Did a speaking gig yesterday with the Lancaster Chapter of American Business Clubs. Thanks to those folks for inviting me back, including a free lunch at the posh Hamilton Club.
Talked mostly about Bill O’Brien and Penn State, but I bring it up because I heard from a couple people who had read, and seemed very interested in, the Mariano Rivera column in Sunday’s paper, the premise of which, in very brief summary, is that the modern closer role doesn’t make much sense and is of negligible value unless you’ve got someone as good at it as Mariano Rivera, which no one but Mariano Rivera is.
I also got e-mails about it. One gentleman at the Ham Club had several questions about some of the stat info used in the piece that made it clear he had not just read the column but given it some thought.
My first reaction to that is it’s gratifying. I love the more analytical stuff, but I sometimes sense readers look at it, roll their eyes and move on.
The second reaction is that I sense a desire lately, among readers, for a sports section that goes beyond a hyper-local, get-neighborhood-kids-names-and-faces-in-the-paper approach.
Even if we’re just talking about high school sports, seemingly half my reader e-mails say or imply they’d like to see more on the endless private vs. public controversy. I have written about that many times, but never quite what I suspect people want me to write, which is that Lancaster Catholic only wins because it cheats.
This dovetails (happily, for me) with a Poynter Institute survey published yesterday, of male sports fans ages 18-54, which strongly indicates that demo still considers its local newspaper sports section their go-to source for sports coverage, over ESPN, SI, USA Today, TV news, sports radio, and indeed all other sources, print and digital.
From the Poynter web site: “Asked about their experience reading newspapers, 72 percent agreed with the statement that those outlets’ coverage “provides me with more depth about the teams and players I care about than anywhere else”; 63 percent said “I look forward to reading certain writers.’ ”
This is exactly what I want to believe, of course, so it’s good to have some substance behind it.
In other news:
Had to miss Penn State’s pro day because of the speaking gig. Couple things I heard and read-
Jordan Hill, who did a brutal 5.23 40 at the NFL combine, improved it to a 4.97 Monday. Still not great, but acceptable for an inside guy.
Gerald Hodges didn’t run the 40 (4.78 at the combine) but did show good lateral movement with a 4.25 shuttle run.
Stephon Morris did not get invited to the NFL combine and is apparently pissed about it. There were some crazy rumors about his 40 time (4.2, 4.16 …), but the eventually announced time was 4.35, which is still very good.
Apropos to nothing but still a fun fact: Matt McGloin did a respectable 28-inch vertical. He’s no DeAndre Jordan, but you probably knew that.
Coming up in the paper: Hope to be talking to Nick Scott today, the Lancaster native, now living in Virginia, who’s a Penn State commit.