Many people in the world travel for business, but few have done it more over the last couple of weeks then West Ham United's American defender Jonathan Spector. There is no game, either for the national team of the his club that he will not play in.
This traveling nightmare started a couple of weeks ago when Spector joined the United States U-23 team for Olympic Qualifying in Tampa. Then after completing group play in Tampa the team then moved to Nashville for the semi-finals. After winning the semi-final on a Thursday and clinching a spot in this summer's Olympics, Spector was allowed to return back to West Ham.
While back at West Ham Spector came on as a second half substitute in their match against Everton. After playing the for the Hammers it was on to Poland to join the senior national.
So to recap, Tampa, Nashville, Liverpool and Poland all in the same 10 period. No matter what the game or the location everyone knows that Spector will be there ready to play. Hey he would even play in a reserve match against West Brom. He really does not care.
I know that local newspapers like to cater to local readers, but editors at the Hutchinson News might have gone a little to far. With Kansas getting ready to play Villanova in the Midwest Regional tomorrow night, The Hutchinson News showed the Villanova mascot as a kitten. Like a cartoon Jayhawk is that intimidating.
Sure the NCAA Tournament has been great this year with the introduction to the world of such players as Stephen Curry and Courtney Lee, but something is missing.
In the past, sites that hosted the tournaments, would just keep their logos on the floor, but now the NCAA has decided to put these huge blue NCAA logo at the center court. That decision has taken some of the joy away from watching the tournament. During the tournament one of the best things to see was all of the different center court logos around.
From UCLAs Tyus Edney crossing over the Boise State logo on his way to beating Missouri to the Boston College players celebrating on the William and Mary logo after being top seeded North Carolina in the second round. It's was always great to see the other logos on the floor, it something that made the tournament fun.
A couple of years ago, Major League Baseball clubs had a great idea, draft hard throwing college closers and rush them to the big leagues in order to help them during at tight pennant race.
The trend started in 2003 when the three teams drafted hard throwing college closers and rushed them up. It continued in 2004 when the Oakland took Houston Street. It really wrapped up in 2005, when two teams went with the idea of drafting hard throwing closers.
Here is a recap of what has happened to the some of the those pitchers that were part of the trend:
Ryan Wagner: first drafted by the Reds and the traded to the Nationals. Has not developed the way that everyone thought. During his career so far he has 4.79 ERA and zero career saves.
Chad Cordero: won a national championship in college with Cal State Fullerton. He has been the most successful of the group having had two 30 saves season and a 40 save season. Cordero has been an All Star too.
David Aardsma: Could hit a 100 mph on the gun when he came out of Rice. Has played for Giants, Cubs and Red Sox. Probably most affected by being rushed to the major leagues.
Houston Street: Besides Cordero Street has been a good player since breaking into the A's bullpen. Street was rookie of the year in 2005 and has also had a 30 save season.
Craig Hansen: When the Red Sox drafted him, some people thought that he would be a key late season addition that would allow the Sox to beat the Yankees. Boy were people wrong. Hansen has just struggled to hold down a regular roster spot.
Joey Devine (pictured above) : Yes Joey Devin. Coming out of NC State many thought that he would have a huge impact on the future of the Braves. Throws as hard as anyone and had a nasty slider. But that did not lead to success with the Braves during the off season he was traded to the A's.
So as you see rushing pitchers to the major league is not the best way to handle things.
The first weekend of the big dance is always the best. This year has been no different with all kinds of drama. Here are some thoughts about the last four days of action: • Could Mississippi Valley State be the worst team ever in the dance? • I think Belmont coach Rick Byrd bought his sweater vest at Macy's. • Is USC loss to Kansas State the last time we will see Tim Floyd on the sidelines of the Trojans. I think so. • These Nike commercials are starting to get annoying. I know my better is better then your better. • Davidson's back court of Curry and Richards might be one of the best in all of the land. • Two weeks ago looked like Villanova might be headed to the College Basketball Invitational, now they are in the Sweet 16. • Who would have ever thought Quentin Thomas would be winningest player in the history of North Carolina basketball.