Angry Ward Wednesday: Farewell Denny Crum and Joe Kapp… Hello to a New Brand of Baseball

Angry Ward, Joe Kapp, Denny Crum, NFL, Meet-The-Matts, Vikings, Louivilee, Ward Calhoun, #GoogleAlerts

NEW YORK, NY – Hey, Gang! There’s lots of playoff basketball and hockey going on, so let’s dive right into completely ignoring it. Instead, let’s get to couple of goodbyes and a fairly straight-forward, yet interesting, take on Major League Baseball’s new rules and how to build a team around them. Here we go.

RIP, Denny Crum. Growing up, I didn’t watch a ton of college basketball, until Magic and Bird made the scene. There were only so many Saturday afternoons and you didn’t want to piss them away watching some team like Notre Dame play the four corners kill-the-clock offense. But you heard names and knew who the important people were. Denny Crum was definitely one of those people. He coached Louisville for 30 years, leading them to 2 NCAA titles, died yesterday at age 86. Accomplishments aside, for me, it’s all about the name: Denny Crum. It’s right up there with the most perfect college coach names ever. Sounds like something someone made up for a movie character. As far as I’m concerned, you shouldn’t even be allowed to coach at Louisville if your name doesn’t contain a Denny or a Crum, but preferably both.

The Longest Yard: Joe Kapp and Burt Reynolds

RIP, Joe Kapp. This one is far more important to me. Joe Kapp was the QB of the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV, and one of the true characters in all sports. He’s the only quarterback ever to lead teams to the Rose Bowl, the Grey Cup, and the Super Bowl. Some version of these words seemed to be the agreed-upon way to describe him: “He’s half Mexican and half crazy.” He pretty much ran over and knocked out Browns linebacker Jim Houston in the 1969 NFL Championship Game. Many others might only remember him as a stalwart on the Guards Team in the terrific 1974 film, The Longest Yard (that remake never happened, as far as I’m concerned). Finally, as if his list of credits weren’t impressive enough, Joe Kapp was Head Coach at his alma mater California in 1982 when the Golden Bears won on a last-play, five-lateral kickoff return to beat Stanford, with that school’s marching band on the field. How’s that for a life résumé? So long, Joe.

Theo Epstein on MLB Rules Changes and Building a Team Around Them. Saw a brief-but-good 5-minute PTI segment with former Red Sox and Cubs wunderkind, and current MLB consultant, Theo Epstein the other day. Towards the end, Epstein was asked: “If you were a GM, how would you build a team today with these new rules changes?” His response pointed to both Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh as examples. He said something along the lines of “Young, fast, athletic, great defense.” He also seemed to suggest that the “wait for, and win with the home run” model was now dated by today’s standards. So much for these Yanks and Mets rosters who don’t check a whole lot of boxes for any of it. It’s a long season for sure, but can’t help noticing how those top payroll teams are scuffling, if not full-on struggling.

OK, I’m out. Come back tomorrow for Buddy Diaz, who is working on his eulogy for the 2022-23 Knicks.

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About Angry Ward 747 Articles
Angry Ward, who has admirers at the New York Times, is the quintessential angry sports fan but for one exception... he's flat-out funny. And the angrier he gets, the more amusing his work becomes. Psychiatrists say, "Angry Ward's 'anger' is a direct result of "Bronx/Mets syndrome: growing up in the Bronx as a Mets fan." As if that weren't enough, his Minnesota North Stars abandoned him for Dallas, forcing him to embrace The Wild the way Nancy Pelosi embraces Mitch McConnell at charity events. And while his Vikings only tease him with success, his Golden State Warriors actually win these days. A-Dubya is MTM's longest-tenured indentured servant, its Larry David and quite simply, "The Franchise." (Junoir Blaber disputes this). Vent, curse and giggle with him on Angry Ward Wednesdays.