My summer vacation

Hey, everyone. It’s been a while. And don’t think for a minute that I haven’t missed you, whoever you are.

Anyway, it’s good to be back at work. I’m looking forward to the rest of the baseball season, the start of football and isn’t it always basketball season in Kansas? Yes, it is. It should be another fun year.

I had some thoughts during my summer hiatus. A few. Not many. So in rapid-fire fashion, I wanted to share some of them here.

* We had a great first League 42 season, with around 220 kids, 16 teams and four age groups. It was an absolute blast and we’re already gearing up for our second season. We’ll be having a series of clinics during August and September and we’re already signing up players for the 2015 season. We expect to grow to around 350 kids next season.

* I finally made it to Buster’s, the famous Sun City bar/restaurant near Medicine Lodge, last week. My friend Steve Harper, who died in 2000, talked so much about Buster’s. It was fantastic because of the atmosphere, the town (what is left of it) and mostly because it reminded me of Steve, The Eagle’s former outdoor writer and photo editor.

* I was happy to see LeBron James return to Cleveland. And yes, the Cavs should definitely trade Andrew Wiggins for Minnesota’s Kevin Love. It’s a no-brainer, regardless of how Wiggins does in the NBA. He’ll be nowhere near as productive as Love is right now. And right now is all that should matter to the Cavs. They need to get this deal done.

* The Royals are in the hunt for an American League wild-card playoff hunt. No, I don’t give them much of a chance to overtake Detroit in the American League Central, especially after the Tigers acquired David Price at the trade deadline last week. I’ll be writing more about the Royals on the blog later today.

* It’s been an incredibly frustrating season to follow my beloved St. Louis Cardinals, whose offensive inadequacies are telling. But the Cardinals are still right there, just a game behind Milwaukee in the National League Central. And what a wild NL Central it is, with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati also in the mix. I’ve made sure to have extra Tums with me at all times during the final couple of months of the season.

* Ray Rice should have been suspended for six or eight games. Or the season. Or forever. But two games? Ridiculous. And Stephen A. Smith needs to be quiet.

* I watched an entire soccer game this summer – the USA’s World Cup elimination loss to Germany. Was it Germany? I honestly can’t remember. No, wait, it was Belgium. But I had to look it up. Anyway, I watched the entire game. I just wanted you to know.

* We’re having a League 42 fundraiser on Aug. 29. It’s a roast. Of me. It’ll be at The Abode Venue starting at 6 p.m. with dinner and a cash bar. Tickets are available at league42.org. It’ll also be a celebration of my 40 years at the paper, which comes in November. Roasters include: Wichita State pitching coach Brent Kemnitz, West High football coach Weston Schartz, Campus boys basketball coach Chris Davis, Wichita Eagle assistant managing editor Tom Shine, Topeka Capital-Journal sports columnist Kevin Haskin, KNSS radio personality Ted Woodard and the ever-popular Bonnie Bing. There will also be some surprises. I hope you’ll be there.

* I’m looking forward to getting out to the NBC World Series the rest of the week. Shamefully, I have not made it out yet. There’s no excuse for that.

* One thing I’ve come to enjoy about summer is watering plants and flowers. I’m not sure what this means, but I think it’s probably a positive.

* I also love hanging at the ballparks at McAdams and watching kids play baseball. Probably my favorite thing to do.

* The San Antonio Spurs were a joy to watch in the NBA Playoffs. This is not exactly new news, but I thought I would share anyway. It’s refreshing to see basketball played the way the Spurs play it, with crisp passing and unselfishness. Gregg Popovich has to rank as a Top 10 coach of all-time, at any level. Right?

* I watched the gruesome injury to Indiana Pacers star Paul George once. I won’t watch it again. And I regret watching it once.

* I can’t wait to see how Bill Snyder puts his football team together at Kansas State this season. Quarterback Jake Waters and receiver Tyler Lockett are proven stars. There are three returnees on the offensive line. But who will run the ball? Who will help fortify the defense? Can K-State make a push toward the top of the Big 12 standings? Don’t bet against it.

* Meanwhile, at Kansas, Charlie Weis is going with sophomore Montell Cozart as his starting quarterback. I see red flags, especially with an inexperienced offensive line. KU will have to play outstanding defense to improve. Fortunately, linebacker Ben Heeney is again part of that Jayhawks defense.

* Tiger Woods is breaking down. Watching to see if he can build himself back up will be fascinating. Meanwhile, is Rory McIlroy finally becoming the guy? Seems so.

* Thanks for reading. Check back later for my post on the Royals. See you at the NBC World Series, perhaps?