by Mike Zimmer
I always will remember Randy Johnson as a Seattle Mariner. Sure, sure, his biggest success was with Arizona but his legend began when he was traded from the Montreal Expos to the Seattle Mariners and Big Unit was born. His ability to help a moribund franchise to blossom from baseball backwater to World Series contender with his powerful left arm leading the way is what I remember about him even still. Yet, Big Unit will go into the Hall of Fame as an Arizona Diamondback with their cap on his head.
Unlike Greg Maddux who decided he couldn’t leave out the Cubs as part of his complete Hall of Fame career though his greatest years as an Atlanta Brave, Big Unit chose a cap unlike Mad Dog who has no logo on his plaque. http://m.mlb.com/news/article/106595160/d-backs-logo-to-be-depicted-on-randy-johnsons-hall-of-fame-plaque
Honestly, I’m not sure what to think of Cardale Jones and whether he made the right decision to return to Columbus and continue on his path as a Buckeye. After an unbelievable run this past couple months and springing into the limelight of stardom at The Ohio State University has been a whirlwind for Buckeyes fans and for Jones. He went from the kid who tweeted perhaps one of the most asinine things a college football player could (though, let’s face it, he was being honest for a good majority of college football players) to becoming this beacon of redemption and success which is going to make him a folk hero if he can manage not to revert to knucklehead status.
I genuinely hope the best for the kid. You get a sense that he grew up this year, and after multiple reports about his past and present you want a kid like this to do and be the best he can. Let’s face it, he came from nothing, survived that not angry but humble and thankful for the people who gave him a hand up. He was admittedly lazy and defiant at a turn but again resilient in turning the corner from going from an inner city boy to a college campus man in a very quick amount of time. You want to root for a kid who seems to finally have “got it” and is trying to do the best he can for himself.
Which, begs the question: did he do that in deciding to come back to Ohio State? The facts are blunt and hard not to ignore, there was a lot of money at stake in his decision making. Especially for a kid who is being thrust so quickly into the spotlights and has never really thought about the kind of money he’d be coming in contact with. Ultimately, he was humble again and said he wasn’t ready for the NFL. I think we all know that deep down. Even he has to admit, 3-games at the collegiate level does not make an NFL star in wait.
Yet, the talk was whispered from all sides. With it, somewhere there was talk about his 6’5, 245lbs frame and that cannon for an arm. This wasn’t self hype, this was manufactured out of talk from NFL people and NFL commentators taking notice. Jones has a skill set that the NFL is always looking for in QB’s. In three games, suddenly Cardale Jones is an NFL prospect after spending most of his time at Ohio State buried on a depth chart because let’s face it, he was a knucklehead. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/01/16/cardale-jones-says-press-conference-wasnt-his-idea/
Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is not easy. But can you imagine the thought of a kid who all he’s ever wanted to do was improve his lot in life and perhaps play football to do that is suddenly presented with the opportunity to strike while the iron was hot and grab the cash that would come with it? In a poor QB class this year, Jones could have sprung into the conversation as a worthwhile investment by an NFL club. He’d probably come cheap too, more than likely a 3rd-4th or 5th round pick. But in terms of the individual, the kid from nothing, half a million bucks per season would be likely. That’s a lot of money to pass up. Yet, he announced yesterday that he’ll return to Ohio State for 2015.
Worse, this might be it for him to showcase his skill set for at least another year. There is every chance he may not be better than #2 on the depth chart next fall when J.T. Barrett returns from his broken ankle. Jones’ talent is hard to ignore, but the fact is, Barrett beat him out this past summer for the starting job after Braxton Miller’s injury and Barrett was the unquestioned leader of that team. The coaching staff and players alike trusted Barrett. He too is the future of the Buckeyes program as the signal caller. While Jones does offer a a very interesting dimension to the Buckeyes play-calling, you wonder if they’d eschew Barrett for Jones for a season and red-shirt Barrett. It doesn’t seem likely though. At best, you have a two headed monster on your hands. That though, almost never works and second guessing starts to manifest.
What of Braxton Miller? If he too returns (which seems highly unlikely), Jones is suddenly in a 3-way battle with a serious chip on his shoulder. After all, he did win the Buckeyes the Big Ten by helping destroy Wisconsin with his big play ability, he helped the Buckeyes win their biggest game in over a decade in slaying the dragon that was the SEC’s Alabama Crimson Tide and to cap it all off, he wrote his own legend in the storied book of Buckeye legends by helping Ohio State crush Oregon on the way to the school’s 8th National Championship. You’re going to take a back seat to not one but two players?
Again, the story on Jones has said repeatedly he’s always only wanted to be in Columbus. He wanted to be a Buckeye and passed up opportunities to play at Iowa, West Virginia and that school up north to do it. Arguably, he would have been the star at each of those other places. Yet, he has decided to come back to Columbus. He could have and would have been absolutely excused and understood if he had said, he was going to transfer or make the big jump to the NFL. Doubters on both sides would have a field day if he failed, but in the end, big money or an opportunity would have said in the end, he actually won.
Personally I’m torn. As a Buckeye fan, I want my beloved team to win. If you ask me, J.T. Barrett is this program’s guy for the next few years. However you cannot deny the fascination with Cardale Jones. More, I want to root for that kid, I really do. It’s an embarrassment of riches in Columbus for the Buckeyes and in the world for us fans. We’ve almost written off Braxton Miller and an after thought and sadly, it’s a shame because he’s been nothing but a model citizen, a good student and a humbly background figure this past year. He too has decisions to make and no one can fault him for them if they aren’t with the Buckeyes.
My hope is, Cardale Jones in the end succeeds. No matter how it comes, no matter which path it follows, but he succeeds and his legacy, built in all of 3-games or in 13, 14, or 15 this next year is secure, with the young man succeeding in not only football but life.
Braves ship Gattis to Houston in exchange for “prospects” of which, none really expected to matter…
Atlanta’s off-season of strip it bare and try to get someone to take BJ Upton off our hands is still in full swing, will have Braves battling for he cellar with Phillies this season…
For the life of me, Frank Wren should have been tarred and feathered on his way out of town for every signing BJ and hiring Freddi Gonzales.
by Mike Zimmer
For the love of God, just hire Chipper to be manager already and just release BJ Upton. It would free up some capital and infuse a little joy into the world of many an Atlanta Braves fan. Otherwise, this 2015 season is going to look a lot like the 1989 season again in which the Braves were 100-game losers. The news that Evan Gattis being traded just takes one more exciting thing off the table for the Braves and their fans. No, he wasn’t going to be the catcher this year, yes, he’s terrible in the outfield where they were slotted to play him, but man, he was if nothing else exciting to watch. I mean, big towering homers or strike outs with big air behind them, it was fun to watch.
The Braves in return for their dumping of Gattis and saving him the embarrassment of playing left field next year is a trio of fairly little. One starting pitcher prospect who was a former first rounder and .500 at Triple A last season, a Third Base prospect and some other kid who is in A-ball. Yep, not much but the proverbial bag of batting practice balls. The Astros meanwhile can use Gattis as a back-up Catcher and a big bat at DH as well.
Seriously, I’m not going to have a team to root for his year. I’ve been a long suffering Braves fan who remembers 100-loss seasons and can name you line-ups from those year. I’ve adopted the Rays as my American League team as I am near and dear to the SW Florida home I’ve also adopted. Neither team is giving much to look forward to. In fact, I’d dare say I actually hate what the Braves have left other than Freddie Freeman and Julio Tehran. And the Rays? Well, they might as well demote the whole organization to the Florida State League and rename themselves the St. Pete Longorias.
Hmmmm…Padres or Indians band wagon this year? I’m not quite sure.
Nice look for Marshawn (Link: http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2015-01-10/marshawn-lynch-seattle-seahawks-grabs-crotch-kam-chancellor-interception-carolina-panthers-photo?eadid=SOC%2FFB%2FSNMain)
Seriously Rays brass, we get it, you’re intentionally trying to suck…but who exactly other than Evan Longoria is left on the roster who might be able to provide some offense???
It seems a forgone conclusion to say that 100-losses is all but assured for 2015 in St. Pete.
By Mike Zimmer
So my baseball enjoyment for 2015 seems all but doomed. The Braves are set to suck but worse, the Rays seem to be headed back to their form of almost intentional losers. The Rays brass have slashed the payroll and have all but given up on the franchise for 2015 with a series of moves that has basically dismantled the club from the top down. With the club not drawing, with a stadium not forthcoming, apparently their plan is to suck into non-existence.
Today, they may have tipped their hand by shipping all-everything position player Ben Zobrist and starting shortstop Yunel Escobar off to Oakland for former Rays back-up catcher John Jaso and minor league prospects. One is only to reason that said prospects will more than likely not benefit the club in any way, especially for 2015. The club also has added no offense to a team that struggled at times to put together any runs a season ago. Time will only tell before it’s deemed necessary to ship third basemen Evan Longoria out of town next in a salary dump some time mid-season.
The pitching remains very good at some turns, there is talent there. But dealing a bevy of players in shedding payroll and adding in turn nothing has the makings for a disastrous and worse, very boring product. The Rays already were a team that was patched together by the genius of Joe Madden into a scrappy bunch that found ways to manufacture runs.
It’s a team that will have to lean on disappointing Desmond Jennings to finally blossom, David Dejesus to find lost talent, Logan Forsythe to be an everyday player, James Loney to hit way above his average and anyone to get an RBI from the catcher spot. Otherwise, it’ll be a matter of keeping youngster Kevin Kiermaier off the base paths and pitching around Longoria. It’s a club that will mostly be made up of minor league talent playing a lot.
See ya Zoby.
RF-K. Kiermaier/S. Souza
1B-J. Loney/J. Jaso
DH-B. Guyer/J. Jaso/J. Loney
2B-L. Forsythe/N. Franklin
C-R. Rivera/J. Jaso
Former Buckeye great, NFL Hall of Famer, Bengals Head Coach and recently (again) Pittsburgh Defensive Coordinator parts ways with Steelers
Lebeau has spent 56-years in the NFL, 14-as a player and 42-as a coach…insists he’s not retiring…
A legendary coach…that could not make the Bungals any good.
by Mike Zimmer
It’s amazing that a guy could stick around the NFL as long as Dick Lebeau. Fifty-six years is a very long time in life, let alone the meat grinder that is the highest level of professional sports. Yet, Lebeau was a highly decorated player, a very popular and successful coach and is now considered a defensive guru. Now, he’s leaving the most successful position he’s ever had (again) and insists he isn’t retiring.
The Steelers exited the play-offs last week vs. Baltimore and that apparently will be the last as the defensive coordinator of that team http://www.700wlw.com/articles/sports-121849/lebeau-resigns-as-steelers-defensive-coordinator-13137228
Lebeau may be a little late in his career to be looking for a new gig, but I bet he gets it, especially in a place where he might step into a role as a consultant or more than likely working for a team who may lose a talented defensive coordinator this year who might get a head coaching gig.