Bob Molinaro talked about the disparity in amateur vs. pro sports,: “Every so often, the watch-dogs of American sports are practically required to get their knickers in a twist because a young athlete decides to eschew the traditional, approved path leading from amateur to professional. Most parents can’t make their own children do what they want, but many of us are quite eager to tell someone else’s child how to live.                                                               Most recent case in point: Jeremy Tyler.                                                                                                          The 17-year-old, 6-foot-11, 258-pound high school junior from San Diego announced that he would be skipping 12th grade – and rescinding his commitment to attend Louisville – to play professional basketball in Europe for two years before he is eligible to sign with an NBA team.                                                                                                 Naturally, Tyler’s decision is creating debate, even a few firestorms.                                                                                            Brandon Jennings, a point guard from Los Angeles, finished high school last year before dribbling off to Italy. He’s said to be making $1 million and is expected to be among the first players taken in this year’s draft.                                                                                                               Tyler did Jennings one better. Or worse, depending on how you look at it. He’ll be the first basketball prospect to drop out of high school to pursue a pro career beyond America’s shores. High school diploma? He’ll get that online.                                                                                                        Tyler has given the hand-wringers a lot to work with.                                                                                                     Colleges want the best players for themselves, for as long as they can hold onto them. In that way, schools and their fans are as greedy as the teenager who is looking to cash in quickly.

Frank Deford offered his opinion on this: “Since the Olympics freed its athletes from the serfdom of amateurism, the only place on the face of the earth where sports are still big time, big money, but where the athletes are forced to play without pay is our American college football and basketball. Everywhere else, if there’s real money involved, the athletes get their fair share — just like the coaches and promoters and television networks and the guys who sell peanuts and popcorn. But in the U.S., not only are our young football and basketball players forced to play without pay, but the NCAA cartel is in cahoots with the pro leagues so that a star athlete has to donate his time to some college for at least a year. This is not only a bonanza for the lucky college but also then for the NBA or the NFL — because the pros profit by the publicity the star earned when he had to play for free while his coach pocketed millionaire money.

My own opinion is that parents, generally, will send their children to school to enable them to get jobs that pay enough money, while in a field of interest, to live comfortably and be able to support their families.

If a person works for 40-years and averages $80, 000/year (that’s allowing for higher salaries down the road), that will equal $3.2 million over the course of their LIFETIME.

We’re seeing young athletes receiving seven figure signing bonuses regularly in today’s market. How much will an education improve that?

The front office for the NY Yankees announced a 50% reduction of the prices on tickets for premium seating (all those empty seats seen behind home plate and along the first and third base lines. That reduction amounts to the cost of two seats in the section to go for over $2,500.00 plus parking- THAT’S TWOOOO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS PLUS PARKING- to see a baseball game that you can see on TV (as long as you have cable). Ya know I found that their’s no line for the men’s room at my house- as long as all of the girls are out. 






April 29, 2009



Michael Wilbon of the DC Post sent along some of his thoughts on the NBA playoffs: “You think Danny Ainge is watching this? He can’t be, not 10 days after suffering a heart attack. Certainly, he couldn’t be watching his Celtics play the Bulls. Three games out of four down to the wire. Two decided in overtime. Series 2-2 going back to Boston. No way the doctors signed off on that.                                                                                                                          Forget the 10-assist playmaker. Welcome in a new era of the scoring point guard. Joining Chris Paul and the aforementioned Williams will be Rose, who is 20 and probably the strongest and most athletic of this new breed, and Rondo, the quickest and craftiest. Only three men have averaged a triple-double over a playoff series: Magic Johnson (who had 30 triple-doubles in his playoff career), Jason Kidd and the all-too-forgotten Fat Lever. And now there’s Rondo, who has a pair of triple-doubles in a series that might go three more games.                                                                                                                    Even without Kevin Garnett, whose knee injury will keep him out of the playoffs, the Celtics still have a Big Three. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are still the team’s best players, but Rondo’s youth and energetic persistence are what will get the champs through the first round, probably in seven games, and through either Orlando or Philly in the second round. (Imagine if the Phoenix Suns had kept him after drafting him, to first back up Steve Nash, then to succeed him in that system?)                                                                      This postseason, too, belongs to guards. As good as Yao Ming and Dwight Howard have been, the five best players in the playoffs so far have been Rondo, LeBron James, Chauncey Billups, Dwyane Wade and Ben Gordon (I would add Tony Parker, who is averaging 29 points a game, except the Spurs are down 3-1).                                                So we lose one perennial playoff giant (Detroit) and gain one usually miserable bridesmaid, the Houston Rockets. Nearly as important to the NBA as a Kobe Bryant-LeBron James match-up in the Finals, is having a second-round match-up between Kobe Bryant and Yao Ming.                                                                                                      You think “American Idol” gets big ratings? Thirty million is nothing compared to 200 million, which is what some believe will be the average audience for games involving both Yao Ming, the most important non-American star the game has ever had, and Bryant, whose popularity in China is at least equal to Yao’s. Nothing in the history of American television has attracted the number of viewers a Kobe-Yao hookup in the playoffs would get.                                                                                                           The surprise, of course, is that the Lakers won’t be stood up. Okay, nothing’s official yet. Portland, down 3-1 in its series with Houston, still has two home games potentially, 5 and 7. And it’s not like the Rockets are exactly reliable when it comes to advancing past the first round. But if they do . . . poor Tracy McGrady. All these years playing with Yao Ming and they couldn’t win a series; now with McGrady in a suit on the bench, the Rockets look like the better team. Now, without McGrady, the Rockets will draw the Lakers. Ron Artest and Shane Battier will try to guard Kobe. Yao will lead a rather faceless cast of characters into battle against Kobe, and all of China will be riveted.

We’ll be fairly interested, too. By the time that series gets cranked up, Ainge hopefully will be well on the way to a full recovery, the Celtics will likely have extricated themselves from this tangle with the Bulls and we will have been reminded that the NBA can have both its preferred order and yet plenty of dramatic and unexpected performances along the way.”



Bruce Jenkins talked about the “new” NFL schedule: “The NFL has the right idea in proposing to eliminate two exhibition games in favor an 18-game schedule, but Commissioner Roger Goodell has outlined a plan that wrecks the continuity of a season. First, he refuses to start the season on Labor Day weekend, preferring that the league go dark for a week between the preseason and the regular-season openers. He still wants a bye for each team during the season (wrong; no byes, ever, college or pro), then a week off between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. In a real season, your team plays every week, period, no exceptions . . . Next season, if you can fathom such lunacy, the Pro Bowl will be played between the conference title games and the Super Bowl.


The biggest bust of the 2009 NFL draft?

It’s early, but Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock nominated a former coach giving it a try as an analyst for ESPN: Herman Edwards.
“Herm Edwards, the rookie ESPN analyst and fondly regarded as the Human Sound Bite as an NFL head coach, turned in a disastrous and distracting performance during the two-day NFL draft,” Whitlock wrote.
“Edwards was so bad that my sources in Dallas reported that Emmitt Smith could be heard shouting: ‘I would’ve have did a better job!’ ”
Whitlock concluded his column, which charged Edwards with offering bland commentary in order to protect his chances for another NFL coaching job, by saying: “For a man who was supposed to be a broadcasting natural, Edwards mumbled, stumbled and clichéd his way through two days of draft coverage. Kansas City’s 2-14 record made sense.”


 Bill Dwyer wrote in the LA Times that “David Diaz has a strange recommendation for Ricky Hatton, a boxing brawler: Don’t brawl against Manny Pacquiao.
When last we visited Diaz 10 months ago, he was face down on the canvas in the middle of the ring at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. He had been put there in the ninth round by a right hand from Pacquiao that stunned him, and a left that finished him.
Before the knockout, Diaz had been battered and bloodied.
Now Diaz, a well-spoken 32-year-old from the North Side of Chicago, who has a nice 34-2-1 record and who got his shot at the big time against Pacquiao on June 28, fears the same for Hatton in his Saturday night mega-fight against Pacquiao.
“Tell him not to do what most of us do,” Diaz says. “Tell him to try and make it into a boxing match.”
Diaz says he watched on TV when Hatton won by an 11th-round technical knockout over Paulie Malignaggi in November.
“He boxed him more, especially the last four rounds,” Diaz says. “He has had more time now with Senior [Trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr.], and I think he’ll tell him to box more. That’s what I would tell him. I would tell him the way I fought [Pacquiao] — let’s get right down to the nitty-gritty — that was my mistake.”
Pacquiao and Hatton will present an interesting study in styles. Hatton has always seemed to live the image of his beloved Manchester, England, pubs.
If there’s a fight at the bar, you wade right into the middle of it.
Hatton has waded in 45 times in his career, and that style has failed him only once, when Floyd Mayweather Jr. knocked him against the corner ring buckle and out Dec. 8, 2007.
Pacquiao, at 30 only two months younger than Hatton, fought as low as 106 pounds early in his career and was seldom thought of as a big-punching, dangerous brawler.
That is, until he fought Diaz at 135 pounds.
Even in Pacquiao’s wars with Erik Morales, one of which he lost, and with Juan Manuel Marquez, one of which he tied, there was more tactical damage inflicted than big bombs connecting.
But Pacquiao’s lightweight title fight with Diaz, and then Pacquiao’s domination and damage-infliction in a welterweight bout with the once-untouchable and now-retired Oscar De La Hoya on Dec. 6, have people reassessing their view of the Philippine star.
“The first couple of rounds,” Diaz says, “I thought I was OK. I figured he’d start to wilt and we’d wear him down. But I realized pretty quickly that I was always trying to catch up. I’d go to the corner, sit down and think, ‘OK, he got that round, but I’ll get the next one.’ And then I’d be on my stool in three minutes, thinking the same thing.
“By about the fourth round, I was asking my corner what to do about his speed. I told them I couldn’t get my timing against it. He just was never there to hit. I thought I could take his punches, and the plan was to wade in and bring it to him. But it just didn’t work that way.”
The next thing Diaz knew, he was down.
“Never saw the punch,” he says, “but I guess those are the ones that really get you.”
He remembers referee Vic Drakulich kneeling over him and telling him to stay down. Diaz remembers the minute he was waved out; Pacquiao was hovering over him, trying to help him up and expressing concern for his health.
Diaz hasn’t fought since and has gotten away from boxing somewhat, a situation that ended Monday when he went back to work in the gym to get ready for whatever promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank has next for him.
He didn’t even watch a video of his Pacquiao fight until December, six months later.
“It was the night before Pacquiao and De La Hoya,” he says, “and I finally put it in and watched. I couldn’t watch it until then.
“Then I watched Pacquiao and Oscar and was picking Oscar to win that one.
“Then I saw it again. Pacquiao’s speed. I’m not gonna lie. It’s the best I’ve ever seen. If he gets past Hatton, and I believe he will, he could be one of the best ever.”
Diaz has three boys, ages 4, 2 and 2 months. He said he came out of the Atlanta Olympics without a medal, but with a plan — or, more accurately stated, a delusion of grandeur.
“I figured I’d fight till I’m 27 or 28, be a millionaire and retire,” he says.
That plan derailed, he now wants to take another run at the 135-pound title he held before Pacquiao pummeled it away from him.
“I’ve got a good life,” Diaz says. “And my friends make me feel good when they tell me I fought a good fight against Pacquiao. They even say I did better against him than Oscar did.
“That’s something.”



Yesterday’s game between the Yankees and the Red Sox, won by the Sox 4-1, showed the red Sox for what they really are- PRETENTIOUS and FOOLISH. It is still very early in the season but I’m pretty sure that those excessive dugout celebrations won’t be easily forgotten.

One of the first things that a professional athlete learns is to never try to “show-up” an opponent, because that behavior seems to always to come back to haunt you— A CURTAIN CALL FOR A STOLEN BASE even though it was a steal of home during a momentary lapse in Yankees concentration (at least Ellsbury stayed in the dugout and didn’t come out to acknowledge the cheers).


Mike Penner jumped on Don Garber and said: “Don Garber, commissioner of Major League Soccer, learned a lesson last week: Those with half-filled stadiums should not throw stones at the New York Yankees. Speaking last Thursday at the Associated Press Sports Editors meeting, Garber commented on the empty premium seats at recent Yankees home games. ‘It’s incomprehensible that you watch a game and there will be front-row seats empty,’ Garber said.
That prompted Yankees President Randy Levine to shoot back:
‘Don Garber discussing Yankee attendance must be a joke,’ Levine said. ‘We draw more people in a year than his entire league does in a year. If he ever gets Major League Soccer into the same time zone as the Yankees, we might take him seriously.
‘Hey Don, worry about [David] Beckham, not the Yankees. Even he wants out of your league.’
“Levine was accurate in his comparison of MLS and Yankees attendance. Last year, MLS averaged 16,460 for 210 regular-season games for a total of 3.46 million. The Yankees averaged 53,070 last year in the final season at the old Yankee Stadium, a total of 4.3 million.”


Dwight Perry said that, “Top Seahawks draft pick Aaron Curry, to reporters, on how he entered Wake Forest weighing 195 pounds and left weighing 254: “Countless hours in the weight room … countless hours in the cafeteria.”


My heartfelt condolences go to Jimmy Breslin and his family on the passing of Jimmy’s daughter, Kelly.

May she rest in peace.


I didn’t hear too much from Lupica about some of the blown calls by the umpires in yesterday’s Yankees- Red Sox game, won by the Sawx 16-11.

Lupica headlined his article, “The National Shame of the Week.”

I have to say that the calls didn’t influence the final result. But, “Mr. Objectivism’s” stance has gone so far to the other side, it’s meeting itself coming from the other direction.

The worst blown call (at least I HOPE it was blown) took place after Ellsbury went to first and tried to steal second base. Lupica came close to making a correct description (HA!) by saying, “Ellsbury came around after catcher’s interference.”

To begin with, there shouldn’t have been an interference call because Ellsbury took a step back before hitting Posada’s glove with his bat. Then Ellsbury took off for second base. The Yankees pitched-out. Ellsbury slid but stopped short of second by TWO- FEET. Cano applied the tag. The call—SAFE.  Whoo-Boy!!!


Marc Spears wrote about HS’ers going to the NBA, in the Boston Globe, “If you thought Brandon Jennings was adventurous for becoming the first American to go straight from high school to play pro ball in Europe last year, check out Jeremy Tyler. The San Diego High center is forgoing his senior year of high school to play professionally overseas. As wild as Tyler’s move might seem, NBA commissioner David Stern has no problems with it, despite the fact that his league does not allow Americans to enter the draft until they’ve completed one school year after graduating from high school or at age 19. ‘Within the rules, people should be free to follow their desires,’ Stern said. ‘I understand all the issues. If you were a prodigy, you’d practice [in Europe], and then you’d practice some more. What I read his remarks to mean was that this is what he wants to do. He’ll spend time on his studies, but he’ll spend more time in the gym and a lot more time playing against better competition. Then when he goes into the NBA draft, he’ll be a better player. Our players are able to take the high school/college route, they can go the European route, they can go the high school/D-League route, and maybe there will be some other ways for them to go.’ Tyler averaged 28.7 points for San Diego High this season and committed to Louisville. The 17-year-old has been home-schooled for the past month and plans on earning his high school degree through correspondence courses. Tyler would have to play professionally overseas for two years before being eligible for the 2011 NBA draft. Jennings has said ‘a couple’ of high school players have reached out to him about his experience in Italy. He also supports Tyler’s decision. ‘It’s a great move,’ said Jennings, 19. ‘He’s going to do fine as long as he keeps his head up, stays mentally focused, and keeps grinding. He’ll be the No. 1 pick whenever he comes out. I have a lot respect for the dude. You have to give the kid a chance to play. He’s young, but he’s also talented. He’s going to make mistakes, but that’s just because he’s young.’ The NBA stopped allowing Americans to go from high school to its draft three years ago. Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, who went from high school to the pros in 2003, believes Tyler made a poor decision. ‘It’s crazy,’ Perkins said. ‘I wouldn’t do it. I don’t know who is giving him his advice or if money is an issue. Me personally, I wouldn’t do it. You can only be young once. At least finish your senior year.’”


Bob Moliaro commented on the Detroit Lions first pick in the NFL draft, “Detroit made Matthew Stafford the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.                                                                                  In that case, Lions management should be asked to pee in a cup.                              Envisioning Stafford as a franchise quarterback could be the worst design concept to come out of Detroit since the AMC Gremlin.                                                                 This won’t be the first time an infatuation with young quarterback talent leads to a franchise suffering self-inflicted wounds. You’d think, though, that teams would learn. Then again, we’re talking about the Lions.                                                                  There’s always the chance that Stafford could develop into a great pro and lead Detroit out of its misery. And there’s a chance Terrell Owens could take a vow of silence and enter a monastery.                                                                                                             The former Georgia star was the best available quarterback in a year when pickings were very slim. But no more than the media can reduce their bloated coverage of the draft can a team with the No. 1 pick resist rolling the dice on a strong-armed passer.                         Between now and Saturday, the next Peyton Manning isn’t walking through the door. As the top pick, though, Stafford is guaranteed Manning-like money. He’s not worth the risk.            The Lions are hoping that Stafford becomes next season’s Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco, rookie quarterbacks who made an impact. But the scenario is much different in Detroit. It makes no sense to surround a fledgling pro with the returning talent from a 0-16 team.”




John Shea found that, “Teams generally don’t cooperate with Forbes Magazine. Any increase or decrease in a team’s value is based on the magazine’s estimates the previous year. According to Forbes, overall team values grew an average of 1 percent over the past year to $482 million, the top five are the Yankees ($1.5 billion), Mets ($912 million), Red Sox ($833 million), Dodgers ($722 million) and Cubs ($700 million).The Yankees experienced the biggest rise in value (15 percent), the Nationals the biggest drop (12 percent). The magazine reported the Yankees spent $95 million in revenue sharing. It’s believed the Giants pay (and the A’s receive) in excess of $20 million in revenue sharing.As for Fisher losing $600 million: “Fisher felt the recession’s punch as shoppers avoided the mall.” Still, according to the magazine, he’s worth $1.2 billion.

Team values



Value ()*

Revenue ()

Income ()**












Red Sox



































White Sox

































































Blue Jays







































* Value of the team based on current stadium deal without deduction for debt (other than stadium debt)

** Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization


Bruce Jenkins looked at the NBA and the rumors of contraction and came up with a list of probable teams. “This seems to be the consensus as to the six teams that should go:                                                             1. Memphis. Terrible pro-basketball town, nobody in the seats.2. Oklahoma City. Was that some kind of joke, bailing out on Seattle? The fans up there deserved better, and players throughout the league miss going there. Despite an early rush of excitement, there’s no NBA future in Oklahoma City.3. L.A. Clippers. This should have happened years ago. It’s a Laker town, period, and the Clippers are a perennial joke. It would be months before people even realized they were gone.4. Charlotte. That’s college-basketball country. The Bobcats have made no splash whatsoever. 5. New Jersey. The market wouldn’t suffer. This team is constantly threatening to move to Brooklyn, and in any case, it’s a second-rate operation in Knicks country. 6. Sacramento. This hurts, especially as we all remember the glory days at Arco Arena. The league could just as easily eliminate Washington, Toronto, Miami, Atlanta or New Orleans, but Sacramento is a veritable NBA ghost town right now, the worst team in the league with the lowest attendance. With plans for a new arena constantly going awry, there is serious relocation talk in Stern’s office. A real shame.                                                                                       So now you’re down to 24 teams, 12 in each conference, with four 6-team divisions. Wonderful symmetry. Play each of the 11 teams in your conference four times, and that’s 44 games. Add two more against each of the 12 teams in the other conference, and you have a 66-game schedule — welcome relief from an 82-game grind that is way too long and demands too much of players, physically, as they gear up for the playoffs.                                                                  OK, now back to reality. Too many teams, too many games, too many horrible teams, too many empty arenas. Nice.

Tom Robinson gave some background thoughts, for the draft, going around the “war rooms.” “Percy Harvin was the highest-profile player of fewer than a dozen to flunk the test. The urine test taken by every player invited to the combine. The test that is the furthest thing from a surprise. The test that is proclaimed and announced and all but plastered onto welcome posters at the Indianapolis airport: ‘Greetings, NFL prospects. Here, fill this cup.’                           Smoking pot alone won’t necessarily cost Harvin untold dollars in this weekend’s NFL draft. Being obtuse, arrogant or even addicted enough to flunk a gimme drug test, though, is without question another pock mark for a guy long festooned with them for attitude, behavior and injury isues.                                                                                                                         Or, as NFL Network analyst and former NFL player Mike Mayock said last week, not many club executives ‘are real excited to have a kid on their team who is dumb enough to test positive at the combine.’                                                                                              So predictably, Harvin, who has great potential as a game-changer from numerous offensive positions, is thought to be plunging down draft boards.Subtly, he’s gone from a solid first-rounder to a “first-day” guy now, according to former head coach and commentator Steve Mariucci. The first and second rounds are held Saturday.And according to Pro Football Weekly, five unnamed NFL executives unanimously named Harvin the greatest character risk among the draft’s top-flight players. ‘I realize there’s been some negative publicity surrounding him,’ said former head coach Jon Gruden, like Mariucci an NFL Network analyst. Nonetheless, Gruden said, Harvin ‘is the most dynamic offensive player I’ve seen in this draft…. Every time he touches the ball, it’s downright scary. I love this guy as a football player, and I didn’t get any feel at all that he was anything but a game-day kind of guy, a great competitor. I hope that’s true.’                Gruden did reference Harvin’s reputation at Florida as difficult to coach: ‘He’s not one of those guys that, you know, looks forward to doing a lot of other things than playing on game day.’                                                                                                                        ‘Yet, when the stage is lit and it’s time to play,’ Gruden said, ‘this guy’s there and he shines brightest.’                                                                                                    Ultimately for Harvin, that brightness will matter the most.”

Bernie Lincicome gave us the name of  some draft choices you may hear called and the reasons for their ommission, “Laverne Worthington, DT, 6-7, 305, Iowa Manual-”Has size to play in the pros. Can improve his speed. Solid citizen.” Needs to get away from the table faster. Once ate half a smorgasbord before getting to the cashier. Uses a napkin.                                             Jumbo Bruno, DT, 6-4, 285, Texas AT&T- “Quick feet. Fearless pursuer. Great desire.” He jumps offsides every other play and once was able to catch a quarterback who was coming back to the huddle after a timeout.                                                                                                          Luther Matthews, DB, 5-11, 175, Delaware Poly Eurothane- “Is familiar with zone defense. Will fit easily into our system.” He never moves more than five yards in any direction, but he will be able to do an uncanny impression of Oprah Winfrey in the rookie show.                                                                                                                                                                           Carl Jackson, DE, 6-3, 270, Oklahoma Abnormal-”Considered for the Lombardi Trophy, the Outland Trophy and the Heisman Trophy.” He won the Lipton Trophy for flow-through linemen.                                                                                                                        Grady Kingman, OG, 6-5, 288, Minnetonka Prairie School-”Has everything, size, speed, skill and toughness.” He also has an arrest record, a drug habit, a probation officer and an indecent collection of tattoos, one of which requires batteries.                                                                          Roger Dasher, WR, 5-10, 171, University of Alabama at Niagara Falls- “Strong potential. Played for a run-oriented school.” He thinks a pass is a space between police cars.                                                                    Yancey Williams, FS or KR, 6-1, 185, Lower Mississippi Delta- “A college quarterback, he has the natural ability to play many positions.“ He is still on Page 1 of the college playbook he got as a freshman. Colors outside the lines.                                                                                                        Hunk Brickstone, C-LB, 6-2, 235, Holy Cow U.- “One of the few two-way performers in college football. He is at home on either side of the line.” Can do both macrame and small appliance repair.                                                                                                         Robert Johnson, DB, 5-10, 190, North Rampart St.- “Has 4.5 speed and will put the hat on people.” He’ll chase a bald guy halfway across town to Make sure he`s covered but won’t go out of his way for someone without galoshes.                                                                                                  Scott Foster, QB, 6-3, 210, Pittsburgh Plate Glass- “Great leadership ability. Went up in scout’s eyes with his superb Senior Bowl performance.” Romanced the entire Dixie Darlings Drill Team in groups of three without missing bed check or much of the first half.                                                                                                                              Dougie Duncan, WR, 6-1, 169, Colgate-Palmolive- “Slight appearance is deceiving. Is not afraid to get into a crowd.” He likes nothing better than exchanging recipes with his mother’s bridge club. Received honorable mention for his mushroom roulade.”







“When I was a lad,” said Scott Ostler in the SF Chronicle, “had someone offered me the chance to skip my high school senior year to play pro basketball in Europe for two years for about $1 million, I know what I would have said. ‘No, thank you, sir. That would hinder my educational and emotional development. Besides, I already have a manual-labor job at which I earn one dollar per hour.’I would have paused for comedic timing before adding, ‘Just kidding! Where do I sign?’                                                              

Hey, I was young and foolish. Now I know the value of education. If I had a son in that position, I’d be packing his bags. And mine.                                                               Jeremy Tyler is a San Diego lad, 6-11 and 260, smart and talented. He’s going to take that Euro offer. He is working around the NBA rule designed to force Americans to play at least one season of college ball before playing (or trying to play) NBA ball. I feel sorry for Jeremy, because the rule is designed purely for the benefit of the hundreds of young players who might have otherwise skipped college entirely. Again: Just kidding! Of the hundreds of players who do one year of college ball because of the rule – which is actually designed to benefit college coaches, college basketball programs and the NBA – dozens have actually attended a class. Consider the kid. Here’s what Jeremy Tyler will get:                                                                                                                                        A marvelous education in travel, culture, self-reliance and foreign language.          Enough money that if Tyler can’t hack the NBA, he can send himself to any college in the world, live better than the dean and impress chicks with his Maserati and cafeteria platinum card.                                                                                                                          An education in basketball far superior to what he would get in America. The Euros have secrets! Have you watched Dirk Nowitzki or Mehmet Okur play?                                     We could debate this forever. All I know is nobody made Picasso stay in school two extra years so he could paint posters for the homecoming dance.”

Bruce Jenkins talked about the “Knucklehead Factor” involved with an NFL draft choice, “As we’ve seen far too often in recent years with the likes of Terrell Owens, Randy Moss and Chad Johnson, NFL teams tend to cut wide receivers a lot of slack. It’s the Age of the Diva, and as much as traditionalists long for the days of Lance Alworth and Otis Taylor, things won’t be changing any time soon. There has to be a point, though, where a carefree attitude descends into stupidity.                                                                                           It was revealed that wide receivers Percy Harvin (Florida) and Brandon Tate (North Carolina), each expected to go high in the draft, tested positive for marijuana during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis two months ago. Two sources gave the information to and ESPN, which tends to hold off on wild rumors until they gain credence, went with the story on ‘SportsCenter.’                                           Think about this for a moment. You’re headed for the combine, knowing that drug tests will be involved. Even if you don’t know that — because you’re just too cool to be bothered with details — you figure on setting aside the weed until the thing is done. What kind of athlete blithely lights up before or during this high-profile event? It’s not so much that they indulge; that’s common practice among professional athletes anywhere. But you’d think that at some point, common sense would come into play. So now comes a new entry on the resume for both players: Made a very dumb decision off the field. Such incidents generally suggest a trend.”

There was a tag line on the story written by Mike Bauman that said, “This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.” I understood the reason for “Lawyer-Speak.”                                                                                                 The reason for it is the title of the article- -THRILL OF THE FIGHT FUELS YANKS-SOX RIVALRY. It seemingly promotes the physicality of the games rather than the games themselves See what you think.                                                                           Why is the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry so good, so intense, so anticipated, apart from the usual historical antagonism, personality clashes and dueling, gigantic fan bases? It’s the competition. The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees needs no introduction, in part because it never seems to leave the stage. It’s a 12-month arrangement now, what with the off season wheeling and dealing, not to mention the carping and complaining and occasional name-calling. But the portion of the rivalry that the rest of us wait for begins anew on Friday night at Fenway Park. This is the opening of a three-game series, but that is only the opening of an 18-game regular-season series that will carry the clubs to the last weekend in September. And then, of course, the possibility always exists of a meeting in the American League Championship Series, which brings to mind the October epics of 2003 and 2004. The Red Sox, historically the supporting players in this drama, the victims, the foils, have changed all that in this new millennium. They are the only Major League Baseball team to have won two World Series championships in this century. This puts them, in that period of time, two World Series championships ahead of the Yankees. That sort of thing just makes the championship drought in the Bronx that much more difficult to take. But when these two clubs face each other, the playing field is very close to level. Over the last seven regular seasons, the Yankees lead the series, 68-63. The biggest season spread in that period was merely 11-8. Three times the series has been decided by a 10-9 margin, and once it was tied. Overall, the Yankees have won five of the last seven season series. Beating the Red Sox in a season series, in a year in which the Red Sox win the World Series, such as 2007, is not much consolation for the Yankees. But it is a good measurement of how competitive this rivalry is. Consider, for instance, the Red Sox against the remainder of the AL East. In that same seven-year span, the Red Sox lost one season series to the Orioles, one season series to the Rays and two season series to the Blue Jays. This rivalry is not just hype. It is the real deal, on the field; close, competitive, compelling. The rivalry remains constant in a way, but within that context, there are always new elements and alterations, new twists and turns. The Yankees, out of the postseason in 2008 for the first time since the middle of the last decade of the last century, did over the winters what only they can do, spending $423.5 million on three free agents. The pressure will be substantial on those three otherwise fortunate fellows — CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira — but it will never be more substantial than when the Yankees are playing the Red Sox. There are true tests for new Yankees, and there are truer tests, and then there are truest tests, such as this one. The Red Sox have changed, too, over the years, but in a more evolutionary way. The 2009 Boston team has a composition that is dramatically different from the 2004 championship team, because it is a pitching and defense-first operation. And it needs to be, with no more Manny Ramirez as a middle-of-the-order mainstay. The Yankees will be without Alex Rodriguez for these three games, as he recovers from hip surgery. For Red Sox fans, A-Rod has been a convenient embodiment of everything that they believe is wrong about the Yankees. His absence will be noted, but the series will go on as scheduled, weather permitting. Adding more fuel to the rivalry, even though no more fuel was required, is the fact that the competitive landscape in which these two clubs operated has become even less forgiving than usual. Last season in the AL East, true, the Yankees were third, but the Red Sox were merely second. The best team by record was Tampa Bay. Even though the Rays are off to a slow start in 2009, nobody should seriously believe that this young and exceptionally talented team was anything like a fluke. So here are the Yankees and the Red Sox, again, still, yet, one more time. This is unlike a lot of rivalries because here, the reality is even better than the rhetoric.”

Gwen Knapp wrote about Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt and the cause that’s close to his heart.

“Dave Batstone didn’t take the first e-mail too seriously. The USF professor is a huge Giants fan, and he knew he could be a prime target for a prank like this one: a note from someone posing as newly signed reliever Jeremy Affeldt, saying that he wanted to get involved in Batstone’s campaign against modern-day slavery. Yeah, sure, Batstone thought, a major-leaguer would contact him directly, unsolicited, without an agent or front-office executive as an intermediary.                                                                                              “I looked at my staff and said: ‘OK, who’s yanking my chain?’  Batstone said.                                                                                                         Still, he answered the e-mail immediately.                                                                                           “The e-mail and Affeldt turned out to be more real than Batstone could have imagined. Through their foundation, Affeldt and his wife, Larisa, donated $5,000 to support a medical clinic that the professor’s Not For Sale Campaign is establishing for former child slaves in northern Thailand. Affeldt also signed up to donate $100 per strikeout to the campaign.                                                                                          “Affeldt said. ‘… I don’t think it’s something people are really keyed in on. They think of slavery as something that didn’t happen after the 1800s.’ It simply became illegal and invisible then, he said. ‘There are 17,000 people, I think, who are brought into the United States as slaves every year,’ he said, looking across the breakfast table to Batstone for confirmation.                                                                                                          “Those are numbers from the U.S. State Department, the professor said.                                                                                                 Batstone, a professor of ethics, was as unaware of the industry as most people until early 2000, when the owner of a Berkeley restaurant where he and his wife ate regularly was charged with bringing people from India and keeping them captive as servants. If that was happening here in the Bay Area, he wondered, what type of trafficking took place around the globe?                                                                                     “In 2007, Batstone published ‘Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight It.’ That February, he founded the campaign, which now lists nine staff members, 40 regional directors around this country, and relief operations in Thailand, Peru, Uganda, Nepal and Ghana.                                                                                  “The center in Thailand, Batstone said, includes a safe house for 127 rescued children, plus educational, medical and recreational facilities. Affeldt’s strikeout donations will go to Free2Play, a sports element of the campaign that includes surfing classes in Peru and basketball training in Thailand.                                                                                              “The Affeldts first learned about human trafficking from a friend in the philanthropic world in Kansas City, where Jeremy spent his first five seasons in the majors. Jeremy already had signed a two-year contract with the Giants when they started researching Not For Sale, unaware that Batstone was based in San Francisco. When Larisa saw the location listed on the Web site, she thought that the new two-year contract had come with an extra purpose.                                                                                                    “He knows that athletes often seem to live in small, privileged worlds, but he believes that many of his colleagues are constantly seeking bigger vistas. In his case, a strikeout can reverberate across oceans, or as was the case last weekend, to the Michigan campus of Adrian College, which was founded by abolitionists.                                       “Not For Sale held its first international gathering there, and at one point Saturday, a certain Giants fan interrupted the proceedings to announce that a certain left-handed reliever had just struck out a Diamondback. A room full of human-rights activists started cheering.”

Sam Farmer wrote about the upcoming draft and gave us some guidelines to be followed: Even the best minds in football can’t always spot the college players who will succeed in the pros, but there are some general guidelines most evaluators know well. Among those rules:
A bad football body doesn’t necessarily mean a bad football player Nose tackle Kelly Gregg looked like a roly-poly farm boy when the Baltimore Ravens signed him to their practice squad in 2000. Players took to calling him Buddy Lee after the pudgy, baby-faced mascot for Lee Jeans. But Gregg could play, and still can.
“He was the most un-football-looking guy I’d ever seen,” former Ravens coach Brian Billick said. “When he showed up, I asked [then-defensive coordinator] Rex Ryan, ‘Is this your illegitimate son or what?’ But whatever you needed to get done — stuff the run, get to the quarterback, line up at fullback — Kelly Gregg was your guy.”
Don’t be scared off by a small school  When Jimmy  Johnson was coaching the Cowboys, he drafted All-Pro guard Larry Allen out of Sonoma State, and Pro Bowl tackle Erik Williams out of Central State in Ohio. Later with the Dolphins, Johnson drafted Jason Taylor, a future defensive player of the year, of Akron.
“It didn’t bother me what the size of the school was,” Johnson said. “Obviously, it’s easier to evaluate a player when he’s going against top talent. Sometimes you’re misled because the competition is so poor. But that doesn’t change how big, fast or strong he is, or how smart he is.”                                                                                                                  When you take a player in the first round, make sure he can play on third down: From virtually every perspective, third down is the most important in football. You don’t want your top pick standing on the sideline in the most critical of situations.
“If he doesn’t play on third down, he’s only going to play in 42% of the [offensive or defensive] plays,” said former personnel executive Mike Lombardi, now an analyst for the NFL Network.                                                                                                           When you make a selection, be sure you actually have the pick: A lot of crazy things can happen when a team is on the clock, preparing to draft a player. Five years ago, the Ravens were planning to draft linebacker Roderick Green in the fourth round. Billick called to give him the good news and congratulate him on joining the team. The coach then handed the phone to owner Steve Bisciotti.
“Wait!” General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. “Hang up the phone! We just traded the pick!”                                                                                                                                 When you make a selection, be sure the player actually has a pulse: Twice in the Canadian Football League — first with the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1995 and Montreal Alouettes in 1996 — teams selected players who had died months earlier.                                                                                                             It’s never too early to start negotiations: Coming off an 0-16 season, the Detroit Lions cannot afford to have their No. 1 pick miss any time because of a contract holdout. That’s why it’s entirely possible, likely even, that a deal will be in place before the pick is announced.
That was the case three years ago, when the Houston Texans offered contracts to Mario Williams and Reggie Bush, and went with the player (Williams) who agreed to terms. That signing was announced the night before the draft.                                                                                                                                          Stick with your convictions, but try to sort through the rumors and gossip to find the reports that have merit: Sometimes, those reports are legitimate. Other times — including in some cases this year — they’re simply wrong, and could have been floated for all sorts of reasons. The best evaluators are good about finding the truth through the fog of deception.
“It’s liar’s poker out there,” Billick said. “Every place I’ve ever been, there’s always the admonition: ‘Don’t tell anybody anything, but go out and get as much information as you can from your buddies.’ Oh, sure, you’re going to really get information that way. That’s how rumors spread.
“It’s not if you lie. It’s just a matter of degree with which you lie.”






Bruce Jenkins saw Jorge Posada’s homer and the wait that followed and said in the SF Chronicle, “‘Instant’ is supposed to be just that, not the onset of a congressional investigation. There was a perfect example Sunday at Yankee Stadium when a fan interfered with Jorge Posada’s drive into the right-field bleachers. Within seconds, a replay made it clear to every viewer that the ball was heading over the fence and should be ruled a homer. Eight minutes later – no kidding, now – the umpires arrived from their summit conference and viewing session to confirm the obvious. We get the exact same thing in the NFL, where people at home know the proper call within seconds, only to be granted enough time for an In-N-Out Burger run while the referee peers into a little black box. In time, once all the “blue ribbon panels” have finished their cocktails, we’ll have a system that makes sense: authorized officials in every press box, ready to examine every questionable play on handy television sets and pass down a quick decision.”

Bernie Lincicome was asked about the differences between the NCAA tournament and the NBA playoffs and said, “What’s the difference between the playoffs?                                                                              About a month and a half, I say. In college they start with 65 teams and the winner plays six games. The whole thing takes three weekends and no measurable amount of Clark Kellogg’s sense of wonder.                                                                                                     “The pros take longer?                                                                                                                                   They start with 16 teams and the winner can play 28 games. They hope to finish before July.                                                                                                                                                 “Most diets and the entire career of Hannah Montana haven’t taken that long.”





Norman Chad commented about Yankee Stadium: “We are now 230-odd years into the American experiment and one thing is clear – like the Roman Empire before us, we love our games!(Fact: When Nero fiddled, he was in a luxury box at the Colosseum.)                                                                    New York, the most sophisticated sports town in Sports Nation, brings us two spectacularly expensive new stadiums this month – rent-free and property tax-free for the Mets and the Yankees – largely subsidized by public money on city-owned land.Amazingly, in a city faced with myriad budget problems, the Mets and the Yankees not only successfully solicited public financing, both clubs came back with their hand out a second time – and got more money.                                                                                                 Schools? No money.                                                                                                             Subway? No money.                                                                                                             Stadiums? How much do you need? Thank you sir, may I have another.                                                                                                    During the seventh-inning stretch at the new Yankee Stadium, they shouldn’t sing ‘Take Me Out of the Ballgame,’ they should sing, ‘Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?’           Once again, we are front-row witnesses to public money gone mad. I don’t say this as a backseat driver in the wake of a brutal economy; I would say this if money were growing on trees. For when you spend public dollars on play things rather than real needs, when your priorities put entertainment dollars ahead of education dollars, you are destined for doom.                                                                                                                                The priciest ticket – it’s called a “premium seat” – is $2,625. Granted, it is a very good seat, but for $2,625, you should be able to fill out the lineup card, ride in the bullpen car and take A-Rod       home.                                                                                                    Repeat: It’s $2,625 for a single ticket. For a family of four, that’s $10,500, plus parking.


Bob Molinaro of feels that his DC Nats are there for comic relief. “If not for the unintended humor provided by the Washington Natinals, there would be no reason for them to exist.                                                                          Yes, I misspelled the name of the team. But I’m not the first. When Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn took the field Friday night in Washington, written across the front of their uniforms in big block letters was N-A-T-I-N-A-L-S.                                                                                The stuff that appears on the Internet.                                                                                There’s been no explanation that I can find for the missing “o.” An honest mistake, no doubt. And in less than 24 hours, the uniform gaffe was eclipsed by an even more absurd incident that added to the perception of the Nationals as a farcical franchise.                                   On Saturday, outfielder Elijah Dukes was benched, fined $500 and threatened with demotion to the minors after he showed up five minutes late to the stadium.                   Not five minutes late for the game. Five minutes after the team’s usual reporting time.                                      And that’s not the best part. Dukes, who is enjoying a good start with the bat, came to the park from an appearance at a local Little League function.                                                         He was tardy – by five minutes! – because he was signing autographs for kids.                                 “He was late for work, he broke a team rule, and we are going to change the culture here – regardless of how well a guy is playing,” Nats manager Manny Acta said.                     Given the usual state of political affairs, how much gloomier a place would Washington be without Major League Baseball’s best new comedy club?

Jerry Crowe wrote about Deacon Jones, “Pro football may never have seen a more ferocious pass rusher than David “Deacon” Jones, a 14th-round pick who turned out to be one of the greatest steals in NFL draft history.
Relying on footwork, speed and a devastating set of flying hands — his 1996 biography, “Headslap,” was named after his since-banned signature move — Jones struck fear in the hearts of opposing quarterbacks for 14 seasons with the Rams, San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins from 1961 to 1974. An eight-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time first-team All-Pro, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.
“Unstoppable as a flood, as elusive as a fly in a hot room,” Jim Murray wrote of Jones, who nicknamed himself Deacon after a chance meeting with a Disney executive convinced him that he needed a more distinctive moniker to stand out in a crowd.
Said Merlin Olsen of his former teammate: “There has never been a better football player than Deacon Jones.”
Jones doesn’t argue.
“I came as close to perfection,” the former “Secretary of Defense” says, “as you can possibly get.”
Except he never won a ring.
“I did it all but one thing in my football career,” he says, “and that was, win that damn championship. Everything else, I double-timed; it wasn’t even close, OK? But within that structure didn’t come a championship, and I live with that every day. I’ve been in the Hall of Fame [nearly] 30 years, and I still can’t dump it.”
A larger-than-life figure during his playing days in Los Angeles, Jones fronted a band that performed at the Cocoanut Grove and says he sang onstage with Ray Charles. He never seriously pursued a singing career but has worn a variety of other hats since leaving football: actor, businessman, commentator, benefactor, sports and pop culture memorabilia collector.
“I’ve dabbled in a lot of everything,” says Jones, who still makes public appearances at charitable events such as “Evening With the Stars II,” Thursday’s fundraiser at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes. “When I hit 65, I lied to myself like most people do and said, ‘I’m retired, I ain’t doing nothing else.’
“Well, when I looked at the things I was doing, it wasn’t like a job. It was all [an extension of] my football career.”
And football, of course, is still his favorite subject.                                                                                           Of his signature move, Jones says, “The headslap was not my invention, but Rembrandt, of course, did not invent painting.”
Jones, in other words, turned it into a concussive art form.

The Sports Curmudgeon forwarded some notes about the upcoming draft and these are some that were of importance to me.                                             QB

Matthew Stafford- “My notes say nothing akin to that.  My notes say throws a lot of wobblers, floats the ball on out patterns and plays against top defenses but hardly dominates them. In fact, Stafford did not lead Georgia to any level of glory in the SEC last year so I wonder how he is supposed to dominate NFL defensive opponents.                              Mark Sanchez My notes on Sanchez say, ‘looks great on a team where every position on offense dominates the position across the line from it’.  Come to think of it, the QB for Montana Tech – whoever that might have been – would look probably have looked good under those same circumstances…                                                                                   Wide receivers                                                                                                               NFL GMs probably wish that someone would invent the “Diva-Meter” so they might predict which of the current crop of collegiate WRs might turn into the next iteration of T.O. or Chad Ocho Cinco or Plaxico Burress                                                            Darrius Heyward-Bey                                                                                                    Here is what I have written down ‘dropped two passes that hit him on BOTH hands’ and ‘does not block downfield effectively’.  I would not take him until the second day of the draft…

Percy Harvin

My notes say that a team taking him in the first round might regret that pick.  Here is what I have written down ‘dropped two passes that hit him on BOTH hands’ and ‘does not block downfield effectively’  I would not take him until the second day of the draft…

Derrick Williams

is not the fastest WR in the draft this year but he is ‘football smart’ and an effective blocker on DBs and on LBs Taking him late in the second round or in the third round would make sense.

Offensive Linemen

when I saw Michael Oher and Jason Smith and Andre Smith, I was very impressed by all three of these players.  They all should go in the first round of the draft and it would not surprise me if all of them were gone in the first 15 picks.

Defensive Tackle

Earl Heyman

is probably too short to be a high round draft pick even though he plays hard every play and gets good penetration inside on the QB”.


Again these are just notes to give you some ideas. Greg Cote wrote about having an idea, “Mel Kiper Jr. is now projecting the 223rd pick in the draft will be Farqhuar long-snapper Ned Nebbish, up from an initial projection of 229th based on a recent 4.33 40 while eluding police.”