Some sporting thoughts as I pop the Ibuprofen after subjecting my fiftysomething, occasionally uncooperative bones and muscles to four 19th century base ball games in the span of 26 hours:
• As part of the celebration of Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday, the Jamestown Jammers donned uniforms bearing pictures of Lucy and Desi Arnez last Thursday night. Good thing the Jammers won that New York-Penn League baseball contest for their native daughter or there would have been a lot of “’splaining to do.” The Jammers scored six runs in the victory against the Tri-City ValleyCats. I wonder if the Jamestown players shouted, “Ricky, I’m home” as they crossed home plate on their way to the dugout.
• Here’s Bills coach Chan Gailey assessment of 2009 first-round draft pick Aaron Maybin: “Aaron tries hard every time he walks on the field. The key for him is being productive on the field. He has to become a consistent player against the run and a consistent pass-rusher. He has a lot of work to do. He’s not there yet. So we will see how he continues to develop.”
Interpretation: Barring a miracle transformation, the much-bally-hooed linebacker from Penn State with the zero-sack total and a paltry 26 tackles in 27 NFL games won’t be a Bill this season. That means Maybin will go down in Bills lore as arguably the worst draft pick in franchise history, surpassing Mike Williams, Perry Tuttle and Walt Patulski for that dubious distinction.
I feel badly for Maybin because he does, as Gailey says, appear to work hard. I just think it’s a case where he doesn’t have the talent to play linebacker at this level.
• Speaking of Gailey, he is one of the most honest, up-front NFL coaches I’ve ever dealt with. Unlike so many of his paranoid peers, he usually tells it like it is.
• So which athletic diva do you find most annoying? A-Rod or Brett Favre?
• There are bad matchups in sports, and for the 2011 Yankees the worst matchup just happens to be against their cursed AL East rival. Boston is 11-2 in the series this season, meaning the only way the Bronx Bombers will get to the World Series is by having someone upset the Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs.
• I’m going to go out on a limb here early and predict a bounce-back season for classy Bills wideout Lee Evans. I just think teams are going to be paying a lot more attention to Stevie Johnson this fall, creating more single-coverage opportunities for Lee. Although his numbers dropped off significantly last year and he just turned 30, Evans remains a dynamic deep threat. I think he still has some good seasons left and I’m glad Buffalo didn’t deal him.
• Another Bill I’m expecting a lot more from this season is C.J. Spiller. Gailey is a very creative offensive mind. I believe he is going to find a lot more ways to get the second-year running back in space.
• It was good seeing Darryl Talley at St. John Fisher, and I hope the former Bills linebacking legend does pursue coaching because he has a great feel for the game and for people. He was a coach on the field during the Bills Super Bowl run, and played a huge role in helping Bruce Smith learn the pro game and realize his Hall-of-Fame potential.
• Syracuse University’s hopes of contending for a Big East football title in Doug Marrone’s third season as his alma mater’s head coach suffered a serious blow last week when promising wide receiver Marcus Sales was arrested for drug possession. It’s sad to see young people squander golden opportunities. Sales was finally beginning to live up to his potential during the second half of last season and had a monster game in the Pinstripe Bowl with 5 receptions for 172 yards and 3 touchdowns.
• There are few fraternities in sports more close-knit and caring than the hockey fraternity. This was underscored again yesterday when local NHLers Brian Gionta and Ryan Callahan came back to play in the Craig Charron memorial charity hockey game at the ESL Center.
• I wish someone would stuff a Big Bertha into caddie Steve Williams’ big mouth. The blow-hard continues to over-value his role in helping golfers win tournaments.
Listening to Williams you'd think Tiger Woods wouldn't have won a single major without him lugging his clubs. If I'm not mistaken, Williams didn’t pinch-swing for Tiger during that remarkable run and he did become a multi-millionaire working for Woods.
Williams’ fairway-sized ego continued to be out-of-control Sunday after he caddied for Adam Scott, who won the World Golf Championship in Akron, Ohio. Williams took another shot at Tiger when he called this the “greatest week of caddying” he’s ever experienced.
Hmmm, bigger than those 13 majors? Yeah, right, Steve.