Mark McGwire is finished as a fulltime, everyday player. The recovery and rehabilitation from the major surgery the 37-year-old slugger underwent on his right knee last October has not been what he and the attendant medical staff had hoped for. Because of inflammation in that knee, he cant use his back leg to anchor and generate power. McGwire will still play, but he wont play every day and when he starts, he will leave games early.
The NFL Draft
Here are some things that will happen when the NFL conducts its annual draft of college players this Saturday and Sunday:
With the first selection overall, the San Diego Chargers will take Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick. This is a down year for quarterbacks and the only other one that could be a first-round selection is Drew Brees of Purdue
The first running back to be drafted will be LaDainian Tomlinson of TCU
The first wide receiver to be drafted will be David Terrell of Michigan
The first defensive end to be drafted will be Missouris Justin Smith, who could be as high as among the first five picks overall
The first cornerback to be drafted will be Nate Clements of Ohio State
The first defensive tackle to be drafted will be Georgias Richard Seymour, who could be among the first half-dozen players selected
Miami (Fla.) will have four players picked in the first round: linebacker Dan Morgan, wide receivers Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne, and defensive tackle Damione Lewis.
One of the forces that made the Atlanta Braves so successful over an extended period has been a steady flow of talent coming out of their farm system. Nine successive division championships is impressive testimony to the efficiency of their organizations scouting and player development system. Ted Turner was not afraid to spend money to develop a winner.
But changes are coming and the changes presage an end to the Braves dynasty. The new owners of the club, AOL/Time Warner, in a penny-wise pound-foolish move, have fired 10 Braves scouts and minor-league coaches. Thats the way things go in todays corporate America.
Make the shareholders think youre fiscally responsible by getting rid of some lower paid employees without making an impact on the overall cost of the operation. The new ownerships move is reminiscent of Marge Schott of the Cincinnati Reds wanting all of the clubs scouts fired because she said all they did was watch baseball games.
As for Turner, the last vestige of his connection with the Braves will be removed when the new owners rename Turner Field. In view of their penny-pinching style, it might be appropriate to name the field after Ebenezer Scrooge.
The NCAA At Work
College basketball scheduling the way it is, early-tournaments like the Maui Invitational and the Great Alaskan Shootout provide about the only opportunity for the middle-echelon schools to play against the elite teams from the power conferences and thus bolster their credentials for the NCAA tournaments selection in March. Because of schedule exemptions, playing in those tournament games has always counted as just one scheduled game, but the NCAA is poised to eliminate those exemptions so that every game played in the tournaments counts as a scheduled game.
This action will force the major schools to pass up those tournaments and indeed threaten the existence of the tournaments. Nobody ever said life is fair but the jackasses in the NCAA hierarchy do their best to make life more difficult.
Figures Dont Lie
Cold figures confirm the empirical evidence that Coors Field in Denver is a pitchers worst nightmare come true. Since Coors Field opened in 1995, the Colorado Rockies have hit an average of 54 points higher at home than on the road and scored 1,501 more runs at home than theyve scored on the road. STATS Inc., which rates all of the major league ballparks for bias, gives batters a 58-percent advantage over pitchers at Coors Field.