Hump Day Observations
Warm sports opinions on a Wednesday (why not “hot sports opinions?” Hey, it’s mid-week; and it’s cold outside. Give me til the weekend to fire up).
Orioles minor league outfielder Josh Hart was doing more on Monday night than just studying the team’s rule book or learning about Baltimore’s philosophy on base running situations. He was given a homework assignment, one that Hart probably found more educational than any he has done in quite some time.
Former Orioles Hall of Famer Frank Robinson was in town at Baltimore’s minor league training facility in Sarasota. Florida, to talk to the team. Hart spotted him talking with manager Buck Showalter, but had no idea who he was.
So Showalter told Hart to go do some research, write up a report on what he learned about Robinson, and have it on his desk first-thing on Tuesday morning. Hart obliged, with pleasure, and said he enjoyed learning about the man who was a part of four World Series with the Orioles, as well as a wider importance to Major League Baseball.
Kudos to Showalter, for making sure that tradition and history remained alive and well within the franchise.
Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of Jerry Jones buying the Dallas Cowboys and hiring Jimmy Johnson as the new coach. The team would enjoy incredible resurgence and success over the following seven years (save a fun 1-15 record in 1989), mainly due to Johnson’s eye for talent and the trade of Herschel Walker to Minnesota for several draft picks and players.
If there was any doubt that Johnson was the catalyst for the Cowboys’ success, simply look at the last 18 years after he and Dallas parted ways. The Cowboys have two playoff wins in that span. Two. Twenty-four NFL teams have more playoff wins than the Cowboys in that time.
Someone explain to me how the Cowboys still move the needle in TV ratings better than any team in the entire league. It’s mind-boggling, actually. There are millions of people who are 20-years-old and younger who have never seen the Cowboys have significant success of any type on the field. Yet the team is still the most popular in the NFL. Most of these kids know Troy Aikman as a Fox NFL analyst rather than the Cowboys’ last great quarterback.
Ask Orioles prospect Josh Hart about the Dallas Cowboys and he’s going to have to do some more research to accurately talk about one of the most successful franchises in league history. Because otherwise the highlights he will talk about would include a less-than-thrilling wild card win over Philadelphia and a “participation ribbon” from Wade Phillips’ 2007 squad that got thumped in the Divisional Round.
I hate this time of year, I really do. We’re in the “dog days” of both the NBA and NHL, and football has been gone long enough to really start missing us. The Olympics helped tide us over for a couple of weeks, but now that’s over.
Ah, but relief is on the way in the form of MLB Opening Day. How big a deal is that? Well, Ozzie Smith is leading a charge to make it an official national holiday.
The Hall of Fame shortstop is leading a campaign to collect 100,000 signatures within 30 days under the We the People petitioning program, which would prompt a review by the Obama administration.
Here’s hoping that the Wizard of Oz gets it done. We all need a national holiday these days. And the NBA and NHL playoffs won’t hurt either.