* I know the record for Wichita State’s baseball team is at .500 as the Shockers prepare for a three-game set with Southern Illinois at Eck Stadium this weekend. I know fans aren’t used to seeing this team battle just to stay afloat. I know Todd Butler is having a rough first year. But it’s not all that surprising, given the team’s injuries, suspensions related to NCAA clothing violations and lack of overall talent depth.
* Way, way to early to make any long-term judgements about Butler and his coaching staff. Let’s see how he recruits. He has 17 new players coming in for next season, he told me Thursday. There will be changes to this roster in the coming weeks and months.
* Even though the season has been difficult so far, Butler told me he’s having fun and that he’s determined to make Wichita State a college baseball powerhouse again. Of course that’s what he would say. But I believe he’s the right coach at the right time and that good results are coming soon. That said, the Shockers need to start producing more consistently in all facets of the game this season. This has been an underachieving team in many ways. It’s been surprising to see Garrett Bayliff and Tyler Baker struggle offensively, though both are showing signs of late of getting into a groove.
* I’ll be off work from The Eagle for three months starting next week, back at the start of August. I mention this for the two or three of you who might wonder where I am. I’m very much looking forward to the first season for League 42, our brand new baseball league for kids who, for a variety of factors, have rarely or never had the opportunity to play baseball. Our season begins Monday, April 28, at McAdams Park. I hope some of you will stop by as we play league games on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays through the end of June.
* The debut episode of Fargo on FX the other night was so good that I can’t stop thinking about it. I mentioned on Facebook yesterday that it has a chance to be even better than the highly-acclaimed movie of the same name. Billy Bob Thornton seems to have fallen into a dream role here and looks 100 percent capable of pulling it off. Of course, it’s only one episode. But to say this show is promising is a vast understatement.
* Gary Busey is is marketably weird, if you know what I mean. Most weird people aren’t marketable. Busey is. He’s lucky that way, I suppose.
* A little Cardinals update because I know you care. Adam Wainwright is a stud. So is Yadier Molina. I wish the Cardinals hit more home runs. I like Mike Adams as a hitter but he needs to hit 25 homers. I’m not sure why Allen Craig isn’t consistently hitting the ball harder. Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn have great ability, but I’m not sure about their mental approaches. Jon Jay is going to play more center field than Peter Bourjos based on what I’ve seen so far. Jhonny Peralta is a huge upgrade at shortstop. I’m not 100 percent sure about rookie second baseman Kolten Wong. Carlos Martinez will be a superstar pitcher someday soon. Michael Wacha might already be.
* I need a new personal laptop so that I can play Spades again online. I miss it.
* I’m going to start watching Game of Thrones next week on Netflix. It better be good.
* I love the sound of a lawnmower when I’m sitting in my basement office doing work. It gives me a good feeling. I think it has to do with the weather being warmer.
* Two very interesting basketball coaching job openings in the SEC at the moment. Tennessee and Missouri are two schools in that conference that could mount a challenge to Kentucky and Florida. But will they? These upcoming hires are huge.
* The Royals swept the Astros. Today, they return to MLB.
* I went decades without caring at all about the stock market’s performance. Now I check it daily. Part of that is because it’s so accessible because of my smart phone. But it’s also because I worry incessantly about the health of my 401k. And some of it, too, is because I’m Gary Busey-weird.
* I miss affiliated minor league baseball in Wichita more than ever. It’s ridiculous that this city isn’t affiliated with an MLB team and if I had a wish list of things I want in local sports, that would be at the top of the list. Along with a renovated Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. That place is in dire need of work. And I won’t stop being this drum until all of the funds in my 401k disappear and I’ve living under a bridge somewhere. With Gary Busey.
* How many tickets would Bruno Mars and Pharrell Williams sell at Intrust Bank Arena? They’re touring this summer and hitting Tulsa, Little Rock and Omaha – but not Wichita. I think that’s a shame. I would go see that show and I have to think it would fill the arena. Wouldn’t it? And if not, why not? I’m trying to understand how city musically. I know we love country music. Is that it? Are most other musical genres destined for Hartman Arena, the Orpheum and the Cotillion?
* How good is the television show Parenthood? We’ve watched it a few times over the years but haven’t been hooked. Not because it’s not excellent, but because there is just too much to watch. So I ask – what are we missing? My son and daughter-in-law rave about this show.
* I finally saw Frozen this week with my granddaughter, Airyn. What a fantastic movie. She’s seen it five times now and was singing along with the songs.
* It doesn’t sound like Transcendence is a very good movie. And it doesn’t sound like Johnny Depp is a very good actor anymore. I fear he’s gotten weird, and not marketably so. Perhaps he needs to talk to Gary Busey.
* See you soon, everybody. Have a great weekend.