Mike Williams Cut, NCAA to Blame

July 31, 2008

Big Mike Williams

Mike Williams and his free-fall from collegiate stardom to NFL bust can be directly attributable to the NCAA and their back-stabbing ways (though maybe that awful black Lions jersey had something to do with it). Back in 2004 when Williams and Maurice Clarett tried to enter the NFL draft despite the rule against players not having completed three years of school following their high school graduation class. Williams and Clarett sued and won, left college, signed agents and waited for the NFL draft where they were both expected to be very high first round picks.

Instead, a stay was enforced in the case and Williams was not drafted. Without an immediate NFL future, Williams applied for reinstatement, citing the fact that he was simply following rules that were in place when the lawsuit was won. The NCAA reneged and refused his reentry into college.

So rather than being a top draft pick in 2004, Mike Williams had to work out on his own and prepare for the 2005 draft, where he was ultimately drafted 10th by the Lions. I think we all know how awful he’s been since and how much trouble he’s had weighing less than 270 pounds.

But I think the blame here falls on the NCAA. The guy only did what he did in 2004 because that’s what the rules said. He can’t help the fact that they changed back after the draft and he shouldn’t have been punished for it. Sure, you can argue he was an idiot, lazy and incompetent. And really, I won’t argue with that. But he got screwed, big time. I’m convinced that if he doesn’t have an entire year to waste as a 20-year old kid with nothing to do but practice on his own, he’s not out of the league as is now the case.

It’s just sad to see the NCAA completely ruin so many kids’ opportunities.


What the Trade Means

July 31, 2008

Bye Bye MannyOk, so I admit, I haven’t exactly been following the progress of the LA Dodgers this season. I do know that Joe Torre is their new manager and that Andruw Jones, their major signing from the offseason is hitting .167 and has been hurt on-and-off this year, and is definitely now relegated to the bench.

Manny will make a big difference in their lineup. He’s a hitting machine despite his eccentricities. In a pretty weak NL West, his bat alone should increase the Dodgers chances of winning the division. They’re only only one game back of Arizona and have won seven of their last ten. Even if it takes Manny a while to get used to National League pitching, the energy surrounding the move should be a major boost for LA.

Now, Boston. They’re going to get Jason Bay, a 30-year old .280 career hitter. He usually hits just under 30 homers and drives in just under 100 runs. Not bad, for sure, and he was always on Pittsburgh so he never had any lineup help around him. But those numbers don’t come close to matching Manny’s .310 average, upper 30s or more in homers and 110 RBI over his seven and change seasons in Boston. Obviously Boston had to get a player, not prospects, for Manny as they are themselves in the middle of a tight division race. Currently they’re three games back of Tampa and one game ahead of the Yankees in the AL East.

At this point I’d have to say that as Boston is slipping a bit and now loses its best hitter and the Yankees pick up Xavier Nady and Pudge Rodriguez (and lose Kyle Farnsworth), it’s a reasonable expectation that the Yanks will pass Boston for second place in the East. But I really don’t see either of them catching up with the Rays.

As for Pittsburgh, I really can’t say. I don’t know who the prospects are and really, let’s be honest, this is Pittsburgh we’re talking about.

So in the end it looks like the Dodgers, who have a bunch of good young players and no room for prospects at this point anyway, come out major winners. This has the chance to wipe away the major screw up in the Andruw Jones trade and put one of the game’s best bats into a weak division. The second place team out west will not make the playoffs, that’s going to the Cubs/Brewers Central runner up, so it’s vital for the Dodgers to win the division. And Boston gets rid of a major headache for a guy who will certainly be less interesting. That’s good for the front office but bad for the media, teammates and casual fans. Even if Bay ends up being quite good for Boston, there will be a funk about the team after losing such a fan and team favorite in Manny.

Manny, Shine

July 31, 2008

Manny Ramirez, traded to the Dodgers in a three-way with the Pirates. Boston will get Jason Bay and Pittsburgh will get four minor leaguers. Really interested to see how this all came about and what the hell happened to Florida.

I think this definitely changes the competitive balance in the NL West and possibly the AL East as well.

More to come…

Waiting Game

July 31, 2008

Old Guy WatchAs this day creeps toward 4:00 EST (I got up at 4am today) we’re now just in a wait-and-see situation with Manny Ramirez. I feel like I’ve been reading about this all day and that I’m going to be a senior citizen by the time it actually happens or not. I don’t know how the Red Sox can justify trading him as he’s really the key to them winning right now, but who knows, the Marlins (??!!) might just pop up and get him and immediately double their payroll.

Junior Griffey has sadly agreed to be traded to the White Sox. This is disheartening. It also eliminates my question about whether or not Manny would be the player with the most ever home runs to be traded. That now, I think, goes to Griffey, though that could be wrong.

A (Probably) Useless Plea to Ken Griffey Jr.

July 31, 2008

Griffey, Jr.Don’t accept the trade to the White Sox. Please, just don’t. I’ve got a few good reasons for you:

1. I hate the White Sox.
2. Even though the Reds aren’t your original team, it would be a shame to see you end your career wearing the gray and black of the South Side.
3. You might actually be older than Ozzie Guillen.

Ok, so maybe there aren’t that many good reasons. After all, you’ll still be getting paid like $20 million per. But for the sake of not adding you to the list of guys who played one season or so for completely random teams (Joe NamathRams, Reggie WhitePanthers, etc.) just close it out in Cincy. Anyway, you’ve already turned down one trade to the White Sox in your career. There must’ve been some reason then.

Spurs Cruise Past Leyton Orient

July 31, 2008

Gio dos SantosDarren Bent completed his second consecutive hat-trick, scoring three goals in the second half to power Tottenham past League One side Leyton Orient 5-1. Luka Modric scored his first Tottenham goal and again the pace of the game was ultimately dictated by young Giovani dos Santos. More good news as Spurs look to crack the Top Four and qualify for the Champions League this season.

Meanwhile, Spurs remain in talks with Andrei Arshavin, a move that would surely shake up the balance in the middle-through-top of the EPL table. Even if Arshavin does not play as well as he did in 2007/08 or Euro 2008, he’s bound to demand dedicated defensive response to his presence, only giving more latitude for Modric, Bent, Santos and Aaron Lennon.

Daily Dose of Better…

July 31, 2008

Better Charles: Barkley or Lorenzo?