Battleline: Spring Season In Peril - The Missourian: Sports

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Battleline: Spring Season In Peril

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Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 8:15 am

Well, the ball is yellow, so maybe they could have played.

Monday was supposed to be the home opener for the East Central College softball Falcons, but the brutal cold has put the brakes on that.

Are we ever going to have a spring sports season? And how many games are area teams going to get to play?

For the high schools, Monday was supposed to be the first day of spring practices. It’s going to be a bit before any teams actually get outside with this weather.

Of all high school seasons, the spring is most dependent on weather. At least it’s better than it used to be. Now we have one indoor team (Borgia boys volleyball) which will play when the weather’s not so great outdoors.

Normally, the big problem in the spring is rain and wet field conditions.

I can remember one of those wet years, my senior year of high school. During a game at Montgomery County, I stole second base and it seemed like I had to swim the final three feet to the bag. Yes, we were that desperate to get games played that soggy spring.

We don’t have those problems quite as much now with the continued addition of outdoor all-weather venues in track, soccer and baseball, but you can’t play in this type of cold. Maybe someone can build a dome for us to get the games in.

•••

The wild weather this winter has yielded some unexpected bonuses as I’ve seen more NASCAR in the first two weeks of the season than I have in the past five years combined.

The extreme cold kept me inside for the Phoenix race while the long rain delay at Daytona made that the best option the previous week.

So far this season, the story is Dale Earnhardt Jr. Not only did he win the Daytona 500, but he also zoomed to over 568,000 Twitter followers in just over a week.

NASCAR has a new playoff format, its fourth since 2004. I don’t know why the NASCAR brass felt it had to change the rules once again. Fans were just getting used to the latest tweaks in the whole chase format and now it’s knocked down to an elimination bracket.

It will start with 16 drivers in the first of the 10 chase races, with four drivers getting knocked out every three races. And the Cup will go to the driver finishing the highest in the final race among the four still eligible.

Any traditionalist should hate it. I do.

The old system wasn’t broke, and a fan could become used to the chase even with all of the tinkering which has gone on.

The new system gives much, too much, importance to winning, and emphasizes the higher finish in the last race as being the climax. Forget consistent finishes. Winning is what counts now. Might as well forget the points system as well.

The old system was created to get the teams to go to as many events as possible, and not cherry-pick the big money events. I don’t think this is as much of a problem now, but once a team which doesn’t compete in a lot of races, or brings in an ace to win a specialty race (road course) and gets into the chase, you’re going to see a lot of grumbling.

Earnhardt and Phoenix winner Kevin Harvick pretty much are in the chase now. They could take the rest of the season off and still come back for the playoffs. They won’t because of sponsors, but there’s that potential.

I think when the fans riot because a normal back-marker gets lucky (how does Danica Patrick, Sprint Cup Series champion, sound?), wins a race and then happens to finish at the front of the four final competitors at the last event (and it could be positions 40-43), NASCAR is going to have to rethink this strategy once again. I don’t believe the current one is too sound.

There’s been a lot of news lately about Danica Patrick and her war of words with the Petty family. At this point, she probably could beat Richard Petty in a race. Remember that the King is going to be 77 in June. Danica turns 32 later this month. Bring in a Richard Petty circa the 1968 season and that would be a more fair comparison. Racing between then and now is a much different experience. I would have to give a younger Petty the edge on that one.

Does Danica deserve to be in NASCAR? I think the late, great Smokey Yunick was correct when he observed that there are hundreds of potential great drivers out there, but to get a ride today, you’ve got to bring a sponsor and be marketable. That’s just the reality of the sport now and Danica brings in money and fans. She may never win a race, but she’ll race as long as she wants.

•••

Condolences to the family of Mike Elder, who was the primary prep volleyball writer for stltoday.com and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Mike died last week at the age of 52.

Covered many events with Mike over the years and he was not only professional and a class act, but also knowledgeable about his subject matter. They don’t get any better than Mike.

/sports

Area Scoreboard

Football

Friday, Sept. 19

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    7 p.m.

Cardinal Ritter at Borgia    7 p.m.

*St. Clair at Union    7 p.m.

*Pacific at Sullivan    7 p.m.

*Hermann at Owensville    7 p.m.

Ash Grove at St. James    7 p.m.

Cuba at Brentwood    7 p.m.

*St. Charles West at Warrenton    7 p.m.

South Callaway at Wright City     7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 12

*Ft. Zumwalt North 49, Washington 0

*Borgia 35, St. Dominic 0

*Union 27, Pacific 19

*Sullivan 47, St. Clair 21

Hermann 65, Wentzville Liberty 7

*Owensville 29, St. James 28 (OT)

Cuba 22, Windsor 6

*Warrenton 14, St. Charles 6

*Bowling Green 55, Wright City 0

Friday, Sept. 5

Warrenton 14, Washington 6

Borgia 13, Maplewood-Richmond Heights 0 (forfeit)

*Union 32, Sullivan 19

*Pacific 20, St. Clair 18

*Hermann 52, St. James 20

Owensville 35, Cuba 8

*Wright City 36, Montgomery Co. 0

Friday, Aug. 29

Sullivan 30, Washington 8

Borgia 56, Union 13

Ozark 41, St. Clair 0

Potosi 34, Pacific 13

Hermann 54, Cuba 12

Blair Oaks 42, Owensville 0

St. James 36, Houston 18

Warrenton 28, Troy 0

Orchard Farm 36, Wright City 18

Friday, Aug. 22

Washington 26, St. Clair 21

Borgia 48, Owensville 12

Parkway West 49, Union 39

Pacific 28, De Soto 20

Park Hills Central 34, Sullivan 27

St. James 12, Cuba 6

Hermann 61, Montgomery Co 12

Warrenton 26, St. Dominic 23

Trinity 28, Wright City 24

Softball

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at Notre Dame    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt N    4:30 p.m.

*Union at Owensville    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Warrenton    4:30 p.m.

Sullivan at Northwest    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Dominic at Borgia    3:45 p.m.

*Union at Hermann    4:30 p.m.

*St. Clair at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

South Callaway at New Haven    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

St. James Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt S    4:30 p.m.

Union at North County    4:30 p.m.

Warrenton at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Principia at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Hermann at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

Owensville at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Bourbon    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Borgia at Duchesne    4:30 p.m.

*Holt at Washington    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Volleyball

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Sullivan at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    5 p.m.

*New Haven at Union    5:30 p.m.

*Pacific at Hermann    5:30 p.m.

*Owensville at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Duchesne    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at Owensville    5 p.m.

*Union at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Hermann at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

*St. James at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

O’Fallon Christian at Borgia    6:30 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    5:15 p.m.

Providence at Crosspoint    7:15 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Saturday, Sept. 20

New Haven Round Robin    9 a.m.

ECC at Wentworth    1 p.m.

ECC vs. Graceland JV (Wentworth)    3 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

St. Clair at Seckman Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

St. Clair at Salem    5 p.m.

Bourbon at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

Dixon at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

Cuba at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at Bethel    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint vs. Thomas Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Boys Soccer

Tuesday, Sept. 16

Crosspoint at Fulton St. Albans    4:30 p.m.

Tolton Catholic at Borgia    5:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

*St. Louis at ECC    4:30 p.m.

Union at Affton    5 p.m.

St. Clair at De Soto    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at St. James    5 p.m.

Dixon at Sullivan    5 p.m.

Borgia at Trinity    6:15 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

Tolton at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    10 a.m.

Crowder at ECC    2 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 22

Hillsboro at Union    5 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    4:30 p.m.

North County at Union    5 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    5 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:15 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Cross Country

Thursday, Sept. 18

St. Clair at Lutheran North    4 p.m.

New Haven, St. James at Steelville Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Festus Inv.    9 a.m.

Hermann at Fulton Inv    9 a.m.

Thursday, Sept. 25

Washington at Rolla Inv    4 p.m.

Union, Owensville, St. James at Belle Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 27

Hancock Inv    8:30 a.m.

Pacific at Viburnum Inv    10:30 a.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

St. Clair at Elsberry Inv    4 p.m.

St. James at Dixon    4 p.m.

Girls Golf

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at St. Dominic    3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    3:30 p.m.

Borgia at AAA Meet, Lutheran SC    TBA

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Washington at GAC Central Meet    TBA

Thursday, Sept. 25

*Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Boys Swimming

Saturday, Sept. 20

Borgia at Ft. Zumwalt W    8:30 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt South    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

Racing News