Thursday Skull Session

By Chris Lauderback on April 26, 2012 at 6:00a

Top of the morning, friends of the Dubya and welcome to a new day. 

I'm personally grateful for a fresh sunrise after yesterday's roller coaster. Sequestered in meetings for the balance of the afternoon, I was first greeted with the elation inducing news that Bill Hancock had strong words against the existing BCS setup and others close to the situation feeling something along the lines of a four team playoff is essentially a foregone conclusion

Then, not 20 minutes later, I accidentally pocket dialed Alex - who shockingly wasn't already on the phone with some five star recruit - and he informed me our beloved Yankees suffered a major blow in the form of Michael Pineda's impending labral surgery that will cost him 12 months. 

I know most of you hate the Yankees despite the fact they play by the rules and have an ownership group that uses its financial power to its advantage - just as you would want your favorite team's owner to do - but to trade your top prospect for a pitcher than blows his shoulder in spring training? Painful news for two of your scribes.  

Anyhoo, it's going to be 67 degrees today in the capital city and 70-75 two days next week which means golfing season is right around the corner. In a much deserved break from being a whirling dervish of football awesome, Urban Meyer will also be hitting the links as he takes part in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament this Sunday through Tuesday at the Reynolds Plantation resort on Lake Oconee located just outside the ATL. 

UFM will play in a scramble with former Buckeye Jeff Logan in an event that features the likes of the Ole Ball Coach, Roy Williams, Googs, Frank Beamer, Derek Dooley, Sterling Sharpe and Terrell Buckley (remember with Jim Rome was good?) among others. Here's to Urbz spraying a hot worm burner off an unsuspecting Nick Saban kneecap, all in the name of charity. 

ROAD TRIP! In a move that should help a staggeringly awful football program attract fans of both the Gophers and their opponents, Minnesota lawmakers have passed a bill allowing the sale of beer to all fans at Gopher football games effective this fall. 

Minnesota will become the first B1G school to serve reebs (Kalifornia!) and the president of a Gophers booster club couldn't be more ecstatic:

"This is absolutely fabulous. It makes it that much more of a festive experience. It will set us apart. We'll be the only Big Ten stadium that will actually have a beer garden of that nature. ... This will give people a chance to mingle and have some good football chatter right there in the beer tent. ... It was surprising that Wisconsin didn't do this years ago. The beer tents, the music is a Wisconsin thing. But we're the ringleaders." 

The only bad thing about this news? Ohio State doesn't take on the Gophers in Minneapolis until at least 2015. 

AT LEAST TREE IS PLENTIFUL. Some current and former Oregon Ducks players are salty after discovering, a site setup by the university's athletic department to auction off game worn uniforms, cleats, artifacts and the like from all their major sports. 

With multiple uniforms for many sports thanks to the Nike pipeline, the head of the school's marketing and public relations told the Oregonian auctioned items could combine to fetch over $100k. Naturally, this drew the ire of guys like LaMichael James after he saw one of his game worn jersey's listed for $700. As of this writing it was up to $825. James wondered aloud via twitter how much he'd get from the transaction and former OL Mark Asper wasn't exactly behind the cause:

“It’s just like another scheme, another wrinkle where the university, the football program and Nike are gonna make tons of money off me and my buddies."

Oregon is far from alone in deciding to go the auction route to further profit off their student-athletes as Michigan, Auburn and yes, Ohio State have conducted similar auctions in the past. Currently, the only items on OSU's auction page are official team bench chairs from the Final Four - FYI in case you've got $150 to spare. 

The Angel of Death added FIU to his list of victims

THE SCHOTT GOES UNDER THE KNIFE. With the swing of a sledgehammer, a $13 million renovation of the men's and women's practice facilities got underway yesterday in Value City Arena. 

Temporarily relocating the strength and conditioning area (before it finds a permanent home in August 2013) will allow for expansion of team locker rooms,   meeting rooms and player lounges to be completed before the start of 2012 preseason practice. 

Ohio State first attempted to secure funds for the updates in 2007 but a stank economy slowed down funding efforts. In the meantime, Baptist notes five B1G schools (Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan and Purdue) have unveiled updated or new facilities with Sparty upgrading its locker rooms. Still no word on if Penn State plans to upgrade Bryce Jordan by converting it into a homeless shelter to ensure more than 4,000 fans for conference games. 

The recruiting game never ends. 

FIU CHANNELS THEIR INNER BO RYAN. Nobody can accuse Florida International's athletics department of having a lick of common sense following the hire of Isiah Thomas but their idiocy took another step forward in the last few days as the school's executive director of sports and entertainment, Pete Garcia, reportedly refused to grant forward Dominique Ferguson a release from his scholarship. 

According to Ferguson, he then met with university President Mark Rosenberg and again struck out in his quest for release. As a result, Ferguson, who spurned offers from schools like Duke, Arizona and Kentucky to play for Isiah, has declared for the NBA Draft. 

Now, I think we're all shaking our head at why anyone with a pulse would want to play for Thomas but that doesn't excuse FIU's completely ridiculous stance. Good luck to that podunk school at ever securing a legitimately talented blue chip in the future. Well, unless maybe they hire the equally intelligent Dennis Rodman to run their program. 

BAXTER? BARK TWICE IF YOU'RE IN MILWAUKEE. PRO-TIP: If you're never going to make the Dance, don't be a jerk... LSU's D-Coord bags a $1.1 mil contract... Bench farts rule... World Trade Center construction progress... Bo Pelini gets another year and more coin... Clutch pickup lines (potentially NSFW)... Tress returns to Columbus... Church prepares to break the sound barrier... Mt Rushmore before and after... Sportspickle's look at legendary athlete names


Comments Show All Comments

LadyBuck's picture

I don't know if I was more horrified or amused by those pick-up lines, and, seriously, who hasn't heard the derivative one? (Coming from a former engineering major with plenty of science-major friends). 

I think serving alcohol at the shoe is unnecessary. We fill our seats, regardless of it being a "dry" stadium. Plus, the alcohol may result in unsavory stunts -which we all know the media will love to perpetuate. For Minny, I can see why they're doing it, but I don't think it's a good idea for the rowdier crowds (read: Penn State).

As for the Schott renovation, do you know what would be awesome? If Coach Matta held a similar open practice for the basketball team. Then we can see those new locker rooms. I'd be okay with that. 

buckeyedude's picture

I agree Ladybuck. We don't want some drunk moron running around the field with just his sneakers on during Script Ohio.




btalbert25's picture

I think a couple of hours of sober up time is a good idea in the Shoe.   

Baroclinicity's picture

And I'm sure most of us have utilized that...

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

btalbert25's picture

lol, yeah I'm thinking that drinking in the Shoe would force Ohio State to bring in firetrucks to hose the stands down after the game.  It wouldn't be pleasant on a hot September afternoon I'm sure.

bukyze's picture

"How do you like your eggs - scrambled or fertilized?"  Absolutely hilarious!  Love that link!  They 've done studies on those pickup lines, you know.  60% of the time they work every time.

  Chris - if the Yankees had done their due diligence, they would've known something was wrong when Pineda lost a LOT of velocity after the All Star break last year.  He even said his arm didn't feel good.   I'm sure they thought it was due to fatigue, but still, it doesn't sound like they did a thorough medical exam of his shoulder.

Chris Lauderback's picture

By all reports, the Yankees completed their due dilligence. Everything I've read said his drop in velocity last year really only occurred in late September when the Mariners were pacing his innings. I think he even went 10 days between starts once. And his 2nd half Strikeouts/Innings ratio was even better than his first half.  A organization like the yankees simply doesn't skimp on medical evaluations of players and I have a hard time believing they'd trade their top organizational prospect for a damaged pitcher. That makes no sense.

Don't get me wrong, he could've been hurt all along but I have a feeling if he was damaged, it was clearly undetectable by MRI and the various doctor evaluations.

I think there's a greater chance that by coming into camp fat and out of shape, he adjusted his mechanics and/or aggravated something that simply wasn't going to be detected until it became something greater. When they shut him down at the end of spring training, they did a whole additional round of tests and found nothing. It wasn't until his 3rd rehab throwing session that he felt a more painful twinge that he then went for an additional type of MRI that showed the more serious injury that would've come up on any MRI at any time.

I think this is more bad luck than it is the Yankees not doing their due dilligence. Again, it's not like money is a factor as they complete medicals on a guy they planned to be a #3 starter in 2012 and potentially emerge into a #2 starter for years to come. Just my $.02.

Scroll to the bottom of this article to see FanGraphs debunk the declining velocity myth:


bukyze's picture

Thanks, Chris!

btalbert25's picture

You know Chris, you are right people hate the Yankees for spending the money they have even if it is playing within the rules.  In all honestly though, I'm not convinced their model really works all that much.  Sure they've won a couple of titles, but the teams in the mid 90's that were so good were built with guys like O'Neil, Leyritz, and Scott Brosias(Spelling)  Those were pretty likable teams in my mind.  Since then, sure they've won a couple of titles, but when you spend the kind of money they have the last decade, anything less than a title, to me, seems like a total failure. That's just my opinion of course.

People hate them for spending money, and they complain when their team doesn't spend money.  Then, when their team finally ponies up and locks up their superstar for his whole career, and locks up their gold glove 2nd baseman, and has the complete core of their team signed and under team control through 2015 they bitch about the team giving too much to one guy! They'll say these contracts will handcuff the organization. Even though the owner is a shrewd businessman who has horded his revenue sharing money and is sitting on the brink of landing a monster TV deal.   That's what frustrates me even more than people complainging about the Yankees. 

Squirrel Master's picture

Scott Brosius! and you are right, the better Yankees teams were before the high paid prima donnas showed up. Leyritz was a beast.

I am surprised though that Jeter and A-rod are actually hitting the ball this year. Might make up for the lack of pitching depth!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

btalbert25's picture

Wasn't Leyritz the pride of Turpin High School?  I think he was a local guy.  In fact, I think that 96 team was pretty well liked here in Cincinnati.  O'Neil was a guy that everyone seemed to like around here and Leyritz was from Cincinnati.  Seems like their may h ave been another connection I'm missing too. 

Chris Lauderback's picture

I hear you on the Yankees model, BT.

Whether or not it works depends on the definition of 'works'. The Yankee model is going to get them in the playoffs 9 times out of 10 but there's no question the model has flaws that have been exposed during the post-season.

Paying a premium for veterans makes some sense in that not everyone can handle the pressure of playing for the Yankees but it also means they are forced to overpay because of someone's track record despite the fact that player might be aging and thus declining. Some of those vets wear down as the long season progresses and often times the Yankees are "forced" to give contracts longer in years than they would like which turns about to be a burden down the road. ARod is a classic case of this. They've got what, 6 more years of him at about 30 mil per? He's not worth that now, let alone over the rest of the deal as his run production continues to decline and nagging injuries mount.

I like how Cashman and company have at least tried to hang on to their top pitching prospects recently (betances, banuelos, phelps, robertson, nova etc) but that same strategy has led to them retaining guys like Hughes and Joba that in hindsight might have fetched more value in trade than they've added as players over the years.

I was telling a buddy of mine that loves the Reds that while I get he's elated with some of the recent deals handed out to guys like Votto and Phillips - be careful what you wish for because teams like the Reds can't afford one of those contracts to go south in the way of production. That said, I love what the Reds are trying to do. As a small-market, they've at least tried to hand their hat on a foundation of guys - they just have to hope they stay productive and healthy over the length of their long term deals.

btalbert25's picture

The thing that amazes me, though, are people act like Votto wasn't going to get that deal at the end of 2013 from someone else.  It amazes me, even in Cincinnati, how many people undervalue Votto.  It's my opinion we've yet to see the best baseball out of the guy.  There's always risk doing a long term deal like that, but I think people look at the 10 year deal Griffey got and panic it'll be the same thing this time.  It's not.  Number 1, they haven't gutted their system to bring him in.  Second, the guy keeps himself in good shape and is a relentless worker(Griffey was never accused of either) and 3rd he's just a special kind of player.

If Votto gets hurt it's going to be a big problem, but playing first base and staying in good shape are 2 big factors that I believe will keep him healthy.  Plus, I really think in 5 years we'll see a DH in the national league, which makes the deal even more valuable from the Reds perspective.  Anyway, if they rumors I've been hearing and reading are true about the TV deal being 20 years for 1.5 billion, the contract doesn't strap the Reds the way people think.  Plus in 5 years if he keeps up his current product, 22 mil a year could be a steal.  Imagine what Matt Kemp is going to get the next time he's a free agent if he keeps up the way he played last year and has started this year.

I wouldn't have given Phillips the number of years he wants, because 2nd basemen just don't age well, but I'm glad they are keeping him around and if they win a World Series and make the playoffs a few timeswhile they still have him, Votto, Cueto, Latos, Chapman, Bailey, Bruce, Cozart, Stubbs, Hanigan/Mesorraco, and Marshall all under team control, it'll be well worth the investment. 

William's picture

I thought the moves the Reds made this offseason were smart, but as a Tribe fan I really like what the Indians have done in the past year. Trading Pomeranz and White for Jimenez is beginning to work out as both White and Pomeranz have gotten shellacked when they've started this year while Jimenez has been fine, and locking up Santana and Cabrera for a few more years was vital. Lowe has also happened to be a decent pickup. The only things I've questioned were the Sizemore extension and the Damon signing. 

btalbert25's picture

The Reds were talking about Jimenez at the deadline and I was worried about him.  The Rockies wanted one of the Catching prospects, Alonso, and Chapman for him so Walt basically told them to take a hike.  The other thing was, they wouldn't OK a physical before a deal was made, and Ubaldo's velocity was down from the year before.  I thought there were just too many red flags.  So I'm glad he is working out.

There were also just some murmurs among Reds fans that they should try and trade Votto in the offseason for a guy like Pineda, glad that was not an idea that Jockety and Castellini had.  I really think they signed BP and Votto for the TV deal.  Phillips is wildly popular, and Votto and Chapman are players people will tune in to see.  They have guys that will make the Reds a popular team to watch.

William's picture

Jimenez's velocity is fine now. His fastball is in the mid-90s, the highest I saw him hit this year was 94-95, which is good enough for me. At this point I'm more worried about Masterson who after his 10k performance on Opening Day has looked quite shaky. Also Jack Hannahan has been amazing so far, the guy has been on fire and especially so with 2 outs and runners in scoring position.

Chris Lauderback's picture

I have no issue with the Votto deal either. Just saying it's more risky to do it in Cincy simply because it's harder to eat what could be become a bad contract for a multitude of reasons. How very Captain Obvious of me!

I would love to see the DH in the NL. I think we've talked about this before. To me, the game has become far too specialized to let pitchers go up there and be an automatic out. I appreciate the chess match of baseball and the history of the game as much as anyone pitchers have no business hitting anymore. Plus, the sport could benefit from a little more excitement in a world that wants everything to happen in .02 seconds.

btalbert25's picture

I was more venting about a lot of the craziness I hear in these parts.  I guess fans in general are never happy.  I agree it's risky, and Castellini even said that I'm just glad they finally have competent owenership and a guy who has the stones to take some risks.

btalbert25's picture

As for the Yankees, I agree with you they're going to make the playoffs almost every year, and I'd love to see that out of the Reds every year.  At a point though, is just making the playoffs enough?  Obviously they are doing good business.  They keep selling out, they keep getting TV viewers etc.  So they are doing more than enough to keep the fans happy.


Squirrel Master's picture

Love those athletes names. Not the funniest one but I laughed so hard at Sharts! Some of those people have cruel parents, funny as hell but cruel none the less.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

bukyze's picture

Dick Pole's baseball card picture has him playing with the Beavers.  Naturally.