LONGSHOTS: New hires, new trades in pro sports
by Dave Long
It was an eventful week for the local pro teams. Some of it good and some of it not so good. Hereís my take on some of the biggest stories.
News Item: Sox Put on a Little Extra Colon
I love Teho signing Bartolo Colon. Since heís won just seven games the last two years thanks to arm miseries, you canít let your imagination go. But itís no risk and the last time he was healthy he won the Cy Young. If healthy again, that would make him a pretty good number two behind Josh Beckett. Beside the injury, the obvious problem is that he looks to be in worse shape than I am. But still, there have been a fair number of portly pitchers through the years, like David Wells, Mickey Lolich and LaMarr (where does it) Hoyt, so you never know. And as I said on the radio the day it happened, it brings to mind when the Red Sox plucked Luis Tiant off the scrap heap and he went on to win 20 three times after that. Iíll settle for 10-12 wins, 150 innings and being ready come playoff time. Weíll see.
News Item: Assante Flies High as Eagles Show Him the Money
The one thing you canít say is Assante Samuel never said, ďit isnít about the moneyĒ before taking the huge deal. It was ALWAYS about the money and he went after it like an errant pass in the flat. Put me solidly in the column that says this is, as Julia Roberts said to the snooty Rodeo Drive saleswomen in Pretty Woman, ďbig mistake ó HUGE.Ē The weakest spot on the team is the other corner and now they have two huge holes at corner. Yes Ty Law may be out there, but heís about the money too, so heís not coming here on the cheap. Plus at 34, donít tell me you think he can be the shutdown corner they need? A nice, experienced number two maybe. But a number one? I donít think so.
But the larger point is that unless youíre Tom Brady or Richard Seymour, guys in the locker room know that while you may eventually get the big money, it will come from some other place. And while they may be able to reconcile that, I wonder if it doesnít grate on them when they see the BIG money going to an outsider like Adalius Thomas instead of folks like Law, Deion Branch and Adam Vinatieri, who helped win those Super Bowl titles. It bears watching.
News Item: How Hard Casell Takes to the Bench in Crunch Time is Issue
Show me another team EVER to have a bigger roster turn around from one season to the next than the Celtics have under Danny Ainge and then led the league in wins as they have from day one. The latest is adding P. J. Brown and (99% sure) Sam (donít call me Howard) Cassell as theyíve gone from the leagueís second-youngest team to a savvy experienced group where just five of the 15 players from last year remain. At 38, weíll see about Brown, who provides experienced depth to a frisky front court thatís getting steady contributions from Big Baby Davis and Leon Powe. Cassell, however, gives them what they need for the playoff. I love the instant offense Eddie (Big) House provides, but he ainít a point guard. Cassell is the experienced ball handler and crunch- time player they need behind Rajon Rondo. My only reservation is how heíll take to sitting on the bench in crunch time when it happens.
News Item: Ducking White House Visit a Bush Move?
Was it a classic Manny-being-Manny moment or something else? It came after electing not to attend last weekís ceremony at the White House where President Bush congratulated the Red Sox for winning the 2007 World Series. That was followed by many in nitwit nation calling him unpatriotic on talk radio for what they said was dissing the President. A political statement? Are you kidding me? While I think it was a genuine gesture by Mr. Bush, who once did own the Texas Rangers, itís also been used as a photo op by pols in the past, so whatís the big deal if he doesnít go? Itís a free country where people can do what they want when the visit isnít a mandatory club function ó even for those who donít get what an honor it is. As for the president, I donít think it bothered him too much. He was on his game, especially in asking ďif Mannyís grandmother died again,Ē in reference to his inventory of usual excuses for missing All-Star games, the start of camp, and assorted other functions.
News Item: Pettiest Feud in Sports Jets Even Higher
So where do you stand on this one? Eric Mangini told Jonathan Vilma last week he and his agent could seek a trade with ANY team in the league EXCEPT the Patriots because he wanted to stick it to New England one more time, or he didnít want the best team in his division, who is in need of help at linebacker, to get one from his team. The rumor mill is churning that Oliver Stone has an investigation under way. I donít see a conspiracy. Instead I think they just didnít want to hand over a guy to the linebacker- depleted the Patriots who already knows the system after playing for Mangini. Sticking it to his former mentor was just a bonus.
Etc., Etc., Etc.
Vilma, incidentally, wound up in New Orleans along with Randall Gay. That Gay got a deal worth $17 million tells what the DB market is like and should make it dicier for the Patriots to come up with a good one. Although, you never know what they may be able to trade for or draft. Iíd have given the money to Assante over Randy Moss though I would have tried to find it for both. However, it you throw Vince Wilfork into this, whoís up next year, maybe it came down to him and Assante ó which is a harder call.
Dave Long can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He hosts the Absolute Sports Experience at Billyís Sports Bar in Manchester each Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon that is broadcast live on WGAM Ė The Game, 1250-AM Manchester, 900-AM Nashua.