Before I get started let me add a quick article disclaimer: If today's column is a bust I solely blame it on the absolutely hideous cup of coffee I had this morning.
Tim McCarver said the funniest thing last Saturday while covering the Red Sox/Yankees game. He said, "Nobody glides to the ball in baseball, really, any better than J.D. Drew does. No hurry, no worry." Umm, that's because Drew literally has not cared about anything in his nine seasons playing in the Bigs. I've never seen a guy go through the motions, waste more talent, and make more money than Drew.
Reason No. 213 why I consider myself still unfit to be a father. The other day I inadvertently found myself explaining to my 11-year old nephew that he must learn early in life that for guys it's important to date older gals when you're younger and younger gals when you're older. Oops! I guess I'm evolving into that crazy, but cool and edgy uncle we all had growing up.
Here's a question: Is it mandatory that all major league relievers have mullets? The answer is no – of course – but let me say this, if you're Caucasian and can throw a 95 mph heater then you better sport a mullet if you expect to be taken seriously by baseball scouts.
It's no surprise to see Boston and New York atop the baseball world yet again. The only problem is it's the Mets who are 13-7 and not the Yankees. The Pinstripes are a measly 8-12 despite the heroic April that A-rod is having. For that matter, if you would've told me that A-rod was batting .378 and had 14 home runs, and Derek Jeter had successfully hit in 14-straight games I would've figured them for first place without question.
While on the subject of baseball, is any team more cursed than the Chicago Cubs? I know Red Sox fans have the market cornered on self-loathing but Cubs fans really have something to gripe about. If it's not a guy trying to smuggle his goat through the ticket gate or a fan interfering with a sure out for his hometown team in a critical playoff game, it's one of their star players getting injured. The first Cub to keep up the tradition and drop off the roster in 2007 is none other than Mark Prior. It's sad, really.
The Pac-10 is getting some football love from ESPN. Oregon will visit Arizona for a Thursday night game on November 15. USC will travel to Tempe for a Thanksgiving night showdown with Arizona State the following week. I'm about 99 percent certain that I'll be making the roadie out to Tucson for the game against the Ducks. My wife doesn't know this yet though so don't say anything until I have a chance to butter her up. Or at least buy her some flowers. Actually, what I should do is just bring her along. After all, she's absolutely head over heals for Kirk Herbstreit, affectionately referring to him as "Herbie." Here's an actual conversation between she and I three years ago:
Me: Wow. You're actually taking to this college football stuff, aren't you?
Wife: I just like watching him.
Me: Who? Herbstreit?
Wife: Yeah. Herbie.
There's no denying that I'm not a Kobe fan. However, I know quality basketball when I see it and Kobe played like an MVP in last night's game three against the Suns. He had 45 points but it was a controlled 45. For the most part he took good shots, attempted to distribute the ball and played hard defense. He also managed to sound like a human being instead of his usual robotic self where he says things he "thinks" Jordan would say in the same situation. Overall, it was a very nice night for Kobe.
The OJ Mayo Experiment is already having an effect at USC – and I'm not sure it's a good one – as Gabe Pruitt has now joined Nick Young in making himself available for the NBA Draft. Although Pruitt won't retain an agent, don't expect him to return if he's projected anywhere in the draft because his stock will only decrease further if he's forced to play second fiddle to Mayo next season. Without Mayo, Young or Pruitt would not have declared and the Trojans would instead be returning their entire scoring nucleus sans Lodrick Stewart from a team that was one bad second half away from upsetting North Carolina and reaching the Elite Eight.
Speaking of the draft, the DraftExpress website has Marcus Williams projected as a late first round pick. They also have Ivan Radenovic going somewhere in the mid-second round and Mustafa Shakur possibly being one of the last few picks in the draft. As strange as it may sound, if Shakur does get drafted and if he does make a team I actually think he could turn out to be a pretty decent pro. He may not start, but I'd rather have Shakur backing up my starting point guard than some of the other second stringers in the league. Heck, Smush Parker is a starter for Pete's Sake. If he can play, then anyone can.
I'll be interested to see how JP Prince does this year at Tennessee. The one time Arizona guard who transferred prior to last season will have every opportunity to succeed under Bruce Pearl. I can't say he had this same opportunity at Arizona. Personally, I've always liked Prince's game and think he will thrive in the SEC. He was the premiere Arizona defender in our 1-3-1 Zone defense but oddly enough, we'd usually pull out of the 1-3-1 when Prince entered the game. I won't be surprised one bit if he averages 10 plus a game, becomes a star in the Vols' full court press and joins Will Bynum (Georgia Tech, 2004) as yet another ex-Wildcat who transfers out and helps lead his new school to a Final Four.
Defense, as evidenced, has plagued Arizona basketball for the last three seasons. If all goes to plan and Coach Olson announces Kevin O'Neill as the newest addition to the Wildcats' coaching staff sometime early next week, defense should no longer be an issue at the UA. In fact, during O'Neill's first stint at Arizona in the late 1980s, Arizona had the second best defense, statistically, in the country. Much more on this later if O'Neill indeed returns.
Did anyone catch the Top 50 Sports Movies shtick on FoxSports.com, Rotten Tomatoes recently? If you didn't, don't bother because it's a ridiculous list. Here's why. First, five of the greatest sports movies of all time aren't on the list: Victory; The Ricky Bell Story; Brian's Song; Vision Quest; and Rebound – The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat' Manigualt. Second, Love and Basketball is ranked no. 39 ahead of Caddyshack (49), Rudy (45), Miracle (43) and Longest Yard (41). Personally, I wouldn't have listed Love and Basketball in my Top 100 but to rank it ahead of the aforementioned classics is an insult to sports movie lovers. By all accounts, Miracle was a very accurate depiction of what happened in Lake Placid, plus it's a movie about one of the greatest fetes in American sports. Also, I have one simple rule when it comes to ranking sports movies: Any sport-specific movie that is nationally-televised religiously prior to the start of that sport's season should automatically be listed in the top 15. This means that Rudy, Hoosiers(17) and Field of Dreams(19) all need to get a little bump in the current standings. Probably the most telling sign that the Rotten Tomatoes ranking is simply rotten is that Bull Durham was put in the top slot while a truly fascinating baseball move, The Natural was ranked 31.
I'm a little torn about tomorrow's NFL Draft. Part of me is saying, "buy a case of beer and saddle up for a fun-filled day of serious football analysis," while the other side of me is saying, "okay, that'll be fun for about two hours until you finally realize that they're only on the eighth pick of the draft in the first round and there's still a day and a half more of this." Plus, it looks like a majority of the picks will be coming from the SEC this year and while that's great and all it makes it tough to follow every second of the way. I can say this though. Unlike the NBA Draft, at least watching the NFL Draft means you'll get to see players you've followed throughout their college careers. There's nothing worse than watching the NBA Draft and having to sit through black and white footage of international players who you've never heard of run lay-up drills in a dilapidated gymnasium.
Not to beat a dead horse, but is Michael Vick for real. His publicist must literally be on call 24 hours a day. Somebody besides ESPN's Colin Cowherd needs to tell this guy to grow up and start acting like someone who recently signed a contract worth $100 million. Here's one last question for an article riddled with questions this week: Will NFL Commish Roger Goodell take any action against Vick for continuously "shedding negative light on the NFL" as he did with Pac Man Jones or Chris Henry?
He should, but I doubt he will.
Enjoy a great weekend of sports, everyone. Bear Down!