By TERRY LYONS, Editor in Chief
OSTERVILLE – Notes while steaming away on a 98-degrees-in-the-shade summer weekend on the Cape
Today’s column will be 100% stream of consciousness. It will reflect the best and the worst of Sunday notes column writing and upon conclusion, you – the reader – will be the judge of whether the time spent with While We’re Young (Ideas) is worth your time and effort every Sunday morning.
We hope you’ll be back.
First things first: It’s the Baseball Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown, and while we’re all but go-goo eyes over the fabulous career of closer Mariano Rivera, we were equally perturbed when NYC and other nation al baseball writers started the “Will C.C. Sabathia go into the Hall as a NY Yankees or Cleveland Indians player?'”
Hold on now!
Let’s #Retire36 before we start down the CC Sabathia road. Each may be deserving but a vote for Sabathia for Cooperstown is a vote for continued overlooking one of New York’s very best.
We documented the case for Koosman’s induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame last week, but we’ll remain on the job this weekend as the annual Baseball Hall Induction Ceremonies are underway. In doing so, we’re fully aware it would take a miracle to get Koosman into the Hall in Cooperstown. But, campaigning for his No. 36 to be retired by the NY Mets is totally realistic and, indeed, our goal.
As crazy as it might seem, Koosman’s numbers compare with some of the era’s very best pitchers, all the so-called “Ace” of their respective MLB franchises. In each and every case, the rival pitcher rode the enviable position of being their team’s “darling,” much like Tom Seaver for the NYM.
The other strong “Case for Koos,” is the FACT he won the two most important games in New York Mets history, in Game 2 and Game 5 of the 1969 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.
In our opinion, the “Case for Koos” is CLOSED and he should merit his No. 36 uniform retirement by the Mets. This season!
HERE NOW, the NOTES: Players are dropping off USA Basketball’s senior national team like mice off a ship. … Just this week, Houston Rockets guard James Harden has withdrawn from playing for USA Basketball in the FIBA World Cup in China, according to the Houston Chronicle. Harden informed new USA senior team coach Gregg Popovich that he won’t be participating, according to the report. The event runs Aug. 31-Sept. 15. … Harden is electing to focus on the Rockets and plans to use the time to adapt to playing with new backcourt mate Russell Westbrook. … Harden is the second NBA star to pull out in recent days. Los Angeles Lakers power forward Anthony Davis withdrew last week. … Meanwhile, Guards CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers and Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets have also withdrawn from playing for USA Basketball in the FIBA World Cup in China, according to published reports. … Yahoo Sports reported McCollum’s withdrawal, citing league sources who say he wants to concentrate on preparing for the 2019-20 seasons. The Athletic reported Gordon’s decision to remove himself from the roster. … The possibility remains that Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry will eventually pull out after undergoing thumb surgery earlier this week. … The FIBA World Cup runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15 in China. USA Basketball training camp is set to begin Aug. 5 in Las Vegas. … This is Popovich’s first year as senior team head coach, as he succeeds Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski who was at the helm since his 2005 posting by USA Basketball Managing Director Jerry Colangelo. Krzyzewski’s only loss for the national team came in his first go-’round at the 2006 World Championship in Japan. The USA lost to Greece and settled for the Bronze. Spain won that tournament. … Popovich was an assistant coach on three USA Basketball teams (2002, 2003 and 2004) and holds a 29-7 combined record. … Yes, SEVEN losses. … Popovich will coach the World Cup team this August-September and the United States Olympic men’s basketball team in Tokyo in 2020.
Speaking of San Antonio, media reports show Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford is stepping aside from his head basketball post to take a new role in the organization, according to The Athletic’s Jabari Young. … Assistant GM Brian Wright will replace Buford, who will move into an unspecified role, the report states. … Buford and Popovich have worked together since 1994, when Buford was hired as the team’s head scout. The two have won five NBA championships during that time, including four since Buford was named general manager. … Buford twice was named the NBA’s Executive of the Year (2014 and 2016). … In other NBA front office news, Tommy Sheppard will have the interim title removed and he’ll be named General Manager of the Washington Wizards, the Washington Post reported on Friday. … Sheppard, who joined the organization in 1994, has been serving as the fill-in GM since Ernie Grunfeld was fired in early April. … Sheppard was the team’s senior vice president of basketball operations for the 2018-19 campaign. He handled the salary cap and contract negotiations while in that role. … Under Grunfeld, the Wizards were just 32-50 last season after making the playoffs in four of the previous five seasons. … It’s time that Sheppard was given his chance as the head man in Washington.
In NHL Front Office news, Ron Francis was named the first general manager of the incoming Seattle NHL franchise. Francis signed a multi-year contract, the team said in a press release. … Francis, 56, spent four seasons as General Manager of the Carolina Hurricanes from 2014-18. He also was a Hall of Fame player who scored 549 goals in 23 seasons and stands fifth in NHL history with 1,798 career points. … “Announcing Ron Francis as our team’s first general manager is a dream come true,” NHL Seattle president and CEO Tod Leiweke said in a news release. “He is truly hockey royalty and is the perfect fit for the team we are building. He has a proven track record in hockey management, a dedication to the community and an eagerness to innovate which fits our vision.” … Seattle is set to begin play with the 2021-22 season and Francis said he is looking forward to preparations leading up to the club’s debut. … “Twelve seasons working in player development, coaching, scouting and management have led me to this moment and this role,” Francis said in the release. “I’m excited to bring that experience to Seattle as we build something truly special and historic.” … Francis said he won’t be making a head coaching hire in the near future. He indicated he will help the franchise pick its name and provide insight into the design of a training facility that will begin to be built next year. … Earlier this month, Paul Holmgren announced that he has stepped down as president of the Philadelphia Flyers and will become a senior adviser for the club. … In a related moved, general manager Chuck Fletcher became Flyers president of hockey operations, and will report directly to Comcast Spectacor chairman and CEO Dave Scott. … “I love the Flyers and I want the Flyers to do well,” Holmgren said on a conference call. … In 40-plus years with the Flyers organization, Holmgren, 63, served as team president, general manager, assistant general manager, head coach, director of pro scouting and a player. He totaled 323 points (144 goals, 179 assists) in 527 games during a 10-year NHL career, which began in 1975 with the Flyers (1975-84) and included his two final seasons (1983-85) with the Minnesota North Stars. … “It’s been an honor to serve this franchise in many different roles throughout my life and I look forward to this next chapter,” Holmgren said in a release by the club. “I approached Dave about my idea to step aside to spend more time with my family. I have complete confidence in Chuck in his new role, leading the Flyers to great things.”
Nothing like a “Glass Door” report from a supposed NBA player: