Was the baseball expansion era committee trying to make a statement?

Picking Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox for the Hall of Fame Monday definitely sends a message.

While Torre was the National League MVP in 1971 while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, and had a solid career, he probably will be remembered for his managerial prowess.

All three won at least 2,000 games in the dugout as managers. Two of them, La Russa and Torre, managed the Cardinals. Cox led Atlanta to 14 consecutive division titles.

All three were deserving of the honor, although it’s surprising to see them all picked in the same year.

For years, baseball scholars have lamented the lack of managers in the Hall of Fame. It would appear that the expansion era committee is doing what it can to right that wrong.

Now if baseball can only address the lack of closers in the Hall of Fame...


While the U.S. Men’s National Team hasn’t been eliminated from the 2014 World Cup yet, last Friday’s draw did some serious damage to American soccer hopes.

Amidst hoopla and hype during the extravaganza to draw the teams, the Americans were pulled for Group G. While that may not sound so awful, they were placed in there with Germany, Ghana and Portugal, three teams which historically have done well beyond the group stages.

It’s very likely that two good teams will be watching the knockout phases of the tournament.

The Americans open the tournament June 16 against Ghana, a team which has been their nemesis in recent World Cups. But, if the Black Stars aren’t a challenge, the other two Group G teams, Germany and Portugal, aren’t going to take it easy on the Americans either.

The Germans probably would like to beat their old coach, current American Mentor Jurgen Klinsmann. And Portugal is another strong team looking for any edge it can get to advance.

While it’s not impossible, the Americans face a very strong challenge to make it out of the group stage this time around.

Unfortunately, most Americans probably won’t care anyway. It probably will fall in somewhere behind Major League Baseball, the NBA finals, the NHL Stanley Cup finals and maybe even NASCAR.

The draw, in itself, was something of a circus. Imagine the BCS Bowl show, the NCAA Basketball draw and any major Hollywood event combined and you have the World Cup draw.

Other nations have a tough time as well. In Group D, England and Italy are in the same group with Uruguay and Costa Rica. The sporting press in England and Italy probably are having a field day speculating on their teams’ woes.

One of the first-round games will be between Argentina and Bosnia, repeating a friendly contest played in St. Louis in November.

Another first-round game is a rematch of the championship of the last World Cup between Spain and the Netherlands.

For most of the world, it should be an interesting World Cup.


I think a lot of the Mizzou football faithful aren’t going to be too thrilled about being selected for the Cotton Bowl to take on Oklahoma State Jan. 3 in Arlington, Texas.

Again, Mizzou probably will have to battle a partisan crowd (as Stillwater, Okla., is much closer than Columbia) while playing a team it used to face on a regular basis not many years ago.

The game will be played at AT&T (Cowboys) Stadium in Arlington (the place with the stadium built around the massive video monitor) rather than at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, so if you’re making the trip, don’t go to the wrong venue.

Actually, the Heart of Dallas Bowl between UNLV and North Texas is being played at the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day and that could be extra entertainment for anyone heading down early.

I know Mizzou fans would prefer to be in a bigger and better game, but with two losses, that just wasn’t going to happen.

Hopefully the trip won’t be as adventurous as the one Mizzou fans faced last weekend going to Atlanta for the SEC championship. As long as the weather is decent, Dallas isn’t a tough drive.

Hopefully, this will be a building block season for the Tigers. Mizzou made major strides in its second SEC campaign. It will take massive work to continue to stay at the top of the league though.