Wednesday, January 28, 2004
posted by James - 11:27 PM
...Look who's peeking out from behind the snow drifts Just North of Wrigley Field. I know, I know. I totally slacked off the last week. If you checked in and didn't find what you were looking for, please don't take it out on me too hard... or go ahead and let me have it at email@example.com. I love getting reader questions. I actually got my first this week and I'll post a response on Friday (it was even about the Cubs which was really cool). If I get enough, I'll make it a weekly event or something. Send any questions you'd like. If I don't know the answer, I'll try to find out.
While I do have a lot to say after taking a week off, I'll try to spread it out...
There in fact was an Ugueth Urbina sighting this week, though I'm sure he wanted to be in the transaction ledger, not the infraction ledger.
Shortly after ESPN's Jayson Stark reported Urbina might take the season off rather than accept a low bid from one of the teams left with closer's vacancies, media began reporting with much haste Police had arrested Urbina in Venezuela for "allegedly" firing a gun.
Actually the charges were possession of a weapon without a license and misuse of a firearm, and a Venezuelan judge threw them out as Urbina successfully argued the incident was an act of self-defense. (How self-defense gets you out of a possession charge I can't figure out.)
But having your name in the headlines won't exactly help his asking price, which may have fallen into the Expos', Reds' and Pirates' range, if he doesn't follow through with his couch-potato closer threat.
But there is news from the West Coast which may help him choose his destination.
The Giants are admitting they don't know if Robb Nen will be able to resume closing duties and won't until the end of Spring Training.
That's a lot of uncertainty for a team that should contend in the NL West and let last year's Nen replacement Todd Worrell (38 saves in '03) go to the Phillies. Their current candidates if Nen can't make a full recovry include Felix Rodriguez and Matt Herges (who neither have had more than six saves in any season).
Add in Felipe Alou, former Expos manager, and the Giants might be the best fit for Urbina.
And now for something totally unrelated...
In the last week, two NBA teams with projected playoff records have turned over the helms to interim coaches.
The New Jersey Nets fired Byron Scott after he led them to two NBA Finals appearances and a first-place record in the Atlantic Division, which is kind of like having a blind girl for a prom date (oh I know I'm going to get hate mail for that).
And Boston Celtics Head Coach Jim O'Brien resigned, reaching his fill of personality clashes with GM Danny Ainge. Not that I blame him, Ainge was pretty annoying as a player too. O'Brien has an Eastern Conference Finals appearance on his resume as well.
Scott could take the "Doc Rivers route" and take a job as a TV analyst or go back to hanging around Magic Johnson and run one of his theatres or something.
But what about O'Brien?
Seeing how the Nets are coached by a guy who wasn't even thought of when Bill Russell won his first championship (1969), maybe O'Brien doesn't relish his time off and goes and coached the Nets.
They probably don't need him to finish second fiddle to the Indiana Pacers in the East, the team would suit him better with a more veteran core and F Rodney Rogers, who he coached in Boston.
Of course, he could go down and take Terry Stotts' job as head coach in Atlanta, which would mean all 15 Eastern Conference teams have changed coaches since the end of last year.
So when nothing's going right, blow it all sky high!