Thinking Out Loud: Patience is a virtue?

John Rooke
February 14, 2020 - 4:27 pm
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Thinking out loud…while wondering whatever happened to “patience is a virtue?”

Listen to your team news NOW.

  • So, Rhody blew the shot at the top?  Not quite, yet.  But crawling into a 17-0 hole on the road at the nationally-6th ranked team in Dayton this week certainly isn’t a recipe for success.
  • Calm down, URI fans. That’s not a shot at your team.  Rather, it should serve as a lesson in immediacy and awareness.  Something that a rival program in your state also appears to be lacking from time to time.
  • The Rams are still an NCAA team.  And they have a rematch with the Flyers at the Ryan Center March 4th.  But there’s work to do between now and then to maintain NCAA-status.  Can’t let one game define a season.
  • But those Flyers are clearly the class of the Atlantic-10.  Obi Toppin is an ath-a-lete.  Lotto good.  And a good basketball player, too, which helps.
  • Kudos to Rhody’s Fatts Russell as one of 30 national Naismith Player of the Year candidates.  He’s been that good. 
  • Good basketball players are precisely what the Friars need at this juncture in their season.  St. John’s highlighted the all-too-obvious flaws, which certainly include the lack of a true point guard to run the show. 
  • Frustrating?  Of course.  Make you angry?  For some it does, I’m sure.  So go ahead and kick and scream and call for the coach’s head-on-a-platter.  If it makes you feel better.  But it won’t change a thing.
  • Here’s the kicker – this year ain’t over yet.  We’re too quick to call it a day when reality fails to meet our lofty expectations.
  • The Friars get their shot at a Top 10 team Saturday night at the Dunk, with Seton Hall on site.  Need a resume-building win?  Need an injection of enthusiasm and hope for the future?  A win against the Pirates would qualify, yes.
  • So, step away from the ledge, Friar fans.  These are young men learning hard lessons in sport, and in life.  Perhaps they’ll surprise you.  I think they’ve already surprised themselves.
  • For the first time since conference reconstruction, the Big East placed five teams in the Top 25 polls this week.  That’s half of the league membership, in case you need a reminder.
  • And Marquette’s Markus Howard became the all-time scoring leader in conference games this week, surpassing Syracuse great Lawrence Moten.  Remember him?  He’s 47 years old now and teaching middle schoolers in the ‘Cuse. 
  • No surprise here.  Howard and Seton Hall’s Myles Powell are finalists for the USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy as the nation’s outstanding player.  Dayton’s Obi Toppin is also on the list.
  • Brown’s big weekend – with nail-biter wins over Dartmouth and Harvard – has the Bears in full control of at least one goal…which is to reach the Ivy postseason tournament for the first time. 
  • Brown is tied for 3rd, one game behind co-leaders Yale and Princeton, with Penn.  And the Bears get the Friar-killers on the road this weekend, followed by a trip to Princeton, NJ. 
  • The Top 4 Ivies advance to the conference tournament.  We’ll know a lot more about this team by Sunday.
  • We’ve mentioned here about the young talent beginning to stand out at Bryant – Benson Lin and Charles Pride have half-a-dozen NEC Freshman of the Week awards between them.  Also this week, Brown’s Tamenang Choh (buzzer-beater over Harvard) was named Ivy League Player of the Week, and Rhody’s Cyril Langevine (over 1000 career points) took the POTW honor in the A-10.
  • The 14th ranked Providence Hockey Friars continue to show some growing pains from time to time, with a 5-1 loss last week at Schneider to #8 UMass as evidence.  But redemption isn’t far behind, with two on the road at Vermont this weekend…and two of the Top 3 scorers (Jack Dugan, Tyce Thompson) in the nation on their side of the ice.
  • Spring has sprung? Lacrosse is already underway, with Bryant traveling to PC this weekend for an early season match.  The Friars are off to a 2-0 start, and goalkeeper Toby Burgdorf was just named Big East Defensive Player of the Week.  The Bulldogs dropped their opener to Bucknell.
  • NCAA President Mark Emmert appealed to politicians this week – to maintain “uniform standards in college athletics.”  25 additional states are considering legislation similar to California’s “Fair Pay to Play Act.”
  • This will be one massive undertaking, getting everyone on the same page when it comes to athletes holding onto their name, image and likeness rights.  And if we’re asking the gov’ment to help here, why do I get the feeling we’re asking for more trouble?
  • Big conferences will certainly benefit the most, and there will be abuses of the system.  Just like there are now, without NIL rules and regs.  The NCAA has already said they would allow athletes to benefit from these rights, but to what extent?  Some answers to this issue could come by April.
  • Not for nuthin’, but there is something refreshing, reinvigorating and restorative when spring training opens, amiright?
  • Except in Boston, where inflated expectations currently weigh us all down like Jacob Marley’s chain of sins he forged in life.
  • Wonderful, Mr. Henry.  Bravo, Mr. Werner.  You’re under the Competitive Balance Tax.  Marvelous.  Yet you’ve still raised ticket prices for the fans at Fenway.  What exactly, pray tell, are you trying to sell us at an inflated price?
  • Family entertainment?  That went out the window years ago.  It costs a family of four half-a-month’s rent to go to one game.  Bang for the buck?  Mookie now resides in LA, and half of your remaining starting rotation is coming off injury.  Hope for the future? 
  • Depends on your definition of “hope.”  Hope-less, perhaps.  Unless you see some overachievers in this group, I see about 75-82 wins…which won’t get close to being competitive in the AL East.
  • Here’s where “hope” truly lies in this surely-abortive attempt at fiscal reconstruction in Boston – 1) cut back enough so you make a realistic run at Betts in free agency next year; 2) support commissioner Rob Manfred’s lame expanded playoff proposal to try and slip into the postseason even when you stink.
  • On the last matter – realistically, if you have a .500 team, you only need to improve your standing by 3-5 games out of 162 to put yourself right into the postseason mix.  Is that what we’re coming to in Boston?  Be just good enough for a chance to get in?
  • I ain’t buyin’ it.  Don’t think the fans will either.  Last I checked, this ain’t Kansas City.  Boston/New England is a major market.  Mediocrity is no longer tolerated.  Say hello to empty seats if you suck. 
  • The most productive young player in MLB history to ever be traded?  That’s what “The Ringer” wrote about Betts this week.  Wow.  Now it hurts all over again.
  • Be afraid, Manchester United fans.  Be very afraid.  And good luck, Chaim Bloom and Ron Roenicke.  You will need every bit of that luck you can muster.
  • The real kick-in-the-pants to all of this?  The Red Sox were valued this week by Forbes to be worth $3.2 billion – with a “B” – third highest in baseball behind the Yankees and, um, Dodgers.  A 14% increase in value over last year, after they won the World Series.
  • Looks and smells like little more than a money grab from ownership.  But that’s ok, you go ahead and pay $50 or more to park around Fenway, pay a couple hunnerd for tickets and buy that $11 beer.  I’ll keep my quid, thanks.
  • Listening to Bloom this week from Spring Training, he seems like an honest, smart and actual nice guy.  But nice don’t win in Boston.
  • I’ll give him some time, even though this trade stinks to high heaven.  We’ll see.  Check back in with me on this, say, around Memorial Day and maybe again at the All-Star break.  Will happily perform a mea culpa
  • But Rookestradamus says I won’t need to.  The bullpen is still the blow-pen.
  • The only solace I take from the Red Sox trading away a generational player is the fact we won’t have to deal with David Price’s whining, complaining and general bad attitude, or his slow-motion-I-don’t-give-a-crap-take-forever-to-throw-one-pitch-delivery-on-the-mound.  So at least there’s that.
  • And Jackie Bradley Junior said on WEEI this week that baseball is fine as it is – there’s nothing wrong with the game that it needs speeding up.  For YOU Jackie, maybe. 
  • But for those that watch you?  The ticket-buying, consuming public?  The younger (and the older) generation which can’t be bothered with a 4-hour snoozefest?  Clueless.  Just sayin’.
  • Zen Question:  Who is happier?  David Price because he is now in LA-LA land where no one cares much about anything, or Dennis Eckersley – who no longer has to care about David Price?
  • As for Manfred’s proposed playoff changes – I don’t like watering down an already watered-down product, but the “selection show” idea intrigues me…where the top seed could actually choose its’ opponent.  That would be must-see TV.
  • And best-of-threes instead of one-game playoffs?  Yes, please.  But his idea to eliminate 42 minor league teams – including the Lowell Spinners?
  • Lawsuit City.  And he’ll deserve every one of them.  Do better, Rob.  At least he’s swinging, even if he’s missing.
  • The Celtics didn’t make a move at the NBA trade deadline because, well, because they don’t have to.  The East is right there to be won, as is.  That Danny, he’s wicked smaht.  Or lucky.
  • How does the old adage go – “I’d rather be lucky than good?”  Yessir, I subscribe to that theory.  But you can be great, if you’re both.
  • Maybe that describes the Bruins’ season thus far, too? 
  • Saw the movies 1917 and Joker.  Liked them very much.  1917 was amazing in its’ simplicity, and at the same time coordinating such realistic life/death war action.  Remarkable, really.
  • For me, there’s only one true Joker – Cesar Romero from the Batman TV series of the ‘60’s.  But Heath Ledger deserves at least half-an-Oscar for developing and creating the dark, disturbed character that Joaquin Phoenix portrayed so well for the movie, don’t you think?
  • Not for nuthin’, but I think there’s a reason why the Academy Award TV ratings are at an all-time low – the lowest in the 92-year history of the Oscars.  No one wants to stomach the politically-charged acceptance speeches anymore. 
  • Looking at you, Brad Pitt.  And Joaquin Phoenix?
  • What about cow farts damaging the ozone, Joaquin?  You left that one out.  Stupid is as stupid does.
  • My buddy “Big E” sez a recent study has found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it.  
  • Oh, and did you remember Valentine’s Day? I think I’ll just put an “out of order” sticker on my forehead and call it a day.
  • Did you watch any of the XFL debut games on TV?  Apparently, millions did.  So there’s an appetite for spring football again, just like there was back in the ‘80’s with the USFL.
  • As long as Donald Trump doesn’t purchase a team like he did with the New Jersey Generals back then, maybe the XFL actually has a shot at survival.
  • I like the fact the current President of the United States owes me money, you know?  As a struggling (and woefully underpaid) announcer at that time, the league folded – thanks largely to his stewardship while suing the NFL – without my getting a final paycheck. 
  • But XFL power rankings?  Let’s not get carried away here. 
  • Betting on the XFL?  If you can reasonably predict an outcome between has-beens, never-was’s and wannabe’s…more power to you.  Me, I like to keep my quid in my pocket.
  • No Colin Kaepernick for the XFL?  League commissioner Oliver Luck said this week his ‘salary requirements’ were ‘out of our range.’  He’s not interested in playing football, and hasn’t been interested in playing for some time, ICYMI.
  • Philip Rivers is parting ways with the Chargers, ending a 224-game starting streak at QB.  And if they sign TB12 to replace him, it’ll be “Philip Who?”
  • The Rhode Island Radio and TV Hall of Fame Class of 2020 was announced this week, and it has quality, for sure.  Congrats to WPRI-TV’s Karen Adams, WJAR-TV legends Frank Colletta, the late Jim Taricani and weatherman John Ghiorse (also from WLNE-TV), plus WPRO-FM’s Davey Morris and one-time WPRO/ABC-Cap Cities exec Mitch Dolan.
  • That’s a powerhouse group.  Worked with all of them at one time.  Dolan (and Ron St. Pierre) hired me to be the Voice of the Friars in 1989, so blame him.  The dinner and ceremony will be held April 30th at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick.
  • Kudos to old friend Jeff Dooley, a one-time Brown hoop and hockey announcer and currently the Voice of the Hartford Yard Goats, and to the entire TV production team in Hartford as Baseball America ranked their broadcast as the top minor league broadcast in the country.
  • Patience is a virtue?  You mean, the ability to wait for something without frustration or anger taking over?  Whoever coined that phrase – and the 14th century is where the origin has been traced back to – would never make it today as a college hoop fan in Rhode Island, that’s for certain.
  • In fact, of the seven heavenly virtues that will allegedly lead your soul to glory (charity, chastity, diligence, humility, kindness, patience and temperance), most hoop nuts I know, anywhere, flat out flunk out.
  • @bobnunes49 tweeted at me this week on last week’s column: “You started off with a comment about (Nancy) Pelosi. I look forward to your column every Saturday and it was disappointing to see it start off that way. I’m an independent, but I’d rather read about sports.”
  • Bob:  Fair enough.  Appreciate your reading.  But here’s the thing – I also vote.  I’ve run for public office in my lifetime, worked in government and politics and actually give a **** about these things.  Just because I make a fair share of my living writing and talking about games people play doesn’t mean I’m not entitled (or you’re not entitled, or anyone else) to offer an opinion. 
  • Besides, there wasn’t a political thing about what I said!  It was merely an observation.  For an independent, you certainly took quick offense to it.
  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

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