I, for one, am shocked at the latest news coming out of Afghanistan.

The Taliban decreed that no, women and girls can’t go to school after all. After shocking the world and letting those with lady parts actually have the luxury of an education, it was taken away hours after the doors opened. The reason? The Taliban are still debating what the uniform will look like. What a joke. Of course, I’m not shocked in the slightest that women there would be told they can’t get an education so I guess nothing really has changed there after all.

Anyway:

Basic research, dude

What ever possessed CBS to give Rex Chapman a chance to show the world he’s a community idiot is still beyond the realm of anything I can fathom but the least he could do is get his facts straight. And all he had to do was about two minutes worth of research.

Chapman, who is allegedly doing analysis for CBS’ coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (Final Four), felt it was worth eulogizing Pete Gillen, the long-time college basketball coach who led both Virginia and Providence into the tournament, on March 18. Yes, he was serious when he did it. He even ended off with saying Gillen should rest in peace. Of course, anyone who has been watching college basketball on CBS will know that Pete Gillen is not only alive and well, he’s been working with CBS as an analyst on college basketball for a few years. Why, he’s even done analysis for the tournament itself.

Chapman apparently realized his mistake and claimed he was thinking about Skip Prosser, the long-time head coach of the men’s team at Wake Forest, when talking about whatever it was he was talking about. But even that’s an out-there excuse because Prosser has been dead since 2007. Don’t forget this: CNN thought this guy was worth a time slot on its upcoming subscription service, CNN+, which is due to launch later this year. I can only imagine what his bosses there thought when he spouted off about an undead guy.

Next thing you know, Chapman will try and convince us he didn’t steal $14,000 worth of stuff from an Apple store in Arizona once upon a time.

There’s always one

Speaking of the Final Four, every year provides at least one team which never ceases to amaze. We all remember the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), which became the first no. 16 seed to knock out a no. 1 seed in a regional (Virginia) in 2018, which was also the same year Loyola Chicago got to the Final Four itself thanks to the power of Sister Jean.

Welp, Saint Peter’s of New Jersey is this year’s sweetheart team as the no. 15 seed in the East regional was in the Sweet Sixteen thanks to upending Kentucky, the no. 2 seed, on March 17 and then Murray State, the no. 7 seed, two days later. They were set to play Purdue on March 25 and here’s hoping they were able to take them out as well. There’s always one team which plays the bracket buster and Saint Peter’s is your team for this year. Doug Edert, who’s become one of the team’s new recognizable faces, just signed a name-image-likeness (NIL) deal with Buffalo Wild Wings. Hey, why not cash in? And it’s for chicken wings. I’d sign it, too.

It’s this and the FA Cup in England which makes watching sports so much fun and besides, without sports, TV as we know it would cease to exist.

And finally …

Good Idea: Ben Joyce firing bullets on the mound.

Bad Idea: Having to face him while still in college.

Remember Rick Vaughn from the movie Major League? His manager, the legendary Lou Brown, told the pitching coach he’d “better teach this kid some control before he kills somebody.”

Vaughn honed his craft in the California Penal League after he stole a car but there’s a new hot shot on the horizon and his name is Ben Joyce. Joyce is a junior at the University of Tennessee and you have to wonder if he’s putting snot on the ball. He’s been clocked on the gun at 104 mph. No joke — he came out for a relief appearance earlier this month against South Carolina and had four pitches register at 100-plus, 104 being the fastest. Just for good measure, he tossed in a change-up at 91 mph.

Many people are calling the 104 smoke the fastest pitch ever recorded in college baseball but there’s no way to track those numbers properly and you would have to go back a long way. To put this in perspective, Statcast has been tracking speeds in Major League Baseball since 2008 and only five pitchers have hit 104 or better. One of those is Aroldis Chapman, who routinely hits 100 or better with every pitch he throws.

Forget about the change-up, Ben … give him the heater.

Until next time, folks …

James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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