Monday, May 01, 2006

The Weekend in Review
Bo Knows Edition

NFL Draft Recap

More to come later this week (hopefully), but here's a quick rundown.
  • Anthony Fasano was taken in the second round, 53rd overall, by the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys only have one fullback on the roster, so it looks like Fasano and Jason Whitten will be used by Bill Parcells in a variety of two tight end and tight end/h-back sets.

  • DJ Fitzpatrick was signed by the Jets as an undrafted free agent. Fitzpatrick will challenge Ben Graham for the punting job. Graham came over from Australian Rules Football and averaged "only" 43.7 yards per punt. I doubt Fitzpatrick will challenge OMG!!1 super-awesome Mike Nugent for placekicker.

  • Brandon Hoyte was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent. As I mentioned last week, the Colts usually build around speed on defense, but were only average when it came to run defense.

  • Mark LeVoir was signed by the Bears as an undrafted free agent. LeVoir has a great chance of making the team as a backup tackle.

  • Corey Mays was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent. Mays is joining a linebacking corps that is becoming more and more "veteran" each year. His contributions on special teams, and the potential that many scouts see in him, should help him make the club.

  • Rashon Powers-Neal was signed by the Broncos as an undrafted free agent. Denver likes to use one back sets, or put a converted running back like Mike Anderson in at fullback when necessary. Now that Anderson is gone, can converted RB Powers-Neal step into his role?

  • Mike Richardson is returning for his 5th year. I'm an idiot.

  • Matt Shelton was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent. Well, he already knows the offense. With a stable of talented receivers, like Bethel Johson (Bethel's such a nice receiver) and top drafted WR Chad Jackson, Shelton will have to find other ways to contribute to the team.

  • Dan Stevenson was drafted by the Patriots with a compensatory 6th round pick, #205 overall. Stevenson, who started his career as a tackle, should be the next low-profile lineman to flourish in the New England system.

  • Mo Stovall was taken in the 3rd round, 90th overall, by the Buccaneers. Stovall was originally a possibility in the late first round, but receivers didn't seem to be in high demand this year. His scouting report didn't seem to help either. (I can just see Charlie Weis ripping the nerds from GM JR Scouting, LLC, a new one.) Stovall should, hopefully, beat Ike Hilliard for the 3rd receiver spot behind Joey Galloway and Mark Clayton this year. When Galloway, entering his 13th NFL season, is ready to hang up his cleats, Mo should be ready to step into the starting lineup.

Notre Dame 2, Purdue 1

Men's Baseball

I got to catch this one on ESPNU (at the same time as an Indians game and the Cavs playoff opener; exciting night for me). Here's the abbreviated version of how it went down.
Wade Korpi is Notre Dame's "midweek starter," the guy who gets stuck with the random Tuesday night games. It's more or less the equivalent of a major league fifth starter - the lowest guy on the totem pole. Well, how's this for a midweek starter: coming into the game, Korpi was 4-1 with an ERA under 2. The staff as a whole had an ERA under 3.40, phenomenal in the college ranks. Their then-20+ game win streak had vaulted them into the top 20 in most major polls.
Korpi gave up an unearned run in the top of the first, but Notre Dame got the lead back in the bottom of the second when a two-out double over the outfielder's head scored two. From that point, Korpi went to work. He retired 17 straight and ended with 11 strikouts. One of those strikeouts was punctuated when the Purdue hitter lost his bat and it was flung directly behind home plate.
An interlude came when the announcers called former GM Steve Phillips to discuss the pro prospects of Jeff Samardzija. Phillips pointed out that Samardzija could go in the first round of either this year's baseball draft (players are eligible after their junior seasons) or next year's football draft. However, Phillips opined, teams may be leery to waste a high pick on Samardzija until he decides which sport he wants to play. He may also not reach his full potential in either sport if he chooses to play both. Of course, if there's one thing I learned from Steve Phillips' tenure with the Mets, it's this: never listen to what Steve Phillips says (unless you're Kaz Matsui's agent).
After Mike Dury pitched an uneventful 8th, freshman closer Kyle Weiland came on in the 9th. (For those of you who remember 7'1 closer Ryan Doherty, he's now playing with Justin Upton in the Arizona organization - back home with the Class A South Bend Silver Hawks.) Weiland's save was highlighted by a wicked breaking ball - the pitch was in the dirt and three feet outside, and the batter swung as if the ball was right down the middle.

Indians 15, Red Sox 3

Some observations from the club seats (ooh, look at me):
  • After Ben Broussard hit a grand slam in the first, the video scoreboard in the left field wall flashed the phrase "Brou-SERVED." Sounds like a catch phrase for the upcoming softball season.

  • Broussard had a day and a half: the grand slam, a solo homer, two singles, and 8 RBI. The 8 RBI are the most by a Tribe hitter since Manny Ramirez did it in the late '90s.

  • Speaking of Manny: a few years ago, a Cleveland sportswriter suggested the local fans boo Manny each time he comes to the plate as an opponent (as if they needed to be told to do so). To this day, Manny still glares up into the Jacobs Field pressbox before each at bat.

  • How intimidating is Travis Hafner? He's slumping, and he was still walked 4 times.

  • How intimidating is Victor Martinez? Hitting .386 at the end of the day, he was walked three times and had a 3-run homer.

  • This was my third straight year going to an Indians-Red Sox game. Boy was I getting sick of the travelling Boston fans. Two years ago, in his first game as the cleanup hitter, Victor Martinez hit a 2-run home run as Jake Westbrook outdueled Curt Schilling 2-1. The next year was ugly. CC Sabathia gave up a 6 run inning. The Tribe battled back, but a late Johnny Damon solo shot was the difference in a 10-9 game. This year, instead of being surrounded by a raucous split crowd (it seemed like the place was about 50/50 loyalty-wise), it was nice having the only Red Sox fans in the area being two calm but clueless middle-aged men.

  • But maybe the Red Sox fans weren't travelling as far as I thought. There was a video segment on the scoreboard between innings where a guy was pulling aside fans in Red Sox garb before the game and asking them to recite certain phrases in their best Bostonian accent (I pahked the cah in Hahvahd Yahd, Nomahhh, He hit the ball wicked hahd). No one could do it! That could only mean two things: 1) these were all local bandwagon jumpers, or 2) people from Boston don't actually talk like that. I'm going with (1).

  • Typical of our section of seats, there were two couples of 20-somethings that came in the 3rd and left in the 7th. Good, good.

  • It was college night, and the section next to us was going to make sure they would have fun no matter what. Their catch phrase for the night was "Cotton Candy!" (with Sandler-esque emphasis on the second syllable of each word). They asked for cotton candy until the stadium ran out. Then, when the vendors returned with peanuts and popcorn, they were booed and told to return with more cotton candy. Rough crowd.

  • One of the college night activities was a Boston Cream Pie eating contest, broadcast on the big board. The contestants were a guy and a girl from Lake Erie College (I've never heard of it either), two guys from Ohio State, and two girls from Cleveland State (Cleveland isn't a state). After the contest was over, the pair of girls hugged and looked as if they were going to - shall we say - swap pie crumbs without using their hands, much to the delight of the mostly male Cotton Candy Crew next to me. Slider, the Indians mascot, made a big deal of weighing the remainder of each contestants' pies... and then just declared the "friendly" girls the winners.

  • Wow, I can't end on that note, can I? Let's see. The food was very good. My grandma gave me her nachos. Paul Byrd gave up two runs, lowering his ERA to 8.03. Brousard's performance earned him a share in AL Player of the Week honors with Kevin Mench, who homered in 7 straight games. Oh, and I think Jhonny Peralta is still engaged.