Wednesday, March 02, 2005The Morning Toast: Mid-Week Edition...
Chaney Puts Himself Out
Not surprisingly John Chaney put himself on the shelf for the rest of the season yesterday. It was coming and I think the only way for this to blow over is for him to back away.
Now don't let anyone fool you, this isn't like the Woody Hayes incident. Now even close, Hayes grabbed an opposing player by the face mask after a play and struck him. He tried to assault a player on the opposition. Chaney sent a player out to deliver fouls and "send a message", unfortunately he sent a kid who didn't know the difference between hard fouls and reckless play.
Unfortunately John Bryant was injured, that's something that shouldn't happen. I agree with Kevin when he says the referee should've put an end to it. All of Ingram's fouls were flagrant so he should've been tossed after the first two. And while its not the Hayes incident, Chaney did a lot of bad things that are deserving of the punishment he has received. He endangered a lot of student-athletes and he added fuel to an already tense atmosphere at the Palestra.
As for Ingram's pending suspension. Does it matter? He doesn't play anyway and if he did play he'd be timid as hell. They could suspend him or not, won't matter.
Very good USA Today story on the whole situation and the Newsday's Joe Gergen suggests that Chaney still do the honorable thing and quit. I'm convinced I'm in the only business where quitting is considered honorable...
Also special props to St. Joe's for a 15-point road win over GW last night.
NFL Free Agents Get Shown the Money
The NFL is such a well-organized league that it's occasionally enjoyable to monitor the free agent situation, which is the closest the league comes to losing control.
Most of the hot free agents were slapped with a franchise tag, traded (Randy Moss) or accepted an extension from their current team. So what's left is a decent second-level set of prospects out there. ESPN rates their top 32 available and this was before the Patriots released Troy Brown.
Speaking of Brown, I wouldn't be surprised if he stays in the northeast or within the division. Both Buffalo and the Jets could use his leadership on their team.
Spring Training Opens Today
And with that I give you my predictions for the MLB season, at least my early predictions so I reserve the right to change them after spring (depending on injuries and the such).
AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Twins
AL West: Angels of Anaheim
Wild Card: Red Sox
AL Cy Young: Barry Zito (22-5, 1.99)
AL MVP: Vladimir Guerrero (.341, 41 HR, 125 RBIs)
AL HR King: David Ortiz (47)
AL Batting Champion: Ichiro (.367)
NL East: Marlins
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Giants
Wild Card: Cubs
NL Cy Young: Kerry Wood (21-7, 2.11)
NL MVP: Carlos Delgado (.308, 46HR, 129 RBI)
NL HR King: Jim Thome (48)
NL Batting Champion: Todd Helton (.353)
He Said It
Atlanta Braves GM John Schuerholz, who has claimed to confront players in his clubhouse he suspected of steroid use, gave the following defense:
"I want to make this clear: As general managers, we didn't turn our heads away from players who might be using steroids because it was a benefit to us. No, if we turned our heads, it was out of frustration because there was nothing we could do about it. Sadly, we didn't have the authority to test players or fix the problem."
I'll say it again, the owners, GMs and the league are getting off WAY too easy on this issue.
Blazers Can Cheeks
Not surprisingly, the renegade Portland organization fired the only redeeming thing about them in head coach Maurice Cheeks.
Cheeks has had to put up with a few years of front-office mismanagement by extending contracts of his biggest headaches (Zach Randolph) and trading the one valuable they had Rasheed Wallace (himself a headache on occasion, although he's calmed down considerably as he's gotten older) for much of nothing.
However, Cheeks' defining moment in Portland will not be a coaching decision or an interview but rather his decision to assist 13-year old Natalie Gilbert when she wasn't able to gather herself to sing the national anthem.
It could've been a life-altering embarrassing moment for someone and Cheeks had the good nature to stand in and turn a bad situation into a good one. It was probably one of the most important assists Cheeks made in his entire basketball career.
"I don't know why I did it, it wasn't something I thought about. It's one of those things you just do. I wasn't sure whether I knew the words myself. I just didn't want her to be out there all alone."
I hope another team takes a chance on Cheeks.