OK. Back by popular demand, it's time for a version of that wildly popular...
"I"M JUST SAYIN"
The WPIAL baseball committee meets tomorrow to determine playoff pairings, seedings and scheduling. Here's to hoping the committee finally stops the practice of scheduling the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals so far apart that teams can throw their No. 1 pitcher in every one of those games.
Seriously, what level of baseball - from Little League on up - has a playoff tournament where a team can throw its ace pitcher in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. But the WPIAL has allowed it to happen in recent years because of the time it puts between those three rounds. I know a lot of people, including coaches, who think that's wrong. Shouldn't it be about who has the best team, not who has the best No. 1 pitcher?
For example, Seneca Valley won the Class AAAA title last year after receiving a bye to the quarterfinals. Ace Matt Smith pitched the quarterfinals, semifinals and final. Teams with byes in the past have really been at an advantage. But this year, only the No. 1 seed in Class AAAA should have a bye this year because there are at least 16 teams in every classification of playoffs except Class AAAA, which has 15.
Wait, my phone is ringing. Oh, it's WPIAL czar Tim O'Malley. Apparently he wants to know how to schedule the playoffs. I'll be happy to give him the plan that should be forwarded to WPIAL baseball committee Bob Bozzuto.
Here goes: Have preliminary-round and first-round games Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Use Thursday and Friday if needed because of rain. Play the WPIAL quarterfinals Monday, May 20 and the semifinals May 22. Use May 23, 24 and 25 if it rains. The finals already are scheduled for May 28 and 29. That way, a No. 1 pitcher could work the quarterfinals and be available for the finals.
Now, some with the WPIAL will say they don't want to schedule the quarterfinals and semifinals May 20 and 22, because if it rains they might have to push back games to Friday and Saturday of that week. They might claim they don't want to mess with schools that have proms or graduation. Understandable. But hold on a second. WPIAL volleyball championships are scheduled for May 24. And what about all the track and field athletes that are in Shippensburg May 24 and 25 for the PIAA championships? Why can they deal with proms and graduations, but not baseball teams?
So c'mon, WPIAL, and do the baseball schedule differently this year.
More "I'm Just Sayin"
**** A little groggy again today after staying up late and watching "Inside the NBA" on TNT. To me, it's better than any sitcom on television. Barkley, Kenny "The Jet", Shaq and Ernie have just the right combo of serious insight and humor. Shaq was "breakdancing" on the set the other night.
**** Phil Shar (pictured) is back coaching girls basketball. Thomas Jefferson athletic director Bill Cherpak said the school has hired Shar as its new coach.
At West Mifflin, he was in-out-in again-out again Phil Shar. He coached West Mifflin for 19 seasons, had a 379-153 record with five WPIAL championship game appearances until the board opened his position in 2009. It has been a crazy story. Shar got his job back again in 2010, coached one year, won 17 games and the board opened his position again.
Can Shar win at Thomas Jefferson? I say yeah.
*** Speaking of Thomas Jefferson, senior quarterback Joe Carroll was the West MVP in the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association East-West all-star game this past weekend. Carroll completed 18 of 30 passes for 177 yards, but the West got handled by the East, 48-27, at Downingtown West High School. The game is supposed to be for the best players in Pennsylvania who didn't make the Big 33.
The Daily Local News covered the game. Former Seneca Valley quarterback Jordan Brown was 6 of 13 passing for 108 yards.
*** Speaking of Brown, his brother got some good news recently. C.J. Brown is now a quarterback at the University of Maryland and the NCAA granted him an extra year of eligibility because of an injury. Brown was slated to be the starter last season but suffered a torn ACL in preseason practice. He redshirted as a freshman and then missed all of last season. He was a redshirt junior at the time. With the NCAA's decision, Brown will now have two years left. He has been named the starter for next season.
Brown's father said C.J. will graduate this spring and attend grad school in the fall to start working toward his masters degree.
*** If you follow high school sports in the WPIAL, you might know of Don Rebel, the director of MSA Sports network and a voice heard round Western Pennsylvania on radio and internet broadcasts of many WPIAL events. Well a shoutout to his youngest son, Carson. He recently picked up his second pitching victory for the Seton-LaSalle baseball team. He's only a sophomore. Carson must get his athletic ability from his mother.
*** It's time for me to "call out" baseball coaches. They might be the worst in terms of cooperating with things that actually "help" their teams. In the past, getting them to vote for all-section teams is like asking for their right arm. despite repeated phone calls and emails. Now we're trying to get season-ending stats from the coaches to compile a list of WPIAL statistical leaders. Let's just say the coaches aren't exactly cooperating a ton.
So here's the call to those coaches. Please read below: