Local sports anchor and Albany Times-Union pundit Rodger Wyland warned the Jets away from drafting a quarterback in the 1st round of the NFL Draft, which began Thursday night. For once, Wyland's advice was heeded. Someone online had suggested the Jets take a chance on Clemson QB DeShaun Watson, but Houston got to Watson first. All that says to me is that the Texans are trying to wipe away the stench of last year's Brock Osweiler debacle (Osweiler was traded to Cleveland in the offseason), and Watson will challenge 4th year QB Tom Savage for the starting job. As long as talented kids like Watson come out earlier than they should, unrealistic expectations, prompted by the leeches hanging around these star athletes, will always follow.
ESPN laid off more than 100 employees, mostly on-air talent, on Wednesday. Dottie Pepper, golfer-turned-broadcaster, from Saratoga, was among those let go, but don't feel too badly for Dottie. She still has a job with CBS. There are those, however, who'd prefer that ESPN got rid of First Take blabbermouth Stephen A. Smith and his Cosellian rants. One online columnist complained that veteran journalists such as Jayson Stark and Ed Werder, the latter a 17 year veteran of the network, were let go and Smith, a Philadelphia based reporter-turned-controversy magnet who thinks he knows more than he really does about sports other than basketball, which was his beat when he first came to ESPN, stays. That's because, as Smith himself helpfully points out, First Take is generating good ratings. It's helping, too, that Smith is now getting dressed down on-air by new partner Max Kellerman on a regular basis.
The Mets have fallen victim again to the injury curse that has plagued them almost every year since Citi Field opened in 2009. Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes came out of Thursday's loss to Atlanta, the team's sixth straight defeat, having reaggravated a hamstring injury that left him out of last weekend's series with Washington. The rematch with the Nats begins tonight, and the Mets are already in free fall. Add Cespedes to an injury list that also includes infielders Wilmer Flores and Lucas Duda, and you wonder if someone isn't sticking needles in voodoo dolls bearing the players' likenesses. Well, that would be a good reason in a movie........
Meanwhile, it's very curious that Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is denying reports that former Florida governor Jeb Bush and recently retired Yankees star Derek Jeter had "won" a bidding war to purchase the Miami Marlins after media outlets went bananas over the issue a week ago. One wonders if current owner Jeff Loria is having second thoughts, fearing that his cheapskate method of running the team would be replaced by a group that would turn the Marlins into Yankees South. Just sayin'.
High school beat: Troy High's lacrosse team snapped a six game losing streak Thursday in crushing Averill Park, 14-0. All 14 goals, per the Times-Union, were scored in the 1st quarter. Goalkeeper Casey Episcopo had more saves (15) than his teammates had goals. The softball team beat Bethlehem, 2-1, also on Thursday, as they made up last Saturday's postponement. The girls are right back out on the road today at arch-rival Averill Park, the scene of the crime last year when then-coach George Rafferty had a in-game meltdown that cost him his job. Rafferty is now at Hudson Valley Community College. Meantime, it appears that Wednesday's road games at Guilderland for both the baseball & softball teams have to be made up within the next 2-3 weeks as those games either were postponed or were not reported (the press doesn't even acknowledge rainouts in high school ball).
Unfortunately, there is still a black cloud over the school's tennis & track teams, which have yet to win a meet this season. The boys' tennis team was shut out again, 9-0, this time by Saratoga, in a makeup meet on Thursday. Up next is a road meet today at Averill Park.
Across town, the Friday Night Lights series continues at Joe Bruno Stadium today, starting with a Colonial Council matchup between Cohoes & Watervliet, followed by a Suburban Council game between Columbia & Shenendehowa. The Blue Devils would be the de facto home team, since they're located closer to the stadium, or, at least you'd think so.
Don't look now, but the Yankees may have the front runner for the AL Rookie of the Year in outfielder Aaron Judge. The way the media fawns on Judge, you'd think he was the 2nd coming of Dave Kingman, who played for both the Mets & Yankees, as well as the Giants, Cubs, & Angels, during the course of his career. Kingman had a propensity for hitting towering home runs as well as copious amounts of strikeouts, just like Judge, who, as we noted previously, is being compared to Miami's Giancarlo Stanton. Judge is a big reason why the Yanks are in striking distance of AL East leader Baltimore in the season's 4th week.