Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Life of (Rick) Reilly and other Major League Stuff

In the 2/8/2010 issue of ESPN magazine, Rick Reilly was on a roll (with the lettuce and tomatoes). His article entitled Some See Jocks Behaving Badly. I See a Cup Half-Full.

Here are some of the morsels of delight...

You can't knock the smile off my face with a snowball. I am Optimist Prime. You see a recession? I see a pawnshop boom. You see global warning? I see terrific new surf spots.

It's been bad news if you're a Mark McGwire fan. He copped to using steroids throughout the '90's, which surprised exactly three (3) people, all of them at the Beijing Dominos Association.

It's been bad news if you're a Tiger Woods fan. Unless you think launching a Scud missile into the middle of your family, losing tens of millions a year in endorsements and having to live like Howard Hughes is a sweet move.

...Lane Kiffin, an unproven, scatter-mouthed, rule-breaking 34-year old whose combined head coaching record is 12-21. Kiffin's leaving the Vols was especially bad news for Kiffin's 1-year old. Monte Knox Kiffin, whose middle name is an homage to Knoxville. Honey, do you have the Wite-Out? Maybe we can pencil in "Troy" on the birth certificate?

...Trading Pete Carroll for Kiffin as your crosstown rival (UCLA) is like trading a hangman for a hangnail.

Some Major League Baseball Prospects according to ESPN mag (same issue as Rick Reilly article)... Max Kepler, 16, OF, Twins. Home Country: Germany Germany's top export: Charlie Getzien (145 wins, 1884-1892).

Many German immigrants played pro ball around the turn of the 20th century but that pipeline dried up. (Yeh, something called World War I.) Last July the Twins gave Kepler an $800,000 bonus-the most ever for a European position player. Kepler, son of ballet dancers, is understandably raw, but his blend of power, speed and athletic grace reminds scouts of J.D. Drew.

Hak-Julee, 19, Cubs. Home Country: South Korea. South Korea's top export: Chan Ho Park (120 career wins). Lee, who signed in 2008 for $725,000 was money in his stateside debut: He hit .330 and stole 25 bases for Boise of the short-season Northwest League. Those numbers look even better when you consider his competition was mostly players drafted out of college. The 6'2" 170-pound Lee has the makings of a classic leadoff man. His blazing speed led one scout to dub him the Korean Jose Reyes.

Alex Liddi, 21, third-baseman, Mariners, Home Country: Italy. Italy's Top Export: Reno Bertoia (batted .244 from 1953-1962).

After three ho-hum years in the minors, the 6'4" 176-pound Liddi, broke out last season, batting .345 with 23 homers Class A-High Desert. Playing in one of the best hitter's parks in the minors didn't hurt but scouts also love Liddi's lean frame and athleticism.

Jurickson Profar 16, SS, Rangers. Home Country: Curacao. Curacoa's Top Export: Andruw Jones (388 career home runs). The 6'1", 185-pound prefers to play every day, passing up the chance to pitch. The Rangers gave him a 1.55 million bonus last July. Profar, who homered in Curacao's 2004 Little League World Series title game victory, was the talk of the instructional leagues this past fall.

Julio Teheran 19, RHP; Braves. Home Country: Colombia. Colombia's Top Export: Edgar Renteria (2,185 career hits).

Only one Colombian pitcher-2006 Mariner Emiliano Fruto- has ever won a big league game. Braves signed him in 2007 for $850,000. The 6'2" 160-pound righty dominated the rookie-level Appalachian League in 2009, posting a 2.68 ERA for Danville.


K Korner by Tim Kurkjian

Why did the Kansas City Royals give 35-year-old Jason Kendall a 2-year, $6 million contract? KC pitchers led the majors with 89 wild pitches last year, and catcher Miguel Olivo led all backstops with 10 passed balls. Kendall had just 4, and the team thinks the pitching staff will be more confident with the veteran behind the plate.

By re-signing catcher Benjie Molina, the Giants have shown they clearly believe their top prospect, Buster Posey, needs more time in the minors. "He can hit in the big leagues right now," says one scout. "But I saw him in the Arizona Fall League, and I don't think he can catch Tim Lincecum's stuff yet."


Who could have guessed nature's call could lead to a call to a lawyer? In 2008, a fan who said he merely took a potty break during the seventh-inning singing of "God Bless America" was promptly booted from Yankee Stadium. "If a club conditions something like that," says Matt Mitten, director of Marquette's National Sports Law Institute, "it has to provide notice up front, put it on the back of the ticket, make announcements and spell out the consequences." Because the Yanks didn't, the desperate fan took home $10,000 and the seventh-inning stretch now extends all the way to the can. (One of those Blue Collar comedians, Bill Engvall, has that bit of needing to have a sign for everything. Un-be-lieve-able. Only in America, eh Don King?)

(thanks to ESPN mag for the information)

Kevin Marquez