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Nelson, KC Sports Commission Deserve Raise!

May 29, 2015 -- 9:50am

By Kevin Kietzman

I don’t know exactly how “not for profit” organizations work but it’s time for Kathy Nelson to get a big, fat raise.

 

Nelson had gigantic shoes to fill when she replaced Kevin Gray as President and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation and she officially shed the tag of successor this week.  Kansas City is host to the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship for four more years, a clean sweep over several other cities.

 

To put this accomplishment in perspective consider the hand Nelson was dealt.  Sure, she will tell you there are dozens of other people that were instrumental in putting this bid together, but it doesn’t tell the full story of what she has done.  First, the Big 12 gets in a huge fight and Missouri bolts for the SEC.  Missouri.  You know, where Sprint Center was built.

 

Then the Big 12 reforms at 10 schools and starts to question everything it has always done.  Men’s tournament in KC?   Ok, well, maybe that’s not the best place.  The conference announces it wants to open the tourney up for competitive bids from places like Dallas, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Des Moines and Tulsa.  Those cities get excited and work hard and put together bids and on a rainy day in late May, they dial into a conference call and get the news.

 

The Big 12 is staying in Kansas City!

 

The conference office is headquartered in Dallas and the city, along with a company co-owned by Mark Cuban submits a bid.  Sorry, Mark, this tank isn’t big enough for any tiny Sharks like you.  You’ve been rejected.  Amazing work by everyone in Kansas City.

 

Now, we can’t ignore the impact of AEG the owner and operator of Sprint Center.  Without an NBA or NHL team, Sprint Center probably needs this event more than anyone and their leverage and impact in arena entertainment is far reaching.  They’re big time players.  But Kathy Nelson literally skipped lunch on Thursday, afraid she would have an upset stomach all afternoon waiting for the announcement.  In hindsight, she should have had a giant KC strip steak and taken the afternoon off for a job well done.

Breaking News: AFC Game Ball Details

Jan 21, 2015 -- 10:50am

By Kevin Kietzman

 

When the NFL found 11 of the 12 New England Patriots  game balls underinflated at half time of Sunday’s AFC Championship game, they were reinflated and  then confidentially  tested  again immediately after the game, a source familiar with the investigation told WHB. 

 

Each of the 12 Patriots balls conformed to standards approximately 5 minutes before kickoff but 11 were found to be about two pounds per square inch low at halftime.

 

The underinflated balls were reinflated to conform to league standards and put back in play for the second half.  Each ball was re-tested immediately after the game by a representative from the league office who reported the results to executives at the NFL.  All 12 footballs used by the Indianapolis Colts conformed to standards when tested.

 

The source told WHB it is highly improbable that so many of the Patriots footballs could lose so much air because of weather or playing conditions and the Colts balls did not.  But the source stopped short of saying they believed the Patriots doctored the balls.

 

By league rules, the footballs stay in the hands of the officials until about 5-7 minutes before kickoff when they are handed off to a ball person with each team.  Only then could the Patriots begin a process to deflate the footballs.  During the game, Indianapolis’ Mike Adams intercepted a pass from Tom Brady and turned the ball over to his team’s equipment manager, claiming the ball needed to be checked for  deflation.

 

The league is scheduled to release the findings of the investigation in the next two days.

 

In a 2011 radio interview with WEEI in Boston, Tom Brady admitted that he likes to throw footballs that are underinflated.

Mrs. Kietzman At The Ballpark

Oct 23, 2014 -- 11:55am

Mrs. Kietzman enjoyed a thrill-of-a-lifetime at Game 2 of the World Series, including watching Omar Infane's two-run homer in the pivotal sixth inning.

 

Chiefs Failing in Pass/Fail Course Called NFL

Sep 08, 2014 -- 10:48am

By Kevin Kietzman

If you don't beat the Tennessee Titans on your home field, who do you beat? 
 
It's a legitimate question after an awful season opener for the Chiefs, who looked a lot like the 2-14 team of two years ago.  And this is scary.  The dreadful season that led to the Chiefs having the top pick in the draft is still so close, so fresh, you know you're thinking its possible again.  I was a total believer the Chiefs were ok until Sunday.  Andy Reid, Alex Smith, and 11 wins made me completely overlook how the Chiefs won those games last year and gave me way too much confidence this bunch knows exactly what they are doing and that everything would be fine.  It's not fine.  The Chiefs are a mess that likely can't be fixed this year.
 
I mean, where do we start?
 
The head coach admitted his game plan and play calling were atrocious.  I agree.  The quarterback forced pass after pass to a terrible receiving corps and the line gave him little protection.  The best player on the Chiefs defense, linebacker Derrick Johnson, is likely out for the year with a ruptured achilles.  The cheap kicker pushed one and hooked one in his NFL debut while the Chiefs most accurate kicker of all time was perfect for the opponent.  Succop 14, Chiefs 10.  Straight down the middle.  Special teams were bland, the Chiefs looked slow and even when there was a little pass rush, Titans quarterback Jack Locker scrambled out with ease.  Jake Locker.
 
I'm not into calling for jobs especially early in a tenure and especially when a team had a turnaround like the Chiefs did last year.  But if I have one thing I'm watching more than anything else right now, it's the job GM John Dorsey and his scouting department are doing.  It doesn't look good for these guys who decided left tackle Eric Fisher was the best player out of some 200 players in the draft 16 months ago.  Most of the other draft choices from two years have done nothing, either, but Fisher is the poster boy for what's wrong.  As I watched team after good team play with athleticism, speed and creativity (see Denver, Seattle, San Francisco) in Week One, I'm left wondering why the Chiefs have so few players that really make a difference.  It's hard to ever criticize or complain about running back Jamaal Charles but he looked as bland and lifeless as the rest of this sad bunch yesterday.
 
It's a pass/fail league.  The Chiefs are failing.

Need A Royals Run? Take A Road Trip!

Jun 30, 2014 -- 9:56am

By Kevin Kietzman

 
Looking for reasons to believe the Royals will make the post season?  Let's take a road trip.
 
The Royals start nine straight on the road beginning with a three-game series at Minnesota and it may just be time for the Royals to flex their muscle as baseball's best road warriors.  Kansas City is already an impressive 21-17 on the road and you won't believe how cushy  Royals road schedule is... the rest of the season.  That's right, we just reached the halfway mark of the season and the Royals have the 14th best record in baseball.  Good, not great.  But they are right in the race in the Central Division and the old saying of winning at home and playing even .500 on the road does not apply to this team.
 
Think about the odds of this... the Royals have the 14th best mark in the game but only have two series the rest of the season on the road against teams with better records.  Six games.  That's it.
 
Here's the math.  The next 15 road games the Royals play will be against lesser teams before taking on the Oakland A's the first week of August.  Then the Royals will have 15 more road games against lesser teams before playing in Detroit against the Tigers on September 8.  So the Royals have three road games out of their next 33 against a better team.  Amazing for a team that's only three games over .500.
 
So what kind of mark are we looking for in the second half?  Heck, the Royals are four games over already, many against better teams, so let's go ahead and double that number.  8 over anyone?  Ok, so the Royals pull that off with a ridiculously easy road schedule and that puts them at 46-35 on the road, 11 games over.  If the Royals just finish a measly 41-40 at home that puts them at 87-75 which is a game better than the 2013 total.  You would think any team capable of playing well on the road could heat it up a little at home.  Let's not get greedy here, how about a modest 44-37, they are under .500 at home after all.  Hit that mark and you hit the pyschological magic win total of 90.  And that likely gets the Royals into the post season.
 
So you can see where the Royals can truly fatten up... on the road beginning in Minnesota.
 
-------------------------------------------

 
I was sitting at the pool yesterday and a couple about 20 feet away were watching the live scoring of the Royals on their phone.  They were hoping to listen, but MLB has so many rules about broadcast rights you have to be an MIT grad to figure it all out. So the old pitch by pitch on the smartphone had to do.
 
The wife is the one on the phone and the two are just chirping away while their kids splash in the water.  She says to her husband, I'm pretty sure I can get the World Cup game on here if you want to watch something. He says to her, "your updates on the Royals are just fine and if you ever catch me watching a soccer game at the pool, don't ever let me go to the pool again."  She laughed and made some crack about how she's really good at play by play.
 
Anyway, soccer still has a long, long way to go in this country.  Sports, at the core, are very local.  Sure, everyone wants Team USA to win and do well at the World Cup but how many people really care?  I mean, really care?  Will you trade a Royals loss Tuesday for a World Cup win?  How about the Chiefs season opener?  You wanna trade that loss for a win over Belgium?  And I"m not even going to ask a K-State fan or Missouri Fan if they will take a season opening football loss for a World Cup win.  I would get laughed at and may get punched.  Or a KU baskeball loss for a win?  No way.
 
So enjoy this awesome summer spectacle that is the World Cup.  Take a win if we can get it but let's all get real.  90% of us don't care nearly as much as we lead on.

Game with No Name, Ford Has Game

May 09, 2014 -- 5:59pm

By Kevin Kietzman

My friends have started a new game to keep them interested in Royals baseball.
 
The game has no name, but they are searching.  It has nothing to do with whether the Royals win or lose and the starting pitcher is irrelevent.  In fact, no players' names even need to be discussed before each game and if you want to put a couple peanuts in, we can play for that.  Now granted, I run with some guys that would have action on whether an old lady can cross the street before the light turns red so you know there's nothing all that creative or unique about this game.  But some of the numbers are quite amazing.  The most common number is four.  And it's not whether or not the Royals score four runs tonight at win.
 
My friends love to set an over/under on how many Royals hitters will get a hit in a given game.  And amazingly, they really don't care who's pitching for the other team.  There are much bigger factors like whether or not Moose is still in the lineup or Omar Infante needs a day off after a night game.  Surprisingly, the number is pretty much the same even if it's a National League opponent and the Royals starting pitcher is hitting.
 
Forget moundball, will the Royals have more or less than four guys get a hit tonight?  Wow, so it's really this bad?
 
 
------------------------------------

 
The Chiefs have taken Auburn defensive end Dee Ford in the first round of the NFL Draft and I'm actually OK with it.  I've been saying for a month the Chiefs should take Brandin Cooks, wide receiver from Oregon State of the best playmaking defensive player left on the board.  I don't like safeties, middle linebackers or nose tackles as playmakers.  Or any offensive player that ever plays with his hand on the ground.  But I do like pass rushers that can blow up a play and make a difference.  Maybe Dee Ford is just that.  I loved the Justin Houston pick a few years ago and see this one the same way.  For me, it doesn't matter where you draft a guy.  It's whether you draft a guy that can win a game or two.  It's reasonable to believe Dee Ford will impact more games for the Chiefs in a positive way than half the guys picked last night.  At least one of the quarterbacks in the first round will be a total bust.  All the offensive lineman combined won't win a game for a team.  That's almost a third of the field.  So draft a smart, skilled, fast playmaker and teach him the ropes.  The only drawback is they picked a position they already have talent but that seems to be the Reid/Dorsey way.  Draft a player where you have a very, very good player and a year from now say goodbye to that player.  Sorry Tamba, been nice to know ya.
 
----------------------------
 
Had lunch at a KC landmark burger shack today with Todd Leabo called GrandStand Burgers.  It's at Antioch and Merriam Drive and it's not far from where I grew up.  And I had NEVER been there.
 
It's amazing, everything it's cracked up to be.  It's totally cramped inside and you can't sit at a table and eat but the counter ladies couldn't be friendlier.  You can get a burger at a sit down restaurant faster but nobody cares.  Everyone there is there to live a little, have a great time and soak up some sun at the loooooong outdoor table.  You will talk to strangers and oddly, you will love doing so.  Nobody talks about the weather.  It starts by talking about the best burgers you ever had, moves into who the Chiefs drafted and ends talking about your favorite movie of all time.  And the burgers were sensational at a great price.
 
Go fast.... they'd love to see you at GrandStand.

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