POSTED ON JUNE 3, 2009:
Tulsa teams tidying up before making a run for the championship
Got Lucky. While wandering aimlessly through the MGM Grand on the Friday night prior to UFC 98 (great card by the way), I bumped into Dana White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. (L to R: White, Davis and Mike Swick, a welter weight contender.)
I said I was taking my plight directly to Las Vegas. While wandering aimlessly through the MGM Grand on the Friday night prior to UFC 98 (great card by the way), I bumped into Dana White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
After introducing myself; I let him know I was visiting from Tulsa. Don't get me wrong, I get that he meets hundreds of fight fans on a daily basis. It's almost certain my message was lost when he slept that night.
Then again, you never know. I advised him Tulsa was waiting for the UFC. He was with Mike Swick, a welter weight contender. Swick chimed in that he was from the Houston area. I'm still not sure what that meant in the grand scheme of things but at least I was certain they received my Tulsa message.
To rehab from my big fight weekend in Vegas, I attended the Freestyle Cage Fighting card last Saturday night at the Osage Million Dollar Elm Casino in Bartlesville. If this casino is in Bartlesville, it is news to Bartlesvillians. Solid card, great set-up in a tent and a gogoplata executed. Good night overall.
You Know the Drill
Shifting gears to baseball. The Drillers have a new manager in the dugout. Ron Gideon replaces Stu Cole for the remainder of the season.
Cole was not fired. He left the Tulsa Drillers to become manager of Triple A Colorado Springs. He was, in fact, promoted. The shift in direction by the Rockies organization took place after the Drillers' parent organization fired Clint Hurdle. Taking an overachieving Rockies team to the World Series two years ago doesn't hold much weight these days.
For the past three years, Gideon has served as the Roving Field Coordinator for Colorado. I'd like to toss my cap into the Roving Sports Writer field.
Gideon is familiar with the Drillers as he spent time working with the players in the past.
What kind of team is Gideon inheriting? Good question. Tulsa currently sits in second place just a few games behind Springfield. They are a .500 squad with no real identity.
Jhoulys Chacin entered the season as the number one pitcher. The Rockies were hoping a fast start by Chacin would allow them to bring him up as the year progressed. His results have been mixed to date.
He is a workhorse. His ERA and WHIP are respectable. A lack of run support has skewed his record a bit.
However, Samuel Deduno and Esmil Rogers are rockin'. Deduno led the Texas League in strikeouts two seasons ago. Arm troubles kept him out of action last year but he seems to be back throwing darts and curves.
Rogers is the unexpected surprise. General manager Mike Melega admitted to not knowing much about Rogers when he was assigned to the Drillers. He is 3-1 with 50 strikeouts which ranks second in the Texas League to date. Nuf' said.
The bats could use a little corking or pine tar. Just kidding, of course, but to say the team is missing a little pop from 1-9 in the lineup is an understatement.
Only two Drillers are hitting over .300 on the year. Right fielder Ryan Harvey has a .934 OPS. OPS is one of the newish baseball dork stats. To simplify, .900-.950 is considered good. The Drillers only have Harvey in this category.
Can the new skipper get the Drillers' bats connecting? If so, the pitching staff appears good enough for a run at the championship. Then again, if the Rockies dump salary at the trading deadline, many of these Drillers may get a sudden call-up to the big league. Come on new stadium! Visit www.tulsadrillers.com for more information.
Noises from Above
The Tulsa Talons are a quiet 8-1 heading into this week's home showdown against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Talons ran the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz out of the Cox Convention Center this past Saturday to complete the season sweep.
A 64.6 points-per-game average is good for second in the af2 on offense. Their 42.3 ppg allowed on defense ranks fifth in the league.
The most impressive number is their 64.7 percent conversion rate on third down. That's seven percentage points higher than the second most successful team. The second most impressive number is a 28.8 percent conversion rate by their opponents on third down.
The ingredients for another championship run are in place. A year ago the Talons juggernaut was derailed by injuries. Not to jinx head coach Mitch Allner and his crew but barring another unlucky injury stretch, count on the Talons competing 'til the end.
Our Oklahoma Thunder football team is cruising right along to another World Football League title. It's a rarity when the Thunder gives up a point. However, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out a flaw or two going forward.
Several months ago I mentioned a few minor snafus on the Tulsa 66ers Web site. All were caught after my article ran and corrected shortly thereafter. Ryan Williams, the PR guy, thanked me. Williams is a pro's pro. He's been in the business and understands all facets of minor league basketball.
Which brings me to the football Thunder. Google Oklahoma Thunder and you get the NBA team. Google Oklahoma Thunder Football and you get half football and half of the NBA franchise. I'm not sure the semipro team can alter this much.
However, they can assure the information found on the Web site is accurate. They want to be taken seriously. I want to take them seriously. I want Tulsa to support them. They need a few minor adjustments.
Post-game updates are a plus. Post-game updates riddled with misspellings and poor punctuation is a minus.
Most Tulsans realize it is the second year and it is definitely a work in progress. Here is wishing them the best and many more years to come Visit www.oklahomathunderfootball.com for more information and a possible misspelling or two.
I'd like to leave you with a sports haiku. Enjoy!
Summer temps kick in
Home team victory in hand
Stay cool with cold one
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