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Mike Maniscalco

Quick hits: Talking baseball, John Calipari and the Hurricanes

Posted May 10, 2012

More homers, more problems for the Rangers

Josh Hamilton’s four home run performance in Baltimore puts him in elite company. His is the 16th player to hit four dingers in a game. Hamilton is leading the American League in average, home runs and RBI’s and is upping his worth for his next contract. The Raleigh native is in the last year of his deal with the Texas Rangers, and while the numbers he has put up this year are fantastic, he might be pricing himself out of Arlington.

If he keeps producing like this, he’ll put himself in the company of another elite player, Albert Puljos. The St Louis Cardinals and Puljos were in the same situation last season, and the slugger walked for a longer deal with the Los Angeles Angels. It will be interesting to see how the Rangers play this out if Hamilton continues on his MVP pace.

The first rule about "old school" is we don't talk about being "old school"

I have no problem with Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels intentionally beaning Washington’s Bryce Harper. I never thought that hitting a rookie because he is cocky is part of the game, but there are certain players that feel that they have to keep younger players in line. Now, don’t read into that statement that I am for deliberately hurting another player, I’m not condoning throwing at heads. Hamels is a good enough pitcher to drill Harper in the numbers, which he did to try to prove some unwritten point. But there are a few problems I have with the Phillies pitcher’s actions.

One, you never intentionally want to put a runner on base in the first inning. This might sound crazy, but a pitcher’s job early in the game is to make sure that he keeps the other team from scoring. Harper came around to steal home. Case in point, Hamels' actions cost the Phillies a run. (I know that Philly won the game, we are talking principal here.)

Where the major problem lies with Hamels reasoning to hit Harper was his declaration that it was “old school." Sorry Cole, but old school is doing what you feel needs to be done and not talking about it when it is done. Hamels was hit by the Nationals Jordan Zimmerman, on purpose, but Zimmerman didn’t flaunt it after the game. Also, notice that Zimmerman did not get a suspension while MLB hit Hamels with five games.

Don't hate on John Calipari, hate the non-traditional program that has caused this situation that forces him to schedule different because you can't think in non-traditional ways...

Kentucky Wildcat head basketball coach John Calipari has called his program non-traditional in an effort to explain why he doesn’t want to play real road games out of conference. He wrote a long letter explaining how his program will be loaded with freshmen forever and playing in places like the Dean E. Smith Center or Assembly Hall in Indiana just won't happen.

Calipari is trying to blame the scheduling of games his program will play that best suits a problem he has created by taking on “the one and dones." If Cal wants to take on these kids, fine it doesn’t kill the game, but don’t stop playing games in real college arenas because you are loaded with freshmen that you feel aren’t able to handle playing in that environment.

To SEC or not SEC, that is the Clemson dilemma

Clemson star wide receiver Sammy Watkins was charged with two misdemeanors involving marijuana and a controlled substance last week. There will no doubt be some sort of discipline headed his way, and the coaching staff will have to hand it out. The question is, will he be suspended to start the season? That is head coach Dabo Swinney’s call, not mine, but if a suspension is in order the Tigers will have a tough choice. Clemson opens the season with Auburn, and if the powers that be want to sit Watkins, it should be for that game. We will see if the Tigers are serious about competing with the SEC though, they can always pull the suspended for the first quarter or, even better, he’ll miss the Ball State game the next week. Of course the Tigers could just suspend him for a half. It works so well keeping SEC players in line.

It's hard to say, but the Tigers are better off to not suspend Watkins than make him sit out a game after the season opener.

You can't open your mouth without opening your wallet

Carolina Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford has said numerous times this off-season that the Canes will spend money to get a player to compliment Eric Staal. The Canes have guaranteed one thing; that the organization has to spend money this off-season. The front office of a team cannot say publicly that they are going to upgrade the team by going after top six talent and not make some kind of splash. If the Canes are quiet in July, it might mean the stands will be quiet once again in late April.

The prize free agent this year is New Jersey Devil winger Zach Parise, and he will come at a hefty cost. I am not so sure that Parise answers all of the Canes questions. The 5’11” left wing can score, but he doesn’t provide size or a net front presence. That doesn’t mean he won’t help the club, but the team needs a power forward and Parise doesn’t fit that mold.

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  • VT1994Hokie May 10, 2012

    Solid job Mike. I am totally happy for Josh Hamilton. He knows what he needs to continue to do. Calapari plays some cupcakes only at home. Just look at they teams he plays at home. UNC does the same, as does Duke, State and most others. He knows that venturing out to UNC, IU, and others could spell a defeat away. He knows his cards probably better than most. The Canes should be greatly improved. I still wonder about the many trades, but last year didn't do much until late in the season...much too late.

  • StunGunn May 10, 2012

    Good article, Mike. I still have trouble with Hamel's deliberately hitting any player, even one with an attitude. To me, that's not "old school", it's NO school. And no class.

    As for JR saying they're going to spend money, I believe him; I don't think he'd say it unless he was going to follow through. I don't think Parise will be wearing a Canes sweater next season, but I think Rutherford will be true to his word. I hope to see the Canes in the playoffs next year.

    Do you know anything about the realignment that was proposed earlier? That realignment would put the Canes in with some real tough teams.

  • caniacman May 10, 2012

    Good point on the Canes, just have to take JR at his word. I am not sure Parise will come here anyway. I think a trade may be the way they bring the top 6 forward into town this year. Next year's free agents have a lot more bigger names in it.

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