Let's call this blog PTWW - Pardon The Whitless Wonder.
Here's everything I can write on the best sports topics in the Whitless Wonder's world in three minutes. When the buzzer goes off on my desk, I'm off to the next topic.
The best thing about this blog - no Tony Reali. The worst thing about this blog - I won't be pulling on a police uniform or fortune teller's outfit a la Tony Kornheiser, and I don't have a sweet guest to do a five-minute segment with.
The Patriots Trade Matt Cassel: Personally, I love this deal. The Patriots add a high second round pick, which is right in Bill Belichick's wheelhouse. They were right against the salary cap, so they had to move Cassel's franchise tag contract and didn't want to pay the contract for Kansas City's first-round pick, the third overall in the draft. It tells me the Patriots are extremely confident in Tom Brady's recovery. Plus, as much as the Whitless Wonder loves Mike Vrabel, he was getting old (the NFL recently outlawed using a walker on the field) and there were serious doubts that he would even make the team next year. So, they clear some cap room and a roster spot, and Kansas City gets someone to teach Derrick Johnson and the other Chiefs how to play defense. I call it a win for both sides. And, for those of you who say the Patriots should have taken the "best deal" offered by the Lions or Broncos, I say you're full of crap. Taking a first-rounder goes against everything the Patriots have done since Belichick got there. Yeah, Scott Pioli knew what Bill Belichick would look for in a trade, but the thought that the NFL should investigate this trade is nothing more than the fantasy sportization of actual sports. It's a good trade. Everybody got what they wanted. Nobody got ripped off. The talking heads, like Jay Mariotti and anyone else on ESPN, should shut up about it.
A-Rod's Hip: So, A-Rod had hip stiffness at the end of last season, and we don't find out until six months later that he has a cyst in his hip? If you're worth a half a gazillion dollars, wouldn't you be at a doctor's office if you had sniffle? Wouldn't you have had an MRI over the winter, just to make sure you still had male reproductive organs (I mean, it's not like that hasn't been questioned in the last three years or anything)? I just don't get this guy. I understand wanting to be out there with your team at the end of last year, but sometime over the winter, he should have had this checked out. What a lousy spring for Rodriguez - the steroid thing, two absolutely mishandled press conferences, the Yuri Sucart/banned Dominican trainer thing, the whole dissing Derek Jeter/Johnny Damon thing, and then HipGate. What else can this guy do to tick off every Yankees fan in four countries? Should he ever open his mouth? All I know is he'd better come through in clutch situations a lot better than he did last year, or he'll be another Ed Whitson/Steve Trout/Ken Phelps to Yankees fans. He'll be dead to us. When he comes to visit our mother, we'll want to know a week in advance so I won't be there. And he'd better hope he's never alone in a boat on our lake. Ever. Seriously.
Syracuse Hoops Has A Good Week: I don't know if the Orange's disappointing Big East season is more a sign of a team that isn't quite ready for prime time, or the fact that the Big East could almost hold its own Elite Eight in March. I'm betting on the latter. Big East teams have played a lot against Jim Boeheim's zone over the years and know how to attack it (go man, once in a while, coach. Trust me, it won't hurt. Much.). And, Syracuse has poor matchups against Connecticut (they're scared poopless of Hasheem Thabeet) and Villanova (too many guards who neutralize Syracuse's advantages in the post with Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson). But, when they got to the weaker portion of the conference schedule, they're back to playing the way we all thought they could play, and more importantly, the way they played against Memphis, Kansas and Florida. They're definitely in the NCAA Tournament, and I think they're poised to win at least a first-round game, and maybe two games. Look for Syracuse to win a game in next week's Big East tournament, too. Nice moment from Tuesday's game against Rutgers, by the way. Kristof Ongenaet (playing his final game in the Carrier Dome) scores a season-high 10 points and makes two great offensive plays, and Justin Thomas and Jake Presutti, walk-on seniors, each scored as the crowd went wild for them. Nice moment for those guys on Senior Night.
The Yankees Centerfield Battle. I thought Melky Cabrera would come out and play really well, since his job is up for grabs. The guy who has played great is Brett Gardner. I know it's early, and I know Gardner is a midget. Alright, they like to be called little people. Still, it doesn't change the fact that Gardner is hitting the ball with authority all over the field. He must have gotten into A-Rod's stash over the winter. If this keeps up, Gardner wins the center field job hands down. I love his speed, I like his defense, and I like the attitude with which he plays. I thought Cabrera was ticketed for big things before his batting average started dropping like the Dow Jones, and I still think he can be a useful player, maybe as a fourth outfielder. But, right now, Gardner is the player who's impressing me the most. Don't forget, Dustin Pedroia didn't look like a hitter his first time in the major leagues, either, and he's a little person who just won the American League MVP award.
Joba Chamberlain To The Starting Rotation: This might be the story of the spring. Last week, the Whitless Wonder said he thought Joba should end up in the bullpen. Then, two days later, Joe Girardi says he expects Chamberlain to make 30 starts this year. That's fine with me - it makes one of my keeper decisions in my fantasy baseball league a lot easier. I still think Joba is the best person for the eighth inning, but I like him as a starter. He is a legitimate number 1 starter, and he's pitching as the fifth starter this year. The rotation is where he belongs for the rest of his career, and you want him ready for when C.C. Sabathia begins slowing down. C.C.'s arm has more miles on it than a 1983 Chevette, and A.J. Burnett's arm is as reliable as a 1974 Ford Pinto. So, I can't quibble with this move. Girardi must feel he's got the late innings handled with the combination of Brian Bruney, Damaso Marte, Phil Coke, Jose Veras and Edward Ramirez. I still wonder if Humberto Sanchez makes an impression here during the spring, too.
Goodnight, Canada, and so long knuckleheads.