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Running a few ideas up the flagpole



Published: Sun, June 17, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Let's throw this against the wall and see if it sticks:

Are you concerned the Indians went 2-4 against a couple of poor National League teams this week ... at home? You should be.

Cleveland lost two out of three to both Cincinnati and Milwaukee, and what should concern you the most is the number of runs allowed while doing so.

The starting pitching was abominable over that stretch. Bartolo Colon and Chuck Finley have been woefully inconsistent the first third of the season. Dave Burba has benefitted from great run support. His ERA, over 5.50 before Friday's start at Pittsburgh, belies his 8-2 record.

C.C. Sabathia, the 20-year-old rookie, is 6-2 with an ERA creeping toward 5.00, but he may be the most consistent pitcher in the rotation. Consistent, in that if he could get out of the first inning without allowing any runs he's usually going to have a real good outing. Depending on a rookie starting pitcher isn't a recommended avenue to take for a team that has World Series aspirations.

Schools on an island: Let's run this up the flag pole and see if it flies:

Last week's topic, the future of area high school athletic conferences, generated some interesting responses.

One correspondent discussed where Campbell Memorial fit into the whole mix. You'll recall the Red Devils were summarily dismissed when the other members of the Mahoning Valley Conference, with the exception of Warren John F. Kennedy, reorganized into the Metro Athletic Conference. Campbell and JFK were not invited to be a part of the new loop.

The party line by the new MAC schools had a lot to do with alleged recruiting by Campbell Memorial coaches of Bahamian students. Regardless of your stance on that situation, the fact still remains that Campbell Memorial is a school without a league affiliation and has a hard time scheduling, particularly in football.

The school's size -- Campbell is Division V in football -- precludes it from joining in with the remaining City Series schools, and the other small-school conferences, the Inter-County League and Tri-County League, have eight members each. Neither is in a rush to add a ninth school, which would create major headaches in scheduling. The Trumbull Athletic Conference now has 10 schools -- nine for football -- and wouldn't seem to be in any hurry to expand either.

Campbell Memorial, it seems, is truly a school on an island, as far as league representation is concerned.

Superloops: Come to think of it, so too are Boardman and Austintown Fitch.

The only other Division I schools West of the Valley (besides Warren Harding) are the Federal League schools, some Akron city and suburban schools and Cleveland city, parochial and suburban schools. Plus, Canton McKinley and Massillon -- who have pretty much indicated their desire to remain independent of conference affiliation.

Since the Federal League has already negated any possible addition of Boardman and Fitch, it would be in those two schools' best interests, in our opinion, to seek expansion of the Steel Valley Conference.

One idea: One SVC official has put forth the idea of combining the SVC and Metro Athletic Conference to assist in scheduling, for example.

We'd like to see it taken a step further, by inviting Steubenville, East Liverpool, Beaver Local and perhaps a few other schools to the to join in a football-only conference. It's been done before -- anyone remember the All-America Conference for football, and the Ohio Big Eight in basketball.

That type of superconference setup doesn't lend itself to the younger age groups because of the travel restrictions, but since the five current SVC schools already fill their non-conference schedules against schools from Stark, Jefferson counties and the Akron area already, why not make those games count for something too?

XRob Todor is sports editor of The Vindicator. Write to him at todor@vindy.com.




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