The Giants drafted Syracuse University defensive tackle and Flushing High School alum Jayson Bromley in the third round of the National Football League Draft last Friday night. He joins Marco Battaglia, Kevin Boothe, and the Harmon brothers, Ronnie, Kevin and Derrick, as part of the small fraternity of Queens natives drafted by NFL teams.
While some self-proclaimed experts were perplexed as to why Big Blue selected him so soon, Giants general manager Jerry Reese expects Bromley to have immediate impact. While no GM is perfect when it comes to player selection, Reese’s record, particularly when it comes to defensive players, is pretty good.
The Giants first-round pick, Odell Beckham Jr., is a speedy receiver from Louisiana State University who attended the same New Orleans high school as Peyton and Eli Manning.
The Jets’ first choice was safety Calvin Pryor from the University of Louisville. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock correctly stated that the hard-hitting Pryor had a great moniker, “The Louisville Slugger.”
Eric Ebron, the witty tight end from the University of North Carolina, said that while he was excited to be joining the Detroit Lions he was envious of those NFL players who play for teams in states where there is no income tax. His mood brightened when he learned that Detroit-area real estate is rather inexpensive.
University of Central Florida QB Blake Bortles, who has one of the great alliterative names in sports, was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who had the third pick. He admitted a key reason the Jags chose him was weak ticket sales, and having a local college hero as their quarterback should improve business.
Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert, who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, declared that the NCAA has to modify its arcane rules and increase stipends to athletes who give up a lot of study time to practice and compete. “There were times when I had no money to eat,” he said to a stunned press corps. This is actually a common problem for student athletes, as they risk sanctions if they accept a free meal from a coach or alum booster. Fellow cornerback Kyle Fuller, a finance major from Virginia Teach who was drafted by the Chicago Bears, echoed Gilbert’s sentiments.
University of Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan, who was selected by the Tennessee Titans, defended the current NCAA policy forbidding compensation for student athletes. “It has worked well for all of these years,” he stated. It should be noted that Lewan grew up in the wealthy Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale.
The Houston Texans selected mammoth University of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. While getting picked No. 1 is certainly a great honor, I asked Clowney if he would rather have had the right to negotiate with all 31 potential NFL employers. “It is more fun to be chosen,” he declared. Ego-wise, he is absolutely right. However, he is absolutely wrong in terms of optimizing remuneration.
I detailed my conversation with Clowney to Phillies slugger Ryan Howard the following night. Howard shook his head with a big laugh. “He’s young. He will learn about the business of professional sports soon enough.”
It’s unlikely that the Mets’ 5-4, 11-inning win over the Phillies last Sunday — in which they rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning — will propel them to greater glory, but they needed a win like that in the worst kind of way. In the prior 10 days they had dropped three out of four games in Denver to the Rockies and then got swept three games in Miami by the Marlins. It had appeared as if they were about to suffer yet another sweep at the hands of another National League East competitor this past weekend.
The Mets’ dramatic win Sunday doesn’t atone, however, for their miserable 11-inning, 3-2 loss to the Phillies on Friday night. To be fair, both teams were equally awful as it looked as if a record for most men left on base in a major league game would be set. It took over 90 minutes to play the first three innings. The Mets have long made an art of not scoring runs but outdid themselves as they had runners on third base with less than two out a couple of times, with the Phillies more than willing to concede a run. Of course they didn’t score.
The key culprit was Josh Satin, who fanned twice in those situations and was sent to the Mets’ Las Vegas AAA team after the game. Josh was batting .107 and he can do far better than that. Terry Collins didn’t play Satin very much, and he was atrophying on the bench.
Satin is also a graduate of the University of California-Berkeley. If he is not back in the big leagues soon I would expect him to attend a top law school or go to a university with a strong MBA program.
The 35th annual Sports Emmy Awards took place May 6 at the Frederick P. Rose Jazz Hall in the Time Warner Center.
Former Braves owner and Turner Entertainment CEO Ted Turner was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. One of Ted’s notable achievements was the short-lived Goodwill Games, an international sports competition that ran in between the various Olympics in the 1990s. Turner beamed when I told him that I covered the ’98 Goodwill Games, which were held in New York.
“We wouldn’t have the problems with the Russians that we are having now if we still had the Goodwill Games,” he said. “I had a great relationship with the Kremlin. Sports competition is the best diplomacy. Think about what President Nixon did in 1972 by sending an American ping-pong team to China.”
Basketball legend Julius Erving was a presenter. His recent autobiography, naturally entitled “Dr. J” (Harper Books), is a very candid recollection of Erving’s life, and he doesn’t spare any warts.
“I wanted to make sure that people knew my true story,” he said. “My co-writer, Karl Taro Greenfeld, helped me establish my voice in this book.”
When I mentioned to him that I couldn’t picture LeBron James writing a similar tome, Erving laughed. “He is 27. Let’s see what happens when he turns my age, 64!”
Hockey’s answer to Vin Scully, Mike “Doc” Emrick, won the Emmy for best play-by-play sportscaster. Emrick praised National Hockey League players in his acceptance speech for their general willingness to make themselves available to both fans and the media.
I spoke with Emrick in the green room after he received his trophy. I agreed with him about the cooperation of most NHL players with the press, and he agreed with me that too many NHL team public relations executives have thin skins and work counter to what is in the best financial interests of their organizations by denying media credentials to those writers whom they don’t like.
Emrick also believed that tightly wound former Rangers head coach John Tortorella, who just got the ax from the Vancouver Canucks, will get another NHL coaching position. “What a lot of people don’t know about John is that in spite of his cranky image, he is a tireless fighter for animals,” he said. “He has spent a lot of free time raising awareness for animal adoptions.”
To use a phrase associated with the late Godfather of Soul, James Brown, Michael Strahan is probably the hardest working man in showbiz. He is the co-host of “Live with Kelly and Michael” and has just added being a contributor to ABC’s “Good Morning, America” to his duties. During the NFL season, he jets back and forth to LA to be part of Fox’s NFL Sunday package.
Strahan was a presenter at the Emmys as well last Tuesday.
“I enjoy being a hardworking stiff,” he said, flashing his trademark gap-toothed smile. The former Giants linebacker admitted that he wouldn’t mind doing harder news stories down the road.