Sports Outside the Beltway

Jeff Kent retires; next stop Cooperstown

Jeff Kent has retired and will most certainly be headed to Baseball’s Hall of Fame. The all time leader in home runs by a 2nd baseman, Kent may possibly the third best in baseball history to play the position (offensively at least, while more than capable defensively he was certainly no Frank White or Ryne Sandberg). Here is how he stacks up against the best 2nd baseman. (Stats include games played at all positions.)

Player AVG/OBP/SLG HRs RBIs OPS+ All-Star MVPs
Rogers Hornsby .358/.434/.577 301 1584 175 0(no games in his era) 2
Joe Morgan .271/.392/.427 268 1133 132 10 2
Ryne Sandberg .285/.344/.452 282 1061 114 10 1
Jeff Kent .290/.356/.500 377 1518 123 5 1


NY Jets hire Baltimore asst Rex Ryan to be next head coach

He replaces the recently Eric Mangini. From AP-

The New York Jets are confident Rex Ryan was worth the wait. The Baltimore Ravens’ defensive coordinator was hired Monday as New York’s coach, three weeks after the Jets fired Eric Mangini following a late-season collapse. “We got the right man for the job,” owner Woody Johnson said in a statement.

It became apparent the 46-year-old Ryan was at the top of the Jets’ list of candidates when several other teams filled their coaching vacancies and New York’s remained open. The Jets needed Baltimore’s season to end — which happened Sunday with a 23-14 loss at Pittsburgh in the AFC championship game — before offering him the job.

Ryan, the son of former NFL coach Buddy Ryan, will be formally introduced at a news conference Wednesday at the Jets’ facility in Florham Park, N.J.

“It’s been a dream of mine to become a head coach in the NFL,” Ryan said in a statement. “Coming here to the New York Jets, where my father once coached and was part of the Super Bowl III staff, is fantastic. I look around at the facilities and the people they have in place and see a first-class organization. I’m just proud to be part of it.”

The Jets announced the hiring, but released no other details. The contract is for four years, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity earlier Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Ryan will become the 14th person to take over the Jets and try to repeat Weeb Ewbank’s 1969 Super Bowl III triumph. The first thing New York needs to do is find a quarterback. Bret Favre is no solution.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers fire Coach Jon Gruden

The Bucs ended the 2008 season by losing their last four games. From AP-

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen on Friday after the team collapsed following a 9-3 start and failed to make the playoffs.

Gruden, who helped lead the Buccaneers to a victory over the Oakland Raiders in the 2003 Super Bowl, was Tampa Bay’s coach for seven years. Allen was general manager for the last five seasons.

“We will be forever grateful to Jon for bringing us the Super Bowl title, and we thank Bruce for his contributions to our franchise,” Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer said in a statement. “However after careful consideration, we feel that this decision is in the best interest of our organization moving forward.”

The Buccaneers were tied for first place in the NFC South heading into December, but finished with losses to Carolina and Atlanta on the road and San Diego and Oakland at home, where they had been 6-0. One more win would have landed a NFC wild-card berth.

The 9-7 record this season left Tampa out of the playoffs for the fourth time in six years.

Last year ended in disappointment but Tampa ought to be careful. Before Tony Dungy took over the head coaching duties in 1996, The Bucs had thirteen consecutive losing seasons. No Florida fan wants to see the franchise experience wilderness years like those a second time.


Detroit Lions hire Superman Jim Schwartz to be head coach

Never heard of the guy before this season. From ESPN-

The Detroit Lions agreed on a four-year deal Thursday with Tennessee defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to be their coach.

Schwartz will attempt to lead a turnaround for the NFL’s first 0-16 team. The Lions fired Rod Marinelli two weeks ago and interviewed several candidates, including Dolphins assistant head coach Todd Bowles.

Schwartz will be introduced at a news conference Friday at Ford Field, the home of the Lions.

The 42-year-old Schwartz just finished his eighth season as the Titans’ defensive coordinator and his 10th on their staff. He interviewed for a second time with the Lions on Monday.

Detroit needs a miracle worker to get the franchise turned around. Schwartz has a thankless job ahead of him and I wish him good luck. He’s going to need it.


New York Knicks Center Eddie Curry sued for sexual harassment

His driver claims he tried to solicit gay sex from him. From the New York Post-

Knick center Eddy Curry was slapped with a shocking sexual-harassment suit yesterday by his former driver, who claims the 6-foot-11 hoopster tried to solicit gay sex from him.

Stunning court papers charge that Curry, a married father of several kids, repeatedly approached chauffeur David Kuchinsky “in the nude,” saying, “Look at me, Dave, look” and, “Come and touch it, Dave.”

Curry, 26, also made Kuchinsky perform “humiliating tasks outside the scope of his employment, such as cleaning up and removing dirty towels [into which Curry had ejaculated] so that his wife would not see them,” the Manhattan federal court suit says.

Kuchinsky, 36, who is straight and Jewish, also alleges racism, saying Curry hurled slurs at him, including “f- – - ing Jew,” “cracker,” “white slave,” “white devil” and “grandmaster of the KKK.”

I won’t speculate if Kuchinsky’s allegations are true or not. The gay angle certainly gives it a different spin from the usual troubles pro athletes find themselves off the court or field.

Hat tip- Rhymes with Right


Boston Bruins forward Marco Sturm out for the season

He hadn’t played in a game since mid-December. From AP-

Sturm, who led the Bruins with 27 goals last season, had surgery Tuesday on his left knee. Doctors repaired his meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament and said the operation was successful.

Sturm played 19 games this season and had seven goals and six assists before getting injured in an 8-5 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 18.

As the Bruins are 32-7-4 for the year and have a 11-point lead in the Eastern Conference, I think they will survive this blow to their starting lineup.


Orlando Magic set NBA 3-point record in rout of Kings

The one game record had stood since March 2005. From ESPN-

Even the guys at the end of the bench were making 3-pointers on a record-setting night for the Orlando Magic.

Seldom-used Jeremy Richardson’s lone basket proved the most memorable Tuesday night, a 3-pointer with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter that gave the Magic an NBA-record 23 3s in a 139-107 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

The Magic made 23 of 37 attempts (62 percent) in breaking the old mark of 21, set by Toronto on March 13, 2005, against Philadelphia. Orlando rang up its highest point total since scoring 152 at Milwaukee on Feb. 20, 1995.
Making A Point

The Magic went 23-for-37 from 3-point range. That the most 3-pointers made in a game in NBA history. The Raptors had the previous record with 21 made 3-point FGs on March 13, 2005 vs. the 76ers.

“I knew it was close to a record, but I really didn’t know, I just took the shot,” Richardson said in a jovial Orlando locker room. “It was a great record for the team, I was just happy to play and be a part of it.”

Everyone likes to be a part of good history. Last night’s success shouldn’t go to the Magic’s heads. The 3-point shot is not a high percentage play.


Florida Panther Ville Peltonen out for 2 weeks with broken foot

This just happens with him in the middle of a hot scoring streak. From the Miami Herald-

Florida Panthers left wing Ville Peltonen is out for at least two weeks with a broken bone in his left foot.

Peltonen broke the bone during Saturday’s 8-4 win over the Thrashers, but stayed in and finished the game.

”He’s out with a broken foot,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “Some X-rays came back positive. It’s not a displaced fracture. It’s just your regular broken bone, and I would say a couple of weeks, anyway.”

Peltonen, who has four goals in his past five games, missed 24 games last season with a foot injury.

The Palm Beach Post’s Brian Biggane reports Peltonen may only be out for one week. Brian also includes this bit of interesting information-

DeBoer said Peltonen was injured early in the game Saturday.

“To his credit he played and scored two goals,” DeBoer said.

That was only the second two-goal game of Peltonen’s career; the first came March 17, 2007, for the Panthers against the New York Islanders.

He played most of a game with a broken bone in his foot and scored two goals. Do the Florida Panthers really need that foot healed?(Cue the sarcastic laughter)


Results are in but Hall questions remain

Now that Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice are set to be enshrined along with Joe Gordon this summer we can take a look at the voting that got us there – there are plenty of questions but unfortunately due to the secrecy regarding individual ballots there may not be any answers.

Why did David Cone only receive 3.9% support?

- I covered this in more detail here but he was one of the best pitchers of his era, from 1988-1998 he was fourth in wins and third in strikeouts. He was certainly a much better pitcher than Jack Morris (44% support). I don’t believe he was Hall-worthy but he should at least been in the discussion several more years.

Why did Tim Raines receive less support this year?

- This one really baffles me as he went from 24.3% to 22.6%, maybe it’s the Rickey Henderson effect as voters felt that two leadoff shouldn’t be enshrined in the same year. Whatever. Rock had 2604 hits in his career and his 808 stolen bases are 5th all time and oh yeah only 40 players in baseball history got on base more than him. He was also a 7 time all-star.

Has 13 wins really kept Bert Blyleven out of the Hall of Fame?

- Seems that way. He did receive 62.7% support but still the guy should have been elected years ago. Consider this: he’s 5th in career strikeouts and 9th in shutouts. Everyone except Blyleven that has 3000+ strikeouts and is Hall-eligible is in the Hall, Blyleven had 3701. Everyone except Blyleven that had 50+ shutouts is in the Hall, Blyleven had 60. If he won those 13 extra games to get him up to the magical 300 he would have been a slam dunk first ballot HoFer. 13 more wins in 22 seasons. Amazing.

Mark McGwire’s support is going backwards, will he ever make it?

- It’s looking doubtul at this point. The general consensus was that he would have to wait a few years even though he was 12 time all-star and 8th in career home runs (583). But voters seem to think that PED’s played too big a part in his career. This does not bode well for Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro’s chances.

Should Tommy John have been elected?

- Hard to say, like Blyleven he didn’t miss the 300 win by much (288). His 3.34 ERA and 110 ERA+ is better than Jack Morris (3.90, 105) who isn’t Hall worthy but received more support than John. John was in his final year of eligibility so he will go down in history as having the most wins among non-HoFers.

Who will get elected next year?

- I think both Barry Larkin and Roberto Alomar will be elected in their first ballot year and I will predict one holdover (either Andre Dawson or Blyleven).


Former MLB Manager Preston Gomez dead at 85

He was the first ever manager of the San Diego Padres. Before that he worked in the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodger organization and had a very brief career as a player. RIP


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