Category Archives: Local

Remembering Niño

By Nate Flax

Before the early morning sun even had a chance to kiss the shores of South Beach, a dark cloud had been cast over far more than Miami and the sporting world. Reports of a boating accident involving a 32-foot fishing boat nicknamed Kaught Looking (spelt with a backwards K) just off the coast of Miami came in early Sunday. The vessel belonged to José Fernandez, star pitcher of the Miami Marlins, who, along two of his close friends, Eddy Rivero and Emilio Macias, died that night when their boat crashed into a jetty and landed upside down on the rocks. However, in the words of Dr. Seuss and as legendary broadcaster Vin Scully signed off his final game with “do not be sad it’s over, smile because it happened”, which is what we should all do in remembering the lives of Rivero, Macias, and Fernandez.

joses-boat

PHOTO: PATRICK FARRELL/MIAMI HERALD/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Fernandez, 24, attempted to escape three times from Cuba, before finally reaching the United States with his mother, and leaving his grandmother behind. He was drafted in the first round of the 2011 MLB amateur draft (14th overall) before making his début for the Marlins as a 20 year-old in 2013 when he dominated the New York Mets, striking out eight in just five innings. That year he played in an all-star that year as well as Rookie of the Year honors for the National League. Injuries would plague his next two seasons, but Fernandez would return to all-star form in 2016 as he racked up 16 wins to go along with an earned run average under 2.9, putting him in contention for a Cy Young award. However, Fernandez were far more than phenomenal numbers, as it is his person for which he will forever be remembered.

Getty Images

Getty Images

As so many involved with the game of baseball could tell you, Fernandez brought a certain joy to the clubhouse, coming to work day in and day out with the giddiness we all had when we played the game as children. In short, he made the game fun again. One need look no further than moments like a booming Giancarlo Stanton home run, where Fernandez can be found in the dugout jumping up and down, his hands flailing in the air, and a huge grin on his face, to see just how much fun he had just by coming to the ballpark.

Another moment he’ll be long remembered for is when he caught a screaming line drive off the bat of Troy Tulowitzki who looked out at Fernandez stunned asking “Did you catch that?” to which Fernandez replied through his massive smile “Yeah. Yeah, I did”. Or after his final game, which he claimed was the best he had ever pitched, when he came back to the dugout and received a massive bear hug from hitting coach and good friend, Barry Bonds.

It was not until it was too late, however, when we all got to see just how much Fernandez meant to the Marlins organization and the game of baseball. Approaching Marlins Park Monday morning, one would see a sunny day everywhere but over the stadium where one cloud poured rain on the dome in the start of an overwhelming, emotional day. The game would start with tributes and grieving from both teams for Fernandez, whose number 16 covered the stadium and the mound, before the Marlins took the field with eight players, all wearing Fernandez’s number 16, missing their pitcher. After the Mets were retired in the top half of the inning, Dee Gordon led off for Miami, taking the first pitch thrown to him from the right-handed batter’s box while wearing Fernandez’s helmet, before switching to his natural lefty side. Two pitches later, Gordon would hit a powerful home run to right for his first homer of the season. An emotional trip around the bases concluded with tears throughout the stadium and hugs from every teammate in the dugout. After the game Gordon said, “I told the boys, if y’all don’t believe in God, y’all might as well start. I ain’t ever hit a ball that far, even in BP…we had some help.” Even though the Marlins ended up losing the game that day, the entire stadium and baseball community felt the presence of Jose “Niño” Fernandez cheering on his teammates from above that day.

Youth Sports getting out of hand?

by Angeline Seames

In San Diego, a youth football and cheer league got a little out of hand. With 30 seconds left in a youth football game, adults in attendance broke out into a fight in the stands. With this occurring during the game the league commissioner decided to remove both teams from the San Diego Youth Football and Cheer League. The parents and players now are protesting and threatening to sue the league.

What has caused youth sports to escalate to parents fighting against each other? Parents and coaches is the answer. For many reasons parents have this void or withdraw from the competitive spirit of sports. That is the reason why many parents allow their child to play in sports. Parents become emotionally involved and see their young athlete as an investment. While parents believe their child is gifted and could be rewarded with college athletic scholarships. The sad reality of it all is that in men’s football and basketball for every 10,000 high school student athletes, nine will play in the NFL and three will play in the NBA.

The Michigan State University Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, found that 70% of kids drop out of sports by the age of 13 because of adults. The main reason why kids play sports is to have fun, socialize and learn new skills. When parents become too involved  they overemphasize performance and winning, creating pressure for the kids which is no fun for the kids.

Just the same as parents, coaches get lost in the way of winning instead of teaching life lessons, values, new skills and socialization. Coaches most of the time focus on outstanding athletes, instead of allowing undeveloped athletes playing time to grow, to give their team the better outcome of the game.

These adults are role models to the children that are participating in the youth sports team. While parents and coaches are just focusing on winning, they are teaching their children that winning is everything. This statement is true because the U.S. is a very competitive country but, adults should be teaching their children morals and fighting for them no matter what it takes.

With that in mind, youth sports may see changes in crowd control, coaching staff and allowing adults to cheer on their children during sporting events. As parents become more involved in youth athletics, there’s the true question about if youth athletics will stay around.

A Year in Review: The Last Post

By Kaleb Page

May 8, 2015

As finals week approaches, so too does the end of posting for the Maxwell Media Watch.

This experience started back in the fall and it was one that allowed me to do what I’ve always loved to do: talk sports.

I wanted to use this final post to not only look back on what I did this year, but to also reflect on all the important people who made things possible.

My first post of the year was on the media overreacting to the Patriots collapse early in the season to the Kansas City Chiefs. That will always be a special post to me since it was my first one and I think I really critiqued the situation well (doesn’t hurt that I was right too).

There have been countless posts over the year and each one had its elements I enjoyed a lot. I tried to mix up my approach as much as I could, and spread my sports thoughts across everything from football and basketball to soccer and mixed martial arts. I enjoy a wide range of sports and hopefully for those who read you enjoyed what I had to say from sport to sport.

While it was nice to have this platform to post every Tuesday and Thursday, it would not have been possible without the many important people around me and the people who put this all together.

First, I would like to thank Mr. Maxwell, Kaitlin Rohrs, Steven Kubitza and Dr. Spencer for doing what they did this year. Mr. Maxwell gave us such a great platform to use and fine tune our writing ability. Rohr, Kubitza and Spencer each had a hand in making this whole year a smooth one along with given good advice on how to make us better (me included).

It was a great experience and I truly do have to thank those mentioned above for providing this opportunity.

Aside from the architects of this, I also want to give a shout out to all of the other bloggers as well. I enjoyed reading other works from fellow sports minds and getting perspectives that I necessarily never thought of before. I wish you all the best moving forward in whatever you happen to do and hopefully we all can look back at this as the starting point to something special.

Now it’s time to thank the most important people, my family and friends. I have the best support around and I am so thankful to have the mom, dad and brothers that I have. It means a lot to also have an extended family that has supported this as well and continues to read posts. I work hard for all of you and I hope I set a good example to be proud of.

For my friends. Thank you for reading my posts during the year when you had the chance to do so. I know we are all busy and don’t get the chance to talk as much but thank you for the support and I enjoy seeing your successes as well. (Oh and Joda Green, great comments this year. Just some classic comments this year.)

In the end, thank you all for reading, commenting or even giving my post just a quick glance. It means a lot as I chase a dream that is on a high level of attainment. It has been a great ride this year and I hope to have more material in the future for you all to look at.

Thank you all very much.

OHSAA Title Game Brews the Controversy

By Kaleb Page

April 1, 2015

In the Division II state basketball championship in Ohio there was an ending that you might not see again (at least for a long time). An ending involving a dunk…how is that anything newsworthy?

What happened at the end of that dunk is what really caught the attention of not only people in the state, but people nationally as well.

The game was between Cleveland Central Catholic and Defiance High School. The game was closely contested coming down the stretch. With under a minute in the fourth quarter the score line was 37-35 in favor of Central Catholic. At roughly 45 seconds on the clock, Central Catholic star player Antwon Lillard drove the lane and took off.

Moving fast down the lane Lillard’s momentum springs him to the hole for a big slam. The slam gives his team a huge four point lead to essentially cement the championship. If you remember from earlier I said it wasn’t the dunk that got the reaction it was the after that initiated the debate.

As Lillard dunked he hung on the rim and swung his legs up until he finally landed on the floor. After that action one of the referees gave Lillard a technical foul for hanging on the rim. If you watch the video below you can draw your conclusion on if it should have been called or not (starts at 34 seconds).

This call resulted in two free throws for Defiance and the ball. The bulldogs made both free throws and went on to score on that possession; forcing overtime. Once in overtime the tough nature of the game picked back up, but Defiance walked away the DII Ohio state champion with the final score of 49-45.

“A player can hang from the rim if he is protecting himself from injury if a player or players are underneath him. There were not any players underneath him, and he pulled himself up and swung excessively.” – Denny Morris, OHSAA excutive explaining the ruling (via Cleveland.com)

The national media from USA Today Sports, ESPN, Sporting News, etc. took the story and looked to spread this interesting ending to a big game. Controversy on whether or not the call was right has raged on in any of the comment section you find within an article on this topic.

With that said, I think it is important the national media shows this big ending to a state championship but, it’s important to be fair and not make the referee this huge villain.

Even with the call Defiance had to go to the line and knock down two high pressure free throws. Then when they got that possession they had to work for that basket to tie it and take it into overtime. Yes the call was huge, and yes the call set up for the end result but it still takes capitalizing on. If Defiance misses those free throws are we even sitting here today debating this call as much as we are?

I doubt it.

It is rough to lose that way and you have to feel for those Central Catholic players. At the same time, credit is due for Defiance finishing the job. Circumstances out of your control come up in any sport but it is key to really get past it and focus on what you can control.

Maybe that is the true story line here to realize.

Worry about the things you can control because things will happen you can’t control and when the things you can’t control do happen it is important to keep carrying on.

Brock Boyer Back in the State Tournament

By Kia Tyus

Andrew Williams of The Courier recently published an article about Brock Boyer making history in North Baltimore.

This article starts strong by stating multiple facts about Brock Boyer and the history of golf in North Baltimore.

The article did a great job in talking about the 34-year drought since a player from North Baltimore made it to state finals. Meaning, since 1980, no golfer from North Baltimore has made it to the state finals.

Boyer wasn’t even thought about the last time a golfer from North Baltimore made it to the finals, which is why the senior’s impressive 78 at the Division III boys district golf tournament on Thursday at Stone Ridge Golf Club got the community buzzing. Boyer will compete at the golf tournament on October 11 and 12 at North Star Golf Club in Sunbury.

Boyer stated that this accomplishment was a “great feeling”.

After the short Boyer introduction, the article took a turn for the worst by discussing other competitors whose scores happen to be better than Boyer’s.

I feel as though if you are going to highlight such a historical moment the author of the article Andrew Williams needed to focus more on Boyer and his accomplishments in the tournament.

Williams in a way disrespected Boyer by not fully acknowledging him throughout the entire article. Something Williams could have included in his article was writing about Boyer’s early golfing days and the struggle and heartbreak of never making it to the finals.

Maybe Williams could have asked more questions, such as if there was any pressure to break the drought.

To me, if you are going to acknowledge someone especially in the title you owe that person a full article, not half an article. It was wrong for Williams to discuss the competition Boyer would face.

It was Boyer’s time to shine and embrace the moment of such accomplishment. If Williams wanted to write about Boyer and his competition, that should have been a separate article.