Last week, Beano Cook passed away at age 81. Cook was “Mr. College Football” back in a time when college football did not have nearly the national aura and exposure that it enjoys today. He was a Sports Information Director, a PR guy, a television broadcaster and an incisive wit. Dwight Perry had this item in the Seattle Times in memory of Beano Cook:
“College football guru Beano Cook, who died Thursday at 81, on his fear of flying: ‘You only have to bat a thousand in two things — flying and heart transplants. Everything else, you can go 4 for 5.’ “
Reading those words reminded me of a few other Beano Cook quips such as:
“The only place tougher to win than at Notre Dame is at Stalingrad.”
“Everything was better 50 years ago, except medicine, civil rights and air conditioning.”
“The most-heated rivalry is Germany vs. France. No. 2 is Auburn vs. Alabama.”
“When they list the great things of the 20th Century, they’ll say, penicillin, Sophia Loren, jet travel and ESPN.”
Rest in peace, Beano Cook.
The ankle injury to Derek Jeter that will keep him out of the playoffs and the World Series – should the Yankees make it there – is a huge blow to the Yankees’ team. Even the biggest of Yankee-haters would admit quietly to themselves that Jeter is more than just the shortstop on the team and that he provides a measure of leadership for the team that simply will not be replaced overnight. Now, because I believe that to be the case, I think that Jeter’s injury might actually be a release valve for Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod has been playing horribly of late. The Yankees have pinch-hit for him late in games and they sat him – and his huge 8-figure salary – on the bench in a win-or-go-home game against the Orioles. In the last couple of weeks, A-Rod has gotten about as many hits as the Baha Men had.
I think there will be a huge media focus on the absence of “The Captain” from the Yankees’ lineup such that there will be a diminution of the focus on the fact that Alex Rodriguez has produced a steady stream of failures over the past couple of weeks. With the spotlight focused elsewhere – or at least widened to include something other than his shortcomings –, Rodriguez may find a way to relax and just play baseball. We shall see…
The folks on mahogany row in the Yankees’ organization have to be thinking just a bit about that monstrous deal they game to Alex Rodriguez back in 2007 when he opted out of the final two years of his previous monstrous deal that he originally signed with the Texas Rangers. Reports say that the Yankees still owe A-Rod $120M over the next 5 seasons. That averages out to $24M per season but the contract is front-loaded so that they owe him more next year than they do the year after that and so on. Moreover, if he breaks the all-time record for home runs as a Yankee during this contract, he will make a lot more money in bonuses along the way. As of this morning, A-Rod has 647 home runs and he has average 42 home runs per season over the course of his career. He is 115 home runs away from equaling Barry Bonds’ total.
It would seem as if it would be a piece of cake for A-Rod to get those 115 home runs over the course of the next 5 seasons – except that for the last two years, he has hit a total of only 34 home runs. His slugging percentage is the lowest it has been since he was in his second season in the major leagues as a 19-year old kid. If you project the last two seasons into the future, it would take A-Rod almost seven seasons to reach Bonds’ record. However, few baseball observers would think that he has seven more seasons in his body.
It would be interesting to see how Yankees’ management might react to a power surge by Rodriguez next year – say 15 home runs by June 1. Obviously, that would help the team so that is good. At the same time, it would put them in a position where those bonuses for reaching home run milestones in a Yankees’ uniform and those bonuses are of the “multi-million dollar category” over and above the $20M+ in base salary.
One can love Alex Rodriguez or hate him as one pleases. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to watch what happens to his performance in this year’s playoffs and in the seasons to follow with the Yankees.
Dwight Perry also had an item about A-Rod in the Seattle Times last week:
“Coincidence? The same day Alex Rodriguez got pinch-hit for in Game 4 of the ALDS, a horse named A Rod was scratched from a race at Belmont.
“Just don’t break a leg, Alex.”
Steve Simmons had two interesting observations regarding this year’s baseball playoffs in the Toronto Sun last weekend:
“I can predict with absolute certainty that the World Series-winning manager will be a former catcher. The reason that’s certain: Jim Leyland, Joe Girardi, Mike Matheny and Brucy Bochy all played catcher.”
“In the end, all the Stephen Strasburg talk amounted to what? The Nationals are still playing today if they could have held a six-run lead against St. Louis.”
Finally, an observation by Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:
“Parting thought: Told you last week about the Miami Spice of the planned Bikini Basketball Association. If teams in that league have a merchandise sale and the signs read, ‘All Our Clothing 75 Percent Off’ — they mean it.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………