Who says Major League Baseball managers don’t teach?
In Baltimore, Buck Showalter doesn’t just teach. He doles out homework.
When minor league outfielder Josh Hart didn’t know about Orioles legend and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, Showalter had him write a one-page report and have it on his desk the following day.
“It’s important that we realize there were some people that paved the way to have that strong fan base, the people who live and die with everything the Orioles do,” Showalter told ESPN Radio. “This should be a hero of (Hart’s). And it is now. I guarantee you.”
Showalter gave Hart an A-plus for the paper. Maybe every team should adopt a similar policy and test its rookies on the history of their organization.
If you play for the Chicago Bears, you should know who George Halas, Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus are. Every player on the Detroit Red Wings should know about Gordie Howe. And if you’re a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, you should know everything there is to know about Michael Olowakandi, the No. 1 overall selection of the 1998 NBA Draft who turned out to be a bust and personifies everything that is the Clippers.
At least until Blake Griffin and Chris Paul showed up.
■ COLOR ME SAD — Scott O’Brien is a Cleveland sports fan, so he has firsthand knowledge of what true heartache is. The 35-year-old who lives in Los Angeles has come up with a project that parents can share with their kids — a coloring book entitled “Why Is Daddy Sad On Sunday?”
It’s a history lesson about all of Cleveland’s sports failures, from “The Drive” to “The Decision” and all the misery in between.
“I was stuck in L.A. traffic, listening to sports talk radio and heard that the Browns were going to fire their front office again, and it struck a chord with me that the whole recent history has just been comical,” O’Brien told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I was thinking about how I could ever explain it to my 1-year-old daughter once she is old enough, and the coloring book idea came to me.”
O’Brien’s five worst Cleveland sports moments?
1. “The Drive” when John Elway led Denver on a 98-yard march to victory in the 1987 AFC Championship Game.
2. “The Fumble” when Ernest Byner fumbled at the goal line in the 1988 AFC title game against the Broncos.
3. Art Modell moving the Browns to Baltimore in 1996.
4. Game 7 of the 1997 World Series when the Indians lost to the Florida Marlins in 11 innings.
5. “The Decision” by LeBron James to leave the Cavaliers in 2010 and take his talents to South Beach.
That’s a lot of disappointment, for sure.
■ EXPENSIVE DIGS — Apparently $60 million doesn’t go as far as it used to for building high school football stadiums.
In Allen, Texas, the school’s $60 million, 18,000-seat stadium is shut down after cracks in the concrete were recently found, some as large as three-quarters of an inch. Not only is graduation in June going to have to be moved, but also the start of football season may be in jeopardy.
The saddest news? The 192 bathrooms in the stadium will sit idle. Maybe Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will let Allen High borrow his stadium.
COMPILED BY STEVE CARP LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL