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Second Thoughts: Indiana carries baseball banner for cold-weather states

It’s Fathers Day and I’ll be spending it at the ballpark, which is a much better gift than Wheaties in bed. I just hope they don’t hand out free ties at the gate.

One of the most amazing stories of the week is unfolding in Omaha at the College World Series. Indiana — from the cold-weather Big Ten —is mixing it up with the bluebloods of the sport. The Hoosiers are the first team from their conference to advance to the CWS since 1984, when Barry Larkin and Michigan made it.

I’ll be cheering for the Hoosiers, who are living proof that kids from the Midwest can play baseball at a high level. Twenty-two of the 31 players listed on IU’s roster are from Indiana, Illinois or Ohio. Star catcher Kyle Schwarber is from Middletown and Hoosiers head coach Tracy Smith played at Miami University and later recorded 317 wins as the RedHawks’ coach.

The myth of the Big Three is being exposed in the NBA Finals. Neither the Heat nor the Spurs has three superstars. Miami will win its second straight title because it has a Big Two in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Chris Bosh is an overpaid role player. The Spurs? Tony Parker is great, but Tim Duncan is showing his age and Manu Ginobili couldn’t beat the Lone Ranger in HORSE.

The Midwest League All-Star Game will be played at Fifth Third Field on Tuesday night. The party starts Monday night at the Fraze, and after the game’s final out is recorded the league will wonder why it doesn’t bring this event to Dayton every year. The Dayton Dragons know how to put on big events, and this one is a fastball at the belt.

Brandon Phillips had 54 runs batted in prior to Friday night’s game. That’s a great number, and Dat Dude has picked up the slack for Joey Votto. But equally impressive is Phillips’ strikeout total. He had only 39 in 276 plate appearances and five of his teammates had more.

That Dodgers-Diamondbacks brawl was the best reality TV of the week, and legendary announcer Vin Scully was classy throughout. L.A. hitting coach Mark McGwire, one of baseball’s all-time tainted sluggers, was pretty fired up. Big Mac was held back by Arizona coach Matt Williams for much of the brawl. I think he was asking Williams if he stole his andro.

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