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The Process of Rebuilding A Baseball Team

By Cheval John

Labor Day has become permanent for Bo Porter.

Today, he was let go of his duties as the manager of the Houston Astros.

The Astros are currently fourth in the American League’s Western Division with a 59-79 record.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Porter’s dismissal was not based on the record of the team, but of a disagreement between him and general manager Jeff Luhnow.

Luhnow said in a statement, ““Earlier today, I informed Bo Porter that he would no longer be our manager and told Dave Trembley that he would not complete the season as our bench coach.

“Bo’s passion and energy are unparalleled, and his desire to win unquestioned. This decision was not made because of our current level of competitiveness in the Major Leagues. I recognize that our win-loss record is largely a product of an organizational strategy for which I am responsible. Rather, I made this decision because I believe we need a new direction in our clubhouse.

“What we will seek going forward is a consistent and united message throughout the entire organization. It is essential that as an organization we create an atmosphere at the Major League level where our young players can come up and continue to develop and succeed. Ultimately, I am responsible for creating that culture, and I will do everything in my power to do so—even when it means making difficult moves like the one we made today.

“Moving forward, I am optimistic about the direction of our team. Our young core continues to progress, and I believe wholeheartedly that our plan—while at times challenging—is working and will bring a consistent winner to Houston in the very near future.”

Houston finished the last three seasons with 100+ loss and have been in rebuilding mold since Jim Crane took ownership of the team almost three years ago.

Maybe it’s a good thing that the majority of the fan base in the Houston area does not have to watch the horrendous display of their team on television on a daily basis.

With the botch deal of their regional network, Comcast SportsNet Houston,
only 40 percent have access to the Astros games and the Rockets games.

I suspect that Mr. Crane have huge regrets in buying the Astros from Drayton McClane because it seems that it will be a long time before his team generates a viable product for the fan base.

Until then, the Astros can focus on finishing their 2014 campaign on a high note and hope that they can get back to their winning ways next year.

North Dakota State Owns The Big 12

By Cheval John

Is it safe to say that North Dakota State has the Big 12′s number?

It seems like it after the three-time FCS National Champions knocked off Iowa State 34-14 in Ames, Iowa.

The Bison are now 5-1 against Big 12 teams and are 8-3 overall against FBS teams.

Their most notable victory came against the defending Big 12 champion Kansas State by the score of 24-21 in their 2013 season opener.

The Bison drove down the field on a 18 play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a game-winning 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brock Jensen.

That drive chewed up 8 1/2 minutes of the clock in the fourth quarter.

Iowa State were aware of the Bison and had scored twice to make it 14-0.

However, they could not stop North Dakota State as they scored 34 unanswered points in order to pull out the win.

The way how the Bison are playing, they will not have trouble playing against FBS teams on a regular basis if they make the transition from the FCS to the FBS.

Until that day happens, the Bison will remain one of the most dominant teams in the FCS.

Let’s hope that Iowa will be ready for the Bison in 2016.

Lessons Every PR Professional Should Learn From Josh Shaw

By Cheval John

On Monday, the University of Southern California (USC) released to the public about how Josh Shaw broke his ankle trying to save his 7 year old nephew.

Everyone was hailing Mr. Shaw as a hero because of his bravery and the feel good narrative of a player risking his life to save another.

Immediately, there were contradicting reports about how Mr. Shaw broke his ankle.

Many were hoping that those reports were false and that Mr. Shaw was telling the truth.

Unfortunately, everyone hopes were dashed away as Mr. Shaw said to the athletic department at USC that he lied about the whole thing.

Now, Mr. Shaw is suspended indefinitely from the team and it’s likely that he will not be able to play football again.

What’s worse is that Mr. Shaw has sullied the reputation of the football program and the school.

Here are three lessons public relations professionals can take away from this debacle:

1. You Must Do Your Research

The spokesperson/s for USC did not do their due diligence in investigating Mr. Shaw’s story of how he broke his ankle.

Instead, they took his word for it and released Mr. Shaw’s accounts to the public.

If you are going to release a story that will bring attention to your client/s, you better be sure that it is accurate.

2. Always Follow Your Instincts

USC’s first-year head football coach Steve Sarkisian said to reporters, “They was no reason to doubt his story because he was a model citizen.” Quote Paraphrased.

It is probably safe to assume that they got the information about Mr. Shaw from the coach himself.

If your instinct is telling you that something is fishy, you should always listen to it because 9 times out of 10, your instinct is always correct.

3. You Must Go Into Journalism Mode

The spokesperson/s of USC did not put on their journalism hat and interviewed others who were there at the scene to find out if Mr. Shaw’s story of saving his nephew was true.

Because of that massive failure, they are now in damage control to try to repair the image of their school.

In this day and age, the lines are blurred between public relations and journalism.

If a person works in public relations, they must switch to journalism mode when the situation calls for it because if someone comes to them with a feel good story and they do not go into journalism mode, the reputation of their clients and even their own will be ruined for a long time.

Van Gaal’s Job Could Be In Jeopardy

By Cheval John

Manchester United are still showing signs that they are in rebuilding mode.

Many would have expected Manchester United, who had won 20 Premier League crowns, to be back to their form.

So far, things have not been going their way since hiring Dutchman Louis Van Gaal.

Manchester United played to a 1-1 draw against Sunderland F.C. at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland last

Now it seems as if everything is unraveling for the Red Devils after a 4-0 dismantling by MK Dons in the Capital One Cup.

Did I mention that MK Dons play in League One, the second highest division in the English football system?

MK Dons head coach Karl Robinson was even shocked by the result.

“I’m a little bit shocked to be walking off and seeing the scoreline,” Robinson told Sky Sports.

The loss that United suffered to MK Don is reminiscent to Appalachian State’s 34-32 upset win against Michigan in 2007.

It is funny that Manchester United are struggling to get back to prominence after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson two years ago.

David Moynes, who was hand picked by Ferguson himself to be his successor, tried to maintain the dominance of the team.

However, his efforts were fruitless and he was sacked late in the season.

As a result, Manchester United finished seventh in the Premier League and missed qualifying for the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League season for the first time in their history.

Van Gaal says that they need more players if they are going to get back to their glory days.

He is also asking for the loyal fan base to be patient.

“They have to believe in our philosophy,” Van Gaal told Sky Sports.

“We are building up a team and you cannot make (it) in one month, not in one year.

I honestly think that the fans of Manchester United will not be willing to wait that long for their beloved team to reclaim their dominance in the Premier League.