How did The Sun miss this lay-up?

November 29, 2007 | Drew Forrester

Anyone who listened to today’s Comcast Morning Show knows what’s coming. 

It might be a good idea to grab today’s edition of The Sun and follow along as I piece together what is an outright slap-in-the-face to UMBC, Morgan State, Towson and Navy.  Got the paper?  Good, here we go.

Tonight at the RAC Arena on the campus of UMBC, the Retrievers play host to Morgan State at 7:00 pm.  30 miles to the East off of Rowe Blvd, the Naval Academy hosts Towson University. 

Now, open your copy of The Sun sports section and go to page 2 and check out the calendar on the right hand side.  For those of you who don’t have the paper, here’s what on the docket for local sports in the area today:

Horse Racing at Laurel, 12:10 pm

That’s it.

NO MENTION – NONE AT ALL – of the game at UMBC or Navy.

Wait, stay on the calendar page for a second.  The schedule goes all the way to next Wednesday.  Are you telling me that knowing today – right now – that Maryland’s women’s basketball team plays host to Middle Tennessee State and the Wizards host Cleveland NEXT WEDNESDAY is more important than UMBC-Morgan State and Navy-Towson?  They couldn’t put those two games on the calendar TODAY but they can put stuff on that calendar that doesn’t happen until next Wednesday?

What on earth are they thinking about over there on Calvert St.?

Now, go to page 3.  There’s a 16 column-inch story – along with a photo – of the high school QB contest/promotion that the Ravens stage at halftime of every home game.  You know the drill…a couple of quarterbacks throw passes to their wide receivers on the M&T Bank Stadium field.  That’s a neat halftime event and I’m sure the kids are thrilled and Toyota gets a lot of exposure as the main sponsor and the whole thing is a good LOCAL promotion.  That’s not the issue.

What IS the issue is that today, The Sun put a major piece in their paper to highlight that promotion and nowhere in the paper is a story, capsule, preview of the UMBC-Morgan State game that is being played 12 miles from Calvert St.

That "high school QB" story can run ANYTIME.  It didn’t have to run today.  The UMBC-Morgan State game is ONLY played today.  The same with Navy-Towson. 

Scoot over to page 6 in The Sun’s sports section and go down to the bottom of the page.  There’s an article about the Cowboys-Packers game tonight that highlights their 40-year "history".  Follow along with me now as we all tell The Sun something they evidently don’t know about the Cowboys-Packers rivalry?  Yell along with me………

"WHO GIVES A DAMN!!!?????"

Are you telling me that an article about the friggin’ Cowboys and Packers is more important than covering a Division One college basketball game in BALTIMORE tonight? 

Who made the decision at The Sun to omit any kind of coverage for a very good LOCAL college basketball match-up at UMBC tonight and instead decided to run the high school quarterback story or that Packers-Cowboys piece?  Someone – a human being – made that decision.  Who?  And, more importantly, why?

Look, if UMBC is playing host to Vermont or UMass-Amherst and The Sun doesn’t feel like it’s a compelling enough story/match-up, I can understand how they would forego a preview or capsule.  But it’s not UMBC-Vermont, tt’s UMBC-Morgan State.  It’s a LOCAL game.  It DESERVES prominent treatment, just like the Towson-Loyola kick-off game a few weeks back that also got the same cold shoulder from The Sun.  There was no inclusion of that game in the calendar and no game preview or story about the two programs and their hopes for 2007.

UMBC is off to a great start at 4-1 and they’re fresh off a big home win over George Washington last Saturday (the same GW that got run out of the gym vs. UCLA last night).  Morgan State is a great early-season story, with a 3-2 record and two close losses to UConn and Miami (FL).  Todd Bozeman has done a very good job getting the Bears back on track this year and tonight’s game over at UMBC will tell us all how far the program has come in a short amount of time.

How could The Sun neglect this game?  In lieu of that "evergreen" story about the high school QB’s (which can run ANYTIME), why didn’t they write a 16-column inch story about both games tonight?  Towson is off to a nice start and they’ll be tested tonight against Navy.  You could have split the story and covered all four teams and the games in the area.

By the way, the oft-criticized and much-maligned Baltimore Examiner ran a piece on the UMBC-Morgan State game on page 46 of today’s edition.  Evidently, someone at the BALTIMORE Examiner gets it. 

Part of the problem in our sports market is that all we *think* we have from September through January is football, Ravens style.  And, as we’ve seen this year when a good portion of the fans quit on the team right around the halfway mark, once football enthusiasm dwindles, we don’t have anything else to sink our fan-teeth into.  But that’s not true.  There’s GOOD, HIGH-LEVEL college basketball in this area.  If you don’t think the Colonial Athletic Association (Towson’s conference) is high-level, ask all those teams that lost to George Mason in the NCAA tournament a few years back and then, call down to Duke and ask Coach K what he thinks about VCU and the CAA.  UMBC and Loyola – as well as maybe even Towson and Morgan State – could be conference title contenders, either through the regular season or their conference tournaments in March. 

But, The Sun will PROBABLY say, "the crowds just really aren’t large enough for us to warrant any kind of increased, upgraded coverage".  Really?  Those 3,500 that were at the Towson Center a few weeks back for Towson-Loyola don’t represent a "large enough" crowd?  Loyola’s program has seen a whopping attendance increase in the Jimmy Patsos era. 

How can UMBC be expected to generate a crowd for tonight’s game when The Sun refuses to even put the event in their sports calendar? 

Hey, at least we know the Wizards and Cavaliers play NEXT Wednesday down in Washington D.C., right?  Plan accordingly.

Rant over. 

It’s a shame that I have to be the a-hole in this, but UMBC can’t do it.  If they barked this loud and long to someone at The Sun, I’m sure they’d go even further down the totem pole.

But someone had to say it.  I’m sure somehow I’ll get some grief for it, but I don’t care.  Someone needs to stand up for these local schools that are producing good basketball programs and are getting stiffed by the big daily newspaper in town.

I’ll see you at the game tonight.  7pm, RAC Arena.