NFL Draft

The 2010 draft will kick off Thursday night, with a new three day format.  In the past, the draft took place on Saturday and Sunday.  This year’s draft will be split across three days.  First round picks will be Thursday night, the next two rounds will be Friday night, and the final four rounds will occur on Saturday.  The NFL is making this move to try to score higher TV ratings for the draft.  I see this as a losing proposition for fans, though.  In the past, the Saturday start to the draft lent itself very nicely to draft parties.  A Thursday night draft doesn’t work quite as well for those who have work the next day.

After releasing longtime quarterback Marc Bulger, the St. Louis Rams are expected to select a quarterback with the top overall pick.  The general consensus is that this year’s crop of quarterbacks doesn’t have the slam-dunk guy who is a near-guaranteed star.  Barring a trade, the Rams are expected to pick Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, whose injury derailed the Sooners’ 2009 season.

Speaking of the Rams, their ownership is still in flux.  When majority owner Georgia Frontiere passed away in 2008, her 60% stake of the team was inherited by her children, Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez.  Now, they have chosen to sell their stake in the team.  They accepted a bid from Illinois businessman Shahid Khan (check out his Wikipedia bio for a great immigrant-makes-good story).  However, minority owner (40%) Walter  Kroenke has an option to match any offer.  At the end of his window to match the offer, Kroenke announced that he would exercise his option.

There’s a wrinkle in the plan, though.  The NFL bans owners from owning franchises (in other sports) in other NFL cities.  Kroenke owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Denver Avalanche – and would thus be barred from buying the Rams, unless this rule is waived, or unless he sells the Colorado teams (his 40% stake in the Rams was grandfathered during a 2005 expansion of this cross-ownership rule).  I’m really not a huge fan of the rule, as it doesn’t make much sense to me.  Some people think the Kroenke has a legitimate interest in becoming sole owner of the Rams, whereas others see this as posturing in an effort to get Khan to pay more for Kroenke’s 40%.  Only time will tell.

Another player sure to be drafted high in the NFL draft is Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.  Suh is expected to be grabbed in the first three picks.  Suh already has a massive fan base in Husker Nation – but he may have gained a few more on Saturday.  During Nebraska’s spring game, Suh announced his intention to donate $2.6 million to the university.  $2 million will go toward the strength and conditioning program within the athletic department.  $600,000 will go toward endowing a scholarship in the college of engineering – from which he earned his degree.  Suh’s family is yet another story of immigrants living the American dream.  His Jamaican-born mother and Cameroon-born father  met in Oregon in 1982.  There will certainly be some 2010 draftees who get into trouble in the future – but I sincerely doubt that Ndamukong Suh will be one of them.  He’s a great player and an all-around class act.  I say this despite the fact that I hate the University of Nebraska.  It’s hard to root against the kid.

Be Like Ike

On the baseball beat, Ike Davis was called up by the Mets on Monday.  Not coincidentally, players called up on Sunday would have received credit for an entire season of service time; those called up on Monday only get credit for actual time served (I explained how this works when I answered the question of why Stephen Strasburg got sent to the minors).  The effect of delaying Davis’ call-up until now is that he will not become a free agent until after the 2016 season.  Down the coast in Atlanta, 20 year old Jason Heyward broke camp with the Braves and is off to a great start.  However, barring a demotion at some point, this means that Heyward will become a free agent following the 2015 season.  A few weeks in April make a lot of difference down the line.

If you’re a longtime reader of The Soap Boxers, you’re familiar with Davis’ name.  He was one of the players selected with draft picks the Mets received as compensation for losing Tom Glavine to free agency.  Chalk up that exchange as a win for the Mets.

Where There’s a Will

Mike and Mike in the morning were talking with George Will this morning and mentioned that his book Men At Work will be re-released next month.  It’s 20 years old, but one of my favorite baseball books.  Will picks the minds of 80’s baseball icons such as Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. to see what makes them tick.  (Yes, this is the same George Will who writes about politics).

When I was looking up the book in Amazon so that I could link to it, one of the books that popped up in “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought …” was Jim Bouton’s Ball FourBall Four takes an even more interesting look way behind the scenes of baseball.  It’s a great read, but there’s adult language and situations, so it’s not the sort of book to use as a bedtime story for your kids.  (There’s no logical reason to talk about Ball Four today, othe than the Amazon connection.  It’s just a good book :)

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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