Season 1 Episode 17
Harkless is in the midst of a rigorous off-season workout program – hoping to capitalize on the opportunity to make a tremendous first impression with his new head coach.
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Preparing For Breakout Year
American Pharoah will not win the Triple Crown on Saturday.
He has no chance to win.
The reason? Dosage Index
Dosage Index factors in the first four generations of a horse’s pedigree and how those horses fared at different distances. The lower the number, the more likely a horse is better suited for longer distances – like the 1-1/2 mile Belmont Stakes.
Let’s look at some Dosage Index numbers:
1.00 – Mubtaahij Post 1 – 2015 Belmont Stakes (10-1)
1.77 – Birdstone 2004 Belmont Stakes Winner (36-1)
2.25 – Tale of Verve Post 2 – 2015 Belmont Stakes (15-1)
2.33 – Materiality Post 8 – 2015 Belmont Stakes (6-1)
2.73 – Keen Ice Post 7 – 2015 Belmont Stakes (20-1)
2.80 – Frosted Post 6 – 2015 Belmont Stakes (5-1)
3.21 – Madefromlucky Post 3 – 2015 Belmont Stakes (12-1)
3.40 – Smarty Jones 2004 Belmont Stakes runner-up (2-5)
3.50 – Frammento Post 4 – 2015 Belmont Stakes (30-1)
4.33 – American Pharoah 2015 Belmont Stakes Post 5 (3-5)
“Other than winning the Champagne Stakes last fall, he’s done nothing. His alleged great potential has never been realized. There have been more excuses for him than teenagers produce for not doing homework. Forget him.”
Just like history has forgotten Spectacular Bid (1979), Alysheba (1987), Sunday Silence (1989), Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), Charismatic (1999), War Emblem (2002), Funny Cide (2003), Smarty Jones (2004), Big Brown (2008), I’ll Have Another (2012), and California Chrome (2014).
Two out of three ain’t bad.
Back in 2004, pitcher Kyle Denney was a September call up for the Cleveland Indians. Before his September 29th start against the Kansas City Royals, team officials told him it would likely be his last outing of the season. Denney struggled through four innings that night as the 100-loss Royals, the worst team in baseball, tagged him for two runs on eight hits. The Indians came back to win 5-2, but Denney could not have been happy with his own personal performance. It would turn out to be the fourth and final game of his career.
Here is what happened AFTER that game:
The Indians headed to Minnesota for their last three games of the season. Those familiar with baseball tradition know that rookies making a team’s final road trip of the season are “dressed” for travel by the team’s veterans. When Denney returned from his postgame shower his clothes were missing from his locker, replaced by a USC cheerleader uniform.
Denney, who attended Oklahoma, earned the outfit because his Sooners were ranked second to the Trojans in the college football polls at the time. The rookies left the locker room dressed in their outfits and boarded the team’s charter buses for the trip to the Kansas City International Airport.
So here is where the story turns bizarre. While merging onto I-70 from I-435, a loud sound rang out inside one of the buses. Outfielder Ryan Ludwick was hit by debris, while Denney realized that he had been shot in the right calf. Someone had taken a random shot at the bus with a high-powered rifle.
Team trainers immediately removed the bullet from Denney’s leg while the bus continued on to the airport. An ambulance met the bus there and transported Denney to a local hospital where he was kept overnight for observation. One can only imagine the sight of a 6’2″ man dressed in a cheerleading uniform arriving at a Kansas City hospital emergency room for treatment.
But wait, there’s MORE:
Further investigation determined that the bullet would likely have shattered Denney’s leg had he not been wearing the thigh-high boots. The thick leather absorbed most of the bullet’s impact. Denney said at the time, “I’ve never been so glad to have a USC thing on.”
Please, let that sink in for a moment.
Hopefully, your brief moment of reflection peeled away layers of noise pollution that unfortunately has dominated Orlando airspace these past few weeks.
Let us now continue our Magic Yoga – the catalyst for beautiful change to our fan mindset.
First, the Magic were never going to part with draft picks in order to hire the head coach whose first and last names begin with a “T”. Once the circumstances surrounding his dismissal were made public, it became obvious to most that the last person any organization wants to hire for a leadership role is someone who has effective communication issues. While that drama was unfolding in the Windy City, Magic GM Rob Hennigan and CEO Alex Martins were already wrapping up his search process and had already decided on Skiles. Give Hennigan and Martins credit for following through and resisting the urge to drop a wrench in the gears in order to make the media happy. They understand fans do not buy tickets to watch the coach and that the media can’t be made happy. Ever.
Next, let’s hear from some members of the Magic.
2014-15 NBA All-Rookie First Team member Elfrid Payton had this to say about Skiles: “It’ll be great learning from a former point guard.”
Former Big East Rookie of the Year Maurice Harkless had one of the worst seats at the House-By-The-Mouse this past season, watching the Magic lose 57 games while riding the pine. Harkless had this to say about Skiles: “I’m excited about a new beginning. Everything I’ve heard about him has been good. I’ve heard he’s a hard coach and he expects a lot out of his players, and that’s the kind of coach we need as a young team. We need to be held accountable and he’s the guy that’s going to do that for us. I’m looking forward to it and looking forward to working with him.
Even Shaq is on board. Chatting on 740theGame earlier today he said, “I own a piece of the Sacramento Kings, but I want Scott and the Magic to do well.”
Take a deep breath, and remember the draft picks the Magic did not give up, fifth and 51st overall picks in the upcoming draft. Having Skiles here to mentor a lottery pick is a perfect fit. Just ask a former first round pick how important that is. Oh wait, someone already did. We’ll talk about who the Magic should select in the 2015 NBA Draft another day…
Finally, even though the Magic are comfortably under the salary cap for 2015-16, Skiles believes the talent necessary to play his style of basketball and win in the NBA are already here. “This isn’t the summer for the Orlando Magic to swing for the fences and try to hit a home run,” Skiles said earlier today on 740theGame. “We need to be mindful and be smart, and if we can add a couple of pieces (through free agency) that we feel can really help us obviously we’ll go ahead and do it. You give guys a lot of leeway early on to learn, then ultimately you have to starting holding guys accountable.”
That’s good news for players like Harkless: “I love playing defense and practicing hard. I love all that stuff so having him coming in with his mindset to this team is a great opportunity for myself. Coming into the league, my goal was to be on the All-Defensive Team and that’s still one of my goals.”
Scott Skiles is the perfect choice to be the Magic head coach. Period.
[player quotes courtesy of Basketball Insiders.com]
Perfect Choice For The Magic
The University of Alabama at Birmingham announced earlier today that they will reinstate their football program for the 2016 season.
This is a reversal of the school’s decision to discontinue the program in 2014, when President Ray L. Watts announced that athletics was costing UAB $20 million per year.
So what changed?
UAB supporters stepped up. As the athletics department continued fundraising efforts for the remaining sports, “pledges far exceeding historical financial support” started rolling in. Their pledges sent the message to the school’s adminstration, which promptly hired Mark Ingram as the new Director of Athletics. Ingram arrived in Birmingham after a very successful tenure at Temple University in Philadelphia where his efforts help add the Owls to the NCAA football map for the first time in decades. Before that, he helped Tennessee, Georgia, and Missouri fund their athletic programs.
President Watts’ initial concerns were valid. Why continue to increase funding to the athletics department at the expense of other educational, research, and health care missions? It was tough to argue with his decision to cut funding, just as it would be tough to argue with his decision to restore football after UAB supporters agreed to start writing checks.
Way to go UAB!
Season 1 Episode 16