Regarding the media's hyperventilating over the United States sending an aircraft carrier and three destroyers to the waters off North Korea's coast, I admit to getting suckered, fearing all hell was about to break loose. Why didn't I react with my usual skepticism? Guess I've been on an emotional losing streak and figured bad news was just par for the course.
But upon further reflection, I believe that at this juncture, President Trump is simply firing the proverbial "warning shot across the bow" at dictator Kim Jong-un. However, the Trumpster is definitely not going to stand pat if North Korea develops nuclear missiles capable of hitting Japan or the United States.
Trump knows a preemptive strike now, even if North Korea went ahead with its plans to conduct an underground nuclear blast, would likely result in tens of thousands of deaths in South Korea alone. The North would unleash scud missiles armed with the likes of sarin and mustard gas, and possibly even go nuclear. Such a horrific scenario would probably doom Trump's presidency, in my estimation, with devastating long-term consequences and the pile-on media having a field day. So I don't think much will come from this, but then, I'm a strong believer in that adage, "You don't know what you don't know." Undoubtedly, machinations behind the scenes are playing out as I type. By early next week, perhaps things will settle down.
GREAT NEWS FOR SPARTANS -- But before the great news, permit me to set the context with a boatload of awful news... Michigan State University has suffered a lot in the past 16 months. On New Year's Eve 2015, the Alabama Crimson Tide pummeled the Spartans, 38-0 in the Cotton Bowl, which also served as a national championship semi-final game. About 11 weeks later, on March 18, 2016, Middle Tennessee State beat the No. 2 seed Spartans 90-81 in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
On a far more serious note, former MSU sports medicine physician Dr. Larry Nassar is in jail and charged with committing dozens of heinous sexual assaults against female athletes over the past 20 years or so. Nassar also was a U.S. Olympics team doctor for gymnasts. Additionally, four varsity football players have been suspended on sexual assault charges (three of the four have been under suspicion for many weeks, and one must wonder if the prosecutor's office has not been able to find much substantive evidence). The University hired outside law firms to look into the Nassar affair (there are allegations several MSU staffers discouraged gymnasts from filing complaints against Nassar), and also to investigate the football program.
Now for the good news: Most pundits and MSU fans expected superstar hoops freshman Miles Bridges to declare for the NBA draft this spring. But a few days ago, the Flint, Mich., native announced he is coming back for his sophomore season. Bridges led an injury-riddled, undersized Spartan squad to a 20-15 record this past season, and one NCAA Tournament victory. The 6'8" power forward was a 2016 McDonald's All-American, won the 2017 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Award and was named to the All-Big Ten second team. He finished seventh in the league in scoring, averaging 16.6 points per game; fifth in rebounding (8.3 per game average); and fourth in blocked shots (1.6 per game average).
MSU's talented freshman class will have a year of experience under their belt next fall, and will be augmented by two incoming power forwards: 5-star Jaren Jackson of LaPorte, Ind., and 4-star Xaviar Tillman of Grand Rapids, Mich. Plus veteran big men Gavin Schilling and transfer student Ben Carter will return from serious injuries. (Carter only if the NCAA grants him a sixth year of eligibility due to his missing two seasons).
Michigan State and Kentucky are the early favorites to win a national title in the 2017-2018 season, but as the talented 2015-2016 MSU squad demonstrated, hype and expectations do not always translate into reality. As for Bridges, he told a crowd gathered on campus for his decision announcement that he has "some unfinished business" to take care of at MSU -- winning a national championship. By all accounts, he loves the university, his teammates and the fans. He's a good man, and the feeling is mutual. GO GREEN!
AN INSPIRING STORY -- During these difficult days, with bad news so prevalent, an inspiring and heartwarming shot-in-the-arm is just what the doctor ordered. CBS News' Steve Hartman does a tremendous job with his weekly "On the Road" feature that airs at the end of each Friday night newscast. His stories, including this one, are often poignant and show that there are still a lot of good people in this world. Don't miss this one: An 11-year-old boy who would one day be a pro football player got to meet Rod Carew, one of the greatest Major League Baseball hitters of all time and an 18-time All-Star. When Konrad Reuland was 29, he suffered an untimely death due to a brain aneurysm. Reuland was an organ donor, and it just so happens that then 71-year-old Carew needed a heart transplant. And whose heart did he get? One more irony: The reason Reuland got to meet Carew when he was young is because he attended the same middle school as Carew's children. This is great stuff. Happy Easter, everyone.