1. Gettin’ Miggy With It (Da-da-da-da, da-da-DAH!)
The Detroit Tigers give their 30 year-old slugger, Miguel Caruso Cabrera, whose contract does not even expire for another two seasons, an eight-year, $248 million extension. This will only make Cabrera the highest-paid player in baseball history, although since he never attended college I do worry for his future.
Cabrera is already slated to earn $44 million over the next two seasons and by the time he’s 35 should be about as agile as Fred Sanford. So why did Detroit, which went cheap on its ace, Max Scherzer, last week, do this?
As Michael Rosenberg explains on SI.com, because you never want a guy who doesn’t expect to live long enough to see his next Olympics make your baseball personnel decisions.
2. Johnny Football’s Prop Day
Johnny Manziel demonstrated that he is no match for domestic tools during his Pro Day in College Station yesterday. Me, I’ll just think of JFF’s two games versus Alabama as his Pro Days.
Next month: the nation’s most talented student newspaper scribes will take part in their Prose Days. Try writing a lede as Bill Belichick casts a clinical eye your way.
3. Soy Un Perdedor
The SickSirs lost again last night, at Houston, tying the NBA record for consecutive second-place finishes in games at 26. Honestly, I’ve been watching them and they’re much improved over those debacles last month on the West Coast (123-78 at Clippers and 123-80 at Golden State on consecutive nights).
Now that they’ve cut DeSean Jackson, though, I do think they’ll win at home versus Detroit tomorrow so as not to own the skid mark outright.
4. Blake Wood Dive
You have to love this. Indians manager Terry Francona visits the mound to inform pitcher Blake Wood that he has made the big-league club. My mind is racing with so many potential other things Francona might tell a pitcher on future visits (“your wife just left you for a Venezuelan utility fielder”). Also, you music fans are probably wondering how Blake Wood went from canoodling with Amy Winehouse to becoming a big-league pitcher, and I don’t have the answer.
5. Nick at (Late) Nite
Arizona point guard Nick Johnson goes 0-10 over the game’s first 37 minutes and then scored 15 in the final 2:45 as Arizona outlasts San Diego State in the Sweet 16. Florida got a similar late-sizzle performance from point guard Scottie Wilbekin.
You NEED guards in the tourney, which is why I like both the Gators and Zona in the Final Four (a reminder that my Final Four was Zona, Florida, Virginia and Louisville…I think). So you can see who I like tonight. Also like Tennessee in an upset and The Fighting Shabazzes of Connecticut.
Charter Inductees: Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner
1937: Tris Speaker, CF; Cy Young, P ; 1938: Grover Cleveland Alexander, P; Eddie Collins, 2B 1939:Nap Lajoie, 2B; Joe Jackson, LF; 1940: Billy Hamilton, OF; Cap Anson, 1B; 1941: Wee Willie Keeler, RF; George Sisler, 1B; 1942: Rogers Hornsby, 2B; Pie Traynor, 3B; 1943: Mickey Cochrane, C; Frankie Frisch, 2B 1944: Ed Walsh, P; Old Hoss Radbourn, P 1945: Lou Gehrig, 1B; Kid Nichols, P 1946: Ed Delahanty, LF; Lefty O’Doul 1947: Pud Galvin, P; John McGraw, INF 1948: Carl Hubbell, P; Addie Joss, P 1949: Harry Heilman, OF/1B; Monte Ward, P/SS 1950: Cool Papa Bell, CF; Jimmie Foxx, 1B 1951: Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown, P; Josh Gibson, C 1952: Paul Waner, RF; Charlie Gehringer, 2B 1953: Mel Ott, RF; Hank Greenberg, 1B 1954: Eddie Plank, P; Dan Brouthers, 1B 1955: “Wahoo” Sam Crawford, OF; John Clarkson, P 1956: Chief Bender, P; Bill Dickey, C 1957: Sam Rice, RF; Joe DiMaggio, CF 1958: Bill Terry, 1B; Heinie Manush, LF 1959: Dizzy Dean, P; Tim Keefe, P
1960: Gabby Hartnett, C; Mickey Welch, P 1961: Bob Feller, P; Ducky Medwick, LF 1962: Luke Appling, SS; Jesse Burkett, LF 1963 Jackie Robinson, 2B; Zack Wheat, LF 1964: Jake Beckley, 1B; Rube Waddell, P 1965: Ralph Kiner, 1B; Lefty Grove, P 1966: Ted Williams, LF; Smoky Joe Wood, P/OF 1967: Roy Campanella, C; Max Carey, OF 1968: Goose Goslin, LF; Rabbit Maranville, SS 1969: Stan Musial, 1B/OF 1970: Ferris Fain, 1B; Earle Combs, CF 1971: Warren Spahn, P; Yogi Berra, C 1972 Satchel Paige, P; Sandy Koufax, P 1973: Robin Roberts, P; Whitey Ford, P 1974: Mickey Mantle, CF; Eddie Mathews, 3B 1975: Lefty Gomez, P; Hack Wilson, CF 1976: Jack Pfiester, P; Johnny Mize, 1B 1977: Ernie Banks, SS; Mickey Welch, P 1978: Roberto Clemente, RF; Chuck Klein, RF 1979: Willie Mays, CF; Luis Aparicio, SS 1980: Al Kaline, RF; Enos Slaughter, RF 1981: Bob Gibson, P; Harmon Killebrew, 1B 1982: Hank Aaron, RF; Frank Robinson, OF 1983: Brooks Robinson, 3B, Juan Marichal, P
James Hoyt Wilhelm, P; 1952-1972, Nine teams
The patriarch of relievers, Wilhelm is the first pitcher to record at least 200 saves (227) and the first to appear in at least 1,000 games (1,070). A knuckler who retired 16 days before his 50th birthday, Wilhelm earned a Purple Heart in the Battle of the Bulge (there were so many more Pat Tillmans then) and did not make his MLB debut until he was 29. Hit a home run in his first MLB at-bat and then never hit another one in his 21 seasons. Two more items: 1) Only one pitcher who has pitched more than 2,000 innings since 1927 has a lower career ERA than Wilhelm’s 2.52 –and that is Mariano Rivera (2.21) and 2) When one of the Three Stooges names a John Cougar song title, it sound’s as if he’s praising Wilhelm.
Joseph Floyd “Arky” Vaughan, SS; 1932-1941, 19487-1948, Pirates, Dodgers
This nine-time All-Star once got into a dispute with his manager, Leo Durocher, then handed in his uniform and sat out the next three seasons. Vaughan’s best season was 1935, when he led the National League in hitting with a .385 batting average. He retired with a .318 batting average. Died at the age of 40 when, while fishing with a buddy on Lost Lake near his ranch in Eagleville, Calif., reportedly the buddy stood up in the boat, it capsized, and both men drowned. Gene Tierney was nowhere in sight (a Leave Her To Heaven reference, in case you wondered).
CBS & TBS 7 p.m.
Come for the hoops, stay for the unscripted Charles Barkley clowning. CBS and Turner are totally Vanessa Williams-ing it, as the evening’s last games (Kentucky-Louisville and Virginia-Michigan State) are better potentially than next week’s Final Four. Sometimes the snow comes down in June…