Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A report from the softball underground

You see them every day. You smile at them, make polite conversation and generally think they're pretty normal guys.

They may even be some of your best friends.

But they all have a dirty secret.

I'm writing, of course, about your co-workers. All great guys, right? Well here's something you don't know about them: They're all a part of a secret society. They meet every week with clubs and matching uniforms and they engage in primitive rituals for hours at a time.

I'm speaking, of course, about the softball league in which you were not invited to participate. Somewhere during the course of your employment you were judged without even knowing it and you have been found wanting.

That's why you're watching American Idol on Tuesday nights.

I know all this because I infiltrated the secret society a few weeks ago. I stumbled upon my work's chapter by accident. Some of the members of this exclusive softball club got lazy one afternoon and spoke of their upcoming game publicly. I poked my head over the cubicle wall and made an innocent inquiry.

They all shifted in their seats uncomfortably as they invited me to come play that evening. They probably counted on me to decline their offer. Big mistake on their part.

I showed up to the field that night with my cleats in one hand and a dirty old mitt in the other and I never looked back. Eventually I was accepted as one of their own, but not without a gruelling initiation process (which included playing catcher for one inning. Catcher is where softball players go to die).

Now I'm in the society and the air has never tasted as sweet. Now I too share in the raucous storytelling, the camaraderie, the fresh air, the mild exercise and everything else that comes with organized sports on the city level.

I strongly encourage you to find a secret society near you and break through that glass ceiling. Corner that ex-high school baseball player you work with and find out where he and the boys disappear to on weeknights. Join a softball league.

But don't tell anyone.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Site Spotlight: Social Media Conversion

It seems like now is a good time to point your attention to another blog project of mine.

This one is a little more professional, however. I'm lucky enough to be working in the social media marketing/communications field, and I found I was consistently answering questions and teaching others around me the value of social media.

I decided I needed to catalogue these little discussions, so I'm putting my thoughts on social media down in a blog. It's called Social Media Conversion.

It's a blog designed for people who aren't quite nuts about the whole social media thing just yet, and maybe just need a few answers before they totally jump in.

Anyway, if you're interested please throw it in your Google Reader. The address is

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

ESPN's winning formula

Rare opportunity to catch ESPN in the afternoon today, and I've discovered a formula for ESPN's wild success in the world of sports.

1. Identify 2-3 big sports stories for the day
2. Start by covering them 6 different ways on SportsCenter
3. Debate the same stories on 1st and 10
4. Debate the same stories on Jim Rome is Burning
5. Debate the same stories on Around the Horn
6. Debate the same stories on PTI
7. Report the same stories on SportsCenter that evening
8. Repeat every single day

I love ESPN, but geez. It's like ESPN is a giant publicity firm for Dwight Howard and Brett Favre.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I could have done so much more...

There I sat on a perfect Saturday afternoon in May at Miller Park on BYU campus. The air was sweet, the smell of bratwurst circled through the seats and I sat in the stands spitting sunflower seeds all over the ground.

There’s nothing like a BYU baseball game.

The weather is perfect, the setting is beauteous, and the game itself is part of the most entertaining brand of baseball you’ll ever see.

On top of all that, I just love the BYU baseball team. Steve Parker, Kent Walton, Kasey Ko, Dan Vargas and others are all holdovers from when I covered BYU baseball for the Daily Universe in the Spring of 2007. I loved that team, and I still consider that the best part of my college career.

So when I went home Saturday I vowed I would return for many more BYU baseball games. It wasn’t until Monday that I realized Saturday’s game was the last home game of the year.

I was devastated. Remorseful. I acted too late. I could have been there when the team needed me, but I turned my back on them. And now they’re gone.

Please, readers, don’t make the same mistake I made. Next season plan on a few games to attend with your friends, your wives (not a polygamy joke), or you kids. It’s the best way to spend a spring afternoon.

Some quick thoughts about Saturday’s game:

  • I love baseball crowds. It’s like going back to high school.
  • Bronco Mendenhall was there with one of his sons (Cutter, Breaker or Raeder, I’m not sure).
  • Robert Anae and Brandon Doman, BYU football coaches, were there with some recruits. I think one of them was Dallas Lloyd from PG. I excitedly told my friend Russ, but he didn’t seem to care.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Kobe vs. LeBron

Who here honestly believes in their soft fleshy hearts that the NBA Finals will include any two other teams than the Lakers and Cavaliers?

Much like the epic matchup last year between the Lakers and the Celtics, the Kobe/LeBron matchup for the NBA championship was foreordained from before the foundation of the 2008/2009 season. It is, as the French say, inevitable.

So be sure to watch in the upcoming days and weeks as every call, every bounce and every basket seems to go the Lakers' and Cavaliers' way until they meet in the NBA Finals. Should be fun.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Paddy Harrington and the 400-yard par three

This video is for everyone who dreamed of climbing to the top of a mountain and indiscriminately firing golf balls toward the unsuspecting dwellers below.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

BYU Happenings

Wow. A whole mess of stories are brewing for BYU players and alumni alike.

First, Linebacker Matt Ah You has decided to transfer. As with all cases of transfer my first question is "Why?" Unfortunately, BYU beat writers never really pursue this question. It has to be due to our Mormon culture and BYU's honor code. People automatically assume players only transfer from BYU due to honor code violations, and squawk that such matters should be left private. But this is exactly why beat writers should get the whole story--to dispel rumors.

Then again, if these reporters actually do their jobs and print the whole story they are put on the pike for airing the dirty laundry of a childish college student. So it's a fine line.

Anyway, none of that has to do with Ah You. Apparently, according to this article from Total Blue Sports, he's transferring because he's not getting the playing time he wants at BYU. Best of luck at Dixie State, kid.

Second, John Beck was picked up last week by the Baltimore Ravens. Beck was re-united with Cam Cameron, the head coach at Miami who drafted him. Maybe it's because I have such fond memories of the 2006 season, but I'm really pulling for Beck. He was such a general here at BYU; hopefully he can get it done in the NFL... eventually.

Beck will battle Ohio State alum Troy Smith to back up Joe Flacco. This is good, because A. Troy Smith sucks rocks, and B. Flacco is not exactly a legacy quarterback. Things could go south real quick, and Beck may have a good opportunity in the near future.

Third, check out this article from Greg Wrubell about the depth BYU will have next basketball season. You read it hear first, BYU is going to have an historic year next year.

And what's the deal with this article from the Deseret News BYU blog about Kyle Collinsworth? I know it's your job to keep things interesting, Mr. Rayburn, but come on. Kyle Collinsworth not a lock? Chris Collinsworth transferring? Talk about drumming up excitement about nothing. Chris is solid, and the only way BYU could miss out on Kyle is if Dave Rose accidentally backs over the Collinsworth family dog on the way out of his driveway.

Finally, if you're a BYU fan who held on to the hope that the Cougs might land Brighton high DT Ricky Heimuli, you better wake up right now before you get too attached. In addition to being offered a scholarship from EVERY (re-read: EVERY) school in the Pac-10, Heimuli has offers from Michigan, Michigan State and Oklahoma. Anyone honestly think BYU has a shot at this kid? So long, Rick.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Good call, coach

The Deseret News reported earlier today that Matt Pinegar, backup BYU point guard, will no longer be on the BYU basketball team. His scholarship will be vacated, which will give BYU and coach Dave Rose one more open slot on the team.

Pinegar and Rose came to this decision, presumably, after Pinegar sat out all of last year with a back injury.

I applaud Rose for making this tough decision. No doubt it was a difficult one, but it is a decision which needed to be made. Pinegar was the odd man out in a position where BYU has some good depth. Now BYU is free to pursue another player, possibly in the junior college ranks, that will help push us over the edge.

So who will get the open scholly? The brother of that one dude in South Carolina? A big man from the JC ranks? What do you think?