Monday, May 19, 2008

Do you know this man?

If you saw the general manager of a Major League Baseball team, would you recognize him?

I could not.

Last week, I was covering a high school baseball game which several dozen scouts attended. Their main target, Hart High pitcher Michael Montgomery was throwing and Cutter Dykstra (son of Lenny), who plays for Westlake was hitting.

So I cozied up next to the scouts. Maybe I'd hear something interesting in the chatter. And I started making small talk. I was standing next to a guy who looked like he was in his mid 30s, wearing khakis and a polo shirt. Nothing special. I asked him how many scouts he thought were at the game and what he through of Montgomery. I asked where he thought Montgomery would go and how much potential Dysktra had.

After about 15 minutes, a man and his son walked up to him.

Hi, Josh," he said as he turned to his son.

"Son, this is Josh Byrnes, general manager of the Diamondbacks."

At that point I must admit, I felt a little stupid. I had been talking to the GM of the D'Backs thinking he was some random scout.

When I told my buddies about this, they were not the least bit surprised. They had no idea what Josh Byrnes looked like. And so that got us to making a GMs we could recognize list.

It goes like this: Brian Cashman, Theo Epstein, Omar Minaya, and Ned Colleti.

That's it.

Yeah, if Angels GM Tony Reagins walked down the street, I couldn't tell him apart from the local ice cream driver.

By the way the D'Backs have the 26th and 43rd picks in the MLB draft on June 5th. Byrnes said he'd only been on 5-7 scouting trips this season, so I wouldn't be surprised if Montgomery goes 43rd to Arizona.

And as for Montgomery, who's signed with Cal State Fullerton.

"If I'm drafted where I want to be, I'm gonna go," he said.

Arizona blues

It seems like every time I post, there's another storm brewing over Arizona basketball. With all three assistants from last year gone, now come the players. Emmanuel Negedu wants out and Lute Olson does not want to release him. Negedu, one of Josh Pastner's recruits from Houston, is part of a recruiting class that also includes Brandon Jennings, Jeff Withey, and Branden Lavender. He was supposed to be the athletic wing to complement Withey down low and Jennings with the ball. Now he doesn't want to go to a school that no longer employs his lead recruiter.

Inevitably, he will get his wish and because Olson doesn't want to let him go, he's creating ill will in the recruiting community as well.

In addition, Nic Wise is considering a transfer, and Brandon Jennings has yet to qualify academically.

At this point, Oregon State almost looks like a better situation.

As Barry Bonds would say "This program is in shambles."

Not again Deron

The worst part about Deron Williams leading a crazy comeback against the Lakers in game 6 is that I had seen it all before. The 2005 Elite Eight against Arizona, when Williams' Fighting Illinois stormed from 15 down with four minutes to send Arizona home. You have confidence in your team, especially when Kobe Bryant is on the floor, and you have three free throw shooters who shoot over 80 percent (Bryant, Derek Fisher, Sasha Vujacic). But you better believe that "not again" feeling comes over you when you witnessed the destruction Williams can bring.

Williams had seven points and eight assists in the fourth quarter when the Jazz came from 17 down to make it a two point game. He assisted on the last four Jazz threes, and he made the five points before that when the Jazz were down 13. All I know is if my team has a lead and Deron Williams is on the other side, I'm nervous.

Random Laker of the Day: Jon Barry

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