Mark Emmert has announced that he will step down from his position as the President of the NCAA on 30 June 2023 or when his replacement is hired – – whichever comes first. I think everyone knows the level of esteem I have for the NCAA as an institution so let me step aside and snicker after I put Dr. Emmert’s words here so you can read them for yourself.
“Throughout my tenure I’ve emphasized the need to focus on the experience and priorities of student-athletes. I am extremely proud of the work of the Association over the last 12 years and especially pleased with the hard work and dedication of the national office staff here in Indianapolis.”
Moving on … While I was in Ireland, Miguel Cabrera got his 3000th major league hit; only 33 players in baseball’s 150-year history have done that. However, that is not all he accomplished with that base hit because last season Cabrera hit is 500th MLB home run. The “3000-hit club” is exclusive; the “500 HR/3000-hit club” is elite. Here are the 6 players who had previously achieved both milestones:
- Henry Aaron
- Willie Mays
- Eddie Murray
- Rafael Palmeiro
- Albert Pujols
- Alex Rodriguez
Interestingly, two of those players are not in the Hall of Fame. A-Rod only got 35% of the votes for entrance last year and the threshold is 75%. After Palmeiro’s infamous finger-wagging testimony before Congress about steroid use and his subsequent positive test, I suspect he will never make it to the Hall. However, Cabrera and Pujols would seem to be first ballot shoo-ins once they retire and spend 5 years cooling their heels waiting to be eligible to appear on the ballots.
One more thing about Cabrera … He – like many other excellent players – played for the Marlins before being traded. Many folks will recall just a few years ago when the Marlins outfield consisted of Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich – – and then they were all traded away. What might have passed into dim memory is that the Marlins once traded Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers for 6 prospects:
- Burke Badenhop
- Eulogio de la Cruz
- Camron Maybin
- Andrew Miller
- Mike Rabelo
- Dallas Trahern
Maybin played for 15 seasons in MLB for 10 different teams. Andrew Miller had a 16- year career in the majors with 7 different teams. However, none of the players involved in this trade – including Dontrelle Willis – had anything resembling a Hall of Fame career.
Speaking of baseball, it appears that the latest analytics-driven change to the game is no longer “The Shift”. It appears that with increasing frequency, teams are shifting their infield AND are putting one of the shifted players in as a fourth outfielder to cut down on the outfield gaps where extra base hits might happen. This would seem to be a smart defensive strategy for some hitters meaning that the “Umbrella Outfield” might reduce scoring in games where it is employed. If that is the case, then perhaps the “Umbrella Outfield” is not something that will enhance the popularity of the game. This is something to watch…
Dwight Perry had two items in his column last weekend in the Seattle Times regarding the Oakland A’s:
“The Oakland Coliseum, home to the Athletics, has been invaded by an estimated 50-100 feral cats. Animal control has been trapping the squatters, spaying or neutering them and returning them to the ballpark.
“On the plus side, the Coliseum no longer has a rat problem!”
“The A’s drew crowds of 3,748 and 2,703 — their worst two gates since 1980 — last week in back-to-back games, cats not included.
“Team publicists, not missing a beat, retroactively proclaimed them Social Distancing Nights.”
I have never been in favor of using taxpayer money to build stadiums for billionaire team owners who then get sweetheart lease deals to play in the new facilities. At the same time, I never think that it is “proper” for a team owner to hold a local jurisdiction hostage by threatening to move the team if no new stadium is made available. However, the Oakland Coliseum presents a special situation.
- It is a horrible place to play. The facility has been sub-standard for at least the last 15 years – – and maybe the last 25 years.
- The attendance is awful. Yes, the team stinks so fans who go to the games would need to enjoy the “game experience” to be repeat customers. That is unlikely to happen.
- The owner and the city fathers have been going through a kabuki theater routine about a new facility/franchise move for at least the last 5 years. Enough of that nonsense; those folks need to make some sort of deal or the A’s need to pick up and move somewhere else. This is an embarrassment for MLB.
Finally, I will close today with an entry from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Jury Duty: Part of the very backbone of the judicial system that sets the United States apart from every other democratic country, this is a proud and honorable civic duty that all Americans should do everything in their power to get out of.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………