Friday, May 28, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hawks Open Big Ten Baseball Tournament

After sweeping Purdue over the past weekend, the Hawkeyes advanced to the Big Ten Baseball tournament to face the Boilermakers again in the first round. First pitch is at noon on Wednesday with action on the Big Ten Network.

Iowa's baseball team has gradually improved throughout the year. Strong starting pitching and solid infield play has propelled the Hawkeyes into the four seed this week in Columbus, Ohio. The first seed Minnesota finished the Big Ten season only a few games ahead of sixth and final seed Indiana, making the tournament as wide open as ever. This Iowa baseball team has as good of a shot to bring home the hardware as any.

If the Hawkeyes make the championship game there is no reason the manager of the Hawkeyes, Jack Dahm shouldn't be named Big Ten Coach of the Year. Early on the Hawkeyes faced some stiff competition, gained valuable experience but couldn't muster any "Ws." But Dahm kept his young team together and positive taking two out of three over Penn State and Ohio State before the three game sweep of Purdue. One of the best coaching jobs by Dahm in his years at Iowa. And if the Hawkeyes continue to play as well as they have the last three weeks of the season, Iowa should be in the championship game.

A win in Columbus will be the first for the Hawkeye baseball team since a 6-4 victory over Ohio State in 1990. While Dahm emphasizes to his team that they have nothing to do with that winless streak over the years, a win over Purude could propel them to something this program hasn't done, win the Big Ten Tournament Championship.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost - The End

"The End" was the name of the final episode of "Lost." It was the end of a series, and the many lives of those aboard Flight 815, but the controversy and debate will not end. There can be many ways to interpret the last two and a half ours, and perhaps there is no right or wrong answer. But watching it provided some closure to the many characters which we grew to enjoy over the last six years.

The finale gave us one more look at some characters we haven't seen in a long time. We found closure with Shannon, a character we haven't seen since Season 1. Bennard and Rose continued to survive on an island in peace and solitude. The continued to have their ocean view along with Vincent, the dog that belonged to Walt. Penny and Desmond were re-united as well as Sun and Jin was the feel good moment of the "resurrections." But we missed Walt and Mr. Eko. Two characters the writers made us curious of, but were quickly forgotten as if their part wasn't important at all.

I was disappointed in the ending, but I felt I was let down as the time leading up to the scene in the church was next to brilliant. We were able to have closure with the characters. Although the writers didn't want us to believe the survivors of Flight 815 were in Purgatory, that is what we are led to believe. In the end, I was waiting for brilliant, but got the expected. That was my let down. A series that had brilliant writing--where you would rewind over and over again to make sure you heard them correctly--and terrific character development, the letdown came from an ending that had been predicted by many.

Some of my memorable moments from last night:
  • Kate on the name of Jack's father: "Christiant Shepherd? You're kidding, right?"
  • Ben, communicating with Lapidus who was fixing the plane: "I think they are making progress."
  • We now know Jack wasn't invincible. He, too died like the others. He just wasn't the last one.
  • Vince, symbollically representing Walt at the end.
  • In the Sideways world, Jack and Juliet, husband and wife.
  • And although I won't remember them, the Target commercials were very "Super Bowl" like.
There were many others, but every moment a couple was re-united, or had the flashbacks to life on the island made this episode special. And can you remember a series you didn't want to end, but couldn't wait to see how it ended. That was "Lost."

Other links worth reading:
And there are others linked within some of these sites. Enough reading to continue the "Lost" fix. However people, it is a tv show, and it was a great one. But some of the comments that were provided by viewers courtesy of Verizon were downright pathetic. I'm going to miss the show, too, but I do have a life away from the tv.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Coralville Yankees

On Wednesday teams were announced for the upcoming Coralville Parks and Recreation Department's T-Ball minor league program. A year ago my son and I had to opportunity to manage and play for the Rockies. This year many of the same members of the old team join us, but under a new team name. This year we are the Coralville Yankees. All games are played on Tuesdays in May at the new Coralville Youth Sports Complex at 6:15. The six-game schedule begins on the 8th as the Yankees take on the Twins.

Inside the Big Ten Meetings

Three times a year Big Ten football coaches meet to continue to improve the conference making it the best in the country. For a few days in May the football coaches are joined by their athletic directors as well as men's and women's basketball coaches to addres concerns that affect all of their programs. Each entity breaks out and focus on issues of their own sport.

Within the smaller session the football coaches had the opportunity to learn about the advancments in video technology. Along with myself, Rob Porteus of Wisconsin and Phil Bromley of Michigan had the one-time opportunity to speak of the transition to HD for video exchange. Already the Big Ten Network is utilizing HD and relies on video from the team's video department for segments of their "4-Pack" shows. The upcoming 2010 season will be the first for HD replay. The last piece of the puzzle is coaching video.

Currently there are no college or NFL teams operating a full HD network, so there are many questions that need to be answered. What will be the HD format? Will the teams continue to exchange video over the internet at the same speed teams are accustomed to today? How will each school pay for the upgrade? Already teams have begun to transition to HD, but not one have all the necessary components. By early 2011 all the necessary parts will be available and the act of teaching from video will be taken to a new level as the clarity will be significantly improved.

Within the HD presentation was the proposal to mandate the H.264 8MB HD codec. The advantage of this "flavor" is to provide HD quality video in a smaller video file than the current Standard Definition DV25 file. With the smaller video file, less storage will be necessary and the exchange times of video between schools will be quicker.

Currently all Big Ten schools are in different phases of the HD transition. Those with newer facilities already have HD monitors and projectors. However there are still a couple of schools that need to upgrade their software, replace current hardware or are still deciding on the best camera set up for them. While the ideal time frame to convert all schools to HD is following the 2010 season, many of us know that it will be a gradual upgrade for others. The SEC also discussed the topic at their Video Coordinators meeting earlier this week. Their time frame is still two years away, and the knowledge they have on the subject is not as in-depth as that put in by us in the Big Ten.

Big Ten Expansion Talk

At a downtown Chicago hotel, the focus of the college athletic world centered on a bunch of coaches, faculty reps and athletic directors. The reason for the attention is the recent talk of the Big Ten on expansion, the first since Penn State joined the league in the early 90s. National writers joined the school's beat reporters for a chance to get a quote from Commissioner Delaney or one of the famed head coaches of a nation's elite programs. Hovering in the swanky hotel lobby, reporters on laptops joined local tv station cameramen for any comment or response on where the Big Ten is heading.

Among those who caught the media's attention was Northwestern Football Coach, Pat Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald works the Windy City media scene hard. In a sports town which follows the Bulls, Bears, White Sox, Cubs and Stanley Cup Semi-fianlist Blackhawks, Fitzgerald works hard to get his Wildcats into the media headlines. When he isn't promoting his University through a Chicago media outlet, he works the current social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to connect to the computer savvy youth. He'll do whatever it takes, but a crowd that surrounded him on this May morning was more interested in his take of a potential super-conference rather than how the 'Cats will fare coming off their first New Year's Day bowl in almost fifteen years. Fitzgerald knows that as long as his face is in front of the camera, or his comments reach the newspapers and their web sites, what ever the topic, it is good for Northwestern Football.
Michigan football coach, Rich Rodriguez had more to talk about than Big Ten expansion. A day after news hit that self-imposed sanctions would be made on his football program due to NCAA regulated contact hours, Rodriguez had to face the media for the first time. Although the Wolverines haven't been to a bowl under the two years of Rodriguez, the attention to the Michigan program doesn't wane. Reporters hung on every word, and Rodriguez was among the most accomodating of all coaches to the media.

Friday, May 14, 2010


The Collegiate Sports Video Association (CSVA) was created in the early 1990s as an organization to enhance the role of the video coordinator and their department within the athletic organization. Since the original meetings at a Holiday Inn in South Bend, Indiana during the Summer of 1993, the organization has definitely come a long way.

It has taken many years to organize the CSVA convention to its present state. Many different formats of the convention have come and gone, searching for the right amount of time for professionals to gain valuable knowledge make themselves better, then passing on the benefits to their athletic program and coaching staff. Classes are now offered in the areas of post-production, seminars bringing together the best in their fields discussing the new and changing technology, as well as vendors promoting their trade allowing the video coordinators to make their jobs easier.

This past week the annual convention was held outside of Chicago in Schaumberg, Illinois. Video Coordinators from the different college levels as well as high schools and NFL team gathered to network, learn and debate what is best for the association as a whole as technology evolves. Tours were offered to the Chicago Bears facility as well as the studios of the Big Ten Network. The entire week is not serious as participants enjoy an afternoon of golf (this year rained out), dinner and award ceremony as well as casino night.

The hot topic facing video coordinators at the college and NFL level is the transition to High Definition coaching video. Currently there are no NFL or college teams operating in a full-HD environment, but the time that happens is not far off. Camera technology is where it needs to be, but the editing and exchange companies are continuing to make their product efficiently work for a football team's existing needs. Above representatives from Sony, Panasonic, XOS Digital, Webb are among the panelists discussing where the HD environment exists today.

In between sessions video coordinators and their staffs have the opportunity to visit with those who have a direct affect on their jobs. Over twenty vendors set up shop and discussed the latest and greatest they have to make a video coordinator help prepare their team best.

The banquet on the last night, the highlight is the announcing of the CSVA Video Coordinator of the Year award. Each conference's winner is among those who can be voted the national winner. Matt Harper and Tom Shepherd of Michigan State represented the Big Ten, but were unable to take the national honor. That special recognition was awarded to Doug Aucoin of Louisiana State University.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lost May 11

Lost...Well we wanted some answers, but I'm not sure when this series is over will the questions cease. Is there a possibility that the Man in Black doesn't have a name? Is Jacob the evil one? Does that make MIB/Locke the good guy and the "candidate" selected to replace Jacob evil? Or is Jacob evil. It was good to see the Adam and Eve scenario get played out. I don't see how they will finish this series in the next two episodes, but I will hate to see it go.

Orange Bowl Looks to Sweeten Its Deal

Only without a sponsor for a week, the Orange Bowl committee looks to be close to signing a deal with one of America's favorite candies. Reese's appears to be the newest sponsor of the New Year's Classic in South Florida.

(Special thanks to Engy's reader, Pete VanElswyk for the tip)

How an All Star Uses Video

The use of video can be found in all of sports. In order to improve oneself as well as their team combined, video is the best tool to teach from and make an athlete better. Below is an example of how an all-star continues to improve themself every day. Chase Utley plays second base for the Philadelphia Phillies and was instrumental to winning the Wolrd Series in 2008.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Video Staff Golf Outing

Cinco de Mayo was not only a Mexican Holiday, but it was also the day of the annual Video Staff Golf Outing, Awards Picnic and Banquet. Once again, the outing took place at nearby Brown Deer Golf Course in Coralville, Iowa.

 The winning group at -5 was Dan Clark, Josh "Man of the Decade" Schamberger, Michael Witt and Kim Eilers
 Battling it out for second place was Rita Foley, Kevin Foor, Alec Johnson, and Ben Hansen
 Finishing last was Tyler, Kyle Yoder, Kim Pirkl, and Levar Woods.
 Last team to tee of was Lindsay Bergdale, Bob Rahfeldt, Erick Tjarks, Shane Dowty.
 Each person participating received a golf towel commerative of the 2010 Video Staff Golf Outing.
This team is taking their play way too serious.

The Man of the Decade shows off his pimped out ride, a ride that he hopes to auction off at the upcoming Par-TEE in association with the Nate Kaeding Golf Outing in June. Not only does it sport the retired football number of Nile Kinnick, but it has Hawkeye decals on the side and a stereo system within.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lost May 4

Spoiler alert for those who may not have watched it yet...This may have been the most difficult episode of Lost since the passing of Charlie. This was definitely not the outcome anyone was hoping for. The Oceanic Six is no longer and in the sideways world people are beginning to link those on Oceanic 815.

There aren't many more episodes until the series finale.

(Many good write-ups on the episode. I'll continue to link them.)

Corridor Classic

Eastern Iowa's Corridor Classic began seven years ago as an opportunity for the two Division I baseball programs to play in one of the nicer minor league facilities. Cedar Rapids and Memorial Stadium seemed like a natural fit for the Northern Iowa Panthers to meet the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. Over the years the weather has been questionable, but fans turned out to see a good game showcasing the state's best talent.
But in 2010 the Corridor Classic would change with the elimination of Northern Iowa's baseball program. The Hawkeyes had to find a new opponent if they wanted to keep this annual game alive. The natural fit was Coe College of Cedar Rapids, but the Kohawks are a Division III team, attempting to play with the Division I Hawkeyes. However as the game progressed it was obvious to see the difference in talent between the two schools. The Kohawks took an early 3-0 lead after the top of the first, but the Hawkeyes had a solid response. In the bottom of the inning the Hawkeyes took a 6-3 lead and continued to add to it as the score became 14-3 after three innings--the moment we decided to return home.

This battle of teams had much the same look as Corridor Classics of the past. Cheerleaders represented each team (and what doesn't say baseball more than cheerleaders?) as well as a good representation of fans from each school. Former Hawkeye womens basketball player, and current Coe head coach, Randi Peterson joined Iowa Associate Head Women's Coach Jan Jensen to throw out the first pitch.
However on this night we found out what a "Kohawk" looked like...and it isn't pretty. Of course you want your mascot to look tough, formidible and powerful. But this Kohawk is downright scarry. He looks more like a cross between Benjamin Franklin and a bird. I can't imagine how bad the other attempts were made a coming up with a costume, but let's hope they didn't waste much money coming up with this one.
And the other Cedar Rapids school was represented in the ballpark Tuesday night. Mount Mercy had a prominent billboard on the left field fence, while Iowa's adorned the right-center fence. Coe's marketing seemed to be absent in Memorial Stadium. Perhaps they were all out of money after designing the mascot's costume.

Monday, May 3, 2010

End of a Sponsorship Era

After 21 years, Fed Ex has decided to cut it ties with the famed Orange Bowl game in Miami. With this breakup it made me wonder if Fed Ex was the first to become a title sponsor for a bowl game. Since Fed Ex signed on, many bowl games followed suit and some (Outback, Capital One) became the sole name on its featured game. Until a new sponsor steps forward, this will most likely be the look of Miami's BCS game.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Turning 6 at Wrigley Field

Six years ago one little boy was born and Colin celebrated this birthday as he did his 5th, at Wrigley Field in Chicago. On Saturday the Cubs took on the Arizona Diamondbacks. Colin has enjoyed a bit of a Cubs winning streak. Heading into Saturday's game he witnessed Cub victories in each of his three games he saw in 2009. Mom and Dad were hoping that streak would continue.

Although we stayed near O'Hare airport, it didn't mean we weren't close to the Chicago Loop area. The advantage of styaing near the world's busiest airport was taking advantage of Chicago's "L" system. Our hotel was steps from the Blue Line which...
...allowed Colin to enjoy train and bus travel to get to Wrigley Field.
And the bus dropped us off at the corner of Clark and Addison, or better known as the Friendly Confines, Wrigley Field. The home of the Cubs has a different look with banners surrounding the famous marquee promoting the more notable Cub players.
Another change to the historic park is the addition of the PNC Club of Chicago. Located on the suite level down the left field line, this club has tickets sold on a season ticket basis and allows the fans an opportunity to have the benefits of a suite, without committing to an eighteen person box.
Throwing out the first pitch and singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning was well-known actor Vince Vaughn. Native Chicagoan Vaughn is a life-long Cubs fan.
Coaching third base for the Diamondbacks is former Iowa dual sport player, Bo Porter. Porter played for Iowa in the early 90's was a defensive back for the football team as doubled for Duane Banks in baseball. He played a while in the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs farm system before getting an opportunity to coach third base for the Florida Marlins and currently for Arizona.
It wouldn't be right for Colin to be without a pretzel at a sporting event. It also wouldn't be right if Dad got a picture of both looking at the camera. The other picture had Colin looking elsewhere.
Once the pretzel had been eaten, the peanuts were next on the menu.
The Cubs came back to win 7-5 and it was "white flage" time as the "W" flag was raised.
Video appears above of the last out and what has become the Cubs favorite song.