March 31, 2006

Big News, but probably not to you

The University of Iowa and Iowa State University Replace Their Wrestling Coaches

This has set off mass hysteria on a wrestling message board I frequent. 14th year coach Bobby Douglas at ISU has apparently been forced out in favor of 2004 Olympic gold medalist and 4x undefeated NCAA Champ Cael Sanderson, who is only 26 years old and has only been a coach for 2 years. Across the state, Jim Zalesky has been fired at the University of Iowa after a rough season. Iowa did rally to place fourth at the NCAA championships, but the team was sixth in the Big Ten and had its worst record in many years.

Some believe this was set off by the retirement of Ohio State head coach Russ Hellickson last week. Perhaps Iowa and Iowa State were concerned that potential coaches for their teams would jump at the opportunity to coach at a Big Ten school in the heart of one of the most fertile high school wrestling areas in the country. Once upon a time, Iowa State graduate and future coaching legend Dan Gable left ISU to coach at Iowa, and became a legend there instead of back in Ames. ISU likely didn't want that scenario to repeat itself with Sanderson. As for Iowa, current Virginia Tech coach, gold medalist, and Iowa grad Tom Brands might have been tempted by an offer at Ohio State and is considered a front runner for the Iowa job. He apparently has an out in his VT contract if the Iowa job comes open (I have no idea how people know this information about his contract, or if it's actually true). The main reason I believe that the OSU job was somewhat of a catalyst was that Zalesky at Iowa had just a single year left on his current contract, thus making the timing of his firing seem a tad odd.

Of course, the most interesting thing is that two premier wrestling programs axed their coaches on the exact same day. Second most interesting is the reported fact that Jim Zalesky's coaching salary this year was around $97,000, which I'd imagine is quite a bit in Iowa City.

I'll be interested to see where this game of musical coaches ends up.

March 26, 2006

I'll go quickly, so as not to bore you...too much

It's been said there's nothing more exciting than your fantasy team, and there is nothing less exciting than someone else's. That said, it's my blog, and you can skip this post and head on down to the recipe below this if you're not interested.

We had our live draft yesterday. 16 teams, 21 picks per team. It took almost 2 1/2 hours, which is actually less than I expected, so I was happy. I had the fourth pick, which meant, with a snake draft, I got to typically pick twice in pretty rapid succession, and then I had to do a lot of waiting and planning; watching while my first choice players got scooped up in front of me. Anyhow, this is what I ended up with at each position. My team, called PECOTA is My Daddy, was chosen based on a combination of common sense and the Baseball Prospectus projection system called PECOTA. I sprinkled this with some hunches and some nods to the offensive level of the respective home parks. I like my team better than most of the other teams in the league, as some of the choices were idiosyncratic at best.

C - Jorge Posada, Yankees and Brian McCann, Braves - Posada is clearly declining, but he is also still one of the best catchers in the league. There isn't a lot of top tier offensive talent at catcher, and there's no points for defense. McCann is a good young player who will provide insurance in case Posada's head falls off or something.

1B - Mark Teixeira, Rangers and Nick Johnson, Nationals - Teixeira is young, good, and he plays in one of the best hitter's parks in baseball. All that should add up to a solid season, and it better, as he was my first pick. Johnson looks to hold down the Utility spot in the lineup, as he is a talented hitter, and I'm his injury problems are cured.

2B - Ray Durham, Giants - He's not young and isn't getting younger, but he has power and patience, and I waited a long time to pick a 2B. If Bonds is back for real, Durham could end up scoring a lot of runs. If I get league average production from him, I'll be satisfied.

3B - Troy Glaus, Blue Jays, Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals and Bill Mueller, Dodgers - Glaus hit a lot of bombs last year, and I'm hoping he repeats. He appears to be an old 30, but I'm banking on him having more left in the tank, and PECOTA agrees. Zimmerman is a rising start with Rookie of the Year talent and a starting job to boot. He's had a torrid spring as well, and I'm hoping to cash in on his success in some form. Mueller is on my team because he isn't terrible and has eligibility at 2B as well. Strictly a backup plan.

SS - Derek Jeter, Yankees and J.J. Hardy, Brewers - I really don't like Jeter, but emotion can't play a part here. He can hit, and he will score a truckload of runs this year. If he repeats last season's numbers, I'll be ecstatic. Hardy is a young player with potential on a team full of guys like that. Again, he's an insurance policy in case Jeter falls down the stairs some day.

OF - J.D. Drew, Dodgers, Brad Wilkerson, Rangers, and Jim Edmonds, Cardinals - Drew is devastating when healthy, which is never, but I couldn't leave him hanging out ther anymore. Wilkerson is a good player moving to the bandbox in Arlington, so he should double his HRs and do well everywhere else. Edmonds is one of the top centerfielders in my lifetime, though he is on his way down. Again, if he repeats last season, I'll be pretty happy, though I'd like to see the average come up a bit. If one of these guys goes down, I'll need to scoop up someone off waivers, and quick.

Starters - Carlos Zambrano, Cubs, Javier Vazquez, White Sox, Matt Clement, Red Sox, Greg Maddux, Cubs, and Esteban Loaiza, A's - Zambrano has emerged as the best (and healthiest) of the big 3 on the North Side, and he strikes out a lot of guys, though he'll give up the occasional homer. Vazquez is a good pitcher who's had some bad years. The south side pitching coach should make him pitch like the rest of his team's starters did last year. Clement has good potential if he stays healthy, and he'll get wins in front of that offense. Maddux will be good enough, and Loaiza is durable and effective, if not dazzling. Overall, a solid, if unspectacular group.

Relievers - B.J. Ryan, Blue Jays, Todd Walker, Tigers, and Kiko Calero, A's - Ryan is the projected MLB saves leader, according to PECOTA, Walker is good enough to get the saves, even if he doesn't pitch great, and Calero is a middle reliever with good peripherals who may snipe me a few wins.

I like my team well enough, but we'll see what happens when the games are played.

March 25, 2006

Another Recipe

I made this soup the other day, and I told my mom I'd give her the recipe, but why let her have all the fun?

Mulligatawny Soup

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 medium/small chicken breasts, diced in 1/4" to 1/2" pieces
8 oz. lentils (red split lentils, if you can find them)
2 pints chicken stock (stock, not broth, kids)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Directions
1. Heat the oil in a big pot over medium-high heat
2. Add garlic and ginger and stir for 10 seconds
3. Add cumin, coriander, curry powder and cayenne and stir for 10 seconds
4. Add chicken and brown for 30 seconds to 1 minute
5. Add lentils, stock, and salt and bring to a boil
6. Reduce to low, partially cover, and simmer for 45 minutes
7. Add lemon juice and cilantro

It's a pretty good and simple soup. The lemon juice and cilantro at the end give it the last flavor kick it needs to push it over the top. Of course, I'm pretty crazy for cilantro. It's my favorite herb. Did you know it's what grows when you plant coriander?

March 24, 2006

My new DJ

I was reading the Wheaoton Record, our student newspaper here at the college, and there was an article about something called Pandora. Pandora is a music service that lets you enter the name of a band or a song, and then they play a sort of "radio station" of songs that they've identified to be similar to the group/song you picked. You can sign up for an account and save your stations for later, as well. Also, you can tell them which songs that are played you like and dislike, so the station gets personalized to your tastes. So far, it's completely free and doesn't even have ads. They say on the site that the free accounts will start to have ads eventually, so we'll see if it's worth keeping when that happens, but for now, I'm using it to get out of my musical rut.

March 23, 2006

Strider Update

Just in case you wondered, life is good at Strider Wrestling. We started two weeks ago with our spring practices at Community Fellowship and have had awesome turnout. We've been in the 40's and 50's for numbers each day so far, and the decision to break up the group by age has worked out well. On Monday and Tuesday nights I come home tired and without much of a voice, but it's a good feeling so far. The kids are enthusiastic and learning quickly. I'm excited to see the progress they make as we start to get into some more complex technique. It's a delicate balance of wanting to challenge the kids who either have experience or are pretty good athletes/learners but also trying to make sure the pace doesn't leave too many kids behind. The older age group is 8-12, but in that range, the difference between the kids is more than age. Some kids are better than others at listening and paying attention, but this is my challenge. I can't very well expect a bunch of 10 year olds to act like college wrestlers with years of experience, can I? It's a learning process for me as well. I clearly have no formal training when it comes to teaching kids, since that wasn't one of my required classes in engineering school. What I do know is how to wrestle and how to demonstrate the technique. Every day, I figure out better ways to pass that knowledge along to the next generation of wrestlers. I should probably talk to some of my elementary school teacher friends and see what they do to keep the kids in line.

March 18, 2006

Adventures in Cooking

Got a new food processor the other day. It's a Kitchenaid 12 cup deal. We saved up our Discover Card points and relied on some birthday gifts to push us over the top. We got it for a lot of reasons, but mainly to make gyros, which we did this week. Don't try to make them without a food processor, you'll burn out the motor on one of those little mini chopper things (yes, I did this once). Now that I've got the processor, the hardest part of this recipe was finding ground lamb, as a few stores were sold out. Anyhow, you should make this recipe if you have a food processor and a liking for Greek food.

Gyro Meet with Tzatziki Sauce courtesy of Alton Brown

By the way, I made chili last night with my mom's (who knows where she got it) recipe, which follows

Ingredients:
1 pound ground turkey or beef
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (cayenne)
1 Tbsp Worcestshire sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 29 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can red kidney beans (dark or light), drained
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained

Directions:
Brown beef with onions. Add rest of ingredients. Simmer for 45 minutes or more. Serve topped with cheese and crumbled Fritos.

March 15, 2006

Kicking Butts and Taking Names

Wheaton has historically been the top dog of Christian colleges, both in the classroom and in athletics, but any illusions that the school clings to athletic supremacy surely must have been dashed in recent months by my alma mater, Messiah College. Here's a quick sport by sport comparison for the year to date.

Men's Soccer
Messiah: Undefeated, fourth title in six years
Wheaton: 5 losses, loses in second round of NCAA Tournament, 1999 runner up, 1997 champ

Women's Soccer
Messiah: Undefeated national champs, 2002 and 2004 final four
Wheaton: 2004 National Champs, nine straight conference titles

Women's Tennis:
Messiah: doubles team reaches conference semifinal
Wheaton: conference champs

Football:
Messiah: Undefeated since 1909 (that's a joke, kids)
Wheaton: 2002-2004 made NCAA Playoffs

Volleyball
Messiah: Losing record, not a lot of recent success here
Wheaton: Winning record, middle of the road in CCIW

Field Hockey
Messiah: NCAA Runner up, ten final fours
Wheaton: no team

Cross Country
Messiah: Women-conference champ, Men-7th of 12
Wheaton: Women-conference champ, Men-national qualifier as a team

Men's Basketball
Messiah: Lose in NCAA 2nd round
Wheaton: 11-14, fifth in CCIW

Women's Basketball
Messiah: Lost in NCAA 2nd round
Wheaton: Lost in NCAA 3rd round

Wrestling
Messiah: 1 NCAA Qualifier, NCAA GPA Champ
Wheaton: no qualifiers, one dual meet win

Swimming
Messiah: nice pool, no team
Wheaton: Women place 11th at nationals, Men still to swim

That's it for this year so far, with the spring still to come. In the spring, both schools will field baseball, softball, men's tennis, and track. Wheaton fields a women's water polo team, while Messiah features both men's and women's lacrosse. Both schools have had succes, though Messiah has been better on the national level, Wheaton hangs in with some overall quality. Messiah is way ahead in wrestling, but it's my job to fix that.

March 14, 2006

Alumni Spotlight

The following can be found at the bottom of page 25 in the most recent edition of The Bridge, the Messiah College alumni magazine:

Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Every spring, Ernie Harwell, the longtime voice of the Detroit Tigers would read the following verse to announce the new season:


For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land

One reason why technology is great: I'm currently watching Food Network in a window on my desktop while writing this post. It's the squash episode of Good Eats.

Anyhow, I'm pretty excited for the upcoming baseball season. I'm in a previously mentioned fantasy league, but more on that another time. For now, I'll give my quick division by division preview along with my predictions on the playoff participants.

American League West
Full seasons from Harden and Crosby will help the A's stay near the top of the league, but Anaheim is still the team to beat. Continuing to play Erstad at first in the presence of better options may yet drag them down, but the real problem can occur if K-Rod's inevitable arm injury happens this year or some year in the future. His mechanics are so screwed up it hurts him less to throw a slider than a fastball. It's a two team race, in my book, though Texas could end up ruining someone's season with a few late season wins. Wilkerson bolsters an already strong offense, but will the pitching hold and will management realize how the bandbox of a park they play in changes performance analysis? King Felix and Ichiro will be fun to watch, but this team won't win more than it loses
Predicted Finish: A's, Angels, Rangers, Mariners

American League Central
Can the champs keep it up. They'll definitely be in it the whole season, as GM Kenny Williams didn't stand pat, recognizing that his team, like all winners, benefited from its fair share of luck and wasn't really a 99 win team. Thome joins the party and Southsiders are hoping for more power. It's a gamble considering his age, salary, and injury history, but he and the newly (and expensively) resigned Konerko can provide power in the middle of the lineup. They will need to hit to support a lineup that includes Podsednik, Crede, and new centerfielder Anderson. Breathing down their necks are the Tribe and Twins. The Twins can pitch but not hit, while the Indians can pitch a little and boast as much up the middle talent as anyone. The Twins seem stuck in an organizational malaise, so the Tribe will have to knock of the champs. Avoiding last season's slow start and regressing to the mean in one-run games will do a lot to help them win. As for the rest, the Tigers will call it a success if they reach .500, and the Royals will again struggle (and fail) to avoid 100 losses.
Predicted Finish: Indians, White Sox, Twins, Tigers, Royals

American League East
Yankees and Red Sox look to dominate again, as they've finished 1-2 for something like 8 straight years. The Blue Jays made their big offseason spending spree, but I don't think they've done enough. Not enough offense, but they could make it interesteing. If the Red Sox or, more likely, the Yankees suffer a few major injuries, the Jays could crash the party. It will take a lot, though, to derail those powerful offenses. The winner of the division will likely come down to health. If Clement, Schilling, and Foulke can be healthy, the Sox have a chance. Similarly, the Yanks are counting on Johnson, Mussina, Pavano, and Rivera to hold other teams in check so the big bashers can do their job. The Orioles are stuck where they always are, fighting for third, and the Devil Rays have a bright future now that the old regime has finally left town and the new crew can use those good young players to get the team out of the basement, but not this year.
Predicted Finish: Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, Orioles, Devil Rays

National League to come...

March 9, 2006

The power of the internet

The following is an AOL Instant Messenger conversation I had today:

jzkornbluh: Hey
LegendOfAndy: do i know you
jzkornbluh: No....but I saw some videos of you wrestling and you're good
jzkornbluh: I'm a wrestler for a highschool in a small town in NJ that noone's ever heard of
LegendOfAndy: so how did you see me wrestle
jzkornbluh: video.google.com
jzkornbluh: someone made highlights of you...idk if you know them or not
jzkornbluh: I'll get the url for you so you can see
LegendOfAndy: i put that there
jzkornbluh: oh
LegendOfAndy: so my friends/family could see it, but it's cool that you found it
jzkornbluh: I've been looking for some unusual moves, and the one where you hook the near leg and hop over is great...I've been trying to figure it out and I think I have it down
LegendOfAndy: make sure you check your state's rule book...it's illegal in a lot of states
LegendOfAndy: but it's fine in college
jzkornbluh: Oh yeah...the holding the leg back...
LegendOfAndy: but it is my favorite move
jzkornbluh: i noticed...you seemed to use it a lot
LegendOfAndy: it looks good on a highlight tape at least, but i did do it pretty frequently
jzkornbluh: Yeah...you were beating on some pretty good people
LegendOfAndy: well, they weren't all good
jzkornbluh: was that all in one tournament? or across the whole season?
LegendOfAndy: the whole season
LegendOfAndy: well, most of it anyhow
jzkornbluh: So...you're still in college or just out of it?
LegendOfAndy: i graduated in 2003
jzkornbluh: still go to open tournaments?
LegendOfAndy: i've been to one or two
LegendOfAndy: maybe i will some day
jzkornbluh: how'd you do?
LegendOfAndy: in the open tournaments or in college
jzkornbluh: both
LegendOfAndy: i won one and lost one at the prairie state games last summer, but i placed 2nd, 7th, and 7th in Division III in college
jzkornbluh: nice

The video he was talking about can be found here. For your viewing pleasure, another is here.

March 8, 2006

Recruiting

Recruiting at Wheaton has gone well of late. Thanks to an unusual confluence of events, we were able to admit more wrestlers than expected. This should have a good impact on the team for the future, as I believe a lot of the wrestlers will eventually come to Wheaton. That, and we've got a few more on the back burner that may end up bolstering the squad even more. It's a self-sustaining process, recruiting. If you consistently have poor recruiting classes and poor competition results, that makes it tough to get any momentum goin when recruits look at your program and wonder why they should join it to lose. It seems to be key to make a big (or at least medium) recruiting splash in your first year in order to build enthusiasm and make kids see the difference in the program. Then you can leverage the success of a good recruiting class into future good classes, and while hard work will always be a part of things, you can gradually bring the level of the program up and your reputation can preceed you with some wrestlers. Augsburg, one of the premier teams in Division III has shirts that proclaim, "Tradition Doesn't Graduate." That's the Stephen Colbert All You Need to Know on recruiting.

In other news, I've had a lot on my mind the last few days. Some is work related, some is related to the obscene amount of baseball reading I've done in the past week, and some is unrelated to either of those. I'll work it out though. I process internally.