Panorama Brings Top-Tier Lineup And Technology-Driven Experience To NYC [Photos]

first_imgPhoto: Chad Anderson Photo: Dave Vann Photo: Chad Anderson Photo: Chad Anderson Load remaining imagescenter_img Photo: Chad Anderson Panorama returned to New York City this weekend, and it featured one of the most eclectic and interesting festival lineups in the country. The festival boasted a little bit of something for everyone, with festival producers Goldenvoice delivering a mix of the reclusive Frank Ocean, Australian psychedelic powerhouse Tame Impala, British alt-groove heroes Alt J, modern pop icon Solange, 1990s juggernauts Nine Inch Nails, and A Tribe Called Quest for year two of the still-new-feeling NYC festival. Of course, the likes of MGMT, Justice, Nicolas Jaar, Tyler The Creator and Spoon were on hand to continue the festival’s diverse tone.The festival focuses on a more technology-driven experience, with several huge, lit-up installations by HP and American Express on site to help create a more festive vibe. The centerpiece of the festival is actually not anything related to music, however, it’s a huge space that can only properly be described as a pop-up museum dedicated to interactive, technology-based art known as The Lab, a collaboration between META and HP. The Lab, which returned as a bigger, better, more realized version from last year’s first edition of Panorama, featured multiple installations that all required some level of interaction with the technology and art. It was truly a sight to behold, and worth the price of admission for the festival alone.Outside of The Lab, there was plenty to experience at Panorama. The Point was an open-air club that allowed festival-goers to dance themselves clean, those who were 21+ could hang in a private area called The Grove with some higher end cocktails and lots of shade (sidebar: the average age at Panorama was noticeably higher than most other festivals, the whole venue felt like a 21+ area). The festival also featured some of the best foods that New York City has to offer, with favorites like Roberta’s Pizza, Salvation Taco, Oddfellow’s Ice Cream, and Matchabar being offered alongside festival favorites like Spicy Pie.Of course, the music at Panorama was amazing. Nine Inch Nails stunned the audience with their high-octane live show, A Tribe Called Quest threw themselves a huge sendoff for their final ever (probably?) NYC-area show, and Tame Impala melted faces with their comically psychedelic light show. Acts like Vince Staples and Glass Animals made the most of their big stage experience, getting broadcast across Randall’s Island on the festival’s huge, panoramic LED screens, giving these somewhat smaller artists the headliner treatment.While the festival did experience some production difficulties–namely, the collapse of the floor of the stage known as The Parlor, which led to several cancelled sets by artists like Breakbot and DJ Shadow–the festival once again boasted a relaxed vibe with plenty of space to sit and hang out with friends, short lines at almost every vendor, and great site lines from almost anywhere on the concert field.See below for a weekend’s-worth of photos from the great Chad Anderson!Panorama 1017 | Photos by Chad Anderson Photo: Chad Andersonlast_img read more

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Brings The Revivalists, Lake Street Dive, & More To Lyons

first_imgLoad remaining images From the Planet Bluegrass organization, the same brilliant minds as Telluride Bluegrass and Rocky Grass, the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival has been going strong for 27 years. And like Telluride, the genre of the festival has slowly loosened to broader interpretations, allowing for some of the country’s (and world’s) most spectacular artists to grace the stage in the lovely town of Lyons, Colorado. This year’s lineup included national acts such as Lake Street Dive, Elephant Revival, The Revivalists, Dave Rawlings Machine, Gregory Alan Isakov, and many others.A routinely family-friendly festival, Folks Fest has grown in recent years, with the 2017 attendance likely setting records on both Saturday and Sunday nights. Having seen some major work since the 2013 floods, the Planet Bluegrass venue itself shows some beautiful improvements. The surrounding vistas remain incredibly gorgeous and picturesque, rivaling any outdoor venue in the country, and providing the perfect backdrop for a laid-back festival.Friday’s schedule kicked off with the traditional morning Songwriter Showcase, followed by a pair of female-led acts, Austin-born Brooklynite Phoebe Hunt with her band The Gatherers, and a solo singer-songwriter hailing from Scotland, Rachel Sermanni. Both artists eased the festival crowd into the weekend, Sermanni delighting the calm Friday attendees with her traditional Scottish folk songs, many inspired by the poems of Robert Burns. Gregory Alan Isakov, South African native and a Colorado local, closed the first night with a lengthy set of remarkable, delicate, and often haunting tunes. A pure lyrical genius, Isakov demanded attention and all but silenced the crowd at times, leaving everyone dreaming of what the rest of the weekend held in store.Yet despite our dreams, Saturday mornings are often tough for festival and bluegrass folks. In that regard, Idaho-born Korby Lenker couldn’t have been a more perfect opener. The winner of last year’s Songwriter Showcase, Korby’s unique blend of folk, acoustic, and island-tinged music came on easy and delightfully. Following Lenker, Melbourne’s all-female Mae Trio took the stage, their bluesy take on bluegrass and folk music serving as the perfect lunchtime pick-me-up before some more traditional bluegrass music from Ben Sollee & Kentucky Native. Among others, Sollee’s refreshing take on Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky” was a fan-favorite and an impressive feat from a fairly young picker.Hailing from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Mandolin Orange filled the mid-afternoon slot on Saturday, their slow, thoughtful songs steeped in bluegrass and good ol’ fashioned country music finding a perfect audience with the relaxed Folks Fest atmosphere. The band found themselves naturally at home on the Planet Bluegrass stage; their song “Wildfire,” from the 2016 album Blindfaller, resonated particularly well with the Colorado foothills crowd, many of them all too familiar with recent forest fires. Led by duo Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin, the group played a stellar set, heavy on songs from Blindfaller, proving their recent rise in the bluegrass and folk circuit shouldn’t be ignored. Folk legend Loudon Wainwright III followed, playing a handful of his classic folk songs, including “The Picture,” “Daughter,” “The Swimming Song,” and his hilarious “My Meds.” Loudon proved he’s still got it, cracking the crowd up and getting them up and dancing before one of the weekend’s more anticipated sets.Elephant Revival took the stage in the early evening, the hot summer sun slowly relenting as a cool breeze came over the festival grounds. Opening with a pair of songs off of their newest release, Petals, the band shined with their newer, heavier sound on “Hello You Who” and “Home in Your Heart,” led by multi-instrumentalist and transcendental siren Bonnie Paine. A couple of songs later, the band welcomed Josh Ritter and Phoebe Hunt to the stage to join in on “Grace of a Woman. A beautiful tribute off of 2013’s These Changing Skies, fiddle players Bridget Law and Phoebe Hunt played some stunning duets on the song. Ritter remained on stage for “Girl in the War,” a poignant, evocative song covered occasionally by Elephant Revival at recent shows and truly brought to life with his presence. “When I Fall” and a rare cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar” let the bass-heavy side of Elephant surface once again, with Dango Rose leading the band on electric double bass. Following a few more songs, the band closed out their Saturday set with members of Mandolin Orange, Ben Sollee, Phoebe Hunt, and Josh Ritter, playing “Good Graces” and a blistering take on “Rogue River.” New Orleans septet The Revivalists closed out Saturday night, understandably delighted to be the weekend’s one true rock and roll band. Lead vocalist David Shaw took no time getting to know the fans, while still staying plenty involved with the rest of the band. Each member of the group, from guitarist Zack Feinberg to drummer Andrew Campanelli, had their moment to shine as the band took us through a well-curated set of some of their better-known songs. They capped off the evening with a fiery version of The Beatles’ “With A Little Help from My Friends,” led by Shaw singing the song in true Joe Cocker fashion.Sunday got started with Egyptian legend Ramy Essam, a true testament to the far-reaching, genre-bending selection artists at Folks Fest. Known for his appearances during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 in Cairo, his music felt especially fitting in light of recent events in Charlottesville and Boston here in the United States. Folk and bluegrass queen, Mollie O’Brien, played a lovely set with Rich Moore before Fort Collins’ SHEL took the stage. SHEL was one of the largely-unknown standouts of the weekend. Yet another all-female band, the four ladies stunned the folks in attendance with a delectable, distinctive sound. Constantly flirting with rock, folk, bluegrass, grunge, and other alternative genres, they played a music entirely their own, remaining social and engaged with what was likely a very large audience for the local band.Canada’s Wailin’ Jennys took the stage next, with, you guessed it, more astonishing female leads, along with a couple lovely lads! The group was just another example of Planet Bluegrass’ ability to book incredible bands that most of us have barely heard of, but undoubtedly should have. Josh Ritter was a certain exception to that, but he wowed the packed Sunday crowd nonetheless, his huge, positive presence enveloping the crowd as one of the few solo artists of the weekend. He welcomed Daniel Rodriguez and Bonnie Paine from Elephant Revival on for a song, played an original take on the traditional song “Louis Collins,” and graciously opened the stage for Lake Street Dive shortly thereafter.Having catapulted onto the scene in the recent years, Lake Street Dive is one of those constantly-hyped, “must see this summer” kind of bands. Having said that, the Brooklyn-based quartet lived up to their reputation beyond belief, playing an impossibly tight set reminiscent of the glory days of Muscle Shoals’ Swampers and Motown’s Funk Brothers. Frontwoman Rachael Price carries the torch and charisma of old female legends, with Bonnie Raitt and Aretha Franklin both coming to mind, while the always-stunning upright bass player Bridget Kearney keeps everything wonderfully put together. Opening the set with an acapella intro to their famous single “Bad Self Portraits” from the 2014 album of the same name, the band played the hits right off the bat, leaving time for them to dig deep into their catalog. They followed with “Neighbor Song” from 2010’s eponymous Lake Street Dive, gathering around a single mic a few songs thereafter for their stripped-down take on George Michael’s “Faith” from their 2012 album Fun Machine. Guitarist and trumpeter Mike Olson shined during the stripped-down segment of the set, and drummer Mike Calabrese played an impeccable solo before the band return to its full format. “Call Off Your Dogs,” “Side Pony,” and “How Good It Feels,” all off of their latest album Side Pony, each showcase the band’s obvious professionalism, their immaculate attention to detail and their sheer joy for playing good, timeless music. Another cover from Fun Machine, their rendition of Paul McCartney’s “Let Me Roll It,” let Price flaunt some surprisingly strong guitar skills before ending the set with two more tracks off of Bad Self Portraits, “Seventeen” and “You Go Down Smooth.”Not to be forgotten, the infamous Dave Rawlings Machine closed out the weekend with the classic, foot-stomping folk-rock music of Dave Rawlings, Gillian Welch and friends. The group’s enthusiasm was infectious, the Sunday crowd wide-eyed and lapping up every second of the final set. His song “To Be Young,” co-written with Ryan Adams, rippled through the field, bringing dreary fans to their feet, as did his raw take on the Grateful Dead’s “Samson and Delilah.” Ultimately, this year’s Folks Festival proved one of the best yet, showcasing a broad variety of folk-influenced music from across the world, while constantly providing a relaxed, family-friendly outdoor atmosphere that rivals the most illustrious venues in the country. Planet Bluegrass in Lyons hosts a variety of other concerts this summer and fall, as well the annual Telluride Bluegrass and Rocky Grass festivals. More details can be found at!Check out the full gallery below, with photos by Chris Klein:Rocky Mountain Folks Festival 2017 | Photos by C.K. Kleinlast_img read more

What credit unions need to know about cannabis banking during the COVID-19 crisis

first_img 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Paul Dunford Paul is a co-founder & director of program development. Paul oversees the development and management of compliance programs for Green Check’s clients, with a focus on state-level compliance as … Web: Details I doubt whether it’s possible to find an industry that has not had to adjust in response to the COVID-19 crisis and that’s certainly the case with cannabis. With marijuana legal in some form (medical and/or adult-use) in 33 states and the District of Columbia, marijuana-related businesses (MRBs) play a significant role in local economies across the country, contributing tax revenue and offering employment in dispensaries, grow facilities and myriad ancillary businesses that support them. So, let’s look at how COVID-19 has affected MRBs, and why that’s potentially important to your credit union.Business ImpactMost states that have legalized marijuana have designated MRBs essential during this crisis so many have remained open when other businesses have had to close their doors. They have had to adjust to accommodate public health and social distancing concerns, so their day-to-day operations have had to change accordingly, but their sales have remained strong and largely returned to pre-crisis levels following an initial spike. What we’ve seen in practice is that operating models that weren’t previously legal or common under state programs, like curb-side sales and home deliveries, are now the norm.That’s not to say that marijuana-related businesses aren’t facing their own set of challenges. Notable among them is that they aren’t eligible to participate in any of the current federal stimulus programs, like SBA Loans or the Payroll Protection Program, because marijuana businesses remain federally illegal. However, the cannabis industry is pushing back hard against this restriction, citing their status as essential at the state level.Why does this matter to credit unions?If your credit union is already banking MRBs, you should reach out to them to understand how their operations have changed in response to public health concerns and check with your state cannabis authority to see how its program has been adjusted. For instance, medical marijuana businesses may be considered essential but adult-use ones may not.  Also, keep in mind that while these businesses have stayed strong during the crisis, should they find themselves struggling, they aren’t currently able to take advantage of federal stimulus programs.If your credit union has yet to engage with the cannabis industry because of concerns that it would negatively affect your reputation, the fact that many states consider MRBs to be essential demonstrates that the industry is far less taboo than it once was. If the fear of being the “weed credit union” has kept you from offering accounts to MRBs it may be time to reconsider that risk.State Legislative ImpactAt the start of the year, there were 31 formal ballot initiatives on the books in 15 states related to the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana, and the odds were that several of them would pass. In the Northeast, common wisdom was that New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut would pass adult-use (recreational) marijuana programs this year, but that’s no longer the case. As legislators have had to understandably refocus their efforts on mitigating the devastating effects of the coronavirus, most if not all of these initiatives are in a sort of limbo, where they are not technically off the agenda but unlikely to come up to a vote before the end of the current session. This has even delayed the rollout of programs that have already been approved, as in the case of Maine where their adult-use program was expected to go live early this summer but has now been postponed.Why does this matter to credit unions?Credit unions that anticipated the opportunity to expand their membership and open new cannabis business accounts may be disappointed this year because it is unlikely that states will expand the scope of their programs.Federal Legislative ImpactOn the federal level, the SAFE Banking Act, legislation that would provide regulatory and law-enforcement protection for financial institutions that provide services to legal cannabis businesses, looks like it has stalled in committee and won’t come to a vote in the Senate during this session. Many credit unions that are interested in offering cannabis banking programs have been waiting for this to pass, but it’s highly unlikely to happen this year.While the SAFE Banking Act isn’t going to pass, as mentioned previously some in Congress have called for state-legal cannabis businesses to be included in economic stimulus packages. To do so would require the federal government to afford protection for those credit unions that would process loan applications and disburse funds.Why does this matter to credit unions?While it is unlikely that the SAFE Banking Act will pass this year, if state-legal marijuana businesses become eligible for stimulus funding it would presumably require that the government extend protections to financial institutions that work with MRBs.If your credit union needs expert guidance on building a cannabis banking program from the ground up, download Green Check Verified’s guide for building a business case here.last_img read more

Country store opens in Glen Aubrey after COVID-19 delayed grand opening

first_imgGLEN AUBREY (WBNG) — Residents in Glen Aubrey and surrounding communities now have a new spot to get groceries, ice cream, fresh baked goods, a cup of coffee and other local-made products. The family at Hust Roost Farm has been working on building a country store for the past couple years. When it was finally time to open in the spring, however, the country was hit with a nationwide shut-down. Owner Joe Hust says while they didn’t get to have their grand opening as planned, the community made the wait well worth it. The store is practicing social distancing and requiring masks. center_img “A lot of the local community has been supporting us and like to come out and has been watching us so we were really looking forward to nice big event but we kind of put that to the side now,” said Hust. Hust Roost Farm is located at 3730 NY-26, Glen Aubrey. The store hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.last_img read more

Borussia Dortmund struggling to meet asking price for Man Utd transfer target Jude Bellingham

first_imgAdvertisement Bellingham is eager to join Dortmund (Picture: Getty)Borussia Dortmund’s efforts to land Jude Bellingham have hit a snag as the German side have been unable to meet Birmingham’s asking price, according to reports.Bellingham, 16, has his sights set on joining Dortmund and has even agreed personal terms with the Bundesliga giants.Manchester United were also vying to sign Bellingham, but had appeared to lose out to Dortmund.Birmingham reportedly want as much as £50million for Bellingham having written a release clause in his scholarship contract, but Dortmund are struggling to raise significant funds for the deal.ADVERTISEMENTBild claim an offer of £31.5m will be enough to lure Bellingham away from England, but Dortmund have bid £18m for his services.AdvertisementAdvertisementThe coronavirus pandemic has had a severe effect on clubs across the world and is expected to have a big impact on the summer transfer window.Dortmund must sell to raise further funds and have earmarked some players for departure, including coveted forward Jadon Sancho. Coral BarryThursday 18 Jun 2020 11:31 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link1.5kShares Comment Bellingham can sign is first pro contract this month (Picture: Getty)Birmingham have several suitors for Bellingham, including Arsenal and Chelsea, but Dortmund are working to drive down the price with the knowledge the midfielder wants to join them.Bellingham’s priority is playing time and Dortmund have a history of developing youngsters into first-team stars.But the news of Dortmund’s offer will be a boost to United, who have pulled out all the stops to try and convince Bellingham to become a Red Devil.United gave Bellingham and his parents a tour of Carrington where he held talks with Sir Alex Ferguson.Bellingham turns 17 at the end of this month when he can sign his first pro contract.MORE: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confident Angel Gomes will sign new contract at Manchester UnitedMORE: Rescheduled Premier League fixtures for Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool confirmedFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more stories like this, check our sport page. Borussia Dortmund struggling to meet asking price for Man Utd transfer target Jude Bellingham Advertisementlast_img read more

Marty Brennaman to Visit Franklin County

first_imgBROOKVILLE, IN — The Franklin County Baseball Team is holding a “Night with a Legend” featuring Marty Brennaman, voice of the Cincinnati Reds.This is a 21 and over event.The evening will start at 6:00 PM on December 10 at the Third Place Event Center in Brookville with a social hour.Dinner will be served at 7:00 PM and will include chicken, greenbeans, and appetizers.Brennaman will take the stage at 8:00 PM.Tickets are on a first come, first serve basis.General Admission tickets are $75, while VIP tickets are $125 and include a private meet and greet with Brennaman.Tickets can be reserved by emailing [email protected], or by calling Tammey Robben at 812.212.1702 or Andrea Miley at 513.503.8877.last_img read more

Precise Racing Products adding two $500 awards for IMCA RaceSaver Sprint drivers

first_imgWICHITA, Kan. – The company that sells speed adds a pair of $500 cash awards to its IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Car contingency program this season.Both the national rookie of the year and the driver with the most 40-point feature wins as of Sept. 25 receive $500 in cash from Precise Racing Products.“I talked with Chris Archer at Precise about adding something exciting to our growing RaceSaver Sprint Car program and these two new cash awards certainly satisfy that desire,” IMCA Marketing Director Kevin Yoder said. “We’re gaining new members every day, and now potentially two of them will pocket a significant amount of extra cash at our national banquet. We’re very pleased with this addition and excited to make the announcement.”The Wichita, Kan., high performance parts supplier and Hoosier race tire distributor also gives $50 gift cards to state and series champions in the division and all IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Car drivers are required to display two Precise Racing Products decals on their race car to be eligible.More information about Precise products is available by calling 800 651-5164 and at the website.Precise Racing Products has been an IMCA sponsor since 2011.last_img read more

Dr. Fauci Says In-Person Learning in Schools is Healthy Default

first_imgWith coronavirus death toll numbers and infections on the decline in South Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis says he wants school districts to be flexible in giving parents a choice on returning their kids to school. Doctor Anthony Fauci agrees. Fauci says that students are healthier mentally and physically with in-person learning where they have social interaction and balanced meals. He adds that proper mask-wearing and social distancing is still advised while students are in school. He also points out the adverse affects of children learning from home on parents’ schedules who are not able to go to work as a result.Martin County’s school year will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 11 with students either learning in-person or from home…parents’ choice.In St. Lucie County’s school year starts Monday, Aug. 24 with similar learning options.Meanwhile the private school, Berean Christian in West Palm Beach welcomes students back for in-person learning tomorrow.last_img read more

One for the record books — for now

first_imgWe’ve all heard it: A true freshman has never started a season at quarterback for the Trojans.But that will all change on Saturday, when No. 4 USC opens its season in historic fashion against San Jose State at the Coliseum in front of 90,000 screaming fans.When Pete Carroll chose Barkley to be his starter over redshirt sophomore Aaron Corp one week ago, many were shocked. Even Barkley admitted he was caught off guard.“I was speechless when coach told me,” the 18-year-old said.And even Carroll was at somewhat of a loss when trying to explain why he chose a freshman quarterback rather than going with his usual pick of a veteran to man the offense.“I can’t explain how a guy this young and this new could do that, but he’s done it,” the coach said.Carroll and his coaching staff clearly saw something they’d never seen in a freshman quarterback before. And I’m talking about more than his 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame and rifle of an arm.So now Barkley is set to start the season for the Trojans. And for the first time since a true freshman named Carson Palmer took the over the starting quarterback job from Mike Van Raaphorst during the last five games of the 1998 season, the quarterback position at USC may be occupied by one man for four seasons.So this brings up an interesting topic. If Barkley develops the way the coaches expect him to, he will have three to four full seasons at quarterback before entering the NFL draft.So while many people are focusing on the history Barkley will be making when he takes his first snap Saturday, I’d rather look at the potential history Barkley could make when he takes his last snap in what could be four years from now.Let’s take a look at what I consider the three gaudiest quarterback records and see what Barkley’s odds are of reaching them. This is, of course, assuming Barkley stays for his senior year with USC, just like Palmer, who holds most of USC’s passing records.The first number I look at is 11,818. That’s the record Palmer holds for most yards gained passing as a Trojan. It’s also a Pac-10 record.If Barkley stays a full four years in college, he would need to average 2,955 passing yards per season to pass Palmer as the all-time USC and Pac-10 leader.Just to put that number in perspective, look at how quarterbacks have fared under Carroll’s system during their first years in the starting role.Last season, Mark Sanchez threw for 3,207 yards. In 2006, John David Booty threw for 3,347 yards. And in 2003, Matt Leinart threw for 3,556 yards.In Palmer’s first full year as a starter in 2000, he threw for 2,914 yards.Simply put, the record is within reach.Palmer also holds the school and Pac-10 record for the most passes completed during a career with 927.In four years, Barkley would need to average 232 completions to top that record.Sanchez completed 313 passes in 2008, Booty completed 269 passes in 2006 and Leinart completed 255 passes in 2003. All of those numbers are higher than what Barkley needs to reach each season.Palmer himself only completed 228 passes his first full year, slightly lower than the 232 completions Barkley needs to average, but Palmer ended his senior year in 2002 with a whopping 309 completions.Barkley, like Palmer and all young quarterbacks, will be expected to gradually improve each season as well.That puts 938 in reach for Barkley.And the last number I want to look at is passing touchdowns.Leinart set the record at 99 during his time in college, both a USC and Pac-10 record.It’s not hard to do the math here. If Barkley averages 25 passing touchdowns over the next four seasons, he will reach the magical number of 100 only attained by six other college quarterbacks in the history of the sport.So one more time, look at the numbers.In each of their respective first full seasons starting, Sanchez threw 34 touchdowns, Booty threw 29 touchdowns and Leinart threw 38 touchdowns.Again, all of these numbers are higher than what Barkley needs to average in four seasons. The only difference for those previous quarterbacks is they did not have the opportunity to start four full seasons at quarterback for USC.Barkley will.Just by breaking it down, it’s easy to tell there is a solid chance, if Barkley stays, that he will own arguably the most prestigious of USC quarterback records when all is said and done.So when you step into the Coliseum or turn on the television to watch the game Saturday, you will be witnessing history right away as Barkley takes his first snap.But remember, it may not be the last time the true freshman puts his name in the record books.“Soft Hands” runs every other Thursday. To comment on this article, visit or email Jon at [email protected]last_img read more

Miller: U.S. pitcher Marcus Stroman shows some American know-how

first_imgLOS ANGELES >> He managed more than 3,500 games in the big leagues over 22 seasons, winning three pennants and a World Series.But now Jim Leyland was readying, at age 72 and on hiatus from his retirement job as a special assistant with the Detroit Tigers, to manage an exhibition.A well-dressed, noisy, partying, flag-waving, face-painted internationally televised exhibition, sure. But an exhibition just the same.“I’m stressed, I’ll be honest with you,” Leyland said Wednesday afternoon. “I’m stressed.” For a man who has seen so much in this sport, not even Leyland could have envisioned what he’d witness next.Just a few hours later, Marcus Stroman no-hit Puerto Rico into the seventh inning of what turned into a kick-back, no-worries 8-0 U.S. victory in the World Baseball Classic final.All that stress squeezed into nothing by the right hand of a 5-foot-8 pitcher who normally works for the Toronto Blue Jays, a pitcher who Friday gave up six consecutive hits to this same Puerto Rican team, an American who, because his mother is from Puerto Rico, could have pitched for the other finalist in this tournament.So, America, do you care about the WBC now? With all these juicy storylines? At least a little bit?Add in the fact Stroman told Fox Sports that his mom has been harassed on social media because of his decision to pitch for the U.S., and this was a performance truly from the heart, for both Stroman’s homeland and his home. Yeah, even for casual sports fans, this WBC finale was impossible to ignore.I had the opportunity to cover Leyland when he managed the then-Florida Marlins, and, I’ll be honest with you, too: I truly believe the man could chain smoke cups of coffee.Leyland, when on the job, appears just slightly more rigid than a foul pole, only the baseball itself wound tighter.So I believed him when he called the tension of competing in the WBC “unbelievable” and “right up there” with any other event in this sport, including the World Series.I also believed him when he added, “It probably sounds crazy.”It does sound crazy, at the very least, suggesting that a monumental game at Dodger Stadium in 2017 could feature any starting pitcher for the local team other than Clayton Kershaw.But that was Stroman out there Wednesday, firing up a Kershaw-like string of zeroes as the U.S. found one way to finally make Americans acknowledge the WBC in the middle of March Madness.Yes, this exhibition didn’t count, but it certainly didn’t lack meaning, the victory as real as the American high-fives and chest bumps that punctuated it, as sincere as the hugs Stroman received in the dugout after he was replaced.The country that calls baseball its national pastime had been no better than 10-10 all-time in the WBC, playing .500 no way to excite the fans or sell the experience to fellow players.Now, the U.S. has the title and the momentum that carries all defending champions.“I’m hoping in the future that a lot of the players have seen what’s happened here,” Leyland explained, “and will be a little bit more excited about playing in this event.”He said this before the game, the words only gaining significance with each out Stroman collected.Still, champs or not, the riddle remains unsolved, the WBC a tremendous concept that has every element necessary to succeed in this country – except for an ideal time to play it.Or, to be more precise, any time to play it.Cramming a 17-day tournament into a calendar year that already includes a 162-game regular season, a month of playoffs and six weeks of spring training is about as logical as trying to fit a Buick inside a batter’s box.Staging the event now means selling as authentically important games that feature something as artificial as pitch limits.Staging the event after the big league season would mean convincing exhausted players to ramp up things again — but this time with more feeling.Staging the event at midseason would mean asking a pitcher like Kershaw to expend some of his precious second-half bullets for a team other than the Dodgers.Timing, though, is only part of the quandary for the U.S. team, which won this title with — just as an example — Mychal Givens in the bullpen and Mike Trout in Arizona.There’s still the matter of trying to persuade our best players to participate in an event of supposedly profound international standing, knowing baseball’s global status is such that the sport can’t even consistently remain in the Olympics.But what happened here Wednesday night certainly won’t hurt the WBC movement for the U.S., Stroman giving up next to nothing, a starter so dominant that he was a reliever of stress, as well.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more