Triple Play: Did the Mets do Wright?; Sanchez’s Job Jet-tisoned; San Antonio Spurns TNT
The Wright Decision
The New York Mets finally gave their loyal fan base something to cheer about. Star third baseman David Wright has secured his long term future with the team, agreeing to sign on for seven more years at a reported $138 million, keeping him under team control through 2020. Without question Wright is one of the more respected third basemen in the game so it makes sense that any team would want him on board, but was this the right move for the Mets?
If the Mets’ intention is to invest money in the roster and return to playing competitive baseball, then this was indeed the right decision. But if they intend to play the bankruptcy card for the next few seasons, then this contract was a clear mistake. Wright’s previous contract had one year remaining and could have been dealt for multiple high-end prospects to stock up for the future. Wright is in his prime but isn’t the type of player who can carry a rebuilding team to contention by himself. The hope then is that the Mets are ready to make a financial comeback and will continue to add complementary pieces that can bring the team back to respectability when combined with Wright.
Is McElroy Their Boy?
No quarterback does a more entertaining job of being bad than Mark Sanchez. Two weekends ago, there was the butt-fumble. On Sunday, we saw him toss three terrible interceptions before Rex Ryan pulled him from the game. Now, he is in danger being replaced as the New York Jets’ starting quarterback by a guy who threw for 29 yards, or worse, a guy who can’t throw at all.
Sanchez played so poorly that Greg McElroy, the team’s third-string QB, was brought in to save the game for the Jets. McElroy’s performance wasn’t particularly admirable, but he did throw the game-winning touchdown pass that technically kept the Jets’ playoff hopes alive. But where does that leave Sanchez, the so-called franchise quarterback? Since it is widely accepted that once the Jets bench Sanchez, there is no going back to him next year, I believe Rex Ryan should guarantee him the starting job until the team is mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. This way, if the Jets still believe Sanchez is the quarterback of the future, the incentive should be to tough it out with him this season and let him continue to develop. But if the Jets don’t believe in Sanchez, there is no controvesy. His play has been atrocious, and it’s best to move on from him now so the Jets can get used to life without him heading into what is sure to be an eventful offseason.
What is truly amazing is that a QB controversy is emerging that doesn’t involve the man second on the depth chart, Tim Tebow. Tebow did take his struggling team to the playoffs last year and it surprises me that he isn’t viewed as Sanchez’s go-to replacement, especially considering the Jets traded a draft pick away to get him. The Jets are a mess right now, and to think all of this controversy is being dissected coming off of a win.
A Stern Punishment
It’s not often that an NBA team in a primetime television slot against the defending world champions voluntarily scratches its three best players from competing, but last Thursday, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich did just that. Commissioner David Stern was not pleased, as Popovich’s lineup decision resulted in a $250,000 fine charged to the Spurs organization.
NBA fans all over were excited to watch a possible championship preview between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, but what fans instead were treated to was the big three of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh against the little three of Boris Diaw, Thiago Splittler and Matt Bonner. Spurs stars Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were sent off to San Antonio on a commercial flight out of Southwestern Airlines to rest following a condensed road trip of four games in five days.
As a basketball fan, it’s hard to agree with the league punishing a team for choosing how to set it’s own lineup, but the reasoning behind Stern’s decision is clear. The timing and handling of this particular case is suspicious. The NBA relies heavily on its strong working relationship with TNT, the channel that hosts Thursday’s featured games of the week, and it hurts basketball’s partnership with the basic cable network when they were given an awesome Spurs and Heat matchup that the Spurs simply chose to give away. Although San Antonio put up a good fight in the game, it was clear that Popovich was OK with losing this game by not dressing his best players. Fans in Miami that saw Tim Duncan walking around a commercial airport the night of a big game must have been left puzzled by the decision. Forbes did a great job explaining the economics behind why Popovich’s decision was bad for the NBA.
While the fine can be defended, thinking that such a penalty will prevent this from occuring in the future cannot be. Whenever a coach is in a similar predicament, he may choose to instead release a bogus injury report to make the benching look less suspicious. If the league wants to take action to prevent future occurances, they simply should stop with the four games in five days nonsense, especially if that schedule leads into a primetime contest. This will help keep players fresher and insure that the best product is being put on the field for as many games as possible.