Thursday, May 19, 2011
The Mall of America’s unusual tribute to Harmon Killebrew - Gene Smith says he backs Jim Tressel - 2011 NBA Mock Draft 1.0 si.com -
The Mall of America’s unusual tribute to Harmon Killebrew
The United States is littered with landmarks designating the spots where great ballparks used to stand and great players used to play. That said, the Mall of America's standing tribute to Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew — who passed away from cancer Tuesday morning at age 74 — is arguably the most unique of the bunch.
The red seat you see on the right side of the above photo commemorates the 522-foot homer that Killebrew hit off the Angels' Lew Burdette on June 3, 1967. Though it now overlooks the "Log Chute" ride at Mall of America's amusement park, the chair is said to be mounted at the spot where Killebrew's homer landed in the second deck of the Minnesota Twins' old Metropolitan Stadium. The ballpark used to stand on the site of the shopping center's grounds in Bloomington, Minn., and a plaque marking the spot of The Met's old home plate is also located within the amusement park.
Both locations are bound to get a lot more attention this week as the baseball world mourns the loss of one of its greatest home run hitters. In fact, Sports Illustrated's Steve Rushin made special mention of the seat in his excellent tribute to Killebrew.
When the Met was razed, and replaced by the Mall of America, Killebrew's red bleacher seat was bolted high above the mall's central atrium, in roughly the same space it occupied at the ballpark. It is there to this day, a permanent testament to one man's baseball-crushing powers, on a street still called Killebrew Drive, now and forever a Boulevard of Broken Seams.
I suppose the new location of the seat is uber-sad in a Judge Doom, nothing can stop progress sort of way. But at least the many visitors the Mall of America attracts each year can get a little impromptu lesson in Twins history en route to buying a new sweater or an iPad or whatever. In other words: It's not ideal, but it's better than the alternative.
Speaking of that homer off Burdette, it was initially estimated at only 435 feet by the Twins' official scorer. But because Killebrew's prodigious blast was clearly headed even farther had the second deck not stopped its momentum, the Twins were compelled to contact a physics professor to calculate the true distance. An interesting Pioneer Press story from 2006 notes that the distance chart created by that professor is still used by the Twins to estimate the length of today's home runs.
Gene Smith says he backs Jim Tressel
Well then Gene, you are a fricking idiot too. Obviously, you knew what was going on the whole time too because any man with common sense is not gonna support this type of behavior.
CHICAGO -- There's a feeling that Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith has been distancing himself from embattled football coach Jim Tressel in recent weeks.
But at the Big Ten spring meetings Wednesday, Smith -- while declining to discuss any details of the ongoing NCAA investigation of Tressel -- affirmed his support for the coach, who is entering his 11th season with the Buckeyes.
"Oh, definitely, no question," Smith said. "I haven't changed, I haven't changed. But I'm not talking about the case beyond that."
Smith noted last month in an interview with The Associated Press that Tressel should have apologized at the infamous March 8 news conference, where Tressel acknowledged he failed to notify Ohio State officials of emails he received about some of his players receiving improper benefits.
Smith also has talked about the high legal costs Ohio State is dealing with, calling the ongoing NCAA situation "a nightmare."
Tressel has received support at the spring meetings from fellow coaches such as Michigan State's Mark Dantonio and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, as well as from Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne, a longtime friend.
"Coaches are great," Tressel said. "They understand all the challenges everyone has. It's good to be with them."
Tressel also talked about new Michigan coach Brady Hoke and the fuel Hoke has added to the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry.
"Brady's awesome," Tressel said. "Anything that's good for the Ohio State-Michigan game, I'm for it. And Brady's good for it."
2011 NBA Mock Draft 1.0 si.com
The city known for having some of the worst luck in sports caught a break Tuesday. Cleveland won the draft lottery with a pick that had a 2.8 percent chance of becoming No. 1. Thus, after a 19-63 season on the heels of LeBron James' departure, the Cavaliers have restored some hope by landing the first and fourth selections in the June 23 draft. Here's our first look at how the draft could unfold.
1 PG Kyrie Irving
Fr. 6-2 180
He's not LeBron, but he's the closest thing this draft has to offer. And considering this pick came courtesy of the Clippers in the February trade that netted point guard Baron Davis, it's only fitting that he gracefully pass the backcourt baton and play the mentor role for Irving in these final two seasons of his contract.
2 SF Derrick Williams
So. 6-8 241
If Williams had his druthers, he would be known more as a small forward than a power forward. It's a revealing reality of his identity crisis, as his perimeter game is advanced to the point that he resists being identified as a brutish banger. That might come in handy with the Wolves, who already have Kevin Love and Michael Beasley at the power forward spot but aren't likely to pass up on Williams. The pick should have significant value if they decide to trade it to one of the many teams that would welcome Williams no matter how he sees himself.
3 PG Brandon Knight
Fr. 6-3 185
The Deron Williams trade with New Jersey in February was the foundation of the rebuilding effort, and now Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor needs to find his new point guard of the future for the post-Devin Harris era. Enter Knight, a quality two-way player with shooting range and an ability to distribute.
4 C Enes Kanter
Fr. 6-11 262
The Turkish center is a bit of a mystery man to scouts and personnel types, at least when it comes to seeing him in person on a regular basis. He was disqualified by the NCAA during his one season at Kentucky, and his greatest Stateside performance to date was a 34-point, 13-rebound outing at the Nike Hoop Summit last year. But it's not hard to see why his skills should translate, and the Cavs would be better with his gritty rebounding, scoring and defense down low.
5 PF Jonas Valanciunas
Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)
--- 6-11 240
As long as possible hang-ups with Valanciunas' overseas contract don't keep him out of the league next season, his pairing with Andrea Bargnani in the frontcourt could be formidable. Valanciunas, 19, is skilled offensively, and his knack for offensive rebounding would come at a good time because forward Reggie Evans will be a free agent this summer.
6 PF Jan Vesely
KK Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)
--- 6-11 240
Last year's No. 1 pick, point guard John Wall, needs another high-octane talent to help push the Wizards' offense into a new gear. He would have it with the 21-year-old Czech big man.
7 PF Donatas Motiejunas
Benetton Treviso (Italy)
--- 7-0 215
The Kings could have one of the most dynamic young frontcourts in the game if they go with Lithuanian 7-footer Motiejunas. Last year's lottery pick, DeMarcus Cousins, had a solid rookie season and showed plenty of offensive versatility in the post, but the creative Motiejunas, 20, would take it to another level. Defense would be a concern, making it all the more important that the Kings re-sign center Samuel Dalembert in the summer as they plan to do.
8 PF Bismack Biyombo
Baloncesto Fuenlabrada (Spain)
--- 6-9 240
Motor City, meet the next Ben Wallace. The biggest question surrounding Biyombo at this juncture is how much of what he does so well is legal in the NBA. The Congolese forward is a relentless defender, ferocious rebounder and the perfect complement to last year's top pick, Greg Monroe, in the Pistons' frontcourt.
9 SF Kawhi Leonard
San Diego State
So. 6-7 225
The Bobcats are desperate for rebounding and scoring, and Leonard offers both in the same spot that Gerald Wallace just so happened to leave vacant when he was dealt to Portland in February. Coach Paul Silas wants to run, and Leonard can do that, too.
10 PG Kemba Walker
Jr. 6-1 172
This might ruffle a few feathers (namely Brandon Jennings) or spark comparisons to Minnesota general manager David Kahn among skeptics (for his flurry of point guard picks in recent years), but it would be great value on the pick as well. Walker as Jennings' backup would be potent, and
Posted by just BS at 12:00 AM