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Odds & Ends-Volume 132


We begin Odds & Ends this week with the question many have asked: “What the hell was Dave Roberts thinking when he pulled his rookie pitcher from a no-hitter in his major league debut?”Stripling

If you missed it on Friday,Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling made his major league debut against the San Francisco Giants and up until his departure in the eighth inning,he was in the middle of a no-hitter, the Dodgers led 2-0 at the time. With Angel Pagan having been walked, Stripling’s replacement,Chris Hatcher, gave up a home run to catcher Trevor Brown to tie the game at 2. The Giants ended up winning the game on a Brandon Crawford walk-off home run.

When Roberts made the move to replace Stripling,it reminded me of another rookie manager who took his hot pitcher out far too soon: Matt Williams.

In Game Two of the NLDS in 2014 between the Giants and Nationals, Williams decided to take out Jordan Zimmermann in a game where the Giants were being shutout. The Giants eventually won the game in 18 innings when Brandon Belt hit the winning home run.

My point? When you take a guy out too soon against the Giants,they can and will make you pay for that decision. It’s something Williams knows now as he is out of baseball and it’s something Roberts will no-doubt learn five games into his managerial career.

Fast forward to Friday with Roberts’ decision to pull Stripling. Here’s a pitcher who,while making history in his first big league outing,was coming off of Tommy John surgery and Roberts was not going to mortgage his future.

“I made the decision that if somebody gets on base we will go to (Hatcher),” Roberts said. “That’s kind of how it played out. I think it’s a great story, he pitched well, but under no circumstances am I going to even consider putting his future in jeopardy. Pretty much for me, it was a no-brainer.”

While I understand the move, I would’ve let the kid finish what he started. When you have a kid who was pitching lights out like he was and was giving you and your squad the best chance to win, it would’ve been best to keep him in.

SamHinkieSam Hinkie’s tenure as general manager and president of basketball operations of the Philadelphia 76ers has come to an end as he resigned last week after nearly three years on the job which produced the worst from an organization that wasn’t interested in being competitive or relevant in the NBA landscape.

Hinkie,in essence,was trying to be the NBA’s version of Billy Beane where he was using analytics and trading away any player who resembled a star in order to stockpile draft picks in order to rebuild the team and bring them back to prominence. Not only did

Hinkie’s plan not work,it has backfired. In a year where many thought the Sixers might win 25 games or so, they have only won 10 games at press time and it looks like they may get the top overall pick should they win the NBA Draft Lottery next month.

In his 13-page resignation letter, Hinkie stated that that “to attempt to convince others that our actions are just will serve to paint us in a different light among some of our competitors as progressives worth emulating, versus adversaries worthy of their disdain.”

I honestly didn’t understand or buy what Hinkie was doing,maybe because I’m far from the situation,but in what universe does tankjob after tankjob work in order to get back to prominence? Why don’t you ask how that’s worked out for the Edmonton Oilers?

As for the future of the 76ers,it’s hard to say what their main operative is at this point but they may continue with this strategy despite that it’s not benefitting them very well or the league.

Two of my favorite sports teams said farewell to their longtime homes this week. The Edmonton Oilers bid adieu to Northlands Coliseum/Skyreach Centre/Rexall Place after calling it home for 42 years and the Sacramento Kings closed the doors on ARCO Arena/Power Balance Pavilion/Sleep Train Arena after 28 years.

STABannerFirst let’s talk about the Kings’ final game at ARCO against the Oklahome City Thunder. The crowd came out in full force for one more game and one more sellout at the old barn. Many Kings players from seasons past, including Mike Bibby,Peja Stojakovic,Vlade Divac, Brad Miller,Reggie Theus,and Spud Webb, among others came out to say their goodbyes to the old arena.

The game was a nailbiter up until the end. Darren Collison led the team with 27 points, a season-high and Seth Curry had 20 points off the bench for Sacramento. The Thunder made it interesting quite late in the game when they would answer every Kings basket back with a three-pointer of their own,cutting the Kings’ lead to a slim one. Rudy Gay scored the final two baskets for Sacramento, two free throws, cementing the team’s 114-112 win, their last inside Sleep Train Arena.

Following the game the team showed a commemorative video highlighting some of the best moments in the arena with the team and more importantly the fans who have gone through a lot,especially the last few years with the uncertain future of the team staying in town and the constant losing and the constant changes at the head coaching position.

None of us knows who will be on this team come next year or who will even be the head coach, but we do know that the special memories we all have of that arena will carry over to the Golden 1 Center.

Now to the Oilers’ final game at Rexall Place with about 100 Oilers players from the past in attendance wearing the team’s FinalRexallPlaceGamealternate orange jersey just as the current players on the ice were against the Vancouver Canucks.

Those legendary Oilers with their presence alone must have helped the Oilers get to a 6-2 win that night because while the team itself has improved in terms of their development and change in direction, the results on the ice weren’t as good with injuries to key players and being on the wrong side of several one-goal games.

It was,however,pretty cool to see guys like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier being in the same picture with Connor McDavid and an awesome sight to see the past and present Oilers raising their sticks to give the old place a proper sendoff as the team moves into the sensational new Rogers Place in October.

I do hope that the team improves over the summer and does what it can to make the playoffs next season. They just need to build this team around McDavid and make sure to keep these men healthy and focused and on the right side of those one-goal games and they should be looking good as far as being playoff material goes.

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April 2016
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