despite my less than intelligent move of looking for a closer parking spot Saturday morning, only to park by the discus area and not give it a second thought until I went back out of the stadium to watch a flight of the boys discus. Nice move.

My face and neck, on the other hand, did suffer some damage.

You would think after all these years of standing outside all day for track that I would know to be prepared for all weather. Usually I am - umbrella, hoodie, layers if need be. Sunscreen REALLY needs to become part of my arsenal.

As I'm typing this, I look like I stuck my head in a kiln.

It's hard not to laugh at the concept of being the athletes I interviewed post-sun burn Saturday and trying to keep a straight face looking at my red face. Granted, great area prep athletes like Abbie Clifford of Perry are probably used to seeing me at this point in their careers. Just not looking like a tomato, that's all.

Friday, I'll be heading out to my alma mater Harvey to cover the Dick Beeler Booster Invitational. Should the weather be nice and sunny, and if you read this and notice I don't have some sort of sun protection, you have permission to smack me on the back of the head.

It may hurt, but after the Ranger Relays experience I'll deserve it.

- Chris Lillstrung

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What lies ahead for the Buckeyes

Had a spirited conversation with a good friend about the state of the Ohio State football program looking ahead to the 2011 season.

His view is everything is OK. My view is no way.

First, let's take the ongoing NCAA investigation into Coach Jim Tressel and if any further punishment beyond the five-game suspension at the start of the upcoming season is levied out of the equation.

Second, let's look at the biggest concern on the field, that being four starters on offense, and another on defense, missing nearly half of the season. My argument to my friend is the losses of QB Terrelle Pyror, RB Daniel Herron, WR Devier Posey, OT Mike Adams and DE Solomon Thomas to NCAA suspension are way more of a concern than Buckeye Nation is letting on.

The Buckeyes are good, but not that good. I'm not sure any team in the nation can lose that many quality players without some problems arising in terms of Xs and Os.

My friend's rebutle: OSU's first five games are a piece of cake. Sorry, not buying it. Sure, the first two games are layups in Akron and Toledo, but after that is a trip to Miami (Fla.), a home game against Colorado and the Big Ten opener at home against Michigan State.

My friend's second rebutle: All will be well when the suspended players return for Game 6 at Nebraska. Again, not buying it. The Cornhuskers will be solid, but more than that is the fact that game will be the shool's first-ever home Big Ten conference game. Don't be surprised if that's not a night game. Either way, the emotion of that game could be too much for OSU to handle, even with Pryor and Co. back in the lineup.

My friend says OSU will be 4-1 without the tattoo five. I'm not that optimistic, but it could happen. I'm expecting a 3-2 record after five games, and another loss at Nebraska the following week.

That would put the Buckeyes at 0-2 in the Big Ten. Again, I'm not saying that will happen, but it could. If that occurs, one of the longest offseasons in OSU history could filter into the regular season.

- Mark Podolski

Friday, April 22, 2011

Party might be over for mid-majors

The party might be ending just as Cinderella is arriving at the ball.

One of the factors that allowed Butler and Virginia Commonwealth to advance to the Final Four the past two seasons is the turnover created by the NBA age minimum.

Traditional powers that take on one-and-done players have to remake their teams almost every season. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

With the issue likely to be negotiated in the NBA collective-bargaining talks this summer, big-time college teams could be able put some distance between themselves and the mid-majors again.

Even with the current rule, schools such as Ohio State and North Carolina have the rare luxury of a lottery-caliber player returning. Jared Sullinger will be back in the middle for the Buckeyes, and Harrison Barnes will return to the Tar Heels.

Those are the kinds of players mid-majors have trouble competing with - recruiting them or on the court.

If the NBA amends its age minimum, it will most likely result in players who choose to go to college staying longer. That's good new for the power-conference teams because they'll benefit the most.

- Howard Primer

Josh Sailey of South is on the road to success

When I went to meet South senior Josh Sailey on Thursday, I wasn't sure what to expect.
It was early in the morning on a chilly day and I had been up late working the previous night. Needless to say, I was barely awake when I went to South after just a few hours of sleep.
When I was able to talk to Sailey, my troubles seemed to disappear.
I was more concerned with this 18-year-old boy and the road he was going down.
Here was a kid with little family support trying to make it in this world. Track and field was just one way of staying busy and positive.
The support Sailey has received from the South track team, its coaches and the entire Rebel community is incredible.
The school nurse has even given Sailey support.
All for a boy from Liberia who is trying to become an American citizen.
Sailey needs the help and support. He appreciates every bit of it and believes it's helped him become a better person.
He still has a long way to go and he realizes that.
If he gets his citizenship, he hopes to attend Lake Erie College where he may compete in track and/or football. After two years at Lake Erie, his goal is to transfer to Baldwin Wallace.
Those are big dreams for a boy who currently has no financial aid.
Regardless, Sailey believes he can succeed.
With what he's already been through, I believe he can reach his goals.
It's just a matter of time which Sailey has plenty of now that he's about to graduate from South.
After two years at South, he's built a solid support system that he has come to rely on. That support system will be there if Sailey needs it. It has been in the past and it will be in the future.
Now Sailey just needs to embrace his new life and make the best of it.

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia


Thursday, April 21, 2011

NFL QB sightings in Eastlake

I spent most of my Thursday morning at One Wellness in Eastlake talking to Ricky Stanzi's father, Joe, while his son, Ricky, went through a workout with Speed Strength Systems trainer Tim Robertson.

Joe, his friend Mike and I talked a ton about college football, Ricky and the upcoming NFL draft, but I couldn't help watching across the gym while we were talking.

Ricky Stanzi, the former Lake Catholic and Iowa QB, and Ohio State Heisman winner Troy Smith were sweating and huffing and puffing their way through what looked like a difficult Robertson workout.

Then I thought to myself, "This is pretty cool. Ricky Stanzi and Troy Smith working side by side. Perhaps the two best QBs Northeast Ohio has produced the last 10 years."

Afterward, Stanzi told me the two had never met before Thursday. Smith is with the 49ers and started several games last season. Stanzi is waiting to be drafted, and depending which team selects him, could eventually be a starter.

Both were zipping passes to each other toward the end of their workout session. I couldn't help but think Smith and Stanzi could be potential NFL starters two, three years down the line. If that's the case, what are the odds of two future NFL starting QBs working out together side by side in Eastlake on a random Wednesday morning?

- Mark Podolski

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What about track athletes who don't get noticed?

There are many times when I go to a track meet and see kids that I never have the opportunity to talk to.
The reason is because I'm so busy tracking down the winners of relays and individual events. That leaves little time to find kids who finished runner-up and third.
But those kids are just as important.
Track is a team sport. Every point matters no matter if it's 10 or one. The points totaled account for the team score.
So why do the kids who often score just a handful of points keep coming to practice day after day? Why do they compete in meet after meet?
That's what I'd like to know.
I'm going to be writing a column about this very topic this week.
If you are an athlete who fits this description, I'd like to hear from you. Please e-mail me at

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia


Kentucky Derby blog #4

Uncle Mo arrived at Churchill Downs and galloped for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Why is this important?

Because the one-time heavy favorite has been scrutinized severely since finishing a disappointing third in the Wood Memorial.

If Uncle Mo can prove he has rebounded from a gastrointestinal issue, he is the most talented horse in the Kentucky Derby field. Getting back on the track is a step in the right direction.

Stay tuned for Uncle Mo's progress over the next 18 days.

There could be value in the Breeders Cup Juvenile champ if the railbirds dismiss him because of one bad race.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

OSU spring game has many subplots

Ohio State will hold its annual spring football game on Saturday in Columbus.

The game will not be played as a customary game, primarily because Ohio State only has 10 offensive linemen participating in spring drills. Therefore, the game will be run like a jersey scrimmage - with the offense playing against the defense in pre-determined situational instances.

Even though the spring game isn't actually a spring game, there will be plenty of things to keep an eye on as the Buckeyes wind down their spring regimen and break until camp opens in early August. Such as:

- How have the four quarterbacks in camp progressed?

Joe Bauserman, Kenny Guiton, Taylor Graham and Braxton Miller - someone in that group is going to start the first five games of the season while Terrelle Pryor serves his five-game suspension.

Under the normal spring game format, two of these players would be on one team and two would be on the other. There would be plenty of opportunities to stand out.

But with all four being on the same team on Saturday, opportunities will be more limited. Between that and a weather forecast that is calling for rain and wind, playing well might be a problem on Saturday.

Whoever DOES play well could have the upper hand when fall camp opens.

- Will any receiver shine?

The elements might play a major role in the passing game. But so what? It's Ohio. This is the kind of weather - if not worse - the Buckeyes can expect to see during the season in the midwest.

That being said, reports from earlier scrimmages this month suggest the receivers - outside of DeVier Posey - haven't been all that spectacular. And Posey will be sidelined along with Pryor for the first five games of the season.

The last scrimmage featured drops and deflected passes that were intercepted.

I've heard that Harvey product Chris Fields has looked pretty good this spring, and that Corey "Philly" Brown has been up and down. Posey will play in the scrimmage on Saturday, but it would be nice for the Buckeyes to see someone else show that they can be a threat.

- How dominating are linebackers Andrew Sweat and Etienne Sabino?

Early reports are, "pretty darn dominating." They are both big, physical and quick. That's a good combination.

- Who will run the ball?

Plays will be scripted, in all likelihood, so getting Dan Herron, Jamaal Berry, Carlos Hyde, Rod Smith and Jordan Hall ample work is expected. But similar to the quarterback position, having them all on the same team and not divided onto two teams will limit things somewhat.

Smith and Berry have shined the brightest so far. The wet and slick conditions on Saturday could hurt the passing game and benefit the running game.

- Who is going to show up?

The spring game generally draws more than 90,000 fans to Ohio Stadium. The miserable playing conditions, the jersey scrimmage format and playing on Easter weekend might severely cut into the crowd.

- John Kampf

Kentucky Derby blog #3

Here is the list of AP top 10 contenders for the upcoming Kentucky Derby on May 7.

1. Dialed In (Nick Zito, trainer; Julien Leparoux, jockey): Zito looking for Derby win No. 3 and likely will have the favorite. ... Lightly raced Florida Derby winner has won three of four starts. ... Worked 4 furlongs in 49.90 at Palm Meadows on Tuesday. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby (May 7, Churchill Downs, dirt). ... Odds: 5-1.

2. Mucho Macho Man (Kathy Ritvo, Rajiv Maragh): Risen Star winner comes into Derby off third-place finish in Louisiana Derby (March 26). ... Worked 7 furlongs in 1:23.65 Saturday at Palm Meadows before being shipped to Churchill Downs. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 27-1.

3. Toby’s Corner (Graham Motion, Eddie Castro): Wood winner heads to Churchill Downs with four wins in six starts. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 8-1 (mutuel field).

4. Uncle Mo (Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez): Gastrointestinal infection leaves Derby status uncertain. ... Ailment could explain third-place finish in Wood after sweeping to four straight wins. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 3-1.

5. Archarcharch (Jinks Fires, Jon Court): Hometown crew pulls off big win in Arkansas Derby at 25-1 odds, by a neck. ... 70-year-old Fires wins first G1 race. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 8-1 (mutuel field).

6. Nehro (Steve Asmussen, Corey Nakatani): Missed by a neck in Arkansas Derby after missing by a neck in Louisiana Derby. .. Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 30-1.

7. Pants On Fire (Kelly Breen, Rosie Napravnik): Louisiana Derby winner worked 5 furlongs in 58.70 at Palm Meadows on Friday before being shipped to Churchill Downs. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 44-1.

8. Midnight Interlude (Bob Baffert, Victor Espinoza): Santa Anita Derby winner could be Baffert’s best hope. ... Baffert looking for fourth Derby win. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 8-1 (mutuel field).

9. Soldat (Kiaran McLaughlin, Alan Garcia): Fountain of Youth winner comes into Derby off fifth-place finish in Florida Derby. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 17-1.

10. The Factor (Baffert, Martin Garcia): Failed to gain lead in Arkansas Derby, and finished seventh after three wire-to-wire wins. ... Lots of questions about getting 1 1/4-mile Derby distance. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 10-1.

Here is my top 10

1. Dialed In
2. Uncle Mo (if healthy)
3. Nehro
4. Midnight Interlude
5. Soldat
6. The Factor
7. Archarchharch
8. Mucho Macho Man
9. Toby's Corner
10. Brilliant Speed (winner of Bluegrass Stakes)

Nick Zito is a trainer of undeniable pedigree with two Kentucky Derby wins and he has a horse who has proven he can run late with Florida Derby winner Dialed In. Lots to like with this horse. ... Even if Breeders Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo trains well and is healthy, can he get 1 1/4 miles on the front end with 19 horses chasing him? ... Don't sleep on Nehro, who has a late-charging style that could be useful if there is some pace in the Derby.

No doubt the list will change as we near the race and see these horses train over the Churchill Downs surface. As of now, very difficult race to handicap. That's the beauty of the sport and the game of handicapping thoroughbreds.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Kentucky Derby blog #2

This is the second of a 3-week long look at the contenders and the trends for the upcoming May 7th running of the 137th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

Now what?

The Kentucky Derby field is an absolute trainwreck as far as pinning down a favorite, but that is GOOD NEWS for fans of parimutuel betting. Should be a good payoff now that there is no clear-cut chalk.

Archarcharch wins the Arkansas Derby and favorite The Factor is no factor at all. Lonsghot Brilliant Speed wins the Bluegrass Stakes to further muddy the water. I love it, and so should all of you that don't mind a little uncertainty on the first Saturday in May.

Dialed In might be a popular pick because of his closing style and win in the Florida Derby. Uncle Mo might be forgiven his third-place finish in the Wood Memorial, but distance is still a concern.

Can't wait for the May 7 race and for Louisville to light up for the best 2 minutes in sports! Just not sure right now which horse deserves to be the favorite or who really wants to win this thing. Lots of warts on all the contenders.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cleveland's own Stoke City (?!?!)

Stoke City booked its place in the FA Cup final - the world's longest running domestic club tournament - with a 5-0 win Sunday over Bolton.

<a href="" target="_new" title="">FA Cup: Bolton/Stoke</a>

It's the first time in the club's 148-year history that it's gotten to Wembley and this storied place in English soccer.

Oddly enough, Cleveland has ties to Stoke City.

I've seen mentions over the years of Stoke being tied in some way to this area, but wasn't fully clear on how. So I did some research and found out.

In 1967 the entire Stoke City squad, including star goalkeeper Gordon Banks, played in the United Soccer Association as the Cleveland Stokers. The financiers of the project, hopeful of cashing in on the world's sport, imported clubs from abroad to essentially take on an alias and play in the league. English club Wolverhampton, for example, were the Los Angeles Wolves. Scottish club Aberdeen played as the Washington Whips.

The Stokers played their home matches at the old Stadium. Having Banks playing in Northeast Ohio, albeit temporarily, was actually a bit of a coup. Banks was the starting goalkeeper on the England squad that won its first (and still only) World Cup in 1966. In Stoke's lone season representing Cleveland in the United Soccer Association, it finished second in its division and didn't qualify for the playoffs.

Stoke's players returned home after the 1967 season. The Stokers franchise continued on with new ownership (Indians owner Vernon Stouffer and team president Gabe Paul sold to a group led by Howard Metzenbaum) and inherited most of the Philadelphia roster from the National Professional Soccer League, which the USA merged with to become the North American Soccer League. Amid a dispute with the league, however, the Stokers ended up last one more season in 1968 before folding for good in 1969.

This current Stoke squad, by the way, may have a tough time in the FA Cup final against powerful Manchester City and will go in as an underdog. But good for them to make it to what in some ways amounts to the English soccer version of the Super Bowl for the first time in nearly 150 years of existence.

And for one of those years, Stoke was actually Cleveland's own. Who knew?

- Chris Lillstrung

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Welcome to playoff hockey, son

Any coach, player or fan knows the difference between regular-season and playoff hockey.

My son, Samson, just over 2 years old, learned that hard way on Saturday.

The Monsters' 6-4 playoff win over Manitoba at The Q wasn't his first-ever hockey game. He and I took in a February game that wasn't heavily attended. When the home team scored a goal on that day, Samson's reaction was, "Huh, what happened?"

On Saturday, with almost 8,000 in attendance, the Monsters struck first and the crowd was in a frenzy. Samson? Well, let's just say the poor little guy had never heard anything like it. He cried for a few moments, needed a hug, then all was better.

Yes, it's playoff hockey time in Cleveland, and I find myself wanting more. Samson? We'll see.

- Mark Podolski

Kentucky Derby blog #1

This is the first of a 3-week long look at the contenders and the trends for the upcoming May 7th running of the 137th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

Saturday, April 16, will start to clear up the murky field for the 2011 Kentucky Derby.

Uncle Mo, who should have been an overwhelming favorite for the race, ran a disappointing third in the Wood Memorial. So now, the door is open for contenders and longshots alike.

Dialed In, who rallied late in the Florida Derby to hit the wire first, will get plenty of attention for the Run for the Roses, but here is what the railbirds of the nation have to look forward to Saturday.

The Factor, an easy winner of the Rebel (Grade III) in first visit to Arkansas, has returned as a strong 7-5 favorite in a field of 13 3-year-olds entered in Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (GI) at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.

Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia indicated this week that an impressive victory in the Arkansas Derby would likely make the Bob Baffert-trained son of War Front the morning line favorite for the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Santiva, winner of Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) and runner-up in his 2011 debut to Mucho Macho Man in the Risen Star (GII) at Fair Grounds, figures to be a lukewarm favorite when he faces 11 rivals in Saturday’s 87th running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (GI) over the synthetic Polytrack surface at Keeneland.

How much do you discount or really buy into Polytrack efforts? Stay tuned, things are about to get interesting.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Big hits in football a tough topic to touch on

Near the end of the Frontline documentary "Football High," which aired on WVIZ-TV 25 this week, several high school players commented on the risk of injuries while playing.

"Usually it's not life-threatening or anything like that. It can shorten your life, but not by that much," a blue-chip quarterback recruit said.

"You're only 17 once. I have the rest of my life to worry about pain," another player added.

We all thought we were invincible when we were 17, athletes or not. Most of us probably would have said something similar.

But these opinions were shown after 50 minutes of throat-tightening examples of the effects of repeated hits to the head, a player who died from heatstroke, and how some schools are treating their teams like small-college programs, with the increased pressure to win attached.

Most of the documentary's content on injuries wasn't new, but it's still sobering. So is the nationalization of the game at the prep level, with networks such as ESPN broadcasting inter-state matchups and recruiting analysts blogging about every scouting combine. The season culminates with some top prospects announcing their college choices on live national TV.

It's a delicate issue because football is the all-powerful king of the American sports landscape. Who wants to be the person to say "Hey, we're starting to cross the line between physical and dangerous"? Or, "This is too much hype for teenagers."

A player for a Texas powerhouse said, "They teach us to play hard, even when you're hurt. It's instilled into us in junior high school, 'Get back up. It's all right. You can go to the next play.' "

The documentary noted how much bigger players are than a generation ago. That the players are bigger isn't all bad. It means they're more in tune with taking care of their bodies and know how to eat and hydrate properly.

What is bad is that most schools cannot afford to have athletic trainers on site at all times. With bigger and faster players, medical staff are needed. Frontline used the sad example of two players in Arkansas who collapsed while practicing on a day with a 112-degree heat index.

Both were put into medical-induced comas. The player whose school had a trainer survived and returned to the field six weeks after because the trainer knew what to do.

The other player died, and one of the reasons is because his school didn't have a trainer on site. The coaches did their best they could for him, but they could only wait until the ambulance showed up.

With concussions, studies are going on now. Evidence is showing that players can get degenerative brain disease without ever being diagnosed with a concussion, like death by 1,000 paper cuts.

One of the players interviewed tried to explain how his helmet works and said, "If I hit someone really hard, it doesn't hurt." He might not feel it when the hit takes place on the field. But doctors are starting to prove that those collisions add up.

The results are scary as some of the hits look, but it's football. It's such a big part of sporting culture. What kid would want to give up some of the best years of his life playing a sport he loves with his friends?

You can't adjust the rule book to reduce hitting without changing how the game is played. And how the game is played is what makes it so popular. Starting up a sport that,
according to the documentary, accounts for two-thirds to three-quarters of high school sports injuries, is exorbitantly expensive and is only for one gender doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. But who doesn't want football?

Despite all the above, I couldn't imagine football any differently than it is now. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the fall are made for it. That's why it's so difficult to look at this issue. I think most of us just wish it wasn't happening.

With NFL players, it's easier because you can say, "Well, they're adults and they chose to do this." One guy gets carted off and the next player in line takes his place. The injured and retired players are quickly forgotten.

We need to be more careful with high school players, though. But it sure seems easier to put it out of mind outside of the few minutes it takes to get an injured player off the field.

- Howard Primer

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Hair and Mel Kiper Jr.

I wonder if Mel Kiper Jr.'s hair is a living and breathing entity.

I wonder if Kiper's hair talks to him too. Why? The ESPN NFL draft guru's hairdo is so unique, so unusual, so perfect, it seems as if it came from another planet and took up residency on Kiper's scalp. Kind of like the face hugger from the "Alien" movies.

There's no other way to describe it. Kiper is the hair. The hair is Kiper. Two living and breathing entities.

I can't stop looking on it when he's on ESPN talking about the likes of Cam Newton, A.J. Green and Patrick Peterson. Eddie Munster's long-lost uncle? No way. That hair is not of this earth.

I can't help but think if the Hair controls Kiper or if Kiper controls the hair.

OK, it's back to reality. Just had to get that off my chest.

- Mark Podolski

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Steve Eppich has big shoes to fill at Lake

The new girls basketball coach at Lake Catholic has some big shoes to fill.
Steve Eppich was named the new coach on Wednesday. He is replacing 18-year head coach Frank Soria who resigned last week.
Eppich is a 2001 Lake Catholic graduate who was a standout basketball player for the Cougars. He is the all-time leading boys scorer in school history. He continued his basketball career at Division II Wheeling Jesuit.
Eppich's experiences will be key in helping him take over at Lake.
Afterall, he is replacing a legend.
Soria, who resigned to spend more time with his family, led the Cougars to a 23-3 record this winter. They won the North Coast League Blue Division title, a Division II district championship and lost in the regional championship to eventual state champion Hathaway Brown.
In his career, Soria led the Cougars to a state runner-up championship, two regional titles and four district championships.
He's built a winning program at Lake that continues to grow.
It will be Eppich's responsiblity to keep that tradition alive.
Since he's been a part of the boys program, that shouldn't be a problem. The pieces are in place and it will be interesting to see how far Eppich will be able to take the program.

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Indians are seizing a golden opportunity

To put it plainly, the Cavaliers stink.

They work hard. They just are not good.

The Browns? They're less than average. If  they were anything better than that, they wouldn't be picking sixth in the NFL draft later this month.

The NFL is mired in a lockout, while the NBA seems headed in that direction in the near future.

THIS was the Indians chance to win the city's heart.

And so far, they're doing it.

Following Monday's late-night win over Anaheim, the Fighting Braves of the Cuyahoga had won eight straight games after losing the first two. I was at that home opener, the one in which they were down by two touchdowns before showing any life. 'They're blowing this opportunity,' I thought to myself.

Not just to win the game and get off to a rare good start, but to allow the city to fall in love with them while others around them - ie the Cavs and the Browns - and their leagues were letting them down.

To be fair, the Cavaliers were expected to be like this after the untimely departure of LeBron James. At BEST they were going to be mediocre this year and lose a lot of fans. And they've been worse than mediocre and have lost fans, as expected.

The Browns were decent last year, but the fact remains they are drafting sixth overall later this month. With the current lockout, who knows when they will get back on the path to respectability.

This was the Indians' chance to win the city back. To turn the heads who had ignored them over the past handful of mediocre-to-bad years and figuratively say, "Hey everyone, look at us" with a good start and early wins.

Granted, we're only 10 games into a 162-game schedule. A lot can happen in the next 152 games, including injuries and a huge downward spiral.

Coming back to earth, skeptics would call it.

But through 10 games, the Indians are doing what it takes to win. They're getting good starting pitching, lockdown performances out of the bullpen, timely hitting, early leads and clutch hitting with runners in scoring position.

In the season-opening homestand, the Indians drew around 10,000 fans per game after the opening-day sellout. The crowds should improve when the next homestand starts on Friday against visiting Baltimore.

It might be on a small increase, and that would be understandable. Scorned, hurt and disappointed fans don't all come back at once. They trickle in slowly, as if afraid to fall in love all over again because of their fear of being hurt all over again.

But if the Indians keep doing what they're doing - winning - the fans won't stay away for long.

The love affair between the Indians and their fans can be rekindled.

The Indians are doing their part. The fans will reciprocate if their team keeps winning.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Woods is icing on the Masters cake

Like him, love him or hate him, Tiger Woods makes golf a better sport to watch when he is in a tournament and playing well.

The final round of the Masters on Sunday was gripping TV with eight different players sharing or holding the lead at some point, but let's be honest - relative unknown Charl Schwartzel ended up with the green jacket, but Woods got the drama going with a 31 on the front nine.

So you have arguably the best day on the calendar for the sport of golf, a crowded leaderboard, meaningful shots on every hole and the most loved and most hated golfer in the world at the same time charging from seven strokes back.

Quick, who won the major tournaments when Woods was out recovering from knee surgery a few years ago? Who finished fourth in 2009 when Angel Cabrera won the Masters?

Everyone is entitled to their opinions when it comes to Woods and his on-course antics and his off-the-course infidelity. It can not be argued that whether you are watching the tournament to root for him to win or root for him to fail, he remains the biggest draw on tour.

This is not to say Sunday's final round wouldn't have been great theater and unbelievable drama at Augusta with Adam Scott, Jason Day, Geoff Ogilvy and others taking a run at the green jacket. With the young guns and the international flavor, CBS had to be thrilled.

But Woods being in the mix and finishing fourth never hurts.

Can Woods keep it going to the U.S. Open in June? NBC and golf fans all around the world should be praying for it.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Who won at Augusta? Just about everyone

It wasn't hard to figure out who came out more than satisfied after a fantastic Sunday at Augusta in the Masters.

The biggest winner, obviously, is Charl Schwartzel, the unheralded South African who emerged from a tight pack with a great late charge to secure the green jacket.

It does go beyond that, though.

Come on, admit it. Despite all the off-course ridiculousness, you know as well as I do that Sundays at a major just aren't the same without Tiger Woods in the hunt. It almost felt like a rewind as Tiger shot 31 on the front nine to get in contention. He didn't say much on CBS after his round, but it was clear that maybe Tiger's golf game - the other stuff aside - has possibly started to turn the corner.

Another big winner was CBS. It's a fact that ratings suffer if Woods isn't contending on a Sunday, no matter how many other big names are battling for a major. Those roars at Augusta weren't just from the gallery. They were from CBS executives who could envision the dollar signs in front of them.

By the way, it was a shame to see what happened to Rory McIlroy, the Northern Irish phenom, as things got away from him. But with that kind of game at that age, he'll be heard from again with experience to draw upon.

If you think about it, on the back nine almost the entire world had a rooting interest with countrymen in the mix - Europe (Luke Donald and, to a certain extent, Angel Cabrera), Australia (Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott and Jason Day), North America (Woods) and Africa (Schwartzel).

I'm not much of a golf person, but there's a certain something that's alluring about Sunday at Augusta. And this final round of the Masters not only didn't disappoint. It may well go down as one of the best there's ever been.

- Chris Lillstrung

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Loving the Frozen Four championship game

The championship game of the Frozen Four is one of my favorite sporting events to watch every year.

This year's college hockey final pitted Michigan vs. Minnesota Duluth. I was rooting for the Wolverines because I respect their coach, Red Berenson, and their hockey program.

That's not the reason why I so glued to my TV on Saturday night. The beauty of the Stanley Cup playoffs is wishing and hoping for a Game 7. When it happens, it's must-watch sports viewing. It's even better if that Game 7 goes to overtime. Game 7s and hockey are something special.

When it comes to the college hockey national championship, fans never have to wish or hope for a Game 7. It's Game 7 every season come the national championship game. Best-of-seven series don't exist in the NCAA tournament, and that's a good thing.

As 1980 U.S. hockey coach Herb Brooks, played by Kurt Russel in the movie, "Miracle," said: "One game. This is your time."

Michigan and Minnesota Duluth played like it on Saturday night. It was winner takes all. There wasn't a seven-game series to collect yourself. It was one chance to be ready, one chance to take home the trophy.  It's the way it should be in every sport.

- Mark Podolski

Friday, April 8, 2011

Winning this contest is a long shot

The Cavaliers' game against the Bobcats on Tuesday was my first Cavs game in-person since a 2003-04 exhibition game. So this timeout contest might have been running for a while. But I just saw it for the first time.

During a first-half break, the contestant had 30 seconds to make a layup, a free throw, a 3-pointer and a half-court shot. The prize was $25,000. The contestant made the layup and the free throw, but never had a chance on two 3-point attempts.

I don't think the sponsor would even need to buy insurance on the prize money. Even if someone had NBA-level shooting skills, imagine how fast he or she would have to be just to get  in two half-court attempts.

I think the prize money is safe for a long time.

- Howard Primer

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

No shortage of golden voice candidates for Senior Bowl

After announcing The News-Herald was in search of an individual to sing the National Anthem for the June 25 Senior Bowl all-star football game, presented by Hooley House, the area has not disappointed.

Candidates that have submitted video of themselves singing the anthem have been impressive. Others are flowing in as well. Older voices, younger voices. It's a wide range of voices.

The News-Herald will soon post all videos of candidates on our website ( for reader feedback and comments. Until then, the search for the golden voice continues.

Individuals interested in trying out to sing the Anthem for the June 25 Senior Bowl can e-mail Sports Editor Mark Podolski at: or call 440-951-0000, x680.

- Mark Podolski

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mentor boys track team is off to a solid start

The Mentor boys track team started the season strong with a victory at the Lakeside Icebreaker on Saturday.
The Cardinals totaled 147 points and set several meet records along the way.
First place finishers included Andy Stevenson in the shot put (50-5) and discus (163-5). Both distances were new meet records.
Brian Palmer, Greg Blevins, Jesse Kovitch, Kyle Muenker won the 4x800 relay in a meet-record time of 8:34.75.
Joe Shaker won the 3200 in 10:13.
Colton Wallace won three events. He set a new meet-record in the long jump (22-3) and also won the 100 dash (11.47) and high jump (6-2). He was third on the  4x100 relay.
This is a great sign for the Cardinals who have 115 boys athletes on their roster. They have the experience, depth and talent to make it far in the postseason.
Winning these early-season meets helps boost confidence and gives the Cardinals momentum heading into their next meet.
There's no doubt the Cardinals are one of the top boys track teams in the area.

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia 


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Buckeyes aren't going to miss Herron

Five players from the Ohio State football team will miss the first five games of the 2011 season starting this fall.

The one that should be sweating the most should be running back Dan Herron.

A product of Warren Harding, "Boom"  is coming off a junior season in which he ran for 1,155 yards and 16 touchdowns. Until Tattoo-Gate came raining down on the OSU program, Herron was primed for a banner senior season.

Now, by time Herron returns from the five-game suspension he and four other teammates received for selling memorabilia, he might not have a job waiting for him like QB Terrelle Pryor, WR DeVier Posey, OT Mike Adams and DE Solomon Thomas should have.

The Buckeyes have so much talent at the running back position, Herron could be an afterthought - and a step down in talent - by the time the Nebraska game rolls around six games into the season.

While Herron serves his suspension, Jaamal Berry, Jordan Hall, Carlos Hyde and Roderick Smith will all get a shot at running the ball for the Buckeyes. Judging from the inexperience Ohio State will have at quarterback with Pryor on the sideline, the OSU offense is likely going to be a run-first offense anyway.

The guess here is that Berry, who averaged 8.3 yards per carry in spot duty last year, stands a very good chance of emerging as "the man" in Herron's absence. He's got another gear that no one, including Hall, have. His explosiveness could give the Buckeyes a home run-hitter they haven't had in some time.

Then you've got Hall, Beanie Wells clone Smith and Hyde - who is a bit smaller than Smith - hammering away with a more physical approach.

If Berry, Hall, Wells and Smith produce how I expect them to, then what happens when Herron returns? No coach on the planet is more loyal to seniors to Ohio State coach Jim Tressel. But how is he going to turn the reins over to Herron when the running game takes off and carries the team for five weeks without him?

In fairness to Herron, he was in a no-win situation when the Tattoo-Gate came down. He couldn't very well have made himself eligible for the NFL draft. He likely wouldn't have been drafted. He's too small (5-10, 202) and lacks explosive, break-away speed.

That left him with the option of returning for an abbreviated senior year. One which might be spent standing on the sidelines - not just serving his suspension, but also when he is eligible to return.

- John Kampf

Monday, April 4, 2011

Derby fever heating up

Any hardcore thoroughbred horse racing fans out there? How about casual gamblers who love dressing up and drinking Mint Juleps on the first Saturday in May?

Either way, the Kentucky Derby is a month away.

Uncle Mo, the Breeders Cup Juvenile winner and early favorite is still hot on most handicappers' radar, but Dialed In is a rising star after winning the Florida Derby on Sunday. Anthony's Cross, Jaycito and Premier Pegasus have a major test this weekend in the Santa Anita Derby.

It seems like a lifetime time ago I actually picked a winner for News-Herald readers with Super Saver in the 2010 Kentucky Derby. I have my eyes and ears open to try to come up with a winner and some money-making options again this May.

Right now, it is tough to imagine Uncle Mo getting beat, but that is what makes the Kentucky Derby such a great sporting event.

You just never know, so stay tuned.

- Bill Tilton

Peyton Hillis moves on in Madden NFL 12 campaign

Browns running back Peyton Hillis scored an upset in moving on in the Madden NFL 12 campaign to grace the cover of the popular video game.

Hillis, a No. 10 seed, advanced by earning more fan votes than No. 2 seed Matt Ryan of the Falcons. Other players joining Hillis in the quarterfinals are Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, Patriots RB Danny Woodhead, Chiefs RB Jamal Charles, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, 49ers LB Patrick Willis, Saints QB Drew Brees and Eagles QB Michael Vick.

Hillis will take on Charles in the next round. The last day to cast votes for the third round is April 11 at noon. The final four candidates will be announced later that day at 4 p.m. on ESPN's "SportsNation."

Vote here:

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

When wrestling is a dirty word

Humor me for a moment while I blur the line between sports and entertainment:

Admittedly at 31, I'm still somewhat of a pro wrestling fan. I'll still check out the occasional pay per views and keep up with the weekly TV shows through reading results on the internet.

(Yes, I know. It's all scripted and pre-determined. The sport element is only there in theory. I get it. Hey, we all have our vices.)

World Wrestling Entertainment, on the eve of its biggest event, "Wrestlemania," sent an internal memo to its employees, making it clear they did not want anyone to use one particular word. No, not a swear word.

The word is wrestling.

That's right. Wrestling is apparently a bad word in the world of pro wrestling. WWE prefers to be known as more of a multi-media platform, and not just for its wrestling product.

Could you imagine if the National Hockey League suddenly became ashamed of its core identity and suddenly just became the NHL, with none of its players using the word hockey?

Are you kidding me?

In pro wrestling, playing a character is called kayfabe. It's ironic, then, that WWE is playing kayfabe with itself in real life.

Word of this situation initially leaked out when an entertainment website posted a press release about Drew Carey joining the celebrity wing of the Hall of Fame, using a title that included the words "pro wrestling". WWE's publicist called the website and demanded the title be changed. They refused and instead took the story down altogether.

Vince McMahon is a master of a lot of things. Straying away from what got him to the dance, instead of embracing it, deserves a flunking grade.

- Chris Lillstrung

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Butler does it again

This has to be an April Fool's Day joke a day late, right?

A Horizon League team playing for the national championship two years in a row? If it didn't actually happen before my eyes, I wouldn't believe it.

That's how improbable the Bulldogs' run to two straight title game appearances is to me.

It ranks up there with Villanova shocking Georgetown to the win the 1985 title and North Carolina State stunning Houston to win it all in 1983.

Should Butler win the national crown on Monday, it will never top what 'Nova and N.C. State accomplished. The two teams each team defeated, Georgetown with Patrick Ewing, and Houston with Hakeen Olajuwan and Clyde Drexler, were all-time great teams never  to win a title.

Nonetheless, Butler and Coach Brad Stevens continue to shock the college basketball word. A win on Monday would double that shock.

The Horizon League team is playing for the national championship for a second straight season. Still can't believe it.

- Mark Podolski