“I’d studied (the KU/MU rivalry), interviewed people about it and been here enough over 25 years that I thought I had a sense of that pulse. Yet it’s evident I’ve got a lot more to learn about the depths of that — not to mention plenty of other things about the area.”
Vahe Gregorian, new sports columnist for The Kansas City Star
GH: Gregorian chose the topic of calling for reviving the MU/KU rivalry for his first Kansas City Star sports column. An excellent choice when you consider the role of a sports columnist is to invoke conversation, opinion and buzz about the columns he writes. But it seemed too easy and too vague for my acerbic tastes in columns. This column could have waited a week – and added more punch from his St. Louis perspective. His first column needed to make me care about who I am reading. Tell me who you are, Vahe. What’s with that name? How does Kansas City look from up close as compared to your longtime view from St. Louis? Are you a fan of any teams or has the journalism business dried all your sports passion from your fingers? Why did you make the move? What do your STL peeps think about you heading west? What are your goals as a KC sports columnist? Who is the big cheese at the Star’s sports desk – you (as the old guy) or Mellinger (as the established guy)? I have lots of questions. You up for an OTC interview? Let’s talk.
“Still, this much I can tell already: Something fundamental is missing from the Kansas City sports scene right now, and not just because the Chiefs haven’t won a playoff game since 1994 and the Royals haven’t since beating the Cardinals in the 1985 World Series.”
Vahe Gregorian, Kansas City Star
GH: If you have not read Gregorian’s column, here is the link. As a Nebraska guy with little blood in the Border War, I LOVED the sucker! I missed it when it went away and I still miss it now. I pine that my Missouri-born boys will never really comprehend what that sports rivalry meant for so many generations. But the KU and MU fans I know are not as bothered by its sudden ending. Both schools are too proud to state they need (or want) each other when it comes to scheduling. So, is something “fundamentally missing from the Kansas City sports scene?” Not really. MU is very, very happy in the SEC and KU is adamant that the state of Missouri no longer exists.
“Like each other or not, Mizzou and Kansas have to start playing each other again. Soon. It’s bigger than the institutions themselves, or the current leaderships and decisions they’ve made. It’s about the very underpinnings of the area, essential to the tapestry and part of the DNA in sports and beyond.”
Vahe Gregorian, Kansas City Star
GH: I hear you, Vahe. But each season that passes where these two stubborn rivals refuse to acknowledge they need to play each other in all sports – not just football and hoops – it will be easier to let this once great border war morph into what Nebraska and Oklahoma has become – nostalgia.
“No matter who or what you want to blame for the rivalry abruptly going dormant, all the fan teasing and taunting and hatred and humor that had a tangible epicenter simply rings hollow now.”
Vahe Gregorian, Kansas City Star
GH: I don’t think there is anything hollow about the taunts and teasing between the fans of these great schools. What made the Kansas / Missouri rivalry a 365-day-a-year event is they enjoy each other’s failures almost as much as their gains. Mizzou’s stumbles out of the SEC gate has fueled Kansas fans like news of a Bill Self five-star recruit. The same for Mizzou fans when it comes to KU not winning a Big 12 football game and basically stinking in just about every men’s sport not called basketball. These two schools don’t need to play each other to taunt each other. They just need to exist and the barbs will fly.
“Nothing’s ever easy,” said head coach Stanley Redwine, who joked that not long ago the women’s team was finishing 13th in the Big 12. “But we knew we had a team with the potential to win championships, and that was our goal. We all knew we had to come together and do it because it’s not about one athlete or one coach. It was a total team effort.”
Matt Tait, writer, on the KU women winning the outdoor track and field national championship, KUSports.com
GH: I believe this is the first national championship for a KU women’s team. That is very, very cool.
“The history of KU track is great. It’s old. And it needed to be updated. … KU track’s back on the map. I think people know that. And I’m wearing this (national championship) hat everywhere so people will recognize me.”
Andrea Geubelle, KU’s top point scorer, a senior who contributed 16 points to the team total of 60 with second-place finishes in the long and triple jump, KUSports.com
GH: Kansas is building a state-of-the-art outdoor track and field stadium on campus. Part of the reasoning is so they can renovate the football stadium and place the stands closer to the field. But this national title combined with a new track stadium should bolster KU’s resume as a place where great track athletes can come to win championships.
“We were joking when we saw the tweet. We were like, ‘Well, I hope it’s free because nobody’s gonna pay.’ So when we walked in and we saw people we didn’t know, that was huge. It was great that there were more than five people.”
Andrea Geubelle, on the gathering of “nearly 500 fans” inside Allen Fieldhouse Sunday to greet the national champs, KUSports.com
GH: I attended the Missouri Relays, The KU Relays and The Drake Relays all within the last few months. The Missouri Relays need a serious overhaul in every phase. They went off like a JV dual meet. The KU Relays are well run but the attendance is awful. The Drake Relays were in a word spectacular. People will come to watch track and field if the events are packaged with the same effort you would expect from a big-time football or basketball game. It will be interesting to see if KU’s women’s title revives that interest in the sport.
“I think we’ll handle it fine. The game got away and there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s one you just flush away pretty quick. Hopefully we can put it behind us.”
Coach Brad Hill, on his K-State baseball team dropping the second game of their Super Regional match with Oregon State 12-4, CJonline.com
GH: A trip to Omaha and the CWS is on the line tonight in Corvallis when the Cats take on the Beavers at 9:00 PM (CT) on ESPN2. After watching the game last night, it does not look good for K-State. But isn’t that kind of how the Wildcats like it?
“It’s all just grass.”
David Lough, Royals’ utility outfielder, on the difference between playing right field one day and center or left the next, Fox Sports
GH: D-Lo is quickly becoming my and many Royals’ fans favorite player. If he gets sent down when they activate Jarrod Dyson, there could be an uprising by the fans to rival the Frenchie Revolution.
“People ask me all the time if Bob (Fescoe) believes some of the stuff he says. The good thing about Bob is that he believes them. Whether he is way out there or wrong, he believes it.”
Josh Klingler, 610 AM
GH: Is that really a good thing?
and Twitter / @greghall24