Sunday Sports Reading

Pete Abraham has a good article in The Amsterdam Journal News about Mariano Rivera–how he pitched in pain for most of last season because of a bone spur on his collarbone, how he realizes that he won’t pitch forever, and his refreshing confidence.  Again we are reminded that there is only one Mariano.

Tyler Kepner of The New York Times writes about the ignominious and ultimately unsucessful pitching acquisitions that have littered the Yankees’ roster since 2003, reiterating what we already know–that the Yankees cannot have Sabathia and Burnett become more recent and much more expensive entries onto that list.

Mark Feinsand of The New York Daily News and the “Blogging the Bombers” blog issues a rejoinder from a distance that the 2009 staff is loaded with potential to remind us of 2003.

In his last column for The New York Sun, which is closing up shop, the articulate Steven Goldman has a typically excellent piece on what may be the end of an era after Mussina and Martinez, the former who has reitered and the latter whose future is uncertain.  Speaking of one’s future, I have no doubt that Goldman will land a full-time gig somewhere else.  To me, he doesn’t get his due as a terrific writer and thinker about the game and society at-large.

Finally, ESPN.com reports that in a fitting, ironic, and long overdue move, the NBA has named the NBA Finals MVP award after the greatest champion basketball has ever known, the incomparable Bill Russell–who for some bizarre reason never won the Finals MVP despite being by far the biggest reason why the Celtics won eight straight titles, and eleven in thirteen years.  For over a decade, Russell and the Celtics were the NBA Finals, with Russell literally changing the game with his leadership, incredible defense, rebounding prowess, and remarkable capacity to run the floor for a big man.  This move was long overdue.

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Published in: on February 15, 2009 at 10:08 am  Comments (10)  

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  1. Wouldn’t the end of the era be when Randy Johnson retires? I just skimmed over it real quick, maybe I am missing something.

    http://statisticianmagician.mlblogs.com/

  2. The Sun closed a few months ago. That article is from September. I wrote about their closing for the Daily News back in October.

  3. My bad on Goldman’s piece, Rob. I forgot to check the date. I hadn’t checked the Sun in some time.

  4. Did anyone notice how negative Cashman sounded in Tyler’s NYT piece? I recall a sentence about how the Yankees defense is bad – a funny thing for a GM to say.

  5. Cashman sure did, Jane. Combined with his expressing suspicion about past accomplishments, Cashman has been more critical than usual–maybe than ever. I wonder if he thinks this team needs, and maybe has needed, some motivation. Maybe Cashman is presenting himself as bad cop, adopting a role that George would have if he were more active.

  6. I agree, there is only one Mariano. However, there is also a Joba, and even though he’s starting this year, he will be the heir to Mo. I feel it.

  7. if the D is bad he can just look in the mirror and say thank you. who does he think he’s kidding?

  8. Good point Mike. Plus, it’s not so bad–pretty good outfield speed that is better if Gardner plays center, and Gardner had 4 assists in 22 games in center last year. The addition of Teixeira is huge for the infield defense, a two-time Gold Glove 1B who will be a big upgrade over a guy in Giambi who usually looked like a beer-league softball first baseman.

    Not a tremendous defense, but not so shabby either.

  9. I think the first time that the NBA named a Finals MVP was in 1969, Russell’s last season. Jerry West was named Finals MVP despite the Lakers losing to the Celtics in 7.

    That would explain a lot.

    I remember going to the Yogi Berra Museum, and Yogi was introduced to the crowd as the greatest winner ever. I immediately thought that Russell (1955 and 1956 NCAA Champ at USF, 1956 Gold Medal in basketball, 11 titles in 13 years with the Celtics) could put up one hell of an argument against that…no offense to Yogi, or to Joe DiMaggio, who played 13 years, 9 WS titles, 10 pennants.

  10. You know Mike, I should have known that about the MVP, and it’s probably stuck in my brain’s cobwebs from a while back. I clearly agree about Russell. I’d throw in Henri Richard, “The Pocket Rocket” who was brilliant for the Canadiens, winning 11 Stanley Cups.

    I couldn’t imagine ruling a sport like those guys–all kings.


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