Baseball and Basketball Home-Grown Talent

A not-so-scientific experiment on whether teams have more success with players from the area.

Baseball:

  • San Francisco Giants: 5 players from California – Most notable is infielder Freddy Sanchez from Hollywood. A key player, but won a batting title in Pittsburgh so it’s not like he played better in the comforts of sunny California.
  • Texas Rangers: 5 players from Texas – Most notable is Jorge Cantu, who despite playing for the Mexican team in the WBC was actually born in McAllen, TX. The fact that he was the biggest contributor doesn’t say much for the theory.
  • Philadelphia Phillies: 1 player from Pennsylvania – Jamie Moyer, a reliable member of the staff but certainly not having the best years of his career in Philly.
  • New York Yankees: 4 players from the tri-state area – Most notable, of course, is Mr. Yankee Derek Jeter who was born in Pequannock, NJ. He certainly has thrived in his home surroundings. Little known fact…Alex Rodriguez was actually born in New York before re-locating to Florida. I know he’s not New York’s favorite son, but he did win his only championship with them so it’s got to count for something.

Basketball (last season’s rosters):

  • Los Angeles Lakers: 2 players from California – Jordan Farmar and Luke Walton (noted BFF’s) both grew up in Southern California and helped the Lakers win back-to-back championships. With Farmar now in New Jersey we’ll have a better gauge on whether the hometown crowd gave him an extra boost.
  • Boston Celtics: 0 players from Massachusetts – Ouch! Take that Boston!
  • Phoenix Suns: 1 player from Arizona – Channing Frye, a major contributor and probably having his best years in the NBA while in Phoenix.
  • Orlando Magic: 1 player from Florida – Vince Carter…not much to say about that one.

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ABC Forgets The Big Three

the big three somehow turned into the big ticket

 

First off, congratulations to the Celtics. You don’t know how hard it is for me to say that, being a Lakers fan, but after a night to let the fumes die down I realize that Boston was the better team and how much they deserve their 17th NBA Championship. I have a bone to pick, however, with the post-game coverage by ABC.

I DVR’d the game because my class didn’t get out until 9:45 p.m. (thanks Professor Sumby), and when I got to halftime, the Lakers were down 58-35. Since I’m not a masochist, I decided to FF through the third quarter and I would stop if and when the Lakers made their comeback.

Instead I saw Boston’s score going up faster than the National Debt while the Lakers score moved slower than an eight-year-old’s clock on Christmas Eve.

By the time I caught up to live action, the Celtics were up by 30 and the championship was well in hand. After Doc Rivers was showered in Gatorade (not sure if that’s appropriate at a basketball game, but we’ll get into that later), it was time for one of my favorite portions of any Championship coverage, the post game on-court celebration.

I couldn’t wait to see a dramatic three-way interview with the “Boston Three Party,” watching them interact and laugh and cry with each other under the final realization that they had achieved their life long dreams.

Instead I saw Kevin Garnett. By himself. With his hat pulled over his eyes. Crying and ranting and raving like a madman.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Kevin Garnett. I wanted to BE Kevin Garnett for a better portion of my adolescence. Of course everyone knows how passionate he is and how much he “changed the culture in Boston”, but he DID NOT WIN IT BY HIMSELF! Garnett was just as passionate in Minnesota, but it wasn’t until he was playing alongside two future Hall of Famers that he won a title.

Imagine how Paul Pierce was feeling when he was glossed over in favor of the Big Ticket for the postgame interview. Pierce has stuck with the Celtics for 10 seasons, most of them miserable. Often considered a selfish player with no heart, he took his game to the next level in the playoffs by averaging nearly 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists while guarding Joe Johnson, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as well as they’ve ever been guarded. He dominated the Finals and took home MVP honors, finally cementing himself as one of the greatest players in Celtics history.

And who do they interview? Someone who has been a Celtic for less than a year.

That’s like if you’d been working on a project for a month, tweaking it and finally perfecting it. Then you hand it to your friend to turn in for you and he gets the promotion.

We finally got to hear from Pierce in the Finals MVP presentation. Oh, and a post-celebration interview with the sterlingly eloquent Stephen A. Smith after everyone outside of Boston had gone to sleep or moved onto whatever they had TiVo’d while watching the game.

The interview should have been with all three of them. If there was a space issue or word from the top that there could only be one of them, it should have been Pierce. The Finals was his coming out party.

Kevin Garnett, just like Adam Sandler in Big Daddy, they wasted the good surprise on you.

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