Say What?

Calipari would rather win the draft than the national title

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari annoyed many in his state when he said his primary interest is not winning games but developing young athletes into pros.  “Last year we started the season with a goal,” Calipari said. “You may think that goal was win the national title, win all the games.  It was to get eight players drafted.” The Wildcats fell one win short of the national title and perhaps one player short of their goal.  Calipari said he expects his team to have seven selected in the June draft.

Between the Lines: He sees himself more as professor of basketball than coach of a team.  He forgets he was hired to win college games, not to put players into the NBA.


JR Smith prefers contested shots to open ones

Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith is one of the best 3-point shooters in the NBA, but he likes to do it the hard way.  “I’d rather take a contested shot than an open shot any day,” he told ESPN.  “It’s kind of boring when you take open shots.”  An analytics review showed he’s actually more accurate with a hand in his face than when he has a clear shot at the basket.  Apparently he focuses better when contested.


Royals reliever suspended for doctoring the ball

Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Will Smith was suspended eight games for having a “foreign substance” on his arm.  It was some sort of brown sticky “goop” that he and other pitchers use to improve their grip on the baseball.  But most pitchers are more subtle about it than Smith.  The discoloration of his arm was so apparent from home plate that it could not be ignored.  Curiously, opposing batters said they prefer for Smith to use the substance because it does not add movement to the ball but has the opposite effect, lessening the probability of being hit by a pitch.  The main problem is the appearance, making the sport seem unclean.


Giants cut Sandoval’s replacement, McGehee

In one of his few apparent misjudgments, San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean decided not to pay World Series hero Pablo Sandoval a $5.7 million salary, instead opting to sign Casey McGehee to play third base for $4.8 million this season.  But with McGehee hitting .200 and grounding into a National League-leading 12 double plays, Sabean cut McGehee, even though his salary is guaranteed.


Mets try 6-man rotation, don’t want 200 innings

New York Mets manager Terry Collins is concerned that three of his starting pitchers are on pace for more than 200 innings this year, and he thinks that’s too many.  So he’s changing from a 5-man rotation, which has been the big-leagues norm since the 1980s.  He will find three starters to follow Matt Harvey, Jacob De Grom and Noah Syndergaard, who have pitched at least 47 innings this season.  Harvey had been masterful until Friday, when he yielded a career-high 7 runs, in 4 innings.  Collins determined his arm was “dead” or at least tired.  He called all the starting pitchers to his office and told them:  “If we stay with the 5-man, I’m going to take you guys out after the fifth inning.  You okay with that?”  They were not, so Collins said he will try an extra day of rest. General manager Sandy Alderson approves of a 200-inning limit for his pitchers.  Asked if the 6-man rotation is temporary, he said, curiously, “I wouldn’t call it temporary, but it’s certainly not permanent.” Yogi Berra could not have said it any better.


Peterson skips Vikes’ OTA’s, angling toward Dallas

All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson told the Minnesota Vikings he won’t attend Organized Team Activities, even though his boycott may cost him $250,000 in salary.  This is believed to be part of his strategy to end up with the Dallas Cowboys.  Peterson is bitter at the Vikings for not being more supportive when he faced child-abuse charges in Texas last year.  The Cowboys are known to be more lenient about transgressions with the law.


Goodell is judge, jury, witness AND arbitrator

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who oversaw the investigation and punishment of Tom Brady for “Deflategate,” has refused demands from the Players Association to recuse himself from the quarterback’s appeal hearing.  Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Goodell has the right to arbitrate an appeal, but the union’s executive director DeMaurice Smith said it’s inappropriate in this case because Goodell also will be a witness.  “I look forward to hearing directly from Tom,” Goodell said.  Meanwhile, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft decided not to join Brady in appealing his four-game suspension and other penalties.  Many NFL players, including some of Brady’s former teammates, have expressed doubt he was unaware of footballs being deflated for his benefit.


Federer has close encounter with intruding fan

After beating Colombia’s Alejandro Falla in straight sets Sunday at the French Open, Roger Federer was on Center Court, hoping to leave, when a young man from the crowd approached, unhindered, put his arm around him and tried to take a selfie.  “I’m not happy about it,” said the 17-time Grand Slam winner.  “Obviously not one second am I happy about it. . . . It happened yesterday in the practice too.  . . . It should never happen.”  Tournament officials said there is nothing wrong with the security procedures, it’s just that one of the security offers had a “lack of judgment” in allowing the intruder to proceed to the court.


Athletes ‘not getting paid, not getting an education’

Appearing on Book TV, Mary Willingham, whistleblower from the athletics department at the U of North Carolina, criticized an NCAA system that recruits young men who are unprepared for college and then denies them a chance at an education by requiring them to miss long stretches of classes to play football or basketball games.  Co-author of Cheated:  The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports, she said athletes are lured into a system that provides the only possibility of an eventual career in professional sports.  They’re not getting paid, and they’re not getting an education,” she said, adding that “coaches threaten to tell the pro scouts they’re malcontents if they complain.”  She cited UNC in 2010 enrolling athletes in fake courses to raise their GPA.

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