Gary Pinkel is on his Kansas City media tour today. He came to the Star before meeting with a booster club for lunch, and I assume there are radio and television stops as well.
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star
So you will probably hear this quote a few times, if you havent already, but it made me so happy to hear it from him after pushing the idea of resuming the Border War rivalry at Arrowhead Stadium:
How long are we going to stay mad at each other?
Now, Gary is smart enough to know there are other reasons Mizzou and Kansas wont play football. Besides the silly posturing and politics about Mizzous move to the SEC get over it, everyone MU has only four non-conference games to schedule each year, and Kansas has just three.
KU, especially, needs those games as easy as possible and, regardless of the sore feelings with Mizzou, isnt doing itself any good by scheduling a strong opponent like that.
But I appreciate what Pinkel said all the same. Just wish we could focus on getting the rivalry back in basketball. Thats where it makes sense for both schools.
This weeks eating recommendation is the pakora wrap at Chai Shai, and the reading recommendation is the Sports Illustrated story on violations at Oklahoma State. Have to be honest, I havent had time to read it yet. But its going to be essential in being fully conversant in sports this week, no matter what you think of the details.
Anyway, lets get to it. As always, thanks for reading and for your help.
Skip to 5:40
Absolutely ridiculous, and justifiably a great example that soccer haters will use to continue soccer hating. No other sport would stand for this. If there was common sense involved, the ref would be suspended one game, the flopper about three, and FIFA would use clear and embarrassing video evidence like this to correct clear and embarrassing mistakes.
Only problem I can see with this idea is that it makes too much sense.
This isnt good for anyone. Its unfair to the US and Besler, obviously, but its a horrible look for soccer, an enormous fail by the ref and, Id argue, not even good for Costa Rica because now theyre owed one.
I guess Mexicos the winner, for playing the match where Besler will be suspended. But, my gosh. What a joke.
Well, I guess you can always find a positive.
@mellinger Who had the best week in KC sports?— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) September 9, 2013
Now that I think about it, I was always curious what would have to happen for me not to lead a football season Twitter Tuesday with football. I always assumed it would be the Royals in a playoff chase or heaven forbid the playoffs, but I guess the answer turned out to be hometown player egregiously screwed by a weak flop and awful referee.
But, to answer your question, if were talking about a team, its obviously the Chiefs. Season openers are always important, but considering where theyve been and what theyve been through, a dominant win like that is an incredibly positive sign. And, yes. Were all adults so we all understand that the Jags are the equivalent of a college football paycheck game. Well know more after Sundays game against the Cowboys. But all the Chiefs can do is play the teams on their schedule.
If were talking about an individual, its either Justin Houston or Dontari Poe. I havent been alone in thinking those two are in for monster years, but its another thing to see it in a real NFL game.
But, man, very high honorable mention for DKTM Man of the Weekend goes to Markus Golden because whoa:
@mellinger What's the biggest difference you're seeing in Poe compared to last year?— Anthony Monley (@TonymonZ) September 9, 2013
He just looks more athletic, stronger, quicker. The narrative has been about giving up barbecue, but its more than that. His body is in much better shape, but I also think hes benefitting from what football people have always said happens to players in their second year particularly defensive linemen.
Poe is a genetic freak, even by NFL standards, and as much as guys like that talk about being students of the game and concentrating on technique and blah-blah-blah, they really have to struggle before that stuff becomes real.
And Poe did struggle last year, at least at the beginning, because at least in my amateur eye he was relying on the same natural ability that got him that far. As the season went on, I think he concentrated more on where his hands are, who has the leverage advantage, and reading plays instead of just pushing forward.
Add in an entire offseason of that, plus a better body, and, yeah. I think you have a Pro Bowl nose tackle.
Nashville for music, Memphis for barbecue, right? Yeah, Ill be there. As it happens, the day before the Chiefs play in Nashville, Mizzou plays at Vanderbilt, so Im gonna try to make it a doubleheader.
Curious how many Mizzou/Chiefs fans are doing the same. Wont be too many opportunities to do this for a local football fan.
@mellinger Love the reading recommendations. Any chance you have any in the realm of fiction?— Leon Charles (@LeonCharles2) September 9, 2013
Sorry, man. Ive never been able to get into fiction. I dont know if I just cant take off the journalist hat or what. I just, every time I read a piece of fiction, Im usually struck by the (high) quality of writing but at some point just sort of think, Eh, its all made up.
I know thats a me-problem, but, I mean, I cant read something like Laura Hillenbrands Unbroken and think fiction can be better than the best non-fiction.
The look on his face reminded me of Jesse in Breaking Bad.
And, well, youre not far off. Every time Ive done TV, well, lets just say there are reasons I dont do it regularly.
And only one of them is my ridiculous haircut.
Eh, I have minor quibble here. I mean, they cant just lose out. But theyre on pace for 84 or 85 wins, and if they get there then Dayton Inc. can justifiably claim progress. Ive written many times that what theyre building from, market size, a thousand factors one of the best models is what Terry Ryan did with the Twins. And they lost for six straight years, broke through with 85 wins (and second place) in year seven, and then won three straight division titles after that.
If the Royals get to 84 or 85, sure, theyre on pace. Still some work to do, still some figuring out what happened to Mike Moustakas the first half or so of the season, if Alcides Escobar is broken at the plate, if someone can convince Sal Perez to wear the more protective catchers helmet, whos going to play right field, if Danny Duffy can continue to progress, and what they hell to do with Ervin Santana (or the void he creates).
But, yeah. Progress.
Oh, my. Yes. Im hearing itll be the biggest crowd in five years, or at least since the playoff game.
A lot of that is, sadly, that theyre playing the Cowboys and there are a whole mess of people who stumbled their way into Cowboy fandom. But I do think theres a better feeling around town now than weve had in years, at least since the division title, maybe longer. These things are so hard to quantify.
Random, but I wanted to mention it and wasnt sure where else to do it: six smoke-writer airplanes are apparently going to paint the sky over downtown red on Friday morning.
I have a bad memory. Has that ever happened before?
@mellinger assuming it continues, how much credit will, and how much credit should Scott Pioli take for Dontari Poe's total domination?— ehigotnothing (@IronyFulfilled) September 9, 2013
My guess on how much credit will he get: a little.
How much credit should he get: a lot.
There is plenty to criticize Pioli on, obviously. No need to rehash all of it here. But just like Carl Peterson deserved SOME credit for that division title because he drafted the nucleus of the team, Pioli deserves credit for Houston and Poe.
Particularly Poe, Id say, because drafting Houston in the third round was pretty safe. Thats a first-round talent with upside that youre getting in the third round because too many in the NFL freaked out over what was reported to be a failed marijuana test.
Here are the successes Scott had that continue to serve the Chiefs today, at least off the top of my head:
- club-friendly long-term contracts for Brandon Flowers, Derrick Johnson and Jamaal Charles.
- drafting Eric Berry, Justin Houston and Dontari Poe.
- leaving a crap-ton of cap space.
- pissing off the fan base so much that whoever was hired in his stead would be treated like kings.
First, lets be clear about something: that was an oh-look-what-bounced-into-my-hands interception. This isnt a criticism of Carr, who is a terrific player, but that was just a lucky bounce after an awful throw by Eli Manning that the announcers curiously blamed on the running back.
But, yeah. I imagine Carr is very excited to play his old team, though Id bet hed have a little more emotion if the front office that let him go was still in charge.
Im not sure how to answer this one. I dont think anyone is forgetting. It would be impossible to watch that game and not see how craptastic the Jaguars are, but, also, what do you want? Cant penalize the Chiefs for playing the team on their schedule.
Good teams beat the tar out of bad teams, and the Chiefs beat the tar out of a bad team.
Im not ready to say the Chiefs are good. I still think 7-9.
But who are these people who are getting carried away? I mean, find me these people. I demand names. You cant just be throwing around accusations
@mellinger Time/Location of the SuperBowl Parade? Thanks!— Bill Gurney (@kcgurney) September 9, 2013
well, OK, maybe few people
Lets just move on.
Thats a fact. And, really. They havent been close. The Royals seven playoff appearances are bunched between 1976 and 1985, a time when the Chiefs were busy watching their good players get old and then a bunch of scrubs lose a lot of games.
The closest the Chiefs and Royals have come to making the playoffs in the same year, depending on how you want to look at it:
- Royals won the World Series in 1985, Chiefs won a wild card in 1986.
- Royals made the playoffs in 1981, Chiefs then went 9-7.
- Royals were coming hard at a playoff spot when the 1994 season shut down for the strike; Chiefs made the playoffs that year.
- Royals had The Great Fluke of 2003, same year the Chiefs went 13-3 and didnt bother to make the Colts punt in the playoff game.
This is really gross, so no GIF, just this gross picture that Ill link here.
I cant improve upon this. Well done.
Cleveland is above Kansas City in the standings, and had fewer than 10,000 people there.
But besides that, Ill always say this: the burden of proof is on the team. They have two decades of suck to overcome. Two months of good baseball cant erase that, so Im never going to criticize people in Kansas City for not showing up unless they dont sellout a playoff game.
@mellinger isn't it time to lock Gordon up to ensure he retires a royal?Takes care of himself and keeps improving...will cost more in future— DS (@kcshowtime96) September 9, 2013
He has two more years on his contract after this one, plus a player option. I guess you could start to talk about another extension, but really, baseball protocol is that youd wait at least until next offseason.
Thats a crime. Ervin Santana quotes Churchill
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. #WinstonChurchill— Ervin Santana (@ErvinSantana_54) August 22, 2013
while I provide insight like this:
Oof.— Sam Mellinger (@mellinger) September 10, 2013
Give Erv a follow, is what Im saying.
People just need to stop taking that nickname literally. James Shields is a very good pitcher, the ace of the staff, a leader on playoff teams in Tampa, yada-yada-yada.
But, guys. He got the nickname from a minor league teammate because hes a Lakers fan, and James Worthys nickname was Big Game James.
Its not literal, and was never meant to be. Stop pretending otherwise.
@mellinger Obviously this weekend was the just the setup for the big let down, right?— Frank Schloegel (@FrankSchloegel) September 9, 2013