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Sports Editorial

KSAL Staff - July 27, 2015 8:00 am

MAC STEVENSON LIVES IN SALINA, AND WRITES A WEEKLY COLUMN FOR OVER TEN NEWSPAPERS IN KANSAS

MAC STEVENSON LIVES IN SALINA, AND WRITES A WEEKLY COLUMN FOR OVER TEN NEWSPAPERS IN KANSAS

Football coach Bill Snyder has done more for Kansas State than any other person in the history of the university. Does that mean he’s been involved in academic issues? No. Does that mean Snyder has made administrative decisions concerning K-State? No. But the success of his football teams has improved the national name recognition and pride among Kansas State alumni more than anyone or anything else.

Snyder has undoubtedly had many opportunities over the years to leave K-State and coach at one of the traditional powerhouses in major college football. But the Wildcats’ 75-year-old iconic coach chose to remain loyal to Kansas State. And now the time has come for the administration to reward Snyder’s loyalty and his many contributions to Kansas State.

In an interview with ESPN on July 22, Coach Snyder reiterated what is no longer a secret: he wants his son to succeed him as K-State’s head football coach. Snyder said, “I have a strong belief, and my preference is Sean . . . he knows more about our football program than anyone. He runs our program. I have great confidence in him.”

Sean Snyder is 45 and has been on the Kansas State football staff for 21 years; he’s been director of football operations for 19 of those years. And the younger Snyder has been associate head coach and special- teams coordinator since 2011. He has the right blend of maturity and still-young enthusiasm.

The above-mentioned interview came at an unusual time, just before the start of fall practice in early August. It sounds like Coach Snyder is just about ready to call it a day and he wants his son to succeed him. Kansas State University owes Snyder the right to choose his successor after 24 years of loyal and steadfast service. And it might work out great.

So far everything has been going well for the Kansas City Royals baseball team. That can change. Through the July 25 games, KC had a 6.5 game lead over second-place Minnesota and led Detroit (10.5), Chicago (12.5), and Cleveland (13) by what appears to be safe margins.

Perhaps the Royals’ fortunes will continue on a steady and favorable course right to a division title and the playoffs. But the starting pitching could collapse. And closer Greg Holland hasn’t been his usual stellar self.

Three of the starting pitchers have been teetering on a slippery slope during recent outings: Chris Young, Jeremy Guthrie, and Yordano Ventura have been inconsistent and often ineffective.

Young pitched superbly during the early going; however, he has faltered during recent starts. Guthrie pitches with fortitude and poise, but his pitches don’t have the snap they once did. Ventura has been KC’s biggest disappointment this season. His control is substandard; consequently, his fastball has been hammered by opposing hitters because he can’t throw his curve or changeup for strikes.

Kansas City’s bullpen has been terrific with the worrisome exception of Holland’s recent closing efforts. Holland hasn’t fully recovered from his early season injury; his fastball lacks its normal velocity and his control has slipped. He did have an encouraging inning in the July 25 win against Houston.

Two other potential problems have raised their ugly heads: left fielder Alex Gordon is sidelined with a severe groin strain and catcher Salvy Perez is showing signs of fatigue.

Gordon is a streaky but major league hitter and the best defensive left fielder in MLB. Gordon’s also a fierce competitor and he’ll be sorely missed if he’s out for an extended time.

Perez is a puzzle. He’s been great on defense throughout his career with KC, but his July has been substandard by his standards. Perez has been failing to block numerous pitches in the dirt, which, in the past, rarely got by him. In addition, his batting average has slipped; he was hitting .255 through July 25.

All this wouldn’t be troubling, but Perez faltered down the homestretch last season. Catching is a grueling position in the July heat for a huge man like Perez; unfortunately, KC doesn’t have a talented backup and Salvy is going to have to catch most of the games.

General Manager Dayton Moore is trying to pick up another starting pitcher before the July 31 trade deadline. That may or may not happen. KC doesn’t want to give up two or three of their talented young players in the farm system for a pitcher who will only be with them for the remainder of the 2015 season.

The feeling here is that Moore will go with what he has for the stretch run. KC’s defense and bullpen are capable of carrying the day if the starting pitching doesn’t collapse. August will be an entertaining month.

City of Salina