Carl Kuschke
Montana's Carl Kuschke of South Africa. (Photo by Greg Lindstrom)
Strolling by the University of Montana tennis courts on a spring afternoon can be a quick lesson in dialect recognition.  Chances are, accompanying the rhythmic thwaps of the ball belted back and forth during the Grizzly men’s tennis practice, some unusual accents and languages can be overheard.

On the team are six of about 420 international students at the university.  That’s more than half of the squad’s 11 players hailing from countries around the globe, including Poland, South Africa, Brazil, Germany and Canada.  Only two of those 11 are native Montanans.

Imported talent is often a quick fix for holes in a tennis program.  International recruitment can be a solution both for filling roster spots with up-to-par skill and dealing with teams’ budget hardships.  The help is out there, said Jim O’Day, athletic director at the University of Montana, you just have to be willing to search for it.

 
 
On Monday, Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez had some trouble tracking down a blooper that fell over his head into shallow left field in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  He misplayed the ball, booting it past the left fielder, 300 feet from home plate.

Now that's fine, everybody has a tough defensive play every once in awhile, but then he proceeded to "chase" the ball down at his own leisurely pace.  He jogged it out!  By taking his time, he allowed two runs to score and the batter to reach third.


Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez pulled Ramirez from the game, saying his two-time All-Star shortstop was hurting the team.  Then, making an example out of the player, Ramirez was not in the lineup on Tuesday either. 

Ramirez claimed that his effort on the play was everything he could muster at the time and he wasn’t giving up.  In the first inning of Monday's game, Ramirez fouled a ball off his leg during an at-bat and he leaned on that crutch as an excuse for his lack of hustle.  He said it wasn't really his fault and said he lost some respect for Gonzalez for pulling him from the game.

Ramirez flapped his mouth a bit more Tuesday, disagreeing with his manager’s decision to keep him from a playing in a second game.

“It's OK. He doesn't understand that,” Ramirez said.  “He never played in the big leagues. That's fine.  That's the example that he set. It started with me. Let's see how far it goes."

Now hold on there, Hanley.  If there’s one sure way to screw up a clubhouse, it’s disrespecting the manager.  And this is more than disrespecting.  He very obviously tried to show up his boss and take some shots at his experience.  That’s inexcusable.  It sounds like he thinks he could manage a major league team better.

Ramirez may be a good player, but the five-year veteran is no sure Hall of Famer at this point and he can’t get away with this sort of in-your-face insults.

The Marlins are currently in second place in the NL East, but to stay in the hunt for the rest of the season and try and dethrone the Philadelphia Phillies, the Fish are going to need to be firing on all cylinders.  They can’t have their stud player making all kinds of distractions and trouble. 
 
 
Cleveland Rocks?  Not according to the Wall Street Journal

After more than a century of MLB domination that’s included 27 World Series championships, the New York Yankees would seem to be a lock for the team baseball fans love to hate.

The Yankees are just like baseball’s big bully. Fans of the 29 other teams — like the puny kids on the playground getting pounded by the Bronx Bombers each year — should band together to collectively loathe their oppressor. It only makes sense, right?

But according to a formula created by the Nielsen Company and reported by The Wall Street Journal this week, the No. 1 most-disliked team in the sport is the Cleveland Indians. In fact, the Yanks barely make it into the top five most hated teams.