Lights, camera, action

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Baseball teams can begin using video equipment during game

NFHSLOGO For years television stations have used teasers to promote their local news shows, often promising “film at 11.”
  Soon high school baseball coaches will adopt the same sort of tactic, except their film will actually be a more advanced form of video recording that can — and probably will — be shown anytime and anywhere.
  The National Federation of State High School Associations ruled last month that, beginning in 2015, teams will be permitted to use video monitoring or replay equipment for coaching purposes during games. Previously, Rule 3-3-1 allowed for use of video equipment but not during games for coaching purposes.
  “With advancements in technology, it was extremely difficult for officials to determine if teams were using video replay during games,” Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and educational services, said in a statement. “The committee determined it was the right time to permit teams to use these technological aids if they so choose.”
  How will the rule revision alter the local baseball landscape next spring? Perhaps not as much as one might think.
  Several coaches were already videotaping their players at other times; doing so during games is merely an extension of that. And, in fact, in-game taping wasn’t completely off-limits before —it just couldn’t be done from an on-field vantage point.
  Shepard coach Frank DiFoggio would have his team’s games taped and later put together an instructional package. He watched for “everything — where we were [stationed defensively] when we made an error, what we did [offensively] with runners on base, things like that.”
  Players were free to view anything they wanted, but DiFoggio cited just one instance where an athlete took full advantage of the opportunity.
  “Adam Samad wanted to see every one of the at-bats he had,” DiFoggio said of his former all-area outfielder. “But he was really the only kid that would do that. About two-thirds of the games I taped and I’m [usually] the only one who watched.”
  As for the NFHS revision, few people are surprised it occurred given the proliferation of IPads and other hand-held devices with which scorekeeping and stats updating can be done in rapid fashion.


Winning’s OK, but not at all costs

  First off, let’s be clear about one thing: It’s very easy for us to criticize.
  We sports fans continually berate professional athletes for taking the best possible deal made available to them unless that deal is being offered by a team we really like. Then all insults are off.
  We tend to be less harsh with collegiate athletes because the money they receive under the table pales in comparison to what pro jocks earn and doesn’t cause the price of game tickets to jump too dramatically. If an athlete’s free ride ultimately results in higher tuition for our own kids, though, we get angered.
  Ticking us off the most is the fact that our offspring weren’t blessed with the ability to throw a touchdown pass while getting blitzed or sky over defenders for a slam dunk. Sure, they’re intelligent enough to pass physics and calculus classes, but if they were talented athletes someone else would be sitting in class taking tests for them so they could be freed up to attend practice.

Summer baseball roundup

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Tuesday is doomsday for Vikings

Season ends abruptly with pair of losses

  After winning rather handily last Monday, the prospects for St. Laurence’s continued advancement in the Phil Lawler Classic state tournament were good.
  On Tuesday, however, Prospect was better.
  Having been victimized by the Vikings in that Monday encounter, the Knights gained revenge at a most opportune moment. By virtue of a 4-2 triumph over St. Laurence at Benedictine University in Lisle, Prospect not only extended its own tourney stay but abruptly halted the Vikings’.
  The Lawler Classic is a double-elimination affair, but St. Laurence couldn’t afford another setback after having fallen short against Nazareth Academy — also by a 4-2 count — in an earlier Tuesday matchup. Thus, the Vikings concluded their summer campaign with a 15-4 mark.

Community sports news

Evergreen Boys Club 10s win state title

  Evergreen Park Boys Club’s 10-year-old all-star baseball team defeated host Galesburg twice to win the Northern Illinois Cal Ripken state title.
  The victories placed Evergreen in the Ohio Valley Regional, where it triumphed once in pool play and again in the single-elimination playoff round before being knocked out of the tournament by 2013 champion SE Lexington (Ky.). Evergreen defeated Alpena (MI) 11-0 and Brownstown (IN) 5-0.
  An earlier highlight for Evergreen was its title-winning effort at the Palos Tournament, where it captured come-from-behind, extra-inning victories in both the semifinal round and final contest. Evergreen also took third in its own event this summer.

Hi again neighbor

  • Written by Frank Gogola

Vikings, Rams will repeat opening football act

  Maybe the second act will go off without a hitch.
  A much-anticipated inaugural meeting between St. Laurence and Reavis on the football field created quite a pregame buzz among fans in Burbank last August. But when game night arrived along with it came rain — lots of it, accompanied by enough thunder and lightning to make playing more perilous than pleasurable.
  So Friday night’s kickoff got postponed until Saturday, which did nothing to slow the Vikings, who collected a 44-16 victory to begin what they hoped was a playoff-qualifying campaign. St. Laurence ultimately fell short of that goal, as did the Rams, but both will enter 2014 with renewed hopes.
  And once again their first test will come against each other. The Vikings host Reavis Aug. 29 at Kavanagh Field, and the anticipation for Round 2 runs just as high.
  “It’s always big to play a neighborhood school [because] it’s big for bragging rights,” St. Laurence coach Harold Blackmon said. “Some of the players know each other so that adds a little more to the game. This year we’re playing at home so we’re hoping for an electric atmosphere that night.”
  Actually more than bragging rights could be at stake. With both squads legitimately eyeing a postseason berth, getting off to a successful start is crucial, particularly since everyone only gets nine opportunities to prove themselves playoff-worthy.