By suggesting last week that Martinez should be one subpar outing from being benched, the quarterback's critics essentially backed Pelini into a corner -- the clear implication being that if Martinez fails, so does the head coach.
It seemed an extreme stance one game into the Big Ten schedule. It's an extreme stance, period, to place such dire consequences on a young player. One more chance, kid, you'd better not blow it, or else.
What are the consequences for those who casually put Martinez under the gun in that manner? That's right, there are no consequences.
In my opinion, it becomes an issue of fairness.
Nobody's saying Pelini or any other coach is immune to criticism and second-guessing -- whether from local sports know-it-alls or a girl in the quarterback's spanish class.
I'd argue that not only will Chatelain not suffer consequences, he's probably going to be complimented by his superiors over at World-Herald Square for writing something attention-getting. It drove eyeballs to the World-Herald's web site, and probably sold a few extra papers. So behind closed doors, Chatelain probably is being praised. I remember back in the middle 1990's, a Nebraska beat-writer cornered ESPN's Mike Tirico before one of Nebraska's National Championship games and asked why ESPN's on-air talent made so many outlandish comments. Tirico replied that most of their shows were not really sports journalism, but rather entertainment programming. They are edgy and controversial to get people's attention.
Sadly, it appears that the World-Herald's sports department has embraced that perspective, at least with their Husker football coverage. Maybe I'm naive for not realizing it sooner, but it's clear that they've jumped the shark. Just look at Lee Barfknecht's follow-up column where he emphasizes that the World-Herald is the "state's largest news enterprise" and they'll cover Nebraska football their way, no matter what anybody thinks. Sounds an awful lot like ESPN.
Too bad the Lincoln Journal-Star doesn't deliver to Omaha.
The rumor mill coming out of UNO is that TD Ameritrade Park will be the site of an outdoor hockey game in early February 2013. There have long been discussions about the Lancers playing an outdoor game, but now it seems to be getting serious with UNO as well. It makes sense to have both Omaha hockey teams involved; most of the costs are in the set up, so using an outdoor rink for multiple events makes a lot of sense. The rumored opponent would be North Dakota, so that would seem to guarantee a sellout crowd. You'd have to figure 5000 or more Sioux fans would happily travel south down I-29 for an outdoor game..maybe more if Omaha fans don't grab all of the tickets up front.
My only issue with this idea is playing both games on one day as a double-header. As the NHL learned with the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh, you may need some flexibility to get the game in. And let's be honest, asking Omaha hockey fans to spend the entire day outside in Feburary is potentially dangerous. At the very least, schedule the games on different days, and better yet, back-to-back weekends on Saturday afternoon. If the weather gets too nasty, postpone it to the evening or Sunday.
Is outdoor hockey a gimmick? Kind of. The ice usually isn't as good, it adds some extra variables to an important game, and for fans, the sightlines are horrific. But that's not the point of playing an outdoor game: the point is that it's an event, something fun and unique, and it draws attention to the sport. So while I wouldn't advocate making it a regular event, I'm all in favor of playing an outdoor game as a special event. I just hope it won't be in a blizzard or with wind chills below zero.
Confidential to the Red Army: Karma.
As a Cub fan, I can't help but be excited about the possiblity of Theo Epstein leaving the Red Sox for the Cubs. Say what you will about the Sox' collapse this season, you can't argue with his record in Boston in breaking the curse. Now, about that first baseman that wears #5... Hey, Cub fans are known for dreaming. And it's a heck of a lot more realistic than, oh, like suggesting the Royals are going to win the World Series in 2012.