Star sports columnist Vahe Gregorian takes on five topics every Friday on his blog:
By VAHE GREGORIAN
The Kansas City Star
• 1. First impressions of the sad and disturbing ESPN “Outside The Lines” piece released Friday about the suicide of a former Mizzou swimmer: The story 16 months in the works seems a lot more complicated and multi-layered than is reflected in the simple and inflammatory headline, “Mizzou did not pursue sexual assault.” For one thing, it’s not clear what, if anything, MU athletic officials knew about the alleged assault before Sasha Menu Courey’s suicide in Boston and for many months thereafter. But did Mizzou respond as it should have as it heard more? Before you draw any conclusions, it’s certainly worth reading MU’s full version of the approach from a Dec. 4 letter to ESPN and another exchange from just over 24 hours ago.
More on this later as we re-read the reports and responses, go to the video and try to learn more.
• 2. For a Sunday column, I had an interesting talk Wednesday with Royals general manager Dayton Moore, who is remarkably accessible for someone in an office that often is insulated.
• 3. Perhaps surprisingly, Moore expressed disappointment about last season’s near breakthrough. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t optimistic about this season’s prospects as the Royals seek to end the longest playoff drought in the four major professional sports in North America.
He called this team the best “on paper” the Royals have had in years, believes they can and will improve their erratic run production while maintaining strong pitching and noted the urgency of avoiding their customary early-season self-destruction.
The takeaway from Moore:
“What I’ve said from Day One is 2014 is the year we ought to be able to compete from the first day to the last day,” he said, carefully adding, “I’ve never said that this is the year we’re going to be in the playoffs. I don’t make any predictions like that …
“But without a doubt, this team in 2014 is one I expect to be able to compete from the first day to the last day.”
This and much more from Moore in The Star on Sunday.
• 4. As Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick considered others being enshrined Sunday in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, he calls the distinction “humbling” and mentioned the likes of Ed Podolak and Willie McGee.
“And then there’s Bob Kendrick,” he said Thursday, laughing.
Kendrick believes it’s the museum being honored, as a precious place that is “certainly bigger than any of us involved.”
But self-deprecating as he may be, Kendrick’s TLC is a big part of that, and it shows up in numerous ways. One day last fall, I wandered in with family to have a look around and drifted to a museum guide who had people riveted.
As I got closer, I realized it was Kendrick conducting as colorful and in-depth a tour as I’ve ever had anywhere.
• 5. The first I heard of Colorado’s Kerry Kuck was a quote attributed to him by race organizers for the 32nd Groundhog Day run on Sunday at the Hunt Midwest Suptropolis.
“I am totally blind, not legally blind, or visually impaired. I also have type 1 diabetes. I challenge all runners to catch us before the finish line.”
When I emailed him to make contact and confirm his words, he acknowledged them but added, “Now I feel like the Seattle Seahawks pro bowl cornerback Richard Sherman (back pedal, back pedal).”
He then went into a fascinating description of the complexities of running the race, concluding that despite those “caveats, if I talk the talk I must walk the walk, right?” Then he added, “Please ask those who pass me to be gentle and maybe say something inspiring.”