Monthly Archives: June 2014

Travs Knock All-Star Game Experience Out of the Park

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dickey-Stephens Park looked more big top than ballpark. Performers in sparkly costumes twirling high above the home plate on silks. A performer painted silver, twirling fire and two others on stilts walking around the concourse. Welcome to the 78th Texas League All-Star Game.
Fans started arriving at the ballpark at 3 p.m to watch batting practice and partake in an autograph session with both squads. The Travs front office did everything they could to keep fans entrained for 5.5 hours.  Mission accomplished.
The circus performers were just part of the act. There was the Home Run Derby, a mechanical bull and hot air balloon rides and a lengthy postgame fireworks show. And by the way, there was a baseball game, which was well-played and full of spectacular plays.
Midland’s Ryan Rua won the home run derby with 16 homers. The unique part of the event was the addition of former MLB sluggers Ryan Klesko and Rick Ankiel as team captains. Klesko barely swung a couple of times and blasted bombs.
While the pitchers’ duel didn’t produce much fireworks at the plate, Springfield catcher Cody Stanley’s two-run homer in the fourth inning gave the South squad a … Read more >

My one glorious day as a pro baseball player


As I stood nearby clad in my swamp camouflage uniform, Otey logo hat and cleats, members of the Arkansas Travelers went through a series of warmup exercises. It was a scene I have become familiar with being a sportswriter for 16 years. I was taking it in until I heard Travs strength and conditioning coach Joe Griffin yell, “You want a day in the life, get out here.” It was my “welcome-to-the-minor-leagues moment” while I spent a day with the team for an article I wrote for Sync magazine. And while Griffin was half kidding, I got my 39-year-old butt out there and stretched, jogged, threw and swung with the rest of the Travs players. Thanks to Griffin, manager Phillip Wellman, clubhouse manager Geoff Freedman and all of the other players and staff, I was a member of the team for one glorious day. As we were changing into street clothes after the game, the reality sank in that my pro baseball days were over. As I took my time getting dressed, the energetic catcher, Jett Bandy, who was two lockers down, asked, “Hey Olson, what was your favorite part of today?” I said, “Batting practice,” but really Read more >

Not Feeling Guilty About Not Watching The World Cup

Call me me a curmudgeon, unpatriotic. Call me what you will, but I don’t know if I believe WE can win, and I don’t care. There I said it. I’m not a soccer fan, and I’m not into the World Cup. I haven’t watched one minute. No face paint, no authentic team jersey or watch parties, although I have to admit the scene Monday at Dugan’s Pub for the USNT’s opener Monday against Ghana looked to be electric.
I would say I may not watch at all, but I know I am guaranteed to watch at least a few minutes as I am appearing on The Zone on 103.7 The Buzz Thursday at a watch party at Jim’s Razorback Pizza in west Little Rock.
However, this whole thing is not for me, and I’m not going to be bullied into thinking it is a must-watch event for Americans. Just like I don’t question those that don’t watch the wall-to-wall Summer Olympics coverage like I do,  or the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament or the Super Bowl for more than the commercials or an excuse to drink and eat good food.

Brazil Soccer WCup Ghana US

AP Photo

There are two reasons for my indifference. 1) I … Read more >

Deadspin releases recording of angry tirade from former UALR Baseball Coach Scott Norwood

Sunbelt Conference Baseball Arkansas State vs UALR

ADG File Photo Former UALR baseball coach Scott Norwood.

Friday afternoon website Deadspin published an article that included a recording of former UALR baseball coach Scott Norwood screaming at his players with a barrage of profanity following a win (Yes, a win) against Southeast Missouri State Feb. 18. The victory pushed the Trojans to 4-0, but it didn’t keep the former coach from blasting his players with a series of F-bombs.
Twice he confronted players who answered questions he asks, and he asked pitcher Travis McDonald if he wanted to leave the team.

“Hey, Travis,” Norwood says at one point in the recording, apparently talking to pitcher Travis McDonald. “I’m right f*cking here.”
“I’m looking right at you,” someone, apparently McDonald, responds.
“You know you aren’t—don’t you f*cking talk back to me today. Get—hey, you wanna look down, then get the f*ck out of here. I’ll find someone else to pitch tomorrow. You wanna f*cking go now? There’s the f*cking door, son. Get the f*ck out if you don’t like it.”

Deadspin claims there are other recordings that capture similar rants. A player who emailed the website also allegedly accused Norwood of starting an April 2 brawl with the University … Read more >

The Top 10 Prep Football Head-Coaching Jobs in Arkansas

Josh Floyd sent waves through the Arkansas prep football world last week, resigning at power program Shiloh Christian to take the Hewitt-Trussville head coaching job in the Birmingham, Alabama area.
Floyd is the latest coach to guide the Saints to dominance, and as the school conducts a quick nationwide search, I’m sure the opening has caused many Arkansas coaches to pause even with the late timing.

With the tradition the Saints have as well as the facilities and resources, it has to be considered one of the better jobs in the state. That made me wonder what are The Top 10 prep football jobs in Arkansas? Here is that list.

This list is based on a school’s tradition, financial support, commitment to winning, facilities, pay and responsibilities other than coaching football.

1. Bentonville — Currently the Tigers have the best mix of top-flight facilities, talent, support and numbers that would allow most coaches a chance to win a state title yearly. However, Bentonville may not be on top long as the district is gaining another high school in 2016. The addition of Springdale Har-Ber in 2006 proved catastrophic to the Springdale High School football program, which had been one of … Read more >