(Posted: 5/31/13; e-mail update 6/1)
Arizona commands our cheers this weekend. Why? Not only because the disregarded Diamondbacks are duking it out with the Giants and Rockies for the NL West lead. And certainly not because we’re fans of hit-to-right Arizona politics. No, discount click we’re here to hail Arizona State U., usa physician which, case among other things, has sent more baseball players to the majors than any other school over the last 55 years. Its roster of baseball alumni includes Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Andre Ethier, Mike Leake, Jason Kipnis, Ike Davis. etc.
Comparatively few of those players, earned their degree before leaving the school. That’s happening much less now; ArizonaState’s big-time score is occurring away from the ballfield and in the classroom. Its game plan now focuses not only on getting everyone in shape to graduate, but in making higher education available to students who might not have the money or grades to gain admission elsewhere. Where “many public universities are responding to squeezed budgets by limiting enrollments,” reports National Journal’s Ron Brownstein, ArizonaState is “graduating large numbers of nontraditional and first-generation students by expanding enrollment.
“With 70,000 students, one-third of them first-generation, Arizona State crystallizes the shared philosophy of what New America calls ‘next generation’ universities. ‘We define ourselves by who we include, not who we exclude,’ Michael Crow, the university’s dynamic president, says…’We will not advance this institution on a vision of status being achieved through exclusion’.”
Brownstein notes that, although similar approaches are rare at colleges elsewhere in the country, like-minded game plans are succeeding at two other public schools – the Universities of California (Riverside) and Central Florida. A rally in the making? A reason for hope, at the very least.
Follow-Up: Noted in the last Nub was the shooting death in Orlando, FL of a suspected accomplice in the Boston Marathon attack. Now, after conflicting law-enforcement accounts as to what happened, The Atlantic, and other media outlets, are calling for an inquiry, saying it is possible the man was unarmed and wrongfully killed. Respect for human life by U.S. law enforcement seems to be suspended in the name of anti-terrorism.
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More cheers for Arizona baseball; in particular for former D-backs manager Bob Brenly, who now does color on team broadcasts. When, not long ago, a missed umpiring call skewed the end of an extra-inning game, Brenly expressed his exasperation on the air:
“I’m telling you (Brenly said) you get into the late innings of a close ballgame, you don’t want the umpire to determine who wins…I have a lot of friends who are umpires, and they work extremely hard. But I just feel like the game has gotten too fast. Pitchers throw too hard. There is so much movement on the ball as it gets into the hitting area. I just think it’s not humanly possible to get every call right….We’ve got a…system now that’s foolproof. You’re going to get every pitch correct. … I just think in any sport, especially this sport, any time you can eliminate mistakes…we owe it to the game to do it… Ultimately, we’re going to get to the point where replay is a common part of baseball, even balls and strikes. I’m just advocating that we speed up the process.”
‘Natural Rivalry’ Stats: AL and NL teams finished the midweek series with 29-29 record. Twins and Tampa Bay were AL sweepers, over the Brewers and Marlins. Among NLers, the Mets swept the Yankees, the Cubs took three of three (one game postponed) from the White Sox. Our vote for the most significant performance: the Pirates, taking three of four from the Tigers.
Stress: “What are you asking me to do? Take my belt off and spank them? Yell at them? Scream at them?”…(24 hours later) “The most important thing is you can’t go crazy. That’s how you lose them — when you start going nuts when times are going bad. You have to stay steady.” – KC Skipper Ned Yost, on successive midweek days during team’s 4-18 tailspin.
Stuck: Just when the Mets gave its fans the fleeting illusion that better days were coming – taking four of four from the Yanks this week – a Wilpon showed up to remind them of reality. Whatever improvement becomes visible in the next year or two – and things can hardly get worse – the boss’s son Jeff is sure to re-emerge as a key part of the brain trust. Yet, Jeff and father Fred demonstrated over the past decade that they don’t have “the necessities” (thank you, Al Campanis) to operate a ballclub effectively. That’s the future, and the fans – what’s left of them – are stuck with it.
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(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues or requests for regular e-mail updates are welcome when addressed to the skipper at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)