Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What to do: Players Behaving Badly

A couple of weeks before the Rose Bowl the bloggers at Inside USC put up a post about some possible legal troubles of two Texas players. I remember thinking to myself that I hoped that it was much ado about nothing because I wanted UT at full strength so when USC beat Texas there would be not cries of well we didn't have all our guys etc. etc. Well as it turns out it didn't matter, you know that 41-38 thing, and that got me to thinking, why does it matter?

A recent post on CFR attempted to illustrate that regardless of coach or program bad acts by players do happen and there's not much that we can do about it. Opposing views, mostly from Bruins Nation, say that no matter what the infraction coaches have a responsibility to enforce punishment regardless of the legal issues that may also follow. CFR counters that a coach punishing a player outside of other institutional disciplinary actions, regardless of the legal issues, could be construed as piling on. Throughout the give and take of both threads a number of solid points were made by both sides, too numerous to mention here.

I’ve always thought that BN has been on the right side of the character issue, though their tone is a bit trite and sometimes self serving. Schools do have a responsibility to ensure that their players act in a manner that reflects well upon the schools image. When they don’t then the schools need act decisively and with prejudice. It is a privilege to play college sports and that doesn’t mean that players have a right to break the rules wantonly.

I will give BN credit; they have been consistent that the Dorrell regime needs to take a harder line on bad behavior than their cross-town rivals. It’s their attempt to take the moral high road and they should be commended for it. But why stop there, character is important and all programs should strive to have decent people in their programs. If you’re going to criticize any program outside of your own then you should criticize all programs that have these issues, not doing so only shows a partisan tone. The whole tit-for–tat thing really doesn’t move the issue in a positive direction.

I have taken SC to task for not enforcing a stricter form of punishment for bad acts. I am on the record for stating that Maualuga should have been suspended and that Sanchez if charged should be off the team and if not he should be suspended for the year for the fake ID alone. But it’s also not like SC didn’t take ANY action; as HP points out in the 2nd thread both Justice and Dennis were suspended and Wright was forced to transfer.

I really couldn’t care less about another schools infractions, I will trust the judgement of the coach and the schools administration to do the right thing. But those punishments no matter what they are will always be scrutinized by those who disagree. In the case of UCLA they will handle their current issues as they see fit, regardless of what is said on some fan message board or team blog. In the end I can only worry about my house. I hope my fellow SC bloggers take the same approach.

Monday, May 29, 2006

USC Baseball: A proud tradition misses the 2006 CWS

As the brackets were announced today on ESPN it was noted that USC would not be in the CWS. That’s not surprising with a losing record this season SC didn’t deserve to be selected. The SC message boards are already awash with the “fire Gillespie” rhetoric. As frustrating as it is not to be selected that sort of talk is just misses the bigger picture.

There’s no doubt that since Mike Gillespie took over SC’s baseball program in 1987 that he has brought back to prominence a storied program that has produced some great players over the last 40 or so years. Rod Dedeaux will always be the standard in college baseball, just like John Wooden will always be he standard in college basketball. So were talking about a proud and storied program.

But what’s the story here? Parity has obviously evened out the level of competition throughout all of college baseball. Teams like Texas and Florida are putting together dominant programs. Cal State Fullerton and LSU are other names that are always heard at the start of the CWS. Even UCLA is getting its act together with the hiring of head coach John Savage a former SC pitching coach and recruiting coordinator under Coach Gillespie.

It’s hard to continually repeat at such a high level but in 20 years under Gillespie SC has done the following: (info taken from USC’s baseball website)

• Led SC to playoff spots in 14 of his first 16 years as head coach
• His teams have also won five Pacific-10 Southern Division titles (in 1991 - Troy's first league crown since 1978 - 1995, 1996, 2001 and 2002). The 1995 team made USC's first trip to the College World Series in 17 years (where the Trojans finished as the nation's runner-up).
• In the summer of 2000, Gillespie served as the head coach of the 2000 USA Baseball National Team, made up of collegiate players.
• Gillespie was named the 1998 National Coach of the Year (by both Collegiate Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association), the Pac-10 Coach of the Year four times (1991-1995-1996-2002) and the West Region Coach of the Year twice (1996 and 1998) by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
• In 1998, the Trojans won their first national championship in 20 years.

That’s’ pretty impressive. It’s not Rod Dedeaux but there is only one of him. Yes he has had some down years lately but his record is very impressive. Coach Gillespie runs an honorable program and he has put some pretty good players in the majors in the last 10 years. My question to those who want Gillespie fired; who you gonna get to replace him? It’s tough watching a traditional power get eliminated from post-season play but Gillespie has been there before and he’ll find a way back.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day means different things to different people. As a former member of the US military my thoughts are on those who preceded me and those who have followed. The mere act of putting on the uniform invokes a sense of pride in me. The time I spent in the service completed the foundation of who I am today. Without the military I don't have what I have today. My military career was unremarkable; I did not witness any combat or hostile actions. I learned a great deal about myself and forged many relationships that I will have forever.

I am thankful for the time that I served. As I go out with my family today, a part of me will be thinking about how great a life I have. A life that thanks to my military service enabled me to achieve many things that I would not have had I just stayed in L.A. hangin' with the boys. Part of me will be thinking about my recently departed grandfather who was also a navy vet. His encouragement of me to join changed my life forever and to him I will always be eternally grateful. But most important, a part of me will be thinking about a sacred little place in Arlington, VA where those interred gave of themselves selflessly and made the ultimate sacrifice; where their memories are hallowed and treasured.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE ACCORDING TO RICHARD MARCINKO

You gotta love Richard Marcinko. A true patriot but a real nut

As hokey as these sound most of these are a good guide to being successful in business and in life.

-I am the War Lord and the wrathful God of Combat and I will always lead you from the front, not from the rear.

-I will treat you all alike-just like shit.

-Thou shalt do nothing I will not do first, and thus will you be created Warriors in My deadly image.

-I shall punish thy bodies because the more thou sweatest in training, the less thou bleedest in combat.

-Indeed, if thou hurteth in thy efforts and thou suffer painful dings, then thou art Doing It Right.

-Thou hast not to like it-thou hast just to do it.

-Thou shalt Keep It Simple, Stupid.

-Thou shalt never assume.

-Verily, thou art not paid for thy methods, but for thy results, by which meaneth thou shalt kill thine enemy before he killeth you by any means available.

-Thou shalt, in thy Warrior's Mind and Soul, always remember My ultimate and final Commandment:There Are No Rules-Thou Shalt Win At All Cost.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The First Word

Welcome to Cardinal and Gold!

I know it's not an original title...

First off I'd like to thank Peter of Burnt Orange Nation and Kyle of Dawg Sports for their patience and encouragement in helping me get this up and running. They are true gentlemen who are not only passionate in their coverage of their respective teams but they also get the big picture. We may not always agree, we may sometimes needle each other in good fun, but ultimately we want to provide a sounding board that gets the conversation started. Their style of blogging will go a long way to bridging the gap between the blogosphere and the mainstream media. A heartfelt thanks you to you both.

I'm new to this whole blogging thing and so I have a lot to learn. The last 25 years of my life I have worked in the field of medicine, primarily Orthopaedics, and I have had not much time for anything else. Orthopaedics is my passion and something that I am pretty good at, so I'm told, but now I hope I can take that same passion that I have for my work and apply it to something that I find fun and entertaining. I don't know what direction this will take or how it will be received but hope that I can do as good a job as those that I have had the pleasure to read and interact with.

My goal is to try and focus on USC athletics but if something catches my eye I will put my $0.02 cents in. Most of you who know me from other sites know I'm not an SC alum; I'm just a fan. So I will tend to look at things a little differently than those who went to SC.

I only ask two things; One, that you be patient with me while I learn as I go, constructive criticism is welcome anytime. Two, that we keep it civil. I have no problem if you disagree with me but let's not have our disagreements break down into disrespect. All views bring something to the table.

So please come by often and check it out. If you have any ideas or suggestions e-mail me anytime.

Lets get the conversation started!!