MYSTIQUE CASINO & RESORT
1. Who is the only player to win a league batting title in three different decades?
2. How many seasons did Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza have at least 30 home runs, 100-plus RBIs and a batting average of .300 or better?
3. When was the last time before a 2016 bowl game that the Penn State and Georgia football teams
4. Which two teams hold the NBA record for worst start to a season?
5. In the 1981-82 NHL season, Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky set a record with 92 goals. Did his team go on to win the Stanley Cup?
6. Who was the first NASCAR driver to break 200 mph in a stock car at Talladega?
7. Name the last tennis player 31 or older before
Stan Wawrinka in 2016 to win the U.S. Open men’s singles title.
1. Kansas City’s George Brett (1976, ‘80, ‘90).
2. Six seasons.
3. It was the 1983 Sugar Bowl following the
4. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets and the 2015-16 Philadelphia 76ers each started 0-18.
5. No. The Oilers were upset by the Los Angeles Kings in five games in the division semifinals.
6. Buddy Baker, in 1970.
7. Ken Rosewall was 35 when he won in 1970.
© 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.
From Where I Sit
Last Sundays NIT second round men’s basketball game between Iowa and Texas Christian was so much fun to be a part of on a number of fronts.
b) College Basketball
c) Sold out arena
d) A glimpse at the future
I could go on but for the sake of time and space, let’s focus on these four bullet points.
It was extremely exciting to watch two young rosters get after each other, even confrontational at times but nothing threatening. Just good hard competition. Both have bright futures barring injuries.
I don’t know of another sport that can hold one’s attention and be as riveting as college basketball. The shot clock and the three point basket can wipe out any, seemingly insurmountable lead, with 12-0 and 16-2 runs. Hockey would be the closest where end to end action provides constant goose bumps.
Nothing beats a loud, sold out arena. Hats off to Iowa fans for coming out on a beautiful spring Sunday afternoon when it would have been easy to stay home and watch the NCAA tournament. Cudo’s to Iowa and the NIT for pricing tickets at 20 dollars for adults and just 5 for kids. Many in the crowd were not season ticket holders and brought that next generation or two of Hawkeye fans with them. College athletics remains a spectator, in person venue in spite of all the goofy TV start times that drive us crazy.
Fans won’t come unless the talent and style are there. In seven years, Coach Fran McCaffery and his staff have returned Iowa basketball to it’s proud past and tradition. It reminds a lot of Tom Davis and his teams of the 80’s and 90’s. People love the up and down race horse but controlled transition game. Yea the Hawks coughed the ball up 17 times leading to 28 TCU points but they also got to the free throw line 19 times. Unfortunately Iowa missed 11 of those. The transition game is one of risk, reward and I applaud McCaffery for staying with it, even with all those first year players “learning on the job.” This season will go along in helping to ground the youngsters. Next year will pay dividends because of all the peaks and valleys in
2016-17. They’ll play beyond their sophmore eligibility. Bohannon, Cook, Pemsl and Moss will be joined by the coach’s son Connor McCaffery, a 6’6 guard. 6’11 Luka Garza had 40 division one scholarship offers including Louisville and Georgetown and Indiana high school star Jack Nunge, a 6’9 shooting forward averaged 28 points,15 rebounds.
This young groups work ethic and eagerness to learn and get better is quite obvious. The players understand, in the Big Ten, you better improve everyday or you’re eating dust.
Welcome to the Rock
It really made no sense at all. How could one of the greatest left fielders of all-time, one of the great base stealers in history (first all-time in efficiency, fifth all-time base stealer) and a seven-time All-Star be ignored for two decades by the powers that be, those baseball writers who hold the keys to Cooperstown.
But there it was before me in the paper that mid-January morning ... Raines had finally been elected and I, who have written about Raines’ merits ad nauseam in this column, was set free. The fact that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America also took two of my other pro bono cases in Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez made things only that much sweeter. Then I had another question: What took them so long?
Bagwell and Rodriguez were painted with the steroid scandal tar brush, and that was the sole reason why they had to wait for induction. Apparently, the unwritten rule for the BBWAA is that admitted or indicted steroid abusers (Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, for instance) are to be banned; those who are suspected or gossiped about will have to wait a ballot or two to think about their sins in what is baseball’s version of purgatory. Now they are spotless, enshrined forever in upstate New York.
Raines, for historical reasons, will more than likely be remembered for two things: cocaine and collusion. The standout, superstar high-school athlete out of Sanford, Florida, flush with money for the first time in his life, decided to spend it on drugs ... cocaine, specifically. During the infamous Pittsburgh drug trials in 1985, Raines copped to the fact that he played many games high on coke, did coke in the clubhouse during games and even developed his head-first slide in order to protect the eight ball he had in his back pocket.
The next year, he won the batting title, only the third switch hitter in history to do so. He led the league in on-base percentage (.413) and times on base (274). After that season, he was a free agent. The only clubs that showed any interest were ... none of them. Instead of the sound of ch-ching, he got the sleepy melody of crickets. Why? Because the owners of the league colluded together in order to keep salaries down.
Raines was re-signed to the Expos, missing out on the lucrative New York Yankee contract everyone thought he had coming his way. Can you imagine that? An outfield consisting of Tim Raines, Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield? With Billy Martin managing Raines and Henderson to boot? That would have been a sight to see.
But Raines will be best remembered for being one of the premier players of not only his era, but all-time. Bill James ranks him as the 40th greatest position player of all-time. The record books remember him, too. He’s remembered for having an uncanny knack to win ballgames with grand slams and triples. One also could point to his victory over drugs and the sportsmanlike conduct he displayed during his career.
Tim Raines, the “Rock” before they’re was a “Rock,” welcome to the Hall of Fame.
Mark Vasto is a veteran sportswriter who lives in
© 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.
The Spirit Of An Athlete