Thursday, December 13, 2012
My take on the Bronx Geezers, Ryan Nassib's rising stock and "Beast Mode" vs. his old team
The New York Yankees love to celebrate their past with Oldtimers Day each season. But the way their roster is shaping up, every day could be Oldtimers Day for the Bronx Bombers in 2013. It’s conceivable they could field a lineup featuring 34-year-old Kevin Youkilis at third, 38-year-old Derek Jeter at short, 33-year-old Mark Teixeira at first, 39-year-old Ichiro Suzuki in right field, 32-year-old Curtis Granderson in center, 40-year-old Andy Pettitte starting on the mound and 43-year-old Mariano Rivera coming in to close.
And don’t forget this: Jeter is coming off a serious ankle injury; Rivera had knee surgery; Youkilis and Teixeira’s stats in recent years have been trending down, and Suzuki and Pettitte, though still good players, clearly are in the twilight of extraordinary careers.
So, as I peruse this Geezer’s Gulch of a lineup, I can’t help but ask, “What in the world happened to your scouting and player development departments?” The latest chapter of the Yankees dynasty was written by home-grown talent – Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams. Where are the reinforcements, the new blood, the next generation of Pinstripers?
Magic Johnson clearly has been as generous spending the Dodgers owners’ cash as he once was distributing the basketball. Los Angeles clearly has surpassed the Yankees as the best team money can buy. And I don’t know if they’ve necessarily spent it wisely.
I was happy to learn that Syracuse University quarterback Ryan Nassib was named first-team All-America by Pro Football Weekly, but I also was quite surprised. The respected weekly determines it selections based on extensive evaluation and considerable feedback from NFL talent evaluators. Although Nassib’s stock is climbing rapidly, most mock drafts still have him going in the second or third rounds and have West Virginia’s Geno Smith and USC’s Matt Barkley rated as much better pro prospects.
I do think the strong-armed Nassib has plenty of upside and has shown steady improvement, particularly in the latter half of this season, when he led the Orange to a Pinstripe Bowl berth. Interestingly, there have been only three SU quarterbacks drafted by NFL teams since 1945 – my friend Pat Stark was the first in 1952, Don McPherson the second in 1988 and Donovan McNabb in 1999. (There were other SU QBs drafted, but for other positions.)
Marshawn Lynch clearly has it going in Seattle. He’s coming off an 11-carry, 128-yard, 3-TD rushing performance in last week’s 58-0 annihilation of Arizona and now has 1,266 yards and 9 scores this season. And Bills fans no-doubt are bracing themselves for “Beast Mode” to run wild again Sunday when Buffalo hosts the Seattle Seahawks in Toronto. For the record, in return for Lynch, Buffalo received a 2011 fourth-rounder (Chris Hairston) and a 2012 fifth-rounder (Tank Carder). Hairston has been an OK offensive lineman for the Bills, while Carder was cut and is now playing for Cleveland.
Longtime Bills fans may remember that current Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll began his NFL coaching career as Buffalo’s defensive backfield coach in 1984.
SHAMELESS PLUG: I will be signing copies of my books this Saturday at the Greece Barnes & Noble from 2-4 and at the Pittsford Barnes & Noble from 5-7. There will be copies of my Jim Boeheim biography (updated and in paperback), my Johnny Antonelli collaboration, several of my Bills books and my Yankee Stadium book. So, if you haven’t completed your holiday shopping . . .