KSAL Staff - April 24, 2017 8:00 am
MAC STEVENSON LIVES IN SALINA, AND WRITES A WEEKLY COLUMN FOR OVER TEN NEWSPAPERS IN KANSAS
At every major university sports program, the most underrated position of importance is that of Athletics Director. Kansas State has hired Gene Taylor to replace John Currie, who took the AD position at Tennessee.
Taylor was AD at North Dakota State for 13 years and built a strong reputation as the administrator of a nationally recognized football program at a small school. Taylor’s handling of the finances was also a remarkable success.
Taylor has two important issues facing him as he begins his tenure as K-State’s AD: he has to decide whether or not to give basketball coach Bruce Weber an extension on his contract and start considering how to handle the coming retirement of Bill Snyder as head football coach.
The issue of Weber’s contract is perplexing. One factor that should make this a non-problem is that Weber has two years remaining on his present contract; the argument that he needs an extension to help recruiting is invalid.
What makes Taylor’s position uncomfortable is that the decision to bring Weber back for another season had been made by President Richard Myers before Taylor was hired.
Myers recently said, “John Currie and I started having conversations in the season. And then Laird [Veatch] and I after the last game, we got together one more time and said, ‘What do we think?’ We were both of like minds. We’re happy that Bruce is back. We’ll see, but we’re confident.”
Concerning the contract extension, Myers said, “I think that’s in the works . . . that’ll land on Gene’s desk pretty darn quick.”
Myers should have waited until Taylor was hired to make a decision on Weber’s future at Kansas State. During Weber’s tenure, the Wildcats haven’t been terrible, but they haven’t reached the upper echelon of the Big 12 either. Maybe that will happen next season, but it doesn’t appear likely.
Coach Snyder’s situation compounds Taylor’s decision-making issues in his early stages as K-State’s AD. Snyder is recovering from a bout with throat cancer; from all reports, he’s doing very well. If Coach Snyder is able to take his normal place on the sideline for K-State’s spring game, that will bode well for the 2017 season.
When Snyder does retire, AD Taylor will have to hire a new coach. It’s no secret that Snyder is backing his son, Sean, to be K-State’s next head coach. With everything that Bill Snyder has done for Kansas State University, it should be a given that his choice for his successor be given every consideration. It’s not a calm circumstance for a new AD.
Drastic times require drastic measures. It’s no secret that the Kansas City Royals’ hitters swing at way too many bad pitches; that’s been a constant since Ned Yost became manager.
In last Thursday’s 1-0 loss to Texas in 13 innings, KC’s batters struck out 14 times and had three singles and one double. Pathetic. Here’s a perfect example: In the top of the 12th, Hosmer walked on four pitches to open the inning; Salvy Perez bats next and takes ball one (fifth straight ball by the Texas reliever) and then swings at a pitch low and well outside—bailing out the Texas pitcher—and grounds out to the shortstop. That’s typical KC baseball.
Manager Yost has to call a team meeting immediately and he should say something like this: “Okay men, listen up. We all know we’ve been swinging at bad pitches . . . that has to stop. See this! (Ned holds up a wooden paddle) This isn’t gonna be used for punishment, it’s gonna be used to help us, all of us, focus on our hitting. Men, from now on, when anyone swings at a bad pitch he takes one swat with this paddle from Salvy Perez.”
At this point, Salvy displays his wide grin and rubs his hands together in anticipation. Yost continues, “Salvy swings at a bad pitch on almost every at bat and he’s gonna have to grab his knees too—Mr. Hosmer will swing the paddle for Perez.” Salvy’s grin disappears.
“I’m not makin’ this rule . . . you have to vote on it. It’s for the good of the team men. All in favor, raise your right hand.” Yost’s motion carries after the players look around at each other. No one votes against the new rule.
“Okay men, we’re on our way now. Salvy and Hos will dish out the necessary swats here in the clubhouse right after every game. And what happens in this clubhouse stays in this clubhouse.” The players look at the paddle apprehensively as they leave for batting practice.
We all know, of course, that this won’t work: the players will make a 180-degree turn and start striking out by taking pitches right down the middle.