You do not lose baseball games based on umpires. The D-backs lost to the Rockies because they were down 4-0 in the seventh inning. They lost because Ian Kennedy isn't pitching to his level yet. They lost because of an unearned run and Colorado going 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Now that we're clear, what is going on with umpires? How does Johnson look at his employer and justify the strikes he called on two outside pitches to end two different at-bats with the bases loaded in the seventh? Angel Hernandez (one of the worst umps in history) ruled a check swing for Miggy that was so horrendous he should be fined. Dana DeMuth wasn't going to be short-changed as he put the unearned run on first base when Paul Goldschmidt tagged out Nolan Arenado at first on Didi Gregorius' throwing error.
This is no longer a replay issue. This is a union issue. If the Major League Umpires Association wants to defend the employment of so many bad umpires, it's time to bust the union.
Because of Justin Upton's hot start, everyone wanted to talk about the Braves. In case you haven't noticed, the Pirates are just as good and Cleveland is only 1/2 game worse.
Only leagues without integrity need them.
I can see the new marketing campaign..."Please recycle, Jodi does"
Every week I'm writing something else about Corbin. Too bad the national media haven't figured it out yet. At least MLB Network spent some time on him after the near-shutout of the Rockies.
He's had enough starts that scouts should have found a weakness. It's exciting they haven't. Rockies hitters were walking away in disgust. Angry with themselves as if they had locked their keys in their car. They were frustrated because they can't believe they swung at some of those pitches. It's not your fault Colorado, he's just that good.
He pitches Tuesday. Coors Field is not the place to improve as a pitcher but with the recent outings of McCarthy and Cahill, the pressure isn't on Ian to pitch like an ace. The pressure is to simply keep up with the rest of the rotation.
Really cool of him to come in studio Monday and fill in for Wolf on short notice. I made a joke on Twitter that he just whopped me in an argument and I needed prayers. I don't want to over-react because it was only two people but I was ripped for asking for prayers in light of the tragedies that are happening in Oklahoma. A note to the Twitter politically correct police: If you think so poorly of me that you honestly believe I'm hoping to steal prayers from those directed to tornado victims in order to be a stronger intellectual challenger for Tim, why are you following me anyway? I'm sorry I've earned so little respect from you in the past.
I'm reminded -- after seeing the carnage in Oklahoma -- of what former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said to Wolf and me on our show following the Boston Bombings. He said there are so many good people who want to do so many good things but the best thing to do is to just stay back let the authorities do their job and send money.
We try to think of all these things we would need in destruction like that but the problem is you can't get those things to those people fast enough. However, the Red Cross can. The Red Cross needs two things: money and blood. If you can, try to donate one or the other. I promise I will this week.
Please don't hire Kelvin Sampson as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns. He has an excellent basketball mind. He's an excellent basketball teacher. In all honesty, he's actually a good basketball coach.
Sometimes, it's about more than just basketball. On two different occasions as a head coach, he openly disobeyed the rules. Judge all you want whether the stupid rules of the NCAA should apply, but Sampson knew the rule at least once because he had already broken it and then broke it again. There is a clear-cut aversion to authority. With these actions on his character, he shows a pattern that rules don't apply to him. Sampson represents those who take the quick way out and hope it doesn't come back to bite them. The Suns are so bad that there won't be anything close to a quick fix. Anyone who tries short-cuts with this franchise will only set us back.
I know there are no choir boys. I accept almost everyone cheats at the college level, but I don't have to accept them as NBA coaches.
Brian Shaw has played and coached in the league. He's the only person in the world that kept Kobe and Shaq happy together. He's coached under an old veteran with Tex Winter and Phil Jackson as well as the new age Frank Vogel. Shaw is the clear choice as Suns' head coach. I'm pretty sure he won't be and I hate that.
I am happy for Ian because there were so many games in 2010 that he got the loss or a no-decision that he didn't deserve. Josh Byrnes and the 2010 bullpen cost him so many wins, it seemed like a weekly occurrence. It was nice for him to get a win he didn't deserve on Wednesday. Unfortunately, and there's no doubting this, he didn't deserve this win.
An ace can never be happy with a five-inning outing. It is inexcusable for an ace to walk in a run. However, Kennedy struck out seven. He used his curveball more. He was much more aggressive. He went 2-0 on curves to Freeman that were strikes but not called. Arizona didn't get the results they need or expect from Kennedy, but a scout would say he looked better.
I really want to believe that the NBA owners vetoed the move of the Kings to Seattle because that's in the best interest of the league. When teams relocate, it looks bad for the league as a whole. It exposes a great deal of failure if a team moves. It even reeks of instability like the early days of every league. Owners would have made so much more money if they okayed this move. It appears they put the best interest of the league in front of their own.
I wish I could believe that was the case. The true reason this is happening is because the owners want to stick it to Seattle, stick it to any NBA city with an old arena and stick it to the Maloofs. By keeping the Kings in Sacramento, the NBA can show Seattle they should have listened the first time. By keeping the Kings in Seattle, the NBA can say "Remember the Sonics" to any current city rejecting the idea using tax payer dollars to build an arena. Most importantly to them, the message to the Maloofs is "get out of our league if you're not going to negotiate with us."
The Angels owner gave the dreaded vote of confidence to manager Mike Scioscia. It's over in Anaheim. I completely understand the future firing of Scioscia on one condition: Moreno admits it's his fault.
Scioscia is an outstanding manager. Everyone in baseball knows it. It's not his fault the general manager built a team that doesn't play to his strengths. A situation like this is almost always the GM's fault. This team is the exception. There is no way Jerry Dipoto wanted to spend over $200 million dollars on two players. This is an ownership move clearly designed to keep up with the Dodgers. In order for advertising agencies to buy commercials on television, they want buzz. These signings created buzz which creates ad buys at the beginning of the year. The Angels are the fault of the owner and firing the manager won't fix that.
I think he'll be the next head coach of the Suns. I think the Suns will be mad at me until 2016 when I stop railroading against the hire of Sampson because they will have fired him.
He came in studio on Tuesday. As you can guess, when an NBA head coach comes in studio to talk basketball, he's a friend of the show. In our conversations during "not-so-beautiful-parts-of-the-program" it was apparent how strong the passion is in this man to coach. Chalk it up to another terrible decision by Michael Jordan if Gentry is not the head coach of the Bobcats.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people try to justify Carmelo Anthony as a basketball player. He is the furthest thing from a championship player. Sure, Syracuse fans will disagree but that's the difference between NCAA and NBA. Melo isn't terrible. He's one of the greatest one-on-one players of all time. Anthony apologists have yet to realize basketball championships are determined by the best collection of 12 players.
Players of Anthony's skill are automatic fixtures as the team's franchise player yet he dooms the franchise to an exciting life and playoff misery. Anthony is a moped player. The ride is fun, but sooner or later you need to grow up and go somewhere.
He said the marshal said he could hit. The marshals are instructed not to talk to the players. So Tiger lied on the course. Next thing you'll know he'll take an illegal drop and claim he didn't know the rule.
Every time I hear him talk, I hear a respectful man. He has nothing against the media, but I hear something else. I hear a man who talks to the media because he completely understands that it comes with the job description of an NFL QB. But he doesn't enjoy it because few in the media talk football. I'm sure Palmer is more complex, but he seems like a guy who cares about football, family and not much else.
If you have low expectations of Palmer, I understand. Past history certainly casts doubt on his ability to be a successful NFL quarterback. However, I think there have been very limited opportunities in Palmer's career where a season wasn't interrupted by a diva uprising, injury or Raider futility. I think Palmer will surprise some people.
Suddenly cooling off as the series with the D-backs is approaching. Probably it has more to do with the health of Jason Heyward, but I'm still interested. It doesn't matter whether Upton goes hitless or torches Arizona. I can't wait to see it.
Really? Tiger pulled a club and that caused you to miss a shot?
I thought Garcia was soft. I'm wrong. He's weaker than that.
He's getting ripped by people who are learning the game of baseball for pulling Brandon McCarthy Sunday. It was 100% the right move.
If an established MLB pitcher throws less than 90 pitches and isn't showing signs of weakness in the eighth, he pitches the ninth inning. Here's the catch: McCarthy has established nothing! Statistically, he's the worst pitcher in the National League. McCarthy has done nothing to earn the right to throw the ninth inning. It's not about one game against Philadelphia. This is about re-establishing the confidence of McCarthy.
There's a caveat to the book. Whenever a pitcher gets hit in the head with a line drive and comes back with the worst OPP/BA and BABIP, if they pitch eight innings of shutout baseball with a rested bullpen, you pull him!
It's amazing how evil this man is. What's more amazing to me is he actually made it through high school, college and spent two years in the NFL. How does that happen? How did any educator ever say he's accomplished enough to move on? Why didn't Detroit accept a failed pick and move on much sooner?
It also brings up something else. I wonder how many Americans have NFL talent who are incarcerated or living a shady life. If Titus made it this far, there must be.
The D-backs are 7-0 when he starts. There's two ways to look at the D-backs this season.
1) They're being carried by two young pitchers who won't be able to sustain this on their way to a 70-win season.
2) If Wade Miley and Corbin can pitch like this, just wait until Brandon McCarthy and Ian Kennedy start doing their thing.
I said it in spring training and I'll say it again. This season rests on Ian Kennedy. He is the key between playoffs and a distant 3rd place.
Fieldin Culbreth was suspended two games for not knowing a baseball rule a high school umpire should know. I'm thrilled with the announcement. It's nothing against Culbreth, but baseball has failed in umpire discipline for far too long. Sure, sometimes umps are fined or suspended behind the scenes, but that's rare. Even rarer is for us as fans to find out about it. Glad to see MLB is holding the umps accountable while being transparent.
I coached my daughter's soccer game Thursday night. Parents on each sideline started yelling at each other. YOU'RE NOT PLAYING. When will parents learn to care about the performance of their own team and show respect to others? It was only five people total but it ruins the night.
Welcome home. Shows great humility from both sides. The Cardinals should have paid him and Dansby should have stayed. They both screwed up that deal. By Dansby returning, it shows both understand that...to a certain extent.
I quickly talked with three men at new Suns general manager Ryan McDonough's introductory press conference Thursday.
They were casual conversations with three people. I'm going to leave two people's names out of this. None of the quotes are direct, only my memory of the conversation.
Jay Biles (ESPN analyst): I've known him for years and he was someone you talked to in his early days in the business and knew he'd be a GM.
(When I asked for a weakness): There really isn't one. I mean he's young but he's done it with the Celtics. His youth could be a weakness but I actually think it's a strength.
Suns employee on business side: It's already different here. Lance just didn't seem like he wanted to be a part of the family. He didn't work against us but he certainly didn't work with us. He just wasn't around.
Former Suns player (when I asked him what he knows of McDonough): Nothing personally, but I'll tell you what, out of everyone I've talked to, no one has anything negative to say. That's hard to do in this business.
The building felt completely different to me today. Winning the press conference doesn't matter at all...but the Suns did accomplish that.
Allison has been an unsung member of quite a few successful drafts for the D-backs. He wanted Chris Sale and was overruled by Josh Byrnes in order to draft Barrett Loux, who never picked up a baseball for Arizona.
I bring up Allison in respect to the last two games. It was the eighth round of the 2009 MLB draft. The Diamondbacks are on the clock and they have first baseman all up and down their organization. There was absolutely no reason to take Paul Goldschmidt. Allison stood on the table saying this is the best player available and we're not going to pass him up.
Didi's slash: .436/.463/.769
Choo's slash: .333/.465/.587
Bauer's line: 1-1, 2.70...basically one horrible start and one pretty good one
I think the Dodgers will keep Don Mattingly until the Angels fire Mike Scioscia.
I love Mel and I love the NFL Draft. He just released his 2014 big board. I was talking about South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney two years ago while I was watching Melvin Ingram, so I knew Clowney would be in the top spot. I can't help but remember how much this honor helped this year's number one on the big board at this point last year: Matt Barkley.
You are completely innocent until proven guilty in a court of law and, within that court, nothing should ever take that right away from you.
Outside of that court, you are completely guilty of not being the man we thought you were. Only .00096% of the U.S. population is currently on an NFL roster. Through your hard work, the hard work of coaches in your life and God-given talent, you have been given the most-unreal of opportunities. With this chance, we are being led to believe you've chosen drugs and attacking women. I hope for all our sake that this is untrue.
NEW YORK KNICKS:
Show me the pictures of Bird, Magic and Michael wearing a black suit to mock a team in an elimination game. All you've accomplished in this series is playing in a Game 5 of a first round series. A man is one who respects others but never fears another while showing manhood through work ethic and pride in their work. Kenyon Martin, you are certainly not a champion. The question is, do you fit the true definition of a man or a punk?
So if this is considered a strength, how low are the weaknesses? Everyone who will make excuses for this will say, "it's only May." When the D-backs finish in third place this year, no one will say, "remember May?"
I've always been highly critical of Russell Westbrook because his no-pass possessions make everyone else stand around on offense. When you stand on offense, you tend to stand on defense. One thing I never thought of in my attacks on his style of play is that maybe his teammates don't want to move.
Scotty Brooks is embarrassing himself in this series. Instead of changing the offense to fit the new personnel, he's just having Kevin Durant pretend to be Westbrook. For some reason, he hasn't figured out two things: 1) Durant isn't Westbrook and 2) if Durant is Westbrook, who's Durant?
Play Derek Fisher more. Don't have Durant bring the ball up. Run more screens. Move the ball more to get the defense on their heels since they don't fear Westbrook's driving ability anymore.
Jason Collins is gay! There's an openly homosexual man playing in the NBA!
OK, does anyone mind if I go back to my job and family now?
I don't agree with the media making this an enormous story. I also don't agree with the personal attacks that Collins is receiving, either. To me, Collins was an average backup center last week and he's an average backup center this week. There's not much more to the story.
I do think there's a level of toughness coming out because of the scrutiny, but there's also a level of lucrativeness to it as well.
What's really sad about the state of our country is how each end of the spectrum will read the last sentence and go nuts on it since they read it through their filter to see something that's not there.
If you're to the right politically, you'll feel the need to lecture me since I called Collins tough. You'll feel incomplete if you don't e-mail me just to say, "He's no hero! He's not a soldier or first responder!" Before you hit send on that e-mail, where did I compare him to heroes? I didn't, you felt the need to establish what Collins represents to you.
If you're on the left politically, you loved the sentence at first. Then you saw the word "lucrative." Now you're going crazy. Here comes your tweet, "He didn't come out just to make money. You're so lost to not see his courage. How dare you even suggest that money was his motivation. You have no idea what it's been like for Collins. You take your freedom for granted while he was never free."
Where did I say he came out to make money? I didn't. However, are you in denial that there won't be endorsement opportunities for him that have never existed in the history of sports? There will be more chances for him to make money off the court than any backup center in basketball history.
Unfortunately we live in a new society. It's a society that would rather attack than listen. As a talk show host, I know one truth that others don't see: People claim they want honesty from the the media and politicians. Ironically, that's a lie. People don't want honesty, they want reinforcement. If the truth doesn't reinforce what they think, they'll go find a different version that fits their own truth.
When I judge a draft, I look at two things: who did you get compared to who you passed up, and the value of the pick. Therefore, I don't give an overall grade. I'll tell you what I think about each player drafted and what I would have done so you can judge me. I don't like it when I hear talk show hosts or analysts rip or support a pick without sticking their neck out so the reader or listener can judge for themselves.
CARDS PICK: Jonathan Cooper - guard, North Carolina
MY PICK: Chance Warmack - guard, Alabama
I like the pick but I don't love it. I believe Chance Warmack is a better football player. Cooper wins on a competition of athleticism and "fit" into the Cardinals' system, so I don't have much room to argue. I like Warmack because he's an animal. The Cardinals need skill on the O-line first and foremost, but I also think they lack attitude. Kids from Alabama are winners. Warmack wants to bury you.
Cooper will be an excellent football player. Warmack could be a Hall-of-Famer.
CARDS PICK: Kevin Minter - linebacker, LSU
MY PICK: Kevin Minter - linebacker, LSU
I say it's my pick but I have no idea if I could manipulate this draft pick as well as the Cardinals. This is a perfect selection. Keep an eye on this pick for years. Arizona could have had Manti Te'o or Kiko Alonso and chose Minter. Alonso might have more upside, but he's got a lot more downside. I'm very down on Te'o, so I love allowing San Diego trade up to get him. The Cardinals get a better player and another selection.
CARDS PICK: Tyrann Mathieu - defensive back, LSU
MY PICK: Blidi Wreh-Wilson - defensive back, Connecticut
Obviously I'm not reaching since Wreh-Wilson was the very next selection by Tennessee following Arizona. I would go with Blidi for two reasons: I think he's that good, and I don't have the "onions" that Steve Keim does.
There's no doubt that Mathieu is light years ahead of Wreh-Wilson athletically and in football skills. Mathieu is a first-round talent that the Cardinals selected in the third round. They get a ton of talent for great value.
I think everyone deserves second chances, but Honey Badger is on his fourth chance. I wouldn't spend my money on him. However, I have great respect for an organization that will take a chance without feeling like the risk is great. I know they spoke to Patrick Peterson for months about Mathieu before making the move. They feel like they have the infrastructure to handle anything that comes up.
CARDS PICK: Alex Okafor - defensive end, Texas
MY PICK: Barrett Jones - offensive lineman, Alabama
The Cardinals get the credit here because I would have done this pick without conviction and they did it with conviction. Okafor is a better player than Florida linebacker Jelani Jenkins, but I like Jenkins more than Okafor. Okafor doesn't give me everything I want on every play. I hate guys who aren't lunch pail guys, and I don't think Okafor is. I know Jenkins is.
I don't disagree with the pick, though, because Jenkins is always getting hurt. He gives all that he has and it normally means he's giving more than he has. Okafor is simply a better athlete. If both players are giving everything, Okafor is better. I would have drafted him on his athleticism but I would ride his butt from day one.
If it's me, I'm going with Jones though. His intelligence, versatility and teamwork are too valuable to me to pass up. The Cardinals probably feel that Lyle Sendlein will be healthy and you already have an expensive backup with Adam Snyder. I love the value of Barrett Jones here.
Three picks after Okafor, one of my favorite college football players went to the Dolphins: Michigan State TE Dion Sims. I want Sims. I think he could add so much to the Cardinals. The problem is I would have gone for Sims with my fifth-round pick. I never would have told the media how upset I was that I missed on Sims, but Okafor fills a need and is a better player.
CARDS PICK: Earl Watford - guard, James Madison
MY PICK: Johnathan Franklin - running back, UCLA
This is a simple analysis. I love Franklin and the Cards need a running back. I also know very little about Watford. I'm simply not educated enough on Watford to question the pick.
CARDS PICK: Stepfan Taylor - running back, Stanford
MY PICK: Jonathan Meeks - safety, Clemson
The Taylor pick is outstanding. The only reason I didn't do it in my "draft re-enactment" is that I just drafted Franklin in the round before. Drafting Taylor is exactly the pick that should have been made here.
I've got a little bit of wishful thinking on Meeks. He might only get involved on dime coverage early in his career. This pick would have been a project at safety but I think he would succeed with the Cardinals. Keep in mind, Taylor is a better player than Meeks and the right pick, so I'm not disagreeing.
CARDS PICK: Ryan Swope - receiver, Texas A&M
MY PICK: David Quessenberry - tackle, San Jose State
I realize it's sixth round but this is the only pick I really disagree with. I think Swope is a stud in the slot. I think he's a lunch pail guy. I think Swope has a chance to be an excellent fit in the Cardinals' scheme...and I wouldn't have touched him unless I can get him as an UFA. His history of concussions would push me to take him off my board.
Quessenberry was a college tackle that I'm going to use to push Massie but more likely, slide him over to guard eventually. I think Daryn Colledge and Snyder were terrible free agent signings. I can't wait to get rid of both of them. I would want Cooper at LG and let Colledge, Snyder and Quessenberry fight it out. I know Colledge would win, but I've already drafted Jones at center who is guard-ready as well. Then I could cut Snyder and let Quessenberry learn for a year.
CARDS PICK: Andre Ellington - running back, Clemson
MY PICK: Bacarri Rambo - safety, Georgia
Honestly, this is the blogger admitting I would have choked. Ellington is an unbelievable value here. Of course, the Cards don't need Taylor and Ellington, but you can't pass up Ellington in this spot. He's a fighter who embraces pass pro.
Having said that, I know I would have choked and filled a need. I really like Rambo in the sixth round. I want to throw five guys at safety and let the best man win. Ellington is the right pick. I would have chosen Rambo because I'm not as good of a general manager.
CARDS PICK: D.C. JEFFERSON - tight end, Rutgers
MY PICK: ZAC DYSERT - quarterback, Miami (Ohio)
There's a lot to say on this pick. First, I would have cussed the Eagles out as soon as I'm on the clock. The fact that Oregon state cornerback Jordan Poyer is on the board at 218 is a steal for Philly. I hope the Cards would have jumped all over Poyer, but Philly picked him one slot ahead of Arizona.
Jefferson is a good ball player. Jeff King's spot on the roster is in serious jeopardy. I think Jefferson makes the team. Evaluating the Cardinals' draft, I disagree with this pick and think they should have taken Ohio guard Eric Herman. I can't stand Arizona's guards. I've seen over 30 of Herman's games. I think the Cards missed on this one. It's not the end of the world. They're not a bunch of idiots. Jefferson isn't a dolt. I think the Cards and I have differing opinions on their 2012 starting guards.
The reason why I listed "my pick" as Dysert is because I've already drafted Quessenberry the round before so I don't need Herman. I have no idea if Dysert will be a good NFL QB, but I like to take a chance on a QB late in the draft and see if I get lucky.
The Kevin Minter pick alone is all I needed to see. Steve Keim knows how to run a draft. Cardinals fans should feel excellent about the future. There's still a long way to go. St. Louis, San Francisco and Seattle were all ahead of Arizona and they all three had excellent drafts, so the gap did not close. That's not Keim's fault. I believe in this man as GM.
It's hard for me to get excited when the Arizona Cardinals took the second best guard on the board while the best guard in the draft was still on it.
Chance Warmack was the best guard coming out for the 2013 draft. The Cardinals drafted a guard and it wasn't the best guard on the board.
The choice of Jonathan Cooper was not a bad one, but it shows a short-term focus and not a long-term focus. I prefer long-term focus. Jonathan Cooper is a better choice for a Bruce Arians-run offense. Jonathan Cooper is a better choice for a team with Carson Palmer as the QB. You don't hire a coach and sign a quarterback in the off-season only to disregard what suits them best.
The pick makes sense but I can't get behind it. I've seen too many coaches come and go. I've seen too many regimes come and go. No one knows just how long Palmer will be the Cards' QB.
As an all-around player, Chance Warmack is better than Jonathan Cooper. I believe you always take best player available, unless you have a franchise quarterback and a quarterback on the board is the best player.
Cooper is not a bad pick. This isn't like when I screamed against Robin Lopez, Markieff Morris and Levi Brown.
Jonathan Cooper will be a successful Cardinal. Chance Warmack will be a dominating Titan.
Let's be clear: In evaluating the off-season trade between the Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks, it's about the bottom of the first. There's still a long road before we'll know who won the deal. However, since everyone wants to keep score in the Justin Upton deal, why aren't analysts keeping score in the Trevor Bauer trade?
So, let's look at how the Didi Gregorius/Trevor Bauer/Shin-Soo Choo trade is going.
Bauer has made one start. He walked more batters than innings pitched (7 to 5). His ERA is 5.40. He (supposedly) pitches to avoid contact and strike batters out, but has two K's against 23 batters.
Choo leads MLB in hits and on-base percentage. His slash: .387/.535/.613. His defense has been bad to average, but for a team that had the worst leadoff OBP last year and now is in first with the boppers behind Choo (and that ballpark to hit in), they'll take it.
Gregorius has played five games. Yes, that's it. His defense has been stellar. The rookie's slash line .400/.429/.800. He homered on the first pitch he saw as a D-back...AT YANKEE STADIUM! In back-to-back games, Gregorius has doubled against Giants outfielder Angel Pagan. He didn't double off the pitcher. The "rookie" out-smarted and out-hustled a man considered a gamer.
The rules of the comparison are simple. If you're going to blast Towers for the Upton trade, then give the same praise for the Bauer trade. If you're going to say it's too early to evaluate the Bauer trade, then the same is true for Upton.
You don't get to hire three general managers unless you're the owner. The next hire by Suns president Lon Babby will be his last at the GM position. He will either nail the hire and retire as a success or be fired along with this upcoming hire. This will be his last one and then he's done hiring.
Rebuilding an NBA team takes years. So many people love to point at the Oklahoma City Thunder. "That's how you build a franchise," they'll say. I think we all know that the Thunder are how you build a franchise, but do not act like there wasn't pain. Second-to-last in the West in 2007. Last in 2008. Thirteenth in 2009. Playoffs and a 50-win season in 2010.
The Seattle SuperSonics made one spectacular trade when an NBA owner made a terribly cheap move and traded away a player (Kurt Thomas) and two first round picks to Seattle just because he didn't want to pay the luxury tax. That's right, Seattle gave up only a second round pick (and the non-guaranteed contract that goes with it) so one team could dump their salary.
The Sonics/OKC made great trades and draft picks to get to where they are today. The Suns have made some great trades to set themselves up for the future. They have failed in the draft. In two years of drafting, the Suns have Markieff Morris and Kendall Marshall to show for it. The Thunder got Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka and Harden during their down years. The great trades are meaningless if you're not drafting home runs or at least doubles.
Lon Babby will never get enough credit for getting the Suns out of the Warrick, Childress, Turkoglu, Richardson, and Lopez mistakes. I don't think Lon Babby will ever get enough blame for the Lance and Lindsey era of Suns history. The next two months will determine if the Suns are headed on the OKC path or blazing a trail with the Wizards and Bobcats.
Judging baseball teams on wins and losses is an easy concept. A deeper way to judge an organization is on series victories. Before a series, teams go through meetings to digest scouting reports to cover different scenarios and matchups. The outcome of a series pits every member of an organization against each other. Which team has drafted and signed the best players; which team has the best advanced scouts to pick up the opponent's secrets; which team's manager makes the right decisions based on the info; which players properly digest the info and execute the game plan determines who will win the series.
The Diamondbacks have lost 3 of the last 4 series. The last seven losses have been by 2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2 and 1. "Grinders" should have won more of those games. Occasionally, grinders will get blown out because the opponent's talent just overcomes you. However, grinders find ways to win close games.
Sure, if you're in the Diamondbacks organization you'll say it's the grinder mentality that even made the game close at all. That's an excuse. The errors, the base running and the lack of two-strike execution are the reasons why the Diamondbacks have lost three of their last four series. If you're going to move more talented players for clubhouse chemistry, I'm on board if it's for the right players. "Grinder" is a great compliment and some of the Diamondback players haven't earned the title yet.
There are little things that coaches do. DeJuan Blair only played three minutes, which is more than I thought he would. He's a bad matchup against Los Angeles because Pau Gasol will pass over the top of him to Dwight Howard. However, without Howard on the floor, it becomes Gasol's weak physical stature against Blair's brute strength. When Howard picked up his fourth foul, Blair went in. Three minutes: 1 assist, 1 block and a tip-out rebound, while Gasol was 0-1.
The other masterful job of Popovich was using enough of Ginobili to have a major impact in limited minutes. The team doctor gave Popovich 20 minutes to play Manu. Ginobili played 19 but put in 18 points on 13 shots.
Bud Selig has done some excellent things as commissioner. The steroid scandal is, by far, his biggest failure. I think umpire management is a distant second.
Fairchild's ejection of Cody Ross Saturday was a joke. Fairchild clearly has an ego problem. Fairchild was bent out of shape at Martin Prado for complaining about balls and strikes, so he throws out Ross. There were two clear things that Fairchild doesn't seem to understand: 1) You're not that good of an umpire, and 2) No one bought a ticket or turned on the TV to watch you ump.
Where are you, Bud? When an umpire allows his feelings and ego to be interjected into the game, he must be fined or suspended. The penalty must be public so every player, fan and other umpires know this isn't accepted. All of us know when players get suspended, why should umps be different?
NEW YORK JETS FAN:
I love the ignorance of the majority of Jets fans. You're a fool if you rip this trade. Every two years, Darrelle Revis complains about his contract and threatens to not show up to camp. The Jets received a 1st and a 3rd round pick for a guy who is never happy that is coming off of ACL surgery. I'm sure the 20 percent of Jets fans who actually know football are thrilled.
Doug and Wolf held their annual Mock Draft presented by Bud Light at Tilted Kilt in downtown Phoenix Friday afternoon.
Thirty-two players were selected by "general managers" representing the 30 teams who have a first round pick (Washington and Seattle don't have one).
There were some interesting selections made by our GMs.
The eyebrow-raisers got started early when Oakland GM Patrick Brown reached for Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert with the third overall selection.
Buffalo GM Jason Mazenauer took the first quarterback at number eight -- and it wasn't West Virginia's Geno Smith! It was USC's Matt Barkley who got the call to head to the Bills.
And in the biggest stretch of the first round, St. Louis GM Nick Kieffer picked Arizona State linebacker Brandon Magee at 22nd overall. We all love Brandon, but come on, man!
The GM for the Arizona Cardinals, Randy Nez, also delivered a head-scratching pick when he announced the name of Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd at number 7, despite the fact that offensive linemen Lane Johnson of Oklahoma and Chance Warmack of Alabama were still on the board.
Doug and Wolf's 2013 Mock Draft presented by Bud Light
Thursday's D-Backs win over the Yankees was a huge day for the last two GMs of the team.
Patrick Corbin is the only great trade in MLB history ever pulled off by a GM that worked out great for his employer -- yet the GM hates the trade.
Granted, I've never asked Jerry Dipoto if he hates the trade, but I can assume he does. He was the interim GM for the D-Backs after the firing of Josh Byrnes. He traded Dan Haren to the Angels for Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs. Now, as the GM of the Angels, he must be kicking himself for pulling off the trade since he doesn't have Haren, Corbin or Skaggs. Corbin has looked great this year and was great against the Yankees.
The two biggest moves by current GM Kevin Towers this off-season were the Upton and Bauer trades. In the Bauer trade, the major piece was Didi Gregorius. Gregorius leads the Major Leagues with a 1.200 slugging percentage. OK, he's not eligible for the batting title which is the same barometer that's used for all eligibility requirements, but going 2-for-5 is pretty strong. Becoming the first D-Back to homer on the first pitch you see as a Major Leaguer is very impressive.
The Upton trade brought Martin Prado (and company). So far, the trade is very one-sided in favor of the Braves. In this game, however, the D-Backs don't win without Prado's solo home run and stellar defense. Plus, only two players in the whole game saw more pitches than Prado.
The Haren trade has already been proven to be a huge win for the D-Backs. There's a long way to go to weigh the last two big moves from Towers. For one night, the last two GMs got the win.
Let me ask you a simple question. I'd like you to improve the Doug and Wolf show.
On days like Monday, what do you want from our show? Would you rather us make an attempt to ignore the events of Boston because you already know sports is an escape from reality? Do you want to us to balance informing you with news while also talking about the "sports" items of the day? The last option is for us to go totally news with our own sports bend to the subject matter.
Monday's show was so difficult because I'm human. I'm a civilian patriot. I'm scared for the future of our country but refuse to live in fear. I worry about what my kids are thinking. I grieve for the parents of dead children through the acts of terror. However, my job calls for me to be passionate and resolute about my feelings on Tiger Woods. I think he should have been disqualified at the Masters and on a day like that, I just don't care. I struggle to muster up the conviction that the Masters matter when children die in terrorist attacks. My problem is, do the terrorists win when I allow them to stop me from doing my job that day? Yet, if I go on as if nothing has happened, I feel so heartless and inhuman.
I'd like you to email firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @doug620 or simply comment at the bottom if you listened on Monday to the show. What did you think of the show? What were you looking for that day? Did the show deliver for you?
You went to work not expecting our country would be attacked by terrorists. All day long you talked to co-workers and friends about the events in Boston. I'm sure you got in the car on the way home and turned on Doug & Wolf.
I make the assumption because if you're reading this, I assume you're a fan of the show. It is our job to offer an escape to you. You should be able to count on us to make sports seem important when we all know it isn't. I struggle to create the diversion from reality for you when I'm watching reality unfold on TV. I also have a hard time, because I'm a passionate person. My opinions are based on factual research, life experiences and that passion. When tragedy happens, I lose all passion for other things.
I was passionately against the Masters allowing Tiger to continue this weekend.
I couldn't wait to salute Trevor Cahill.
I was looking forward to talking about the Coyotes' stretch run.
I wanted to blast the NBA for the officiating in the Lakers-Warriors game from the weekend.
Every opinion of mine is still there, but it just feels hollow today. If I let you down on Monday's show, I'm sorry.
When did we change as a society that what you say is what you mean?
If a liberal does something clearly on the wrong side of personal accountability, the response is "Bush did it." Conservatives justify their own negative actions by saying, "Well, Clinton did the same thing."
Who's going to be the first guy that says what they mean and follows through with what they say?
The Los Angeles Dodgers committed to having Andre Ethier on the Doug & Wolf Show Friday. After the gutless act of Carlos Quentin, the Dodgers called to cancel Ethier's appearance. This isn't an attack on the Dodgers PR department per se, but it is on all of them. The actions of Carlos Quentin have nothing to do with the commitment they made to us. PR departments across the country would do the same thing.
How about talking to Ethier ahead of time to go over potential questions while still keeping with the commitment?
Steve Alford verbally agreed to a contract with New Mexico covering the next 10 years. Just days later he was announced as UCLA's head coach.
Notre Dame didn't tell the ACC they will accept the terms of their new partnership as soon as they can. They committed to play five ACC games every football season but are going to break other commitments in order to achieve their new commitment.
The days of a man's word meaning something are officially over.
This is Nurse (so-and-so) with Dr. (so-and-so's) office. Is Doug Franz there?"
"This is his wife and you are authorized to speak to me about Doug."
"We need to schedule an appointment for your husband to have a procedure done. The biopsy shows that it is cancerous."
It's a very weird feeling finding out you have skin cancer. You know it's real cancer and people have died from it. You also know there's no chemo or radiation so it's not even close to the pain that other cancer patients have endured and suffered.
There's an old line that it's a minor procedure unless it's done to you. Almost everyone in the country has had it or knows someone that has had skin cancer. The catch for me, is now I have it. I have a spot the size of a nickel on my back. It will be dug out, painfully. There's a logical voice inside that says nothing is going to happen. Yet these few paragraphs have taken me two hours to write so, obviously, I'm not all about logic right now.
It's a disease developed over time. All those shirtless bike rides to the city pool. All those pick-up basketball games when I was a "skin." All those times I mowed the grass wearing only shorts and a Montreal Expos plastic batting helmet. I have skin cancer because I didn't respect skin cancer. I will now.
Every remote I'll have sun block with me. Every youth soccer game I'll smell drenching spray. If you're in the golf cart with me, I'll probably spray you down, too.
I didn't really want to say anything because I've been raised that men keep their mouths shut and deal with their own issues privately.
However, I figured if you read this and put extra sun screen on your child, it's worth it.
Twice this year, the middle of the rotation of the Arizona Diamondbacks has been a letdown. Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy aren't getting it done. That sentence doesn't mean they never will, but through two starts this year, they aren't.
Both times through the rotation, Miley has stepped up far beyond his age or years of experience. Almost through seven innings Wednesday, he allowed only two runs. He even earned an RBI groundout at the plate.
In his two-year career, Miley continues to do more than expected. He wasn't supposed to be here last year but got his chance when Josh Collmenter struggled. He never relented and would have won the NL Rookie of the Year if he wasn't up against a phenom in Bryce Harper.
This year, it's a second-year player who is carrying two veteran pitchers in the rotation. It may be only two starts for Miley. It may be only two weeks into the season. With Miley, it's going on year two with the same results.
Don't tell me it's early. Cahill couldn't pitch in the first inning last year. Cahill couldn't pitch well at home last year. I don't think after 13 months of struggles it's too early to question when Cahill will get it right.
Monday night is proof why coming back in the playoff standings is so difficult. Coyotes were flat for the first eight minutes. Coyotes had a dumb luck/stupid own goal given up late, and that's your game. If the Coyotes miss the playoffs, it won't be "ownership's" fault or the GM's or the head coach or the fans or the refs.
The finals of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championships are supposed to be the best of the best. If those were the best officials in all of college basketball, the game has serious problems.
It's really sad to watch a coach completely choke away a national championship.
Of course you take a key player out for awhile in the first half when they pick up their 2nd foul. However, if the NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR -- who attends a (supposed) respected academic institution -- isn't smart enough to play with two fouls, who is? Nine players played more minutes in this game than the NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR. The NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR did not play the final 11 minutes of the first half.
After butchering the first half, Beilein trumped himself in the second half. "I thought we were in the one-and-one." Michigan had a foul to give and didn't use it. Down by two possessions with Louisville inbounding from underneath the Michigan hoop, Beilein decides to "D-up" despite needing to foul twice to put UofL on the line. There were 52 seconds left, guaranteeing a loss because Louisville could run out the clock.
I have no idea if Michigan would have won with proper coaching, but I know Beilein's decisions guaranteed a loss.
Alvin Gentry was fired. Although not the main reason, he was fired because the Lon Babby and Lance Blanks felt like the collection of talent should have won more games. They thought the Suns should be competitive. The Suns lost a lot under Gentry, but they were almost always competitive in every game.
Right now, the Suns have lost 13 of their last 14 games. The average loss is by 15 points. Some of the losses in this streak aren't to the great teams like Miami and San Antonio. Phoenix has lost by 27 to Toronto, 30 at Houston, 22 at Washington, 31 to Minnesota and 25 to a good but injured Clippers team. Is that competitive?
In innings 1-9, he's 3-for-20 batting .150.
In extra innings, he's 4-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and one RBI -- which was a game-winner.
Full disclosure, I prefer Daron Sutton's style of broadcasting local TV games. That doesn't mean Berthiaume is bad at his job, just a personal preference. Daron seemed like he was sitting on your couch having a beer with you while Steve is a little more stoic. There is nothing critical there because I completely understand if you prefer a little more "straight-laced" local broadcast.
Having said that, Berthiaume provided an amazing tidbit of information at the beginning of Sunday's broadcast. Paul Nauert was the plate umpire. Before the first pitch, Berthiaume gave a scouting report that was highly critical of Nauert. "His strike zone at the corners will expand and contract throughout the game."
Berthiaume nailed it. Calls were questionable all night long. In crucial situations, both teams got robbed by terrible calls. In the bottom of the ninth, J.J. Putz clearly hit the corner for strike three against Jonathan Lucroy, which should have been the second out of the inning. Lucroy was granted new life by Nauert and tied the game with a single. With one out in the bottom of the 11th, Heath Bell threw a pitch 2 inches off the inside corner to Rickie Weeks which was, somehow, strike three. That decision dramatically affected the game because Kyle Lohse batted next.
It's amazing what well-coached teams can do against the Syracuse zone. Beilein beat Syracuse, but he embarrassed Buzz Williams and Tom Crean in the process.