Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ruminating on Pujols' contract, Ralph Wilson's QB desires and Boeheim's eruption

I remember asking Mickey Mantle about 20 years ago how much he’d be worth if he were in his baseball playing prime then, instead of the 1950s and ‘60s. And he joked that he would walk into George Steinbrenner’s office, shake the Yankee owner’s hand and say, ‘Hi partner.’

Well, it appears that Albert Pujols’ agent has proposed the same thing with the owners of the St. Louis Cardinals. Only, he isn’t joking.

Among the crazy things to come out of their stalled contract negotiations is word that Pujols has talked about part ownership in the ballclub. As the only player in baseball history to have started his career averaging 30 homers and 100 RBI a season 10 years in a row, Albert clearly is deserving of a big contract. And I thought the Cardinals were more than fair in offering a reported $200 mil over 8 years. But Pujols wants more money and more years on the deal, so I don’t blame the Cardinals for saying they’ve gone as far as they can go.

Sadly, this probably isn’t going to end well. If he does leave the best baseball town in America for the riches of the Yankees or Red Sox it will be yet another blow for the sport.
Sorry Bills fans, but Ralph Wilson is sticking to his guns about it taking several more years to turn around the mess that is your franchise.

"I've made a lot of mistakes with my team in the last 10 years,'' the Bills owner admitted to AOL Fanhouse columnist Thomas George in a recent interview."I think I'm rectifying that. We'll see. We almost won some games last year against teams that were certainly more talented than us. Buddy (Nix), the scouts, the coaches, they are working. I know it's not going to be an instant turnaround. I think it will take two or three years to have a playoff team -- and that's if we get a quarterback.''

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for current QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and it further fuels speculation the Bills might select Auburn quarterback Cam Newton with the draft's No. 3 pick:

"Well, he's very athletic,’’ Wilson said of Newton. “But it's the intangibles. We've had a number of quarterbacks that could throw the ball 100 yards and right into your stomach. But then they got into games and threw it 100 yards into the other team's stomach. There's time. We'll learn more about him.''

Hmmm. Ralph couldn’t have been talking about Rob Johnson, J.P. Losman and Trent Edwards could he?
I’m OK with the Bills drafting a QB at No. 3. But, whether it’s Newton or Blaine Gabbert or Joe Schmoe from Kokomo, they better be right or it will be longer than two or three years before they become a playoff team again. And GM Buddy Nix had better hit home runs with his other picks, too, because there are so many holes to plug on this team, particularly on defense.
Here’s a sports inflation note to chew on: Nolan Ryan became baseball’s first million-dollar-a-year player in 1979 with the Texas Rangers and Albert Belle became the first $10-million-a-season player with the Chicago White Sox in 1996.
As far as press conference meltdowns go, Jim Boeheim’s class-less public excoriation of two respected Syracuse Post-Standard reporters the other day ranks among his most volcanic.

But two more volatile ones come immediately to mind. There was the time at the Big East Conference tourney a few years ago when he dropped enough F-bombs to make even Tommy Lasorda blush while defending Gerry McNamara. And there was the Big East presser years earlier when he smashed a chair after losing a game against Georgetown in which he felt his team got hosed by the officials.

I guess if you are looking for something positive about this latest outburst, perhaps it showed that Jim’s still very passionate about coaching after 35 years on the job.
Couldn’t help but notice that while Pujols was jeopardizing his standing as the face of the Cardinals franchise, the most beloved Cardinal of them all – Stan “The Man” Musial – was being feted by the President of the United States.
You can forget about Donald Trump coming to the rescue of the Bernie Madof-ravaged Mets unless The Donald wants to sell all of his casinos. It would have been interesting, though, if he did gain ownership. Imagine the ego wars between him and the Steinbrenner boys as they jockeyed for the attention of the Big Apple tabloids.
Hard to believe that after all the hype showered upon Joba Chamberlain when he arrived in New York a few years ago that he soon could be pitching for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the International League or in a mop-up role for another big-league team this summer.

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