Archive for April, 2008

Great turnout in Tupelo for MSU tour stop

April 29, 2008

Just got back from the Road Dawgs Tour featuring Sylvester Croom and Greg Byrne, and it was quite the crowd.

Overflowing, you might say.

Organizers told me it was around 115 people in attendance, about about 30 more people than expected based on RSVPs. They were pleased.

Now for the highlights . . .
• Byrne said a new scoreboard and video board (JumbroTron) could be in place by the fall, but more than likely it will be ready for 2009.
• He also said Bulldog Club membership is up by nearly 950 in the last year.
• Croom talked about the progress the team made and the leadership of Wesley Carroll, and said Tyson Lee will get a lot of playing time.
• But of all that was said, it was Croom’s comments about the shooting incident back in March that drew the most attention. Mainly because for the first time he went on record saying Rodney Prince, Jamon Hughes and Anthony Johnson were somewhat involved, but would have to wait until the Grand Jury hearing to know just how involved they were. He also said Hughes had no chance of coming back and that he’ll transfer, but left the door open for Johnson and Prince to come back.
• Croom also made a reference to pillow gate involving Ole Miss, I think. He said if MSU had 24 players steal pillows and clocks, they wouldn’t be back. Of course, he was trying to make a funny. At least I hope he was, because I could call him out on several players with DUIs and other mishaps that are still on the team. Again, I’m going to assume it was joke since it was at an alumni event.

If any of you were there, I’d be interested in hearing what you had to say.

Oh, and Eric Butler signed with the New York Giants.

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My many thanks to you guys

April 29, 2008

This blog hit an exciting new high today, as we made it to the top of the list at Word Press. Check it out for yourself.

Considering WP manages 3 million blogs, I say being No. 1 isn’t all that bad.

Just so you’ll know, we’re now at 600,000 hits and 18,000 comments. And each day, the number of registered readers grows. But the stat I really like is that since January, we are averaging 3,500 hits a day. In January alone, the average was 4,100.

I can’t express enough how much I value your loyalty and readership.

All I ask is that you keep it up.

Things that make you go hum . . .

April 29, 2008

It’s already been one of those days, so might as well share with you my adventures of the morning.

My car tag expires on Thursday. So, I go this morning to avoid the first-of-the-month crowd. After standing in line for 20 minutes, I’m told the computers won’t let me pay in advance and that I’ve got to come back on Thursday. Really? I just find that hard to believe. Yet, if I’m late, they charge me a fee. Go figure.
I get the bird out this morning to let it play outside the cage, but before I can do that, I have to put the dog (Shaggy) up in my bedroom, because he doesn’t exactly get along well with others, especially birds. After a few minutes, the phone rings. So, I go into my room to answer it. At the same time, my dogs sees his window of opportunity and sneaks out. Moments later, the bird screeches. Really loud. Then I realize the dog is out. Fortunately, there is no death. Just a disappointed dog licking his chops.
Then it’s time for me to go to work. But as I try to get the bird (Romey), he decides to play chase. He runs under the dining room table, making it very difficult for me to trap him. No, impossible. But 10 minutes later, he’s had enough and decides to give in. Birds!
After all that chaos ended, I went to get my cell and car keys before heading out the door, and they are nowhere to be found. I search and search. And I might have said an ugly word or two. And of course, my dog is looking at me like I’m an idiot. He doesn’t know who I am yelling at. And for that matter, I don’t either. But after a Ron Polk-like rage, I find them. Where? In a drawer that I would have never put them in. Hum. Whom to blame? Wifey, perhaps.
And finally, I get in the car and turn on my XM. Well, I attempt to turn it on. But, it won’t work. I have no idea why. I hit the on button so much that my finger is now raw. I guess that will be my afternoon project.

Tonight, of course, the Dawgs Road Tour visits Tupelo. I’ll be there. Hopefully, with no more misfortunes.

Hope you all are having a good day. Cheers!

Hum . . . Is this who’ll MSU will be facing

April 28, 2008

Looks as if Louisiana Tech is getting a new quarterback that will be eligible this year.

We saw this a couple of years ago with Vanderbilt.

Do you guys like this rule?

MSU players land in NFL as free agents (updated)

April 28, 2008

Mississippi State football players Dezmond Sherrod and Mario Bobo have agreed to sign a free agent contracts, according to their agents, Terence High and Markeeth Taylor.

Also signed were Titus Brown and Lance Long.

Bobo signed with the Cleveland Browns, while Sherrod went to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

MSU media relations guru Joe Galbraith that Brown is headed to the Miami Dolphins, while Long is going out West to Arizona.

The year was 1969 . . .

April 28, 2008

Richard Nixon was in his first year as president of the United States. Yours truly was born. Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon. There was this event call, Woodstock. Charles Manson’s followers kill Sharon Tate and six others, and the U.S. introduces the “X” rating system for movies.

Interesting? Sure.

But from a local standpoint, you’d be more interested to know 1969 was the last time, and only time, both Mississippi State and Ole Miss didn’t have a single player taken in the NFL Draft.

Useless fact? Perhaps. But interesting indeed.

Hansbrough could sign with Notre Dame soon

April 27, 2008

Former Mississippi State guard Ben Hansbrough was in South Bend, Ind., this weekend visiting Notre Dame.

The junior-to-be, who’ll have to sit out a year due to NCAA mandated transfer rules, said he enjoyed the visit.

“I liked it a lot,” he said. “I just don’t know about signing yet.”

The Irish, who have two scholarships to give, are expected to be pretty good next year, but lose a lot the following season when Hansbrough is eligible.

Dogs win

April 27, 2008

In a game limited to 8 innings due to rain, Mississippi State claimed a 7-3 victory against Tennessee on Sunday afternoon.

More importantly, the win gave the Bulldogs their first series victory of the season. Going back to last year, they had lost eight in a row.

Grant Hogue delivered what proved to be the winning hit, a double that scored Ryan Duffy for a 4-3 lead in seventh.

Game 3 set to begin at 2:05 p.m.

April 27, 2008

Baseball at DNF will be played today.

Dirty uniforms are likely.

Whether the game finishes, though, is another story.

Will there be a decisive Game 3?

April 27, 2008

Because Ron Polk didn’t want to play a double-header on Saturday, weather may prevent the rubber match between Mississippi State and Tennessee, which is slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. at Dudy Noble Field.

I’ll keep you updated on the blog in regards to the status of the game. You can also feel free to check out Al Gore’s invention – the world wide web – for hour-by-hour updates.

Now for some notes . . .
• With the 12-9 setback to the Volunteers on Saturday, MSU has now lost a school-record 26 games, breaking the previous high of 25 in 1995.
Tyler Moore certainly had a good outing in Game 2, going 3-for-5
• Speaking of a good outing, former Booneville High School standout Cody Grisham paced Tennessee with three hits Saturday. He also had an RBI and scored twice. I intended to have this, plus a few quotes, in the paper today, but due to limited space, it was cut. He said the biggest adjustment going from Booneville, with a stop at ICC, to Knoxville was getting used to skyscrapers. Understandable.
• MSU remains four games back for the 8th and final spot in the SEC tournament. And note, the next two series are on the road at Auburn and LSU.
• The Bulldogs’ pitching staff has allowed 10-plus runs 14 times this season, including eight SEC outings.
• In the seventh inning, Polk was ejected for the fifth time this season. In those games, the Bulldogs are 1-5.
• Quotable: “He felt it was best for him not to comment.” – MSU assistant Tommy Raffo and why Polk did address the media after the game.

Ryan Collins out for the year

April 26, 2008

MSU right-fielder Ryan Collins is out for the year due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

The true freshman from Callaway, Fla., sustained the injury on Friday night sliding into third on a triple.

Collins owns a team-best .355 batting average and has 18 RBIs on the year.

As a result of the setback, Nick Hardy will draw the start today in right. And I’m told the game will start on time at 2 p.m. The infield is in good shape, while the outfield has several water puddles here and there.

Did Polk make a mistake in trying to make a point

April 26, 2008

Following Fridays’ come-from-behind 4-3 victory against Tennessee in 12 innings, Mississippi State coach Ron Polk was told by university officials the series could conclude today with a double-header due to possible inclement weather on Sunday that could cancel Game 3.

Polk declined and was adamant with his decision.

He said he doesn’t like the rule and that coaches aren’t in the business to be weathermen.

Interesting.

But remember two years ago? Also against Tennessee at DNF.

The same thing happened and there was no Game 3 due to a monsoon that hit. Ironically, MSU missed the SEC tournament by a half game. Had the Dogs won, they would have gone to Hoover. Of course, they still could have lost and not garnered a bid.

Once again, though, this is Polk pushing his agenda rather than doing what’s best for the team. He even admitted after the game he likes to argue? Not exactly news.

He said it would be hard to inform the fans of the change and that it would hurt the bullpen. Really?

First off, the game couldn’t start earlier than 2 p.m. (the SEC mandates in this situation that the first game couldn’t start earlier than it was originally slated for). And we all know news travels fast thanks to the advent of the internet and 24-hour news.

And while closer Aaron Weatherford probably couldn’t be used in Game 2, he more than likely could come back in the nightcap.

Amazing.

Well, Polk made his point in that he doesn’t like the rule. But did that point cost him a chance at postseason? If it does, that’s a decision he’ll have to live with.

Well coach, I guess that’s baseball.

We’re talking baseball . . . at Dudy Noble

April 25, 2008

Good evening. We’re moments away from a little baseball between Mississippi State and Tennessee.

The Bulldogs are looking for their first series win of the year and are still just four games out for the final spot in the Southeastern Conference tournament.

A few notes . .
• On the mound for MSU is Chad Crosswhite (2-3, 9.89). He’ll face the Vols’ Nick Hernandez (1-3, 5.10)
• Also, former Booneville and ICC standout Cody Grisham is starting at shortstop for Tennessee. He’s appeared in 28 games and his hitting .245 with a home run and one RBI.
• MSU is just 5-15 in the month of April.
• State has won the last four series against UT. Amazingly, the two have met just 62 times, with MSU olding a 41-21 advantage.

Time to play ball

April 25, 2008

Mississippi State returns to the diamond tonight against Tennessee looking to snap a three-game losing skid.

The Bulldogs are also looking to win its first SEC series of the year.

If that is to happen, reliever Aaron Weatherford is likely to play a major role.

For fun, guess the total number of runs in this three-game set MSU will post and how many Tennessee will score.

Interesting tidbits of the day

April 24, 2008

There are several, but lets start with baseball . . .

• Since 2004, only three SEC teams have had losing records – Georgia, Auburn and Kentucky.
But with the season more than half completed, Mississippi State is on the verge on joining that not-so-elite company. The Bulldogs, who host Tennessee this weekend at Dudy Noble Field, are currently 16-25 and 4-14 in league play without a series win this year. And note, losing seasons aren’t what MSU fans are accustomed too. The last time that happened? Try 1975, when MSU finished 16-24 overall and 6-16 in SEC play under skipper Jimmy Bragen.

• In an attempt to avoid USM’s hacklers, MSU coach Ron Polk decided to stay in the dugout rather than oversee third base. He turned those duties over to Tommy Raffo. If you recall, Polk didn’t have too many nice things to say about their fans following Tuesday’s game. And if you remember, two years ago he was escorted off the field by police after being ejected from the game. It’s always something at Southern.

• In football news, there will be no Liberty Bowl in 2008. No. The game is not being eliminated. Instead, it’s being moved to Jan. 2, 2009.

• Looking for more news on all of Mississippi sports, check out www.yallsports.com. I think you’ll find it interesting. Bo Bounds of SuperSport 930 in Jackson is the man behind the site. Let me know what you think.

• And finally, if there are any Civitan members out there, I’ll speaking at their luncheon today in Tupelo. And if you want to heckle me, fine. I won’t pull a Polk. Well, maybe.

The Wal-Mart curse continues

April 23, 2008

It never fails. Seriously. If I’m in Wal-Mart, 9 times out of 10 I get a call from someone I’ve been waiting to hear from.

Well, it happened again this morning as I was about to wrap up my shopping adventure.

Yes. I’m in charge of the groceries in my household (that way I can’t complain about dinner choices). The pantry was low, so I made the trip to Wolly World. Wednesday morning is always the best time, because there is very little traffic.

And as I’m checking out $170 later, my trusty Blackberry starts buzzing its U2 ring tone. It’s 9:52 and I’m right in the middle of my debit card transaction. A quick decision has to be made.

I can either ignore the phone or answer it. If I answer it, it’s rude to those waiting on me in the check-out line (I certainly get agitated when the role is reversed), not to mention the look I’ll get from the  red-eyed cashier, who looked as if she was one wrong move on my part from losing it and going postal. If I don’t answer it, I miss the call. What’s a sportswriter to do?

Well, I took my chances and didn’t answer. Mistake.

Of course, it’s Rick Stansbury, calling me back from last night. I should have known.

Anyway, he’s on the road recruiting and told me to call him back, but be understanding if he doesn’t answer the phone due to the rural roads he was traveling. So when I got back home and put everything away, I called. Honestly, I was expecting his voicemail. Rarely does he pick up.

But to my surprise, and delight, he answered and gave ME a hard time about not being available when HE needed me. Ha, ha, I thought. I decided to laugh at his attempt at humor. He certainly was.

Anyway, we spent 25 minutes on the phone, talking about everything from basketball to baseball and press row seating. Some was on the record. Some was off. All of it, though, was entertaining.

As for Jamont Gordon, he said, “He listened to us last year and he listened to us again this year. He has to go through the process. It’s a big decision for him, and if he feels this is the right time to make the move, then he should.”

He added he won’t let what might happen affect his recruiting. “I learned a long time ago you can’t worry about things you can’t control. My first couple of years, I worried from April to June about the draft. It was on my mind when I went to bed and when I woke up. It’s not like that anymore. I have no control.”

He said he won’t sign anymore players this year, and that his recruiting efforts are geared toward the 2009 class. 

As for the moral of this story: If you want someone to return a call, go to Wal-Mart. It usually works for me.

Dogs lose, again . . . Polk hacked at USM fans

April 23, 2008

Not only did Southern Miss beat Mississippi State 11-7 on Tuesday, the Golden Eagles’ fans got the best of Ron Polk, too.

Apparently, the MSU skipper was perturbed with some of the heckling fans.

Why he would flame the fire, I don’t know. It’s a no-win situation, and I’m sure his words will incite more words when the two teams meet again tonight.

In other news, Jamont Gordon explains his decision on declaring himself eligible for the NBA draft in June.

One expert says . . .

April 22, 2008

This afternoon, I talked with basketball guru Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com about Jamont Gordon turning pro for a story I’ll have in Wednesday’s paper.

I really thought he offered some great insight on the situation.

He is an excerpt of what he had to say:
“See, Jamont was never going to be a Top 10 prospect, for a variety of reasons. So though he might enhance his status by returning to college and entering what should be a weaker draft next year, he’ll still make more money than most college graduates in his first year out of school, and it’s difficult to fault a guy for going that direction if he feels it’s time to go.”

Your thoughts?

Gordon discusses his NBA draft decision

April 22, 2008

On Monday, Jamont Gordon said he finally made up his mind that the right thing to do as far as his carrer is concerned is declare himself available for the NBA draft in June.

This afternoon, he’ll make it official by faxing all of is paperwork to the NBA offices in New York City.

“I’ts been a tough decision, but this is my dream,” he said during a phone interview. “I want to take my game to another level.
“It’s time for me to step into the real world.”

He said he won’t hire an agent, but is confident he’ll get drafted. He also said Rick Stansbury told him at the end of the season he probably should go ahead and turn pro.

As for his plans in the next couple of weeks, he said he’ll attend an NBA camp in Orlanda in May. After that, he’d have to see what’s available.

Is Gordon really leaving for the NBA?

April 22, 2008

That’s what he told Foxsports.com.

But oddly enough, he hasn’t returned text messages or phone calls since last week. And trust me, I’ve tried countless times.

So, I’ll make the attempt again today to reach him, hopefully with more luck.

He did tell the site he won’t sign with an agent just yet in case he gets hurt.