May 12, 2008
There have been some great pitching performances this season. Look at what Brandon Webb has done for the Arizona Diamondbacks, starting the year 8-0. He is the premier right-hander in baseball as opponents are batting .197 against him. Webb has allowed just two home runs this season.
You can make a case for Cliff Lee of the Indians as the top left-handed hurler so far. Think about these staggering stats: a 6-0 record, 0.81 ERA, 39 K, 2 BB, a .163 opponent batting average. He has allowed just one home run in the 153 at-bats opponents have faced him. He was truly impressive in a win at Yankee Stadium last week.
The Rays have created a buzz at Tropicana Field. My friends, Tampa Bay just won three in a row against a quality Angels club. Two of the wins came in shutouts by James Shields and Scott Kazmir. The 21-16 start is the best 37-game mark in franchise history. Then again, it is the first time the team is over .500 through 37 contests! The Rays have now won a team-record nine straight home games. Next up is a series with the Yankees which will be a test.
The Cleveland-Boston series has not been filled with great basketball. I can tell you that the Cavaliers have no shot of winning the best-of-seven if LeBron James continues to shoot poorly. LeBron has to shoot better than 20 percent for this team to succeed in the long run.
I bet Mark Jackson was a little bit surprised when the Knicks decided to give Mike D'Antoni the team's head coaching job. I understand what Donnie Walsh was thinking, opting for more experience in picking his head coach. I think Jackson would have been a perfect fit, especially if he had a veteran coach serving as his top lieutenant. It will be interesting to see how D'Antoni does in the Big Apple. He certainly had success in Phoenix. Now we have to see who takes over the Suns. Steve Nash cannot be too happy to see D'Antoni go. The new coach will have to deal with many personalities, including Nash, Shaq, Amare Stoudemire and a host of other talented players.
Dallas made a great hire in Rick Carlisle. He is an experienced head coach with great basketball knowledge. He is also very different than Avery Johnson was. Carlisle is stoic and a person who will instill more discipline. Johnson was lively and personable and he will do well when given another head coaching opportunity in the near future.
The Players Championship presented great golf drama. It came down to Sergio Garcia and Paul Goydos in a playoff, and on the first extra hole, Goydos put a ball in the water off the 17th green. Garcia made a brilliant shot and converted a second putt to win the championship. It was an exciting final round with several storylines. Garcia got the victory and was aided by a clutch par-saving putt on 18.
I am so excited about the Dickie V gala this Friday night at the Sarasota Ritz-Carlton. Bob Knight and Pat Summitt will be honored and the event is sold out. We will be presenting a grant in the name of Payton Wright, a young lady who passed away in our area. We will be aiding in pediatric cancer research with the grant. My friends, you can still help in the fight against this dreaded disease by making a donation. Call 1-800-4-JIMMY V as the life you help save could be that of a friend or loved one.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.