Friday (Sort of) Quick Hitters

July 25, 2008

It’s Friday, you guys need something to read.  Here goes: some thoughts from around the sports world.

Caleb Campbell called to service

You remember this guy, right?  He is the West Point grad who was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the most recent NFL Entry Draft.  At the time, the Army had told him he would be able to pursue a career in the NFL while serving as a recruiter in the Detroit area.  This week, he was told that this was no longer the case and he would be required to serve two years of active duty before applying for release.

Some folks are miffed at the government for reneging on their word.  I’m not one of them.  Campbell signed up for the Army, and went to West Point, for a reason.  As he’s said, “[…] when I went to the academy I initially went to the academy to be an officer.”  This is what he’s getting the opportunity to do.

Yes, it’s too bad that he likely won’t get his one shot to play in the NFL, but he’ll have his shot to serve his country.  Some would argue that this is more important than a game.  Count me in.

Football season is nearly upon us

This year, I now have two things to look forward to.  First, the Buckeyes.  Save for that little September trip to Los Angeles, the schedule looks pretty ripe for the Bucks to be in a very good position for another national title appearance.  The whole world will be watching that game at USC to watch the “overhyped” Buckeyes falter in prime time, again.  We’ll see what happens.

The other thing I can look forward to this fall (football related) would be the Browns.  Not for many years have I actually been excited about an upcoming Cleveland season.  This is more than a little odd.  Folks are excited about the offseason acquisitions (but really, is Donte Stallworth really a huge upgrade from Joe Jurevicius?), and the quarterback battle is getting some radio airplay here in Columbus.  I’m not convinced they’ll make the playoffs, but I will make sure I’ll be in front of the TV each game to see what happens (note: this is not going out on a limb or different than any other year, as those of you who know me can attest to).

Blue Jackets looking to move up

I just saw this morning that the Jackets signed Mike York to a deal (yawn), which just adds to the new faces we should see in Nationwide Arena this season.

IN: Mike Commodore, Raffi Torres, Kristian Huselius, Fedor Tyutin, Christian Backman, Mike York.

OUT: Nikolai Zherdev, Ron Hainsey, Dan Fritsche, Gilbert Brule, Duvie Westcott.

People who like (and/or watch) hockey in Columbus can’t wait for the season to start.  As has been expressed very clearly in the Sunday Dispatch Mailbox, some (many?) Buckeye fans wish hockey would die and go away.  Can’t we all just get along?  So the paper has hockey stories every couple of days, some of which make the front page of Section C.  Is that so offensive?  Would you rather read about Eugene Clifford?  (Too soon?)

Edinson Volquez

I’ve been a wishy-washy baseball fan for years now.  When the Reds win, I like baseball.  When they lose, I hate it.  So basically, I’ve hated baseball since 1999.  Cincinnati still doesn’t have a bullpen, but whenever I see that Volquez is pitching, I watch.  This kid is enough by himself to make me enjoy watching the game.  When I change-up makes me exclaim to the TV (read: no one in particular), “that was just dirty,” you know it’s good.

Oh, how could I forget about Jay Bruce?  His first week in The Show was probably the most fun I’ve had watching ball on TV in ages.  Ridiculous.  If you’re a Reds fan (or claim to be one) and I’ve heard you say “I can’t even name one player on the Reds these days” (are you listening to me, Tommy?), sit down one night and watch a game.  Then do it again.  Volquez, Bruce, Phillips, Votto, Encarnacion, Keppinger, Cueto, and more.  They’ll all become part of your vocabulary.

Brett Favre

You didn’t think I could get through a quick hitter column right now without mentioning this, did you?

Well, I will (y’know, from here on out.

Sports on TV

Last night, there were a couple of baseball games being played.  But as I scanned through the hundreds of channels that Time Warner offers me, there were the following sporting events being broadcast:

  • The MLS All-Star Game.  I’m sure it was a good game, but I’m not much of a soccer (football) fan.
  • PBA Bowling: Team Shootout.  People don’t watch hockey on TV (?), but this gets hours of coverage on ESPN 2?  Ooookaaaayyy….
  • Replay of LSU vs. Auburn football from 2007 on ESPNU.  Sadly, this was what I watched for quite some time.  And I already knew who was going to win.

Not one baseball game on TV.  How sad.  Thankfully I can get my daily fill of bowling, billiards trick-shot competitions from 2003, and poker.

Mixed Martial Arts

I may address this more at-length in an upcoming column.  Simply put, for me it started out like a train-wreck.  I couldn’t change the channel.  I’m not afraid to admit that it’s to the point now where I will seek some of this stuff out on the boob tube and watch.  Good stuff.

Thanks for stopping by the End of the Bench.  Come back soon.

– Drew



  1. “I just saw this morning that the Jackets signed Mike York to a deal (yawn), which just adds to the new faces we should see in Nationwide Arena this season.”

    Yawn? This is all the analysis you care to provide? This is the first time I have read your blog and based on this comment, it will be my last. The York signing has the potential to be a steal of the summer. He has had 4, 50+ point seasons in the league. He has fallen off the last few years, but the question is why? He is only 30 years old so it isn’t like he is over the hill. Why did his numbers drop? Personal issues? Could be.

    In the end, this guy could get himself back on track and we could have a 20-30, 40-50 point guy for $750 000! If he doesn’t pan out, we will spend less on him than we do on laundering the towels per season. It is a heck of a signing to add, not only NHL depth, but a guy who has proven he can perform at high level in the league.

    Disappointing that ‘yawn’ is all you come up with.

  2. Jessie,

    It’s been a long winter/spring/summer, sorry I didn’t provide the depth of analysis you’re looking for.

    You’re new here, so I guess you just don’t get my brand of humor. That’s okay, though, not everyone does.

    My point of the “yawn” was that I really didn’t have much to say. Yes, it could be the steal of the summer, or it could be another $750K thrown at yet another 3rd or 4th line centerman. Only time will tell. If you’re right, please stop by in 10 months, let me know, and I’ll buy you a beer.

    I have nothing against the guy, but look around the CBJ blogosphere. I don’t hear a ton more analysis coming from anywhere else, either. I’ll be cheering for this guy to make us a better team this year, just like any other CBJ fan.

    Thanks for stopping by. I’m sure sorry that one little yawn (in the middle of a hibernation period, no less) has caused you much consternation.

    Best regards,

  3. Drew,

    First, I appreciate your response.

    Much consternation? Not at all, just disappointed that, during this ‘hibernation period’ when jackets/hockey fans are starved for news, ‘yawn’ is all you can come up with after another addition to our team. It would seem that there would be especially more time for further analysis during this down time.

    Please consider the remainder of this post as a constructive critique and try not to write it off as merely a ‘readers rant’.

    Let me give you an idea of what might have been more interesting than ‘yawn’:

    I find the fact that this player, who has had 4 50+ season’s in this league is available, for a 2-way contract nonetheless, is quite intriguing. He claims that he WILL make the team, so who is he going to make the team instead of? Manny, Novotny? Who? Could we see Manny, a fan favorite on waivers come the end of training camp? This isn’t worthy of discussion?

    Then there is the possibility of him finding his form, and that is something that certainly would provide we jackets fans with more of a ‘yawn’ type reaction, don’t you think? This is not a ‘Novotny’ we just signed–a guy who hasn’t scored more than 8 goals in the league, nor is this a Manny-who has scored a career high 12! This guy has had 4 50+ point seasons! What happened to him and why has his production dropped off? What makes him so sure that he WILL make the team? What has changed since his time in Philly and Phoenix?

    Now, if he doesn’t make the team and is relegated to the AHL, how will he respond? How will he behave? How will that affect Syracuse? Call ups?

    There are many things worthy of talking about regarding this signing. I fail to see how this is me simply ‘not being aware of your sense of humor’. The guy can be two completely different players and if you think about it, in many ways, is one of the most intriguing signings of the summer. With all the other guys we basically know who we are getting. York is a guy who could potentially fit in the top 2 lines, or not make the team at all!

    I have no idea where he will be and I am not trying to be ‘right’ about this player, I was simply disappointed in seeing a ‘yawn’ on the subject, when clearly there is so much more.

    You might have new readers every day, and today, I was one of them. When I saw how little thought you put into your post re: York, it was a red flag to me, that you don’t take the time to dive deeper into the topics. Was it a bad day? Maybe that is the level of blog that you wish to maintain. Not sure, but like you say, there are many blogs out there and the one that I frequent goes into far more detail than what I read today. It looks like you put a lot of time into many parts of your blog, and quite possibly the content on this day was substandard to your regular postings. I don’t know since it was my first impression. How many other ‘first impressions’ were made today?

    I’ll check back for a response if you care to.

    Kindest regards,


  4. Jessie,

    You make some very valid points. Both about York, readership of End of the Bench, and first impressions.

    You are correct that during this down time in the hockey calendar, I should have much more time to dissect every move. But I’ve yet to snap out of my writing funk that captured most of my Winter/Spring of ’08. Perhaps as training camp commences I’ll get around to going through each signing and posting my thoughts, we’ll see.

    I occassionally do these “quick hitter” type columns. When I write them, I’m usually scanning the sports wire for stories I find interesting. I had only happened upon the York story minutes before I started this column. I wanted to publish quickly, and was too lazy (there, I said it 🙂 ) to do any further research. The term “yawn” was a cheap hibernation joke that was mostly for me (I’m selfish with my “humor”), and it seems that elimination of this word would have changed the tone of this post considerably.

    As much as I constantly preach here at EOB that I write for me and don’t care if anyone actually reads the crap I write, I need to clarify this. You’re the first person in some time who actually took the time to respond to a column and head up a discussion. Yes, I write to get my thoughts out there, because I think at least 51% of the time they’re decent. But I also write to make people think, and not just accept whatever they’re spoon-fed by the local print/TV media.

    There has been so little meaningful conversation between myself and readers, that I guess I figured I was writing in a vacuum. Wrongo. If I had to pick a column for you to read as representative of what my contributions to this site are all about, this certainly wouldn’t be the one I’d pick. Thumb through the archives, and read some other stuff I’ve done. I’m hopeful that you’ll find that I usually have more than the expected level of analysis.

    Stick around, Jessie. Now that I have at least one reader who will call me out, maybe I’ll write more (and up to my “normal” standards).


  5. Drew,

    I am glad that you took my response for what it was and didn’t just write it off. I respect that, so I will check back 🙂

    Thanks Drew,


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