Don't look now, but high school sports are less than 2 weeks away

By Steve Sell
August 02, 2016

Tuesday’s thoughts...

• WHERE HAS THE SUMMER GONE? — It seems like it’s been in the blink of an eye.

Don’t look now but we’re less than two weeks away from the first high school practices as the school year is just around the corner.

Athletes who have been enjoying their time off and catching a few rays must now turn their attentions to Aug. 15. At times summer goes on endlessly, but for others it goes too quickly.

Of course, many of the athletes haven’t had that much time off. There are team camps, summer AAU teams and Legion baseball that keeps them busy.

I have been working on the Mid Kansas Fall Sports Magazine and responses from coaches have been trickling in. Some coaches get their information back quickly, others tend to wait until it’s closer to the 15th. They want to know who is actually going out and showing up for the first day.

The colleges are getting even closer. We’re about 10 days away from athletes getting checked in and their practices under way. Hopefully this recent heat wave will subside somewhat as it’s been broiling for nearly a month.

I, for one, always look forward to the school year getting under way. I like the excitement of the preseason and there’s so much optimism. Everybody is 0-0 and the fall season sets the tone for the rest of the year.

• DUFFY WAS MAGNIFICENT — Regular readers of this column no doubt are lining up to say, “I told you so.”

Nobody has been harder on Kansas City left-hander Danny Duffy than me. Possessor of an electric arm, Duffy has underachieved during his time with the Royals.

He has shuttled from starter to reliever back to starter – out of necessity. Duffy’s troubles with the Royals have stemmed from his inability to throw strikes to melting mentally when things don’t go his way.

But his revival reached its apex on Monday when he threw perhaps the most dominating game in team history.

It wasn’t a no-hitter, but about as close as you can get. Duffy flummoxed Tampa Bay for eight innings, giving up just an eighth-inning single to Desmond Jennings while walking only one.

But the big story was his 16 strikeouts, a Kansas City record. His fastball was crackling, but it was his change-up that was his out pitch. He had Tampa Bay’s hitters terribly off-balanced and for the most part guessing.

The Royals have won the last seven games Duffy has started. Meanwhile, they are 2-19 in the last 21 games not started by him. To say he’s carrying a tattered starting rotation is an understatement.

• YANKEES WERE SELLERS — I never thought I’d see the day again when the New York Yankees were sellers at Monday’s trade deadline.

By parting with outfielder Carlos Beltran, after earlier dealing top-notch relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, the Yankees basically raised the white flag for the 2016 season.

The Yankees NEVER sell. They normally are active at the deadline since they have deep pockets and have given up their prospects to get established players in return.

Maybe this is a new-era Yankees. In making three huge deals they have received a ton of top prospects to replenish their drained farm system. Like the saying goes, sometimes you have to be bad to get good.

The Yankees still have a few relics left — Mark Teixeira, A-Rod and CC Sabathia — but it’s been a long time since the winds of change have blown through The Bronx. It’s not often they play the season as spoilers and not contenders.