Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Ramblings - Things That Confuse Me

I’m thoroughly confused by many things in life: carnival workers, the game of cricket, clowns, solving the Rubix Cube, the appeal of Lady Gaga, and people walking down the street that just stop abruptly in the middle of the sidewalk to talk on their cell phones or stare in store windows. I can now add to a few more things to that list: Phillies trades, Jake Locker & Roy Williams.

It is now being confirmed that it is two separate trades by the Phillies, the first sending their top prospects (the ones they wouldn’t trade in July) to the Blue Jays for pitcher Roy Halladay. The second is then trading pitcher Cliff Lee to the Mariners for prospects. Why would they make those deals? Why would they not keep Lee and lock themselves in as the favorite to win it all next season. Can you picture a rotation of Halladay, Lee, Cole Hammels, JA Happ, Joe Blanton and Pedro Martinez on the ready if there are any injuries halfway through the season? That would be as good as any rotation since the Braves of the mid-1990’s.

I get that they will have Halladay sign a contract extension and Lee wanted to test the free agent market after the season. I get that Halladay has been a little better than Lee in the regular season during their careers. But we know that Lee is a stud in the playoffs. We don’t know how Halladay is in the playoffs because he’s never been there. I just don’t get it. Yet, as a Brewers fan, I’m glad they screwed up their team. Thank you, Ruben Amaro Jr.

North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams is a great coach and despite bearing a strange resemblance to Droopy the cartoon dog, he has a great reputation as being a great person. Yet at a recent game he had a fan removed from the Dean Dome during a game against Presbyterian for yelling “Don’t miss it Deon!” during a free-throw. First, Prebyterian? It’s a school of 1200 students and 84 professors on 240 acres in Clinton, South Carolina. They are 2-8, only having beaten Montreat and Southern – and yes, Montreat. That was not a misprint.

But more important, really Roy? Your players can’t handle a little ribbing – ribbing that was not crass, profane or offensive? I mean, maybe I’m biased because of a little story from back in college. It’s Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, 1999, and Nick Saban’s 11th ranked Michigan State Spartans are coming to town boasting one of the best run defenses in the country. We had a tradition of missing the first minutes of the game because we were, ummmm, “fueling our energy” for the team. Unfortunately, on our way to the stadium, we miss Ron Dayne bust off a 51 yard touchdown on the 4th play of the game. But we didn’t miss a chance to let Michigan State know about it as we were walking behind their bench on the way to our seats. We were calling out players by their numbers, reminding them that they’re going to see those plays all day, and that Dayne is going to do things to their girlfriends after the game. To top it all off, Diggity decides to call out an enormous defensive lineman, and when the player turns to look, Diggity busts out his best Hulk Hogan flex and tells him he can’t handle us. Needless to say the security guards came over and hustled us along to our seats. And by the way, MSU couldn’t handle him, as he rumbled to 214 yards in a 40-10 Wisconsin victory. Oh, and after that game, Camp Randall changed their policy and you had to enter the stadium closest to your seats. Coincidence? Maybe.

That may have just been an excuse to tell that story, but the point is that college kids get fueled up with booze and will taunt the other team. That’s part of the experience. So if your team can’t handle a little taunting from a Presbyterian fan, how are they going to react to the Cameron Crazies when they play Duke? I don’t get it.

Quarterback Jake Locker has decided to return to the University of Washington for his senior season. Why? He was going to be a first round pick, and Todd McShay of ESPN has him penciled in as the first pick in the draft. So what is the benefit of staying in school? I get the whole education thing and they like being college kids – who doesn’t? I mean, the parties, the co-eds, being the big man on campus, the co-eds. It’s all amazing. But you have a chance to get $40+ million in guaranteed money. Did you not see what happened to Sam Bradford? He would have been in the mix for the top pick last year, and now he’s an injury concern and may fall to the middle or late end of round one. I don’t get it.

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