I get the extra charges for your baggage when you fly on most airlines, but now there’s a charge on some (American) for your seat assignment? Sure enough, you want a window or aisle—get ready to pony up. Pretty soon we’ll be paying an on-board toll to use the closets that double as lavatories, for some reason we don’t use the term bathroom, potty, water closet or loo on an airplane.
While I’m at it, I’ve noticed rental car companies starting to give you a vehicle with considerably less than a full tank of gas. They tell you to bring it back at the same level, but either way they win. It’s virtually impossible to return it with exactly the same amount, if you short them-- they get you with a charge, if you bring it back with more—they’re ahead on the exchange. It’s pretty shrewd, but it’s also pretty shady.
A week in Terre Haute---
---before you ask me what I did to deserve it, let me tell you that I really enjoy working this tournament. This is about the fifth year that Shane Dennis and I do virtually every game in the tourney on ESPN3 and, for the first time, the two of us will also work the championship game on Fox. It's great exposure for what I’m doing as a freelancer, but beyond that it’s great to work with the good folks in the Missouri Valley Conference.
It’ll be interesting to see if the improved facilities at Indiana State are enough to facilitate an eight team tournament. I’ve long maintained that only Wichita, Springfield, MO and Peoria, IL have the types of stadium to host this event. I know the conference presidents want to spread the wealth around, but there are some places in the Valley that simply shouldn’t be hosting such an event—I’m not sure if Terre Haute is one of them, I’m sure they relishing their chance to prove themselves.
A couple of notes on Terre Haute: John Wooden started his college coaching career here and, of course, Larry Bird led Indiana State to the NCAA finals in 1979. Beyond that I can tell you that the lone living Somalian pirate from the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, as depicted in the movie Captain Phillips—is incarcerated in the federal penitentiary at Terre Haute.
We’ve been here before---
This is actually the second time that the Valley has been to Indiana State; the Shockers won it here with three straight wins in 1982, on their way to their first of seven appearances in the College World Series.
Odds and ends---
Wichita State has won 18 of the 36 MVC Tournaments, including last year, their first since 2009. Can you tell me the only school to have a winning record against the Shockers in the history of this event? That would be Tulsa, which went 2-1 against WSU before they discontinued baseball in 1980.
Casey Gillaspie continues his chase for .400, but AJ Ladwig is also on the verge of the lowest single –season earned run average by a starting pitcher in the program’s history. Ladwig’s 1.11 ERA is currently under the 1.35 ERA that my broadcast partner threw up in 1994. That Ladwig commands that number while going 3-6 underscores the Shocker’s offensive inconsistency and inefficiency.
My Red Sox (I claim them when their defending World Series Champions) are off to a halting start. Yesterday they were swept in Fenway by the Tigers for the first time since 1968. That was the year that Carl Yastrzemski won the American League batting title with a .301 average.