Remember the story I linked to last week about the high school player who set a Minnesota state record with 90 points in a game? Turns out not everyone is exactly thrilled about what took place. Here's a little after-the-fact scouting report on the team Cash Eggleston dropped 90 on:
A hard-luck visiting team consisting of mostly inexperienced Hmong players. Among the reserves is a kid with one arm. "They're not really used to playing organized ball," said their coach.
There's a lot of other "questionable" details contained in the article and I think it's pretty clear that the motives involved in getting Eggleston the record weren't exactly the greatest. With that said, I'm not as offended by this as a lot of people seem to be. I say if you put together a high school team consisting of players who aren't good or experienced at the sport and you commit to playing a normal schedule, against other high school teams, you should be prepared to deal with things like opposing players trying to break records against you.
At some point I don't think teams can complain about other teams running up the score. I'm not sure exactly where that line is, since every year some college football team wins 70-7 and people get all up in arms, but for me it starts at the high-school level. If you're going to put a team on the field that can't stop an offense from scoring a touchdown every time they have the ball or you're going to put a team on the court that can't stop some kid named Cash Eggleston from hitting 20 three-pointers, then perhaps there is a bigger issue than sportsmanship.
The Sporting News' Ken Rosenthal wrote a good column about the rebuilding job Mark Shapiro has done with the Indians over the last couple years. The Indians were the big bullies of the American League Central for quite a while and the fact that they are now in a position to seriously challenge for division titles again after just a few seasons "off" is a major credit to Shapiro. I'm hoping Cleveland isn't quite good enough to battle the Twins this season, but they scare me more than the White Sox do. And starting in 2006, the AL Central is going to be a lot tougher to win.
Sports Illustrated has revamped their website, SI.com, and they are featuring columnist Jacob Luft as a major part of their baseball coverage. Luft is a sabermetric-friendly writer and his columns are quickly becoming must-reads. It's nice to see a mainstream site give more bylines to a guy like Luft, as opposed to the exodus of good writers going on over at ESPN.com lately.
Luft's latest column, ranking the American League starting rotations, includes the following sentence in the intro: "Wins and losses aren't mentioned because they are overrated statistics that depend too much on run support, defense and luck." There's something you won't see Buster Olney or Phil Rogers write anytime soon! Oh, and in case you're wondering, he's got the Twins ranked third.
Here's a picture of Cristian Guzman modeling the Washington Nationals' new uniforms. I'm not sure why the shot of Guzman -- complete with an afro, plenty of bling, and a huge smile -- is so amusing to me, but it is. Incidentally, Guzman signed a four-year deal with Washington worth around $16 million. Last night, in one of my Diamond-Mind leagues with a $400 team salary cap, he sold in the auction for $10. You do the math.
If an NHL season is canceled and no one cares, did it really happen? Actually, the end of the NHL season might be the only ongoing, front-page sports story that I care less about than all the steroids stuff.
And finally ... Over at Stick and Ball Guy's blog, I am this week's guest for a game of Pepper! Basically, "SBG" tossed 10 different topics at me and asked me to respond with 50-word answers (give or take, since I am known for being Gleeman-length and all). Go check it out and tell him I sent you.
Today at The Hardball Times:
- Parks and Recreation (by Brian Borawski)
- My Big Fat Steroids Column (by John Brattain)