Monday March 1, 2004
HUMPHRIES TO NBA?
BASEBALL’S ECONONIC SITUATION
CANCELED TV SHOWS
NEW DISCUSSION QUESTION
Today, I will just briefly touch on a couple of topics and then open up the Mailbag.
First, I want to thank David Bloom who writes Ya Gotta Believe. Yesterday, David posted a Q&A on Blogging Phenomenon segment in which he asked me a number of questions about this. It was fun to answer his questions. David’s website primarily discusses the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, one of my favorite teams to watch because of their young players and prospects.
DALLAS COWBOYS QUARTERBACKS
Yesterday, I heard rumblings that the Cowboys would be a likely suitor of QB Drew Henson, whose rights are currently owned by the Houston Texans. It made me think, what if the Cowboys did acquire Henson? Look at their three quarterbacks:
First, Drew Henson is obviously well known because he left the University of Michigan and probably being a #1 overall pick in the NFL to sign a 6 year, $17 million contract with the Yankees. He forfeited $12 million last month to leave the Yankees to pursue this football thing! In his minor league career, he always put up decent power numbers. However, he just struck out way too often. At AAA in 2002, he walked 37 times and struck out 151 times in 471 at bats. In 2003, again at AAA, he walked just 32 times while striking out 122 times in 483 at bats. But, in his September callup, he did get his first and only big league hit.
Last year, the Cowboys started all 16 games with Quincy Carter at quarterback. Carter was the 2nd round pick of the Chicago Cubs in 1996. That year, he hit .215 in rookie league ball. In 1997, he batted .211 at Class A. That was it for his baseball career. He went on to the University of Georgia which led him to be drafted in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Cowboys. Last year, he completed 57.8% of his passes for 3,302 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also rushed for 257 yards. He obviously needs to be more consistent, but he did quite well at times.
The second string last year was Chad Hutchinson. After playing both baseball and football at Stanford, Hutchinson became the 2nd round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals. The big right-hander was a strikeout pitcher. In his four minor league seasons, he struck out 391 batters in 350 innings. The problem was that he also walked 266. In 2001, Hutchinson was called up to the Cardinals and pitched in three games out of the bullpen. It didn’t go so well as in 4 innings, he gave up 11 runs for a 24.75 ERA. He walked 6 and struck out just 2. It was following that season that Hutchinson gave up baseball to focus on football. He signed as a free agent with the Cowboys. He and Carter split the starts in 2002, but Carter won the starting job in 2003. Hutchinson played in just one game last year, completing one of two passes.
I wonder if there has ever been a group of three quarterbacks on the same team that all had been professional baseball players? If you know, please e-mail me.
HUMPHRIES TO NBA?
It is looking more and more like Gophers forward Kris Humphries will forego his three remaining years of collegiate eligibility to enter the NBA Draft. The Pioneer Press’s Charley Walters quoted the Wolves Wally Szczerbiak saying, “He's tough, he's strong and definitely has an NBA body. How much he'll play as a rookie depends on what kind of team he ends up on. If he gets with a bad team, he could get a lot of minutes. But you just never know."
There is a website, nbadraft.net, that has already done a prediction of the 2004 NBA Draft, making the assumption that everyone who can come out will. They have Kris Humphries going #14 overall. In front of him are four high school players, four foreign players, one other college freshman, one college sophomore, two college juniors and two college seniors. In 26 games this year, Humphries is averaging 22 points (best in Big 10 by almost 3 ppg) and 10 rebounds (best in Big 10 by over 2 rpg) a game. In Big 10 games only, Humphries 20.7 points per game is tied for league best. His 9.6 rebounds is 1.5 more than anyone else.
So, what are my thoughts? I think that if he is going to be taken in the top half of the first round, he should absolutely go pro. Is he ready to contribute greatly right away? Probably not, but maybe. He definitely is strong enough. He will work hard. He is probably a “tweener,” as at 6-8, he may not be tall enough for the Power Forward position, yet he is not quick enough to guard a small forward.
However, saying to anyone that they should not take millions of guaranteed dollars is absolutely insane! Who are we to say to Kris Humphries and his family that it would be a mistake? Who are we to judge? Until it is mandatory for every high school graduate to go to college, it is absolutely wrong to tell a basketball player that he has to go to college for the “education.”
Would Humphries become a better player by staying in school another season? Probably. Would Humphries help his draft status by staying in school another season? Not necessarily. Part of what is now drafted is youth and potential. The longer a college basketball player stays in college, the more that player can be judged and critiqued.
So, I know it will be the talk of the state when/if Humphries decides to leave the Gophers for the NBA. Most people who call in will say that he should stay in school. I’m sorry, but put that person, or that person’s child, in the same position and then tell them to turn down the NBA millions to stay in school! And, don’t use Rick Rickert as an example. Rickert chose to stay in the draft, knowing that he would not be taken in the first round and would not be guaranteed money. That’s completely a different situation. Don’t compare it to the Joel Przbilla situation either. He was drafted 8th overall four years ago. And, even though his NBA career has not been good at all, he has “earned” millions of dollars.
Do you have any thoughts on this? E-mail me.
Last week, I covered a couple of topics that received some feedback, and I wanted to share some of that.
Last Wednesday, I wrote a posting called “Weighty Topic”, in which I expressed my thoughts on the steroid issue, specifically the grief that some players are getting for having lost weight.
From Tim Slukynski who played Division I hockey at the University of North Dakota
Regarding the weight loss thing. When I went to college and came back to my hometown, I had gained almost 25 pounds of muscle and there were people who were saying I was on the juice. Basically I see it this way. There are two types of people on this earth. Those who play and those who don't. The people that play do extraordinary things and make it look easy and they continue to raise the bar of their achievements because they set goals. Those who don't play eat cheeseburgers and nachos and can't understand how the players do what they do because they're not doing extraordinary things, so therefore they think there is an extra element involved, such as drugs and steroids. I know these guys can bulk up 25-30 pounds in an offseason. I also know they can lose 25 pounds in an offseason because I've done both. To sammy and giambi…..i say "just give'r"
From Anthony Fox - The Bad Twin
I read your back post from Tuesday about players losing weight. I just wanted to say that I think that it's way overblown too, especially when looking at Giambi. I went on a diet and did rehab for a nasty lurking knee injury, and eventually, that rehab turns into cardio work when you do things like jogging, biking, etc. That was 90 pounds ago and I started in September, so about 6 months. I don't think Giambi losing 20 pounds in an off-season is shocking. He seemed mostly smaller around the waistline and hips, too, where excess fat is retained. He was always a heavy guy before - now he looks athletic and healthy. If anybody needs a testimony about people losing weight during knee rehabilitation and eating right, you can stamp my name down.
From Justin Ahern -
I agree with you that it is unfair for the media to suggest that certain players are using steroids. I think that it is irresponsible to personally call out anybody for anything unless you have evidence to support your claim. Nobody in the media seems to have any evidence to prove that any specific player has used steroids. I also don't understand why you pointed out the weight gain of Dustan Mohr and Bobby Kielty. They may have gained weight, but they have no more reason to be called out than any of the other players you mentioned earlier.
The biggest problem with this situation isn't the media, it's the players union. The union knows damn well that there are players using steroids, but chose not to have a drug policy that is similar to the one that is being used in the NFL. When they are trying to protect that small percentage of players, the result is that they indict all the players.
They should be willing to agree to mandatory drug testing like the players in the NFL and that would clear up all the problems. I agree that the problem probably doesn't lie with the star players, but rather with the borderline players looking for the edge necessary to reach the major league level. I don't understand why unions are more willing to protect their guilty members than promote their innocent. Until the union is willing to single out the innocent, everybody will be suspect in the eyes of the public. They need to do what is best for the majority of it's members, not the cheaters. If they don't act soon, the innocent could defect from the union, making it weaker, and really cause problems for the players.
Here are a couple more opinions on the steroid topic from a couple of Twins writers from the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
Tom Powers - Baseball Needs to Come Clean
Gordon Wittenmeyer - Dark Cloud Hangs
BASEBALL’S ECONOMIC SITUATION
Our most recent Discussion Question was about the financial inequities in major league baseball. We had some great responses. Last week, I got an e-mail regarding this question, yet took it to a whole new level.
From Tracy Mitchell -
If I were the all-power Commish, entrusted with "fixing" the game I would level the playing field by correcting the economic imbalance. There are several ways that have been floated in recent years -- (1) salary cap, (2) revenue sharing (3) luxury tax on "excess" salaries. None of these are the answer & none address the real problem. A salary cap is not fair to the players in a free-market economy, and (as in the NFL) guarantees mega-profits to owners regardless of how badly they run their team. Revenue sharing is a joke with major league teams outsourcing their revenue streams -- contracting with sister corporations to provide services, at a profit to the sister corp. and at no profit to the team (gee, the team lost money last year, but the owners made a bundle from their wholey owned corp that leased the concessions, or parking, or cable, etc.). The luxury tax on excess salaries is a joke -- the level is set so high that only one team paid it last year -- the yankees. Obviously an equal division of the revenue has worked beautifully in the NFL, but that is because the major revenue source is the national TV contracts, which are divided equally. Baseball's major revenue sources are local -- tickets, parking concessions in addition to the major local and regional cable deals. The owners are unable to divide these revenues equitably. To impose involuntary revenue sharing and salary caps is to socialize the game.
There is a simple free market solution that as all-powerful Commish I would implement. First, the Montreal Expos would be relocated to Manhattan. Second, the Devil Rays would be relocated to Queens, and third, the Florida Marlins would be relocated to Brooklyn or Harlem. That would put five teams in the New York market. Free enterprise, George! Give it some time to work itself out. Poorly managed teams would not do well, properly run organizations would thrive. My plan is to equalize the market sizes, and let the free enterprise system work its course.
Here's the kicker -- as an interim transitional rule, to be effective until the new NY franchises get established, the following will apply to all league games:
Player payrolls for each team's 25-man roster will be compared prior to commencing each series. The team with the higher payroll will only be able to put on the field during the series players whose combine salaries are not more than 1.5 times those of the lower payroll team. When the Yankees (200 mil) play the Twins (60 mil), they will be able to use players whose combined salaries total not more than $90,000,000.
And finally, one change to the luxury tax payments to the small-revenue teams. Rather than being paid in cash, the small-revenue teams will be paid in VOUCHERS. Thus, next August when the KC Royals need to add a bat for the stretch run, they take their vouchers to New York and come back with Matsui, or Sheffield, or Giambi. Nice clean system.
As all-powerful Commish, I would also do the following:
a. Mandatory knot-hole programs -- 8% of all tickets must be given away to kids, free, no exceptions
b. An automatic all-star slot for each active player who is a ten-tme all-star, without counting against the team limit.
c. Name all of the major awards after the all-time greats e.g. the MVP in the AL -- The Ted Williams Award, in the NL. maybe the Rogers Hornsby Trophy; The ERA Leader -- either the Koufax Award or the Gibson Trophy, Wins -- the Walter Johnson Award
d.. Ban blaring music at all ballparks -- let the fans talk about the game, enjoy the sunshine, etc., without the hype.
e.. Require all rookies to take classes to learn the history of the game, so we don't hear any of the Honus Who? crap.
f. Require that for 10 home games per year each team has to make corporate season ticket seating behind home-plate available to us peons. The corporate insiders can do a few games in centerfield, upper deck.
g. A player that signs a large free agent contract is banned from whining about it for the first half of the contract;
That would take care of the First Hundred Days.
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK
That leads to this week’s Discussion Question:
If you were to take over Bud Selig’s job as Commissioner of Major League baseball, and you had all of the power to make decisions, what executive decisions would you make? These can cover serious issues or fun issues. It’s up to you. You’re the commissioner.
If you have any ideas, please send me an e-mail. Responses will be posted on this website on Friday.
Last week, I wrote briefly about some shows that were Canceled before their time. I got a bunch of response from that:
From Anthony Fox - The Bad Twin
You were asking what shows were ended too soon - I've got to piggyback on two shows very low in the article. 'My So Called Life' had to be one of the most important shows of the mid-90's. It was such an amazing show. It gave kids an outlet for their feelings by showing what's pretty close to reality in high school. It's a crime that was taken off the air so quick. Not to mention it was just a great show - I rented the DVD boxed set and watched all the episodes and it's still great even though I'm five years removed from High School.
And how about Millennium? That was the most brutal, thought-provoking show in history. That paved the way for all the CSI stuff they're doing now, and it was way better than any of it! Amazing, amazing show. And so much deeper than most of that type. I watched that religiously... and it never stopped creeping me out.
I was just on sethspeaks and had to agree that Freaks and Geeks was canceled way early that show was funny. When that one kid was allergic to peanuts and the other kid didn't believe till he ended up in the hospital from being "drugged" with a nut. That was awesome.
I can't believe you remember Herman's Head that was a great show, really an all-time great. I think it is a show like The Munsters or Gilligan's Island that would kill in reruns if given the chance. Just a really cool idea for a show, and I think there was some hot chicks in it.
Remember the show Parker Lewis Can't Lose? That was a show way ahead of it's time. Worth mentioning.
Also Fox had a show based on a baseball team. Joe Rogan was in it as a ballplayer and maybe Alexandra Wentworth was an owner? I can't remember the name but it was only on 5-6 times maybe. Had potential. (Seth Note - It was called Hardball. It was on in 1994.)
From Canadian TV a Melrose Place like soap based on a hockey team and it was called "He Shoots...He Scores" It was awesome lots of cool stuff. Daphne Zuniga?
Also I remember from my freshman year of collage the original Howard Stern Show. This was like 91-92 or so. I kid down the hall would tape it because it would be on at 1:00 at night on the weekend. It wasn't from his radio show but it had Hooker Hollywood Squares, and lots of lesbians. This was before Howard was famous across the USA. I think the show was made for the New York area and just got picked up. I wish I could see some of those old shows. It was a pretty wild show but I wonder if it would seem tame compared to today’s shows?
TV is easy to talk about, man I'm a loser.
I might be dating myself here.
You may need to research these.
It's Your Move
James at 16
Those were great shows. You know of what I speak?
The research has been done:
It’s Your Move lasted just one year, 1982. The plot involved a young married couple who move and it’s about the crazy moving company people. I was seven and don’t remember it.
(UPDATE – Michael Labuda, who writes ChiSox Daily, wrote to tell me I was probably wrong about It’s Your Move. There have been several shows with that title. Here is what he wrote me:
I'm pretty sure you have the wrong "It's Your Move". Try this link (LINK
It was one of the first TV shows I remember watching and came to mind once I read your post about early cancellations. It starred Jason Bateman and the first Mr. Darcy from Married With Children.
James at 16 was also known as James at 15. It lasted from 1977-1978. James was a photographer who did a lot of daydreaming. Again, this is a show that was on when I was two. But it was a comedy that dealt with a lot of really tough issues for teenagers.
In honor of the Academy Awards last night, I decided to make Saturday a movie day. I watched a bunch. Don’t worry, ya’ll, I walked for 90 minutes too, so I wasn’t a total bum!! Here are some real quick reviews of what I watched:
Gangs of New York - Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Amsterdam, sees his father killed by Daniel Day Lewis’ character, Bill the Butcher. After spending the next 15 years back in Ireland, he comes back to the Five Points of New York. He teams with Bill the Butcher, gaining his trust. Unfortunately, Bill finds out who Amsterdam really is. The rest of the movie is the dual between the two. It is based on true stories of the 1860s. It is definitely an era movie. The beauty of the DVD is that it includes information from The History Channel, explaining just how much the movie was based on reality. I don’t really like Leonardo DiCaprio, but he is a pretty good actor. Daniel Day Lewis is incredible, especially considering he hadn’t been in a movie in five years. He is able to make me forget how terrible his mustache is in that movie!! Cameron Diaz also plays an important role. It is almost a three hour movie. It has violence, but if you’re into the Civil War era, you’ll love it.
Uptown Girls - After watching Gangs of New York, I figured I would want a little lighter movie. Uptown Girls was that. First, we like Brittany Murphy, and when I say “We”, I mean “Me.” But Dakota Fanning is a really great, really young actress too. If you haven’t seen her in I Am Sam, you really should because it’s such a great movie! She just recently turned 10. Murphy’s character, Molly, never had to work. She was rich because her father had been a famous rock star before his death. However, she lost all of it and had to get a job. She becomes a nanny for Fanning’s character, Ray. The two develop a very strong relationship over time. It’s just a really good movie.
Boat Trip - Boat Trip is even lighter, far lighter, than Uptown Girls. Cuba Gooding Jr’s character, Jerry, proposes to his girlfriend Felicia (played by Vivica A. Fox), but she says no and she’s going to see someone else. His friend Nick (played by Horatio Sanz) decides that a good thing for them would be to go on a cruise with lots of beautiful women. Well, because of a situation, they end up on an all-gay cruise. So, you can see where this movie is going. They feel out of place. Jerry meets dance instructor, Gabriella (portrayed very attractively by Roselyn Sanchez), who assumes he is gay, so he continues the farce. It’s a very funny movie, but also has a good message near the end. And no, Gooding somehow did not receive another Oscar nomination for this project!
Le Divorce - I rented this movie because sometimes I like to rent a movie that stars someone I like, that I had never heard of. Sometimes, these unknown movies turn out to be pretty good. This was not one of those times! I really like Kate Hudson, so that’s why I rented it. She moves from the US to Paris, to help her sister who is pregnant. (The sister is played my Academy Award nominee, Naomi Watts, who looked way better last night than in this movie!) I don’t even know how to describe this movie because it was hard to follow, and the storyline was really boring. I certainly do not recommend it!
Dickie Roberts Former Child Star - I find the whole Child Star thing really interesting. You hear so many examples of former child stars who have had problems with drugs and other vices. Second, David Spade is the star, and I think he can be funny. He was funny as opposed to annoying in this movie. Basically, his character, Dickie, was a star before he was six, but then his show was canceled, and his life has been downhill since then. He gets an opportunity to talk to Rob Reiner about a movie he is directing and really wants the job. But Reiner tells him that part of the character he would be portraying needed to have experienced something Dickie had never experienced, a childhood! So, Dickie puts an ad out in the paper offering a family $20,000 to take him in for a month and help him experience a childhood. He ends up with the Finney family. They have two children, both probably under 10. It takes him awhile to adjust, but he finally figures out the whole family thing with their help, and a lot of learning experiences in between. First, I have to point out, Mary McCormack plays Grace Finney, the mother, in the movie. She seems friendly, and when I say “friendly”, I mean “HOT!” There are a lot of cameos by actual former child actors such as Emmanuel Lewis, Corey Feldman, Dustin Diamond, Danny Bonaduce and Barry Williams. As the credits role, these people, along with about 30 other former child stars sing a great song about their situations. It is hilarious! Well worth watching the credits. There is also a part in the Special Features of the DVD where they show all of these people. I may have to do more on this topic someday, because it really is interesting. Oh, and yes, I loved the movie and would recommend it to anyone!
Well, that is it for today! If you have any questions or comments on anything you have read today, send me an e-mail. Have a great week!
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