Draft Lottery Thoughts
NBA DRAFT LOTTERY: THE WIZARDS GET THE TOP PICK BUT IT SURE FEELS FISHY ...
THE MID-WEEK BASEBALL NOTEBOOK INCLUDES A SALUTE TO MARLINS MANAGER GONZALEZ
NBA LOTTERY NEWS
Once upon a time - okay, so it was 1985 - the NBA was bombarded by claims the first-ever Draft Lottery was "fixed" so that Georgetown center Patrick Ewing could wind up a member of the New York Knicks. Sure, there have been other like claims over the past 25 years that not everything with the Lottery is "kosher" but most of that was sour grapes stuff coming from franchises that hoped to be getting the #1 pick and instead wound up dropping a few pegs.
Now, we must admit to having our cynic's cap on this time:
Maybe the aforementioned Ms. Pollin is on her way out the door as the sale of the Wizards to Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is said to be close to completion but this sure felt like a "going away present" to the Pollin family and maybe even a little pick-me-up for the fans of this team that had to endure all the Gilbert Arenas gun junk this year.
Don't know about you but once the draft order got down to the last seven or eight teams, we just had a real gut feeling that Washington (26-56 in the 2009-10 season) - despite only having a 10.3 percent chance to get the #1 pick - was going to be the team to get the big prize.
Hope it was all on the "up-and-up" Commissioner Stern.
Okay, so who figures to be the top half-dozen picks come June 24th? Here's how we see it right now:
#1. WASHINGTON - John Wall, G, Kentucky: Hey, let's give 'em a 21-gun salute!
#2. PHILADELPHIA - Evan Turner, G/F, Ohio State: Silky-smooth star better be able to handle tough crowds.
#3. NEW JERSEY - Derrick Favors, F, Georgia Tech: Nets will be building a real solid team ... don't laugh.
#4. MINNESOTA - DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kentucky: We know the T-Wolves already have enough point guards to stock an army.
#5. SACRAMENTO - Wesley Johnson, F, Syracuse: Big East Player of the Year could be 20 ppg scorer when PG Tyreke Evans finds him on fast breaks.
#6. GOLDEN STATE - Gordon Hayward, F, Butler: Something tells us this whiz-kid will rocket way up the draft board in coming weeks.
BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES:
IT'S TIME THE FISH'S RAMIREZ
DOES WHAT FREDI SAYS
Okay, so you can't actually see us right now but we are applauding the move made this past Monday night by Florida Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez.
After a short-and-sweet between-innings dugout lecture he administered to star SS Hanley Ramirez, Gonzalez simply told the 2009 National League batting champ to "sit down".
And than Fredi told 'em to sit again in Tuesday afternoon's 8-0 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Good for him!
The reason for Gonzalez's angst was the fact that Ramirez didn't exactly hustle after a ball he inadvertently kicked into the left-field corner in a 5-1 home loss to the 'Zona Diamondbacks. The ball must have shot nearly 100 feet from Ramirez after he booted it but it was a clear lack of hustle by the shortstop that allowed two runners to score on the Tony Abreu looper with the batter getting all the way to third base.
Afterwards, Gonzalez admitted that Ramirez did hurt his left shin after fouling off an Edwin Jackson pitch in the first inning but the fourth-year manager was going to give Ramirez any excuses for his lollygagging - "There are 24 guys out there that are busting their butts," said an agitated Gonzalez. "We expect an effort from 25 guys on this team and when that doesn't happen, we have got to do something."
Never mind the fact that the Marlins had just come off a four-game series home sweep against the New York Mets. Gonzalez wasn't gonna stand for any of his players dogging it.
The fact of the matter is this 2010 Major-League Baseball season is more than six weeks old and yet we can't count up all the plays we've seen where guys didn't bust it, didn't hustle and didn't look as if they were even trying - to be quite blunt.
Whether it's a play such as the one Ramirez made (or didn't make, in reality) or a guy not running hard to first base on a ground game that appears to be a base hit (that we've hit countless times so far in '10) or an outfielder not hustling down a ball hit in the gap, the fact is this has become a real epidemic in the sport and hats off to Gonzalez for finally standing up and saying "enough"!
No need to get into Ramirez's silly comments about his manager never having been a major-league player - all we know is Gonzalez should now have gotten his point across (or else Ramirez and his ilk simply don't get it).
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