Wednesday, January 14, 2004

We begin with some "if I had a cell phone" news:
ND Women/UConn: A 15 point victory for the Irish, in case you haven't heard. I first found out about this game from Sports Illustrated. There was an ad for the game being on "CSTV." Being that this was the Connecticut issue of SI, I figured it was a Connecticut sports channel, and wondered why they'd be advertising it in a nationwide publication. Only after the game did I realize that CSTV stands for "College Sports TV," and that we get that channel as part of the new "here's 5 random sports channels we'll give you now but raise the price on later" package of the local cable channel. Dah. I started watching this game on Gametracker while writing yesterday's article. Each time I looked up, the girls were up by 10. Was this a mistake? Knowing that Internet radio is a premium service, I quickly found UConn's Internet brodcast of the game. Was that ever a delight. Here's a recap: Taurasi didn't hit her shots, and no one backed her up. This gave Auriemma fits, including chewing her out before she went to shoot free throws. ND, simply put, made their shots. A huge game from Jackie Batteast, including a key block of Taurasi with 4 fouls, and solid backup from LaVere, Severe, and Borton, and there's your upset. Auriemma may be joining Mike Martz in Larry Coker land soon. He can't handle losing - screaming at his girls and the officials, blaming poor recruiting (I'm sure that really boosts his players' confidence). The list goes on. Auriemma strikes me as the kind of guy who would fill his Little League team with 14 year olds - he didn't get a job as a men's coach, so he has to beat up on every girl's team he can, and when he loses, he can't handle it. Good good. On to the transaction wire.

Transaction Wire
Knicks fire Don Chaney and hire a former Cavs coach. But wait... it's not Mike Fratello (the Czar of the Telestrator). It's Lenny Wilkens! Wilkens can be a good molder of men on this team, but as great as he is, he couldn't take Toronto too far. He'll make the Knicks decent, but it may only be killing time until the next great coach comes in.
Bears hire St. Louis defensive coordinator Lovie Smith. As long as he wasn't the guy who put Jason Sehorn in at cornerback, this is a good deal. Chicago is a defensive-minded club, and if Lovie can find a good offensive coordinator to work with, the team will be in good shape.
Browns promote Terry Robiskie to offensive coordinator and hire Rob Chudzinski as TE coach. Robiskie, a former OC at Washington, plans to return hard-nosed, smashmouth football to Cleveland. Exactly what I wanted to hear. Chudzinski, OC/TE coach at scUM South (including a few years under Butch Davis) is a lifelong Browns fan. Great, as long as our first round pick isn't wasted on Kellen Winslow. I might have to shoot myself if that happens.
Angels sign Vlad Guerrero. Wait, the Angels were even interested in Vlad Guerrero? Apparently, the Angels are trying to compete with the Twins for most people trying to play right field at the same time. I can see giving Tim Salmon rest or moving him to DH, but they just signed Jose Guillen, too. Baseball Primer seems to think that the Angels should put Garrett Anderson on the block, but I don't buy that. The Angels are definitely looking to contend again in a tough division, but they will need to stay healthy. Maybe that's their plan: Jeff DaVanon plays center when Darin Erstad goes down again, Guillen and Vlad play right when Tim Salmon gets hurt, and Kelvim Escobar tries to prove he's not a flash-in-the-pan when Aaron Sele and the newly acquired Bartolo Colon are on the DL. If you have the money to overstock, why not do it? Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if their were more moves ahead...
Orioles sign Raphael Palmeiro and BJ Surhoff. This transaction copied and pasted from my 1989 Transaction Wire.
Astros sign Roger Clemens. Boo hoo, he's a traitor. He lied to us. No he didn't, he said he wanted to be by his family. His family is in Houston, so this makes sense. The Astros are lucky to have a deep bullpen, because without the DH, Roger may only average 4 IP per start. With Pettitte, Roy Oswalt, and Wade Miller, this is a great rotation. If they stay healthy, they complement the bullpen perfectly. If they get hurt (when they get hurt - all of them), things could get interesting.
Indians sign Jose Jimenez and Lou Merloni. Jimenez threw a no-hitter against Randy Johnson once, and Merloni is famous for keeping his starting 2B job in Boston by being Nomar's best friend. Other than that, Jimenez will be a good late innings/innings eater guy, and Merloni will be a decent clubhouse guy who can be this year's stopgap at 2nd and 3rd when John McDonald's back starts acting up again.
Cubs make an offer to Greg Maddux. This will be a good move for Maddux. Get your $7mil a year over the next 2 years before you don't get any offers after this year. In addition, while it may seem tempting to join Tom Glavine with the Mets, Chicago is the better place to go. Sorry Dave, but since Shea has Questec and Wrigley doesn't (correct me if I'm wrong), Maddux will be able to settle into his new surroundings earlier and avoid a tough start like he did last year. A better support staff, both on the mound and at the plate, will also help.
Many more solid trades that didn't make this list at the link above, including many by the Devil Rays, who are definitely trying to go somewhere this year.

Tomorrow: Leahy's Lads, NDNation, and more as the Spirit moves me.