Sunday, May 30, 2010

Act like you've been there before...

We’ve all done some stupid things before. When I was younger, my brothers and I once figured out that if you lick the top of a marshmallow and throw it up towards the ceiling, it will stick. My parents were not that impressed when they found out what we did. Once, during a basketball game, I shot at the wrong basket. I was never a prolific scorer, so I was surprised that I was so open right underneath the basket. Luckily I missed the shot.

That is just a tiny glimpse into some of the dim-witted things that I have done before. I’m sure that we could all add a thing or two to this list.

Kendry Morales, slugging first baseman for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, now has something to add to this list. Morales fractured his leg at the end of the game this past Saturday. How did he do this? Well, he didn’t do it by sliding to break up a double play. He didn’t do it by making a diving catch.

He did it because he jumped on home plate. No really, that is what he did. Check out the video for yourself by clicking on this link.

Morales hit a grand slam in the 9th inning to give the Angels a 5-1 victory. Like most people, he was excited. When Morales headed toward home plate, his teammates were their waiting for him so that they could celebrate. Morales tossed his helmet up into the air and jumped onto home plate….and fractured his leg.

Now the Angels are without their most productive hitter for a few months. There is a possibility that he could be out for even longer. “It’ll change the way we celebrate,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after the game.

Way to lay down the law Mike. Just in time for your bad season to get even worse.

I think that the motto for the Angels the rest of the season should be “Act like you’ve been there before”.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cleveland's desperate move to resign Lebron

He reached the playoffs every year that he coached the team. He won 127 games the past two years. His team reached the NBA Finals in 2007. He was even named the Coach of the Year for the 2008-2009 season. You would think that would be enough to secure employment for another year, wouldn’t you. Unfortunately for Mike Brown, it didn’t.

The now former coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers lost his job today. Some would say that he was fired because his team couldn’t win a championship. Others would say that he was fired because the team felt that it needed to “shake things up”.

I say that he got fired because the Cavaliers want a shot at resigning Lebron James and the only way to do that is to let him pick his coach.

Now I’m not saying that Lebron will be able to pick the coach that he will play for. I’m just stating that whomever Lebron tells Cleveland that he would like to play for is the guy that they are going to throw truckloads of money at. The Cavaliers aren’t the only team that is doing this either. Most of the teams that are rumored to be in the running for Lebron’s services next season are looking for head coaches. The New Jersey Nets, Chicago Bulls, and Los Angeles Clippers are all in the Lebron James sweepstakes.

I know that Lebron is a special player. He will go down in history as one of the greatest players of all time. There is one thing though that he and all of the teams in the running to sign him need to remember. Players play and Coaches coach.

Letting Lebron pick his coach would be the worst decision of all time. The Cavaliers are already under a ton of pressure to win a championship. Having Lebron and his hand picked coach together would create such stress and anxiety on everyone that it would be a miracle if the Cav’s survived the season.

I’d like to extend a friendly word of advice to the front office of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Please put a lot of thought into picking your next head coach. Do not concern yourself with thoughts of “if we hire Coach A then Lebron might resign with us”. Pick the right person for the job. Your organization will be better off for it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thank you Ernie

Ernie Harwell, longtime radio announcer for the Detroit Tigers, passed away from cancer today at the age of 92.

I met Ernie Harwell back in 1990. He came to Kalamazoo for the Barrier Bash, a charity softball game that pitted local celebrities against former Detroit Tigers. The game was held at Hyames field on the campus of Western Michigan University. Ernie, along with his radio partner Paul Carey, was there to sign autographs. Naturally, there was a long line. I can remember standing in line trying to think of something to ask him. When I finally got to Ernie, I handed him my program to sign and said to him “That was quite a debut for Travis Fryman last night, huh?” Ernie said to me “It sure was. I think that he’s going to be a good one, how about you?” I was flabbergasted! A Hall of Fame broadcaster and living legend had asked me, an eighth grade kid, for my opinion about a baseball player!

When I think of Ernie Harwell, I think of many things. Sincerity is one word that comes to mind. When I met him back in 1990, I believe that he was sincere when he asked me what I thought of Travis Fryman’s debut. Ernie made all of us feel like we knew him and were his friend. Even if you never met him, the way that he called a baseball game made you feel comfortable. His catchphrases (Llllooooonnnnggggg gone! Two for the price of one! He stood there like the house by the side of the road. Caught by a man from (insert random town here).

When Ernie announced last year that he had inoperable cancer, he took it like the class act that he is. "Whatever happens, I'm ready to face it, I have a great faith in God and Jesus. In my almost 92 years on this Earth, the good Lord has blessed me with a great journey, The blessed part of that journey is that it's going to end here in the great state of Michigan."

I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to meet and also listen to Ernie Harwell call Detroit Tiger games for many years. Although I am sad today that Ernie is gone, I am happy because I know that he is in heaven right now talking baseball with somebody.

Thank you Ernie for all that you have given to life and the game of baseball. You will be missed.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"Mr. May" does it again!

When I think of clutch performers in the world of sports, a few names immediately come to mind. Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, Curt Schilling, John Elway and Reggie Jackson are all superstars who are at their best in the biggest games.

Now we can add Calvin Borel to that list of clutch performers.

In the sport of horse racing, the Kentucky Derby is the equivalent of the Super Bowl. There are celebrities, lots of wagers being placed, and tons of media coverage. The Derby is where careers are made.

Today, on his sports biggest day, Borel became the first jockey ever to win three Kentucky Derby’s in four years. He has solidified himself as one of the best jockeys to ever ride at Churchill Downs.

If Reggie Jackson can have the nickname of Mr. October given to him because of his superior play in the playoffs and World Series, then I think that we can give Calvin Borel the nickname of Mr. May. I believe that he’s earned it.

Should he stay or should he go?

Toronto Raptors star Chris Bosh recently posted on his Twitter account a question to his followers. Bosh is at a point in his contract where he has the ability to opt out early and test the waters of free agency this summer. He wanted to ask his followers their opinion as to whether or not he should.

If Bosh does decide to opt out of his current contract with the Raptors, he will join a free agent class that could include the likes of Amare Stoudamire, Dwayne Wade, and Lebron James. This free agent class is loaded with so much star power that teams have been trying to clear salary cap space on their rosters for years in order to be able to afford them.

I think that Bosh has to ask himself a question, not his Twitter followers. Does he want to win, or does he want the money? Toronto is a small market team and will not be able to afford the higher salary he can command. He made $15.7 million this past season and could possibly make much more than that if he decides to become a free agent. However, if a different team signed him, that would fill the majority of their cap space that they have. This would severely restrict the team’s player personnel options.

What I’d love to see is a star player like Bosh taking a lesser valued contract with a team so that they could sign another top free agent. Can you imagine the star power on a team if Bosh and Lebron James were together? It could be the new version of the “Dream Team”. Ticket sales, merchandise sales, and media revenue would go through the roof! This team would certainly be the odds on favorite to win the NBA finals.

Bosh has the opportunity to make a truckload of money this summer. He also has the chance to play on an all star studded team that would be a shoo-in for the NBA championship. He has to decide which one he wants.

We’ll see if he makes the right choice.