Quick Takes

 

    Bobby Knightís at it again. His current punching bag is yet another of his players. Knight doesnít think the latest incident is a big deal. Why would he?! RememberÖÖÖheís down in Lubbock, Texas for a damn good reason.

 

    If you missed it, Richard Seymour stated that the Jets outplayed and outcoached  his Patriots last week. Four pro bowls or not, this coach in particular had to love Seymour going public with his opinion.

 

    Any sure things in football? Yes, that there arenít any!  Lots of casualties in top college teams last weekend, led by #3 Louisville, and the usual number of NFL upsets. How about the unexpected comebacks by San Diego, Baltimore and Carolina. So, if you want to win at sports, donít bet!

 

    Devin Hester fooled the sleeping Giants by standing in the back of the end zone for several seconds, then ran down the right sideline on his knockout-blow return as the Bears rallied for a 38-20 victory over the Giants. Hester tied the NFL record 108-yard return, but he set the record for the best acting job Iíve ever seen in the NFL.

  

    The Cardinals have a problem. With the exception of Chris Carpenter, their entire starting pitching staff has filed for free agency. GM Walt Jockety has a job on his hands, especially since he invariably makes sure that St. Louis is not at the top of the payroll list.

 

    The Tigers got better with Sheffield from the Yankees for three pitching prospects, at least for the short term. Iím surprised the Yankees traded him to a top contending team in the AL. That made no sense.

 

    Speaking of no sense, itís the Red Sox. If they sign Daisuke Matsuzaka, it will cost them $51.1 million just in negotiating rights  plus his salary of about $12 million per year for three years. (The $51 million alone is more than five teams paid in total salaries in 2006.) Boston has lots of holes to plug. They should spend that money on some quality available free agents, pitchers included. If they sign Matsuzaka, it would be financially prudent for them to make a corporate deal to change the name of Fenway to Panasonic Park.

  

    Iím tired of all the BCS talk. The BCS should be called BS based on the system. The 2006 BCS is still way up in the air, but not for long. And donít be surprised if Ohio State beats Michigan in Columbus on Saturday by just a little bit, and the two play again in Phoenix. It could happen, but it wonít. Smells more like Ohio State versus USC in the biggie.

 

Story of the Week

THE MENDOZA LINE

    

    I honestly had never heard of the Mendoza Line until Stephen Murphy mentioned it to me. Because of him, I researched it, and here it is.

 

Definition:


    If you are hitting below .200, you are known to be hitting below the Mendoza Line. Thatís what it means.

 

But how and when did it originate? Below are some theories on the subject:

 

    It might be named for former shortstop Mario Mendoza, but nobody knows who came up with the phrase. It's lasted so long that it's now too good to go unacknowledged.

 

    George Brett made some comment as a throwaway line during an interview early one season, noting that he was hitting below the Mendoza Line. That certainly didnít last long in Brettís case.

 

    The term Mendoza Line was mentioned in The Sporting News. It mentioned that some hitters could not even get their averages above the Mendoza Line. It then stated that the term was named after the Twinsí light-hitting infielder, Minnie Mendoza.

 

    Tommy Lasorda started using the term years ago, but itís not known when.

    

    Bob Uecker once said that it should actually have been named after him since his lifetime batting average was exactly .200. Heís right.

 

Now for the facts:

 

Only five Mendozas have ever played major league baseball. They were Minnie, Mario, Carlos, Mike and Ramiro.

 

    Minnie Mendoza was a career minor leaguer who finally made it with the Minnesota Twins in 1970 at age 36. Mendoza went 3 for 16, and a .188 batting average in 16 games with the Twins that year.

 

    Mario Mendoza played nine years in MLB for the Pirates, Mariners and Rangers from 1974-1982. His career batting average was a lofty .215.

 

    Carlos Mendoza played for the Mets in 1997 and the Rockies in 2000. He  hit .182 in 28 career MLB games.

 

    Mike Mendoza pitched for the Astros in 1979. Only for a single inning, but with an ERA of 0.00, with no hits or walks allowed.

 

    Ramiro Mendoza pitched for the Yankees in 1996, and actually won 4 games, though he lost five and had an ERA of 6.79.

 

    So as far as Iím concerned, the bottom line to the Mendoza Line is that it was named after Minnie. The term has been used for many years, and because Mario batted way over .200, because Carlos wasnít known until 1997, and because Mike and Ramiro were pitchers, it had to be Minnie. Subject closed.

 

    So much for the Mendoza Line. Now for the Lippel Line. Actually, there were several Lippel lines. They all originated on or about my 16th. birthday in the back seat of my Chevy. And Iím damn proud to point out that I had a much higher batting average than .200.

 

Last Weekís Trivia

 

    Ali lost five pro fights. He lost to Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and Leon Spinks in the 70ís, then Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick (he was murdered in Jamaica last month) in the 80ís. The Berbick fight on December 11, 1981 was Aliís last.

 

Trivia Question of the Week

 

    This kicker owns several NFL records, including most field goals of 50 or more yards in a career, in a season, and in a game. Heís the best Iíve ever seen.  Who is he? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.