Friday, March 6, 2015

Kudos to these sports people...

I blogged about a similar thing last Friday and it was so much fun, I figured I'd do it again. This Friday I thought I'd give kudos to a few people that impressed me in local sports this past week (kudos means praise for exceptional achievement, by the way)...

Stats Man
If you follow @Fish_Report on Twitter, you probably noticed I tweeted out some complete box scores on several girls and boys tournament games this past week. When I say complete, I mean play-by-play with every statistic imaginable. Don't give me the credit, it's all the hard work of Russia alum Matt Zircher, seated on press row with his laptop and printer. Matt has been a stats man his whole life. His full-time job is the Associate Director of Athletic Communications at Wright State University, but in his spare time he does things like write for the Sidney Daily News, he works part-time as official scorer for the Dayton Dragons, and he also donates his time every year at his hometown Russia Alumni Softball Tournament to take care of everything from the official book to running the scoreboard. Matt is a very generous person and was doing a service at the sectional tournaments last week that media people typically don't see until the state tournament. Kudos to Matt.

Matt produced seven pages of stats (yes, seven) after
each of five games he covered last Saturday in Sidney

Best in the MAC
Last week I gave my opinion on the All-MAC girls honorees. This week the All-MAC boys came out and what a decision Player of the Year had to be. I can just see the coaches of the Midwest Athletic Conference shaking their heads thinking, "do we give it to the kid that's heading to Michigan State to play for Tom Izzo or the other kid that's going to Dayton to play for Archie Miller?" In the end the coaches chose future Flyer Ryan Mikesell of St. Henry over future Spartan Kyle Ahrens of Versailles. I'm pretty positive it had nothing to do with one being more talented than the other since both are extremely gifted. Rather, St. Henry simply won the conference championship and the head-to-head matchup this year. I was also glad to see the coaches didn't take the easy way out and just announce Ryan and Kyle were co-winners. Kudos to Ryan Mikesell on probably the toughest vote in MAC history.

Ryan Mikesell ramming one home against Russia earlier this year

Luke in the Limelight
Ohio's Mr. Basketball, Luke Kennard, started down the tournament trail on the right foot so far (or maybe that should be left foot since the sharpshooter is lefthanded?). Franklin, a D-II #1-seed, easily beat a couple opponents in the early rounds of the sectional tournament. The Wildcats now face Ponitz from the Dayton City League in the sectional championship at UD Arena on Saturday night at 7:30 pm. Franklin has been beat at this exact point in tournament the last three consecutive years. The Wildcats lost to Thurgood Marshall last year, Dunbar in 2013 and Thurgood again in 2012. The only thing that's for sure is fans will be lined up outside UD Arena for perhaps one last chance to see Luke in a high school uniform. I really hope Franklin wins this game. For no other reason than I enjoy reading about the hysteria of Luke Kennard. Kudos to Luke for everything he's accomplished so far.

Some fans claim Ohio high school hoops hasn't seen 
demand for tickets like this since LeBron James played

Future Hall of Famers
Indoor collegiate track doesn't typically dominate the headlines of the sport pages, but a couple local track stars are dominating at the Division-I universities they represent. Former Tri-Village running star Clayton Murphy is just a sophomore for the University of Akron, but this past weekend he was awarded as the Outstanding Track Athlete of the Meet at the Mid-American Conference Championships. Clayton led Akron to a MAC title winning both the 800 and 1600. Afterward, he was just one of just 16 selected to compete in the 800 at the NCAA National Championships coming up next weekend in Arkansas. On the girls side, Russia alum Katie Borchers continues to carve out history as a senior at The Ohio State University. Katie's Buckeyes also won an indoor title last weekend in the Big Ten and Katie was a significant part of that, winning the 800 and breaking her own school record in the process. Katie, like Clayton, was also just one of 16 selected to compete in the 800 next weekend at Nationals. I'll say it now... both will be future Hall of Famers at their respective universities some day. Kudos to Clayton and Katie.

Clayton and Katie are two of the premier runners in all of the nation right now



Friday, February 27, 2015

The best of the week in sports...

What a fun time of year if you're a high school basketball fan in this area. Tournament madness is here for most schools, post season awards are coming out, and milestone achievements seem to be taking place in bunches. Here's the best of what happened this week in my eyes...

Redskins do it again
The post season All-SCAL awards were released on Wednesday and once again the Ft. Loramie Redskins were honored with the girls Player of the Year. Junior Jessica Boerger was the top vote-getter among county coaches, following in the footsteps of her cousin Darian Rose who was the co-player of the year in 2014 and outright player of the year in 2013. While past performance doesn't guarantee future results, it would appear Jessica is the logical front-runner for next year's top award. Just don't tell that to Fairlawn super sophomore Audrey Francis, the only other underclassman on the 1st-team roster. I thought every girl on the all-county list was deserving of recognition, but the one omission that stuck out for me was Russia senior Claudia Monnin. Claudia missed most of her junior year due to ACL surgery and bounced back this season in a big way. Her best game may have been the 18 points she scored at Fairlawn to lead the Lady Raiders in a key league win back in early January. The good news for Russia fans is Claudia is still playing tournament ball...and maybe her best is yet to come!

Claudia draining a 3-pointer against Ft. Loramie early this season

All-MAC is almost right
The All-MAC girls awards were announced the same day as the All-SCAL and Marion Local super senior Allie Thobe was honored with Player of the Year. The MAC got it right it my opinion. Allie was the best player in that tough conference and very deserving of the award from everything I heard. I'm not sure who came in second, but I thought if anyone might challenge Allie it could be another senior, Meg Reineke of New Knoxville. When the Lady Rangers hosted Russia earlier this season I listened to the game on radio as Meg carried the Lady Rangers to an overtime victory over my Raiders almost single-handedly. Speaking of seniors stars, the only injustice I saw in the voting was Coldwater senior Sarah Kanney slipping to 2nd-team. How can a 1000 point scorer not be one of the top 12 girls in the conference? Sarah responded on Wednesday night like she always does...she lead her team to a tournament victory with 20 points!

Sarah is just one of two MAC girls to reach 1000 points so 
far this year. The other is Player of the Year, Allie Thobe. 
Meg Reineke is currently at 970 heading into tournament.

Newton girls easy to root for
Do you know who this year's Newton girls basketball team reminds me of? It's their Cross County Conference foe from last year, the Bradford Lady Railroaders. Newton extended their school record win total to 22 on Wednesday night with a tournament victory over Dayton Christian. The Lady Indians will now play for their first sectional title in school history this Saturday against Southeastern.  Last year Bradford also set a school record for total victories with 20 and went on to win their first sectional title in school history before losing to Ft. Loramie in the district tournament. Both seasons seem kind of magical considering their programs overall history and it makes them easy to root for. I jumped on the Bradford bandwagon last year and I'm on the Newton bandwagon this year...for now at least!

300 wins for Coach Lee
Minster boys basketball coach Mike Lee racked up his 300th career victory on Thursday night with a 71-39 win over Bradford. He's coached the Wildcats for 22 seasons now and always ran a first-class program in my opinion. Before this week I had never met Coach Lee, but always respected him from afar. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike on Fish Report LIVE! this week and my opinion of him was confirmed. While the interview only lasted five minutes, I could have easily talked to him for 30 minutes. When asked to name a couple memorable games over the last 22 years, Coach Lee eluded to his first game against former Marion Local coach Jack Albers, a big regional tournament victory over Jackson Center, and his 2005 state team. Minster, like many MAC schools, has a lot of things to be proud of...and a boys basketball coach with 300 victories is one of them!

Another 1000 point club inductee
It was just a couple weeks ago when Russia added a new 1000 point scorer to their record books with senior Kylie Wilson. Kylie became the 7th girl in school history and the first since Anita Bulcher in 2005 to join the 1000 point club for the Raiders. This Friday Russia should have another inductee. Kylie's classmate Nolan Francis is 14 points from the milestone and should no doubt hit the mark as his #1-seed Raiders open tournament play. When Nolan scores his 1000th he will become the 6th boy at Russia to do it and the first since Brent Pleiman in 2006. Quite an accomplishment considering all the factors that go into scoring 1000 points. Raider fans will want to savor this rare moment in boys basketball history...with the log jam of talent they currently have, it may be a while before it happens again!

Nolan driving in for two of his 20 points against St. Henry


Friday, February 20, 2015

Memories of The Community Post...

The Community Post was the Facebook of the 1980's for me

I don't have a Facebook account. Never have. My wife does. And about once a week I'll get on the family iPad (whenever I can find it) and tap the Facebook app to see what I've been missing. Mostly what I see are pictures. Pictures from birthday parties, anniversaries, sports pictures, etc. Not real news per se, rather limited details about small town stuff. Before I know it I've spent a half hour scrolling through Facebook. It reminds me of what I depended on for this type of "news" 30 years ago. Before Facebook. It was called The Community Post.

The Community Post is still being published today. Right there in downtown Minster. I haven't picked up the actual paper since I was a kid. But, as teenager in the 80's, I always looked forward to stopping at my grandparents house between Ft. Loramie and Minster to read their subscription. I didn't have much interest in world events or national news at that time. Heck, I didn't even care what was happening in Sidney. The Community Post was perfect for me because it had all local stuff and something that was hard to find in those days... lots and lots of pictures.

 
You could always find pictures of birthday parties in The Community 
Post. Here's one from the 100th birthday of Russia's Anna Francis

Think about it. These days folks use their smart phone in a second to snap pictures from a high school reunion or a family Christmas party. In a few more seconds they'll have the pictures posted on Facebook. 30 years ago? The only time I saw pictures like that is when I read The Community Post. The late great photographer and editor, Dick Bensman, buzzed all over the area to capture these events. And always in short sleeves I might add! What we do today in seconds took Dick hours of work, no doubt.

When Dick Bensman wasn't snapping photos he occasionally 
got his own picture in the paper

As the 80's passed I grew up and moved away. My grandparents passed away. I became more interested in world events and national news. The internet was born and a little later Facebook came along. I thought my days of reading The Community Post were over. That is, until I discovered the Minster Historical Society website. They have archived copies of The Community Post all the way back to the 1800's. I've been taking trips down memory lane recently, reading papers from the late 70's and early 80's. Every paper takes me about a half hour to scroll through... just like Facebook.

To see the archive of newspapers from The Community Post click on the following link: http://www.minsterhistoricalsociety.com/minster-newspapers.html


Friday, February 13, 2015

Tri-Village pair reminiscent of Bethel duo...

In 2014 Tri-Village made it to state on the shoulders of Tyler Cook, Colton Linkous 
and Damion Cook. This year Tyler is gone and the Patriots are playing even better

The Tri-Village boys are having another remarkable season and are currently sitting at 18-0. However, anytime I seem to mention the Patriots to basketball fans from the area it's not uncommon to get the response, "yea, but they don't play anybody." My reply to that has always been, "they're playing the same teams they did last year before beating Ft. Loramie, Troy Christian and Marion Local on their way to the state tournament." This year's team even beat my Russia Raiders back in mid-January, so you won't hear me saying anything about their strength of schedule.

Last year though, Tri-Village won a little differently. The Patriots utilized a 6'-6" 245 pound senior that scored over 1,000 points in his career by the name of Tyler Cook. This year the bulk of scoring is done by Tyler's cousin, Damion Cook, and teammate Colton Linkous. And when I say the bulk of scoring, I'm not exaggerating. In the Patriots latest win over Bethel this past Tuesday, Damion scored 27 points and Colton scored 25. The team finished with 59 on the scoreboard, meaning the dynamic duo accounted for 88% of the total.

You know what that victory over Bethel reminded me of? Another dynamic duo that starred at Bethel back in 2000-2001. The Bees were led that season by a couple guards named Matt Witt and Matt Plunkett. I recall how both boys could shoot like crazy and Matt Witt went on to eventually star at Eastern Kentucky and later play professionally overseas for about ten years. From what I remember, those two carried Bethel all year long. The Bees finished that season with a record of 23-4 and I was in the Schottenstein Center to watch them win a state semi game against Reedsville Eastern. The following day the Bees won it all with a 79-53 shellacking of Delphos St. John's.

Matt Witt was too much for Covington at 
the 2001 Regional Semi-final in Oxford

Consider this... Matt Witt averaged 25 points per game that season, Matt Plunkett 20. This year both Damion Cook and Colton Linkous average just over 20 points per game. Back in 2001 Bethel knocked off #1 state-ranked Marion Local in the regional finals. This year Tri-Village is the #1 team in Ohio and would it surprise you if they had to get by Marion Local on their way to Columbus again? Ironically though, the key to Bethel winning the state title game that year wasn't Matt Witt and Matt Plunkett. It was a little-known player that averaged 7 points per game named Shawn Zink. Shawn played the game of his life in the most important moment of the season and led all scorers with 24 points. Could Tri-Village win an eventual championship on just the shoulders of Damion Cook and Colton Linkous? Perhaps. But, having a player like Shawn Zink on your team never hurts either!

Matt Plunkett had some serious "hops" as seen in this picture from 
the 2001 sectional finals against Springfield Catholic Central

Friday, January 30, 2015

A tale of basketball in Shelby County

The subject of this years Russia Raiders basketball team
started a tale this week that went back 44 years ago

It's funny how one interesting sports story can lead to the next sometimes... I ran into Russia High School basketball fan and former player Henry Cordonnier at the Russia Library this past Saturday. Henry played for the Raiders over 40 years ago and asked my opinion on the current boys basketball team. He wondered if I thought the 2014-2015 team would be remembered with some of the great Russia teams from the past. With this season just a little more than half over, I told Henry time will tell, but I was only familiar with a few of the great Raider teams in recent history.

Henry then proceeded to tell me about an average, but spirited, Russia team he played for in the 1970-1971 season. He said the big rivalry game was Ft. Loramie, just as it is now. Only back then, Henry stated, the fans were even more passionate than today. When the two schools played it wasn't unusual to see Russia fans chewing on heads of cabbage and Ft. Loramie fans carrying into the game all sorts of toy frogs. Both shenanigans in reference to the heritage of their rival opponent. Henry recalled how Ft. Loramie's biggest star was a multi-talented athlete named Randy Schafer (who would later become my high school baseball coach) and Russia countered with a balanced attack in their starting five. In the first of two match-ups that season, the Redskins beat the Raiders on a buzzer beater and afterwards Russia was anxious for revenge at their final meeting played on Russia's home court in Versailles at the time. The second game lived up to the hype as the Raiders sealed a victory with a couple Don Cordonnier free throws in the closing seconds and Ft. Loramie missed a shot at the horn. Russia finished the season just 7-12 overall and 4-8 in the league, but that Ft. Loramie win will always be remembered because it was the Redskins only league loss that year. Henry's tale was an interesting one and I enjoyed hearing a little sports history about a rivalry that still runs strong today.

Statistics from the 1970-1971 season courtesy of 
Shelby County League Basketball 1921-1995 by Bob Wise

Stay with me now as I fast forward a couple days later to Monday... I received an email from my mother in Florida in response to Chicago Cubs great Ernie Banks passing away just last Friday. The email included a picture from a newspaper clipping back in 1975 and showed Ernie with some free throw contest winners in Piqua. One of the kids in the picture is a guy named Tony Bornhorst. Tony is a Piqua native and a friend of my parents who graduated high school from Sidney Lehman Catholic and has since enjoyed a lengthy high school basketball coaching career. Tony is also very involved as a basketball camp director for NBA players and Olympians all over the country. Mom couldn't remember, but wondered if Tony was part of the great Lehman team that beat a great Ft. Loramie team back when the Cavaliers and Redskins played at Troy's Hobart Arena. Wait, what? She wasn't positive on the time period, but it was obviously prior to any recollection I had since I was born in 1971. I emailed my mom back and asked her to verify the year and what level of tournament game this was, since it was played in Troy as she stated.

Hall of Famer Ernie Banks on the left and Tony Bornhorst 
is the tall guy in the back row standing next to a basketball 
coach named Al McGuire... yes, that Al McGuire

The next day, Tuesday, mom replied to my email. She contacted Tony and he told her he remembered that game at Hobart Arena, but he was still in school in 1975 and the game took place several years beforehand during the 1970-1971 season. Tony recalled how Lehman and Ft. Loramie were both state-ranked either #1 or #2 in the AP and UPI polls. John Kremer was the Redskins coach and his two biggest stars were Randy Schafer and teammate Tony Winner. The game between the two schools was not a tournament game, rather a regular season match-up that was suppose to be played in Ft. Loramie. Lehman asked if the game could be moved to Hobart since it was expected to be quite a battle. The Redskins did not provide the competition that was expected despite having a tall and talented team and Lehman won easily. The loss frustrated Ft. Loramie fans for many years afterward. My story doesn't end there folks...

One Fish Report reader that I frequently email back and forth is Ft. Loramie alum Dave Boerger. Dave is a retired executive with Ford Motor Company that lives in Michigan, but stays in touch with life back home through the Fish Report website. Dave enjoys local history, as I do, and from time-to-time he will share stories with me. Dave is also a high school classmate of my mother. Here was my opportunity to share a story with Dave, so I forwarded him the email correspondence between mom, Tony and myself. Dave replied almost immediately on Tuesday and said my mom has a good memory! The year was indeed 1971 and he attended that game between Ft. Loramie and Lehman at Hobart Arena. Dave said the attendance was a sell-out and unfortunately the poor performance by the Redskins was really disappointing. Ft. Loramie finished the 1970-1971 season with an impressive overall record of 19-3, but it was unsatisfying to many fans. They lost the Lehman game and later an early tournament game. Oh, and one more game, that one against Russia that started this whole tale. It's funny how one interesting sports story can lead to the next sometimes!

*Follow up note - Shortly after writing this story I ran into Russia's Don Cordonnier and Don verified a lot of the facts above. However, he did add one more fact that may sting some Ft. Loramie fans 44 years later. Remember those game winning free throws Don made to beat the Redskins? Don said when he got fouled by the Ft. Loramie player he was barely touched!


Don and Henry Cordonnier were senior classmates in 1971





Monday, January 19, 2015

Notes and quotes from Flyin' To The Hoop

This was my second straight year attending the #2-ranked basketball showcase event in America called Flyin' To The Hoop at Kettering Fairmont's Trent Arena. I came for the Saturday games starting at 10:00 am, took an extended lunch break in the middle of the day, and stayed until the last game was almost finished around 10:00 pm. Below are a few of my notes and quotes from the day...

Russia basketball fans are the best
Among Saturday's lineup of powerhouse schools that came from other states, there was a list of Ohio schools that included Tri-Village, Centerville, Thurgood Marshall, Franklin, Cincinnati Aiken, and several from the Columbus area. The smallest school, D-IV Russia, beat them all in fan support. Granted, it was the Raiders first time in the prestigious showcase, but it was enough to make event founder and president Eric Horstman smile. I talked to Eric before the 10:00 am Russia game and indeed he was smiling. As he gazed at the crowd he said "I had no idea. Thanks for making me look like a genius."

One Flyin' To The Hoop veteran told me "last year nobody came for the 
10am game." This year Russia filled the stands from top to bottom!

Tri-Village knows how to win 
They're not flashy. All Tri-Village does is find a way to win. I'll admit, I had a tough time believing in this team last year when they finished the regular season 20-1. I thought they played in a weak conference and would go down in tournament to the mighty SCAL or MAC. Then I covered their games as they walloped Ft. Loramie, a loaded Troy Christian team, and Marion Local to advance to the state tournament. This year the Patriots made their debut at Flyin' To The Hoop with an 11-0 record and ranked #2 in the latest AP state poll. I told myself again, they play in a weak conference and aren't really that good. Then I watched Saturday as they beat undefeated and #3-ranked Russia 56-49. Tri-Village played the best defense I've seen all season. They also have two horses named Cook and Linkous with an outstanding point guard in VanWinkle. I spoke to a half dozen Russia fans afterwards who said "if (fill in the blank) would have happened we could have won." They were exactly right. However, Tri-Village found a way to win.

Josh Sagester's teams have 84 victories in the past 3-1/2 seasons.
The only thing they haven't won yet is a state championship!

The pre-game dunk show is ridiculous
Pre-game dunking during warm-ups isn't allowed during the regular season, but it's allowed at Flyin' To The Hoop. It's ridiculous (and that's not slang meaning it's cool). I'll estimate I saw 40-50 players trying to draw attention to themselves with pre-game dunks. I'd probably cringe if I knew how much time they actually spent practicing these dunks back home. How many of them dunked on Saturday in games? Very few. So, you can dribble from half court with nobody guarding you and slam dunk. How about just draining the five foot bunny shot from the baseline when you're being guarded and your team needs two. That will get a bigger roar. 

Best game of the day
The main event was the last game of the day at 8:30 pm, but the best game of the day tipped right before that at 6:45 pm as Prolific Prep (CA) took on La Lumiere (IN). The #1-ranked junior in the country named Josh Jackson, who holds offers from Ohio State, Louisville, Michigan State and Kansas, plays for Prolific Prep and it was clear from warm-ups he was athletic (back to that pre-game dunk show thing again). Josh showcased his talents with 26 hard-earned points. However, La Lumiere countered with an equally talented senior guard named Jalen Coleman who already signed with Illinois. Jalen wasn't as flashy as Josh, but he lead his team with 30 points, including a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime. La Lumiere pulled out the exciting win in the end 71-69.

The Luke Kennard show
It was obvious that a majority of the standing-room-only crowd was there to see Franklin High School superstar and future Duke Blue Devil, Luke Kennard. As one guy put it, "I've never seen as much Duke stuff as any single school today at Flyin' To The Hoop." The last game of the day pitted Franklin against Montrose Christian (MD), the high school of last years NBA MVP Kevin Durant. After Montrose Christian fouled Luke twice before he could even set up Franklin's offense on their first possession, it was pretty clear the Mustangs plan was to harass Luke the whole game. In the end Luke went to the charity stripe 40 times and converted 34 free throws, breaking a 41-year old OHSAA record of 28 made free throws. He also finished with 47 points in the 77-75 win to pass Jerry Lucas and Bob Huggins for 10th place on Ohio's all-time career scoring list. 

A sold out crowd filled up Trent Arena to see Luke Kennard. 
Someone even mimicked online ticket sales and sold fake tickets!

Final notes
It simply doesn't get any better for a Saturday of basketball than Flyin' To The Hoop at Trent Arena. Tickets are affordable, every seat is great and I'm entertained all day. I bought my ticket online for $26.31 and had a reserved seat with a back in the 7th row at half court. By comparison, I could have skipped Flyin' To The Hoop, went across town to UD Arena and paid $26.90 from Ticketmaster for a reserved seat with a back in the 400 level to watch the Flyers play Saint Louis. No thanks, I'd rather watch Luke Kennard and the best high school players in the nation... even if I have to put up with their pre-game dunk show!  


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Four Things I Want For Christmas

Yesterday on Twitter I noticed the hashtag #FOURThingsIWantForChristmas was trending. I was curious to see what everyone's top four Christmas wishes were. Unfortunately, I was quickly disappointed when I discovered the majority of tweets mentioned the newest cell phones, concert tickets, and worst of all, just plain old money. Pretty shortsighted if you ask me. It got me thinking what four things I want for Christmas. As you can imagine, my wish list pertains exclusively to Ohio high school sports. I know these items won't make it under my tree this Thursday, but perhaps I might receive them by another Christmas in the near future...

#1 - Return football to six divisions
I liked the playoffs better in 2012, back when there were only six divisions. I realize when the sport expanded to seven divisions in 2013 the reason given was to level the playing field in Division I. Fine, we tried it for a couple years, but I don't like it. It just feels a little "watered down" right now. Maybe this years state championship three-peat by the MAC influences my opinion. No need to worry MAC fans, prior to expanding to seven divisions you still won something like 22 conference state titles.

Minster won D-VI this year and also D-V in 1989

#2 - Live video at the state cross county meet
Cross country athletes run 3.1 miles across fields and through woods, so some might argue it's the least spectator-friendly sport out there. I'll estimate that the majority of fans at the state meet can see about 15-20% of the race from the grandstands located around the 3/4 mile mark and finish line of the course. I wish several video cameras could be located at different spots on the course and perhaps on the vehicle that leads the race. The action could then be displayed on a video board in front of the grandstands. You see this at college championships and it would give folks something to cheer about the entire race.

Cross country fans would cheer for a video board like this

#3 - Modernize basketball with a shot clock
The National Federation of State High School Associations doesn't mandate it. It's been talked about for years in Ohio. Several other states use them. I've heard the cons. Some say high school basketball is already exciting enough. Others say training volunteers how to operate them would be difficult. Have you seen some of the scoreboards in gyms today that include player numbers, individual scoring and fouls? I'm confident there are enough intelligent people out there. Let's modernize the sport with the college game like we did with the three-point line in 1987.

video
Basketball is exciting, unless a team is stalling

#4 - Wood bat baseball
I'm all for technology and keeping current with the times, but when it comes to baseball I'm a traditionalist. I like baseball stirrups and wood bats. The decision in 2012 that all aluminum bats must meet BBCOR testing standards was a good thing. Prior to that, the speed at which the ball was coming off the bat was scary. However, hearing the crack of a wood bat instead of the ping of an aluminum bat would be music to my ears. Think of it this way... have you ever gone to a Cincinnati Reds game and wished they were swinging aluminum bats? I didn't think so.

Good hitters can hit with an aluminum or wood bat

There's my list, #FOURThingsIWantForChristmas. Of course I imagine all those items might be easier with money. On second thought, maybe I want just plain old money too!

Merry Christmas everyone.