On drafts, mama’s boys and baseball | NevadaAppeal.com

On drafts, mama’s boys and baseball

On drafts, mama’s boys and baseball

BY JOE SANTORO

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

This year’s NBA draft is shaping up to be one of the deepest in years. It seems like every week another potential lottery pick – Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo, Eric Gordon, Kevin Love, the Lopez brothers, to name but seven – jumps into the draft. Wolf Pack sophomore JaVale McGee might be regretting his decision to leave school, hire an agent and toss his name into the draft pool, right? Uh, no. McGee is still considered a sure bet to be picked in the middle of the first round and might even slip into the lottery. McGee’s biggest concern heading into the draft is not where he fits in with the Beasleys, Gordons, Mayos, Loves and Roses of the world. It is shedding his label of being a selfish, moody, mama’s boy. The Web site draftexpress.com describes McGee as “the type of player general managers love but coaches hate.” Maybe that’s why during McGee’s only season as a starter the Wolf Pack didn’t even qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

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Other than the Super Bowl, the first couple rounds of the NFL draft is the most interesting day of the NFL season. It’s the same with the NBA and the NBA draft. The most interesting day of the fantasy football and baseball season? The draft. The most interesting day of the college football season? You got it. It’s signing day. How long will it be before there is a 24-hour cable channel that features nothing but fantasy and recruiting news? The games are becoming secondary, folks.

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What, exactly, are the Oakland Athletics thinking? Frank Thomas? Yeah, that’s what a 75-win team needs. A broken down, aging, selfish, moody designated hitter that can’t get from home to first without jumping into a cab. Don’t the A’s already have Mike Sweeney? If the A’s are looking to add another DH, why don’t they give Barry Bonds a call? Bonds is a more well-rounded offensive player than Thomas, he’s left-handed and would complement the right-handed Sweeney, Bonds could play outfield once or twice a week, he runs better than Thomas and the A’s might even sell a ticket or two (or 30,000) when Bonds is in the lineup.

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The difference between the NFL and major league baseball? Pacman Jones will always find a job in the NFL while a guy like Bonds, arguably the best hitter to ever play the game, can’t find work in major league baseball. This is just another reason why baseball is better than football.

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Former Carson High School and Wolf Pack star pitcher Darrell Rasner might find himself in New York Yankee pinstripes before too long. Rasner, now 27, is one of the best pitchers in Triple-A this year with a 3-0 record and 0.72 earned run average at Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre. The New York Times reported this week that Rasner has developed a nasty cutter to go along with his curveball. Nobody deserves another big league opportunity more than Rasner. The right-hander is another reason why baseball is better than football. A player like Rasner, who missed most of last season with a broken finger, would have been tossed into the trash pile long ago by football. But in baseball, a quality guy like Rasner, whose work ethic, competitiveness, inner drive, baseball intelligence and heart have always been Hall of Fame caliber, can fight his way into the major leagues if he’s willing to keep striving.

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It should be against some rule somewhere for NFL teams to negotiate contracts with college players before the draft. The Miami Dolphins have already signed top pick Jake Long to a $57 million deal. Can the team with the second pick now go out and sign a player before the draft? Where does it stop? The same thing goes on in the NBA on a different level. You just know that the Pack’s McGee has been assured by some NBA team that they will take him in the first round. Why else would McGee hire an agent and eliminate any chance he has of returning to college? It even happens in college baseball where players are constantly being told by so-called scouts where those players will likely go in the June draft. College sports needs to somehow find a way to control all of this interaction between agents and scouts and its athletes as long as those athletes are still in school.

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How much football do we need? No less than three new spring and summer football leagues are about to start – the United National Football League, the All-American Football League and the United Football League. All are claiming to be sort of a minor league for the NFL. We only have one question. Will each league have a draft? If so, bring them on. Forget the games. After the long and boring college football regular season and meaningless bowl season along with the overhyped and monotonous NFL season, we don’t need any more football games. But we can always use more drafts.

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Don’t look now, but the NBA playoffs have actually become interesting again. The players are playing hard on every possession and there are amazing story lines everywhere you look. All it needs is some sort of NBA office pool and it will really take off. Expect a Kobe Bryant-Kevin Garnett, Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics Finals to give the NBA its best TV ratings since Michael Jordan stunned the Utah Jazz 10 years ago.

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Remember Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy’s tirade against the media last fall? Of course you do. Who can forget the immortal words, “I’m a man? I’m 40!” Knute Rockne couldn’t have said it better. Well, it turns out that the quarterback he was defending, Bobby Reid, wasn’t impressed by his coach. Reid maintains that Gundy was the source who fueled the very same column that made Gundy so upset, that Gundy told the columnist off the record that Reid was a selfish, spoiled, momma’s boy. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we have to ask the following question: Why has it become so terrible in college sports for athletes to love their mothers?

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Don’t look now, but the San Francisco Giants have been quite competitive after the first week of the season. What has happened? Why have the Giants suddenly transformed into the competent, middle-of-the-road team right before our eyes? They play in the National League. There is always a Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, Florida Marlins series lurking just around the corner. Want another reason why baseball is better than football? Teams that flirt with middle of the road status like the Giants have practically no realistic chance of making the playoffs or get an invitation to a bowl game.