Wednesday, September 01, 2010

09/01 Quickie: Chapman, Bama, BYU

Today's Names to Know: Aroldis Chapman, BYU, West Coast Conference, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Jeremiah Masoli, Plaxico Burress, Stephen Strasburg, Jeff Francoeur, Manny Ramirez, Knowshon Moreno, Carmelo Anthony, Spanish basketball, Chelsey Gullickson and More.

"Chapmania!": New MLB sensation Aroldis Chapman hits 102 on the radar gun in his MLB debut, which included a three-up/three-down performance.*

In the absence of Stras-mania, "Chapmania" will suffice -- particularly because the Reds appear headed for the playoffs. It will be wild to see Chapman pitching in critical situations in October. All signs point to the mania skyrocketing at that point.

BYU is now "independent" in football: It kicks in next season, at which point they also ruin Gonzaga's good deal in the West Coast Conference by joining in hoops and other sports.

Preseason No. 1 and defending national champ Alabama's Heisman-winning RB Mark Ingram is injured and will miss (at least) Week 1: As you probably have heard by now, his backup -- Trent Richardson -- is even better than Ingram.

That makes Alabama's biggest problem how to handle it when Ingram comes back, if Richardson has established himself as the best RB in the SEC.

ChatRou...heynow: Former Florida All-American LB and current New England Patriots rookie Brandon Spikes apparently made an odd choice related to ChatRoulette: His NFL legacy is secured.

NCAA says Ole Miss QB Jeremiah Masoli is ineligible: The "my original college doesn't offer these grad-school courses" transfer loophole deserved more scrutiny.

Plaxico Burress staying in jail: What has to happen while you're in prison as a celebrity for you to be denied work release? (Maybe it's the nature of the underlying crime.)

Stephen Strasburg to have Tommy John surgery on Friday: Unless, like the rest of the East Coast, it is impacted by Hurricane Earl.* (* - Entirely not true. Only those of us flying on Friday -- or, at least, trying to fly -- will be impacted.)

I'm sure that White Sox fans will take it however it happens, but the rest of us would have liked to have seen Manny make his Chicago debut in a crucial, late-game situation. Curse you, AJ Pierzynski...

Playoff races:

*As someone who would like to see the Rays in the playoffs, I'm not particularly concerned whether they make it by winning the division or the Wild Card. (Does that sound like rationalizing their loss last night to drop them out of 1st in the AL East?)

*Meanwhile, in the NL, the Padres appear to be trying to do everything they can to stumble their way in -- that's 6 straight losses. The Giants are 4 back in the NL West (1.5 GB PHI for the WC) after beating the Rockies (7 back, but only 4.5 GB of WC lead)

What MLB Trade Deadline? Jeff Francoeur has been dealt to the Rangers, where he will presumably be used in the playoffs to pinch-hit against lefties. That sure beats where the Mets will be this October.

NFL Preseason: Knowshon Moreno at self-identified "80 percent" is better than any other running back on the Broncos at 100 percent. But how can the team (not to mention fantasy owners) not be concerned about his durability for an entire season?

NBA Offseason: Sounds like the Nuggets are going to try to convince Carmelo to stay. I think that's a lost cause; he isn't changing his mind, and begging only makes Denver look desperate (which I guess they could be labeled, at this point). I will continue to push this: Offer Carmelo (with a max re-signing, of course) to the Nets for Derrick Favors and their choice of anyone on the roster other than Brook Lopez.

Basketball World Championships: Spain may be struggling, but will be poorly seeded -- yet still entirely dangerous -- in the knockout round. Nothing about the top teams across the rest of the tournament suggests that the US is going to have an easy time winning this. (IF they win.)

US Open: NCAA tennis champ Chelsey Gullickson might have been ousted last night by Caroline Wozniacki, but at least she is at the top of Google Trends.

* - Re: Chapman. Astoundingly, I was able to pick up Chapman on Monday for my fantasy team on Monday. I am currently in 6th place in a 14-team league. In this final week of the regular season, I am playing the No. 4 team, which is scrambling to keep one of four playoff spots, while my injury-laden roster tries to hold off the Nos. 7 and 8 team to earn my first "first-division" finish in my 6 years in the league. This is my playoffs.

Coming tomorrow -- or perhaps later today -- a ton of college football talk. One more day.

-- D.S.

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