Notes of Note: Lefty, Grizzlies, Dodgers, Ohtani, Stanford Baseball, Tampering
Phil Mickelson, the No. 115 ranked golfer in the world this year, wins the PGA Tournament at 50 years of age, oldest man ever to win a major. You had to love CBS playing Neil Young's classic, "Old Man," while showing highlights of Mickelson's career.
Walking in Memphis: Watch out for the Grizzlies. As I watched them beat the Warriors on Friday night, I felt they had all the tools to beat Utah in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Then on Sunday, they won in Salt Lake City. Point guard Ja Morant, who outplayed Steph Curry in the play-in game, is the real deal. Dillon Brooks is a fierce defender and scorer. Center Jonas Valanciunas, who I'd never heard of before the play-in series, is an excellent post player.
Giant Reality: Like many people, I've been very impressed by the Giants fast start. But in terms of talent, they are not in the same hemisphere as the Los Angeles Dodgers, a reality that was quickly brought home in the Dodgers' three-game sweep over the weekend.
Other-worldly Ohtani: If you haven't seen Shohei Ohtani, try to catch a few Angels games. The guy looks like he's from another planet. He's the first player since Babe Ruth with outstanding pitching ability and tremendous power at the plate. He's tied for the major league home run lead with 14. On the mound, he throws 100 mph. One big difference from the Babe. Ohtani can run like the wind. He's scary good.
Stanford Rolling: As usual, Stanford has one of the top baseball teams in the nation. Coach Dave Esquer's team is ranked No. 15 with a 31-13 overall record and in third place in the Pac-12 at 15-9. The Cardinal came back from a 5-0 deficit yesterday to beat No. 13 Oregon 8-5 and win the series, 2-1. It was par for the course, as Stanford has made a habit of late-inning comebacks and walk off wins.
The lineup is solid and powerful from top to bottom, led by sophomore outfielder Brock Jones, who leads the team in home runs (12) and RBIs (43), and senior infielder Nick Brueser, the top hitter with a .338 average. Esquer has also made good use of several athletes who can play multiple positions, like senior Tim Tawa, who is equally comfortable at second base and center field. Perhaps the only thing lacking is a second strong starter to complement senior Brandan Beck, who is a top MLB prospect. His brother, Tristan, a Stanford alum, is a pitcher in the Giants' organization.
Transfer Abuses: Take a few minutes to read the excellent article on tampering in college football by ESPN's Alex Scarborough: https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/31477534/tampering-arrived-college-football-looks-nba-free-agency.
The new NCAA rules allowing players to transfer without having to sit out a year has ignited a new form of cheating among college coaches. They're now actively recruiting players on other teams.
Rather than wait for players to enter the "transfer portal," they make contact through high school coaches, teammates, parents, and personal trainers, asking whether the player is happy, satisfied with his status on the team, or if he might be looking for a place where he can play right away.
So the era of tampering, or poaching, is upon us, confirming the time-honored excuse, "if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying." Many schools now have a "director of college scouting" or a "director of transfer recruiting.
Fortunately, there are still a few coaches with integrity, like Stanford's David Shaw, who had this to say about the new tampering tactics:
"To go behind another coach's back and recruit somebody on their roster, whether you go through a high school coach or a parent or a 'mentor' or street agent, I think it's disgusting."
Shaw's right. It's not only disgusting, but it once again reinforces the fact that most of these football players are not "student-athletes."
The fact is, none of these kids are transferring because of their education. The only thing that matters is football.