Monday, April 28, 2008

Notre Dame's Jansen, Brockington, and Travis Thomas Sign as Undrafted Free Agents

  • Snapper JJ Jansen has signed with the Green Bay Packers. A multi-year "starter," JJ definitely got his share of playing time with the punting unit last year, and yet he only had one or two bad snaps. That's definitely worth a look

  • Joe Brockington, thought by some to be a potential seventh rounder, signed with the Bills. Good for Brockington. This is a guy who was never a starter coming into the season, but year after year played his way into the starting lineup.

  • Travis Thomas signed with the Browns. Thomas will get some looks in the NFL as a special teamer, but perhaps not with the Browns. Safety Nick Sorensen is their special teams ace, returner Joshua Cribbs led the Browns in special teams tackles last year, and Ryan Pontbriand is the long snapper. That's three roster spots for guys who (more or less) only play on special teams and aren't kickers. Cleveland does need some depth at running back, but I don't know if Travis is the answer.

  • Geoff Price has yet to sign with anyone, but a guy with a powerful leg like that will surely be in someone's training camp.

  • Ambrose Wooden also is yet to join a team. Several ND defensive backs (Vontez Duff, Quentin Burrell to name a few) have found a good home in the Arena Football league and afl2, where they can occasionally play both ways. I wonder if that's something Wooden would consider.

  • Finally, I noted yesterday that Trevor Laws joins Victor Abiamiri on the Eagles. Philadelphia also recently picked up Rocky Boiman, now a 7-year NFL veteran.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Twittering the NFL Draft

I've been meaning to give Twitter a try, and I figured the NFL Draft was as good a reason as any to start. So, go ahead and follow me on Twitter, if you're into that kind of thing.

    Notre Dame Baseball vs St John's on ESPNU

    If you have ESPNU and find yourself bored with the NFL draft today (or if, say, your team has no Day 1 draft picks), be sure to check out the ND baseball team in their only nationally televised regular season game. The Irish will play St John's at 3:30 PM Eastern on ESPNU.

    Senior SS Brett Lilley

    Sunday, April 20, 2008

    Notre Dame Baseball Alumni: Where are They Now?

    First, a tip of the cap to current Domer Brett Lilley, who recently set the NCAA record for career HBP at 93.

    Second, if you get bored with the NFL draft this Saturday (April 26), be sure to check out the baseball team against St. John's at 3:30 on ESPN. (Assuming ESPN hasn't changed their programming by then.)

    Check out The Baseball Cube for the full list of Notre Dame alumni in professional baseball. I'm only including people who played in 2007 in this list; I'll let you do your own legwork if you're curious about anyone else.

    John Axford - High A Brevard County (Brewers)

    Craig Cooper - AA San Antonio (Padres)

    Craig Counsell - MLB Milwaukee (Brewers)

    Ryan Doherty - The tallest pitcher in minor league history spent 2007 between High A Visalia (Diamondbacks) and River City Frontier League. He was effective during his short career, but reportedly retired due to health concerns.

    Matt Edwards - After a brief stint in the Phillies organization, Edwards moved on to Evansville of the Frontier League, where he began tearing up the place. However, he does not appear on Evansville's 2008 roster.

    Chris Fournier - Short A Brooklyn (Mets), where he is known for his distinctive sartorial statement.

    Aaron Heilman - MLB New York (Mets)

    Carlyle Holiday - Selected by Cincinnati Reds in 44th Round (1307th overall) of 2003 amateur entry draft (June-Reg); recently released by NFL Green Bay (Packers).

    Grant Johnson - AA Tennessee (Cubs)

    Dan Kapala - Short A Staten Island (Yankees)

    Brad Lidge - MLB Philadelphia (Phillies)

    Matt Macri - AAA Rochester (Twins)

    Jeff Manship - High A Fort Myers (Twins)

    Chris Michalak (or: Chris Michalak)- AA Frisco (Rangers)

    Chris Niesel - Just released by the Indians organization.

    Jeff Samardizja - AA Tennessee (Cubs)

    Javy Lopez - Played for High A Fort Myers (Twins) last year; not on their roster this year.

    Steve Sollman - AAA Nashville (Brewers)

    Brian Stavisky - Having peaked at AAA then released by the Oakland organization, Stavisky moved closer to home and will join the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League this season.

    Danny Tamayo - Tamayo played for three years at AAA Omaha (Royals), but was never able to make it to the parent club. He does still pitch in the Dominican Winter League and for the Dominican national team.

    Tom Thornton - The information's a year old (Thornton isn't listed on Nashua's roster anymore), but I couldn't resist posting this Thortnon article from OC Domer.

    Brant Ust - AAA Tacoma (Mariners). As Ust enters his 10th year of minor league ball without so much as a cup of coffee (I'm still not sure why Boston put him in High A a year after Detroit had him at AAA), Ust defines "organizational player. But he also defines "love of the game."

    Joey Williamson - Low A Asheville (Rockies)

    Saturday, April 19, 2008

    The Shirt 2008

    What does everyone think? Be sure to leave your thoughts on the message board. Overall, I like it.

    Positives: Not kelly green or maize. "Wake up the Echoes" is a good theme for this year. Good knowledge of football with the championship banners and the player wearing number 12. Aesthetically pleasing - realistic graphics and the gold helmet is a nice touch.

    Neutrals: The Grantland Rice quote is nice, but seems out of place with the rest of the wording. I'm an optimist, but I don't think our 12th championship is coming this year.

    Negatives: Every time I see the back of the shirt, I'm going to think, "The South shall rise again." Also, the football player is way too scrawny.

    Congrats to Dan Fox

    A while back, I applied for the baseball DBA position created by new PIrates GM Neal Huntington. Well, it went to a guy with a little more experience than me. Congratulations to Dan Fox, and best of luck.

    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    Dear Larry Doby, Happy Jackie Robinson Day

    I'm working on another "ND Baseball: Where are they Now?" post. (Preview teaser: Who's closest to becoming the next ND grad in the majors? He's in Minnesota's organization, not Chicago's, and he's not on the Twins top 10 prospect list!)

    In the meantime, I had to share this piece on Larry Doby and Jackie Robinson.

    As for the picture above, it's regarded as an important leap forward in the Civil Rights movement. Why? Because it's not a white man embracing a black man to make a statement, it's a starting pitcher embracing his teammate for getting the game-winning hit in a World Series game.

    Sunday, April 13, 2008

    The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)

    The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)
    Written by Steve Hofstetter, Keith Alberstadt, Ryan Murphy, and Chris Strait

    Suspended NASCAR driver Aaron Fike admitted that he shot up heroin on some race days. The news shocked the NASCAR world, since their drug of choice is usually Schlitz. Or meth.

    China has uncovered a plot by members of a Muslim extremist group to sabotage the Beijing Summer Olympics. Take that Muslim extremists! China already beat you to it.

    Brett Favre suggested he may return to the Green Bay Packers, but only if Aaron Rodgers goes down with an injury. In a related story, John Madden was spotted atop Rodgers' staircase with hundreds of tiny marbles.

    And New Knicks President Donnie Walsh wants Isaiah Thomas to explain the team's dismal performance. Thomas is planning to give Walsh a copy of the biography of Isaiah Thomas.

    For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

    The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)
    Written by Steve Hofstetter, Keith Alberstadt, Adam Hofstetter, Ryan Murphy, Elliot Steingart, and Chris Strait

    The Miami Heat will play several preseason games in Europe next October, in order to show foreign fans that absolutely anyone can play professional basketball. Miami fans are hoping that the team stays there.

    Former NBA player Isaiah Rider must appear in court next month after being arrested for driving a stolen car. It's the best thing to happen to someone named Isaiah all season.

    The Dallas Cowboys are continuing to pursue Pacman Jones. Their latest offer includes a seventh round draft pick, a player to be named later, and thousands of tiny power pellets.

    And injured Brewers pitcher Chris Capuano has decided to opt for rehab over surgery. It's either that or play for the Brewers.

    For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

    The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)
    Written by Steve Hofstetter, Keith Alberstadt, Adam Hofstetter, Ryan Murphy, Elliot Steingart, and Chris Strait

    Two cheetahs were captured in Florida after attacking the owner of a wildlife sanctuary. When he heard that two Florida cheetahs were put behind bars, Bobby Bowden instinctively posted bail.

    New Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez is emphasizing that he'll run a family program. We imagine it will be something like the Menendez family.

    Pacman Jones is closer to signing with Dallas. He's so close, the Cowboys cheerleaders are now wearing raincoats.

    Minnesota Twins fans are preparing for yet another disappointing season after briefly flirting with success. These Twins have failed so many times, they may change their name to the Minnesota Mary Kate and Ashley Olsens.

    And over 115,000 people watched a Red Sox/Dodgers exhibition game at the L.A. Coliseum. In order to see that kind of attendance again, the Dodgers will play their next home game in Paris Hilton's bedroom.

    For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

    The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)
    Written by Steve Hofstetter, Keith Alberstadt, Ryan Murphy, and Chris Strait

    The Tampa Bay Lightning have landed the No. 1 pick in the NHL's draft lottery. It's like winning the real lottery, only without the glamour, excitement, or will to live.

    Andy Roddick is planning to marry 20-year-old model Brooklyn Decker. Be careful Andy - just when you really grow to love her, she'll move across the country and become Los Angeles Decker.

    Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter left a game against the Tampa Bay Rays with a strained left quadriceps. Luckily there's no shortage of women willing to nurse him back to health.

    Federal authorities are investigating a former Cowboys offensive lineman for allegedly distributing steroids. The top cops hope to wrap up the case shortly so they can return to their regular job of keeping an eye on the Cincinnati Bengals.

    And Michael Vick is reportedly playing quarterback for his prison football team. It's certainly preferable to playing tight end.

    For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

    The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)
    Written by Steve Hofstetter, Keith Alberstadt, Adam Hofstetter, Ryan Murphy, Elliot Steingart, and Chris Strait

    Chinese President Hu Jintao presided over the re-lighting of the Olympic torch in Beijing. Thankfully, no Tibetans were set on fire.

    Australian Olympic swimmer Nick D'Arcy was charged Monday with assault following a nightclub altercation in Sydney. Apparently swimming isn't the only thing he does like a fish.

    In an embarrassing loss to the Celtics, the Miami Heat scored just 17 times from the floor while racking up just 62 points. On the positive side, the WNBA has expressed interest in adding the Heat as an expansion franchise.

    And commissioner Bud Selig has confirmed that Major League Baseball is hard at work on a more reliable HGH test. The league will be flagging any player who looks their bobblehead doll. Whatever the new test is, it will probably be more rigorous than Selig's last test, which consisted mainly of multiple choice.

    For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

    The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)
    Written by Steve Hofstetter, Keith Alberstadt, Ryan Murphy, and Chris Strait

    In an effort to get leaders to boycott the Olympics opening ceremony, protesters will try to disguise the invitations as Miami Heat tickets. The Olympic torch just made its way to San Francisco. It's the first time in history when the city protested anything that was flaming.

    Patrick Ewing said he'd like to see former teammate Mark Jackson coach the Knicks. We had know idea Patrick Ewing hated Mark Jackson.

    NBC is close to a deal to cover the NHL next season. With a body bag.

    And Tiger Woods signed Chevron to be the new title sponsor of his holiday tournament. The winner will now have a choice between $5 million or a tank of super unleaded.

    For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

    The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)
    Written by Steve Hofstetter, Keith Alberstadt, Ryan Murphy, and Chris Strait

    The Red Sox finally finished their three-nation road trip that logged 16,000 miles. If they traveled around anymore, they would have changed their name to the Boston Kenny Loftons.

    North Carolina junior Tyler Hansbrough has been named the AP's college player of the year. Hansbrough was so excited about the news that he nearly blinked.

    The injured Yao Ming may consult Chinese tradition to heal his foot, by incasing it in led.

    And Knicks chief James Dolan is offering free food and soft drinks to everyone who attends New York's final home game. Fans should be leery, however, as the Knicks have been known to cause indigestion. If Dolan's food plan doesn't work, every tenth fan to attend next year's opener gets to play point guard.

    For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

    The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)
    Written by Steve Hofstetter, Keith Alberstadt, Adam Hofstetter, Ryan Murphy, Elliot Steingart, and Chris Strait

    The New York Knicks officially announced the hiring of Donnie Walsh this week. Walsh's alcoholism will begin next week.

    A grassroots effort is close to getting Wilt Chamberlain on a commemorative U.S postage stamp. It's the perfect way of honoring a man who has already been licked by thousands of Americans.

    NBA stars Luol Deng and Ben Gordon have announced their intention to play on England's national team. Now all they have to do is find ten other people in the country who play basketball.

    San Diego Padres pitcher Trevor Hoffman earned his 525th career save in a victory over the Astros. Hoffman is second on the list of all-time saves, behind Jesus.

    And Barack Obama bowled a 37 this week. A politician hasn't spent that much time in the gutter since Elliot Spitzer.

    For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

    The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)
    Written by Steve Hofstetter, Keith Alberstadt, Adam Hofstetter, Ryan Murphy, Elliot Steingart, and Chris Strait

    BALCO founder Victor Conte is reportedly writing a book. The first draft was only 5 chapters, but Conte knows a guy who can beef it up.

    Pedro Martinez left his first start with a leg injury. That pop everyone heard wasn't his hamstring. It was Johan Santana's back as it adjusted to the weight of the team.

    Wrigley Field's new statue of Ernie Banks is displayed so most fans can see it from any point in the ballpark. And if they're wearing authentic Harry Caray glasses, they can see it from space.

    The Pacers' Jermaine O'Neal returned versus the Miami Heat this week. We cannot confirm this since no one here wanted to watch the Pacers play the Heat.

    And Dolphins standout Jason Taylor continues to impress on Dancing With the Stars. Probably because with the way things are going in Miami, he needs something to fall back on.

    For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

    The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)
    Written by Steve Hofstetter, Keith Alberstadt, Adam Hofstetter, Ryan Murphy, Elliot Steingart, and Chris Strait

    The Olympic torch arrived in Kazakhstan amid tight security. The extra police effort was necessary since it was the first time many people there had seen a technology as sophisticated as fire.

    Injured Olympic equestrian Darren Chiacchia was moved to a Buffalo hospital to begin the next stage of his rehab. If that doesn't work doctors will take him behind the barn and shoot him.

    Cleveland Browns defensive back Kenny Wright was arrested after leading police on a quarter-mile foot chase. The Browns might cut him, but the Bengals want to sign him to replace Chris Henry.

    And a Penn State basketball player is facing charges for pleasuring himself in the school library. At first we didn't believe the story - it's been a while since a Penn State basketball player was in a library. He might represent himself - he's clearly got the ability to get himself off.

    For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

    Wednesday, April 09, 2008

    Miss Relevant

    Sacramento was granted a supplemental pick at the end of this year's WNBA draft, and they used it to select Notre Dame's Charel Allen. Allen had an outstanding career for the Irish, and her accomplishments can be found on her team bio page and's official bio.

    As you may have noticed, the WNBA likes to capitalize on the interest of the women's NCAA tournament by holding the draft the day after the championship game. The complete draft board can be found here.

    Thursday, April 03, 2008

    Ten Things I'd Rather Do Than Play Golf, In Increasing Order Of How Much The Reason Compels Me

    #10: Sleep
    Several hours of unconsciousness, possibly accompanied by extended hallucinations, sharpens the mind and refreshes the body. Golf is the antithesis of sharpening the mind and refreshing the body.

    #9: Eat A Bug
    Bugs are high in protein. Golf has very little nutritional value.

    #8: Knit A Sweater
    Both golfing and knitting are excruciatingly long and monotonous activities. When I'm done knitting, though, hey! I have a sweater! When I'm done golfing, all I've done is die a little bit inside.

    #7: Jumping Jacks
    Jumping jacks are about as useless and silly-looking as your average golfer, but at least I get my heart rate up.

    #6: Yell
    One of the last things I ever want to deal with is a dumpy guy waving a "quiet, please" sign in my face and doing that thing with his hands. Hey, pal, I'll yell if I want.

    #5: Drink
    Knock back a gin & tonic and I've helped protect myself against malaria. Scurvy, too, if I eat the lime. Meanwhile, golfing is all about dehydration, loose teeth, and mosquito bites.

    #4: Cut Off A Frostbitten Toe
    Hey, I've got nine more, and it will always make for a great story afterwards:
    "Yeah, man, after getting knocked overboard while fishing the gulf of Alaska during hurricane-force winds, they had to cut off my toe with a filet knife. No drugs, just a bottle of whiskey and a stick to bite down on."
    What kind of story do you get from golfing?
    "I knocked a ball in a hole today."

    #3: Spend Time With A Lady Friend
    What does golf have to offer here? A bunch of dudes in goofy pants and no cheerleaders. Come on.

    #2: Get A Tooth Pulled
    The benefits of good dental hygiene cannot be understated. If you have a bad tooth, it's a relatively straightforward matter to get it yanked. You might even get to huff some nitrous oxide. With golf, however, the piercing agony is all in the mind, and there is nothing to kill the pain.

    #1: Lose At Checkers
    At least the game was over in a reasonable amount of time, and the only checkered pattern was on the game board.
    "Hey, good game, I was totally outmaneuvered."
    . . . is a more interesting concession speech than . . .
    "Hey, way to get your ball in the hole before I, in a completely unrelated series of events, could do so myself."