Category Archives: Late Night Snack

LNS: Andy Enfield Leaves #DunkCity for USC

andy-enfield-fgcu-coach

Dunk City is heading back, back, to Cali, Cali.

Coach Andy Enfield, the mastermind behind the NCAA tournament’s most successful 15 seed, has been hired as the new head man at USC. Early reports indicate it is a six-year deal, and could earn Enfield as much as $1 million annually. Enfield’s salary at FGCU was $157,000.

Enfield is a fresh face that has burst into the national spotlight, and that plays very well in talent-rich southern California. But the task won’t be easy, as USC has been one of the Pac-12’s worst schools in recent years. Tim Floyd’s ugly exit left the program with instability and a handful of sanctions to go along with it.

But can he turn it all around? It’s not impossible. There are a few qualities that make Andy Enfield a quality coach. First, he is a skilled shooting coach. A big part of FGCU’s sudden success was attributed to Enfield and his staff working with players improving their shooting. Yes, they also practice dunking, but there’s no denying that these kids played far better than expected under Enfield’s tutelage, and that speaks towards hard work in practice.

But Andy Enfield can make the biggest difference on the recruiting trail. The top players on FGCU were the only three Enfield was able to lure there, and it probably wasn’t easy. After their win over Georgetown, Enfield told a story during the press conference where he was on the phone with potential recruit Brett Comer while his wife was giving birth. Definition of dedication, people. The guy is super competitive, has the ability to charm recruits, and has a smoking hot wife. Did you really think he was going to stay in Fort Meyers?

Is FGCU going to get over it? Probably not. But this is what college basketball has become. Heck, an even bigger heist took place a few days ago when Steve Alford dashed to UCLA. Programs that have money will spend it. We all talked about how crazy it was that FGCU’s program had X dollars and Florida had Y dollars and yet they were competing. But the same comparison that inspired the Eagles last week is today’s downfall. It’s not fair, but neither is business. And colleges are business, make no mistake about it.

LNS: A Running Diary of The 2013 SJFL Baseball Draft

 

Tonight’s Late Snack is…well, it’s more than a snack. Last night was the draft for the 2013 Sports Junkies Fantasy Baseball League, and between welcoming back baseball and Sweet 16 action, Friday was a great night for sports. Here for your enjoyment is a diary of the evening, our first here at The Orange Wedge:

 

8:16 PM

I’m filled with anxiety as a basket of crumpled paper is passed around, and each contestant carefully selects his destiny. We’re picking the draft order, to some degree shaping the season with our first brushstroke. Poetic as it is, “Getting a High Pick” isn’t one of my strong suits, and I’m saddled with the sixth overall selection. This is officially a 10-team league, but there are only 6 bodies present. One is drafting via Facebook, one is having his entire team picked for him, and two are running late. I pick for my late buddy, and draw him the fifth pick. Figures.

8:23 PM

We give a phone call to our absent buddy Max who’s essentially hitting the Autodraft button. So of course he “draws” first overall. Max is a solid bar buddy, in fact I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen him in sunlight. To top things off, his phone is off! We give him Mike Trout, and we are unceremoniously underway.

8:34 PM

With a possible suspension looming, Ryan Braun free falls out of the top five. He’s available at six, but I take Joey Votto. Nothing against Braun, in fact I had him last year, but I think Votto is primed for an MVP season. Braun falls all the way to the eighth pick, where our chum Adam is more than happy to scoop him up.

8:39 PM

Our first tardy arrival Dan walks in just in time for the first wraparound. Picking ninth, He takes Verlander and immediately nabs Strasburg two picks later. Instant contender.

8:53 PM

After taking Votto, Stanton, and now Adam Jones, I’ve gone 3 rounds with no pitching. And you know what? I’m fine with it. Elite pitching draws comparisons to elite quarterbacks, and after the first few are gone I promise myself I won’t reach. Also, pitchers don’t play every day! You’ll get 150 games out of an elite hitter. Out of a SP, maybe 40? I’m taking my offense.

9:08 PM

Our last arrival Rob shows up and is instantly fixated on the Board. He’s been phoning in his picks, but now he can really soak it all in before his fourth round choice.
“This is a critical selection,” he says quietly, his eyes scanning the board.
He scrolls his phone intensely as we feed him names to consider. The most popular is Johan Santana, who we learned earlier in the day would miss the entire season (again). Finally he announces he is reaching for Yoenis Cespedes, and only then does he find a couch and unpack his laptop.

9:30 PM

I’m in a good rhythm, personally willing Michigan to come up big and somehow landing all the players I’ve been eyeing.
On the walk back to my seat after grabbing Michael Bourn, I can hear cussing from another part of the room. Bourn was coveted. Victory.
Aside from the sheer excitement of building a team, isn’t taking a player right from under someone’s nose the best feeling in a draft? There’s nothing like the feeling of your heart dropping out of your chest because someone just took Yadier Molina. And when I can inflict that feeling upon someone else, I make sure to savor it.

9:46 PM

The same thing happens with Kris Medlen. I’m on a roll.

10:08 PM

Michigan has completed an unbelievable comeback, stalling a few picks but saving all relevant brackets left in the room. Awards right now:
Most Valuable: Trey Burke, who almost broke the DVR after the 25th replay
Least Valuable: Domino’s deliveryman Miguel, who is seriously pushing his “You Got 30 Minutes” motto.

10:34 PM

I take Neil Walker at 2nd base. This leads to the story about how Walker’s father Tom nearly boarded the rescue plane Roberto Clemente was killed on. Unfortunately, our buddy Adam mishears and asks if it was actually Neil who almost traveled with Clemente. In 1972. After a good laugh, we ultimately declare that the chances of Baby Neil Walker sneaking onto Clemente’s plane were next to impossible (he was born in 1985). But hilarious.

10:48 PM

Florida Gulf Coast opens their first Sweet 16 game with a nice run, but in the War Room an even more interesting run is being made. Rob has taken four straight closers, a devastating move to the few teams still looking for a top reliever. By 11 the well has all but dried up.

11:00 PM

The elephant in the room has become the ever-ticking clock. Time limits aren’t being strictly enforced on these picks, and it’s becoming clear we aren’t finishing anytime soon.

11:08 PM

Everyone hates Alan. Stuck with family obligations, Alan is doing his drafting via Facebook chat. Sometimes he responds, other times, the messages linger unread. But as rounds progress, his picks slump in quality, and the rest of us are getting edgy.

11:27 PM

Trend developing: If you ask if a player has been taken yet, we’re telling you he’s hurt. If you ask if a player is suspended, we’re telling you he’s hurt. If you ask if a player is hurt, we’re telling you you’re probably better off with Johan.

11:31 PM

The Commissioner informs us that there is only one DL spot. Anarchy ensues.

11:46 PM

Alcides Escobar earns me my third “Fuck You” of the night, putting me up there with the greats. I’m in fine form tonight. I’ve gotten everyone I wanted, I just don’t know if they’re any good.

11:58 PM

After our Round 16 picks, Ryan Rob and I, picking 4th 5th and 6th respectively, makes a bolt for 7-11. It’s candy time, bitches. I head inside and grab a Take-Five and Snickers PB box of Matzoh and we make it back without missing a beat.

12:14 AM

It has officially become a struggle. I’m on a couch in the next room; doing that thing where I’m listening and paying attention to the draft but also my eyes are closed and falling asleep would kick ass. But I’m not asleep, and right as I hear my name called, I reply back with a quick “Ben Revere”. We push onward.

12:31 AM

Andrew is in the corner drafting 3 teams and it is beginning to wear the big man down. He is our lone lifeline to Facebook Alan, and has been making “Best Available” selections for Absent Max all night. He’s about halfway through a 2 liter of cola, and at this point, it may not be enough.

12:40 AM

I have begun to share my resources. Tonight I’m only using two printouts: An ESPN Top 300 ranking, and an ESPN positional rankings sheet that I’ve highlighted with sleepers and overhyped players from rotochamp.com. Sure enough, Ryan’s laptop shuts off and destroys his spreadsheet in the process. I give him my spare Top 300 and let him peer at the positional list. He is intrigued by its highlighting. I explain it’s for sleepers and overhyped players, but don’t reveal which one is which. Being evil can be fun.

12:43 AM

“GODDAMIT BABY NEIL WALKER GET OFF THIS PLANE!!!”

12:52 AM

I have identified the Wild Card in the room. Every league has a guy that nobody takes seriously, and his team never gets enough respect. Then they usually fare pretty well. Well this league has Brennan. Brennan’s best friends with the Commish, and has been using his advice effectively. It’s three rounds before I notice he’s taken A.J. Pierzynski, and by that time there aren’t many catchers left.

1:09 AM

If midnight was a struggle, the 1 am hour has turned this into a chore. “How It’s Made” drones on in the background, as we’ve all grown sick of SportsCenter reruns. We are plowing through the last two rounds standing up; Brennan and the Commish make their final picks with their coats on and leave shortly after.

1:30 AM

It’s over. We breathe a sigh of relief and marvel at the Board, our color-coded bounty standing before us. Suddenly, life becomes easier to manage, and we sit for an extra 20 minutes just marveling at our creation. Analyzing a newly completed draft board like it’s a work of art; we compare each other’s newly formed squads and, of course, talk early trade. Rob’s run on closers becomes the main storyline of the draft, but it comes with a price- he didn’t take a catcher. Rob settled for J.P Arencibia in the final round, but he may have to deal a closer or two if he wants to improve.

Another successful draft indeed, and 5 hours of drafting now parlays into 5 months of fantasy action. Good luck in your own league, and thanks for pretending to care about mine.

Late Night: NFL Roundup

DeAngelo Hall is the latest NFL veteran to be released  (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

DeAngelo Hall is the latest NFL veteran to be released (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Boldin Goes West

The excitement and speculation over the Percy Harvin deal was short lived as a new trade agreed upon late Monday afternoon sparked even greater eyebrow-raising around the NFL. Anquan Boldin, who was so instrumental during the Raven’s championship run, has been dealt to the team they defeated, San Francisco, in exchange for just a sixth round pick.

Are you surprised? In some ways, you shouldn’t  be. The Ravens were fully prepared to live life beyond Boldin, making that perfectly clear with last week’s “Pay Cut or Be Cut” ultimatum. Anything the Ravens could have gotten for Boldin was better than nothing, and now Baltimore has made the most out of an awkward situation.

As for the Niners, well you just have to hate them right now. We talked about ways they could use their stockpile strategically to influence the draft, but we didn’t say they could use a third-day pick on a receiver with five 1,000 yard seasons under his belt. Boldin was fully prepared to retire as a Raven; so how will he respond to being traded? Boldin’s presence on an already loaded offense will be a major storyline in 2013.

Redskins Release Hall

As many teams struggle to find cap room expects the cuts and releases to keep coming. Today’s victim was DeAngelo Hall, who was released by Washington after five seasons. Hall, who is 29, has a few years left and will certainly end up overpaid by another team desperate for a lockdown corner. Hall has been known to be a liability at times, and a player who has difficulty controlling his emotions on the field.

The latest incident cost Hall 30 large for verbally abusing a ref during a game in October, but other than that he is a solid player. He posted a career-high in total tackles in 2012, and has played all 16 games for Washington for 3 straight years. While there seems to be a lot of talent at DB in this year’s draft, no doubt there will be a team that wants to pay DeAngelo.

Jets Add Another Arm to Compete

David Garrard has become the latest quarterback to officially compete for the Jets starting job. Numerous other veteran names were being tossed around but sadly no, Chad Pennington will not report to training camp this year. As of now it is Garrard, Sanchez, Matt Sims, Greg McElroy and Tim Tebow, although reports indicate Tebow is to be cut any day now.

Garrard was pretty effective as the Jaguars signal-caller, replacing Byron Leftwich and even leading the Jags to a playoff berth in 2007. He was even likable on Hard Knocks with the Miami Dolphins, but an off-field injury prevented from competing for the job.

Whether or not Tebow stays, this “open competition” in New York could prove very intriguing. Will the Jets draft a young arm to add to the mix? That would make six on the roster, but I think Tebow will be gone by spring and Sims is just for headlines. Make no mistake, all were competing before this move, but with Garrard in the mix, there are legitimate questions to be answered when training camps begin.

Late Night Snack: Let the Girls Play!

Caroline Pla (2013/Associated Press)

Caroline Pla (2013/Associated Press)

Another night aimlessly clicking around has brought my attention to another story in the sports world that truly concerns me.  Caroline Pla, an 11-year old girl from Doylestown, PA has played the last two years in a Catholic Youth Organization league, but has recently been informed that she will no longer be allowed to participate in the league.  According to the article, the league which is run by the Catholic Church has cited many reasons for their restriction of her participation in the league, including safety reasons, the fact that football is a boys sport, and inappropriate touching.

Caroline Pla running the ball (Pla Family/Associated Press)

Caroline Pla running the ball (Pla Family/Associated Press)

Pla and her family are fighting the ban, gathering signatures to attempt to reverse the ban, and many people and organizations appear to be siding with the Pla family and against the ruling of the Catholic Church, claiming that a lot of good can come from co-ed sports at the youth level.

After reading this story it truly concerns me how old-fashioned and close-minded people still are today in 2013.  This is the United States of America, where every man, woman, and child is created equal and therefore deserves the same rights as one another.  At the same time that girls such as Sam Gordon, the 9 year old running back from Utah who took the internet and NFL by storm this past season, and whose highlights included a viral video, a Wheaties box cover, and an appearance at the Super Bowl, girls like Caroline Pla are being banned from their leagues solely because they are girls.  Let the girls play!  Like most kids growing up, I played in an organized town baseball league and while it included mostly boys, there was one girl who will remain unnamed who was the best player in the league, batting third in the lineup, starting at shortstop, and she parlayed those skills into a D1 college scholarship.  While baseball happens to be a far less physical sport than football, we are talking about a youth league where the kids are kept safe and are taught to play fundamentally, not physically with the intent to injure.  The issue here remains a religious issue, though, but where does the CYO get the right to ban this girl?  She is not breaking any church laws, she is not speaking out negatively about the religion.  For all I know, she prays regularly and adheres to and respects her religion.

Caroline Pla is an example of an innocent person, and in this case, child, who is now facing martyrdom in the national media because of an issue that not only does not concern her, but one that she may not understand.  I say let the girls play, let them participate with the boys, let them smack them around, and let the kids be kids, because you are only young and innocent once, and it is almost criminal when adults can take that away from them.

For more information on the matter, click here.

What do you think about this situation, or other similar situations?  Tweet your thoughts to @theorangewedge or comment below and tell us what you think!  Just some late night food for thought.

Late Night Snack: The Free Fall of a Former First Round Pick

Robert Swift (2008/Getty Images)

Robert Swift (2008/Getty Images)

The other day I was perusing the internet looking at various stories that sparked my interest and one story really caught my attention, a story about just how far a former first round pick in the NBA draft truly has fallen.  Robert Swift, the 12th overall selection in the 2004 NBA draft by the (then) Seattle Supersonics has now fallen completely out of grace with not only basketball, but with life itself.  Drafted directly out of high school as a wide-eyed 18 year old, he had tremendous upside on the court, a legitimate 7’1″ player with a strong post game, his career looked to be taking off.

Robert Swift (2004/Getty Images)

Robert Swift (2004/Getty Images)

Fast forward to today where it has become news that Swift is out of basketball, having last played in 2011 for the Tokyo Apache in Japan, and is now living in his suburban Seattle home, which technically does not belong to him any longer.  The house he is living in now has been foreclosed upon  and is in shambles, with beer cans strewn across the lawn, a bullet hole through the front window, and cars with no hoods and expired plates.

In reading this story it has been reported that Swift collected around $11.5 million of salary, and as of now is broke and a squatter.  How is it possible for athletes to fall so far in society with such promising careers in front of them?  Maybe Swift spent too much on tattoos?  Either way, it is shocking that someone’s life can be derailed so dramatically and so quickly, and teams need to monitor the spending habits of these young players so situations like this cannot happen again.  What other athletes can you think about this happening with?

Comment or tweet @theorangewedge to let us know!  Just some late night food for thought.