According to the AP, Ricky Rubio announced earlier today that he will leave European basketball to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves next year. Rubio has been compared to Pete Maravich in terms of his flair and freewheeling style of play. However, those comparisons could haunt him and not help him. Maravich was an incandescent player plus a prolific scorer. Rubio has struggled a bit in European play for Barcelona. I know that numbers do not tell the entire story about a player but consider:
In the Spanish League this year, he shot 32% from the field, averaged 21 minutes per game with 4.8 points and 4.1 assists per game.
In the Euroleague this year, he shot 31% from the field, averaged 22.7 minutes per game with 3.5 points and 6.1 assists per game.
Pete Maravich had better numbers in his 9-10 year old recreation league games playing against 12-13 year olds…
Baseball interleague play begins today. Raise your hand if back in April you had the Pirates and Indians helping to kick off interleague play in a game where both teams were over .500. I certainly did not – - but it will happen later today.
The Angels released Scott Kazmir whose game appears to have come apart at the seams. After starting one game for the Angels in April where he lasted 1 2/3 innings and gave up 5 runs with 2 walks and 2 hit batsmen, Kazmir went on the DL and then to the minors to work things out. At the AAA level, he started 5 games, lost them all, and had an ERA – - in the minor leagues – - of 17.02. If that were not bad enough, he gave up 22 hits in his 15 2/3 innings at Salt Lake City and continued to have control problems. He walked 20 batters, hit six others and struck out 14.
Kazmir had a great run with the Rays through the middle of the 2009 season. The Angels are eating the remainder of his $14M contract this year but some team will probably take a chance on him in the future with the hope that he can either heal whatever injury plagues him or get his head straight – - or both.
Here is a comment from Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle regarding another of baseball’s fallen heroes:
“Isn’t Lenny Dykstra running out of crimes to allegedly commit? Latest: grand theft auto and drug possession. Lenny Dykstra, video game.”
As the Women’s World Cup prepares to begin in Germany, consider this comment from Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot. You may not wish this were the case – - but it is:
“Timeline: Remember when the U.S. women’s soccer team won the 1999 World Cup, and the buzz created by all those special players convinced people that women’s soccer was the next big thing? Twelve years later, the Americans, who will compete in the World Cup in Germany this summer, are so far off the radar the Navy SEALs couldn’t find them.”
Here is another Scott Ostler comment – - this one about Ohio State football – - that creates an “action item” for an arm of the US Government:
“Ohio State football players have a cottage industry in selling and bartering football memorabilia. Terrelle Pryor reportedly made up to $40,000 just autographing stuff. Does every home in Columbus have a Buckeyes-themed rumpus room? Columbus has to be the jock-sniffing capital of the free world.”
There are plenty of cities/towns in SEC country that will give Columbus a run for its money with regard to jock-sniffing, but there is a story that has not hit the papers yet:
Memo to Internal Revenue Service: Have you checked to see what income Terrelle Pryor has reported on his income tax returns? Does the name “Pete Rose” ring any bells? Or – even better – have you checked to see that he filed an income tax return at all?
Speaking of Terrelle Pryor, his agent is Drew Rosenhaus. You have heard of marriages made in Heaven; that is a partnership forged on the banks of the River Styx.
With the Atlanta Thrashers neatly relocated to Winnipeg – - where 13,000 season tix sold out in less than a day – - that makes two NHL franchises that have had to depart Atlanta for Canadian outposts. In case you forgot, the Calgary Flames used to play in Atlanta. Do you think that the great strategic thinkers at NHL HQs have figured out there is a pattern here?
Take a look at the NHL franchises that were established in warm weather cities in order that the league could declare that it had a “national footprint”. Most of those franchises have failed to expand their fanbase beyond a meager number of fans and most are second-thoughts at best when fans in those cities think about their sports franchises.
The Phoenix Coyotes lose millions of dollars per year and went through a bankruptcy procedure.
The Dallas Stars are for sale and there are not a lot of locals lining up to buy them.
The Florida Panthers have probably not sold out a dozen games in the last decade.
The Tampa Bay Lightening has had a series of owners and is rumored to be for sale yet again.
Memo to NHL: Put your teams in places where kids play hockey regularly and parents have grown up with hockey as a somewhat significant part of their sporting interest spectrum.
Finally, here is something from Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer about 6 weeks ago:
“Here’s the first sentence in driver Brad Keselowski’s weekly column on NASCAR.com, which was posted on May 5, four days after the Navy SEALs raid in Abbottabad.
” ‘I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about the demise of Osama bin Laden.’
“No, but since I typically turn to NASCAR websites for my international news, would you mind filling me in?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…