Auriemma’s comments right on
UConn’s way or the highway
Good morning, all. I hope your week is off to a great start.
There is a reason Geno Auriemma is one of basketball’s greatest coaches, and it’s because he uses reason.
For those not familiar with men’s and women’s college basketball, as well as college football and other collegiate sports, there is now a transfer portal. In a nutshell, the portal allows a player to switch schools one time and not have to sit out a year, before returning to athletic competition.
You can argue the merits of the transfer portal concept, saying, for example, that it amounts to free agency for the collegiate athlete, but the reality is, the portal is here and schools that choose not to embrace the system are taking a chance at falling behind against its opponents.
To that end, (Waterbury, CT) Republican-American sportswriter Roger Cleaveland wrote an excellent article about how the portal is impacting Auriemma’s successful UConn women’s program. The Huskies have lost players and gained players through the portal.
Cleaveland asked Auriemma if he felt he has to be nicer to the players because they could transfer out of UConn to another school. His comments were right on the money.
“You don’t go to the Final Four 14 years in a row because you go, ‘All right, sweetheart, how do you want to do this?’”
Auriemma stated he demands a lot out of his players, and if they pick UConn because of its championship potential, they better expect to do it UConn’s way or the highway.
“I don’t care if they leave. Players leave all the time. Coaches leave all the time. That’s life.”
Right on, coach!
The last thing we want is the kids wearing Yankees caps
For the baseball history lovers you might enjoy this book, I just finished reading about the American League. “Stumbling around the Bases: The American League’s Mismanagement in the Expansion Era,” by Andy McCue, provides an excellent background of the AL in the 1950s through the 1980s. McCue delves into why the National League passed the junior circuit in popularity and influence. It describes how a cartel, led by the Yankees - the league’s dominant club - essentially called the shots, while other owners chose to remain docile with some not even attending meetings. McCue then details how a new breed of owners came along to challenge the old guard. He also goes in depth on how both leagues were their own entities, whereas now they are nothing more than marketing tools under the control of the commissioner and MLB.
There are numerous nuggets in the tome, but the best one might belong to the taciturn general manager of the New York Yankees, George Weiss. Back then, the Yankees were anything but loveable, disdaining the blue collar fan for the “upscale crowd.” (By the way, the Yankees would pay dearly for their myopic marketing plan.)When someone approached Weiss about staging a cap day, where young fans would be given a Yankees cap, Weiss nixed the response with this comment:
“Do you think I want every kid in the city walking around in a Yankees cap?”
You can’t make this up. The book, incidentally, might be on the pricey side, being only 138 pages in length, but it is packed with excellent source material. I downloaded it to my Kindle for $14.99 plus tax.
Nets vs. Celtics
The Boston Celtics-Brooklyn Nets series is off to a great start, with the Celts winning game one of the first round best-of-seven set, 115-114, on Jayson Tatum’s buzzer beater. This series has all the earmarks of a classic Boston vs. New York rivalry with high profile players, grudges and intense fan bases.
Game two is Wednesday night. I cannot wait.
That is going to do it for this week’s letter. As I am wont to do on occassion, I am going to take a hiatus for a few weeks. I hope to have another edition of the newsletter ready for May 17. As always, thank you for your support and pray for peace.