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New style rules clash with old style traditions as Baseball is still adjusting to change.

The world of professional baseball has seen considerable rule changes in recent years, provoking players, coaches, and loyal fans to take sides on the game they love.

On January 16, 2014 Major League Baseball became the final professional North American sports league to implement the use of extended instant replay.  Baseball had a previous system in place since August 2008, which allowed only the umpire crew chiefs to call limited replays.

Under the new system team managers are granted the ability to challenge one play over the course of the game, two if the initial challenge is won.  The types of plays available for review have also grown to include force plays at any base, fair and foul ball calls, scorekeeping issues and many more.

If a replay is requested by the umpire or manager, the MLB turns over the decision power to a panel of six hand selected umpires in New York City. They then review the challenged play and send their final verdict to the umpire crew working the game.

Baseball is a game unlike most where few plays are needed to determine the outcome. The intention for the current system is to ensure that all calls are made correctly to keep the game as fair and accurate as possible.

While this may seem like a no brainer, there are still those who question the effectiveness of extended instant replay and call for its removal.  They criticize the time it adds to an already lengthy game and fell that it tarnishes old traditions thought to be critical to baseball.

Will Farmer, senior infielder at Southern Illinois University, like most believes the replay system has it pros and cons.  “I think it’s good and bad for baseball. It’s necessary for them to look at the bang-bang plays at the bases and make sure they get those calls right.”

Farmer continued by saying, “A downside of it is it obviously slows the game down and baseball is already a slow game. A three hour game can easily turn into a four hour or five hour game and that is ridiculous.  I think they’re going to fix it along the lines, it is still young right now.”

In 2016, the third season with extended replay, the MLB saw 1,531 challenges over the course of the year, 51.4% of which were overturned.  On average each replay lasted one minute and 54 seconds, keeping pace with the previous year’s numbers.

Dennis Galloway, a freelance sports production worker, has directed over 2,000 professional baseball telecasts during his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles.  He has seen the changes baseball has made over the years, going from the old rules to the rules used today. Galloway believes the MLB is accomplishing the task at hand with the new rules.

“I’m for it if it’s going to help get things right,” Galloway said.  “There have been too many times it has been shown on a telecast or even on the video board that a play is incorrect.  Fans are going crazy, announcers are going crazy on the air, but the call has not been reversed,”

One missed call that changed the history books occurred on June 2, 2010 when the Detroit Tigers faced the Cleveland Indians at Commerce Park in Detroit, Michigan, a day known to some as the “Galarraga game.”

Armando Galarraga was on his way to becoming the 21st pitcher in Major League history to throw a perfect game.  Galarraga retired the first 26 batters he faced when the Indians Jason Donald hit an infield grounder in the top of the ninth inning.

First Base Umpire Jim Joyce ruled Donald safe at first, to the dismay of Tigers players, fans and viewers around the world.  After another look, it was clear that the runner was out and Joyce made an error.  Without extended instant replay, the call stood and Galarraga was stripped of perfect game and his spot in history.

An emotional Joyce met with Galarraga and the media after the game, admitting his mistake and apologizing for the incident.  Under today’s rules the call would have been overruled and history could have been made yet again.galarraga-gives-joyce-lineup-card1

Some people still can’t accept the use of replays in baseball because they see it as a stain on the reputation and valued traditions passed down through generations.  Baseball is widely seen as a sport that hasn’t changed much since it first playing.

Galloway is very adamant about his stance on technology in today’s world. “You need to keep up with the times.  Technology is really entering into a lot of sports, and fans are looking for this.”

Change is inevitable, and the technological revolutions of the past 20 years are hard to avoid even in an old style sport.  The use of cameras at live sporting events is still a growing industry, which allows fans both at the stadium and at home to see any play from multiple angles.

Farmer feels as though new technology is essential to today’s game.  “I think times are changing, and I feel like you’re in the stone age if you don’t embrace the new technology. It’s better for the game to get things right, and if the technology is there why not do it?”

Extended instant replay has been around for three seasons now, and the system has seen improvements since its debut.  More calls are being reviewed, resulting in a more accurate game for all involved.

Baseball may not be the same game as it once was, but technological innovation and acceptance to change can strengthen the traditional ideas by shaping them to more modern societal values.

The Pack down the Eagles in Philly, keep their playoff hopes alive.

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams were clicking in Green Bay’s 27-13 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football.

Rodgers posted a 92.6 passer rating throwing for 313-yards and two touchdowns, both of which were caught by Adams who posted 113 receiving yards to go with the two scores.

The Packers (5-6) ended a four game losing streak with the victory, which came to no surprise to Aaron Rodgers.  During his media time on Wednesday, Rodgers predicted the Packers would go undefeated to finish the season.

“I feel like we can run the table, I really do. The offense is starting to click a little bit more, we’ve just got to put together a game where we’re more consistent from the first snap to the last. We’ve been, I think, getting closer to that.”

A key to the Packers victory is getting the offense going early to take the pressure off a struggling defense.  Green Bay’s defense has given up at least 30 points in each of its last four games, all resulting in losses.

“We’ve really been clicking at times in the last few games,” Rodgers said. “But it’s going to be important that we get going early. We had three three-and-outs to start the [Washington] game, but overall on the season, we’ve done a better job of limiting our three-and-outs, we’ve been sustaining drives pretty well.”

Rodgers did exactly that, throwing two touchdowns on the first two drives of the game.  Davante Adams caught both scoring passes, his seventh and eighth scores of the year.

New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers

(Pic Above: Davante Adams)

Philadelphia (5-6) struggled offensively all night, scoring a touchdown only on their first drive of the game on a 1-yard rush by QB Carson Wentz.  Wentz went 24-36 on the night, with 254-yards and one interception.

This was the Eagles first home loss of the season, the only high point they had going for this dreary season.  This is one the Eagles would like to put behind them.

The Eagles, who started the season 3-0, have gone 2-6 since as they sit in last place in the NFC East.

In the Packers case they sit in third place in the NFL North, 2 games behind the Detriot Lions.

For Aaron Rogers prediction for the team to come true, the Packers will have to win against Houston, Seattle, at Chicago, Minnesota and at Detroit.

Last second heroics from Sean O’Brien leads the Salukis to a thrilling overtime victory over the Murray St. Racers.

Sean O’Brien tips in a last second shot to push the Salukis to an overtime victory over Murray State, 89-85, Tuesday night in Carbondale.

The Salukis (4-3) never trailed the Racers (3-4) for the final 20 minutes of the game, but that didn’t stop Murray State from fighting until the last moments.

SIU was up 77-74 with five seconds to go in the fourth quarter, when a defensive breakdown from Mike Rodriguez, lead to Bryce Jones of Murray State nailing a buzzer beating three pointer to send the game to OT.

The Salukis came out of the huddle at the start of overtime with a fire in their eyes. They were reliving the same scenario in last seasons loss to Evansville, a game that seemed to shake the Salukis, tarnishing their season.

“Last year when they (Evansville) hit that same shot we immediately put our heads down,” Senior point guard Mike Rodriguez said after the game. “This time we didn’t say anything about it, we just wanted to have a different mindset.”

Head Coach Barry Hinson was looking for his seniors to step up, and they did exactly that.

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Leo Vincent nailed a three pointer in the beginning seconds of overtime, after going only 1-6 from downtown in regulation.  Rodriguez stole the ball on the next possession and fed it to O’Brien for the transition layup and an early five-point overtime lead.

“(Mike Rodriguez) wants the ball in his hands at crunch time. Leo Vincent wants the ball in his hands at crunch time,” Hinson said. “Sean O’Brien — crunch time — made a big play. Our three seniors made big plays tonight.”

The Racers weren’t out of gas yet, scoring four quick points and narrowing the Salukis lead to one.  After both teams were battling possession after possession, the game was tied at 85 with 1:06 to go.

That’s when the SIU Arena witnessed one of Sean O’Brien’s most clutch moments in his Saluki Career.    Rodriguez drove the ball down the right baseline, put up a jumper, no good and O’Brien was there to caress it in off the rim for the go-ahead basket.

“I had to wait a second to make sure it cleared the cylinder,” O’Brien said after the game. “As soon as it rolled out I was right there to put it in.”

The Salukis game plan was to fill the inside, making Murray St take outside shot.  This almost backfired on the Salukis when the Racers came out hot, hitting 9 three pointers in the first half, taking an early 16-7 advantage.

The Salukis weren’t phased by the hot start though and stuck to coach Hinson’s plan.  They notched down the Racers lead with inside points, outscoring the Racers in the paint 42-14.

The win gives the Salukis their first positive record of the year.  After losing their first two games, SIU has gone 3-1 since, and their confidence is at an all-time high with conference looming soon.

For full stats visit: http://siusalukis.com/boxscore.aspx?path=mbball&id=7622

 

Camp Nou offers another thriller as Real Madrid stuns Barcelona in El Clasico.

The 264th playing of the El Clåsico was a night to remember at Camp Nou as Real Madrid’s hero, Cristiano Ronaldo, scored a late game goal to secure the 2-1 win and end Barcelona’s 39 game unbeaten streak.

Real Madrid’s first win at Camp Nou since 2013 brought heartbreak to the home team and their fans when the longest unbeaten streak in Spanish football league history was ended in the 85th minute.

The first half of play was quiet as both teams headed into the locker room at halftime with the score tied at zero.  Barcelona had six shots on goal in the first half, while Real Madrid shot five.

The first goal didn’t come until the minute 56th when Gerard Piqué headed in a corner kick from Ivan Rakitic to give Barcelona the 1-0 lead.

Real Madrid struck back quickly with a goal of their own five minutes later in the 61’ minute. Karim Benzema delivered a masterful bicycle kick into the net after a perfect cross pass from Toni Kroos.

In the 83rd  minute Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid received a red card after a hard slide into Luis Suårez, leaving Los Blancos with only 10 players.  This wouldn’t affect the outcome of the game as Cristiano Ronaldo found the back of the net a minute after for his 42nd goal of the season.

Ronaldo set himself up with a beautiful chest pass on the assist from Gareth Bale, and scored the deciding goal in the 84th minute, giving Real Madrid the 2-1 lead and silencing the 98,902 attending Camp Lou.  He was rightfully ecstatic after the game and took to Twitter saying, “Great team effort. We win together, we celebrate together.”

Ronaldo’s goal was his 16th career goal while playing in the El Clåsico, putting him ahead of Raul for third all time.  He only trails Messi who has 21 and Alfredo Di Stefano’s 18.

Zinedine Zidane, manager for Real Madrid, was very impressed with his team’s effort in the hostile environment.  “Very proud of what players did, this is not an easy ground, very happy with everything, not just the result.”

The Salukis hope to continue their winning ways against the Sycamores of Indiana State.

Davies Crazies will be going wild Friday when the Southern Illinois Salukis look to bounce back after their first Missouri Valley Conference loss with the Indiana State Sycamores rolling into Carbondale.

Coming off one of the best seasons is school history with their first NCAA tournament appearance, the Southern Illinois Volleyball team, (13-6 4-1 MVC,) is off to a hot start to the 2016 campaign.  Riding the success of last year’s season is made much easier when successful role players return to your lineup.

Senior Andrea Estrada is crushing the ball with a team high 197 kills and Junior Abby Barrow is stepping up as the team’s second hitter with 173 kills.

On the defensive side, Senior Mariana Pilon has been consistent, leading the Salukis with 242 digs.  Junior Alex Rosignol has been great at the net with 81 blocks so far, averaging 1.23 per set, almost half the teams’ total of 2.6.  Rosignol’s play hasn’t gone unrecognized as she currently sits at 53rd in the nation in blocks per set.

This team is all about high energy and intimidation throughout the game.  This is seen particularly well when the Salukis are playing at home in Davies Gym.

The Salukis are still undefeated at home with a 5-0 record and the fans are to thank for the extra energy.  Head coach Justin Ingram sees a different side to the noise.

“As much as it’s an advantage for us, it’s really challenging to hear.  But were used to it, we do it here more often than opponents so that’s where we have the advantage,” Ingram said.

Indiana State will have a hard time beating the Salukis on Friday.  The Sycamores are coming in at 7-9 with a 1-4 road record, and are sitting at eighth place in the Missouri Valley standings.

The Sycamores are led by Senior Kynedi Nalls with 224 kills on the season.  Nalls, an opposite hitter, sees about 50% of her teams sets and uses the slide approach to her advantage.

Justin Ingram said she will be the Salukis biggest threat to a victory. “We need to make sure we contain her and keep her below her averages.  We can do that by serving aggressively and attacking hard to keep them on their toes.”

Defensively Indiana State thrives off the performance of Senior Shannon Murphy who has 254 digs, over 100 more than anyone else on the team.

As long as the Salukis can keep their errors down and energy high they should make quick work of the Sycamores.

The game will take place Friday October 7th at Davies Gym in Carbondale, Il at 7:00pm.  Tickets can be bought from SIUSalukis.com or at Davies the day of the game.  The game will also be streamed online on ESPN3.

 

 

Q&A with Mark Albertini

September 20th, 2016

Mark Albertini is the active Athletic Director at Carbondale Community High School, his second year in this position.  Previously Albertini taught History and Drivers Education for 10 years, as well as coached Football, Baseball, Men’s and Women’s Basketball.

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Q:  I know at the collegiate level fundraising is a big part of the job, do you find yourself doing a lot of that?

A: No, we are very fortunate here in Carbondale. I’m going to go ahead and say that we have the best booster program in the state of Illinois. It’s a group of parents, they get together. Tammy Vaughn, owner of Tres Hombres, they raised $50,000 for the athletic booster club.  $50,000 in a small town in Carbondale for our kids.  That’s incredible. We also encourage our coaches to fund-raise on themselves.  For instance our cheer leading tonight at McAlister’s is going to be working there and 10% of the proceeds from 5-7p.m. is going to go back to our cheer-leading team.

Q: How did being a head coach prepare you, if at all, for the Athletic Director position?

A: A lot. We’ve had some students from SIU come in and say I want to be an Athletic Director. If you are interested in becoming an AD first of all get your teaching degree, especially if you want to stay in Illinois, and get your Type 75, your administration certificate.  When this position opened up there were a lot of people who were like, oh I’d love to be an AD, but they didn’t have their Type 75.  You’re required to evaluate teachers as well and that’s a big thing in education right now. But just the experience I had, first of all being a young coach thinking I know everything because i just got done playing college football. You really don’t because there’s a whole different aspect to it. You have to deal with managing finances, coaches, players. Dealing with kids who have special needs. Dealing with their home life that you may not have even thought about. I learned a lot of that over the first nine years as a teacher.  When i became a head coach, knowing how to delegate responsibilities helped out a lot.  Having to let people go of a position. I had a great friend of mine, he coached football for over 30 years and was my defensive coordinator.  We were giving up over 30 points a game and I met with my AD and he asked me what I was going to do differently.  Well I had went to a lot different schools, I noticed that their oldest and most experienced coach was with the Freshmen to teach them the concepts of how to tackle and block.  Coaching other coaches how to coach, and that’s where they need to be at. I approached my friend about it and he pretty much told me to shove it. That was tough but you’re looking out for the benefit of the entirety of your program.  I learned that you have to be able to make difficult decisions in the snap of a finger.

 

Q:  You’re dealing with a lot of younger kids, what is the main goal for you to see out of the kids playing sports? Do you want them to be extremely high achieving athletes or do you want them to be better people?

A:  First I want them to be great students. When I was a football coach I always told my athletes your brain will take you a lot further that the ball ever will, because your playing career is going to end someday. I also want them to be competitive and learn to be competitors. We live in a competitive society.  When all of you here graduate, guess what you’re going to be doing, competing for a job.  I want them to be able to learn at the next level in college. I want them to be the best they can be because there’s going to be other people from all over the world that their going to be competing against for possible the same job. I also want them to have a love and appreciation for the game.  Sports is always going to be here, it’s always going to be a huge part of our society.  Look at all the problems we have going on right now in our country, but I can turn the TV on to ESPN and forget about it all.  I can watch the Olympics.  There’s a lot of problems down here in Rio, but we weren’t focused on them, we were focused on Phelps, Bolt, and Biles and what they were doing. The amazing performances were making us forget about everything that’s actually going on down there.  So I want them to have that love and appreciation for the game so maybe one day they can pass on the same values I’m stressing to them.