TRUM: Hard-luck Celtics
My friend Barry plays in a fantasy basketball keeper league that has a rule that I love. They pick teams in the lottery for their draft pick the following year. For example, the last-place team in the roto league gets to pick who they want to "represent them," like Memphis or Boston. Second to last gets next pick and so on. And then, based on how the draft lottery shakes out, where their team finishes is where they draft the following year. Fun, right?
Barry, with a middle of the pack pick, had Portland. HI-LARRY-US.
As a longtime Lakers fan, I have no love lost for the Celtics. And clearly, Jon Barry, who jinxed them by guaranteeing the Celtics would get the No. 1 pick on the pregame show, should never set foot in Boston. But even I know they got screwed.
If you'll excuse me while I pick up this name I'm about to drop, Bill Simmons is a friend of mine. He was very instrumental in getting me on "The Fantasy Show" last year and in bringing me to ESPN. So I'm veering into definite Sports Guy territory here, but it started me thinking. What is the biggest screw job to a franchise (or individual player) in sports history? Where does this rank?
Now, I've learned (slowly) that if I don't write the TRUM late at night or first thing in the morning before I go into work, it doesn't get written or posted until very late. So this is like 6 a.m., and I'm having these thoughts while lying in bed (which speaks to a lot of other problems, but that's another column). So this is not a comprehensive list by any means, just what I came up with.
Obviously the Suns in this year's playoffs and the Mavericks for the Jordan Rules for "Don't Breathe on Me" Dwyane Wade would make the list. My Angels for the Doug Eddings "You're out, but go to first base on a phantom dropped third strike" call would be there. College football is littered with them, so much so that I don't really follow that sport that much. But I know USC the year it had to share the title with LSU because the Trojans didn't get into the Sugar Bowl, and I'd put Boise State up there for not getting a title shot and the same for Oregon the year Nebraska snuck into the title game after losing the Big 12 championship.
The Raiders and the "tuck rule" would be on the list, I figure. If I cared one bit about boxing I could list a bunch of guys here as well, I am sure. I'm forgetting a ton, I know. Anyway, I'm curious. Is this the biggest screw job in history? Is it even close? Is it even the biggest screw job in Celtics history? What would be your No. 1 of all time? Use the ESPN Conversation (beta!) or e-mail me at TMR@espn.go.com, and I'll print the results and best nominations in a later blog, probably as soon as I am feeling lazy.
Speaking of lazy, here's a super-quick top headline read on what I thought were the biggest stories last night. I'm not doing the "Fantasy Focus" podcast today because it tapes at the same time as "First Take," but if I were, these would be my nominations for "The Buzz."
Joe Mauer caught a bullpen session, but there's still no timetable for his return. But a good sign. Akinori Iwamura played in an extended spring training game. Also good, he's due back soon. Octavio Dotel was activated. They are going to ease him back into the closer role. Expect Soria to get the next chance or two. Jeremy Bonderman is on schedule to pitch Thursday.
If I told you I had two pitchers who had quality starts last night, both going six innings, giving up three earned and both were available in most leagues, would that be something you might be interested in? What if told you that Pitcher A had just thrown his fifth quality start in his last six and that Pitcher B had won four of his last six games? And that over the last six games, Pitcher A's ERA was 3.64, and Pitcher B's was 3.53? Are you still listening?
That's right. It's been a while since we did that. Let's get back to it.
That Jeff Cirillo is not dead. His bat still is, and he was 0-for-4 while inexplicably batting second for the Twins last night, but still. I need to recall a wreath.
That as long as we're talking batting order, did you notice Ian Kinsler leading off yesterday? It's a good sign that the Rangers believe in his hitting, as do I. Good buy-low candidate.
That it was nice to see Adam Wainwright get the win and pitch decently, but don't get too excited. He still gave up nine hits and a walk in just over five innings. That's way too many baserunners.
That the Fausto Carmona train keeps rolling along. He goes six Tuesday night, giving up three. He also allowed 10 baserunners (nine hits, one walk), but he's pitched a lot better than Wainwright, so I'll forgive it and just keep an eye on it. I am a little concerned he didn't strike out anyone.
That after mowing down the Astros for a second straight time, even those who don't believe have to admit they are wrong about Tim Lincecum. And for those few that did not hear, Russ Ortiz is going to the bullpen. Lincecum stays in the rotation.
That Coco Crisp very quietly has nine steals this season, despite his batting average, which dropped to .233 after he went 0-for-4 last night.
That Tadahito Iguchi is killing me. When is it going to be Iguchi Time? That's always a crowd pleaser.
That Kazuo Matsui, mentioned yesterday, got stolen base No. 6 in his 11th game.
That it was nice to bounce back after Monday's horrific "Fantasy Forward" predictions. On the podcast Tuesday, I said I like Jarrod Washburn and Randy Wolf for spot starts. Both pitched well and got wins.
That it was nice to see two jacks from Jayson Werth, a player I've just always liked.
That so much for my "Brandon Lyon will close soon" prediction. While Jose Valverde has 17 saves already on the season (never pay for saves!), Lyon came in yesterday and blew the game for Livan Hernandez. I've never liked Livan and still don't, even though he went eight last night and gave up only one earned run. His ERA is now at 3.66. The reason I don't like him is because his WHIP is at 1.50. That is a bad WHIP, kids. Bad.
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