25 things from spring

It’s time for the spring version of 25 things. Twenty-five random thoughts on sports and other topics. Let’s go:

1. It’s always disappointing for me when our last baseball team bows out of tournaments, but it was especially so this year. Seneca East was a fun team to watch. Mason McWilliams is an excellent starting pitcher, and I’ve really grown to appreciate Gus Baldosser’s defense at second base. The kid has the range of someone on a higher level.

2. After today, the state track meet is all that remains for area teams in the spring season. There’s nothing like state track. It’s about a 36-hour rush.

3. Watching the Indians and Reds play this past week was very hard for me, since I’m a huge fan of both. It’s especially tough when Reds closer Aroldis Chapman throws at the Tribe’s Nick Swisher,and then having to hear Tribe broadcaster Tom Hamilton say he hoped Swisher would line a ball back at Chapman’s temple. I’m just glad the series is over, the teams split, and no one was seriously hurt. Play nice, guys.

3B. I hate interleague play, and always have. But even that’s not as irritating as the unbalanced schedule. As I write this paragraph, the Indians and Rays are delayed in Cleveland by a storm that appears to be staying a while. If the game is postponed, there almost has to be a doubleheader this weekend. Why? Because this is the last time the Rays will play in Cleveland. Keep in mind the season isn’t even eight weeks old.

4. The Browns having a big Bon Jovi concert makes sense. Both were really popular in the 1980s and have been living off that rep ever since.

5. Safe to say that Olivia Smith’s 800 this week at the state track meet will probably be the most anticipated race for our staff in a long time. That happens when someone is going for a second-straight state title.

6. You never want to pull for an athlete when you’re covering them, but Smith is one of the most modest and friendly people you’ll meet. It’s impossible not to be excited for her.

7. I’m not a huge hockey fan, but even I know I … shouldn’t write anything about the NHL for that reason.

8. The NBA playoffs are still going. Wake me up if somebody other than LeBron’s team wins.

9. Morgan Shriver’s hiring as Heidelberg’s women’s basketball coach will be good for the program. While Shriver is young – she was a player for HU only four years ago – she’s got a vision of the type of program she wants to build, and she appears organized and ready. It won’t be easy to turn the team around, but Shriver, who called it her “dream” job, won’t be outworked by any coach in the Ohio Athletic Conference.

10. I have to give credit to the track athletes who competed Friday night. All three regional meets finished. The kids really had to battle through an ugly night of weather.

11. What Taylor Kirian did this softball season was remarkable. A state-record 18 home runs and 21 wins in the circle? And the New Riegel star is a junior? Again, remarkable.

12. “Baseball Prospectus” is an outstanding book, and there’s merit in math equations forecasting the sport’s results. I’ve come to regard people who believe in “Moneyball” as baseball’s version of killjoys, who believe science can explain every one of baseball’s oddities. I prefer to believe that baseball can create magic. I know it can. I saw it in the summer of 1995 at Jacobs Field.

13. Listening to Indians game has become unbearable, if only because they keep playing those Flo Progressive commercials. On Saturday they squeezed two into a three-ad set. Makes me long for the 1990s with the gruff-voiced man selling lawn mowers.

14. Over the last few years, I had some of the most interesting basketball conversations with new Tiffin University men’s coach Jerry Buccilla. The guy knows his stuff, and was nice enough to make me feel like I did, too.

15. The Indians had an Albert Belle bobblehead day Saturday. For all of his issues, Belle was the biggest star on the team between 1991 and 1996. His best years were with the Indians and he is remembered as such. I’m glad there’s some relationship between Belle and the organization, because he was a huge part of Cleveland’s success in the 1990s.

16. Saturday marked the 46th anniversary of the release of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It’s remarkable in that nothing has ever sounded remotely like it. And other artists certainly tried.

17. The 49ers have brought in Eric Mangini as a consultant? I hope for their sake he’s not consulting on the draft. That 2009 Browns draft he spearheaded still gives me nightmares.

18. We’re two months into the baseball season and Jim Thome isn’t playing. And yet, there was no retirement announcement. I wonder if Thome just wants to be a bat for hire for a contender. He should call Johnny Damon and ask how that strategy worked out for him.

19. Sure, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is in all kinds of legal trouble, but it still doesn’t scare me as much as Mike Lombardi being the team’s general manager.

20. Does it ever not rain at the Memorial Golf Tournament?

21. Heidelberg’s Nate Davis’ NCAA Division III championship in the high jump – his second national title in three months – was a tremendous achievement, but it wasn’t surprising. It may be a while before we see such a gifted athlete and competitor in this area.

22.The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera hit a grand slam Saturday in Baltimore. Probably the most expected grand slam in history.

23. It will be weird seeing Josh Cribbs in a Raiders’ jersey. He’ll always be a Brown to me.

24. Today marks the 23rd anniversary of a Beach Boys concert after an Indians game at old Municipal Stadium. The only thing I really remember from it is that the Tribe rallied to beat the Red Sox and my dad made us leave early because Mike Love was a no-show. Brian Wilson may have been the catalyst for the recordings and the songwriting, but Love – the primary lead singer – was and is the band’s best performer.

25. All the best to the people in Oklahoma right now. It’s been a horrible couple of weeks there.