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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

MARCH 2009

KC Baseball Report 28 28 29 30

Mike Sweeney is a Hall of Fame person KC Connection: St. Louis 2009 Royals want to duplicate the 2008 Rays Royals need Bannister of 2007 to resurface in 2009

Steve Fisch Publisher

CHIEFS 12 Cassel now King who will lead Chiefs

11730 W. 135th St., Suite 18 Overland Park, KS 66221 Phone/Fax: (913) 764-2050 Email: sfisch@kcsportspaper.com www.kcsportspaper.com Editor Alan Eskew

SPORTS COMMISSION 31 Event Calendar H.O.R.S.E. - N - AROUND HOOPS 31 Participants ready to take to court Little could be big for Jayhawks in NCAA Tournament . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Missouri surprise team in Big 12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 A family tradition: the Clemente legacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Madness to predicting March winners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 7 questions with Nolan Richardson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Grain Valley girls claim district championship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Volunteering has its privileges during March Madness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 MARCH MADNESS BRACKET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Cargo Largo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Back Cover Phrase that Pays . . . . . . . .2 Rockwood Golf . . . . . . . . .23 Blackberry Trails . . . . . . . .20 Classic Golf Shop . . . . . . .25

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Sales 913-764-2050 Steve Fisch sfisch@kcsportspaper.com Kristi Castor kcastor@kcsportspaper.com Contributing Writers Bill Althaus, Chris Balda, Audrey Harman, Tom Cannon, John Doolittle, Greg Echlin, Alan Eskew, David Garfield, Bill Grigsby, Alan Hoskins, Dr. Andrew Jacobs, John Landsberg, Jim Potoski, David Smale, David Bigge, Marc Bowman Contributing Photographers Scott Thomas, Ed Graunke, Alan Hoskins, Tom Cannon, Scott Weaver, Jim Gill, Warren Ingram On The Cover Photos by Scott Weaver Published Monthly Entire Contents © Kansas City Sports & Fitness 2009. The views and opinions of the contributing writers contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the editor and/or publisher.

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Little could be big for Jayhawks in NCAA Tournament ario Little arrived at Kansas last fall as arguably the most celebrated junior college transfer since Darrin Hancock donned the Jayhawk uniform during the 1992-93 Final Four season. Little, the 2008 junior college player of the year from Chipola (Fla.) Community College, was a potent scorer David and rugged rebounder Garfield whom KU coach Bill Self Contributing expected to make an immeWriter diate impact. Little’s game never got off the ground until early January. He was sidelined with a stress

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Photo courtesy KU Athletics

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little down and my swagger kind of went out the fracture in his lower left leg and then a broken window. It’s just something I’ve been talking to bone in his left (non-shooting) hand. coaches and looking at tapes and working to get Little, a 6-5 forward, made his college debut back. I’m thinking too much. I don’t know how it against No. 14 Tennessee and showed flashes started happening. I went from doing good to of promise with five rebounds and two assists in bad. I’ll be all right.” just 10 minutes. Little played sparingly the next Self is confident in Little’s return to form. two games against Siena and Michigan State “He will get it before making (swagger) back,” the biggest deciSelf said sion of his young Little’s swagger college career. Class: Junior returned in a Faced with the Hometown: Chicago, Ill. 90-65 rout of possibility of redHigh School: Washington Missouri, recordshirting and havHigh School ing five points, ing two full years Last College: Chipola CC six rebounds, left or playing the Height: 6-5 two assists and second semesWeight: 210 three steals in ter, Little opted Position: Guard 15 minutes. for the latter. Experience: TR Playing power “I just tried to forward at 6-5, do it for the 2009 Stats (as of 3/1/09) Little has shown team,” he said. “I PPG: 4.9 RPG: 3.3 flashes of brildidn’t really want APG: 1.1 FG%: 51.5 liance this season anybody to look while providing down on me. I KU great toughkind of did it for ness. Possessing my teammates a deadly midbecause they really wanted me to play because I increase their range shooting stroke with a great face-up and chances of winning and just having another body fadeaway jumper. Little made 11 straight shots, dating from the Kansas State game on Jan. 13 out there, trying to rebound and knock down through the Iowa State contest on Jan. 24. open shots and get open shots for others.” “That’s the shot I’ve been making so that’s the “Of course, I want to be out there,” Little said. “That’s one of the other reasons I decided to play shot I feel more comfortable with,” Little said about his in-between game. “I’ve been playing because I didn’t feel like watching the guys. That down low since I was younger. That was the shot was bugging me.” I was taking instead of threes.” Self was glad Little elected to play. Self likes Little’s shot just fine. “We need him,” Self said. “It was a selfless “All along we said he’s a tough match up decision, but he knew we didn’t recruit him to for a four-man offensively because he can step redshirt. We recruited him to impact our team. away from the basket,” Self said. “I think he realI gave him my opinion and (that) was if you’re ly shoots it better than what I thought before he healthy enough, you should play. If you don’t got here. He’s one of the few guys in college feel you’re healthy enough, you should shut it down. He said, ‘Coach, I feel plenty good enough basketball...with a good in-between game. Most guys are great behind the arc or take it all the to play.’” way to the basket. He has that old-school midWith two months under his belt, Little could range game.” become a vital player during March Madness. Little isn’t crazy with that “old-school” label. He was progressing nicely since beginning play “I don’t really like saying I’m old school,” he in January, but Little was trying to rebound after said. “I think about it like old guys with bad knees undergoing a mid February slump. or something like that.” Through 17 games, he was averaging 4.9 How would Little describe his game? “You points and 3.3 rebounds in 13.0 minutes per can’t call it new school. Just call it Mario’s game,” game, while shooting 51.5 percent from the field. he said with a smile. He averaged 1.0 point in a four-game stretch While Little’s transition to KU was hampered (Feb. 14-23) and missed nine straight shots with injuries, he tried to keep upbeat sitting on against Iowa State and Nebraska. He said he the bench in street clothes and cheering for his has been playing with nagging injuries and feels teammates. about 90 percent. “I get it from my grandmother (Hazel Little),” “It’s been tough,” Little said. “It’s going to take Little said about his attitude. “It’s time to stay a lot of reps and work in practice to get back to positive and look at the positive things and not where I’m supposed to be. My confidence is a

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negative. Everything happens for a reason.” Little said his grandma “was one of the most important people in my life” while growing up in Chicago. “She moved from Mississippi to

MIAA BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS March 5-8 The MIAA Basketball Championships are returning to the historic Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo., March 5-8. Sessions begin at noon and 6 p.m. each day. Semifinal round games are slated for Saturday, March 7, with the men playing in the afternoon session starting at noon, and the women in the 6 p.m. session. Championship Sunday, March 8, begins with the men’s game at 1 p.m., immediately followed by the women’s title matchup. This is the seventh year the NCAA Division II conference with 11 schools in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska has conducted its tournament in the birthplace of championship collegiate basketball. MIAA members include the University of Central Missouri, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Missouri Southern State University, Missouri Western State University, the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Northwest Missouri State University, Pittsburg State University, Southwest Baptist University, Truman State University and Washburn University. The top eight men’s and top eight women’s teams will advance to Kansas City, with automatic berths to the NCAA Division II Championships at stake. Single-session tickets are available for $15 through Ticketmaster at ticketmaster.com/miaa, charge-byphone at 1-800-745-3000, or at area Ticketmaster outlets. Student/youth tickets are available only at the Municipal box office during the event. Chicago and had to adjust to that. It was probably a big culture shock coming from the country to the big city with 10 kids. My grandfather was around but he died so she pretty much raised everybody else’s kids. She raised me and my two older brothers.” Sophomore center Cole Aldrich said Little’s positive attitude is contagious. “He’s always smiling,” Aldrich said. “When things aren’t going well on the court, he’s always encouraging. He always tries his hardest.” Kansas is again top the Big 12 standings going into the NCAA tournament. “I think we can go real far,” Little said in the NCAA Tournament. “I think the sky’s the limit for us because we’re young and we’re starting to get better. I’m very eager to show people what we can do. We’re just going to come out and play hard every game and try to surprise a lot of people. “I think the longer we go , the longer I have a chance to show what I can do.”


Missouri surprise team in Big 12 By ALAN ESKEW, Editor

urprise. Surprise. Not Surprise, Arizona, where the Kansas City Royals hold spring tr aining, but the Missouri basketball team. The Missouri Tigers have to be ranked as the most pleasant surprise team in the Big 12 conference. They were just 16-16 last season, not even good enough last year to garner a bid to the National Invitational Tournament. In pre-season Big 12 Conference polls, they were relegated to the second division, vastly overlooked. But it is March and the Tigers are 245, have already won 11 conference games and are headed back to the NCAA Tourn-ament. Have the band strike up Happy Days Are Here Again. The Quin Snyder era can be officially buried. After a couple of years of rebuilding and weeding out the undesirable leftovers, coach Mike Anderson’s program has launched – and in a big way, climbing at one point into the top 10. No, not in the Big 12, but in the nation. “I like this team,” Anderson said before the first game. But that sounded so much like coach-speak. All coaches like their team – or it least say that publicly – before the initial tip off, but there is a lot to like about this team. The last time Missouri won 11 or more conference games was a decade ago in Norm Stewart’s final year. They have not been invited to the NCAA tournamen t since 2003. Even the NIT ignored them the past four years. The Tigers lost only at Xavier and Illinois in St. Louis in non-conference games. Their only losses in Big 12 play have been on the road – at Nebraska, Kansas and Kansas State. They began Big 12 play with a thud, a 56-51 loss to the Cornhuskers, sending out vibes of here we go again to Missouri basketball fans, who were taking a “Show-Me” attitude to the team. Now the Missouri bandwagon is full for March Madness. Led by seniors DeMarre Carroll, who transferred from Vanderbilt three years ago, and Leo Lyons, who is from Kansas City, the

man from Independence Truman High, has had a limited role, playing in just 16 games and only five conference games. Another solid addition is Zaire Taylor, a transfer from Delaware. Taylor hit a jumper with just more than a second to play to beat Kansas 62-60 at Mizzou Arena on Feb. 3. He also made a bucket with 5.5 seconds left in a 69-65 triumph over Texas. Taylor and J.T Tiller give Missouri what is arguably the best defensive guard duo in the Big 12. Anderson calls the unselfish and unsung Tiller the “glue” of the Tigers team. Tiller is averaging 7.7 points and had 106 assists to 44 turnovers. After a hiatus, Anderson has Missouri back as a team that must be reckoned with now and in the future.

Photos courtesy MU Athletics

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Tigers melded into a strong team. Carroll led the team in scoring with a 17.1 point average and in rebounding, 7.0 a game, while Lyons ranked second with a 14.5 point average and in rebounding, 6.0 a game. Lyons scored 20 points on 7 of 15 shooting in a loss at Kansas and had eight of the Tigers’ 19 fir st half points. “We played real timid,” Lyons said after the Tigers were blown out by 25 points by the Jayhawks. Matt Lawrence, another senior, carries an 8.6 scoring average. Macus Denmon, a 6-3 guard from Kansas City Hogan, has made an impact as a freshman, averaging 7.0 points and 2.4 rebounds. He has 44 assists, 30 steals and only 30 turnovers in 499 court minutes. By the time Denmon is a junior, it could well be his time and his team. Laurence Bowers, another freshman, has also contributed, averaging 3.9 points and 2.6 rebounds. Steve Moore, a 6-9 fresh-

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A Family Tradition:The Clemente Legacy Wildcats guard draws inspiration from his talented cousin hose words, spoken by former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, were about Roberto Clemente, Puerto Rico’s favorite son and the only member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. not to have to wait five years after retirement to be enshrined. Clemente was graceful, which hid his quickness. He stretched singles into doubles and doubles into triples with regularity and with ease. Every video clip shown of him today is of him running, either running the bases or running down a fly ball in the outfield. He always got to his destination in time. His quickness helped him achieve greatness in the game he loved. He hit .311 in his second season and better than .300 12 more times in his career. He collected more than 200 hits four times (1961, 1964, 1966 and 1967), hit better than .350 three times (1961, 1967 and 1970), led the league in batting four times, and won 12 consecutive Gold Glove awards. But he was also tough. At 5-11, 180, he was not a bruiser. But he didn’t back down from anybody. Pitchers feared him because of what he could do with a bat. “He’s the strangest hitter in baseball,” Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax said. “Figure him out one way and he’ll kill you another.” Clemente finished his career with a .317 average and exactly 3,000 hits. Denis Clemente never got to see his secondcousin play a baseball game. The younger Clemente, the point guard and leading Kansas State scorer, was born 13 years after Roberto Clemente was killed tragically in a plane crash while trying to deliver relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. But Denis (pronounced Denny) has a lot of Roberto in him. Just like Roberto, Denis is quick. “You can’t simulate that type speed in practice because he’s as fast as anybody in the country,” said Kansas coach Bill Self, after his Jayhawks played Clemente and the Wildcats. “He’s a little different.”

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Denis says that’s the way it’s always been. “I’ve always been the quickest player on the court,” he said. “When I played baseball I was quickest too. It’s something that God gave to me. I’m a small dude, so I have to use my quickness to get an advantage.” Like his cousin, Denis Clemente also is tough. In Kansas State’s loss to KU in Manhattan, Clemente was elbowed in the stomach by Brady Morningstar. Clemente punched back. Morningstar was whistled for a foul, but Clemente was called with an intentional technical foul, giving KU two shots and the ball. The Jayhawks followed with a three-point shot and instead of K-State having a chance to tie with its possession, the Wildcats trailed by seven points. A miss on the offensive end, another trey by KU and the deficit was 10. “That gives them two free throws, but at the end of the day you have to defend,” K-State coach Frank Martin said. “Now, instead of a two-point game with the ball, they get two free throws. That makes it a 4-point game. Then we gave up backto-back three pointers, because we had bad rotations. The technical had nothing to do with those three-pointers.” Clemente knew it was a bad decision, but gave an alibi. “He elbowed me in my stomach,” Clemente said. “I don’t let nobody punch me in my house. This is my house. Know what I’m saying? So I punched him back.” So he did deserve the intentional tech? “Yeah, I deserved it, but I got to get my respect. You’re in my house. You’re not going to do that to me. Yeah, (it was a mistake). We were down by two and I got a technical foul. They shot two free throws and we were down by four. They got the ball back and shoot a three. They go up by seven. We came down and missed, they go back and score a three and they had a 10-point lead. That was the game right there.” Clemente was the key to K-State rising from the ashes of an 0-4 start to be in position for a top four finish in the conference. The Wildcats are even in consideration for a NCAA at-large tournament berth Photo by Scott Weaver

“He gave the term ‘complete’ a new meaning. He made the word ‘superstar’ seem inadequate. He had about him the touch of royalty.”

if they finish strong and do well in the Big 12 tournament, although they would have to overcome a low RPI rating. Against Texas, ranked No. 11 at the time, Clemente tied the Big 12 Conference scoring mark with 44 points in the Wildcats’ signature win of the season, an 85-81 overtime road victory. Clemente earned national player of the week honors. The victory was the third in a six-game winning streak before the KU defeat. “I don’t think it was me. It was everybody,” Clemente said. “We lost four straight games, but we learned a lot from that. You get tired of losing, and everybody was saying, ‘Come on, let’s get going.’ We came to practice and we worked hard. Everybody did their best, and that’s what we’ve been doing. We’re doing a pretty good job in practice and a pretty good job in games. We’ve been playing hard.” No one will dispute Clemente was the key to the turn-around. Even he acknowledges his leadership role. “I’m kind of like the quarterback, you know?” he said. “The quarterback is the leader. That’s how I feel on the court. I have a good feel for the game. I can see everything that’s going on on the court. When the game gets tough, I can see where we

can go to score the ball. I think its part of me. Coach Martin gave me the opportunity to do what I had to do to run the team.” Martin said Clemente and Darren Kent have been the biggest keys for the Kansas David State turnaround. Smale After the loss to KU, Contributing Clemente apologized to his Writer teammates for losing his cool. “He was taking a stand,” Martin said of the technical and the altercation that caused it. “Kansas was real physical with him. Not in a bad way. I’ve got no problem with how physical they were. Denis just didn’t react there. He’s a very prideful kid. He doesn’t like to lose and he doesn’t back down from anybody. Unfortunately, his emotions in that particular moment got the best of him. He’ll be better for it. He’ll learn from it.” He did, and the Wildcats responded. They entered March with 20 victories. Mainly because of a scrappy, quick tough guy named Clemente. His cousin would be proud.

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Madness to predicting March winners will make my boldest of predictions and then rest my case for the business of March Madness. Now you will say “the idiot didn’t pick the outright winner of the Final Four.” Well, it’s enough to pick the teams I think will be IN the final mix...at least I hope so since I will have been in Vegas. Let me just start with the Big 12 where I like Kansas, Missouri and a healthy Oklahoma. And incidentally, I think Kansas State will be there for the first round. Kansas would have been a big surprise to go

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very far, but Bill Self has the Jayhawks playing outstanding basketball. Enough to give him the nod as Coach of the Year. If these kids can handle the pressure of the Final Four, they could win it all again. I think, too, Missouri will scare the dickens out of their bracketed mates. I like Pittsburgh and Louisville to battle with Connecticut for honors. I think Florida State could be a sleeper and worthy of a few bobs throughout the tournament. Of course, I think North Carolina and Duke will have a say in the matter of winning it all. Butler

and Marquette will have a good tournament and could go far, but short of the winner’s circle. Every once in a while, these so-called Mid-Majors teams surprise, like Butler, and go a long way. I would take Marquette as a loooong, loooong shot. I am going to violate my principals on the final, final winner, which I said I would not do. I think Louisville will wear the crown after many scary moments throughout the three-week long tournament. I say this because I have thought this for the past six months. The coach will have a great deal to do with the win.

7 Questions with Nolan Richardson he following is from the “Behind the Stats” radio show with Matt Fulks and Dave O’Hara, who were joined by 2008 College Basketball Hall of Fame inductee who won the NCAA title with the University of Arkansas in 1994, (and is Missouri coach Mike Anderson’s mentor) Nolan Richardson.

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1. My idol growing up was...? Nolan Richardson: After my granny, “Old Mama,” I’d have to say Jackie Robinson because I was always a baseball guy. 2. If not for coaching, I would have been...? NR: An elementary school principal. I loved the little kids and I thought I could be some service to them growing up.

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3. My greatest day in basketball was... NR: To be able to score 49 points in a high school game and to be able, as a junior, to win Mr. Basketball in the city (El Paso, Texas), and repeat. That hadn’t been done before and hasn’t been done since. 4. My favorite vacation spot is...? NR: Acapulco, Mexico. 5. My favorite musician is…? NR: Barry White. I also love country & western with Charley Pride. 6. My message to parents of young athletes is...? NR: It’s all about attitude. If they could instill the word attitude in their youngsters and make them

understand what it means, this world would be a better place. 7. The one person from history I would love to meet is…? NR: President Barack Obama “Behind the Stats,” hosted by Matt Fulks and Dave O’Hara, is broadcast on location each week. Please go to BehindTheStatsRadio.com for more information.

I think either Kansas or Missouri will make the Final Four, and Pittsburgh will tussle with North Carolina for the other spots. The first-two rounds will be played at the Sprint Center, so that could help the Jayhawks and Bill Tigers if they are placed in Grigsby Kansas City - a “hometown” Contributing advantage. Writer Now remember...I had to do all this raving before the brackets were announced, so what I say amounts to a crap shoot. Now let’s sit back and enjoy...and get ready for baseball!


Grain Valley girls claim district championship By BILL ALTHAUS, Contributing Writer

Taylor Lipps hid her face in her hands he Grain Valley junior guard simply couldn’t look. She and her Eagle teammates had worked too hard for the season to end like this. Warrensburg’s Jalisa Lewis stood at the freethrow line with no time showing on the Grain Valley High School scoreboard in a 42-all tie in the Class 4 District 14 semifinal contest. Lewis had just hit a game-tying lay up, and if she connected on her free throw, the season would come to an end. Her free throw lipped the rim and fell harmlessly to the floor. The game was going into overtime. “If she would have made that free throw,” said Lipps, who scored seven of her game-high 25 points in overtime to lead the Eagles to a 49-45 victory, “I would have had a heart attack and just collapsed on the gym floor. They would have had to have called Life Flight to come save me.” Lipps and the Eagles made one of the most remarkable comebacks in coach Steve Broughton’s career – which spans a highly successful run as the boys coach at Truman High School. “I’ve been coaching a long, long time, but I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a team with that type of grittiness and guttiness,” Broughton said. “I don’t even know if guttiness is a word, but it fits the way the girls played. We didn’t do much the first half, but they made up for it the second half.” Grain Valley had more turnovers than Crayola has colors in the first half, but tightened things up at halftime and roared back behind a brilliant performance by Lipps and the Eagles. “One thing that helped was a very inspirational speech by our coach at halftime,” said guard Ashley Bundren, who was just 3 of 8 from the line but sealed the win with a free throw with just nine seconds left in the overtime to give the Eagles a four-point lead. “He let us know he was disappointed, but that he still believed in us. And that’s what we needed to hear.” Grain Valley trailed 32-22 with 1:41 to go in

the third quarter. That’s when Lipps hit a 3-pointer that cut the deficit to single digits for the first time since the first period.

injury this season. The junior guard’s head ricocheted off the court, sounding like a watermelon falling off a

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You can read Bill Althaus’ column in The Examiner on Wednesday and Saturday. The Associated Press named The Examiner one of the top 10 sports pages in the country for newspapers with a circulation of 20,000 or less. You can read The Examiner online at www.examiner.net.

ALL-STAR CLINIC

Youth Basketball Clinic to be taught by College, International and WNBA Stars

“Tay’s 3-pointer gave us life,” guard Whitney Broughton said. “When she hit that three, it was like, ‘Come on, we’re back in the game!’” The Eagles outscored the Tigers 13-9 in the third quarter and 12-8 in the fourth quarter. Broughton hit a running lay up with 28 seconds left in regulation to give Grain Valley a 41-40 lead. In overtime, Lewis hit a 3-pointer to knot the score at 45, but Lipps hit 5 of 6 free throws, Whitney Broughton and Bundren each hit a free throw and Paige Mead, who fouled Lewis in regulation, grabbed five overtime rebounds, to account for the final margin of victory. “I’m exhausted,” Lipps said. “I may need someone to carry me out of here. But I’ll be ready (for Odessa) – I guarantee you that.” So were her teammates. Lipps was nearly knocked unconscious in the championship game while taking a charge, so Bundren had to turn her game up a notch. She scored 23 points in leading host Grain Valley past Odessa 54-43 in the championship game. Grain Valley improved to 20-7 with the victory. The Eagles claimed their first district title since 1981, avenged two earlier season losses to Odessa, and won at least 20 games for the second consecutive year. It wasn’t the first time Lipps suffered a head

picnic table onto a concrete patio. “When I got out there, she had that look,” Broughton said earlier this season, when Lipps returned to action to lead the Eagles to a 62-55 double overtime win in the Grain Valley Sonic Showdown. “I didn’t know if she could play again although the first thing she told me was that she wasn’t going to sit out.” Lipps returned in the third quarter, hit five points and played a big role in the come-frombehind win. “It was big having Taylor come back and play,” Broughton said, “but there’s a reason they call basketball a team game. The girls really picked up the slack when we lost Taylor and did a great job in the second quarter.” “I’m so proud of my teammates,” said Lipps, who finished with 14 points. “My mom was in the locker room, giving me the play by play when I was getting looked at. I’ve got a bump on the back of my head, but that’s about it. I’m not going to the doctor. He might tell me I can’t play, and there’s no way I’m going to miss a game.”

This month youth basketball players can learn from the best. On the weekend of March 21-22 the ‘Ol School Basketball presents the All-Star Clinic. The Clinic will be held exclusively at 68’s Inside Sports, 11301 W. 88th St. in Overland Park. The Clinic will be taught by three basketball experts: Lynette Woodard - KU Hall of Famer 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist, former Harlem Globetrotter and WNBA Star Valerie Still - former WNBA player and coach and Hall of Famer at the University of Kentucky Dennis Still - 19-year professional international basketball star and 3-time World Cup Champion This camp is open to players from 8-16 years of age. All skill levels are welcome. The camp will be divided up with 8-12-year-olds working out from 9 AM to Noon players age 13-16 from 1-4 PM. Attendees will learn everything from fundamentals to innovative defensive techniques, shooting precision, ball handling skills, agility and quickness and more. They’ll also learn life skills of confidence, discipline, respect and communication in a fun and motivating atmosphere. All players in attendance will receive a camp T-shirt, basketball, bracelet and a certificate of participation. Cost is $125 per player. Early Bird registration at a discounted price is availale by calling Dennis Still from ’Ol School Basketball at 913-207-3146. Proceeds benefit the Valerie Still Foundation. For additional information or to sign up for the All-Star Clinic, call 913-208-4837.

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Volunteering has its privileges during March Madness resident Obama shouts it from the hilltops on almost a daily basis. Volunteerism. Giving back. Donating time. Helping others. Making a difference in your community .. Service because you want to – not because you have to. In these strained economic times, I’m buying what our overwhelmed chief executive is selling. Always have. Always will. For all you hoop-aholic homers out there, March is an ideal month to smooth over that dent in your couch cushions, get your lawnmower tuned up and volunteer time to the hardwood acronyms convening in Funky-town. In order of appearance – this would comprise several weeks of wall-to-wallto-wall basketball offered by the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the NCAA’s first two rounds of the Moneymaking Madness. Say hello to a smörgåsbord of food, folks and fundamentals that few cities can boast. In fact, name me another metropolitan area that comes close to offering three weeks of big-time basketball for public consumption and tourism dollars?! Better yet, it’s all happening within several down-

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town blocks spanning Municipal Auditorium and the Sprint Center. Sandwiched in between is the fancy-pants

and years and years. Credit the Sports Commission. Credit the Convention and Tourism people. Credit the

Power & Light District. These under-appreciated eateries and watering holes are primed to roll out the red carpet to the drive-and-dish masses. Attendees can park, eat, congregate and celebrate within earshot of either arena. That’s a refreshingly new twist to an old song. Let’s hope every establishment scores in the basketball equivalent of triple figures. Some would consider KC lucky having all these collegiate cagers performing in its bailiwick. Not exactly. It’s been happening for years

sports junkies and volunteers. Speaking of those volunteers, I’m one. All it took was 20 minutes of web surfing on a rainy Sunday and my name was on the radar of the organizing folks. It was up to them to holler back. They all did. Some had my name from previous years. At press time – I’ve attended one volunteer meeting with more to come. Put me in Commish, I’m ready to serve: MIAA Basketball Championships (March 58 at Municipal Auditorium) – these fine folks have me working opening day back-to-back shifts in the hospitality and media rooms. Easy pickins’. I’ll be meeting-and-greeting with early-bird fans, dignitaries and media folks. Networking and shaking hands is easy work. Between stocking food and drink, I might sneak in a few minutes of court action. These games are prime time showcases for these NCAA Division schools, coaches and players.

On KCXL 1140 AM and KCTO 1160 AM Friday and Saturday evenings from 6-10 pm and on Sundays from 12-9 pm

Local and National Sports Coverage Sports Page Forward Progress Wise Guys Courtside Go Deep Sports Smucks BLT Don’t Talk Back KC Sports & Fitness Radio Show 







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NAIA Division I Men’s Championships (March 1824 at Municipal Auditorium) – these Champions of Character have been playing this tournament in this Jim town for more than Potoski seven decades. Contributing That’s the definition Writer of tradition. Hats off to Buffalo Funds for staying the sponsorship course. In previous years I’ve worked as a court monitor and media room host. A few weeks ago I was told the volunteer roster was full. Great news – more folks are getting a nd staying involved. NCAA Men’s Regionals (March 18-21 at Sprint Center) – I was pumped to hear back from the Kansas City Host Committee in charge of staffing up for the first two-round follies. The NCAA is a different animal. I’ll be getting nowhere near the arena. Volunteers have specific tasks, such as manning hospitality tables at arena-friendly hotels and steering guests/dignitaries to local hot spots. Been there. Done that. Nothing wrong with being a city ambassador and channeling Dick Vitale along the way. Volunteering - what’s not to like?! Paid parking. Ample eats. Tournament gear. Non-stop networking. Friendly people. For all you Slumdog Millionaires with “employment issues” – get out of the house and put a little bounce in your step.

Last month’s article on the U.S. Army All-American Bowl was written by Jim Potoski. To view this article, visit our website: www.kcsportspaper.com. A link to the article is posted at the top of the website home page.


MIDWEST

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11 3 14 7 10 2 15

1 16 8 9 5 12 4 13 6 11 3 14 7 10 2 15

11 3 14 7 10 2 15

1 16 8 9 5 12 4 13 6 11 3 14 7 10 2 15

1st Round 3/19-20

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2nd Round 3/21-22

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Regionals 3/26-29

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4

Semifinals 4/4

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National Championship 4/6, Detroit

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5

Semifinals 4/4

9

9

Regionals 3/26-29

8

2nd Round 3/21-22

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1st Round 3/19-20

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2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship

EAST SOUTH


THE CHIEFS REPORT By ALAN ESKEW, Editor

Cassel is King who will lead the Chiefs There is a great irony in how Matt Cassel became the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback. e has thrown 39 passes in three years as Tom Brady’s backup with the New England Patriots. Cassel has been a backup since starting for Ch atsworth High School. He played behind Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at Southern Cal. In five years with the Trojans, Cassel completed 19 of 33 passes with one interception and no touchdowns. In the 2008 season opener, Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard hit Brady, who suffered a knee injury that would require season-ending surgery. Cassel stepped in and led the Patriots to 11 victories, throwing for 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns, while completing 327 of 516 passes. The perennial backup became a star. But the All-Pro Brady is expected to be fully recovered the play this fall, so Cassel became dispensable. The Chiefs, who hired general manager Scott Pioli from the Patriots, desperately needed a quarterback. Brodie Croyle, who was anointed the quarterback of the future, was injured in both of his starts last season, including the Patriots’ game. Veteran quarterback Damon Huard has been released. Tyler Thigpen

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threw for 2,608 yards and 18 touchdowns, but the Chiefs went 1-10 in his starts. So Pioli traded a second-round draft pick for Cassel and veteran linebacker Mike Vrabel. The Pollard hit in September on Brady started the chain of events leading to Cassel becoming a Chief in March. “Oh gosh,” Cassel said. “Now he (Pollard) is a teammate and I know that it wasn’t intentional. Nobody likes to see anybody go down, I’m sure, including him. I will talk to him and say hello, say thank you for the opportunity, but you never want to see anybody get hurt out there.” Cassel acknowledged he was getting tired of being the second guy on the depth chart. “There is no doubt,” he said. “You want to play, as any football player does. You want to be competitive and as a competitor you want to be out on the field. Anytime you can get out there, you

welcome the opportunity. “It is funny. You go through five years of college and then three years as a pro, that is eight years just sitting there and waiting. Everybody is always telling you, ‘You have to be ready. You are one ankle sprain away.’ I was sitting there going, ‘Gosh, nobody sprains their ankle anymore.’ Finally that opportunity comes about and you say, ‘Here we go.’ You take a deep breath, step out and play football. That is what I was there to do and I am just excited that I got that opportunity.” Cassel will be the man under center with the Kansas City first team. There will be no Brady, Palmer or Leinart blocking his path. “I got a taste of what it was like to be out there and play, and be on the field every snap,” Cassel said. “I am excited that I will have the opportunity here to do the same and get this thing going, get on the right track and win ball games.” The Chiefs won only two games last year, while Cassel comes from a Patriots’ winning program. “He’s coming from a very good system and a place where they’ve done a good job of winning games in the NFL,” Chiefs coach Todd Haley said. “I think anytime you get a player who’s been around winning it’s a good thing.” Acquiring Cassel gives the Chiefs the luxury of using their third overall pick on a position other than quarterback. “I think it’s the known versus the unknown,” Haley said. “You’ve seen a guy who’s performed in the NFL, started 15 ½ games. That’s a big item. Scott has great familiarity with him, a lot more than I do.

I did a lot of studying of the New England Patriots this year just because it so happened that the Arizona Cardinals and New England had many common opponents.” Haley, who was an assistant with the Cardinals last season, watched first-hand as Cassel dismantled the Arizona defense last December. Cassel, playing in the snow for the first time, completed 20 of 36 passes for 345 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Cassel said he progressed throughout the season. “I think, like anything, the more you do it the more comfortable you become,” Cassel said. “You start to get into a groove. The biggest thing for any quarterback, especially a young quarterback that just steps in, is getting used t o the game speed. You cannot emulate that or simulate that in practice. “From week one when you step in and a guy goes down, you don’t get any reps in practice, but as the season starts to go, you start to build in your comfort level and start to understand what we need to get done out there, it becomes a little bit easier. I grew in confidence and we got better as a team. “I think last year was probably the toughest year from the standpoint of being a backup quarterback and being thrust into a situation becoming the starter in week one. It wasn’t like I became the starter in week six. I had a full season. I, obviously, had my own stresses going with the MVP (Brady) from the year before who threw 50 touchdowns and set all kinds of records, going down. “If I could handle last year with the stress and the adversity that I went through, to come here and be a starter and know that you are going into the same thing being a starter, I can prepare better mentally and be on the same page. Obviously, it brings its own adversities and its own difficulties, but I think I will be ready for that.”


Jim Colbert’s great golf career on short leash Never ever did I think I would ever relate my golf game to that of Jim Colbert. ut when he says, “I’ll hit a bad shot and I’ll say where in the world did that come from,” I, like most every golfer who has ever picked up a club, knows the feeling. Been there, done that. Unfortunately, Colbert has started off the 2009 PGA Senior Champions tour with either too few good shots or too many bad shots. Two tournaments – the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla., and the ACE Group Championship in Naples – and one last place and a next-tolast finish. Who could have ever imagined Colbert finishing that far down in one tournament let alone two – albeit he had good company? Hall of Famers Gary Player and Lee Trevino were also in the bottom 10 at Boca Raton, while Player finished

last, and greats like Hale Irwin and Dana Quigley were also way back at Venice.

The fear is the Champions Tour is about to lose one of its most popular players and greatest

Photo by Alan Hoskins

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Curtis (left) and Kyle Yonke had one of golf’s all-time best as a fan as their grandfather, Jim Colbert, followed them in the 2008 Heart of America Best Ball tournament at Indian Hills.

ambassadors in Colbert. Like Player, Trevino, Irwin, Quigley etc., Colbert has for the last decade and a half been one of the faces of the Champions Tour. He turns 68 this month and that means he’s going up against professionals who are younger by 15, 16, 17 years. Alan Colbert is scheduled for Hoskins two more tournaments in Contributing California because they’re Writer near his home in Palm Desert and then look to the future. “It just depends on how I’m playing I might play 8 to 12 tournaments. I’m on a short leash if it doesn’t work out. The game is getting older. It’s become a little more work than fun. If you can’t play halfway decent, it’s not any fun. But I’m not continued on page 15

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Colbert - continued from page 13 complaining. I’ve had my time.” Colbert, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, won 20 tournaments on the Champions Tour between 1991 and 2001. Colbert was the Champions Rookie of the Year in 1991 when he recorded his first victory at the Southwestern Bell Classic at Loch Lloyd. Colbert was the Player of the Year and the leading money winner in 1995 and 1996 and Comeback Player of the Year in 1998 after missing four months of the 1997 season recuperating from prostate surgery. One of the first six players on the20Champions Tour to win $1 million, his official winnings on the tours heading into this season totaled $13,237,375 – not bad for an ex-Kansas State quarterback who grew up in Prairie Village. Colbert’s problems are not anything that hasn’t caught up with most golfers as the years mount. “My short game obviously is not nearly as good, the chipping, pitching and putting,” Colbert said. “I’ve finally lost some distance and we’re playing courses that are longer and longer. I can get along hitting 7-8-9 against wedges, but when you start hitting 4 or 5 irons or utility clubs against 9-irons, eventually it won’t get it. “I still try to be competitive when I get out of bed, but the game gets crazier when you get a little older. The other day, I started with two pars, two bogeys, a double bogey and then four birdies for even par. It’s crazy. I shot 75 with six birdies which is crazy. I’m inconsistent from hole-to-hole, but when I hit a bad shot, I’m still shocked when it happens.” Should he decide to step back, would it be back into the broadcast booth where he once was an ESPN fixture as an analyst before returning to the playing ranks? “I’d like to but nobody has asked me,” he answered. “I covered the U.S. Open last year as part of the ESPN coverage and that was fun. But with CBS and NBC cutting back and most of the coverage on the Golf Channel, they have a lot of people working. I love doing it but there are not a lot of openings.” He will, however, be back as a weekly guest on the “Between the Lines” afternoon talk show on 810 WHB. Keeping busy will not be a problem – not with his “Smart for Life” cookie diet program taking off in Kansas City, clubhouse construction work at Colbert Hills in Manhattan, the return of close friend Bill Snyder coaching football at Kansas State and a half

dozen of grandkids. Colbert calls the cookie diet a “simple way to do a hard thing – six cookies a day and a regular evening meal.” The cookie diet program is run by two of his three daughters, Debbie Dietz and Christy Yonke, and is in its third year. “We’ve got both a medical and non-medical plan now so we can mail cookies,” Colbert said. “The medical plan is much quicker if you have more weight to lose. An awful lot of people have lost a lot of weight. If you’re serious about it, you’ll lose weight.” Spending most of the summers and falls in Manhattan, Colbert this year will be watching the construction of a new clubhouse near his home at Colbert Hills, which should be finished early next year with the official grand opening in May, which will be the 10th anniversary of the course. “Along with that, we’re re-doing all the bunkers and putting in white sand and it is tremendous,” Colbert said. “I’ve played a lot of the sand hill courses and this is better than all I’ve seen. Between the new white sand and 125 of elevation changes, it is spectacular.” It is ranked the 43rd most difficult golf course in the U.S. by Golf Digest. “That’s not what we were shooting for, but with five tees on every hole and seven on many, it can be played from 5,400 to 7,700 yards and everyone can enjoy it.” He was as surprised as anyone that Snyder would return as head coach. “I couldn’t be more excited,” Colbert said. “I think he’ll get that program turned around again. He didn’t have a good recruiting year because he got a late start, but he might have the best coaching staff in the nation.” Being in Manhattan will also mean keeping close to the grandkids, three of whom have or will be playing golf for K-State. The oldest, Jimmy Dietz, has graduated and is working for a new Italian beverage company, Chrom; Kyle Yonke, 22, just graduated in December; and Curtis Yonke, 17, is a senior on the Blue Valley West golf team and has accepted a golf scholarship to K-State. Jeremy Dietz earned a culinary degree from Johnson County Community College and is a chef at LionsGate. Colby Dietz is a student at K-State and working in the football department. Courtney Yonke, 20, will be graduating in May from Lubbock Christian, an NAIA college in Texas, where she’s a volleyball player and represented the U.S. in international competition in Austria last year.

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Practice doesn’t always mean perfect Start playing smarter, not harder n the world of golf, traditional thought has been that to get better you need to change your swing, hit more balls, play more golf or even buy a better set of clubs. I am going to let you in on a little secret that some of you may know; golf is 90 to 95 percent mental. So to take your game to the next level, you need to play smarter, not harder. When I say smarter, I am not talkin g about course management, although that is a large part of improving your game. I am talking about what 75 percent of the pros have found out and don’t really want the amateurs to know. This includes topics like: playing with confidence, refocusing, visual imagery, emotional control, relaxation and a consistent pre-shot routine. With some basic mental training, most amateurs can take more strokes off their game than they would in three years of intense physical practice. One of the easiest and most effective skills to incorporate into your game that will have an immediate affect on your score is a consistent pre-shot routine. The benefits include: confidence, consistency, course management, relaxation and improving your focus. An effective pre-shot routine has five basic

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elements. The same routine should be used for all shots. The five are: 1. Method of Relaxation: The number one challenge most golfers face is being able to relax when and where they need to, such as: first-shot jitters, after a bad shot or when there is money or pride at stake. There is no other sport that is affected more by anger and nerves than golf. Controlling these aspects of the game will h ave an immediate outcome on your score. This is one aspect of golf that takes practice to overcome. Golfers can learn to relax on command by training their body to respond to a cue

or an action. Doing this repeatedly will train your body to go into the relaxed state just by touching your fingers together.

5. Swing Thought: Jeff Have a thought you repeat Miner in your head every time you Contributing swing your club, even on Writer your practice swings. This helps with consistency and confidence. Many golfers remind themselves of a mechanical part of their swing such as “back slow to make the ball go”, “left arm straight”, or “be the ball”. Whatever your swing thought may be make sure to say it consistently and faithfully.

2. Refocusing: A method that allows you to re-focus on the shot. It is impossible for a golfer to stay “in the zone” for an entire 18 holes. One effective method to refocus your thoughts is by taking three deep breaths. Identify what you are thinking about and bring it back to the shot at hand. Practice Tip: a great way to understand the level of focus you need in golf is to do a drill called purposeful distraction. Have a buddy attempt to distract you while you are putting. It takes a concentrated effort to attain your focus. When you practice purposeful distraction you will see the level of intense focus that you should have prior to every shot. 3. Ball Alignment and Visualization: Stand behind your ball and visualize exactly where you want the ball to go. See yourself m aking the perfect swing and hitting the perfect shot that makes your ball go exactly where you want it to. 4. Practice Swing: The number of practice swings is different for each golfer. When taking your practice swings visualize the exact shot you

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will be hitting. Be sure to remember course etiquette, too many practice swings can cause slow play and become irritating to the other golfers.

In most sports the body is trained to react in different situations because there is no time to stop and think about your next move. In golf, the actual time you spend playing during a four-hour round is just a few minutes. That leaves more than 3 ½ hours to think, get angry, lose focus, challenge confidence and deal with the pressures of the game. Some say golf is 90 to 95 percent mental. Take your game to the next level by spending some time improving the mental aspect of your game. Jeff Miner is a performance enhancement consultant. Miner has worked for the United States Olympic Committee assisting athletes to reach their peak performance. He has also worked with the Utah Jazz basketball team and several other professional athletes. Miner has published four books on helping coaches understand psychological aspects of sports. Minor owns and operates a business called Nothing By Chance in Kansas City, Missouri. He continues to work with individuals that want to reach their peak performance in sports and business. You can contact Nothing By Chance at 816 237-1820.


Get conditioned for Golf olf season is here and inevitably it is time balanced and complete. If not regular stretching of to break out the clubs and look to fun these areas, preferably after hours on the course. Golf is like many sports in that it does require a workout, can make a difference. a level of conditioning. Also a better year-round I personally recommend conditioned athlete will always perform at his “active stretches.” These are best as compared to someone who simply stretches, like yoga, done starts when the weather gets nice enough. Chris with movement as opposed Athletes, like Tiger Woods, have shown us Balda to the conventional static what a participant who takes his fitness and Contributing hold stretches. Two really training seriously can do. Golf is still a sport Writer effective stretches are the largely of skill and that of course requires prac“open chest”(SEE tice and more practice. PHOTO) and the Nevertheless by look“scorpion.” Both ing at the requirements stretches can be of the activity, you can done the conventional maximize your “golf fit“holding” way, but ness” in the gym or doing repetitions with before you play. movement is a great Let’s first look at warm up, even before flexibility. a round of golf. This Golf requires much is more of an effective in this department. And way to increase unfortunately many of mobility. us are inflexible to For example with begin with, which can the “open chest” move exacerbate things like your arm and upper our backs when we torso back and forth play a lot of holes. Not from one side to the to mention tight musother. On the “scorpicles cause muscle on” have your bent imbalances and firing OPEN CHEST STRETCH knee leg go back and dysfunctions. So the forth like you are trying to touch your heel to the more flexible you are the better you can swing floor on the opposite side. Do 10 reps per side. and hit the ball with power and precision. Strength is important for generating force for A regular stretching program is a must. hitting the ball. Stretches for things Practicing hitting is like the hamstrings the best way, but and lower back are there are exercises typically recomin the gym that will mended, but I favor help. Any core a complete hip strengthening exerstretch routine. Of cise can improve special importance your game. are the psoas (hip General exercises, flexors-about where like crunches and your belt meets your back extensions, front pockets) and keep those torso chest/shoulder muscles from atroregion. Why? These phy. areas get tight for Also important most of us with age but often overanyway. Yet hours of looked are rotation leaning over a golf CHOP exercises. These club tend to make can be simple things like abdominal bicycles these muscles short and tight, which can conand Russian twists. I have most of my golfers tribute to using too much of the upper body for do variations of the “chop” exercise (SEE the swing and not your core/hips. PHOTO). A regular structured program, like yoga, can be great for helping this, as classes tend to be continued on next page

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Conditioned - continued from page 18 This exercise is performed just like the name implies-a chopping motion. Taking a rope on a pulley (a resistance band can also be used). Do a diagonal “chop” motion with your hips from the top of the pulley to down on the opposite side of your body, like you are pulling down to your hip pocket. It’s VERY important to start with and use your torso and NOT muscle it with your arms. Keeping your elbows locked and chest high will help. Do light to medium resistance with sets of 12-15. Balance and Stability are terms most of us don’t think about when we are in a gym, but smart trainers and trainees regularly incorporate this in our workouts. You have many joints and articulations in your body, and many things, such as golf, tend to over work some muscles, while neglecting others.

This can lead to the nefarious “overuse” injuries many golfers have in their dominant

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hips and shoulders. With your regular exercise make sure you are incorporating balance in your exercise selection. This means working your WHOLE body and not just parts you like or feel comfortable working. Bench presses without rowing and lat-pull exercises are a waste. Just like crunches and ab work without back extension exercises are an imbalance waiting to happen. Aside from that there are many golf specific exercises for stability. In golf stability and balance in both the hips and shoulders are essential. The king of these is the plank (SEE PHOTO). Do this for endurance, starting with 30-45 seconds as a goal. Allegedly Tiger Woods can do these for five minutes! Another good one, especially for strength imbalances with one hip is the single leg bridge (SEE PHOTO). Do these for 30-45 seconds as well and make sure you get the hip as high off the ground as you can, pressing with the heel. A comprehensive golf exercise program will improve your game and your general level of fitness. Use your noggin in the gym and you’ll be awarded on the course. Chris Balda is a USA Weightlifting coach, National Strength and Conditioning Association Trainer and owner of FixXprt, a fitness and training consulting business. He can be reached at (913) 244-0287 or by email at fitxprt@hotmail.com.

IMPROVING PUTTING As the Irish say, “99% of putts that don’t reach the cup don’t go in, and the other 1% are always short”. Bottom line, beginning golfers should ALWAYS play to go beyond the hole. Ideally, your misses will stop 18” after the hole, but, practice makes perfect. It’s better to be long by 3 feet than short by 6 inches. At least you know the miss MIGHT have gone in if lined up right. Also, match the stroke of your putt with your golf swing. If you have a short swing (i.e. your left arm doesn’t go too far in the air during your backswing), your putting stroke should match. Same with if you have a long swing. You should have a long stroke. Your body doesn’t like you fighting it. Lastly, the average golfer 3 putts or MORE 7-8 times a round. OUCH!! One of the primary reasons (besides being a beginner or weekend golfer) is that your eyes LOVE to play tricks. If you have a 20 foot or longer putt, I guarantee you that your eyes are going to think that it is only 16 feet. The fact is, until you are skilled enough to REALLY gauge distance, factor in a couple feet for longer putts. You won’t regret it!!. Source:free-golf-tip.com

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GolfStakes: quickest way to get golf results

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keeps a history of all the rounds you’ve played est to generate revenue off advertising. and you can see all the courses you’ve played Kryger and lead developer Kendall Bingham and with whom.” introduced the revolutionary new concept last Ever May after wonder the two which holes had you play “kicked it well and around” those which for about you have five the most difyears. ficulty? It’s “Without all there, all Kendall, it the birdies, would not pars, have hapbogeys and pened,” Kryger more so you said. can see on “It’s a which holes lot of fun,” strokes can Golf can be a lot more fun thanks to the new GolfStakes.com web- said be picked up. On-line site offered by IBS Software president Kyle Kryger. The unique new Bingham, program offers up-to-date tournament and league scoring and a the archihandicapwide assortment of side games through use of a mobile phone. tect of all ping is also being added in the next couple of weeks and stat the computer-generated programming of the tracking is coming soon. The best part of it is that software program. A native of Mexico, Mo., and UMKC grad, Bingham divides the computer-genit’s all free.” Kryger plans to build enough community inter- erating with Chris Berry. “It’s real exciting. Photo by Alan Hoskins

ver play in a golf tournament or league when it seems like it takes forever to get all the scores in and recorded? Maybe a skins game had to be sorted out, someone neglected to turn in a score or most commonly, a group or two decides&n bsp; they weren’t going to be in contention for anything anyway so they stay out and play a few more holes and leave the rest of the field sitting around for an hour or more. Well it no longer needs to be that way. Thanks to an ingenious new system created by Kyle Kryger called GolfStakes.com, it is possible for golfers to walk off the course to a complete update on every score on the course. “Basically, it’s a way to score rounds with the use of a cell phone,” said Kryger, the president of IBS Software, Inc., a computer-based software company located in downtown Kansas City at 12th and Harrison. It’s simple enough in that all that is required is one person in each group enter scores after each hole. The only requirement is a cell phone with internet access. Once logged on, a whole world of scoring, tracking and games open up. “You can play as many side games as you want. We’ve already got 22 that you can play and are adding more on request,” says Kryger. “It

Everyday more and more goes in.” Ironically, Bingham does not play all the games he designs and develops. “I gave it (golf) up for anger management,” he said and laughed. “But I hope to Alan return when I retire.” Hoskins Kryger’s Wednesday Contributing league at Blue Hills Country Writer Club provided an ideal testing ground. “After about a month, we were able to get all the kinks worked out,” he said. On a typical Wednesday, the 50 members in the league can look forward to competing in four games. In addition to a weekly net and gross skin pot, a golfer may also be paired with another in a two-ball best ball or an assortment of other games. “One of the games we play is called train wreck,” Kryger said. “You accumulate points but if you have a double bogey or back-to-back bogeys you lose them all.” “Abilene” is another popular game. A two-man team game, points are awarded for closest to the pin in regulation, low ball, low team total and low team putts. If wanted, a fifth point can be continued on next page


GolfStakes - continued from page 20 awarded for longest drive in the fairway. “If one team wins all the points for the hole, it’s called a ‘Bucket’ and an additional point can be added or the points doubled,” Kryger said. Normally keeping track of all the points would be something of a nightmare but with GolfStakes its right there and up to date as soon as the scores are entered. Want to improve your short game? And who doesn’t? Then “Chips” is the game for you. Points are awarded in nine “good chip” categories and subtracted in nine “bad chip” areas. For example, a sand save or getting up and down earns one point, a birdie or chipping in earns two points and an eagle or three consecutive pars is worth three points. Conversely, hitting a tree or three-putting costs one point, a double bogey, lost ball or out of bounds costs two and a triple bogey three. Others are the popular Bingo, Bango and Bongo in which points are awarded for first on, closest to the pin and first in; and the ninepoint game designed specifically for three players in which nine points are awarded on every hole. For example, five points are awarded for low, three for second and one for third but the scoring could be 5-2-2 if a tie for second; 4-4-1 for a tie for first; or 3-3-3 if all three tie for low. It’s a great game if you only have a threesome. The versatility of the program is almost over-

whelming, not the least of which is the ability to set up a tournament or league in advance. In addition to the names of the players, the program tracts the name of the course, date, which tee boxes are played and the number of holes. If there are substitutions or additional teams at the tournament, they can quickly be added. “You can add as many players, teams or groups as you want and add as many games as you want,” said Kryger, who noted that games can be created across multiple groups and results can be viewed live on the course if scoring is by a web-enabled mobile phone. Kryger’s interest in golf started at an early age. His parents lived on Blue Hills Country Club so he grew up on the course. He quit playing while a student at Rockhurst High School, but resumed while earning a degree at Creighton University. A member of the Kryger Glass Company family, Kryger started his IBS software company in 1992 as a point of sale for auto glass stores. “If someone has a windshield go out on a 2000 Mustang, we can find the replacement, get estimates and send bills to the insurance company,” Kryger said. Complete information including how to set up a free account can be found at www.golfstakes.com. If you have questions, you can call 888-578-GAME (4263) or e-mail support@golfstakes.com.

GETTING MORE DISTANCE The key to hitting a golf ball a long way is minimizing your hip turn and maximizing your shoulder turn. The easiest way to accomplish this is to make sure that your left knee doesn’t slide to the right on the backswing and that the right knee stays firm and flexed throughout. (Opposite knee for left-handed players.) Also, get your shoulder behind the ball at the top of the backswing. This ensures good weight shift and allows for a longer swing. Source: Frank J. Peter, learnaboutgolf.com

THE SWING FOR THE SIMPLE BUNKER SHOT Bring the clubhead away on the line of your feet. Allow your wrists to hinge but don’t let your arms and wrists go stiff. Come down aggressively into the sand an inch or two behind the ball and come out of it a few inches in front of where he ball was lying. The right hand should be the dominant force in the swing. Source: thinkandreachpar.com KANSAS CITY SPORTS & FITNESS

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Golf nutrition is KEY olf is physical. Golf can be painful both physically and mentally. Your body and mind are linked and with that in mind, isn’t it obvious you need to be in good shape to play to your potential? How many over-weight, out-ofshape golfers do you know who play “consistently” good golf? Anyone can put a game or two together, but how about round after round.

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different game out there. Gone are the days where you can smoke, drink and still get the trophy on Sunday.

Losing Weight To Improve Swing Are you one of the majority who need to lose weight for golf? Be honest and don’t have a distorted view. Losing that mid-section can give you more room to swing and generate maximum power. It’s not that difficult to lose weight, and you don’t have to drastically change your current lifestyle to do it either. Park your car at the farthest point in the parking lot, take stairs instead of the elevator, turn off the TV and go for a walk instead, stop drinking sodas, alcohol and energy drinks to name just a few. Get Stronger For More Distance There is a reason why most of the tour players do strength training with their trainers. They know it is critical in staying “injury-free” and keeping up with all the other golfers who are doing it. It’s a

equipment. Check out www.Golf-Trainer.com. Golf Stretching For A Bigger Backswing And Longer Drives Every golfer knows they need to stretch. There are golf specific stretching that focuses on your golf swing muscles and nothing else. Again, check out www.GolfTrainer.com. You’ll soon be a noodle on the course, and the envy of your foursome. Get In Shape And Your Game Is Limitless I hope this article has exposed you to the benefits of getting in shape to play better golf. If you don’t, one of your playing partners will, and you’ll be left in the dust! Do you want that to happen? NO! Start getting in shape right NOW! More free articles are available at www.NutritionbyAudrey.com for ideas on how to lose weight.

Golf is treated like any other sport. You are what we call a “golf athlete.” That means you should prepare your body to perform, “off the course” with golf-specific strength training. Not the kind in the gym with all the muscle heads. I’m talking about in your home with very little

Golf Nutrition Do you want to avoid those blow up holes late in your golf round? Learn golf nutrition for golf tips. Do you ever wonder why you lose concentration and energy the last few holes? Do you think you need to just go hit more balls? How about

some new clubs? Well save your money and read on. I am amazed at the lack of food or “fuel” golfers utilize during the round. If you don’t replenish your energy stores you are destined for a loss of energy and strokes. Audrey How do you avoid this? Harman It’s easy. Bring a couple of Contributing snacks and drink lots of Writer water. I know you’re thinking there’s more to it but there really isn’t. Your body needs readily available energy every two to three hours. Bring two pieces of fruit, a nutrition bar and a bottle of water to the course every time you play. Make it a habit! Your water consumption should be very consistent throughout the round. You should drink 20-ounces of bottled water every four or five holes at a minimum. The first few times you do this you may need to visit the course restroom a few times, but stick with it. Your body will adjust and the restroom visits will be less frequent. Dehydration occurs much sooner than you think. Here’s a simple rule of thumb. Make a mental note of what time you ate your last meal before you got to the course. If you’re like most, three to four hours have already gone by at the second hole. What that means? Time for a snack. What if you’re not hungry? Eat it anyway! A piece of fruit is ONLY 80-100 calories - so even if you’re not hungry it won’t seem like much. Check your watch and after two more hours have gone by eat that nutrition bar. This will be at holes No. 11 or 12. Watch out because you might hit that next drive 300 yards with all that energy that you’re not used to having. That might do you, but if you get the hunger pangs eat that last piece of fruit at the 16th hole. This will keep your blood sugar levels constant and enable you to stay focused on those last couple of holes. Golf nutrition is KEY! You’ll have much MORE energy throughout the “whole” round and not waste any shots that will balloon your score. You’ll soon be a believer in fueling your body for performance. The next time you go out be careful; you might just shoot your “all-time” best score. Audrey Harman is a nutrition consultant. She can be reached at 913 707-4717 or at www.NutritionbyAudrey.com.

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The worst swing flaws and how to fix them

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ere are a few of the worst swing flaws in golf with a description of why they occur and how to cure them:

Topping the ball This is the typical shot of a beginning player but there are times when even the average player tops the ball. There are a couple of reasons you would top the ball. The first is your body is raising up through impact. You started with your body tilted when you assumed you setup position, then you hit the ball on less of a tilt. Because of this raising up, your club comes off of the ground higher than you predetermined at set up. This raising up causes you to hit the top of the ball. The next reason a ball is topped is you set up with your arms extended, and by the time you hit the ball, you do so with your arms bent. This bending of your arms (aka: chicken wing) shortens the swing arc versus the one you started with and again the club comes into the ball higher than when you started. How do you stop topping the ball? Swing easier! Think about it for a second. If you are a beginner, wouldn’t you rather get the airborne than hitting it along the ground? If you get every ball in the air, you are hitting shots with more consistency than if you roll them along the ground. Once airborne, you will gain confidence. Then, you can start to work on distance and accuracy. For beginners, this should be priority one. Your thought shouldn’t be, “I’m going to crush this one”. Your new thought should be, “I’m just going to get this ball in the air.” Trying to crush the ball is like running before you can walk. Why would you think you can do something that it took better player years to master? For the average player that tops the ball, you have to slow down a little and allow your arms to relax throughout your swing. Again, those topped shots are coming from you trying to hit the ball too hard. You should never swing over 80 percent of your ability. You are no longer going to try to impress your friends, keep it up to the long ball hitter in your group, reach unreachable par 5’s in 2 shots or take less club and try to overpower the shot. Slowing down and swinging easier will

eliminate these topped shots, which will reduce your score to give you confidence to take you your game to the next level. Slicing This shot not only has your swing path to the left but it also has you with your clubface open at impact. This means you actually have two flaws when you hit a slice. You have to get the clubface squaring first. Think of a pro for a second. When a pro hits a ball, the clubface is not coming through wide open, it is relatively square. So the next time you go to the range, do some practice swings rolling the clubface closed through impact. Keep rolling your wrists over earlier in the downswing until the ball hooks to the left consistently. I know hooking the ball is still a bad shot, but if you can consistently hook the ball...you are no longer a slicer. Once you get it hooking consistently, it’s time to work on the direction of your shots. So forget rolling your wrists and focus on turning your body to start the downswing. As you turn properly in the downswing, you body will tilt to the right through impact. If your body tilts right, your club will swing out at the ball thus changing your swing path. If you couple this outward path with a squaring face, you will not hit the ball straight or with a slight draw. Now the slice is gone forever.

caused because you are rolling onto your toes when you hit the ball. This puts you closer to the ball than you were at set up. If you start with the ball in the middle of the clubface at address, then move closer by an inch or two, the ball will hit the hosel of the club. To remedy this problem, all you have to do is slow down and relax your arms. Then, take the club to the top of the backswing and stop. At this point, feel 80 percent of your weight load into your right instep at the top of the backswing. Once you feel the weight loaded, gently swing down and though finishing with 90 percent of your weight on the outside of your left heel. Keep relaxing your arms and doing this “stopping at the top” drill for a few minutes. After you get the feeling of where the weight should be, hit some easy shots without stopping. Keep doing easy shots until you gain confidence. This confidence will allow you to slowly build your swing speed back up and eliminate the shanks. Hitting behind the ball This shot can be quite depressing because not only does the ball fly way shorter than normal, but hitting this shot at the wrong time, can cause you to hit the ball into the water, bunker or long grass. Now you’re faced with trying to hit a

recovery shot with little to no confidence. To understand why the club hits behind the ball imagine you have an arc swinging around an axis. This is your club swinging around your body. Now if you tilt the axis closer to the ground the swinging arc will not have enough clearance thus causing it to hit the ground behind the ball. In tilting your body too much to the right at impact, you will feel that you have a ton of weight on your right foot as you hit the ball. To remedy this shot allow your weight to come off of your right heel sooner through impact. You should not be flat footed when you hit the ball. If you can get the weight off of the right heel, your body will have the correct tilt through impact allowing your arc to clear. Those are a few of the worst shots in golf and how to fix them. It’s really not that difficult to apply the correct fix and start making great contact again if you understand “why” they are occurring and what fix to apply. The next time you play, just take note of what your flaws and refer back to this article to apply the correct fix. This golf tip is from the archives of Kansas City Sports & Fitness and was written by PGA pro Paul Wilson.

Skying If you’re skying your drives, your head is moving ahead of the ball at impact. This is because you are shifting onto your left leg too soon, thus, forcing the club to descend as it hits the ball. If the club is descending, and the ball is up on a tee, it will go right underneath the ball popping it up in the air. To cure this type of shot, just feel like your head is behind the ball upon impact. An easy way to fix this flaw is to tee the ball up with the logo facing right where the club is going to make contact with the ball. As you take the club back and swing down, keep looking at the logo. If your head moves forward it will be impossible to see the logo as you hit it. So, try this simple tip to prevent skying. Shanking Typically, a more experienced player will see this type of flaw creep into their game. A shank is KANSAS CITY SPORTS & FITNESS

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Roberts back home again on the St. Andrews’ range ony Roberts is back where he belongs – on the teaching range at St. Andrews Golf Course. Roberts, the Midwest PGA Section’s Teacher of the Year at St. Andrews in 2001, is back after a six-year hiatus as Director of Golf at WinterStone Golf Course in Independence. “We’re glad to get him back,” said Curt Nelson, the Director of Golf and a Master PGA Professional at St. Andrews. “I’ve always surrounded myself with the best possible people and Tony is a great teacher and a great person.” “I’m real excited to be going back to teaching,” Roberts said. “My main love is teaching. Essentially I’ll be working for myself again and that appeals to me right now. I’m just glad to be back and hope there are some people I can help. It was time for a change. I switched gears when we opened WinterStone in 2003. When you’re Director of Golf, teaching becomes secondary because of all the other responsibilities. I’ve kind of come full circle.” He’s not at the same course he left in 2003.

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Already Kansas City’s busiest 18-hole course with more than 50,000 rounds a year, there’s a new lighted driving range, six new holes that have given the course a whole new look and a dozen rebuilt greens to go with the six new ones. The remodeling has also opened up a new secluded practice area for Roberts to give instruction at the back of the driving range. “It’s a wonderful place to hit balls,” Roberts said. “We have two practice bunkers and plenty

of target greens.” While 95 percent of his time will be spent at St. And rews, the proximity of Roberts’ home in Lee’s Summit to Shamrock Hills Golf Course will provide a secondary course to give instruction. “There is nothing new, really, it’s all still fundamentals,” he said. “A stance needs improvement, the grip has gone wrong, tempo, rhythm and balance are off. Those are the building blocks and once fundamentals are in place we can see what a golfer is capable and go from there. There’s always swing work after the fundamentals are in place.” Ironically, Roberts whetted his appetite and learned the game of golf in of all places, Brussels, Belgium. “My dad (Lloyd Roberts) worked for Ford Motor Company and we lived in Brussels from the time I was about 12 until 17. Ford had a membership at the Royal Waterloo golf course, so that was where I was introduced to the game. Dad was a lousy go lfer but loved the game and he and I would go out play. It was English as a second language area so it was pretty much dad and I. No formal instruction or anything, I was just self-taught.” They returned to the U.S. in time for Tony to spend his last year of high school at what was then Pembrooke Country Day. “I didn’t even think about golf then, I was always a baseball and soccer player. But dad and I continued to play all the municipal courses and then when I went to Drake University, I played courses there when I wasn’t studying and falling more and more in love with the game. I was very much an average player. Natural athletic ability takes you only so far.” After Drake, he returned to Kansas City and worked for Landmark Land Co., which owned

famed Oak Tree in Edmonton, Okla., along with several other courses. “They were opening a new course, Belle Terre, in LaPlace, Louisiana, and offered me a chance to start at the bottom,” Roberts said. “I was Alan there when the course Hoskins was being completed and Contributing then worked in the golf cart Writer area and continued to move on up.” In Louisiana his golf game really grabbed hold, especially in the area of instruction. “I was able to work with a five-time PGA winner, Johnny Pott, and was pretty much a sponge, soaking up everything that I could from Johnny and his people.” Roberts’ upward spiral took him on to LaQuinta in Palm Springs, Calf., and Carmel Ranch outside of picturesque Carmel along the Pacific Ocean. After seven years with Landmark, he return ed to Kansas City. “I had gone about as I far as I could go,” said Roberts, who spent a year working for Rick Reynolds at Lakewood Oaks and later was Director of Instruction for Kansas City’s three municipally owned courses, Swope Memorial, Hodge Park and Minor Park for five years. He started his full circle at St. Andrews under David Takes in 1998 and stayed when Nelson took over the Overland Park-own public course. Roberts’ wife is a teacher in the Lee’s Summit school district. They have two sons, 17-year-old, Wes, a member of the Lee’s Summit golf team, and Ethan, 12.

GOOD GOLF GRIP All great players have good hands, and that's why it's so crucial to develop a proper grip. First, should you use an interlocking or overlapping grip? Someone with large hands probably should use an overlapping grip. Small hands, an interlocking grip. Next, comes grip balance within the confines of each hand. The weight of the shaft should be balanced so you always have control throughout the swing. Another important element is the position of your left thumb on the shaft. Players who extend their thumbs hit the ball high and straight. Those who shorten the length of the thumb are likely to hit the ball low and left. Grip pressure is another checkpoint. Try holding the club as tightly as you can, then hold it loosely. The correct pressure is somewhere in between. See how many knuckles are showing on your left hand. If you see most of them, you'll likely hit a hook or draw. Fewer, and the ball will go high and right. Experiment with these basics and you'll find a grip that's best for your hands. Worn Grip? If your grip is worn a bit you may find yourself squeezing the club a bit too hard. This can ruin a good setup and cause a poor swing. Grip too thin? You may be inclined to grip harder then necessary, causing the ball to hook, or clubhead to release early. Grip too Big ? This may make it difficult to square up the clubhead, causing pushes and slices. Find the correct, comfortable grip size for your game. It will help you make a more consistent and athletic golf swing.. Source:golfgist.com 24

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Course crews make game fun and challenging sually a great golf course is great because there’s someone looking out after the course - like tending to a newborn baby. Mike Galey, the man supervising The National Golf Course is such an individual. Gailey, the man in charge, must make a daily appraisal of course conditions and have all 18 holes, greens, fairways and traps ready for the golfers come rain, snow or shine.. It’s a long days work - sun up to sundown - and since the main man can’t do it all, it is necessary to have a supervisor with management skills who can get his team moving early and late with no horsin’ around. By letting the grass grow a bit longer, the man in charge can change a course’s rating every day. And, oh yes, there is the thing about keeping the players (members or guests) happy because when a golfer wants to play...they want to play now. There are many mornings in the early Fall and late Spring when there’s frost on the pumpkin and the greens. But, golfers tromping around on frost-covered greens is a no-no. That’s where the pro shop comes in as a buffer to fend off the “gotta get going” type and put them at ease with a cup of coffee on those chilly mornings. The village of Parkville is very fortunate to

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have two finely manicured courses - The National and The Deuce. The National is a championship course that has been tackled by the game’s best. The Deuce is a sporty, fun course which is shorter than The National, but tests a golfer’s skills over the Platte county hills and valleys.

Creek among the better players makes you want to be sure your game is finely tuned. And you want to keep your cell phone in the car or truck. That rule is beginning to hold true almost everywhere. And here’s a thought - how many times do you ask advice fr om the golf pro about your swing or

This area has a history of excellent golf courses and club facilities... This area has a history of excellent golf courses and club facilities. Loch Loyd has been the scene of many first class tournaments and is continuing to expand with another nine holes being added. The closing holes can be a killer at Loch Loyd and are extremely tough from the back tees. Wolf Creek has stayed with the times and attracts the better golfer. The action at Wolf

get ideas to teach young golfers the finer points of the game? Well, if you do, why not buy your golf equipment and accessories there. Many times, that is the golf pro’s source of income. At the National, Steve Shrawder runs the golf operation and at Loch Loyd it’s Rick Scott. These pros are top drawer...as is the case with almost every course in the area. With nearly 500 charity tournaments taking

course time every week from March to November, the club pro has his hands full keeping everyone happy. I guess that’s the reason the club pro has a shop staffed with classy young women and men ready to assist with Bill all of the programs. Grigsby My better days of striking Contributing the ball have fallen prey to Writer an aging body. I often say “I have the heart of a lion trapped in the body of a jackass!” This was not always the case, but it is a shame since I office at The National and The Deuce. I do know that our area is blessed with outstanding golf resources and excellent junior golf programs. And I can only repeat, “Support your local pro.” Have a great summer of golf, wherever you play and be sure to observe the rules and etiquette of the game. And one final thought. Say a prayer of thanks for Stan Thirsk, B ud Williamson and Charley Lewis. These are three golf professionals, all now retired, who made golf in our town a game for the ages...all ages.

FRAME OF MIND IS IMPORTANT by Larry Hadden PGA Professional Shawnee Golf & Country Club There is often confusion about the frame of mind one should have to consistently execute a good shot. The answer to the question “what you should I be concentrating on?” is simple. The ability to capture this frame of mind takes practice, just like any other part of the game. The mind should be on the target even though the eyes are on the ball. This can be tricky if your mind always follows your eyes. With a little practice the mind can be trained to picture the target while you use your eyes for hand-eye coordination. Why is this important? Your mind tells your body what to do. If your thoughts are on your target, your body will instinctively react. This holds true for putting, chipping, irons, driving, and even trouble shots. Start with putting to train your mind. Pick out a blade of grass on the edge of the cup (the smaller the target the better), burn it to memory, look back at the ball and putt at the blade of grass. No thoughts of mechanics should enter your mind, if so, your mind has abandoned the proper thought process. If you kept the blade of grass in your mind while putting, your body had a chance to react to the target. After a few putts, you should feel your stroke freeing up and your body reacting to the target rather than your mind trying to force your body to make certain mechanical moves. Mechanics in golf are important, but the frame of mind you have when executing a shot is even more important. Larry Hadden has been the General Manager and Head Golf Professional of Shawnee Golf & Country Club for 8 years. He has been a PGA Professional for 12 years. He can be reached at Shawnee Golf & Country Club at 913-422-8357. Visit the Club online at www.shawneegolfcc.com. KANSAS CITY SPORTS & FITNESS

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Golf Resource The Classic Golf Shop

Eagles’ Landing Golf Course

Buy, sell and trade at the Classic Golf Shop. The Classic Golf Shop has all your favorite brands at less than half the price of new! If the economy is affecting your golf game, check out the like-new clubs at the Classic Golf Shop. A club is only new once and at the Classic Golf Shop you can save hundreds of dollars off the price of new. And you can “Buy It and Try It” too. If you don’t like the club, return it, trade it or let us sell it on consignment. The Classic Golf Shop has been outfitting golfers in quality like-new clubs and accessories for over six years and is located at 7230 W. 79th Street in Old Overland Park. Call 913-383-9100 today to see if they have the club you’ve been looking for.

Eagles’ Landing Golf Course is regarded as one of the best valued Public golf courses in the Kansas City area. The golf course features bluegrass fairways, bentgrass greens and a choice of four sets of tees to accomodate players of all skill levels. Our golf assocation is one of the largest in the area and has reserved tee times daily for association members. The restaurant/bar is open daily and our banquet facility can accomodate groups from 20 to over 100. Eagles’ Landing is truely the place to play in the southland. 4200 Bong Ave Belton, MO 64012 (816) 318-0004 eagleslandinggolfcourse.com

The Communities at Branson Creek

Golf Ball Paul’s

Six closely related but distinctly different neighborhoods come together as the Communities at Branson Creek, and offer a noteworthy stop on the Where to Retire Tour. We are proud to be listed among the Top 100 residential developments in the US. Buying opportunities have never been more attractive in one of the nation’s most prominent vacation destinations, so be sure to consider one of our communities of distinction. Ownership in any of our properties gives you membership to John Daly’s Murder Rock Golf and Country Club. This allows you to use the private member’s lounge, pool, tennis, fitness center, hiking/biking trails and Creekside Marina on Table Rock Lake. You will also have access to John Daly’s Murder Rock Golf Course as well as Branson Creek Golf Course. You will be just a few minutes from Branson’s fantastic shopping, glittering entertainment, and delightful dining. Best of all, you’ll live the lifestyle you’ve earned when you become an owner at the Communities at Branson Creek. For information, please call the Preview Center at 417-336-0940 or branson-creek.com.

Golf Ball Paul’s has been selling pre-driven golf balls for 27 years. Our retail location is at 1211 Southwest Blvd. KC, KS. 66103. We carry most every brand made. They come in several different quantities and qualities. Prices are about 1/2 to 1/3 the price of new balls. We also sell wholesale bulk balls, and range balls. 913-677-5767 golfballpauls.com golfballpaul@sbcglobal.net

Dub’s Dread Golf Club Since its inaugural round in the early 1960’s, Dub’s Dread has hosted several high profile matches between historic golfers such as Jug McSpaden, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicholaus. Walk in their footsteps at this historic golfing landmark. Known for its superb design, premier playing conditions, and outstanding service, Dub’s Dread is a local favorite and a must play for area visitors. Designed with five sets of tees Dub’s Dread offers a yardage range from as little as 5200 yards to as long as 7200 yards. Dub’s Dread is a course that will provide a memorable and enjoyable experience. 12601 Hollingsworth Road, KC, KS 66109 913-871-7616 dubsdreadgolfclub.com 26

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Golf MD Two of the top golf club fitters in the nation are right here in Kansas City at Golf MD. Golf MD has been serving the golfing community since 1992 by repairing and building custom golf clubs. Bring your clubs to Golf MD for re-gripping, reshafting and lie, loft and shaft frequency analysis. We have two of the world’s top club fitters on staff and we take pride in our workmanship and dedication to customer service. We want to make your new club experience the best it can be. Just like the pros on tour, we use the Trackman Launch Monitor to get you a custom fit. And when we build custom clubs we only use quality components. Golf MD is conveniently located at 11231 Strang Line Rd. in Lenexa just south of College Blvd. Visit us online at golf-md.com, call 913663-5050 or email Mike Dickerson at golfmd@everestkc.net.

GolfStakes.com With Golfstakes.com, you can score golf rounds and side games on ANY web enabled cell phone while playing golf. Sign up is easy and best of all it is FREE! There are over 18,000 courses and 22 different side games to choose from. Games can be played across multiple groups and players can see LIVE updates on the course. Scoring leagues and tournaments has never been easier. Golfstakes also keeps scoring stats so you can see how many birdies, pars, and bogeys you have made and you can lookup previous

rounds anytime. Sign up FREE today at golfstakes.com.

Grand Summit Golf & Country Club With an emphasis on quality and affordability, Grand Summit Golf & Country Club offers a beautiful 18-hole championship golf course maintained by one of the most attentive staffs in the area. The entrance to Grand Summit Golf & Country Club is bordered by a progression of trees and shrubs leading to the southern-style clubhouse. Inside, you will be greeted with hospitality from both the golf shop and the grill personnel. The course is demanding but spectacular with its rolling terrain, numerous large trees, and rocky creeks. A wide variety of shots are required of its players. 15101 Grand Summit Blvd Grandview, MO 64030 (816) 331-3978 grandsummitgolfcc.com

Lake Valley Golf and Country Club Voted #1 golf course at the Lake of the Ozarks for the third successive year, Lake Valley offers a unique course layout that features six par 3’s, six par 4’s and six par 5’s. Multiple sets of tees and generous fairways offer players of all skill levels an enjoyable round. The gently rolling terrain offers lush bermuda fairways, zoysia tees and the trickiest greens in mid Missouri. Designed in 1967, the course has matured to perfection. Don’t miss the scenic beauty and friendly atmosphere that make Lake Valley a must play for any golf trip to the Lake. Call (573) 346-7218 to reserve your tee time today! Or find us online at: lakevalleygolf.com

Lake.” The original 18-hole Arnold Palmer Signature course has been complimented by the Links 9 giving us the opportunity to fill you day with different rotations of championship golf. Osage National is a resort-style, golf community featuring a huge clubhouse with an awardwinning pro shop, the Eagle View Sports Bar and banquet facility. Condominium lodging allows for multi-day golf trips. Osage National Golf Resort Lake Ozark, MO 866-365-1950 OsageNational.com

Rockwood Golf Club This short but challenging course rewards accuracy off the tee, while the mature trees lining the fairways will punish a wayward shot. The small and quick greens make Rockwood a quality test for the most skilled short game players and challenges beginners to develop quality short games. Rockwood was once one of the premier golf clubs in the Kansas City area. In fact, Harry S. Truman was a member and reportedly learned of his presidential victory while relaxing in the clubhouse. Our friendly staff will make sure you have a great time and a great round of golf. Come and find out for yourself why we are truly “Kansas City’s #1 Golf Value!” You won’t be disappointed! Rockwood is also in a great location, in the heart of the Kansas City metro area, and less than 2 miles from Kauffman Stadium! Rockwood Golf Club 2400 South Maywood Independence, MO 64052 (816) 252-2000 www.rockwoodgolfclub.com

Shawnee Golf & Country Club Murder Rock Golf Club Designed by Landmark Land Company, the 18-hole Championship Golf Course that is Murder Rock Golf Club enhances the magnificent landscape of the Ozark Mountains, incorporating the natural beauty of the land with lush fairways and pristine greens. The course plays to a par 71, and ranges in length from 6,768 from the Tournament Tees to 5,627 from the Forward Tees. Golfers are treated to a wonderful variety of golf holes by design, risk-reward Par 5’s, challenging Par 4’s and dramatic Par 3’s. Come and experience Murder Rock Today! 1250 Golf Club Drive in Hollister MO. (417) 332-3259 murderrock.com

Shawnee Golf & Country Club is a 27-hole championship golf course designed with bent grass greens, zoysia fairways and tees, and fescue roughs. The clubhouse features a fully stocked pro shop, 19th Hole Grill, men’s and women’s locker rooms, and a state of the art fitness center. The course is highlighted by beautiful rolling elevations, amphitheater backdrops, and greens that slope with the natural terrain. There are four sets of tee boxes offering a challenge to golfers of all ability levels. The signature hole, #17, is one of the most beautiful and toughest holes on Kansas golf courses. 6404 Hedge Lane Terrace Shawnee, KS 913-422-8357 www.shawneegolfcc.com

Osage National Golf Resort

Sport Court

Located at the Lake of the Ozarks, Osage National Golf Resort is acknowledged as having the best layout of any golf course at the Lake. It is rated “Four Stars” by Golf Digest magazine and is considered the “Must Play Course at the

Imagine a practice putting green in your own backyard. Sport Court can make that vision a reality. Sport Court specializes in building true Tourquality practice greens that are engineered to


Resource - continued from previous page meet the strictest guidelines. Anyone can lay down outdoor carpet and call it a putting green, but our greens are designed to give you the truest ball roll and break, durability and attractiveness you’ll find anywhere. Time tested and proven to perform, Sport Court greens can be found in the top teaching facilities and country clubs throughout the country. So whether you’re a recreational golfer looking to add some interest to you backyard or someone who takes their game a little more serious, Sport Court can make it happen. To learn more about our Tour Quality Greens , contact Marc Loe at Sport Court by calling 913- 963-7529. WinterStone Golf Course Winterstone Golf Course is an upscale championship 18 hole course located off highway 291 on E.Kentucky Road in Independence, Missouri. Winterstone, designedby renowned designer Craig Schriener, is a fabulous layout of rolling hills and big beautiful trees giving it feel unlike any course in the Kansas City area. “A touch of the Lake of the Ozarks” best describes the panoramic views as you make your way down the zosia fairways. Winterstone offers holes running contiguous to each other, unobstructed by housing developements, unusual for modern public layouts. It’s pure golf in a great location, one of the best places to play in Kansas City and all of Missouri. Winterstone also offers a 19th hole Pavillion that provides open air dinning before or after the round or closed in with folding glass doors for year round comfort. The Pavillion would be a great spot for a reception. WinterStone Golf Course 17101 E. Kentucky Road Independence, MO 64058 816-257-5755 www.winterstonegolf.com

PROPER POSTURE To achieve proper posture, start from a standing position with your stance width as wide as your shoulders or hips (whichever is wider) and follow this checklist: 1. Let the hips tilt back wards or away from the golf ball, knees locked. 2. Maintaining a straight spine, tilt forward from the hip sockets until it is approximately 45 degrees to the ground or until you feel your weight out on your toes.. 3. Unlock your knees and allow them to flex slightly until you feel your weight move from the toes to the middle of your feet. 4. Let your arms hang directly below your shoulders and just above your toe line. Source: angelfire.com

Kansas City Metro Golf Courses

Missouri Locations

Adams Pointe Golf Club Bent Oak Golf Club Blackberry Trails (9-Holes) Country Creek Golf Course - The Quarry Country Creek Golf Course - The Rock Country Creek Golf Course - Hoot’s Hollow Drumm Farm Exec.Golf Course. Drumm Farm Golf Club Eagles Landing Golf Course Fred Arbanas Golf Course Grand Summit Golf & Country Club Heart of America Golf Course. & Academy Minor Park Golf Course River Oaks Golf Course Rockwood Golf Course Royal Meadows Golf Club Shamrock Hills Golf Course Swope Memorial Golf Course Teetering Rocks Golf Course WinterStone Golf Club

1601 RD Mize Road Blue Springs, MO 1300 SE 30th, Oak Grove, MO 201 E. State Rt. A, Archie,MO 21601 East State Road P, Pleasant Hill, MO 21601 East State Road P, Pleasant Hill, MO 21601 East State Rd. P, Pleasant Hill, MO 15400 E. 34th Street, Independence, MO 15400 E. 34th Street, Independence, MO 4200 Bong Ave., Belton MO 11100 View High Drive, KC,MO 15101 Grand Summit Blvd., Grandview, MO 7501 Blue River Pwky, KC, MO 1112 Holmes Road, KC,MO 14204 St. Andrews Drive, Grandview, MO 2400 S. Maywood, Independence, MO 10501 E. 47th, KC, MO 3161 S. 291 Hwy, Lee’s Summit, MO 6900 Swope Memorial Drive, KC, MO 12040 E. 86th, KC, MO 291 Hwy. & Kentucky Road, Independence, MO

816-220-3673 816-690-3028 816-430-5737 816-540-5225 816-540-5225 816-380-4920 816-350-9900 816-350-9900 816-318-0004 816-761-9445 816-331-3978 816-513-8940 816-942-4033 816-966-8111 816-252-2000 816-353-1323 816-537-6556 816-513-8910 816-356-1111 816-257-5755

North of The River Locations Clay Crest Golf Club Excelsior Springs Golf Course Hidden Valley Golf Course Hodge Park Golf Club Maple Creek Athletic Club Paradise Pointe - Outlaw Paradise Pointe - The Posse Plattsburg Golf Club Shiloh Springs Golf Club Shirkey Golf Club Shoal Creek Golf Club Tiffany Greens Golf Club

925 N. Lightburne Road, Liberty, MO 1201 E. Golf Hill Road, Excelsior Springs, MO 800 W 184th, Lawson, MO 7000 NE Barry Road, KC, MO 5330 NE Oakridge Drive, KC, MO 18212 Golf Course Road, Smithville, MO 18212 Golf Course Road, Smithville, MO 8th & Frost, Plattsburg, MO 14750 Fairway Lane, Platte City, MO 902 Wollard, Richmond, MO 8905 Shoal Creek Pkwy, KC, MO 6100 Tiffany Springs Pkwy, KC., MO

816-781-6522 816-630-3731 816-580-3444 816-781-4152 816-459-8400 816-532-4100 816-532-4100 816-539-3328 816-270-4653 816-470-2582 816-407-7242 816-880-9600

Kansas Locations Alvamar Golf Club Burning Tree Golf Club Deer Creek Golf Club Dub’s Dread Golf Club Eagle Bend Golf Course Falcon Lakes Golf Club Falcon Ridge Golf Club Falcon Valley Golf Course Gardner Golf Club Heritage Park Golf Course Iron Horse Golf Club Oak Country Club (public) Overland Park Golf Course Painted Hills Golf Course Prairie Highlands Golf Club Shawnee Golf & Country Club Smiley’s Golf Complex St. Andrews Golf Course Sunflower Golf Course Sycamore Ridge Golf Course The Golf Club of Kansas Tomahawk Hills Golf Club

1800 Crossgate Drive, Lawrence, KS 7909 Wyandotte Street, DeSoto, KS 7030 West 133rd, Overland Park, KS 12601 Hollingsworth Road, KC, KS 1250 E 902 Road, Lawrence, KS 4605 Clubhouse Drive, Basehor, KS 20200 Prairie Star Pkwy, Lenexa, KS 9801 Falcon Valley Dr., Lenexa, KS. 15810 S. Gardner Road, Gardner, KS 16445 Lackman Road Olathe, KS 15400 Mission Road, Leawood, KS 880 Scott Drive, DeSoto, KS 12501 Quivera Road, Overland Park, KS 7101 Parallel Pkwy. KC., KS 14695 S. Inverness Street, Olathe, KS 6404 Hedge Lane Terrace, Shawnee, KS 10195 Monticello Terrace, Lenexa, KS 11099 W. 135th Street, Overland Park, KS 122nd Street & Riverview, Kansas City, KS 21731 Clubhouse Drive, Spring Hill, KS 8145 W 87th Street Pkwy, Lenexa, KS 17501 Midland Drive, Shawnee, KS

785-842-1907 913-301 9631 913-681-3100 913-324-5006 785-748-0600 913-724-4653 913-393-4653 913-780-5976 913-856-8858 913-829-4653 913-685-4653 913-583-3503 913-897-3809 913-334-1111 913-856-7235 913-422-8357 913-782-1323 913-897-3808 913- 721-2727 913-592-5292 913-888-4894 913-631-8000

Hwy 65 at Branson Creek Pkwy, Branson, MO 5544 W. Hwy. 266, Springfield, MO 2380 E Hwy 76, Branson, MO 1 Lakeshore Drive, Kimberling City, MO Lake Road 39-72, Shell Knob, MO 1600 LedgeStone Way, Branson, MO Golf Club Drive, Holister, MO 142 Club House Drive, Branson, MO 2850 W Farm Road, Springfield, MO 379 Links Lane, Forsyth, MO 245 S. Wildwood Drive, Branson, MO 612 Devil’s Pool Road, Branson, MO

888-772-9990 417-865-8888 417-334-4838 417-739-4370 417-858-6330 417-335-8187 417-332-3259 866-334-4477 417-891-1645 417-546-5454 800-864-4145 417-339-4312

Branson, MO Golf Courses Branson Creek Golf Club Deer Lake Golf Club Holiday Hills Golf Club Kimberling Golf Course Kings River Golf Course LedgeStone Golf Club Murder Rock Golf Club Pointe Royal Golf Club River Cut Golf Club Taneycomo Golf Course Thousand Hills Golf Club Top of The Rock Golf Course.

Lake of the Ozarks Locations Bayview Golf Club 9-hole Bear Creek Valley Golf Club Deer Chase Golf Club Dogwood Hills Golf Club Eldon Country Club

573-346-6617 573-302-1000 573-346-6177 573-348-3153 573-392-4172

Indian Rock Golf Club Lake Valley Golf Club Old Kinderhook Golf Club Osage National Golf Club Redfield Golf & Country Club Rolling Hills Golf Club

573-372-3023 573-346-7218 573-346-4444 573-365-1950 573-498-0110 573-378-5109

Season Ridge Golf Club Sycamore Creek Golf Club Tan-Tara Hidden Lakes 9-Holes Tan-Tara The Oaks Golf Club Witches Cove Golf Course KANSAS CITY SPORTS & FITNESS

573-365-8544 573-348-9593 573-348-8527 573-348-8521 573-365-8532 MARCH 2009

27


presents THE KC BASEBALL REPORT

Mike Sweeney is a Hall of Fame person ike Sweeney Hall of Famer? Odds makers might put the chance of that ever happening at 3,000-to-1. Maybe higher. But, with virtually every superstar baseball player in the past decade being caught cheating with performance-enhancing drugs, maybe putting Sweeney in the HOF might not be a stretch. Kansas City Royals fans know that Sweeney, 35, was a heckuva ballplayer during his 13 seasons with the team. He had a .299 average and was an all-Star. He also epitomized integrity in everything he did on and off the field. When he was healthy Sweeney was a terror. However, he was rarely healthy in recent years. It seemed as if he was pulling something several times a season. Knee problems, neck and back issues, leg problems, etc. Despite all his aches and pains and frequent fan criticism for missing games, Sweeney refused to compromise his integrity and take steroids. It could have made all the difference between him being a Hall of Famer and just a good ballplayer. Sweeney was also outspoken about the importance of his Christian faith in his life.

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That alone encouraged some folks who hoped he would slip up and they could label him as a hypocrite. It hasn’t worked. I must admit until recently I was not aware of the huge difference steroids could make in a player. A casual conversation with a high school baseball coach changed all that. The coach told the story of a young kid who was not good enough to be a starter on his high school team. In his entire high school career the kid never hit a single home run. Not one. However, after high school the youngster started taking steroids. Things changed dramatically. He was offered a college scholarship at a strong baseball school. This kid, who never hit a single home run in high school, set his college’s home run record. Thanks to steroids this young man now has a bona fide chance for a major league career. Better hitting through chemicals.

The coach’s story about the steroid user reminded me of a statement made by Sweeney in a recent interview. “I feel bad for the players who were marginal big league, Triple-A players who never got the chance to play because there were guys above them who were taking short cuts. And they had a boost. It’s no secret that those guys who did steroids had a boost in production. Guys throwing 88 started throwing 94. Guys that were hitting eight, 10 homers a year were hitting 30.” Sweeney said he lamented many players never got a chance in the major leagues because they were stuck behind cheaters. “Most of those guys are out the game now,” he said. “They are working jobs and trying to provide for their families - while other guys made millions.” Maybe Major League baseball might want to actually look at someone like

Sweeney who played “clean” and recognize that he is the type of player who really belongs in the Hall of Fame. The chances of that happening are slim and none. But don’t shed a John tear for Mike Sweeney. Landsberg When his playing days Contributing are over he will have no Writer regrets because his integrity is intact. “[I’m] able to look myself in the mirror for the rest of my life and know that everything on the back of the baseball card is 100 percent me, rather than hit 500 home runs and not being able to look myself in the mirror the rest of my life knowing I cheated the game,” he said in an Associated Press interview. What a class act. He’s a Hall of Fame guy in my book. Feel free to send your thoughts, comments, complaints, whatever to John at jlandsberg@bottomlinecom.com.

The KC Connection: St. Louis have quite often talked about the Kansas City connection with St. Louis and most of us share in the memories of the I-70 World Series of 1985. Sure, we will all remember the Game Six call Jorge Orta safe at first – and the Cardinals imploding after that. Most of us who are Royals’ fans will forever hold on to our only World Series triumph against Whitey Herzog’s Cardinals. However, we all know when St. Louis comes to Kauffman Stadium, it is a sea of red, like a Nebraska Cornhuskers road game in Manhattan in the late 1980s. However, this is not what drew my attention, the last time I was in St. Louis. With the 2009 baseball season drawing near, Alex Rodriguez and his admitting to the use of steroids reminded me of another KC Connection; one that is subtle, and quite forgotten. Report after report and reaction after reaction about A-Roid, A-Fraud, or whatever the media could throw out their triggered my emotions about the man who got attacked by the media for the wrong reasons, Roger Maris. It is amazing that we continue to hear about today’s sluggers who supposedly juiced up and brought baseball, the fans and the world what we always want to see, a home run. If you venture to St. Louis, Mark McGwire jerseys can still be seen everywhere and a five- to six-miles stretch of I-70 is named after him, even though there

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have been attempts to take that off. After the 1994 strike-shortened season, the long ball saved Major League baseball in the mid-90s with the likes of Sammy Sosa and McGwire. Groves of fans flocked the ballparks to watch the gigantic men hit 400plus feet bombs during batting practice, dumping souvenirs in the hands of fan after fan and we all cheered. Now we jeer and omit them from the Hall of Fame. Truthfully, I’m not sure what we should do. Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s record and we all watched with anticipation. ESPN broke in for every at-bat and we watched. Now, he sits awaiting his future for the Hall, well as the other guys who “cheated” in order to be better, make more money and make baseball happy. A-Rod will probably break Bond’s all-time homer record. It will be amazing how writers, the media and fans respond if he does. In 1961, Roger Maris hit number 61* off of Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard on the last day of the season. There were an announced 23,000 fans in attendance to watch his record-breaking home run* sail into the right field bleachers. We all know the story, the drama and his character. A few years afterwards, Maris was traded to St. Louis for Charley Smith, who had 69 career home runs in 10 seasons. St. Louis welcomed Maris and his Midwestern manner and he played his final two seasons there with World Series appearances both years.

The Yankees got Maris in part of a trade with Kansas City. With New York, he won back to back MVP honors. His family remained here during his first few seasons with the Yankees as he wanted to keep them away from New York. Again, as he broke Babe Ruth’s record for home runs for a season*, the media and fans alike did not support him for his efforts. Ok, you get the point, you see the asterisk as I make references to the 61 home runs he hit and here is why. Don’t be surprised if you start to see references to the single season record be given back to Roger Maris. Sosa, McGwire and Bonds all hit more than 61 home runs and many believe they were aided by steroids. Maris was aided by additional games, weaker pitching thanks to expansion and batting before Mantle. The asterisk was added because of the added edge of the 162-game schedule he had over Babe Ruth who hit 60 in 1927, when there was a 54game schedule. The funny thing is that he was not supported in 1961 for his efforts, but is applauded today while we cheered McGwire, Sosa and Bonds during their run, only to feel cheated ourselves as we look back. How odd would it be if baseball decided to remove the records for players who used steroids. The Olympics strip people of their medals. Why not baseball? Maris died of cancer in 1985, just short

of the steroid era and his legacy lives on, thanks partly to the Billy Crystal movie 61* starring Barry Pepper. One of his houses here in KC still has 61 in the entrance way. He played a little more than a season and a half with James the Athletics, representPeuster ing KC in the 1959 allContributing star game, despite missWriter ing more than 40 games due to appendicitis. The great debate lingers on for Maris being in the Hall of Fame. With McGwire not even coming close, I wouldn’t be surprised if the veteran’s committee votes in Maris. Seriously, it should be all about what you do on the field, for the fans, for the game itself. One good season may not be an automatic ticket in, but one great season might just do it. As far as today and beyond, I can’t wait for the day in which I can write about a Royals/Cardinals rematch or a Chiefs/ Rams Super Bowl, but I think I am going to have to wait awhile for that. Maybe I can pass that down to my grandchildren. Until then, we hold on to past successes. The Royals single-season record for home runs is still held by Steve Balboni with 36 in 1985. Thirty-six how sad is that? However, at least we know he did it the old fashion way, without steroids.


presents THE KC BASEBALL REPORT By ALAN ESKEW, Editor

The 2009 Royals want to duplicate the 2008 Rays 10 games left in the season.” body hope out there in baseball. There is he rallying cry of the Kansas City Mike Jacobs compares the Royals to the always a chance. You don’t have to be a Royals is not Remember the Alamo, Florida but Remember the Marlins, where Tampa Bay Rays. he hit 32 home Tampa Bay had never finruns last seaished with a winning record son. The in its history. They had the Marlins went worst record in the majors, 84-77 in 2008, 66-96, in 2007. They were finishing 7 ½ 2008 American League back of evenchampions, winning tual World 97 games. Series chamNeed another example. pion The Colorado Rockies lost Philadelphia 94 games in 2004, 95 games and in third in 2005 and 86 games in place in the 2006. In 2007, they had a National miraculous finish, won 90 League East. games and captured the “It’s a situaNational League pennant. tion like I had The Detroit Tigers, who last year with were laughing stocks in losthe Marlins,” ing 119 games in 2003, were Jacobs said. in the 2006 World Series. “We were The Royals are optimistic young down they could be the bolt from there with the the blue club this season. Marlins and “They’re turning it we’re young around,” reliever Kyle Shortstop Mike Aviles will have to be a key contributor if the Royals are able to duplicate here, too. It is Farnsworth said on one of the success of the 2008 Rays. going to be a the reasons he signed with good situation over here. It’s a good young huge payroll team to accomplish somethe Royals. “That’s our thinking. Why thing.” couldn’t it be like Tampa? They came out Right-hander Jamey Wright, who is back of nowhere. There’s no reason why we with the Royals for the first time since four can’t put together a team here and do the starts in 2003, knows a good spring trainsame thing.” “There’s no reason why we can’t be (the ing and a strong start to the regular season could be huge for Kansas City to be a facnext Tampa Bay). We have good starting tor in the 2009 playoff race. pitching, good defense, good bullpen, “Tampa Bay, the Rockies, the year veterans on the team that can help out the before that, anything can happen,” Wright young guys, good guys coming up with said. “I think the key is getting that swaggreat talent. There’s no reason why we ger early on in spring training. You get an couldn’t. We’re going to be a good team.” attitude, a mindset and don’t let anything Bench coach John Gibbons managed come in the way of these games in spring Toronto last season and viewed first-hand training. People say they are not important the Rays getting off to a good start and or don’t mean anything. Well, they mean maintaining throughout the season to win something to the guys in this clubhouse. the American League East, where four “You start getting that confidence and teams won 86 or more games. get out of the gates quick. Remember in Could the Royals be the Rays of 2009? 2003 with the Royals (starting the season “We hope so,” Gibbons said. “Who knows? They proved to a lot of people, hey 17-4) , that’s what they did. They got out of the gate quick and they were playing it can happen. It’s very tough to do what they did. But what it does is it gives every- meaningful games all the way until about Photo by Scott Weaver

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SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISON RAYS 2007 Record 66-96, Finished 5th in AL Eastern Division Scored 782 runs, Allowed 944 runs

ROYALS 2008 Record 75-87, 4th place in AL Central Division Scored 691 runs, Allowed 781 runs

2008 Record 97-65, 1st place in AL Eastern Division Won AL Pennant Scored 774 runs, Allowed 671 runs

2009 Record

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team, moving in the right direction. I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people this year because this is a real good ball club, especially with the guys they brought in. I think we’re going to go out and do some stuff this year. It’s always nice to sneak up on some people.” The Royals went 18-8 in September, the best record in the majors for the month, so there is reason to hope. “The last three years you can just see them getting better and better and better,” said Willie Bloomquist, one of the newcomers brought in by general manager Dayton Moore. “It is an organization and team going in the right direction.”

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presents THE KC BASEBALL REPORT By ALAN ESKEW, Editor

Royals need Bannister of 2007 to resurface in 2009 Brian Bannister had one scare in his spring training debut against San Diego. mil Brown, a former Kansas City Royals teammate who is trying to earn a job with the Padres, had the bat slip out of his grip and fly into the stands. The bat, also, went in the vicinity of Byrnn Avery Bannister, the 4 ½-month old daughter of Brian and his wife Megan. It was Brynn Avery’s first time to see her father pitch and she was unprepared for unidentified flying objects. She began to cry. “I don’t think the bat was close (to her),” daddy Brian said. “It was more the screams around her.” Bannister retired all six Padres he faced. It was the first step to putting behind a forgettable 2008 season. Bannister was a 2007 Rookie of the Year candidate, going 12-7 with a 3.16 earned run average in his first 28 starts. He went 0-2 with a 10.26 ERA in his final four starts, but finished with a respectable 12-9 record and 3.87 ERA. Bannister started 2008 3-0 with an 0.86 ERA, including a complete-game three-hitter against Minnesota. Bannister would go 6-16 the rest of the season. He finished with a 5.76 ERA, nearly two runs higher than in 2007. He went 0-9 with a 7.79 ERA in a 13-game stretch from June 29-Sept. 9. Batters hit .329 against him with two outs. Bannister, a stat freak, said he did not look at statistics during the off-season. “People know I like statistics,” Bannister said. “It’s part of who I am. It’s part of how the fans relate to me. I really worked on the mechanical stuff. I worked with a biomechanical guy and just tried to get more out of my body in a better way. I was kind of searching the second half of last year. We worked on getting the hump out of my curveball and my changeup and getting my release point more consistent. Hopefully, my down angle will be a little better.” Bannister is a vital component to the Royals’ chances of being contenders in the American League Central this season. If Bannister pitches like he did the first three games of last season and like he did most of 2007, the Royals could be playing meaningful games in September. If his results are the same as last season, the Royals could have yet another season of despair and Bannister could be going back to the minors. “I just know how tough the year was for me, both on the field and off the field,” Bannister said. “I try to take the positives from it. I know what areas I struggled in. The things I did really well in 2007, I’m looking forward to doing again this year. “I stepped up my physical workouts. I’m just going to try to relax and have fun more with the team. That was a big part of what was missing last year, just having fun

out there on the field.” It is hard to have fun, however, when you and the team are not winning.

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Photo by Scott Weaver

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community wanted to see if I could do it again. I think I put responsibility on myself kind of going in as the No. 2 starter after the year I had in 2007. I just put a lot of pressure on myself in general and I don’t think I had as much fun as I could have. It is something I’m really working off this year, just going out and playing baseball, not thinking too much, not trying to do too much.” Bannister looked like a Cy Young candidate his first three starts, but won only two games, both in September, after the All-Star break. He was 07 in July and August with an ERA in the sevens for both months. “It started off great,” Bannister said. “My wife was pregnant and she started having problems with her labor right in the middle of the season. I, also, put a lot of pressure on myself to do well and soon as I

“There were just a lot of expectations for last year,” he said. “I had really a good 2007 and I think in general the baseball

started to struggle. I didn’t ever get it back to the level I wanted to. “I have a clear mind going into this year. I had a lot of fun this off-season with my daughter. I’ve really worked hard with a lot of good baseball people this off-season. I’m just really optimistic for the year.” Manager Trey Hillman said Bannister needs to pitch to contact more. Bannister struck out 113 in 2008, up from 77 his rookie season. “I was trying to throw hard in the wrong way,” said Bannister, who is not a hard thrower. “We watched a lot of film in the off-season. We tried to get my stride a little longer, my release a little better, my rotation a little better. I was just kind of searching the second half of last year, trying to get back my rhythm. I wasn’t necessarily going about it in the right way. I’m relaxed. I’m ready to go and have a good year for this organization. “I was putting so much pressure on myself last year that I just got away from what I do really well. I have a lot of ability, but I don’t think I trusted it enough. I didn’t pitch the way I know I can. It is just getting back to what I do well.” Exhibition games and statistics should not be considered a reliable barometer for the regular season, but Bannister needs a good March not only for a confidence-booster, but to cement his spot in the rotation. “Everything went well,” Bannister said of his outing against the Padres. “It is exactly how you wanted it to start. I feel I’m more ready to go this year at an earlier point. I’m trying to pitch like I will during the season already. Hopefully, it showed up.” Hopefully, the Bannister of 2007 will show up in 2009.


EVENT CALENDAR r

UPCOMING EVENTS March 5-8 March 7

MIAA Men’s & Women’s Basketball Tournaments, Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, MO Vertical Dash for Diabetes The Town Pavilion, Kansas City, MO

March 18-24 March 18 March 19-21 March 21

72nd Annual Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship Tournament, Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, MO Pride of Kansas City Basketball Tip-Off Midland Theatre, Kansas City, MO First/Second Rounds of the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO St. Patrick’s Snake Chase Benefit 5K Run/Walk, Cerner Campus, Kansas City, MO

March 22 April 3-5

Women’s Triathlon Workshop USA Volleyball Midwest Qualifier Bartle Hall, Kansas City, MO

If you have a sports event you’d like included in our calendar, send it to sfisch@kcsportspaper.com at least 45 days before the event.

Participants ready to take the court for H.O.R.S.E. ’N AROUND HOOPS he tip off of H.O.R.S.E. ’N AROUND HOOPS happens this month in Kansas City when celebrities take the court to play H.O.R.S.E. on Saturday, March 21st during the NAIA quarter finals. Matches are also scheduled during the NCAA Regionals in downtown Kansas City later this month. “We have many regional event that start in April,” says Kansas City promoter Keith Zimmerman of Double Dog Sports & Entertainment. The competition really accelerates with venues at selected high schools. “Mark your calendars because right now we have our first event that anyone can participate coming in early May,” adds Zimmerman. On Sunday, May 3rd a H.O.R.S.E. Tournament will be held at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park. “We’re working out details for more events in that time. We’re making plans to have an event at Cargo Largo in Independence and Crown Automotive in Lawrence,” says Zimmerman. Dates and times will be added to the H.O.R.S.E. ’N AROUND HOOPS schedule and published in upcoming issues of Kansas City Sports & Fitness. Readers can also find out more about upcoming events by listening to the two Kansas City Sports & Fitness Radio programs which air on Saturdays from 8-9 AM on Hot Talk 1510 AM and Friday evenings from 6-7 PM on 1140 and 1160 AM Winners from each competition a will have an opportunity to battle other area champions for the chance to face David

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Kalb and play for a grand prize of $10,000. Kalb, who resides in Los Angeles, is the man who beat Lebron James in this competition twice in September, 2008. He was recently chosen to appear on the reality TV show “Pros vs. Joes” on Spike TV. “Our list of celebrities who want to play H.O.R.S.E. has grown,” says Zimmerman who recently attended the NBA All-Star weekend festivities. One of the celebrities will be Cylk Cozart from the movie “White Men Can’t Jump.” In addition, pro sports and collegiate legends, newspaper, radio and television personalities will also participate in celebrity matches. KPRS and WHB radio will each put on specific competitions, crowning a winner to go on to the celebrity event. “Celebrities and the winners of the regional H.O.R.S.E. competitions will participate in our final competion which coincides with the Sports Commission Banquet scheduled in July at the Sprint Center,” says Zimmerman. The business community is stepping in with support of H.O.R.S.E. ’N AROUND HOOPS. Besides those already listed, sponsors of events include: The U.S. Army, St. Luke’s Health Systems, Event Management International, Big Bob’s Flooring Outlet and Dick’s Sporting Goods. For more detains on H.O.R.S.E. ’N AROUND HOOPS contact Keith Zimmerman at Double Dog Sports & Entertainment at keithzime@yahoo.com or call 913-568-8142. KANSAS CITY SPORTS & FITNESS

MARCH 2009

31


Kansaqs City Sports & Fitness  

March 2009 issue

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