Here’s a look at this week’s Mid-Week Grades. To listen in for the big reveal, check out ESPN 1440 around 8:20 or so on Wednesdays when Josh Houchins and I break these down on WGEM SportsCenter presented by Hardee’s.
A — Palmyra softball team. For the third straight season, the Lady Panthers proved they are the best team that Class 2 has to offer in the Show-Me State. Pitcher Taylor Baxter gets a lot of pub (and rightfully so) for her pitching ability. But this is far from a one-person show. She’s had great offensive and defensive support behind her every year. The chances of a four-peat next October look pretty good.
B — Mike Singletary. Loved him as a Chicago Bear during the team’s hey day in the mid 1980s. I already love him as a head coach in the NFL. Made the interim head coach in San Francisco last week, Singletary didn’t mess around Sunday. Quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan stunk it up, so he pulled him. Tight end Vernon Davis was doing stupid stuff on the field and not giving 100 percent, so Singletary sent him to the showers. If only more coaches did this, pro athletes might not be seen as prima donnas. For video of his post-game press conference, click here. It's worth it.
C — “Error” Bud Selig. It seems that baseball’s commissioner learned something from the All-Star Game fiasco from 2002. He wasn’t about ready to let the Phillies win a World Series in a rain-shortened game. He made the right move on Monday night to suspend the game and demand it be restarted. Still, it would have been nice to let the players know about his plan.
D — Illinois High School Association. Could someone please explain to me how Quincy Notre Dame, Bloomington Central Catholic, Mahomet-Seymour and Mount Zion can all be in the same quadrant of the Class 4 playoffs? I understand there are some travel issues involved, but its surprising to have so many power teams in the same bracket. The eight teams in QND’s bracket are a combined 61-11. The other quadrant down south isn’t nearly as tough with those teams a combined 50-22.
F — Evan Longoria. The kid got a ton of dough from the Rays just a week into his major-league career (nine years and $44 million). And being the American League Rookie of the Year (an award the Tampa Bay third baseman will win) is nice. But players are defined by how they do in the postseason. Just ask Barry Bonds (terrible for the most part) or Derek Jeter (awesome for the most part). Longoria is just 1 for 19 in the World Series and has struck out nine times. If the Rays don’t rally to win the title, Longoria should shoulder a lot of the blame.