1) A couple of weeks ago, USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann, in defending the decision to leave Landon Donovan off the team, referenced what he regarded as the Lakers’ non-sensical decision to pay Kobe Bryant $50 million over the next two years, based on past performance. Mike Wilbon went all Archie Bunker on Klinsmann, screaming at him to get out of the country and go back home (Klinsmann’s lived in the States since the late 1990s). Wilbon deemed it highly relevant to his considered opinion that he personally knows Kobe.
Newsweek’s John Walters disagreed:
Wilbon has gone, to borrow a term he often employs, “knucklehead.” He long ago left objectivity behind when it comes to appraising some superstar athletes, particularly NBA players who happen to be his friends. He’s become the 21st-century Ahmad Rashad and loves to mention that he knows Kobe or Dwyane Wade or LeBron, as if the friendship is anything but one-sided. If Wilbon were to return to his roots as a journalist and pen something critical about one of his “friends,” he might discover a sudden chill in the relationship.
And we can’t have that, can we?
2) one of the neatest tidbits I saw (item#5) in the aftermath of Tony Gwynn’s sad passing yesterday: he is, since such records have been available (beginning with the 1988 season), the greatest two-strike hitter in the game’s history. Gwynn’s cumulative BA in those situations was .302. The next best two-strike hitter, Wade Boggs, was forty points in arrears. Among all hitters in two-strike counts during the 1988-2001 period (Gwynn retired in 2001), the average was .187. Remarkable.
3) Listening to Colin Cowherd talk about Derrick Rose this morning, you’d almost think he was a wins produced fan. He rightly pointed out that Drose is overrated, describing him as a volume shooter who doesn’t defend, rebound or pass at an elite level and isn’t all that good as a percentage shooter. All that is true and, since Cowherd isn’t over-crediting Rose for the mere fact that he shoots a lot, he doesn’t believe Rose is anywhere close to a max player. As an added bonus, Cowherd properly identified Noah as easily the team’s most valuable player.