Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as an eBook, this is the controversial story of John Wooden's first 25 years and first 8 NCAA Championships as UCLA Head Basketball Coach. This is the only book that gives a true picture of the character of John Wooden and the influence of his assistant, Jerry Norman, whose contributions Wooden  ignored and tried to bury.

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. The players tell their stories in their own words.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information. Also available on Kindle.


Sports Medley: Why Baseball Stinks and How to Fix It, Part I 31 Oct 16

by Tony Medley

Call balls and strikes with technology: The calling of balls and strikes is the most important part of the game. It is its essence. Umpires do a very poor job of it because they are poorly positioned. When a batter on a 3-2 pitch takes a ball that he sees is 2 inches outside the strike zone but the umpire calls him out on strikes, it is eminently unfair. Similarly, when a pitcher makes a perfect knee-high pitch just over the outside corner on a 2-2 count and the umpire calls it a ball, it is equally unfair. Itís compounded when the batter, who should have been called out on strikes, hits a home run on the next pitch. The technology is there to have pitches called much more accurately. While that might not be perfect it would be 1,000% better than having poorly positioned umpires continue to call them and ruin the game. Baseball would improve immeasurably if this one change is made and there is no excuse for not doing it.

Too many pitching changes: The game is slow to start out with, but it becomes immeasurably slower when managers change pitchers as often as they do. To take just two egregious examples, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts used four pitchers to pitch to four consecutive batters (the only four batters in the inning) in the sixth inning recently, and Washington manager Dusty Baker used seven pitchers in the seventh inning recently. This is not only patently ridiculous (Iíve written reams about this) it slows the pace of the game to a complete stop. The solution is to institute a rule that a team may only make three pitching changes per game while its team is in the field. Pitching changes made between innings, like inserting a pinch-hitter, would not count as a pitching change for this rule.

Trivia you will only get here: Fox reported that the home run that Indian Carlos Santana hit in the top of the second inning off of Cub John Lackey was the first home run hit by a first baseman in the World Series at Wrigley Field since Lou Gehrig hit one in 1932. What they did not mention was that Gehrigís home run came as the next batter immediately after Babe Ruthís legendary ďcalled shot.Ē

Football Coaches lose games too: Itís not just baseball managers who make decisions that cost their teams victories. In Sundayís Eagles-Cowboys game the Eagles, who had dominated the game, were leading 23-16 and driving for another score late in the fourth quarter. With 3rd and 8 on the Dallas 30 and 7:17 left on the clock, they were within range to give them a two score lead with a 47 yard field goal. The objective on this third down was to maybe gain a few yards to make the field goal shorter but the primary purpose was to keep from losing yardage.

So what does Coach Doug Pederson (who was an Offensive Coordinator for Kansas City before taking over as Head Coach of the Eagles) call? What looked like a swing pass to Darren Sproles but was in fact a lateral that Sproles caught 6 yards behind the line of scrimmage and was instantly mob tackled by the Dallas defense resulting in a devastating 6 yard loss taking the Eagles out of easy field goal range. Instead of trying a 54 yard field goal (his kicker, Caleb Sturgis, had already made a 55 yarder and is perfect from 50+ yards this year), Pederson punted with 6:26 left on the clock. It took Dallas 3:22 to drive down for the tying touchdown and the Cowboys won in overtime.

Had the Eaglesí 3rd and 8 call been a line plunge or short pass, the Eagles would undoubtedly have kicked the field goal and won the game. Even though Dallas had all its timeouts, as did Philly, neither team could score after the game was tied so thereís no reason to believe that if Philly had kicked the field goal for a 10 point lead, Dallas could have scored again after their touchdown when they couldnít do it with the score tied.

Thereís more to coaching than calling plays but calling a play like this in a situation like this is irrational almost beyond comprehension for a person making millions of dollars a year to make sensible key decisions that determine the outcome.

 

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