Cape baseball features two Noahs, Clifton and Piper

Noah Piper, a freshman, is one of six basketball players who are now in the baseball pipeline. BY DAVE FREDERICK
March 14, 2014

Basketball pipeline - The chance of playing your way to the next level in the sport of basketball with a scholarship in your back pocket may be the most remote among all the high school sports. Basketball is its own culture, from private schools that seem built around the sport to the leeches who lurk around gyms at AAU tournaments bird-dogging talent. Throw on top of that the one and done, gone-to-the-NBA exodus of players on the best college teams and you have a culture that is about a lot of things, but education doesn’t seem a priority.

Weight room - Cape has hung more track banners than any other school sport, but on the boys' side, if the crossover athlete is eliminated - no more baseball guys running the 100 and long jumping or lacrosse guys leading off the 2-mile relay, not to mention big old football dudes who would rather lift and play horse around on the outdoor courts than test their strength in the shot and discus - championship banners will not be produced. There are lots of kids out for boys' and girls' track, and lots who should be but are not. By the way, fitness centers are filled with people who lift to look good, not to compete, which is cool. It’s what I do now - it ain’t working - but we’re talking competitive sports here.

A fast 5K - Many accomplished athletes in sports other than running might surprise you that they don’t run a mile very fast or churn out respectable 5K times. And that’s because no athlete has ever chased a soccer or lacrosse ball a mile down the road, and no basketball player - they run like cats in short bursts - has ever run continuously over 5 kilometers. An entire basketball game in college is only 40 minutes long, with endless whistles and time-outs; heck, my grandmother could play under those rules.

Lost ark
- Perhaps the lost ark is under the baseball field at Cape. The actual ark as reported by a biblical scribe with his own helicopter had two of everything except for Noah. But Cape baseball has two Noahs, and last Tuesday I watched Noah Clifton pitch to Noah Piper in an intersquad scrimmage and mentioned to coach Ryan Reed that Cape is the first team ever in Delaware with two Noahs on the roster. By the way, all jokes in play, both these young players impressed me, and I think Cape baseball has a chance to have a pretty good season.

Duck the diet tribe - I’m happy for people who lose weight if they are not sick. Just don’t come and stand in front of me like I’m a Peebles changing mirror and start spinning your pants around like Linda Blair’s head in "The Exorcist."

Ring returned - Two years ago, Tommy Rushin handed me a found Cape class ring from 1979 and said, “Here, see if you can find out who this belongs to. “  Last Tuesday on his granddaddy’s farm in the middle of nowhere, a football-playing Cape kid I hadn’t seen in 35 years walked out of the woods, a big old boy carrying a double-sided axe on his shoulder. I gave him a hug, and Mark Maloney said, “Coach, you look exactly the same except for the gray hair,” and that is a double-sided compliment in that I’m glad a resemble the man I used to be but thought I used to look quite a bit better. Mark slipped the ring right back on his finger, because when you’re axe man, your hands stay in great shape.

Snippets - Grand Mom Rose: “Sports is like a plow horse that is hard to ride, will shake you off, kick you in the head and keep on going and never look back except maybe to horse laugh.”  Never look to sports as some morality play; it is an arena of injustice. Therefore, play hard, be a good teammate and keep sticking, jabbing and moving forward.  

I still have mixed emotions about the return of Slam Dunk to the Beach, and when they launched it with a big announcement with a day’s notice of a press conference following a Blue-Gold basketball banquet at Dover Downs, where I could still purchase a ticket, I caught a slight attitude.  I don’t need to live on the beach or drive a fancy car, but sportswriting grand pappy “don’t do tickets,” and really “I don’t do press conferences either”; that’s when all the posers show up. There, now I’m done and feel better.  Where’s Bobby and my free tickets? Go on now, git!