Let's not waste anytime heading back to Iowa City to check in on our coach on the scene Drew Stonewall. In case you missed his recaps of the first two days of kids basketball camp, here they are:
Day One - Late Game Execution
Day Two - Mental Toughness
"Anyone who's ever coached at a 4-day youth sports camp knows Day Three is by far the toughest day of the week, for both players and coaches. The initial excitement from the start of camp has worn off and it's not the last day of camp either that wraps everything up. It's just typically a tough day. Players lose a little concentration, get a little squirrelly, and the day just seems to drag on a little longer than normal.
It seemed like the coaches at this camp were aware of that as well and tried to mix things up a bit on Tuesday. New drills, quicker stations, a couple more competitive games in camp. A real concerted effort to try to get as much out of Day Three as we could. Even Coach McCaffery changed his hour session up to avoid that Day Three drag.
Instead of working through basketball drills and fundamentals, Fran actually used Day Three as a fun day. He was there just talking with players, shooting around with players, and then finally taking pictures with each and every camper. It was a real morale boost after yesterday's 'Mental Toughness' day. And you could tell the campers both needed it and appreciated it.
Coach McCaffery stood and took a picture with every camper there and even brought out some of the Iowa Hawkeyes basketball players that were on campus over the summer to take pictures with the campers as well. Those kids are going to remember those memories for years to come.
But Coach McCaffery had one more trick up his sleeve.
Once all the pictures were taken, Fran brought everyone together around mid-court and told the campers he had one more surprise for them. He pointed up to the rafters and slowly coming down from the the ceiling was a banner.
Coach McCaffery announced "How would everyone like to get their picture taken by our 2013 NIT Banner!?!?!?!?!"
The gym just erupted. I wish you could have seen the joy on each and every single campers face when they realized they'd get to have their picture taken next to an NIT banner. It was magical. I mean, every kid that's ever played basketball dreams of playing in the NIT. Most never get there but today, each kid that was in that gym would at least get to have their picture taken by the NIT banner. An not just any NIT banner like Iowa's 2012 NIT banner or their 2016 NIT banner.....Oh No! Fran brought down the 2013 NIT FINALIST banner. Those pictures alone were worth the price of the camp.
There was an awkward moment though during this time. After getting his picture taken with the NIT banner, one of the campers asked Fran if he could also have his picture taken with one of Coach McCaffery's BIg Ten Championship banners. Coach had to explain to him that none of the team's he has coached had ever actually won a Big Ten Championship, either in the regular season or the conference tournament. You could tell the kid was a little disappointed, but at least he'll have the NIT picture to take home with him still.
All-in-all another great day in Iowa City. Looking forward to our last day of camp tomorrow. See ya."
A quick tip of the hat to SnapChat. Been meaning to hit this topic recently but it keeps getting bumped. But smart move by SnapChat adding the "Infinity" option on their snaps now. Really makes the SnapChat experience much better.
I get the initial idea of SnapChat was to have quick pictures or videos that would disappear immediately after seeing them. And that did add to the appeal of the app. But now that SnapChat has become an everyday app for millions of people around the world, this was a much needed addition. SnapChat is a cornerstone communication piece for many people across the world. There doesn't need to be a time limit on that anymore.
I've really enjoyed looking at pictures or videos on SnapChat now and being able to dig into these and examine them, without the threat of them disappearing before I was done. That was always in the back of your head while looking at media on SnapChat, "I better look at everything quick before it vanishes."
That problem can now be gone if the person who sends that chooses to do so. A common-sense change for the good. Well done SnapChat.
I was all set to use this 3rd section to talk about how disappointed I was that last night's main event on SmackDown Live! was Jinder Mahal vs. Luke Harper. With all the talent on both rosters in WWE, to get a main event between Jinder Mahal and Luke Harper, who have no history and no story together, is insulting as a wrestling fan. Styles, Owens, New Day, Ziggler, Nakamura, Charlotte, Becky, Mr. Money in the Bank, Orton, newly acquired Mr. and Mrs. Maria Kanellis, Naomi, Sami, Rusev.....all these options on SmackDown Live! and we get a Harper-Mahal matchup. Embarrassing.
But then all day yesterday I kept seeing people defend this Anthony Rizzo play from the night before and I'm about ready to lose my mind. The amount of people defending, or at least not criticizing, Rizzo for this play really is mind-bottling. In case you missed the play, here is a link to an ESPN.com article and video showing it.
You cannot watch that play an come to the conclusion that Rizzo was trying to slide in a way to get to home plate as quick as possible to avoid a tag and try to be safe. It's impossible to do.
It's clear in that video, no matter how many times you watch it, that his goal was make contact with the catcher to try and dislodge the ball from his grasp since he clearly was not going to beat the ball home. Now, he could have tried to avoid a tag, or hope the catcher bobbles the ball, or change directions and try to get in a run down, but instead he chose to make contact with the catcher instead. I'm not sure how that point is debatable after watching the video.
Which would have been fine for the first 150+ years that baseball had been around. But after Buster Posey broke his leg Major League Baseball put Rule 7.13 into their rule books to protect catchers. That rule didn't do much to protect Austin Hedges Monday night when Rizzo came barreling into home plate, despite Hedges clearly giving Rizzo room to slide.
But dirty plays happen in baseball from time-to-time. Not like it's the end of the world by any means. And just because it was a dirty play, doesn't make Rizzo a dirty player. To my knowledge that's the first instance of a dirty play I can recall from Rizzo. Sometimes good guys do bad things, in any nature of life. You can be a good guy and have a dirty play, it happens. But the amount of people defending the play is ridiculous.
Even in the link that I shared above, the first video that came up for me was Scott Van Pelt defending the play. What!?!?
Here's the question I keep hearing Rizzo-defenders ask "Well what is he suppose to do?"
Avoid the catcher.
Simple. Don't make contact with the catcher. Same way in football and basketball when the offensive players shouldn't make contact with the out-of-bounds line if they want their plays to count, runners shouldn't make contact with the catcher if they want their runs to count....especially when the catcher gives them a clear path to the plate which Hedges did.
And don't give me the "he's going full speed so it's hard to adjust" BS either. It's 90 feet last I checked from 3rd base to home. Unless Rizzo is a distant relative to The Flash that I'm not aware of, he had plenty of time to see how the play was developing in that 90 feet. And you know how I know this? Because he knew where the catcher was stationed enough to deliberately run into him, which is obvious in the video. If he can deliberately run into Hedges, he could just as deliberately avoid him. It's not hard. Instead of going towards the front right edge of the plate closest to him and away from the catcher, Rizzo decides for some reason to slide towards the back, left edge of the plate that is as far away from him as possible but close enough to the catcher that it would allow him to slide into Hedges.
Just call a spade a spade here. It was a dirty play. Take responsibility for it and move on. Don't give me these excuses that the rule is too hard to understand or he's "just playing hard". It was a dirty play.
Maybe instead of being so worried about "Flying the W" all the time, the Cubs should start worrying about flying some sportsmanship here and there.
And poor on Major League Baseball for not handing out any type of sanctions to Rizzo or the Cubs for this play. The league has a new rule, within five years of existence, that is basically just cut the legs out from underneath of with this non-ruling. A rule added to help protect catcher safety is now useless. Why would any catcher feel protected now on a play at home? Rizzo just did exactly what the rule was designed to prevent and all he got was a phone call from Joe Torre. I'm not sure that's going to do much to dissuade other players from running over the catcher on a play like that in the future.