The most amazing thing to me about the Diamondbacks being in first place is that they are doing it with just one of their starting pitchers having a winning record. I wouldn't be surprised if they are the the first team to hold that distinction this far into a season.
Patrick Corbin is 9-0 and the Diamondbacks have won every one of his starts except one. The rest of the starters are a combined 12-22.
Ian Kennedy is 3-4, Trevor Cahill is 3-8, Brandon McCarthy is 2-4 and Wade Miley is 4-6.
How a team can be in first place with four of their starters having losing records is beyond me. Yes, the Diamondbacks are good in one-run games and extra innings. But still, the numbers are mind-boggling. Take the other two division leaders in the National League. The Atlanta Braves have three of their starters with a winning record.
Mike Minor is 8-2, Julio Teheran is 5-3 and Paul Maholm is 7-5.
And in St. Louis none of their five main starters (the pitchers who have accumulated the most starts) have a losing record.
Shelby Miller is 8-4, Adam Wainwright is 10-3, Lance Lynn is 9-1, Jaime Garcia, who is out for the season, is 5-2 and Jake Westbrook is 2-2.
Other factors play a key role in winning a division -- mainly offense, defense and having a good bullpen. But Arizona has had a shaky bullpen most of the year and several of their key offensive players -- like Miguel Montero, Cody Ross, Martin Prado and Jason Kubel -- aren't producing.
Throw in the injuries to Aaron Hill, Daniel Hudson, Eric Chavez and Adam Eaton, and it's hard to fathom that Arizona is atop the National League West. Especially with the starting pitching struggling outside of Corbin.
He won't be going to the All-Star game. He won't get any Cy Young votes. But outside of Patrick Corbin, he has been the Arizona Diamondbacks' most important pitcher.
He is Josh Collmenter, and he is a rock. There has been some talk this week, with Kirk Gibson even hinting on my show, that Collmenter could start Tuesday, but that would be the wrong move. Collmenter is way too valuable in his current role of long reliever. Collmenter is 3-0 in extra inning games. He went five strong innings in a 16-inning win over the Cardinals on April 3rd, giving up just one run. He did it to the Cardinals again on June 4th, going four scoreless innings in a 14-inning marathon win. And Wednesday night he threw two scoreless innings to help the Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers in 12 innings.
Overall, Collmenter has a 2.86 ERA over 34 2/3 innings with 35 strikeouts and 11 walks. No relief pitcher has thrown as many innings -- not Brad Ziegler, not David Hernandez, not Matt Reynolds. No one. Collmenter is no specialist, he can pitch to lefties or righties, can go one inning or five innings. Throw in the fact that Arizona has played 10 extra inning games and has 19 come-from-behind victories, and you realize that these D-backs are in a lot of close games. Not having Collmenter available out of the bullpen because he is pitching every 5th day is a no-win situation. Sure he can spot start for a couple of games, but you better hope you don't need him in the games he is not starting in. It just doesn't seem worth it.
Collmenter doesn't get the glory. He doesn't light up a stat sheet. But there is not a team in baseball that wouldn't want him on their side.
Memo to Notre Dame: take this pitchfork and shove it where the sun doesn't shine.
That is exactly what ASU Athletic Director Steve Patterson told Notre Dame when they attempted to cancel their game at Sun Devil Stadium set for November 8, 2014.
Now, Notre Dame being Notre Dame they just assumed they could write a nice little check and ASU could go on their Sparky way and find some low level opponent to take their place. But Patterson put his foot down and his legal team to work, and most importantly stood firm. He basically told the Golden Domers that they will not be cancelling the game, that there will be no handing over of a check with an apology and that they will be playing in Tempe.
You see, ASU had a contract that said the only way the game could be cancelled was through an Act of God. There was no buyout clause.
Notre Dame, which dropped Michigan and Purdue that same year in an effort to appease their contract with the ACC just figured ASU would follow suit.
But as Lee Corso says, "Not so fast my friend".
Patterson was having none of it. That is an important home game for the Sun Devils and the community. They will sell out Sun Devil Stadium, restaurants and hotels will be packed. Merchandise will be sold. Tax money generated. Cars rented. By cancelling the game a lot of businesses and people would be affected.
Notre Dame, finally realized Patterson was no push over (Lisa Love), buckled.
ASU stuck up for themselves and their fans and the game will be played.
The return trip to South Bend in 2017 was cancelled, but who cares. That was not a money generator for the Sun Devils. They have plenty of time to fill that void.
Credit Patterson for not allowing the Irish and their pot of gold to step all over him and the Sun Devil family.
I can fully understand the Arizona Diamondbacks wanting to get the word out to its fans to vote for Paul Goldschmidt for the National League All-Star team.
What I don't understand is anyone being upset that he is currently third in the voting.
Look, we all would love it if Goldy was running away with the voting and would start at first base at CitiField in the Midsummer Classic. Goldschmidt is having a great year, hitting .336 with 14 home runs and 53 runs batted in.
Quite frankly I am surprised and somewhat happy that he has gotten as many votes as he has at this time. No other Diamondbacks player can be found anywhere near the top of the voting for their position. Now you can look at it as the glass half empty seeing him behind Joey Votto and Brandon Belt and wonder how. But I like to look at it optimistically, with the glass half full. The D-backs' first baseman is ahead of Freddie Freeman, Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Howard, Allen Craig, Todd Helton, Adam LaRoche and a few others. Those are some big names and the fact that Goldschmidt has more votes than those guys says a lot about how baseball fans view him.
He is going to be in the All-Star Game this year, not as a starter but as a reserve. But the reality in the voting is that Goldschmidt is getting plenty of attention.
Forget the 50-game suspension. Forget the 100-game suspension. If you really want to get these Major League baseball players to stop using performance enhancing drugs then there is one and only one solution -- void the contracts. Go back to the drawing board with the Players Association and insist on any failed drug test from this point forward resulting in the player's contract being null and void.
So Alex Rodriguez doesn't see a dime of the $100 million left on his deal, which runs through 2017. And Ryan Braun can kiss that 5-year, $105 million contract extension he signed in 2011 goodbye. Same goes for Detroit's Jhonny Peralta and the $6 million he is pocketing this year.
Hit 'em where it hurts -- in the wallets. If a player signs a multi-year contract worth millions in guaranteed money and he knows that if he cheats and gets caught he loses all of that money, then why on earth would he cheat? He wouldn't. Right now the punishment is not severe enough to act as a deterrent. Players don't fear a 50-game suspension the way they should. The chance to put up bigger numbers to earn that next big contract is worth the risk. Heck, Melky Cabrera got caught cheating last year with San Francisco, got suspended for 50 games and then signed a two-year deal with Toronto for $16 million. Insanity.
This was supposed to be the post-steroid era. But it's not. And the only way Commissioner Bud Selig can change it is to do something so drastic that the players will be fearful of cheating, and that's to take their money away.
We have paid so much attention to Justin Upton and his amazing April and awful May, and rightfully so. Upton was the first overall pick and the player that was supposed to be a superstar for the Arizona Diamondbacks. But Upton wasn't the only player the Diamondbacks shipped out in an effort to build a grit and grind baseball team and create a better clubhouse atmosphere. Before Upton was dealt to Atlanta, his partners in crime on the three amigos were Ryan Roberts and Chris Young.
I had a chance to watch the A's beat the Giants Wednesday night and saw Young strike out as a pinch hitter. I have to admit I haven't paid a lot of attention to what Young or Roberts have been doing this year, but decided after watching Young punch out weakly to take a closer look. And man have both guys been just brutal this season.
As bad as Young was with the bat in Arizona -- he has a career average of .237 -- he would be jumping for joy if he had that average this season. He is hitting a miserable .185 with five home runs and 21 runs batted in for Oakland. He is in the last year of a contract that is paying him $8.5 million. He does have a club option for $11 million next year, but there is not a snowball's chance in hell that it will be picked up. Instead he will get a $1.5 million buyout. So Oakland, which acquired CY in a three-team trade that saw Arizona get Heath Bell and Cliff Pennington, is paying a whopping $10 million this year for a player who can't hit the Mendoza Line. While in Arizona, Young was a great defensive center fielder and you lived with his lack of offense because of his defense. But that offense was much better than what he is producing now. His last three years in Arizona his on-base percentage was .341, .331 and .311. This year it's -- drum roll please -- .277. OUCH. With that type of production Young might be hard-pressed to even stay in the league next year. No one wants that production from a starter, and how much do teams pay for late inning defensive replacements these days? Maybe a minor league contract with an invitation to a major league camp. Good thing for him Josh Byrnes, the former D-backs GM, paid him. Good thing for Arizona they're not paying him anymore.
As for Roberts, I have to admit I loved the Tat Man and what he brought to the table. He hit 19 home runs and drove in 65 runs while hitting .249 the year the D-backs went 94-68 and won the Division. He got shipped out last season to Tampa Bay for a minor league second baseman named Tyler Bortnick. This season, Roberts is hitting .234 with three home runs and 11 runs batted in and a disastrous .286 on base percentage. Roberts was a grit and grind player so he may have fit the D-backs' mold, but his lack of production last season coupled with the organization wanting to break up the dynamic of the three amigos in an effort to get Upton going made him very expendable.
So while all eyes are on Upton, there are other former Diamondbacks who weren't part of the plan either.
The potential season-ending Achilles injury to Michael Crabtree could have a huge effect on the NFC West race this season. Crabtree, who had 85 catches for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns last season, was clearly Colin Kaepernick's favorite target and was turning into one of the better receivers in the NFL. The 49ers do have the talent to overcome the loss. They added Anquan Boldin to the receiving corps this offseason. They have an offensive line built around three first-round picks and a dominant runner in Frank Gore, so they could easily adjust to running the ball more. And they have a great tight end in Vernon Davis, who could become more of a focal point of the offense again. But not having their top receiver will hurt.
The one team that may benefit most from Crabtree's absence is the Cardinals. In two games vs. Arizona, Crabtree had 13 catches for 244 yards and four touchdowns. In the 49ers' 24-3 win in Week 8 with Alex Smith as the quarterback, he had five receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Playing with Kaepernick in the final game of the regular season, Crabtree torched the Cardinals for eight receptions for 172 yards and two more touchdowns in a 27-13 victory, and in the process became the first 49er to go over 1,000 yards receiving since 2003.
So if Crabtree does indeed miss the entire season, Arizona will be one of many teams who won't miss him.
Read an interesting sabermetrics-type article on Paul Goldschmidt by Scott Spratt of ESPN the other day. His article was about how Goldschmidt was "Setting the MVP Pace".
Now for anyone who listens to the show, they know I am the furthest thing from a sabermetrics geek. I'm just not that interested in some of those crazy numbers. I prefer the eye test and your basic average, home runs, runs batted in, doubles and steals numbers. I was intrigued by the facts in the article that Goldschmidt was the 11th first baseman selected in that 2009 draft, the 246th player and the 13th D-back selected.
So I decided to do some homework as to why Goldschmidt wasn't picked higher, why there were so many players at his position picked ahead of him. I picked the brain of former D-backs skipper and director of Minor League operations A.J. Hinch, who now is in San Diego with the Padres. In a nutshell, he said the report on Goldschmidt at the time they drafted him was that he was a pretty good offensive player with legitimate power, plus make up who was solid defensively. The concerns on Goldy were competition in college (Texas State) and questions as to whether he could hit enough to get to his power.
It was D-backs scout Tom Allison who was big on drafting Goldschmidt and thought he would be a good Major Leaguer. But no one in the organization could have seen this coming.
Goldschmidt is an MVP candidate and a Triple Crown threat. Goldy is second in the National League in home runs with 12, third in runs batted in with 36 and seventh in batting at .323. He has become a player that can carry a team. And his defense, while not at the Keith Hernandez/Don Mattingly level, is awfully good.
Just for fun here are the players Arizona drafted before Goldschmidt that year.
By now the Justin Upton trade has been evaluated every which way possible. And unfortunately for Martin Prado, he will always be compared to the former D-backs' top overall pick, and there is not much he can do about it.
But while I am a big believer that in every trade there is a winner and loser, I do think there is an angle to this trade that hasn't been discussed but needs to be. And that is that Prado, while traded for Upton, did not replace him. Prado, in essence, replaced Chris Johnson. It's Cody Ross who actually replaced Upton.
So it's a better indicator to look at how Prado compares to Diamondback third basemen from last year and how Ross compares to Upton. Now Ross missed the first 10 games of the season with a bum calf, but since coming off the disabled list, he is hitting .290 with a homer and 10 RBIs. Not comparable to Upton's 13 homers, 23 runs batted in and .285 average, but numbers that aren't bad.
It's easier to compare player for player when they play the same position, ala Jarrod Parker for Trevor Cahill.
Now history shows that the team that gets the best player almost always wins the trade, so I do expect history when all is said and done will show the Braves got the better of the deal.
But if you compare Prado to D-backs third basemen and Ross to Upton, it's a more fair comparison.
The Phoenix Suns say that Lindsey Hunter is still a candidate for the head coaching vacancy, but he has about a snowball's chance in hell of actually getting the job.
I'm sure at some point Hunter was promised an interview with the new general manager and that is why he is still a candidate. And I'm sure newly-hired GM Ryan McDonough was asked to keep an open mind about Hunter when he took the job. So at some point, McDonough and Hunter will actually meet and talk, and I don't expect the Suns' interim coach to be able to blow away the kid from Boston during the interview process. So with that being said, here are the four candidates who have a legitimate shot at being the next head coach of the Phoenix Suns.
1) Kelvin Sampson - The former college head coach at Washington State, Oklahoma and Indiana is going to get a gig running a show in the NBA. He has NBA experience in recent years as an assistant in Milwaukee and San Antonio. He is a hot candidate, with Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Charlotte all interested in interviewing him.
2) Quin Snyder - The former Missouri head coach has resurrected his career by working his tail off. He has worked as an assistant with the 76ers, coached in the D-League with the Austin Toros, worked in Los Angeles with the Lakers as an assistant and in Russia with CSKA Moscow.
3) Brian Shaw - After 15 years as a player in the NBA, which included being a part of five championship teams, Shaw spent seven years as an assistant coach of the Lakers and has been with Indiana as an associate head coach since 2011.
4) Mike Budenholzer - The Arizona native played professionally in Europe. He has been a San Antonio Spurs assistant since 1996.
There is no easy answer, no quick fix. The Arizona Diamondbacks' bullpen is abysmal with an astonishing 10 blown saves in just a month of baseball. The best news for the Diamondbacks is they can't blow a save Thursday because they don't play.
Everyone wants answers. They want changes. They want demotions, call-ups, whatever it takes to fix this mess. But the truth is the Diamondbacks have no choice but to ride this out and hope their three struggling relievers that are being counted on to close the door on opponents late in games will work this out.
Time will tell, but all three guys -- J.J. Putz, David Hernandez and Heath Bell -- are proven in this league. This isn't like the D-backs' bullpen of 2010 which had a 5.74 ERA, the seventh-worst ever, with clowns like Chad Qualls, Esmerling Vasquez, Blaine Boyer and Juan Gutierrez among others. I know the stats may seem similar, but the talent level is not. The current Diamondback trio has 359 saves. Putz has a career ERA of 3.07, Bell 3.35 and Hernandez 4.07. The way they are pitching now is not indicative of the way they have pitched in their careers.
Putz is better than a 4.26 ERA with four blown saves. Hernandez is better than a 4.61 ERA and three blown saves. And Bell, despite his struggles last year in Miami, is better than a 5.91 ERA and one blown save. The hard part about all of this is that all three relievers are struggling at the same time. That usually doesn't happen. None of these guys are able to pick the other one up. And it hasn't helped that the starters can't finish a game to give the bullpen a blow.
So no, you can't send any of these guys down. Matt Reynolds is not going to be the closer and they are not trading for anyone in May. They will hand the ball to these guys, show trust in them and believe they will get the job done. It's not the answer everyone wants right now but patience is their only option. They have too much time and money invested in those three players and aren't about to kick them to the curb just yet.
I'm sure that Arizona is happy with Martin Prado, he is a good player and fit a need for the Diamondbacks. I'm also sure that if Justin Upton had stayed here, he wouldn't be off to this hot of a start. But come on already -- 11 freakin' home runs by April 24th!
Those who want to criticize Upton will point to his .200 batting average with runners in scoring position or his .179 batting average with men on base. To them I say "SHUT UP." Seriously! Upton has 11 home runs; that trumps anything else he is doing and ends the discussion. No other argument needed!
I had a fun rant with my radio partner Dave Burns on Upton's numbers with men on base and in scoring position. I think I said something like Atlanta should trade him now and maybe he needs to take a seat for a while or maybe he should be part of a platoon. Basically my point was made. Who cares about those numbers when he has 11 dongs?
Upton's 11 home runs are the most in baseball. There is a really good chance he will hit 40, maybe 50 homers this year, which hasn't been done in the National League since Prince Fielder hit 50 in 2007. It's not easy to hit 50 home runs anymore, but Upton has a legitimate chance.
You can make the argument that the change of scenery was necessary for him and I agree with that. It wasn't going to work here, not with all the trade talk over the last two years wearing on him. He needed a fresh start and that's unfortunate, because he is a tremendously talented player that is still only 25. He had six years and around 2,500 at bats to prove himself here and establish himself as a star and it didn't happen. He was a good player in Arizona, just not great. So maybe it was never going to happen here.
Now I'm not comparing Upton to Hank Aaron, but don't you think the old-time baseball fans in Atlanta are telling their grandchildren about how Upton reminds them of Hammerin Hank? I mean come on -- 11 bombs already! How can that not remind those fans of Aaron?
It's a long season, I know Upton is going to cool off. There is going to be a slump. He's not going to hit 100 home runs.
In his first game, Patrick Corbin shut down the Milwaukee Brewers over six innings in a 9-2 Diamondbacks win. He followed that up by outdueling Clayton Kershaw by throwing six shutout innings in a 3-0 D-backs win. And Thursday, with his team on the verge of being swept by the New York Yankees, Arizona's 23-year-old lefty threw a gem, tossing seven sensational innings while giving up only one run on two hits in what turned out to be a Diamondbacks victory in extra innings.
In three starts, Corbin is 2-0 with an ERA of 1.42. This after he broke into the major leagues last year and went 6-8 with a 4.54 ERA over 17 starts. That Corbin is off to a great start and contributing this early in his D-backs career is no surprise; then-interim general manager Jerry DiPoto expected such when he pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Dan Haren to the Angels for Joe Saunders, Tyler Skaggs, Rafael Rodriguez and Corbin.
"We believed he had the ceiling to develop into a mid-rotation three,four type starter," Dipoto said.
And while Saunders was the major league-ready pitcher they wanted back, and Skaggs the top prospect in the deal, Corbin wasn't a throw in.
"No, he was in the discussion from the very beginning," he added.
This year, Corbin is pitching ahead in the count and has better command of his secondary pitches, and that is allowing him to flat out dominate early in the season. Just how good Corbin can be is still unknown, but clearly the start he is off to this year further cements that trade as a great one of Arizona and gives the D-backs another young player with a bright future.
This is going to be one busy and exciting offseason for the Phoenix Suns. With two first round draft picks, decisions to be made on the general manager and the interim coach and, of course, what to do with players like Luis Scola, Marcin Gortat, Michael Beasley, Marcus Morris and Wesley Johnson, Phoenix has some work to do.
In the case of Johnson, he has obviously benefited from the coaching change and got his career on track by averaging 10.5 points and shooting 42% from the field and 32% from three-point range since the switch from Alvin Gentry to Lindsey Hunter. Before the coaching change, he averaged just 2.4 points on 31% shooting in 7.4 minutes per game. He is a talented wing player, long and athletic, with the knocks on him being he doesn't play defense, is an inconsistent shooter and lacks toughness. In reality he is a dime-a-dozen player and when it comes to re-signing him, it should only be at the right price. And that price is the NBA veteran's minimum or maybe a tad more. At the very most, the Suns should keep Johnson at around $2 million per season. But if somebody wants to pay him more, then the Suns shouldn't care and should let him go.
Trust me, nobody will miss Johnson if he is gone and he can be easily replaced and you don't pay good money to players like that. There are tons of decent players in the league making the veteran's minimum and dozens of players in the D-League just waiting for the chance to prove they can average 10 points a game. If Johnson wants to stay and continue to develop, then Phoenix could be the place for him and he would be welcomed back. But if he is looking to cash in, then cash in somewhere else.
The decision should come down in the next 10 days, maybe sooner. Will Lindsey Hunter be back as coach of the Phoenix Suns next season?
If this week is any indication, that answer will be 'no.'
I believe this week has sealed Hunter's fate and it has nothing to do with the recent 10-game losing streak, the franchise-record home losing streak or the fact they hadn't won a game since March 18 before beating the Mavericks Wednesday night.
It has everything to do with what players are saying. Michael Beasley started it off by saying he doesn't listen to anyone anymore, including his coaches. Now anything Beasley says, you take with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, when your $18 million project says he is tuning out the coaching, it's not good.
But more importantly, it's what Luis Scola said that makes it perfectly clear that change is needed.
"We just don't know how to play well," Scola said. "We don't know how to play basketball and that's why we lose. We saw the problem pretty much the first week and we couldn't fix it."
Now Beasley is one thing, but Scola is one of the most respected players in the game. And if he is saying the Suns don't know how to play basketball then they don't know how to play basketball.
Hunter is 10-27 for a .270 winning percentage as the Suns coach. That's not bad, it's downright awful, embarrassing and pathetic. He doesn't have a lot to work with as Lance Blanks hasn't exactly built a team worth the price of admission.
But Hunter and his message are clearly not working. The Suns haven't gotten better under him, they've gotten worse! So it's time for a new voice, a coach who can teach this team how to play basketball.
Now that the college basketball season is over, the Phoenix Suns -- whose season has been over for a few months now -- can turn their attention to the NBA Draft figuring to have a top 4 pick.
And after watching Trey Burke throughout the NCAA Tournament and during the season when he was National Player of the Year, there is no doubt the Suns have to consider him with their first-round pick. Burke is a complete player. He can shoot, handle the ball and has great court vision. At 6-feet, 190 pounds, what Burke lacks is size.
Now I'm not saying the Suns should draft Burke, but they must consider it and do their due diligence on him. There are bigger point guards in this draft like Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State (6-4, 220) and Michael-Carter Williams of Syracuse (6-6, 185), but Burke has better skills. The problem with drafting a point guard is the Suns have a good one in Goran Dragic, and having Dragic and Burke on the same team is not ideal. Sure, they could play some together, but again it's not ideal. The Suns have other bigger needs than point guard, so unless Burke absolutely blows them away, I lean to go get a small forward, shooting guard or possibly a center.
I still like Kansas freshman Ben McLemore if he is there -- he has star potential as well. Georgetown's Otto Porter, UNLV's Anthony Bennett and Kentucky's Nerlens Noel will all be in the mix as top five picks. Also while there are no sure things in this draft, Burke does have All-Star potential, and there aren't many players in this draft you can say that about.
If McLemore and Noel are both gone, then Burke should at the very least be an option for the Suns.
After a week of talking about coaching abuse, failed drug tests, cheating and bounties in the world of college sports, I am ready for some Peyton Siva, Trey Burke, zone defense and the Shockers!
When Louisville and Wichita State tip off Saturday we can finally, even for a few brief hours, turn our attention away from the negatives of college sports and focus on what we really care about most -- the games.
We can all debate whether Ed Rush should have been fired, Auburn should be stripped of its National Championship or if the coach, athletic director and president at Rutgers should all be gone. And to a certain extent, we do care about those topics and yes, we enjoy controversy. But we can't watch those issues outside of a minute video of Mike Rice throwing basketballs at his players.
So let the games begin so we can allow sports to do what they are supposed to do, entertain us
How Ed "T 'em up" Rush still has a job with the Pac-12 as its coordinator of officials is beyond comprehension.
How Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott can back an investigation that said Rush's bounty comments about Arizona coach Sean Miller were made with no ill will intended is ludicrous.
Scott has done a nice job as commissioner, but this one is going to backfire on him. And the problem now is that he has backed himself into a corner and can't fire Rush. His investigation said that Rush was just kidding when he told a group of referees that he would give them five grand or a trip to Cancun if they ran Miller or rang him up during the Pac-12 Tournament. He said in a radio interview that he determined that what Rush said was not a fireable offense.
So now with all the media backlash on Rush, how can Scott change his mind and fire him? It is the right thing to do, but I doubt Scott can admit he was wrong. He has an ego just like Rush did -- and trust me, Rush's ego is enormous. What Rush said was just plain stupid and serious enough that someone in that room felt strong enough about it that he informed Arizona officials of what was going on.
I am also hearing from someone with ties to referees in that room that when the technical came down on Miller, some officials that were in that room "freaked out" knowing that there was a good chance this was going to blow up. And blow up it has.
You have to wonder just how much Rush hates Miller in order to say those things. Sure, Miller can get fired up on the sideline and maybe Rush is sick of his antics, but come on. Putting a bounty on him is ridiculous. Why say it if you don't mean it?
I'm not buying that it was a joke and neither is anyone else. Scott should admit his mistake and fire Rush, but his ego may be too big to do it.
The image of Louisville's Kevin Ware lying on the court near the Cardinal bench in Indianapolis is not one I care to remember. I saw the replay once and that was enough for me.
It was easily one of the worst injuries I have ever seen in sports. Others like Marcus Lattimore, Napoleon Kaufman, Stephen Drew and Joe Theismann come to mind. But this one was different -- not because of the severity of the injury, but because of the reaction. On such a big stage with all those camera angles and in high definition, we got to see up close how that injury affected so many people. I did watch the play back several times on Sunday but not to watch the actual injury, but to watch the reaction. Teammates on the court, on the bench, Duke players, both coaches and the fans all had visible reactions to the injury.
It was that reaction that made this a little different because in all the other injuries that I can recall seeing, I have never seen coaches crying, players on the verge of fainting and vomiting. I wonder -- if the injury had happened in the second half and Coach Pitino didn't have a halftime to rally the troops and give his "Win One for the Gipper" speech -- could Louisville still have won?
Those players were distraught and I believe needed that halftime to regroup. And regroup they did.
Been there done that and nine times out of ten, it doesn't work.
The Arizona Cardinals should just say 'no' to another retread quarterback in Carson Palmer and try something very foreign to them -- draft and develop a signal caller. And I'm not talking about taking someone in the later rounds that rarely works, I'm talking about someone in rounds one through three.
But let's get back to Palmer. He will likely be cut by the Raiders and available. But do you really want another old, unhappy quarterback?
Somehow I see Boomer Esiason all over again. Sorry, but it's just not worth the stop-gap time. Palmer's okay -- he's better than what they have, but that's not saying much.
I'd rather win 4-5 games with Drew Stanton or Brian Hoyer than win 6-7 with Palmer. That way you get a better pick in 2014 and have a better chance of drafting a QB if you don't grab one this year. Palmer can't get Arizona to the playoffs -- not in this division -- so why bother?
Arizona is notorious for the retread and while it worked with Kurt Warner, it failed with Esiason, Kent Graham, Dave Brown and Derek Anderson just to name a few.
So draft Glennon in the second round or go with Stanton or Hoyer, but pass on the 33-year-old guy who never seems to be happy where he is and never seems to win!
So while the NCAA Tournament is generating huge television ratings and tons of excitement, it has done nothing to whet the appetite of Suns fans clamoring for a superstar.
The top five picks in this draft will likely be Nerlens Noel of Kentucky, Ben McLemore of Kansas, Anthony Bennett of UNLV, Cody Zeller of Indiana and Otto Porter of Georgetown. Others in contention for top-10 status are Victor Oladipo of Indiana, Shabazz Muhammad of UCLA and Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State.
The NCAA Tournament provides fans a great look at these prospects in pressure situations. But so far none -- and I mean none -- of these top prospects has wowed anyone. The best showing we had by any of these players was Oladipo in the win over Temple.
Let's eliminate Noel, who had a serious knee injury this season and didn't play when Kentucky got bounced in the first round of the NIT. And we will break down each of the others' performances thus far.
Anthony Bennett: In a loss to Cal in first round he was 4-11 from the field, scoring 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Marcus Smart: In the first round loss to Oregon he shot 5-13 from the field while scoring 14 points. He grabbed 9 rebounds, had 5 turnovers and tallied 4 assists.
Otto Porter: In the first round loss to Cinderella Florida Gulf Coast, he shot 5-17 from the field, scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Shabazz Muhammad: In the first round loss to Minnesota he shot 6-18 from the field, 0-6 on three pointers, scored 20 points and grabbed 4 rebounds.
Ben McLemore: In first round win over Western Kentucky he shot 2-5 from the field for 11 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. In the second round win over North Carolina he was 0-9 from the field for 2 points and 5 rebounds.
Cody Zeller: In the first round win over James Madison he shot 4-5 from field for 11 points with 4 rebounds, and in the second round win over Temple was 4-10 from the field 15 points and 6 rebounds.
Victor Oladipo: In the first round win over James Madison was 3-7 from the field for 11 points and 6 rebounds, and in the second round win over Temple was 7-12 from the field 16 points, 8 rebounds and the huge 3-pointer that won the game. But -- and the big but -- on his performance was the guy he was guarding, Khalif Wyatt, went for 31 and went by him like he was a turnstile in the first half.
So with that being said, there are some good players in this draft, but the reality is there are no stars. This is a pitiful draft, plain and simple. And none of the guys playing in this tournament have had a shining moment.
The Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals have been in existence since the team moved here from St. Louis in 1988.
In that time they have had 225 draft picks, but none more important than the third round pick they used in 2001 on a safety out of North Carolina State named Adrian Wilson.
At the time, the Cardinals were coming off of a 3-13 season and had put up just one winning season in their time in the desert. They were easily considered one of the worst organizations in professional sports.
Wilson could have easily bid his time in Arizona, accepted all the losing, and bid Arizona farewell when his rookie contract ended. But he wasn't wired that way. He wanted to win and he wanted to win here.
Wilson believed he could change the perception of this organization, and he did. Not singlehandedly, he had plenty of help from future draft picks like Darnell Dockett, Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, Karlos Dansby, Antrel Rolle and a few others. But Wilson was here first.
He had the greatest impact. He was the leader when those other players got here and because he was OK being here, they were OK being here. They changed the culture, they changed the perception, they changed the mentality. And in a five-year span from 2007-11, the Arizona Cardinals had only one losing season.
Many had a hand in making the Arizona Cardinals relevant, but none more so than #24.
It will be a sad day when the Arizona Cardinals and the City of Glendale announce a 15-year agreement for the professional football team to host its training camp in the West Valley city.
Training camp in Flagstaff at the campus of Northern Arizona University has been a great Arizona tradition, just like Camp Tontozona is for Arizona State. The Cardinals have held training camp in Flagstaff every year since 1988 except one, when they moved to Prescott.
Having training camp in Flagstaff creates $10 million in economic revenue, but the reason this is not a great idea has little to do with money.
Having training camp in Flagstaff is a great bonding experience for families. Over the 16 years I have been to Flagstaff to cover training camp, I have encountered hundreds of fathers taking their sons and/or daughters out for a week or a weekend. For a father it's a great way to spend time with your children, allow them to meet the players up close and personal, spend precious time going out to breakfast, lunch and dinner together. Maybe going on a hike, hitting a movie etc…
Those are experiences of a lifetime for young children, and I just don't see heading over to Glendale for a couple of hours being comparable.
She had 14 days from today to sign and date the document for it to become official. But she had no need to take that long. She was not allowed to sign it until 7:00 a.m. Wednesay morning, so she signed it at 7:01 in the auditorium of Desert Vista High School in front of friends, family and coaches. Since she is not 21 years of age, I had to sign it as well. But only after reading all six pages quite a few times. The document is called a National Letter of Intent or for sports purposes a LOI, and today my daughter Kaylee Gambadoro officially signed her LOI to play Division I soccer at Loyola Chicago on a full scholarship.
It is the culmination of a lot of hard work, dedication, sweat, tears, late nights practicing and even later nights doing homework, long car rides, long plane rides, long bus rides, long weekends away from home, lots of ice baths, lots of cleats, lost balls, one day in a New Mexico hospital with a concussion, lost toe nails, lots of scars, even more raspberries from slide tackles, plenty of missed school events, dances, parties, football games and the list goes on and on and on. Needless to say there were a lot of sacrifices, including some friends who had different priorities in high school.
But it got her to where she is at now and she will get to fulfill her dream of playing college soccer at the highest level, and in the process become the first Gambadoro to go to college. Hard to believe, especially when you hear how intelligent I sound, I know, but it's true. And more importantly than the soccer, she will get an outstanding education at one of the top colleges in the country.
Kaylee started playing soccer for the Gilbert Arsenal when she was 7, moved over to the Ladybugs when she was 11 and then to Sereno when she was 14 where she was a part of a great run by the Sereno 95 Girls that saw them win five state championships. In her final year of club soccer after her Sereno team disbanded, she is playing for the defending state champion Tucson Soccer Academy and making the three-hour round trip commute for practice three times per week.
In the span of a weekend the Phoenix Suns fired the wrong guy and then they hired the wrong guy.
The whirlwind 48-hour so-called interview process that followed the surprising firing of head coach Alvin Gentry and subsequent hiring of Lindsey Hunter on an interim basis was nothing more than a charade. And make no mistake about it, Gentry was fired, it wasn't a mutual decision to part ways.
Neither Elston Turner and his 14 years of coaching experience or Dan Majerle and his five-plus years had a snowball's chance in hell of getting the job.
Not as long as general manager Lance Blanks, who has ruined this team with bad move after bad move, was still employed.
Blanks was always hiring his no-experienced buddy Hunter, whom he brought in not as a coach, but as a player development guy, who somehow was allowed to bark out instructions from behind the bench even though he wasn't on the coaching staff.
Blanks even told people at the time he hired Hunter not to be threatened by Hunter because he wasn't going to be coaching.
How loyal, experienced coaches who were next in line could be passed over by someone who has been here for just a few months tells you everything you need to know about Blanks.
The same Blanks who inked Michael Beasley to a three-year deal, but didn't want O.J. Mayo.
The same Blanks who traded Goran Dragic and a first round pick to Houston for Aaron Brooks.
The same Blanks who signed Eric Gordon to a max contract offer sheet with no chance of actually being able to land him.
Yes, that Blanks who appears to be in way over his head as a general manager just as president of basketball operations Lon Babby is at his position.
The reality is that Hunter would have been hard-pressed to get a job as a head coach in the D League but somehow was good enough, with no experience, to get the head job here.
Look, this is the worst hiring since Michael Jordan pegged Sam Vincent to coach the Charlotte Bobcats. It's downright ridiculous and proves that the Lance/Lon duo doesn't have a clue.
The players were asked there opinion and the majority wanted Majerle. Neither Majerle or Turner were at Sunday's practice and you can bet your bottom dollar they both will want out after witnessing this joke of a process. And that's a shame as both are qualified good basketball men.
The sad part is that the owner Robert Sarver, who at times gets a bad rep but desperately wants to win and has spent the money to win, has been snowed by the duo he now has in charge.
Hopefully by the off-season Sarver comes to his senses and will find the right people to run his organization.
The boys he has in charge now are running it into the ground.