Red Sox GM has cake job; VCU never belonged in tourney 

A little of this, and a lot of that ...

- I’m not usually the emotional type, but if someone would let me march into the Baltimore Orioles’ dugout, I’d give Buck Showalter a thank you and a great big hug. Or at least a manly fist-bump. Just something to show my appreciation for his willingness to tell the truth about Theo Epstein, the man with one of the two easiest jobs in professional sports.

In a magazine interview, Showalter challenged the accomplishments of the Red Sox’s general manager, who has been widely credited for acquiring Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez through free agency and trade, respectively, saying, “I’d like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll. You got Carl Crawford ’cause you paid more than anyone else, and that’s what makes you smarter?” Preach on, Buck. Oh, that other easiest job in sports, you ask? New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman’s, of course.

- The VCU run to the NCAA Final Four has certainly made for a great story, but I’m sticking to my guns on their presence in the tournament. Yes, they got hot at the right time, but there was a reason they were only the fourth seed in their own conference tournament. Their 11 regular-season losses, without winning either the Colonial regular season or conference tournaments, and their 51 RPI should have cost them a spot in the at-large field. That’s why they didn’t even bother to watch the NCAA selection show. They knew. In other words, their run of success in the tourney doesn’t justify their actual selection any more than, say; Notre Dame’s second-round loss suggests the Irish never should have made the field despite a terrific regular season.

- Oh, and lest you think I don’t enjoy a good underdog story as much as the next guy, let me remind you that there’s only supposed to be room for one Cinderella per Final Four — and Butler beat the Rams to The Slipper. In fact, they’ve been wearing it for two years running. Go Bulldogs.

- Is anyone else enjoying the collapse of the New York Knicks as much as I am? Carmelo Anthony engineers a trade to the Garden in order to run with fellow All-Star Amare Stoudemire and former All-Star Chauncey Billups in an effort to match the Big Three in Boston and the Miami Thrice in South Beach ...  and the Knicks go 7-12 since the deal. Combine their performance with that of the Heat, in which LeBron James has already lost more games with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh than he did a year ago with Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao in Cleveland, and you have poetic justice worthy of Frost.

- NFL owners voted last week to take the “return” out “kickoff returns” by allowing kickers to launch from the 35-yard line instead of the 30. Falcons’ president Rich McKay explained the move, declaring, “Player safety will always trump any other consideration.” Next up: Fair catches for wide receivers on deep fly patterns down the sideline.

- You kind of have to sort of feel badly for Jimmer Fredette, don’t you? An 11-for-29 against Florida in the round of 16, including 3-for-15 from beyond the arc, and the Player of the Year’s bandwagon empties faster than a dessert tray in front of Kirstie Alley in the “Dancing With the Stars” green room. You think Jimmer ever looks in the mirror and sees J.J. Redick staring back at him?

Bob Frantz is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at bfrantz@sfexaminer.com.

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