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Thursday's List of 13: Catching up with the last six months........
If you’ve been out of the country the last few months, or in a coma, or just haven’t been paying any attention, a lot of strange things have happened in the last six months. Here’s a sample…….
13) At least six Secret Service agents have been fired after a scandal erupted over a fracas in a Colombian hotel over a dispute with a hooker. Over $47. These are the specially-trained agents who protect the President, the most powerful man in the world. Their careers were ruined over $47. Brilliant!!!!
12) San Diego State and SMU are now members of the Big East Conference, though the Aztecs are in just for football. Not sure how little kids will pass geography anymore. I learned Geography and Math via sports. SMU is in Dallas, by the way. That’s Texas, albeit the eastern part of Texas.
11) SMU also hired a new basketball coach, well, actually, an old coach, 71-year old Larry Brown. Last time he coached a college team was 1988, when none of his current players were alive. Brown can coach, but he never stays anywhere very long and last two college teams he coached wound up on probation. Other than that, this was a terrific hire.
10) The football coach at Arkansas was fired after he got into a motorcycle accident, with his girlfriend on the back of the bike. Not only is he married, but the coach had recently hired the girlfriend to work in the Arkansas athletic department. Lying about the whole thing didn’t help his cause any.
9) The unthinkable happened in central Pennsylvania; not only was Joe Paterno fired because one of his top assistants turned out to be a pedophile, but the 85-year old Paterno became ill and died a few sad weeks later. The family has reserved the right to sue the school in the future; this could still get even uglier. All in all, this was just unspeakably sad on many levels.
8) Back in December, the Giants were 7-7 and no one at Swamp Stadium was very happy; six weeks later, they somehow won the Super Bowl, but all the eastern media talks about is the Jets trading for Tim Tebow, taking the spotlight away from the defending champs, who couldn’t be happier.
7) Meanwhile out in Denver, John Fox made the playoffs with the passing-challenged Tebow at QB, but now the Broncos have Peyton Manning at QB, after the Colts let him walk rather than pay him a $28M bonus. Fox is probably the happiest man in America right now, other than the people who split the $218M Mega Millions jackpot a few weeks ago.
6) Mariners/A’s opened the baseball season with two games in Japan; the games started at 5am in the east (2am in their hometown markets) and they counted. This should never, ever happen again.
5) Red Sox fired the manager who won their only two world titles since 1917. If I owned the Sox, Terry Francona would have a lifetime contract and a statue on Causeway Street, but instead he got a new job at ESPN. He seems happy at least. Red Sox fans? Not so much.
4) NBA had a lockout, so they started the season seven weeks late, on Christmas Day, playing a condensed 66-game slate that crammed too many games into too short a time. Miami went from 76 practices LY to 24 this year. The quality of the product was dented, but league office pretended not to notice. As long as people buy season tickets, who cares?
3) New York Knicks plucked a point guard from the D-League who played in the Ivy League; they quickly started winning so many games that the point guard was on the cover of Sports Illustrated twice in the same month. Then team’s lackadaisical star came back from injury, the team’s chemistry was ruined, the Knicks started losing again and the coach got fired, which made the star happy, so he started trying hard again, but the point guard got hurt and now they’re back to where they were last fall, a mediocre team that won’t get by the first round of the playoffs.
2) Vancouver Canucks won the President’s Trophy for the second year in a row, but became the sixth Prez Cup winner to get ousted in the first round of the playoffs. Teams from LA/Nashville/Phoenix/St Louis have advanced in the playoffs. In the hockey world, pigs are flying.
1) New Orleans Saints were blamed for every disaster from the Lindbergh kidnapping to global warming to Digger Phelps still being on TV. Coaches were suspended, players will be soon. The team’s owner is mad at his granddaughter, who was supposed to take his place. In short, its been a wild six months. Where you been?
Friday's Dirty Dozen: Quick impressions of the NFL Draft.......
12) ESPN or NFL Network, which to watch? No one in America does his job better than Mel Kiper Jr; ESPN was smart, limited their crew to Kiper, Jon Gruden and host Chris Berman (I don't like Berman, but he's good on this, he deferred well), so they were my choice.
Not a big Mike Mayock fan; NFL Network should have a retired GM from an NFL team (Ron Wolf???) as their draft expert, or at least on board so we can learn tidbits about the draft. Too many ex-players on NFLN, and we're learning that ex-players don't teach us as much as ex-coaches.
11) Nine SEC players taken in the first round, eight of them defenders, so we know what drove the nation's best conference LY. Dee-fence.
10) USC has now had 76 first round picks, more than any other school.
9) Browns must really like Trent Richardson; they gave the Vikings three picks to move up from 4th to 3rd. Minnesota still got the guy they wanted.
8) Vikings took USC Matt Kalil with the 4th pick; they've had Trojans on the OL before, Ron Yary and Steve Riley, both of whom they drafted early, both of whom lasted 10+ years in Minnesota.
7) When Seattle drafted pass-rushing LB Bruce Irvin with the 15th pick, we heard "mind boggling" and "shocking" in the next 45 seconds. Even the kid himself had optimistically hoped to be taken in the second round, since he has a history of legal problems, and only three years ago was a safety at the junior college level. Hope the young man appreciates this opportunity.
6) Three QBs were taken in the first eight picks, first time that happened since 1999. Miami's Tannehill will be fascinating to follow; he was a WR at Texas A&M until two years ago. He won't be expected to play this season, could very well see action on special teams. His college coach is now the Dolphins' offensive coordinator (Mike Sherman).
5) Why does Roger Goodell hug every draft pick like they're a relative he hasn't seen since grade school? They added a nice touch, by the way, with names on the back of the jerseys of drafted players (for the first time).
4) Eagles led in the 4th quarter in five of their eight losses LY, thats how fine the line is between missing the playoffs and winning a Super Bowl, as Philly finished only a game behind the champion Giants.
3) Cleveland drafted Trent Richardson and 27-year old Brandon Weeden, a solid QB who some pundits wear will start from Day 1. Browns' offense is going to be much-improved this season. Colt McCoy is 25, by the way.
2) Rams have three of the first 15 picks Friday. Good night for watching the draft, a little baseball later on and some fried rice for good luck.
1) Four trades before 8:30; the rookie salary cap made trades easier, made the draft way more interesting.
You gotta love the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Just some great series and games being played. Still alive with St. Louis at monster future odds. Rooting for Nashville and St. Louis. Hoping for Washington. Have Flyers in futures but hard to root against the Devils as my team. So thats the story. In the NBA, gonna take some chances on series plays for the fun of it. Nothing crazy.
Liking Utah at almost 14-1. Why not? Also Memphis should do well. I can see the Hawks beating Boston.
The rest I may parlay in a series futures with Bulls, Heat, Pacers etc.
Tonight I like but dont love. Here are a couple I will embellish.
Saturday's Dirty Dozen: Clearing out a cluttered mind.........
12) Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka blocked 241 shots in (3.65/game) this season; the entire Cleveland team blocked 262.
11) Knicks' Tyson Chandler has the flu, night miss Saturday's playoff game in Miami.
10) SMU is paying Illinois State coach Tim Jankovich $700,000 a year to be an assistant coach until Larry Brown bolts for another job, which usually isn’t very long. Jankovich has a good team coming back at ISU; that becomes a very attractive opening. Illinois State is much better than SMU, right now.
Where are the Mustangs getting all this money? They averaged 2,013 fans per home game LY.
9) Five underclassman basketball players have transferred out of UConn since last season ended, as in, a month ago. If Calhoun retires, UConn is headed to the bottom of the Big East standings, though the league is going to get softer, with some of the C-USA teams (SMU/Houston/UCF) coming in next year.
8) Mets-Colorado were 2-2 after four innings; Rockies scored 16 runs over the next three innings, as Coors Field turned into a softball complex for the Rockies' 18-9 win over New York, wasting 4-hit games by Tejada/Hairston.
7) A's are 11-10; Angels 6-12; to paraphrase Vince Lombardi on those old NFL Films clips: "What the hell's going on out there????"
6) If you’re a Cub fan, how terrified are you that the guy who just got paid a fortune to run your ballclub the next few years is the same guy who gave Carl Crawford $140M for seven years? I know I would be.
5) Nick Johnson is off to a woeful 0-26 start (with one walk) for Orioles; how long does he get before Baltimore gives him his walking papers?
4) Illinois had four of the first 48 players drafted this week, but went 6-6 last year, all of which explains why former Illini coach Ron Zook was in the CBS Sports studio, in his new job as a TV analyst. He’s got good energy for TV, not the best voice, but he has potential on TV.
3) I'm not a Chris Berman fan, but totally agree with his rant about Kellen Moore late in Friday night's draft show; the kid went 50-3 as a starting QB at Boise, beat big time teams in process. But Brock Osweiler gets drafted ahead of him? Why? Because he's tall? Moore will be on a roster in the fall.
2) Overnight TV ratings for the first round of the NFL Draft were up 14% over LY. People love their football.
1) CB Bucknor is a terrible, horrendous, awful umpire; he missed a fairly easy call against the Marlins Thursday that helped cost them the game, and it wasn’t close, with Jose Reyes being called out on first for an inning-ending double play, which cost Miami a run when they led 2-1.
On the replay, Reyes’ foot is on the bag, and the ball isn’t even in picture yet, much less in first baseman’s glove. This stuff happens with Bucknor all the time; he already screwed up a home run call in Detroit this month. Supposedly he’s OK with balls/strikes, but out in the field, he’s a horror.
Skipping basketball. Although I killed it this year I really do suck and probably just an aberration. But I do like my baseball and will heat up as we get closer to All Star game as I do every year. But that wont stop me now.