Hello and welcome to the first installment of the long-awaited Mike P. mailbag. I introduced the mailbag in late September, giving readers and sports fans a chance to ask their burning questions — sports related or not — with the hopes that I can give them a fulfilling answer.
Now, most of the questions I got came from my degenerate friends back home, so there are a few Indiana-related questions here. I apologize in advance if that gets irritating, but I encourage everyone to send in questions for the next edition of the mailbag.
For now, though, let’s see what some of these blokes had to offer.
How much longer does Tom Crean have at Indiana?
This one’s a hot topic amongst crimson and cream faithful. If you’re unaware, Indiana Hoosier fans are ruthless and demand winning. Tom Crean hasn’t really done that. He got to a Sweet 16, but it was an underachievement for one of Indiana’s best teams in the last 20 years. Fans have been whispering of Crean’s ousting since that season, so the seat is as hot as it’s ever been. With two bad losses in Maui after a preseason top 25 ranking, Crean better grab a fire extinguisher. Barring any crazy March run — my guess is an Elite 8 or better is necessary — Crean’s time in Bloomington is over. The Hoosiers can snatch up an Archie Miller or Tony Bennett — or dare I say, Brad Stevens — in a heartbeat. The pressure is definitely on Crean to fix things and fast.
Baseball’s all-time hitting catcher and 12-time All-Star, Mike Piazza, is getting screwed. For the third year in a row Piazza was not selected to the Hall of Fame. Piazza deserves to be in the HOF. I am curious, what do you think will happen in 2016? Will Mike Piazza finally make it?
Piazza is due. He’s been trending in the right direction — he got 70 percent of the necessary 75 percent of votes last year. The upward trend benefitted Craig Biggio a year ago, and I think Piazza’s as close to a lock as Ken Griffey Jr. in 2016. The ballot is somewhat weak — Griffey is the only sure thing — and Piazza’s numbers are good. Most fans like him, which helps, and he went unscathed through the steroid era. Of course, I think Barry Bonds should be in the Hall, and definitely Pete Rose. But worry no longer, Patrick. Piazza is heading to Cooperstown.
You’re coaching a basketball team that’s down two with 10 seconds left in the game. You can choose between 1954 Hickory High Jimmy Chitwood, late 1990s Reggie Miller or present day Steph Curry. Who do you give the ball to?
— Chip from Indy
There’s no wrong answer here. All three guys stroke the shot no problem. I think my first choice is Miller, simply because 10 seconds is an eternity for the Hall of Famer. He’d score eight points and we’d win by six. Boom baby! Next, I’d take Curry, because he’s stupid. He’d make it look the coolest. Broken ankles, spin moves. He might even shoot it granny-style or from the locker room or something. And it would be so pretty, like an angel is floating to the rim to drop the ball through the net with 15 microphones around the basket to make the “swish” sound like Adele is singing it. Finally, Chitwood. You know he makes it. He assures you of that in the huddle. But the 3-point arc might baffle him. A long two sends it to overtime, which isn’t bad, but always go for the win.
Can you replace a Gary Bertier?
You cannot replace a Gary Bertier, as a player or person.
Have a question? Send it in: MikePmailbag@gmail.com
Mike Pruden is the sports editor at The Sheridan Press.