SIDELINES, by Mike Ashley


By Mike Ashley

NO SHOESTRING BUDGET: No wonder basketball shoes cost so much. Who knew so many folks were on the payroll?


MIAMI SLICE: I got to wear the Turnover Chain once, but I was in a bakery.

SEMI-BYE WEEK: Upsets galore last week among the highest ranked BCS Playoff teams. Can Mercer knock off Alabama this week. Wait. Mercer?!?

HE PLAYED AT ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Steve Kerr endorsed Gregg Popovich for President, which is fine. I just worry that during major events ‘Pop’ might sit out our biggest states like New York, Texas or California.

THROWUP THURSDAY: Every Thursday, NFL players dress like that time your little brother painted your electric football players.

TIMEOUT FOR TRIVIA: Who was the first relief pitcher to win the Cy Young Award?

AFTER FURTHER REVIEW: Before the game I was covering a week ago, I saw a guy in the football press box wearing a smock that said in big letters, ‘Instant Replay.’ I said, ‘Hey, didn’t I just see you?’

RIP YOUR LUNGS OUT, JIM: Tony Romo is a genuine, Maddenesque talent in the broadcast booth, but he does need to master the ‘hurry up’ in this arena like he did on the field.

DON’T FEAR THE KEEPER: With the MLS playoffs underway, here’s a reminder -- when betting soccer, remember the over/under is always one.

STRINGER THEORY: Congrats to Vivian Stringer who got a $3.4 million, four-year contract extension at Rutgers. She’s closing in on 1000 career wins and her 46-year career is a big part of the reason that women’s basketball coaches can command such salaries.

INJUNCTION JUNCTION: Ezekiel Elliott’s attorneys should get some MVP recognition. In related notes, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has threatened to sue Atlanta owner Arthur Blank over Dallas’ 27-7 loss to the Falcons, and the rest of the Cowboys’ schedule will be broadcast on Court TV.

TRIVIA ANSWER: It was 1974, and the Los Angeles Dodgers trotted out their closer, Mike Marshall, a whopping 106 times in winning the NL West and advancing to the World Series before the Tony La Russafication of relief pitching. (And if postseason baseball keeps airing so late on the east coast, I may need to get someone to watch the seventh, then the eighth and ninth innings for me, too.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Ashley has covered college athletics for over 30 years. He has worked in the athletic departments at Virginia Tech, Radford University and Marshall University, in addition to freelance work from his Northern Virginia home. Ashley has also worked as a stand-up comic, and has been a regular on many radio stations throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. His work appears in Terrapin Times (covering the University of Maryland), NCAA programs, Blue Ribbon YearbooksAthlonLindy’s, and on bathroom stalls in major sporting venues. He has also co-authored a book on the golden age of Virginia Military Institute football, “Best Regrets: VMI’s John McKenna and The Lost Age of College Football.” Previously, the Salem, Va., native has helped author books on the New York Yankees, Emmitt Smith, Maryland’s 2002 NCAA basketball championship, and published a book on the history of Radford University.

William Roth