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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Notes-Style Comments (With a Tip of the Hat to the Late Herb Caen)

Blogging from overseas. . .

1. "The One-Man's Junk is Another Man's Joy" Department. Click here to see what I mean. . . As for the college football coaching carousel, part of it has ground to a halt, as Cal's Jeff Tedford has received a five-year contract extension in Berzerkly. Given what he's done for that program, I'm surprised that the extension wasn't accompanied by a lifetime supply of tofu and sprouts and all the breakfasts that he can eat at Bette's Diner. . .Whither Rick Neuheisel? After all, now that Tedford has received his extension, Joe Paterno has more time at Penn State (as much, seemingly, as he wants), Urban Meyer has gone country at Florida and Kirk Ferentz seemingly is staying put at Iowa, the last report (and it's a month old) hints that the major schools are shunning the former Washington coach. The last time I had an inkling of shunning was in the movie Witness, when Kelly McGillis's character spoke of it in relation to the Amish and the Mennonites. That's serious stuff . . . Okay, so Neuheisel isn't JoePa (or even Lou Tepper), but he can coach and he admitted making a mistake. If Mike Price could resurface at UTEP (after what was reported to be a jaunty good time near Pensacola), then Neuheisel should resurface somewhere. And given the nature of his infraction (hijinks with high-stakes NCAA basketball tournament pool, as it was reported), it would seem that UNLV would be a nice fit. Guitar-playing coach in Las Vegas? That's not a bad act.

2. Is This Kid The Next Drew Henson? Duke hoops fans can breathe a sigh of relief that their already rich recruiting class got when two-sport star Greg Paulus signed a letter of intent to hoop there. Apparently, Paulus had wavered over the course of the past month as to what he wanted to do, and he's a Top-20 or so HS player. But, as good as a hoopster as he is, the reports over the past year had been that he is an even better football player -- the best QB prospect in HS. While playing basketball at Duke for Coach K is a great experience, you have to wonder whether the lure of the big bucks and the lingering spectre of what could have been will draw Paulus back to the gridiron if and/or when he realizes that his future in the NBA could amount to an end-of-the-bench role. That's not, of course, to say that's what Paulus's future is, but there is precedent for QBs who chose baseball to return to football, so why not QBs who choose basketball. After all, Paulus's hesitation in signing a letter of intent makes you wonder what he really wants to do. And how many HS seniors (let alone college seniors) really know that?

3. Baseball Hot Stove. Read a report that the Yankees are ready to sign their former farmhand, Eric Milton, who went 15-5 last year for the Phillies but had numbers worthy of the fifth starter of the Colorado Rockies (home games only). He gave up 43 homers and had a 1.5 WHIP, which means that the Phillies scored a bunch of runs for him. Milton was, I recall, a key part of the trade that brought the Yankees Chuck Knoblauch years ago. Yankee fans shouldn't be misled by the 15 wins, and they also should be frustrated if this is the best signing of a pitcher the front office can make. Especially if Carl Pavano ends up in Boston. . . I can see the MasterCard ad now in New York -- Payroll: $200 million. Money Tied Up in Jason Giambi's Contract: $72 million. Farm System: Useless. Agony of Being a Yankee Fan: Priceless. Okay, so it's not perfect, but the Yankees have a serious problem -- nothing to trade. The rich won't get richer here; they'll just spend more money to keep pace with Boston -- a pace that will have them gasping to keep up in the standings.

4. How the NFL Resembles "The Wizard of Oz." In the pre-season, the Seattle Seahawks were many pundits' pick to go to the Super Bowl. Now, they are 6-6 after blowing a late 10-point lead and losing to the Dallas Cowboys, 49-39 on MNF.

So here's the ditty:

The games we are a losin'
We might as well be boozin'
We're playing ourselves off the playoff chart
(da-doo-dah-doo-dah doo)

We might be doing better
If we wore an Eagles' sweater
If we only had a heart.

Harsh? Perhaps, but the team that was supposed to dazzle this year is 6-6 in a bad NFC. Again, this record raises the question of whether, with the exception of Andy Reid, coaches can make personnel decisions. Paul Holmgren went to Seattle with so much hope. If the Seahawks fail to make the playoffs this year, he could find himself looking for work. Imagine that, because it's hard to figure. And, if the Broncos fail to make the playoffs, Mike Shanahan likewise could find himself out of work, which probably would mark the first time that two Super Bowl championship coaches were fired in the same season.


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