Friday, July 10, 2009

Pipe Dream?

When the Rangers made Klein's phenomenal lefty pitcher Matthew Purke, who happened to also be TCU's prize recruit, the 14th pick in the MLB Draft last month, the odds of him ending up pitching at Lupton did not look good. After all, as a first-round pick, he's looking at a seven-figure signing bonus, and really, what flame-throwing teenager from Texas is going to say no to Nolan Ryan?

The word on Purke leading up to the draft was that he might be picked later than his talents would dictate because of his (made-up word alert) 'signability'. It was said that he wanted "Rick Porcello money", in a reference to the current Tigers rookie who signed a contract worth $7.28 million with Detroit after they picked him in the 2007 draft. Despite this, a June 15th article in the Dallas Morning News indicated that Purke expected to get a deal done and sign with the club.

But then last week came the news that Rangers' owner Tom Hicks has had to borrow $15 million from Major League Baseball just to meet payroll. Now, my understanding of economics is mostly limited to childhood games of Monopoly that ended prematurely when my brother and I would get in a fistfight because he was being a total fag about building hotels on his properties- but that doesn't really sound like the financial profile of an organization that is about to shell out a record-breaking contract for an 18 year-old kid, does it?

Now granted, the Rangers are not broke. Even if they can't put up the $7 million that Purke reportedly wants, they'll still be able to pay him an amount of money that will dwarf the partial scholarship that awaits him at TCU. According to Jim Schlossnagle at last night's Coaches Dinner in Dallas, however, Purke did spend quite a bit of time on campus in Fort Worth last week.

Perhaps he is content to get a college education and compete for a top-flight college team if his lofty demands aren't met by the Rangers? After all, if he is as good as advertised, those millions will be there two or three years down the road, won't they? No need to chance it, according to Schlossnagle, who urged all in attendance at the function last night to boycott going to Rangers games and putting money in Old Man Hicks' pockets.

Even though there is some cause for optimism that Purke will end up as a Frog, I wouldn't hold my breath- the deadline for him to sign (or hopefully not sign) with the Rangers is August 17th, and that'd be a really long time to hold your breath. I can only do it for like 30 seconds.

Morning Dump

Former Hokie Thorns heading to TCU Daily Press

Posted comments about the MWC and BCS

Chargers' version of the wildcat dubbed the Frog
Pro Football Weekly

The MTN. is steadily making progress Deseret News

Dallas Coaches Event

Do I really need a reason to bust out this pic?

So for those of you who weren't in the know, and from the young alumni turnout there were apparently a lot of you, last night was the now 12th annual TCU Dallas Coaches event. I've only been the past two years, but, as lyle posted earlier in an attempt to drum up support, it's always a good time, there's all the BBQ and drank you can handle, and it's the closest thing you're getting to football between the spring game and September 12th, so that should be excuse enough. Besides, the night always ends with GP getting up and belittling either an opposing coach, program or even his own special teams players, so that should be worth the price of admission alone.

This year, though, and like I said I've only been involved twice, I felt was missing something. It's not that it wasn't enjoyable - and in fact, I think the turnout may have been even bigger than it was last year - it just seemed like no one really had anything insightful to say and they weren't going to dig deep to rectify the situation. The main thing that has bothered me the past two years about the event is that it's basically a bunch of Killerfrogs webmasters and their wives (read: old dudes), a few guys who went to TCU who don't care about the program, but now they make a lot of money so they like to show off by blowing everyone away in the auctions, and about five guys around our age. I'll never understand, with all the young alumni in Dallas who call themselves fans, why more can't turn up for these events, and don't use, 'well, I don't want to get on the tollway at five o'clock' because... well, F you, that's why. Anyway, disregarding that, like I said, something was missing this year and hopefully by the end of this recap I can get to the bottom of what exactly that was.

Just as a demonstration that something was missing, I'll be honest and say the bidding war myself, lyle and WWHD found ourselves in with some vulture on dinner with the Hardline guys was probably the most exciting part of the evening. After a lot of misdirection and sly one-upmanship, we were both upstaged by a last minute, tora! tora! tora! attack from some over compensated booster who probably fell into the 'show off' category mentioned above. After that loss, WHHD and I set our sights on the real prize: two tickets in Danny Morrison's box for any home game next season. Now, a lot of you are probably unaware of the history with Morrison and WWHD, but it involves heavy drinking, cornering, and constant suggestions on the part of the latter and the fact that Morrison would be forced to allow a gameday conditions WWHD to sit in his box and be in his ear for 3 hours is pretty priceless. The suggested price on the package was around $200 - a fee which, even in our economic times, was practically a steal - which was right in our ballpark, and we knew we had to get the bidding started. So what does the auctioneer do? Starts it at $500 right as WWHD raises his hand, which he immediately retracted, sort of like a scared turtle's head. Needless to say, we did not win said prize and will have to resort to more practical methods if we wish to fill the AD with our drively ideas. Besides, we would've been tossed out of there within about five minutes of our entrance and probably sent to rehab in lieu of prison. Fate works in not so mysterious ways

Enough of that anecdote though, all you really need to know is what the coaches did and didn't say, and there was a lot more of the second part of that than the first. After the radio team did their usual violently corny introduction, and Morrison gave his pump up the athletic department speech, the night was handed over to the coaching staff, among them the women's tennis coach, Jim Christian, Jim Schlossnagle, and GP himself. According to Morrison, TCU had 11 teams finish in the top five in the nation in their respective leagues this year - a stat that sounds a little fishy, but, according to WWHD, when you consider the amount of teams competing in women's rifle and equestrian, it makes a little more sense. So, go Frogs. Anyway, here are the speech highlights

Women's Tennis Coach - Blah blah, forehand, blah blah, deuce, blah blah, NCAA tournament appearance, blah blah drive to FW and watch women's tennis. All I could think about was how a few very fortunate people paid $350 bucks and got to sit with GP or Morrison, and some other poor saps paid the same amount and had to sit with this guy. Not that we shouldn't be proud of our women's tennis team... but, I don't recognize an activity played by women to be a sport, so there ya go.

Jimmy Christian - The funniest part of his speech was he got up and immediately apologized and pointed out how GP had reprimanded him at last year's event for not introducing his wife, who is really cute and really pregnant so congrats on that coach, so now you can see that GP not only watchdogs his players, but also the opposing coaches. GP. Leader. Bitchslapsman. Anyway, he didn't talk a whole lot about last season, and he wasn't as fire and brimstone as he was last year, but he sounds very optimistic about the team and made the comment that, "last year there was one guy who was talking about winning a championship, and unfortunately I couldn't play, but this year we have 11 guys all talking about winning a championship," which, while it may not be true, at least shows that he has confidence in his team. He did mention the issues he's had this spring and summer in regards to trying to practice with only 8 guys, but it sounds like the roster will fill out nicely by the time the season rolls around, especially when that PG transfer can play next season. He's very dedicated to finding his kinds of players, no matter how far across the globe he has to travel, and even told a pretty funny story about being on the phone with a recruit at the airport and being so into the conversation he left his briefcase in the terminal and only got off the phone when he came back to find the bomb squad all over it. The biggest announcements from him were in regards to next year's schedule and how we are starting home/home series with Rice and Houston, with Rice coming in this year and us traveling to Cougar High this fall. He also mentioned that he's trying to drum up home/home series with Tetch, Baylor and/or aggy, but is having problems getting them to commit. He didn't say they were scared, but he did hint pretty strongly at it. Maybe the most intriguing event we'll be playing in next season is the pre-season NIT, where we will open up against Arizona State, who, if you're not familiar, have put some pretty sharp teams on the court under Herb Sendek. There's no season home opening bang like we had with Nebraska last year, but it sounds like he has the team heading in the right direction and we should have some pretty exciting matchups in the years to come.

Jim Schlossnagle - Unfortunately I missed a little bit of his speech while hitting the head and making a beer run, but I got the general idea. First off, no standing ovation, crowd? For shame! Obviously he's still very, very distraught about the Texas loss, citing that, 'I don't want to give Texas a run, I want to beat their butt,' which is exactly the attitude we've come to expect from the GP of baseball. Needless to say, pretty sure that guy's level of UT hate is now on par with that of myself, WWHD, lt4heisman and buck, to name a few, and you can bet he's going to have his guys fired up next time we face them... which, fortunately, will come next season. The team will be playing in some tournament at Minute Maid Park in Houston, which he described as one of if not THE premiere college baseball events in the country, and we'll have a chance to beat up on Texas and Rice among others. He definitely wasn't preaching false optimism about the team's hopes next year and is very aware of how young his starting 9 are going to be, but he has a lot of faith in the pitching staff as we didn't lose too many guys, and acted like even though we have a lot of youth, these guys have a chance to continue our recent baseball success. As far as upcoming schedules, we've still got our usual gauntlet of Baylor, Oklahoma, CS-Fullerton, Tetch, etc and he mentioned we will be re-starting our series with Ole Miss. There were some more in there, so hopefully lyle can fill in my errors. pun.

The man, the myth, the legend. GP - We were so pumped for GP's speech, all that was missing was Michael Buffer announcing his presence in the ring. Unfortunately, the crowd reaction was menial at best, with a very hesistant standing O from about 1/4 of the crowd. Come on people, this is one of the top 5 coaches in the country we're talking about here! Anyway, GP was his typical self, but slightly more jovial than I remembered, and actually cracked at least 3 smiles over the course of his 10 minute sermon. As expected, he wasn't in the mood to heap praise on his previous successes and slipped 'paper tigers' into his speech pretty early. Obviously the thing we all love about GP is his fearlessness, but, despite this, he defintely has a lot of respect for the non-conference opponents we've chosen to match up with. Naturally he addressed the Clemson situation first, saying that it is one of the toughest environments to go into and get a win in college football and saying that if you thought OU was loud last year - which I personally did not - just get ready for Death Valley. I know I've got tickets for the game and I think a few of you others do as well, which is good because we're going to need all the support we can muster. He showed a little too much respect for UVA considering the man they have holding the clipboard, but we should all take to heart that they're returning their QB from 2 years ago when they were all the rage after he sat out last season for academic reasons. Always the politician, he tried to give a little credence to SMU and Texas State, but all he could come up with was that they both have off weeks before they play us which gives them time to prepare, but we all knew his tongue was deep down firmly implanted in his cheek. At that point, he did say something kind of unsettling about how it's nearly impossible to run the tables when you have no off weeks which, as we all well know, is exactly the situation we find ourselves in, so hopefully we break the mold there. He seems excited about bringing in Rusty Burns as our WR coach and, to buck's delight, didn't heap too much praise on Schultz, only mentioning that he left. I'm still very interested to see the two OC system we'll be running because, as much as GP hates having one OC, I can't imagine what he'll do with two, and honestly I can't remember him having much to say about it other than it's happening. He did have a very GP moment when talking about a coaching summit he just went to, though. He was talking about how it's going to be tough to go into Laramie and pull out a win, especially in late November, but mentioned how their new coach, Dave Christensen I believe is his name, gave him no respect at the summit and didnt' even say hello to him to which GP responded, "So, I guess we're on." Naturally, this raised quite the response from our section. He knows he and the team are the top dogs in our conference and isn't afraid to flaunt it. Power to him. He also dead-panned that he's excited to have AD as a junior QB this year because, "he's not a freshman QB." When talking about recruiting, he took a small shot at Urban Meyer, as he was talking about how we brought in a good and dedicated group of kids, but that Florida has two championships playing with a bunch of dudes that have felonies pending against them and how he maybe needs to take a new direction in recruiting guys if he wants to win the big one. No BCS talk. Very few specifics about the team, although he did mention that we only have 13 seniors on the team this year, and only 7 or 8 of them will start, so let that settle a while when you think about the future of the program. He didn't mention much if anything about our backfield juggernaut, but perhaps that was too obvious to discuss. He ended things by asking for questions but after a split second passed and no one had stood up, he closed things up for the night.

After reading through that, it might seem like I came away with a lot of information, and I guess I did, but it just seems like last year there was a lot more selling, hype and team specifics than there were this year. However, I suppose when you're among the best football and baseball programs in the country, you have have a re-emerging basketball team, and, apparently, a women's tennis team, the results sell themselves.

64 days. We Ready.