Small-Market Scribblings

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

KC = Sixth-Worst City to be a Sports Fan

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 6:26 AM

By Justin Kendall


A young Chiefs fan expresses his opinion of the rankings.

Forbes ranks Kansas City as a the sixth worst city to be a sports fan. Forbes writer Tom Van Ripper reasons: "Ticket prices are reasonable, but the Royals just can't shake over a decade's worth of the doldrums. The franchise has had just one winning season since 1995."

Forbes refuses to acknowledge soccer as a sport, denying the existence of the Kansas City Wizards. But neither does The Kansas City Star.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Draft Guides Mock Stinky Kicker Pick

Posted By on Tue, Aug 26, 2008 at 10:27 AM



Fantasy football guides are making it evident how badly the Chiefs screwed up the selection of a special-teams player in the 2007 draft. Nick Folk – bypassed by the Chiefs in favor of Justin Medlock – is the top-rated kicker in draft guides published by Sports Illustrated and USA Today.

The Chiefs took Medlock with the 160th pick in the ’07 draft. After a poor pre-season, the former UCLA Bruin failed to make the team.

The Dallas Cowboys, meanwhile, selected Folk, who kicked at the University of Arizona, with the 178th pick. In 2007, Folk made 26 of 31 field-goal attempts and went to the Pro Bowl.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cyclones, Wildcats play at Arrowhead in '09 and '10

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2008 at 4:55 PM

By Justin Kendall


Just got back from the press conference announcing the 2009 and 2010 Iowa State and Kansas State neutral site games at Arrowhead.

Good to see the Cyclone beat writers -- both of them -- made the trip south on I-35. The pre-press conference jabber was whether the Cyclones had settled their quarterback conundrum. Of course not. The season opener is only SIX DAYS AWAY!

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Author Claims the Babe Was Black

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2008 at 6:01 AM



By acquiring Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox in the ’20s, the Yankees began what has become a time-honored tradition of buying their way into success.

Back then, the survival of a ball club depended on the one-dimensional business of putting butts in

seats. Fans turned out in droves to watch the player who could change games in the space of a single swing.

But like A-Rod and strippers, or Giambi and steroids, the hitter apparently had some skeletons — perhaps one even big enough to kill for. Such is the premise of J. Anderson Cross' upcoming novel, The Bambino Secret, which blends conspiracy theory and all-out fictional adventure à la The Da Vinci Code.

The book chases an Overland Park lawyer’s investigation into the mysterious death of a Negro Leagues ball player who stumbles upon evidence that the Babe was actually African American.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Beijing Olypics: Entertaining and Guilt-Ridden

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2008 at 2:48 PM



I've been one of those people fairly hooked on the Beijing Olympics. Take last night's heartbreaking final in the women's 100-meter hurdles, when American LoLo Jones blew an early lead by tripping on one of the last hurdles. Or how about Nastia Liukin scoring high enough to get the gold but then ending up with a silver medal because of some obscure tiebreaker rule? You couldn't script better sports drama.

But the more I hear about the regime in China and the more the news comes out about crackdowns on protesters, watching the Olympics is starting to feel like shopping at Wal-Mart. Or drinking from disposable water bottles. Or putting Huggies on your baby. There's something dirty, something guilt-inducing about watching the Beijing games.

This struck home last week when local members of the Falun Gong movement held a press conference in Overland Park to protest the reported 8,000 members of their group to be rounded up by Chinese cops.

At the press conference was Jin Pang, a student at Missouri State University. Pang says her parents were kidnapped by Chinese authorities on July 9. The only reason she can figure is that they're Falun Gong practitioners.

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Cyclones Returning to Arrowhead?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2008 at 2:39 PM

By Justin Kendall


God of Iowa State athletics, Jamie Pollard, will be at Arrowhead Stadium tomorrow morning for a "major college football announcement." Kansas State Athletic Director Bob Krause will also be there. Rumor is the Cyclones and Wildcats will split a couple of football games in Kansas City, likely in 2009 and 2010. That's great news for Kansas City Cyclone fans. Not so great news for businesses in Ames (and Manhattan), with the possibility of losing a home game.

The last time the Cyclones played in Arrowhead -- a 38-31 loss to No. 3-ranked Florida State in the 2002 Eddie Robinson Classic -- was the most thrilling football game that I have ever witnessed.

Legendary Iowa State quarterback Seneca Wallace engineered what was almost the greatest comeback in Cyclone history, rallying from a 24 point deficit and nearly permanently retiring Bobby Bowden with a chest grabber.

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Posnanski to Join

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2008 at 6:33 AM



In the midst of filing multiple columns a day from Beijing, Kansas City Star sports columnist Joe Posnanski announced on his blog that he's going to start writing a weekly column for will also link to Posnanski's blog.

Showing his trademark humility, Posnanski says he is thrilled at the prospect of sharing the same pixilated banner as Frank Deford and Gary Smith. "Don’t even ask how that happened," Posnanski writes on his blog.

Posnanski says he will continue to write for The Star.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How Bad Are the Chiefs? Yahoo Says: Really Bad

Posted By on Tue, Aug 19, 2008 at 8:01 AM



Don't be sad, Huard. Yahoo says you're better than Brodie.

There's little doubt the Chiefs will stink this year. But further proof turned up yesterday when I joined a fantasy football league and discovered how poorly Chiefs players are ranked. Remember back just a few years ago when Dick Vermeil fielded an offense full of potential fantasy football stars? Yeah, Herm Edwards isn't that kind of coach.

Overall, the Chiefs have no players among the 10 best this year. Only three are listed in the top 100. A mere five rank among the top 200. And after that, no players crack the top 1,000.

If you haven't seen fantasy football rankings before, they're used to figure out how many points the players will score and how much yardage they will put up. Picking the top 10 players is always a gamble, but after that, Yahoo usually does fairly well figuring out where a player ranks.

And KC doesn't rank well.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Sprint Center, Kansas City Used by Penguins

Posted By on Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 3:56 PM

By Justin Kendall


Hockey great Mario Lemieux confirmed at yesterday's arena groundbreaking in Pittsburgh what we already knew: The Pittsburgh Penguins used Kansas City like a cheap whore to get a new arena deal in Pittsburgh. KMBC has the video here. The highlight was Lemieux saying there was never a possibility of the Penguins moving to Kansas City.

"We had to do a few things to put pressure on the city and the state," he said. "Those trips to Kansas City and Las Vegas and other cities were just to go, have a nice dinner and come back."

I wonder if AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke ever believed this November 2005 statement to The Kansas City Star:

"The Pittsburgh Penguins can be the Kansas City Penguins, no question about it."

And like a whore, the Sprint Center waits for the next team to promise her they'll call her after they screw her.

AEG Misses Yet Another Deadline

Posted By on Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 7:35 AM


Team USA is cruising toward a medal in women's basketball in Beijing. And if AEG President Tim Leiweke kept his promises, Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker and other stars of the WNBA would roll through the Sprint Center once the season resumes on August 28.

The failure of AEG, Sprint Center's part owner and programmer, to land an NBA or NHL tenant is well documented. What's received less attention is Leweike's big talk/no results in regards to women's hoops. In 2005, Leweike was quoted in The Kansas City Star as saying that progress was being made on bringing a WNBA franchise to KC in 2008.

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