Monday, March 21, 2005

CAMP TRANQUILITY ROCKED BY TURMOIL

Finally, the writers and talk show hosts have a conflict in spring training to froth over. Of course, the Herald broke the story—no doubt after digging for dirt since the end of February. Doug Mirabelli, back up catcher of the Gods, impugns the honor of Byung-Hyun Kim by calling him out as a loner. Stop the presses.

Seriously, that’s the best they can come up with? Yes, Kim is an introverted who uses the cultural and language barriers in place to shield himself (He’s been in the US since 1999 and he can’t speak English? What a joke!). Yes, flipping the bird to the boo-birds during pre-game introductions does not strengthen your relationship with the fans, but more than anything else, it has been his shoddy performances since August 2003 that have been the biggest problem anyone’s had with “BK” (As a side note, I refuse to refer to him as BK Kim—the Kim is the “K”—I’ll call him BH Kim, but not BK Kim.).

BK’s loss of mph on his fastball has doomed him more than any personality problems. A side-armer who throws 93 mph fastballs and a nasty slider at 88 mph is practically unhittable, as Kim was when he pitched for Arizona. At 86 mph and 80 mph he is nothing more than a AAA pitcher with a funky delivery. As Barry Bonds has proved, being unpopular on a personal level without your teammates does not necessarily preclude them from accepting you as a teammate. If they believe you give them a chance to win, most players will be happy to simply co-exist.

* * *

My brackets are in shambles. Adding injury to insult, the one team that really looked ripe for an upset Sunday night, the most-despised Duke Blue Devils, were on their heels with less than two minutes remaining against underdog #9 seed Mississippi State up by two and Miss State pushing the ball down court. So what happens? Miss State chokes big time, throwing the ball away, missing shots and basically sitting down, laying a giant egg, handing the game to Duke. Bleech—it left a bad taste in my mouth.

* * *

UConn, Syracuse, Pitt and BC all out and Villanova and West Virginia still alive in the Sweet Sixteen—I’m sorry, but NO ONE saw that coming!

* * *

Who would believe that come mid-March Boston would be addicted to the Celtics? I’m in withdrawal without any games until Wednesday. Another solid weekend for the green, as they went on the road and smacked around the Rockets and the Hornets. Sure Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce are back to the big 1-2 punch, but what the Celtics have that they missed during their 2002 run to the Eastern Conference finals was the balanced scoring to offset a bad night by Pierce or Walker. Ricky Davis is really part of the Big Three Lite, and LaFrentz can throw in twenty if the need is there. Also, all three point guards can shoot when points are needed. This team is looking good, but far from perfect. And that’s good—they want to peak in May, not march. There’s still time to improve.

* * *

There’s scant news coming from the NFL owner’s meetings in Hawaii this week. My only question is what rule is the Indianapolis Colts going to force through the committees to try to beat the Patriots next year? Will blitzers be forced to count to three-Mississippi? Do dome teams get a once-a-season right to switch an away game to a home game if the forecast calls for snow? Does Peyton Manning get to wear the red “no-contact” jersey during games instead of just at practices?

* * *

FullPressCoverage.com: New England Patriots’ Top 2019 NFL Draft Picks Show Evolution on Both Sides of the Ball

The New England Patriots may have tipped their hand with their first two 2019 NFL Draft picks. Choosing a bigger, more aggressive outside-...