The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 30, 2013

Schremmer: Pittsburg's case for title game; Frenchy's end in KC

By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer

— A quick rant through the week in sports:

• Fellow sportswriter Ryan Atkinson reported earlier this week that Pittsburg will again bid to host the NCAA Division II football national championship.

• I can’t envision a better game atmosphere for the D-II championship than what it would be like at Pittsburg State’s Carnie Smith Stadium. The tailgate party would be in full force, and the ESPN broadcast would be able to show a packed stadium to the nation’s viewers.

• Cooperation from Joplin in terms of hotels and entertainment for fans would make a good combination and what should be an attractive offer for Division II.

• However, Pittsburg will have some stiff competition as Kansas City and the MIAA are trying to bring the D-II championship to Sporting KC’s Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., beginning in 2014.

• The soccer stadium is in the Legends shopping district, surrounded by restaurants, stores and a casino.

• Still, nothing can match the game experience Carnie Smith Stadium would offer.

• In either case, it’s time somewhere other than Florence, Ala., has the opportunity to host the game. And there’s no doubt the Midwest would support the game.

• The Jeff Francoeur era in Kansas City came to a close Saturday as the Royals designated the outfielder for assignment.

• Known as an all-around good guy, it’s too bad things didn’t work out for Frenchy.

• But the Royals gave him every opportunity. After hitting .235 in 2012, Francoeur was batting .209 with a .250 on-base percentage this season.

• The Royals certainly wouldn’t mind having St. Louis Cardinal rightfielder Carlos Beltran. The former Royal was hitting .303 with 18 homers and 48 RBI entering Sunday.

• Former Pittsburg State pitcher Matt Stalcup and former Girard High School and Kansas pitcher Tanner Poppe are off to nice starts in professional baseball. Stalcup has a 2.70 ERA after two appearances for the Oakland Athletics’ low-A Vermont Lake Monsters. Poppe is 1-0 with no runs allowed after two appearances for the Milwaukee Brewers’ rookie team. Poppe was promoted Saturday to the Helena Brewers of the Pioneer League.

• Joplin’s Charlie Brown is proving he can play basketball at a high level while competing in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League this summer. Brown’s team, MOKAN Elite, will compete in the prestigious Nike Peach Jam in South Carolina later this month. The tournament will feature many of the top high school players in the country.

• Brown also worked with his high school teammates during the month of June. The Eagles finished 23-1 in summer games against the likes of Kapaun-Mt. Carmel and Shiloam Springs, Ark.

• As a lifelong Celtics fan, I was sad to see Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce traded this past week.

• Especially Pierce. Drafted by the Celtics in 1998, Pierce helped bring a title to Boston in 2008. I’ll hate seeing him in a Nets uniform for the next couple of years.

• I can’t even imagine what it would have been like seeing Larry Bird finish his career with the Atlanta Hawks or the Sacramento Kings.

• But playing an entire career with one team seems to be a thing of the past. Heck, Michael Jordan finished with the Wizards, and Peyton Manning is set to play his second season with the Denver Broncos.