Monday, August 15, 2011

Some finals words on the departed Lee Evans, the dramatic drop in scoring in baseball and cool names

Lee Evans’ numbers (37 receptions, 578 yards, 4 touchdowns) may have been down significantly last fall from his average the previous six seasons (57, 892, 6.5). But he was still a dynamic part of the Bills offense and had a big impact on the success Stevie Johnson enjoyed during his breakout year.

It’s going to be interesting to see how Johnson responds now that he’s the top dog and Lee’s not around to take the pressure off him.

The NFL record books are filled with receivers who were one-hit wonders.

I’m not saying that Stevie is going to fall into that category, but it’s a whole different ballgame when you are the marked man.


Evans is one of the classiest guys I’ve dealt with in my 27 years covering the Bills. Win or lose, he was there to face the music – a real honest, stand-up guy. So, I’m not surprised he would issue a statement thanking the fans and the organization for his experiences in Buffalo. The guy always takes the high road.

It was his misfortune to be with the Bills during the longest stretch of futility in franchise history. That he put up the numbers he did despite the constant flux of quarterbacks, head coaches, coordinators, teammates and offensive schemes speaks volumes. I believe fans will come to appreciate his Bills career more down the road.


I recently wrote a column for Bills Digest saying that I believed Lee will have a bounce-back season this year, and I’m sticking to that prediction. Sadly, it will be with the Baltimore Ravens and not the Bills, who got fleeced by only getting a fourth-round draft pick in exchange for Evans.


It was only preseason and they were going against a sieve-like offensive line that is sure to keep Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler running for his life all year, but I was impressed with the quickness and moves displayed by both rookie defensive lineman Marcell Dareus and veteran linebacker Shawne Merriman. If those two play anywhere close to expectations this season, the Bills defense no longer will be a pushover.


Scoring in baseball is at a 19-year low and I couldn’t be happier. The testing for performance-enhancing drugs and perhaps, more importantly, the negative reaction to the fraudulent slugging of the past two decades by fans and sportswriters apparently has helped the game regain its bearings somewhat.


Each year, (Minor League Baseball’s website) holds a best name contest. Among my favorites in this year’s competition: Shooter Hunt, Forrest Snow, Zelous Wheeler and Deik Scram. But the best name, in my opinion, is Seth Schwindenhammer. He’s a 6-foot-2, 205-pound, left-handed hitting outfielder for the Lowell (Mass.) Spinners of the New York-Penn League. Through 48 games, Schwindenhammer has been struggling somewhat to live up to his slugger’s name, batting just .215, but he does have 9 dingers and 28 RBI.


In a blog from a few weeks ago, I speculated that Queen Elizabeth probably would light the Olympic cauldron in Wemblay Stadium next summer. But, as my bride and resident Anglophile correctly pointed out, heads of state are in viewing boxes during the Opening Ceremonies. They’ve never ignited the flame. Lady Beth also astutely noticed that the queen never goes anywhere or does anything without clinging to her purse. So, it would be kind of humorous to see her up there, torch in one hand, royal pocket book in the other, trying to get that blasted flame lit.

I would still like to see Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the two surviving members of the Beatles, receive the honor. A more likely, and certainly deserving candidate, is Roger Bannister, the first man to break the four-minute barrier in the mile.

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