Say What?

Rookie Astro sold himself short at $10 mil

After he signed a 5-year contract for a guaranteed $10 million, with incentives that could bring it to $35 million, Astros minor leaguer Jon Singleton (soon to be promoted) was criticized by big-league veterans for devaluing himself and his profession.  Bud Norris, who pitched for Houston last season, tweeted:  “Sorry but this Singleton deal is terrible.  Wish Jon had listened to the union and not his agent.”  Mark Mulder, whose pitching career was ended by injury when he was 28, tweeted:  “Either he doesn’t believe in himself to be great, or he has a terrible agent. . . ”

Without the new contract, Singleton, 22-year-old first baseman who homered in his first game in the Show, would earn the major league minimum salary of $500,000, but he would not be paid anything if he were injured.

As for how much money one needs for maximum happiness, extensive research has found that a person who earns $1 million a year is likely to be happier than one making $500,000 but is just as happy as someone earning $5 million, like Norris.

Editorial comment:  Two things we don’t want to hear: (1) owners complaining of losing millions; (2) players complaining of a $2 million salary – especially when it’s someone else’s.


Answer to LeBron?  It’s blowin’ in the ear  

In an effort to distract LeBron James, Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson took advantage of a play stoppage to blow in the ear of his heralded adversary, like you would blow out candles on a birthday cake.  Stephenson called his antics “just playing ball.”  But his own coach, Frank Vogel, said, “Blowing in his face probably crosses the line.”

Stephenson on another occasion caressed the check of JamesAlthough Stephenson is a very talented player (led the league with 5 triple doubles), ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser (Pardon the Interruption) referred to him as “unhinged some of the time.”

It did appear, however, that Stephenson succeeded in irritating James and impairing his focus.  Playing overly aggressively, James fouled out after scoring 7 points as Indiana won Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference championship series which ended with Miami winning Game 6 and advancing to the Finals with San Antonio.  Said Pacers star Paul George:  “I hope his breath wasn’t too bad for LeBron.” 


Donovan rejected by US team that ‘can’t win’

Jurgen Klinsmann continues to draw criticism for cutting long-time star Landon Donovan from America’s World Cup team.  Although Donovan is 32 and a step slower than he was at the 2010 Cup, he’s the same age as Brad Davis, who made the 23-man roster with a much lesser resume.

Despite much sentiment in his favor, Donovan was heckled with chants of “US re-ject” when the Galaxy played the Fire in Chicago.

Still, after the Americans’ shaky play during the exhibitions, or “friendlies,” leading into the World Cup tournament in Brazil, many observers were expecting to see Donovan added as an injury substitute the first time somebody tweaks a muscle.  Bruce Arena, who coaches Donovan for the MLS team Los Angeles Galaxy, said:  “If there are 23 better players than Landon, we have a chance to win the World Cup.”

Klinsmann gave his assessment of his team’s chances:  “We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not there yet.”

This statement would be no story if not coming from someone whose main duty is to motivate his players.  Professional oddsmakers give Team USA a 0.3% probability of winning the Cup, meaning one in about 330.   So yes, mathematically, it CAN be done. 

Defending champion Spain is the favorite, though many analysts see Brazil as unbeatable on the home pitch.  Portugal and Germany, two of the top four teams, are bracketed with the U.S. in Group G, a/k/a the “Group of Death.”  The US opens play against Ghana, which knocked it out of the past two World Cups, on June 16 (7 p.m. Central).  The same day, Germany and Portugal open against each other, with Portugal’s superstar Cristiano Ronaldo being pressured to rest his sore left leg.  Florentino Perez, president of Real Madrid, the European champion for which he plays, said:  “Players like Cristiano Ronaldo must only play when they are fit.”

Between the Lines:  Except when a European championship is at stake.  Then Perez expected him to play hurt, which he did.

Click here for Margaret Ely’s “Streaming the World Cup” and extensive Washington Post coverage.


Dareus, two arrests in a month, ‘not a trouble guy’

Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus was arrested twice in four weeks, first in Alabama for felony possession of a controlled substance (synthetic marijuana) and then back home in Buffalo on three misdemeanor charges related to drag racing.  He slammed his 2012 Jaguar into a tree outside a restaurant.  Bills coach Doug Marrone promptly excused Dareus from the remainder of OTA drills.

Between the Lines:  No need to have a media circus here.

“Marcell has made some poor decisions lately,” Marrone said.  ‘I’ve been working with him.  He’s dealing with a lot of personal issues, too.”  Before he was excused, the 24-year-old Dareus faced the media and admitted no wrong:  “The media put things out there the wrong way.  I’m not a trouble guy.” 

Between the Lines:  Nixon was not a crook; Clinton did not have sex with that woman; Donald Sterling is not a racist.

Comments will post after a short period for review