It’s been a miserably hot summer here in New York, but with August roughly a week away, it does bring along, besides more heat, Army’s annual media day on Aug. 2. That has to be a good thing — Sept. 11 is the home opener at Michie, so we’re getting closer.
Most of the early previews and predictions surrounding Army’s upcoming season have been pretty optimistic; there’s been lots of praise thrown on sophomore quarterback Trent Steelman, senior defensive end Josh McNary and second-year head coach Rich Ellerson.
Steelman was held to 637 yards passing last season (with only three touchdowns, all to the departed Ali Villanueva), but most feel the Bowling Green, Ky., native’s grasp for Ellerson’s triple-option offense will continue to improve this year. He was banged up last fall and still managed to start every game, finishing the season as the team’s leading rusher.
To recycle a bit of such optimism, and super-optimism at that, take a look at the Orlando Sentinel’s recent rankings, which have Army at No. 44 nationally (via the Unbalanced Line) in a piece that seemed to rile up a few southern readers as well in the feedback section.
Is No. 44 fairly absurd? Probably — this was a team that, with all the good vibes and improvement, still finished 5-7 and lost two of it’s best players and co-captains, Villanueva and Victor Ugenyi.
Anyway, I may take a ride up for media day and see what’s going on, snap some photos; the 2010 media guide should also be released soon, although West Point tells me there will be no print version this season.
I noticed last week that Army athletic director Kevin Anderson issued a statement following the death of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, which reminded me of a bit in Bill Madden’s recent biography on The Boss which recounts perhaps the first moment when Steinbrenner’s health began to show. Several years ago, Steinbrenner went out to left field at the old Yankee Stadium for a TV interview, memorably choking up and becoming very emotional — according to Madden, Steinbrenner claimed he was overtaken by the cheering of a group of West Point cadets nearby who spotted him. Steinbrenner had served in the Air Force in his younger years and continued to have a close relationship with USMA; not surprisingly, West Point basically ran the pre-game memorial ceremonies for Steinbrenner when the Yankees returned to the Bronx last week.
Clint Moore, one of Army’s top baseball players, is getting lots of love while playing in the famed Cape Cod League this summer.
Also a bit of a bummer, John Minko will no longer be calling Army football games on the radio due to “health issues.”
Another great find, the Army athletic equipment staff has some pretty hilariously dumb videos on YouTube (and free time), including one which makes a not-so-subtle reference to Trent Steelman giving away his football apparel to a girlfriend, dubbed “the Steelman effect.” Check it out here.
Speaking of YouTube, have you seen my Army football photo highlight movie? Should get any Army fan cranked up for September.
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Danny Wild is a reporter and photographer for MLB.com. He volunteers as a photographer at West Point. This blog in no way reflects the views of MLB or USMA.