Leading off today: Gregg Sarra's column
for Newsday on Sunday was completely predictable ... and not all that unreasonable.
With Long Island having been slammed by yet another dose of winter, Sarra wants Sections 8 and 11 to consider bagging the state tournament in order to start and finish the baseball regular season later in the spring.
"The regular season currently ends May 10 -- why? We have all of the month of May to play the regular season in beautiful spring weather," he writes. "Instead, we trudge through brutally cold winds, rain and snow and bear the brunt of Mother Nature's wrath. For what?
"More than 60 percent of Long Island's teams are done playing May 11. Why does the schedule end? It ends to start the postseason and send one team from each classification upstate for the state tournament.
"Why not eliminate the state factor and play through May and schedule the playoffs in sunny June with the best-of-three Long Island baseball championships?"
Sarra also made a point with respect to protecting pitchers.
The NYSPHSAA adopted pitch counts last season, but there's nothing in place to save teens from throwing in near-freezing temperatures.
Opinion: You've got my email address so feel free to send me hate mail, but the baseball tournament is the one state championship I'd do away with in a heartbeat, with the weather factor being the reason.
Plenty of teams manage to squeeze in 18 games or so each spring, but many achieve it by playing five or six times in the last 10 days of the regular season. That didn't bother me much in the old days, but it matters more now that we have pitch counts.
I'd much rather see meaningful sectional tournaments, as in best-of-three series for the semifinals and finals. As it is now, there are too many early-round "upsets" that aren't really upsets because the higher seed's was in pitch-count jail.
Looking back a week: Continuity. It's a big word in the dictionary and a big objective in sports.
I started thinking about it last weekend in Glens Falls during the Federation basketball tournament, specifically while watching the Jamesville-DeWitt girls.
There are other NYSPHSAA girls basketball teams worthy of acknowledgement as dynasties -- Ossining and Irvington certainly come to mind -- but I've taken an interest in Jamesville-DeWitt because it's relatively close to the home office and some of the names have become ingrained in my mind out of sheer repetition. Seniors Meg Hair and Kasey Vaughan just completed five-year varsity careers with a Federation championship and classmate Jamie Boeheim came up during her eighth-grade season, too.
They arrived to join upperclassmen who'd gone 39-6 the previous two years, and the winning never stopped. J-D was 117-21 over the past five seasons, with five straight trips to the NYSPHSAA finals and championships in the last year. The Red Rams topped it off with their Federation crown last month.
"In eighth grade my role was to distribute the ball to the older girls," Hair told me after the win in the Federation final. "I didn't want to go in as a ball hog and always want to shoot it. The older girls took me in as a little sister and they pushed me hard every day in practice. They helped make me the player I am today."
Coach Rob Siechen brought four sophomores and two freshmen two Glens Falls, and it was quickly apparent that they weren't there as window dressing, even if the seniors carried the bulk of the scoring load. Tenth-graders Andrea Sumida, Gabby Stickle and Paige Keeler plus ninth-grader Momo LaClair got half the playing time in the 59-47 win over Staten Island Academy that avenged losses in the previous two Federation semifinals.