The Future Is – - Opening Day 2011?

By now, you must have heard the litany about how young pitchers taken first in the MLB draft have underperformed relative to expectations. The Nationals’ signing of Stephen Strasburg to a record $15.1M deal – - far short of the $50M that Scott Boras threw out as a target number – - has brought all those details to light. What I find interesting here is how Tom Boswell of the Washington Post reacted to Strasburg’s signing.

Let me be clear; Tom Boswell is one of the best baseball writers and columnists around. He is also one of the “baseball poets” who kept telling the world about Washington’s lust for baseball during the three-decade hiatus of that sport in DC. He knows the game and loves the game. So, his column the day after the signing focused on his projected starting lineup for the Nationals on Opening Day of 2011. That’s right; he wrote about 2011 and not 2010.

In order for his lineup to work, a new shortstop currently in AAA Syracuse and a new first baseman currently at AA Harrisburg have to make the Nationals. They have to keep – and hope that they develop – the other six position players currently on the roster. His five-man rotation consists of Strasburg, of course, along with a pitcher currently at AAA Syracuse and another recovering from elbow surgery. Oh, and the closer on that 2011 squad is currently at AA Harrisburg…

Given the myriad uncertainties with that projected squad, it is easy to forget that Boswell is essentially writing off the 2010 season for a team that currently has the worst record in MLB and who will win 65 games for the season only if they play .500 baseball from here on out in 2009.

Thank you, Mr. Boswell. I no longer need to think about the idea of buying a ticket package to Nats’ games for the 2010 season…

Quentin Richardson is being passed around like a swine flu virus at a free love convention. Since 25 June – that is all of 56 days ago – Richardson has been traded four times. He is the leader in the clubhouse for “Man-of-the-Year” as awarded by the National Association of Home Moving Companies. Here is Greg Cote’s summary of Richardson’s summer of 09 odyssey in the Miami Herald:

“The Heat traded for 6-6 swingman Quentin Richardson. Then again, who hasn’t? Miami is his fifth team just in 2009, after he ended last season with New York and has since been dealt to Memphis, the Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota and now Miami. Clearly, this guy should be called for traveling.”

In NFL news, the Giants extended Eli Manning’s contract making him the highest paid player in the NFL at the moment. I know that he and his brother have won an equal number of Super Bowls, but which one do you think is chosen first in the Manning Family Picnic when it is time for the touch-football game?

Let me line up a couple of situations for you in order to pose a question. Michael Vick served more than two years in jail/in house arrest for dogfighting/gambling/etc. Plaxico Burress is still staring down the barrel – note use of metaphor here – of a 42-month sentence for carrying and discharging an unregistered firearm into his own leg. Donte Stallworth served 24 days in jail – and is on probation for 10 years – for DUI manslaughter where alcohol and marijuana were “present”. Now the question:

    How did Stallworth’s lawyers channel Johnny Cochran from the great beyond to plead that case?

People remember OJ’s “Dream Team” representation. If I faced criminal charges in Florida, I would definitely want to contact the folks who represented Donte Stallworth.

Most news from NFL training camps is pure pabulum but every once in a while you can find an interesting nugget. Here is one from Steve Rosenbloom’s blog on the Chicago Tribune website:

“The Bears are talking up Kevin Payne’s versatility, and I’m thinking, yeah, he can miss tackles at both safety positions. “

I got this info from a friend via e-mail and I just do not have the energy to go and verify it. However, the source is a good one based on previous stuff he has sent along:

“Over the last 3 seasons, the Denver Broncos were 24-24. They were 6-6 against out of conference teams, 18-18 against in conference teams and 9-9 against teams in their division.”

I would say they have been a well-balanced team…

Starting this Fall, the NFL Network will offer something called the Red Zone Channel on game days. This channel will go back and forth among games showing scoring plays and major highlights “as they happen”. Ignoring the fact that this channel will encourage even shorter attention spans in the fans who tune in, I wonder why the NFL is providing a way for fans to tune away from the network telecasts of their games. The rights to those games bring in roughly $3B a year to the NFL and the network bids for those rights depends in some measure on their estimates of ad revenues the networks can glean from advertisers. And, advertisers want eyeballs looking at the screen…

I am not sure I understand why the Red Zone Channel is a good idea…

Finally, here is one more comment from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald regarding another potential personnel move by the Miami Heat:

“Free agent point guard Jamaal Tinsley remains an option for the Heat. Tinsley is 31, didn’t play last year and has had off-court incidents, including a couple involving guns, but otherwise there are no real concerns.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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Comments

  • Rich  On August 20, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Curmudgeon: I’ll wager that the sports books here in Las Vegas will keep big screen monitors tuned to that Red Zone channel.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On August 20, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Rich:

    I don’t doubt that for a moment – - and when I make my annual autumnal pilgramage to Las Vegas in late October, I will indeed be focused on the Red Zone Channel much of the time.

    HOW-EVAH, I don’t think the NFL created this medium as a way for the Vegas sports books to hype their action. So, why tempt viewers to leave the network telecasts – - the one’s that dump $3B+ a year in the NFL’s coffers?

    ‘Tis a mystery to me…

  • Ed  On August 20, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Tinsley’s apoint guard? Sounds more like a shooting guard to me….

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On August 20, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Ed:

    And based on those “gun incidents” one might reasonably question his shot selection…

  • Rob  On August 20, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    I would venture to say that the Denver Broncos have perfected mediocrity.

    However, it makes me wonder if the Broncos fans think their glass is half-full or half-empty.

    At the end of the season, do other teams measure their success by where they stand compared to the Broncos?

    Okay, I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On August 21, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Rob:

    Who said you were ahead? Maybe you just broke even here…?

    I happen to think the Broncos’ glass is half-empty as far as the 2009 season goes – - maybe 3/4 empty…

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