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Newz Forum: OTHER: Kwame Brown, PJ Carlissimo, George Steinbrenner, Maurice Clarett, the KC Royals

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posted on May, 8 2005 @ 10:13 AM
The Wizards have suspended Kwame Brown for the rest of the playoffs because he essentially abandoned his team. He didn't show up for practice; he sat out a game with a mysterious stomach flu; he did not return team phone calls.

His time in Washington is just about up. And while everyone remembers how some players have jumped from high school directly to the NBA successfully (Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Amare Stoudamire, Kevin Garnett and Moses Malone from days of yore), there is a darker side to the high school phenom declaring for the NBA draft. I am not going to make any argument here about the value of education to these young men; they wouldn't avail themselves of any in college. I'm not going to make some legalistic argument about their right to work. I just want to turn back the clock four years and look at the NBA draft.

First Pick: Kwame Brown. Has stunk in spades for four years. Has shown all the maturity of a typical eleven year old. Great physical specimen but with no game.

Second Pick: Tyson Chandler. First two years were awful. Third season was merely poor. Playing solidly in his fourth year.

Fourth Pick: Eddie Curry. First two years were awful. Third season raised questions about his dedication and work ethic. Played hard and well most of the time in fourth season until illness put him on the DL.

Eighth Pick: Dsagna Diop. Two words will summarize the past, present and future here: Can't ... Play !

While thinking about the NBA and players who have worn out their welcome, I ran across an item in Charlie Walters' column in the St. Paul Pioneer- Press where he reported speculation that the Timberwolves' search for a new coach might include Spurs' assistant coach PJ Carlissimo. Now when you juxtapose that item with the factoid that the Wolves' roster has Latrell Spreewell on it at the moment, you might think that someone in the Wolves' front office leaked that news just to let Spreewell know that he needs to take his requests for a contract suitable to feed his family to some other NBA venue.

The world of golf provides a lot of strange stories; here is the latest one. Gary Robinson used to be the caddie for LPGA pro Jackie Gallagher-Smith. He is now suing Gallagher-Smith for "fraud" and "intentional infliction of emotional stress". What did she do? She slept with him. Subsequent to that interlude, she delivered a child and that child is part of the Gallagher-Smith household. Robinson claims that he was an "unwitting sperm donor" in those blissful moments and implies that the child is his but he cannot force a DNA test because the child is in a family that claims the child to be its own. Hence the "fraud" and "emotional stress" - - I guess. Please note here that Robinson claims to have been an "unwitting" sperm donor and not an "unwilling" sperm donor.

If you believe in omens, the Yankees collapse against the Red Sox last year might presage the Kentucky Derby this year. George Steinbrenner owns Bellamy Road who is the early favorite for the race on Saturday. If last October is an omen, Steinbrenner's horse will turn for home with a lead and stretch it out to about six lengths in mid-stretch only to stop dead in his tracks and get passed by a bunch of horses thereby finishing out of the money. George can then trade Bellamy Road for Cigar and try to bring Cigar back from retirement to run again. Or not.

Here's another omen to ponder. The Denver Broncos took Maurice Clarett with the 101st pick in the draft. Last year, the Falcons used the 101st pick to take Demorrio Williams who played LB for the Falcons in all 16 games last year and recorded 2.5 sacks. The year before that, the Texans took Dominick Davis with the 101st pick and he has had two very good seasons as the RB for the Texans. Clarett is in a system that has been kind to running backs for the last 15 years and he has been taken in a spot that has produced solid performers for the past two years.

The Kansas City Royals have gotten off to a miserable start to the 2005 season. They have the worst record in the AL (7-19) and they have the worst home record by far in MLB (2-12). The Royals have lost games by allowing the winning run to score because they botched a run-down and by throwing the ball away to allow the winning run to score. The Royals team president, Dan Glass, told the KC Star that he was disappointed with the team's start and that he hoped that this was merely a "defensive slump" that the team was experiencing. He said, "...these players are all capable of doing better than this."

I guess if you take that literally, he's probably correct. By the time a player is even considered ready for the major leagues, he should be able to execute a run-down to keep the winning run from scoring. But when I look at that line-up, I'm not sure that this team is capable of winning more than 60 games. The defense has been poor but look at last night's box score. The starting pitcher gave up 3 earned runs in 6 innings and that is a really good night for him since it lowered his ERA to 6.91. The Royals had only one hitter with a batting average over .300 in the line-up; six of the starters had betting averages below .250; the Royals trotted out two pinch hitters in the game and they were hitting .255 and .239 respectively. I don't know if these players are indeed capable of doing a whole lot better.

Whenever you think of bottom-feeding baseball teams, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have to come to mind. The fans in Tampa/St. Pete are getting restless with the incompetence of the team. Some fans are trying to organize a fan walkout for the D-Rays home game against the Seattle Mariners on 28 May. I'm not sure how that is going to work. In order to have a fan walkout mean something and gather national attention, you would need to have ten thousand fans walk out; there is no guarantee there will be that many fans at the game in the first place. So if fans go and buy tickets just to participate in the walkout, that will not hurt ownership one bit; it might even get the owners to use "Fan Walkout Night" as a promotional gimmick. Look, the Devil Rays don't draw flies so the fans have already staged their walkout and sent a message to the team ownership about the quality of the product on the field.

Finally, unlike the Yankees or the Red Sox, the Detroit Tigers do not have hundreds of fans who come out to see the team in all of the cities where the Tigers come to play the locals. Peter Schmuck in the Baltimore Sun had this observation about the Detroit camp followers at a recent game at Camden Yards:

"I think I saw maybe three people wearing Tigers' jerseys, and two of them were Dmitri Young."

But don't get me wrong, I love sports...

Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon

[Edited on 5/8/05 by SportzWriter]

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