A few interviews came out today that are interesting, the first was a 2-part Heather Dinich interview with Swoffy, who is still a ignorant tool, and another with Jack Leggett as the Baseball season kicked off with their first practices and Media day. I'll start out with baseball.
Paul Iacobelli is one of the first to put out an article about Kyle Parker's decision between football and baseball this Spring. Expect about 20 more of these during the next 3 weeks. Parker is set to meet Swinney Sunday afternoon to discuss how they're going to go between the two sports. I want Parker to do well in baseball, but without a solid glove I don't see how anyone is going to take him any higher than the 7th round, and likely not the top 10 rounds, so I fully expect him to play football in 2010. Jack has basically said the same things thus far, intimating that Parker must improve a few things (aside from his .255 BA) to really become a high pick. He also plans to try to fit him at 1B. Baseball America still lists him at #71 overall for the 2010 draft, which would be a 4th-7th round pick.
Don't ask Parker what he'll do. He doesn't know.
"I always say I love playing here," Parker said Friday as the baseball Tigers began practice. "I loved being out here and playing baseball and football. I've enjoyed it and I'd enjoy playing (both) as long as I can."
Too often, Parker would wake up for 6 a.m. football meetings, have a full load of classes, maybe football practice and then a night game with the Tigers at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
It was enough to leave a power hitter without much pop. Parker felt worn out by season's end, evidenced by his 12 homers, two fewer than his stellar freshman season, and a drop of almost 50 points on his batting average.
"I think toward the end of the season, it kind of just got to me," Parker said. "It wore my body down."
"Whenever I talk to coach Swinney, we're going to try to smooth it out. Probably not do as much. I'm still probably going to have to be out there, but just be smart with my body. I played a whole fall season, so just try to stay healthy so I can play to the best of my ability."
Leggett: "We're willing to do whatever to make it work. I think Kyle and coach Swinney will sit down soon and go over things. Kyle will tell him how he feels and I think whatever it is, it'll work out well.... We'll see where it goes. He's got a lot of work to do in baseball. There are a lot of things to improve on. He's got a great future here at Clemson.
His comments thus far, since football season ended, have shown me that he wants to get away from football a little and focus on baseball, and not have to constantly go between the two. It won't wear him down during baseball season as much if he's primarily focusing on the diamond, but the problem I can see happening is a big one come August: the QB must know everything there is to know about an offense. You want the glory, you have to put in the study time.
If he were a WR or played Free Safety, it might not be as big a deal, but at QB it certainly can be. After baseball season ends in June, he'll have to get right back into football study.
The Tigers return quite a bit on offense, but we got killed in the pitching department. Gone is Pitching Coach Kyle Bunn to Alabama, thank the AD for that, and in is Dan Pepicelli. Our top signee, Madison Younginer, is gone to the Red Sox, and Stoneburner, Delk, and Chris Dwyer are all gone. I'm not so sure we have enough on the rotation to get past the Regionals, but I do have hope that we can get there.
Jack: "We lost some good arms, some experience, some kids who stepped up and did some good things for us on the mound. But I really like our pitching coach. They're responding extremely well to him. I expect good things out of them. You're only as good as we can perform. We just have to get them ready to go, get the most out of each and every one of them. We're still learning what their strengths and weaknesses are. There's not an established 1-2-3 starters, so we're going to have to work on that and a closer and figure the whole thing out before too long. I've said every year it takes 15-20 games to figure out your lineup and to figure out your pitching staff and their roles. You can do all you want in the preseason and in the fall but when you get out here and play, you start to see how people react in those situations. It takes a while."
Right now it looks like Casey Harman, Scott Weismann and a prayer. Justin Sarratt can do the job I think, he just has to show some consistency. The other big question is at 1B, where we'll have a few guys platooning I suspect.
Jack: "The guys we have competing there now - Richie Shaffer from Charlotte, a freshman, a very strong right-handed hitter. He reminds me a lot of Jeff Baker. ...Will Lamb can play first, outfield and will pitch for us some....Kyle could move back and forth. John Hinson could move back and forth. If I had to think about starting a game today it would be between Shaffer and Will. I think it's going to be tough to keep Shaffer out of the mix of things. He's got good power.
How much does the national perception of ACC football concern you?
JS: It doesn’t concern me. What our teams have to do is go out and continue to win games. I certainly think the commitment is there within our league at the institutions. I think we’ve got by and large excellent coaches.
I dont think the commitment is there enough even at Clemson, much less anywhere else. He's right when he goes on to say that the national perception is based primarily on whether your have a BCS NC contender. The SEC had 2 for much of the year, and therefore was thought the best. If FSU or Miami were back near the top, you'd see the perception shift again.
You also mentioned the ACC championship game. ACC fans often wonder if Charlotte will be the final destination, or if the conference will continue to try other venues before deciding on a permanent spot.
JS: I think what we want to do now is get to Charlotte, have that experience and then evaluate whether we view that as a longer term home for the championship game or not. The pluses are numerous in terms of Charlotte from the quality of the stadium and the location downtown. It’s a very vibrant city full of energy and in the geographic center of our league with eight schools within 300 miles of the city. The city seems to be very strongly behind the game itself. What we need to do is be there and experience it. I don’t think anything would please any of us more for that to turn out to be the home of the championship game, but we’ll have to evaluate that as we go.
It should've been there from the start, so dont blow smoke Swoffy. Thats the only way you're going to get sellouts, and I honestly still think it won't ever sellout unless Clemson/FSU plays VT/UNC. Thats really the only way I see this game ever making them any money, and thats the whole idea.
What is the latest news regarding where the ACC’s TV contracts stand?
John Swofford: We’re entering a period through the spring which will be an informal contractual negotiating period with our current rights holders. We have been talking with them to a degree for a while. There’s nothing imminent at this point, but a lot of the foundation has been laid for negotiations coming up. We’re in a situation where we feel like we need to step back and look at all possibilities in terms of how the next agreement is structured as well as take a look at all potential formats and distribution methods. One of the things is with new media, and trying to figure out how the different new platform opportunities can be monetized and what will be best for our particular league. We have the opportunity to consolidate our football and basketball, which we have not done historically in this league. We separated the two, but we set them up purposely so the contracts would end simultaneously this time around so we could connect the two should we desire to do so.
Take special note of the last part. Swofford is already indicating that they will lump the basketball and football deals together to generate more cash to compete with what the SEC is getting. Our basketball contract is something that even sEcSPN doesnt want to let go of, and generally basketball generates more profit than football in regards to TV.
When does the contract actually end?
JS: We’ve got one more year with current contracts. Raycom has all of our basketball rights and they have the syndicated football package and ESPN has the rest of our football. That’s who our discussions will be with by contract first, and then we’ll have to make a decision whether to take it to the marketplace and talk with others at the end of that contractual negotiating period, which would be the end of April.
Please get football OFF of Raycom unless they feel like bringing more cameras and doing a better job. Their basketball coverage has always been fine in my book, but I can't see how its making us as much money as a better Fox deal could. I know the ESPN paid out the ears for the SEC and regrets it, but we have to get comparable money in this package deal.
How much does what the SEC did with its contract and the Big Ten Network, how much did what those conferences do weigh into what you want to do?
JS: Every negotiation has its own circumstances and its own timing. Those two conferences, their models are very different. Hopefully there are some things we can learn from both of them. The circumstances and the timing are quite different, first the Big Ten and then the SEC, while taking very different approaches, they both occurred before the difficult economic downturn that came into play. Sometimes the simple timing of your negations ultimately have a lot to do with how they turn out. We’ll see. I think we’ve got an excellent brand, and now with markets running the entire East coast, from Boston to South Florida, I think we’re well-positioned. Hopefully they’ll turn out well, and we’re confident they will.
Basically he just said that we won't get comparable money, and likely nowhere close to it, and he gives up. He'll piss off the networks and get us a crappy TV deal. Here's a thought, step down and let us pick a Commish who isnt a total fool and let them negotiate a new contract?
What’s the most difficult part of being the ACC commissioner?
JS: The biggest challenges for any conference are membership decisions such as expansion and revenue distribution. We’re very settled as a conference in regards to both of those right now. With expansion being five years old and our basic fundamental aspects of revenue distribution in this league are that we share equally after expenses, and I think that fundamental philosophy has served our league extremely well and has had a lot to do with the development of the culture in this league in terms of supporting each other. Things are relatively calm in regards to both of those issues that I think are the most challenging. On an ongoing basis, it’s trying to maximize revenue for the schools and building consensus, which is a lot of what a commissioner is charged with doing. We’ve got a group of schools that are very competitive, but are also very cooperative and have a sense of the big picture and a sense of what’s best for the whole over the long run is also best for the individual institutions. Our people tend to understand that. It’s a very important part of what the conference office is charged with doing, in building that kind of consensus.
Translation: "We're very happy that revenue sharing props up our crappy-non-FB-revenue-generating NC schools. We are happy that the new additions have pumped more money into Tobacco Road so that we can continue to shit on Clemson and give them less of what they earn for us. This has helped solidify the NC philosophy of pissing off everyone else in the conference and pushing our collective noses further in the air. Things are cool until the Big 10 expands, then I'll shit a brick when other conferences try to pick off our bread winners. On an ongoing basis, I'm going to make sure that UNC, Duke, WF, and NC State get more and more money and prestige, while giving less to the rest of you losers."