Thursday, July 12, 2007

"I just wanna win" - My take

There is a universal lie told by a ton of superstars in sports. A lie so manipulative it makes Martha Stewart look like my nice sandwich-making, spoiling extraordinaire grandmother. It’s the infamous line after they sign a big time contract. “I just wanna win.” Excuse me while I get a bucket…

Ladies and gentlemen, exhibit A….Rod. The pretty boy slugger is one of the best players in the history of the game, there is no doubt there. But let me throw some knowledge at you. After spending the 2000 season with the Seattle Mariners, where he earned a little over $4 million, the slugging shortstop shipped to where everything is bigger….including the contracts I guess. Rodriguez signed the infamous deal with the Texas Rangers and in the 2001 Pay-Rod earned $22 million. “I just wanna win.” *Eyes rolling*

But while Rodriguez was raking in the big bucks, the Rangers had just enough money to round up a pitching staff of journeymen and has-beens. There is Rick Helling, who went 12-11 with a 5.17 ERA. Doug Davis had a mind-blowing 11-10 record with a microscopic 4.45 ERA. Left-hander Darren Oliver finished with an even steven 11-11 record with a gorgeous 6.02 ERA. Pre-Detroit Tiger and Post-Perfect Game Kenny Rogers gambled his way to a 5-7 season with a good-looking 6.19 ERA. Rob Bell, the solid Number Five guy, finished 5-5 with a 7.18 ERA. Not too bad, huh? And you wonder why the Rangers finished 73-89 and in the basement of the American League West.

So if A-Rod was serious about “wanting to win,” maybe he could have loaned the Rangers a few million to spend on some better starting pitching. That would be fine for the young stud right? Since it would make them a better team. Instead of promoting the peanut guys after they hit most of their targets the game before. Mr. Clutch (2-for-300 when it counts isn’t too bad) is now having his agent Scott “Satan’s Right-hand Man” Boras demanding $30 million a year for the All-Star. Oh, funny how the total Championships A-Rod has won is sitting at zero.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, exhibit B. As in Bryant. This past season Kobe Bryant earned over $17 million. So why in the world is he demanding the Lakers to improve the team and if not, he wants out. First off, he had some help with a fella named O’Neal but he got the big man traded away so he could show he could win a title on his own. What a diva. Now Bryant is demanding help.

Here’s a dream conversation I would have with Bryant.

Me: Hey Kobe, why are you so pissed at the Lakers?
Kobe: ‘Cause I got no help, I’m sick of it. I need some better players on this team, because the most important thing to me is winning those titles man.
Me: Oh, how much did you make last year?
Kobe: Almost $18 mill.
Me: Well, why don’t you give some back to the Lakers so they have more money to get better players so you guys will be better.
Kobe: Uhhh….*makes noise out of the side of his mouth* oh sorry I gotta take this. Nice talking with you.

It was Forest Gump that said that men only need so much money, all the rest is just for showing off. You’re telling me that these guys wouldn’t be able to not only can get by (oh Latrell Spreewell, if it takes $15 million to put enough food on the table for your wife and kids, you may want to keep an eye out for childhood obesity) but have a complete life of luxury on $7 million a year? You get the cash, and a better team. Perfect right? “I just wanna win.” Oh, I feel like I just ate week old Taco Bell….

Let’s take a trip to Bizarro World of Professional Athletes. Former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman, the one that lost his life defending the freedom that you and me have, made a salary move that would have Kobe and A-Rod yelling “What?!!?!” After a successful season, Tillman was set to be a free agent. The St. Louis Rams, who had won the Super Bowl the year before, offered him more money to trade in the wings for some horns. No dice. Tillman accepted a deal with the terrible Cardinals, for less money, out of loyalty to the team that got him into the NFL. Wow.

I got no problems with star players signing huge contracts. None whatsoever. But you can NOT say that winning is the most important thing in your life if your demanding 20 million.

The names Rodriguez and Bryant are interchangeable for just about any superstar in the league. They “want to win” but at zero sacrifice of their own. It is up to the team to figure out how to get enough help with a King Kong-size contract already on the books. They want to win, but at the press conference look into the eyes of the great beasts. You might just see dollar signs. “I just wanna win.” Bulllllllcrap.

Story by Jesse Severson

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Beaver Update - Oregon State Baseball

Jacoby Ellsbury:
There was a former Beaver in the MLB All-Star festivities. Ellsbury, the former OSU speedster, played outfield for the USA team in the Future Game this past Sunday. Unfortunately, Ellsbury went 0-for-4 in the game. The Red Sox, who called him up from the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA), sent him back down to the minors last week. He did, however, go out on a good note. His final game, a 15-4 thrashing of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, had him going 2-for-2 ending a successful stint in the majors. The outfielder hit .375 (6-for-16), while getting a double, a stolen base, and his first RBI.

Dallas Buck:
The Newburg native is a bit banged up. Buck, who is on the disabled list, hasn’t pitched since June 27th. In his last outing, he gave up three runs on six hits in four innings in route to a no-decision. Buck is pictured on the right, from, delievering a pitch.

On the year: 4-4, 3.41 ERA, 97.2 IP, 37 ER, 88 K

Jonah Nickerson:
The right-handed Nickerson is making a good argument for a promotion. In his latest start for the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers Single A affiliate), Nickerson threw brilliantly. He tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits while walking none against the Fort Wayne Wizards. He also struck out five while getting his sixth win of the season with his best start of the year. The seven scoreless innings lowered the former OSU stud’s ERA to 4.89 on the year.

Last start: W, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
On the year: 6-6, 4.89 ERA, 88.1 IP, 48 ER, 67 K

Kevin Gunderson:
The little
guy had an off and on last two outings. Gunderson, who is pulling relief duty for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Single A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, came out to throw the top of the eleventh against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The hard-throwing lefty (left- photo from gave up two runs (one earned) on a hit and a walk to take his fourth loss of the season. Gundy's outing against the Potomac Nationals was a little more effective, though. The little guy came in with the bases loaded and let two runners come in. They were not his runners, so it did not effect his ERA. For the game, he tossed 1.1 scoreless innings of work, striking out two while giving up two hits and a walk.

Last two appearances: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
On the year: 2-4, 3.38 ERA, 37.1 IP, 14 ER, 31 K

Cole Gillespie:

The All-Star break had to come right when Gillespie (right - picture from broke out of a dry spell….in a big way. Luckily, the Brevard County Manatees (Class A Brewers) only have one day off until they head back to action. Gillespie, the starting left-fielder, has been on a tear since June ended. The past nine games, Gillespie is 13-for-32 (.406) with a pair of doubles and 3 RBIs. The hot streak has pushed his season average to a (little more) respectable .244.

Last 10 games: .389, 3 2B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 4 SB
On the year: .244, 14 2B, 7 HR, 45 RBI, 14 SB

Aaron Mathews:
The former Beaver outfielder is tearing up New England. Playing for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Double A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, Mathews has had a outstanding last ten games, which has only been a look into his entire season. Mathews is 13 for his last 40 (.325) while knocking in five in the last ten games. It hasn’t been a short hot streak for Mathews, who is hitting .338 on the year with 5 long balls.

Last 10 games: .325, 3 2B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 7 R
On the year: .338, 21 2B, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 46 R

Darwin Barney:
The little fella with the big smile has even more reasons to show those pearly whites. In his first professional game for the Arizona League Cubs (Rookie League), Barney went 1-for-3 and scored a run in a 10-1 win over the AZL Rangers. The kid that made the relay of the year against the North Carolina in the College World Series batted second for the Cubs while playing shortstop, familiar territory for the fan favorite.

On the year: .333, 0 2B, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 R

Mike Lissman:
It seemed like yesterday that Mike Lissman was hitting clutch home runs in the Beavers second consecutive College World Series Championship. The outfielder has hung up his OSU hat for professional ball, and has already played in his first five games. Playing for the Arizona League Athletics (Rookie League), Lissman is only hitting .217 but has had some pop for those sparce hits. Today, July 11, the CWS star hit his first professional home run.

On the year: .217, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R

Mitch Canham:
The former OSU catcher has been as hot as the weather. Staying in Oregon, playing for the Eugene Emeralds (Class A for the San Diego Padres), Canham has been on a hitting spree in his first three games. He has gone 5-for-12 (.417), including going 3-for-5 in a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canadians. Canham is hitting third for the Emeralds.

On the year: .417, 1 2B, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 R

Story by Jesse Severson

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pilot star back after injury - UP soccer

It was less than a year ago that University of Portland women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe laid in the middle of the field. The 2,146 fans in attendance for the game, a win over Washington State, sat silently as Rapinoe cried and screamed clinching her left knee. The Pilots star’s leg had been torn to shreds.

The injury, diagnosed on the spot as a torn ACL, ended the year for one of the most talented strikers in the country.

“I knew right away my season was over,” Rapinoe said.

The Pilots season, however, was far from over. Without one of their best players, the ladies in purple continued to roll. With a team featuring nine all-conference players, coach Garrett Smith guided his squad to a quarterfinals match-up against UCLA, the team the Pilots beat to win the 2005 National Championship.

“It just showed how deep we are,” said Smith, whose team finished 17-4-3.

But where was Rapinoe during the heartbreaking 2-1 loss against the Bruins? Against a team that she had friends on? Against the team that tried to recruit her? On the sidelines.

“I just had to be the best cheerleader I could be,” said Rapinoe, whose sister, Rachel, was an all-WCC forward last season as a junior.

She got some advice from a close source. Teammate Rebecca Meierbachtol went through the same injury and warned the competitive Rapinoe not to come back too soon. After six to nine months of rehabilitation, ranging from just trying to bend the knee to cautious running, the former star freshman is getting ready for her junior year.

Just last month the midfielder had yet another set back. Scar tissue had formed in her joint, which needed arthroscopic surgery to remove. However, it seems like a small hurdle to pass. “It feels better than it ever has,” Rapinoe says about her knee. She goes on to say that “a lot of times the surgically repaired knee is stronger than the non-injured one because you do so much conditioning on it.”

Despite playing less than half of the season, Rapinoe still was tied for second on the team in goals with ten. She says she feels she’ll be 100% when the 2007 season rolls around.
Regardless of the return of Girl Wonder to the squad, Smith still feels that it won’t be Rapinoe that will be the leader of the ’07 Pilots.

“Every year [the leaders are] the seniors. The seniors are always the heart of the team because they’ve been around the program for four years,” said Smith.

Spearheading that senior class is defender Stephanie Lopez, midfielder Angie Woznuk, and Rachel Rapinoe.

Lopez, who was club ball teammates with Rapinoe since high school, has solidified herself as one of the top defensive players in the country. Most likely a lock for a spot in the World Cup, Lopez is already starting for the US Women’s National Team this summer.

The bond of the longtime teammates has become mental. “We have an understanding of each other,” says Rapinoe of Lopez. “She knows what I’m going to do and vice versa.”

Also back is leading goal scorer and last year’s WCC freshman of the year Michelle Enyeart. One stranger in a sea of familiar faces next season will be highly touted freshman Elli Reed. The forward from Utah is regarded as one of the best recruits in women’s soccer.

While the Pilots return a truckload of talent from last year, there will be one vacancy left from graduation. Former goalkeeper Cori Alexander, who had thirteen shutouts last season, is leaving an empty spot in front of the goal.

“Cori pretty much won us the National Championship in ’05,” says Rapinoe.

Hoping to fill the shoes (and gloves) of Alexander is Kelsey Davis, who transferred from UCLA two years ago.

“She’s young and still has a lot to learn,” says Rapinoe, “but she has a lot of potential.”

One senior from last season will still be on the sidelines for the Pilots this year. Former midfielder Lisa Sari will return to be an assistant coach.

“She was my own personal assistant coach my freshman year,” says Rapinoe. “She’s a good teacher and communicator and brings a passion about the program.”

Smith also has high regards of his former player, saying she has been an ambassador to the program the past four years.

Also returning next season, is the quick ticket sales for the team that has led the nation in attendance the past two seasons. Just to put Pilotmania into perspective, when U of P traveled to take on #4 Florida State early last season, the Seminoles could only fill up 1,625 seats. When unranked Washington came to Portland, however, 4,892 packed into the Clive Charles Soccer Complex. Rapinoe sure likes seeing a sea of purple.

“I’ve played in a ton of venues, and it is one of the best places I have ever played. They are so excited about women’s soccer, and you can’t find that everywhere.”

The complex had some work done over the summer with the help of donations and school funding. Adding new restrooms, concessions and field turf to the fields, which will help with rain-soaked Portland, will reward the Pilot fans who have been loyal over the years.

As certain as there will be excitement in the stands, there will be talent on the field. Rapinoe and Company are back. “We work our butts off everyday to get back to the tournament. The talent is there, but it’s the hard work that will get us back to the Final Four,” she says.

Smith feels like the college soccer community can throw away the term “little Portland Pilots.”

“We are not the up and coming new comers anymore.”

Story by Jesse Severson

Monday, July 9, 2007

Top 10 Stories You Wont Hear Next Year - Blazers/NBA

10-That’s not powdered sugar on that Duncan doughnut
Former MVP Tim Duncan’s off-court troubles keep mounting. The once silent star has turned into basketball’s latest bad boy. Starting with the tattoos, Duncan’s season has turned into a downward spiral. Pulling a page out of Charles Barkley’s book—“I am not a role model”—Duncan (above-picture from has a rap sheet longer than his on-court accomplishments. Starting with a pair of DUIs, the Spur forward’s latest antics outside a San Antonio strip club have him in hot water once again. A Texas state trouper found marijuana and cocaine in his gym bag, which Duncan claims he had never seen before. “I think that’s my cousin’s friend’s stuff.”

9-Having fun as a Sun
Poor Grant Hill was about due. For the first time in years, the former Duke star is having a second wind. Hill has yet to miss a game, failing to twist, turn, roll, or tear any body part. “I use to think I had the worst luck in the world,” Hill said. “But being in Phoenix, especially where I am a big contributor and not just gravy-training myself to a championship, it just feels great!”

8-Point guard from another planet
It was just a matter of time until the evidence was discovered. After a thrilling 87-84 win over the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center, Clipper fans filed out and went home. Little Kenny Littleton, however, staked outside the players entrance, hoping to catch his favorite Clippers before they went home. Littleton, along with his father, noticed a star coming closer and closer and closer. It was Dan Aykroyd’s dream come true. A flying saucer landing in front of him, and out of the arena walked L.A. point guard Sam Cassell (above- picture from to board the ship and head out. When reached for questioning, the veteran condescendingly commented, “It took you earthlings this long to find out? I mean c’mon, look at me!”

7-Miles wins 3-point contest
To think, most Blazer fans thought that last season Miles was simply focused on taking it easy on the bench and laughing as he collected each and every check. The season off has done wonders for the Trail Blazer, who recently starred in a movie where he WASN’T a high school basketball player. Miles (right- picture from is now the owner of one of the most lethal outside shots in the NBA, and in the All-Star weekend he won the 3-point contest running away. The Blazer forward, who GM Kevin Pritchard described as “just an overall good guy,” has been the perfect compliment to Portland posts Greg Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge. In the process, he has managed to put guards Brandon Roy and Martell Webster under his wing, showing them the ropes of being a true professional. “I think I would make a pretty gosh darn good coach,” Miles said last Thursday.

6-The Simple Life of “Big Baby”
The questions about Glen “Big Baby” Davis’ weight, along with his waistline, have disappeared. Entering the year a heavy-set 295 pounds, the Boston Celtic rookie chose a different diet path than the traditional NBA workout program. The power forward, weeks before training camp, befriended famous skinnies Nichole Richie and Paris Hilton. The trio has gelled beautifully, trading stories of being really rich and good looking. Richie, along with friend Lindsay Lohan, gave their newest friend what they liked to call their “white magic diet powder.” Davis, now with a 6’ 9” 135 pound frame has no trouble getting up and down the court, which he credits to “the best two friends in the world.”

5-Milwauk-Yi takes Wisconsin by storm
It is amazing, looking back before the year, that Yi Jianlian actually was skeptical about heading to the Milwaukee Bucks. “At, ah, first, I am not sure,” he said. Thankfully, Yi has embraced Wisconsin, which has paid him back with their loyalty. Yi-Mania, as they are calling it, has swept over Wisconsin, putting the forward into Brett Farve-status. The state once known for their Cheeseheads, have turned their attentions to a different kind of headwear. Last month the Bucks had Conical Hat Night, when the 20,000 in attendance represented the Asian culture by wearing the distinctive hats. “We just figured that since we couldn’t bring more Asian Americans to Milwaukee, we’d just create our own little Asian culture,” said Bucks PR guy.

4-Carlesimo leads Sonic Boom
Turns out that Kevin Durant wasn’t the most important acquisition for the Seattle Sonics in the offseason. Head coach P.J. Carlesimo, who no doubt was cheated out of Coach of the Year honors in his days in Portland simply because he coached a West Coast team, has taken advantage of his clean slate in the Emerald City. Now a dedicated enthusiast of the study of Zen, Carlesimo has led team to the Western Conference Finals with long-time friend playing the shooting guard. The Sonics are reaping the benefits of signing All-Star Latrell Spreewell. “There are times where I absolutely love the guy,” Spreewell said of his head coach, but laughs that “there are other times where I just want to choke him.”

3-Jordan comeback, Part III
His airness has come back to the city that has worshipped the ground he walked on. After witnessing the Bulls run off a ten-game winning streak to improve their NBA best record to 35-8, Jordan made the decision to give basketball one more try….again. He quickly bought part of the Bulls, named himself general manager of the Windy City crew, before eventually dusting off the ol’ 23. The former MVP took some heat for the quick trades he made, despite the Bulls’ hot play. Jordan, who needed room at the 2 spot for himself, packaged Ben Gordon and Andres Nocioni to the Wizards for a first-round and second-round pick in the 2008 draft. Quickly releasing Ben Wallace, whom he claimed was “washed up,” Jordan convinced former Bull Bill Cartwright to come back to play center. “Those three were just ready to contribute to an NBA Playoff race,” the Comeback Kid said.

2-Fans not A-ok without Stephan A.
Popular ESPN analyst Stephan A. Smith (right- picture from, who broke his jaw in a car accident last month, had to have his famous mouth wired shut. Fans are in mourning for the loss of the beloved voice. Jim Daughtry, an avid Hornets fan, says “Personally, I do not know what to make of the trade New Orleans just made. How am I suppose to make up my mind without Stephan A. Smith yelling at me what I should think?” Smith, who carries a notepad to communicate, wrote (in all caps) a quick note to all his supporters. “FOR ALL OF YOU S.A.S. FANS OUT THERE!!! IT IS AL-RIGHT! PLEASE DO NOT WORRY! I WILL BE BACK AS SOON AS THIS ASTRONOMICAL, ATROCIOUS INJURY HE-ALS UP!!! JUST BE PATIENT!!! BECAUSE IT’S THE SENS-ABLE THING TO DO!!!!”

1-Randolph has clean up his act

At the top of the Eastern Conference is the New York Knicks, and for one reason: the resurgence of power forward Zach Randolph. The baby-faced Z-Bo has been scene around the streets of New York picking up trash, helping old ladies cross the street, and helping out at the local homeless shelter. “You know, Zach is just a high-class character,” said GM and coach Isaiah Thomas. The former Piston point guard stole Randolph from the Blazers this past summer. “He is just so supportive and is always guiding us in the right direction,” commented teammate David Lee. Randolph has credited the fantastic season (25.4 points/11.2 rebounds/8.3 assists per game) with an extremely discipline work ethic. “I go to bed at 10 o’clock, no exceptions,” the smiling Randolph (above- picture from said. Z-Bo has come into New York, the city that never sleeps, and cleaned up his act and is now the leader behind one of the best teams in basketball.

Story by Jesse Severson

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Former Beavs still playin' - Oregon State Baseball

Jacoby Ellsbury:
The former Beaver centerfielder had the biggest week of his life. After only a few seasons in the Boston Red Sox organization, Ellsbury got called up to the big leagues. In his first game, the speedster beat out an routine grounder to Texas Ranger shortstop Michael Young. The Boston crowd erupted as Ellsbury was called safe. In his second game, starting in centerfield for an injured Coco Crisp, Ellsbury got on base in all four plate appearances. He singled in his first two at bats and drew a walk in his third and fourth. The kid from Madras also got his first stolen base of his big league career. The recent success has brought discussion on whether Ellsbury (right - picture from should become the BoSox’s perminant centerfielder.

Dallas Buck:
Buck, the ace of the 2006 Oregon State staff, struggled a little bit in his recent outing. Starting for the Visalia Oaks (Class A for the Arizona Diamondbacks), the 6-2 righthander scattered six hits across four innings pitched. Buck allowed a second inning home run, along with two other runs while walking three and striking out two. Despite the sub-par numbers, Buck (4-4) got a no decision and kept his earned run average at 3.41.

Jonah Nickerson:
Jonah Nickerson has struggled a bit this year on the mound for the West Michigan Whitecaps, Single A affiliate of the Detriot Tigers. In his last outing, against the South Bend Silver Hawks, Nickerson (right - picture from manged to escape with a decent performance. The righthander lasted seven innings and somehow only gave up three runs (two earned) while giving out five walks and giving up 10 hits. Nickerson, who lowered his ERA to 5.31, left the game with his team trailing 3-0. Four runs in the last two innings for the Whitecaps took Nickerson off the hook for the loss, keeping his record at 5-6.

Kevin Gunderson:
For the past ten games, former Beaver closer Kevin Gunderson has been spectacular. In his last outing, the left-handed reliever went two scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out four. That sensational lowered his ERA for the past ten games to 0.64. On the year, Gunderson has done well for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Class A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. The little fella with the big arm has a 2-3 record on the year with 7 saves and a 3.34 earned run average.

Cole Gillespie:
The former Pac-10 Player of the Year is not looking as hot playing for Single A Brevard County (Milwaukee Brewers). Playing left-field for the Manatees (I know, what a name) Gillespie has struggled the last ten games. He is 6 for his last 34 (.176) knocking in only three. On the year, the former Beaver stud is hitting .226 with 7 home runs and 42 RBI. The Manatees, however, are atop the eastern division of the Flordia State Leauge with a 7-5 record.
Story by Jesse Severson

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Hit the Road Zach, Don't Ya Come Back - Blazers

Funerals are supposed to be a time of self-reflection. So it’s only natural for a professional athlete, missing games to attend his girlfriend’s cousin’s funeral, to bear a solemn attitude. There he was, the “face” of the Trail Blazers on his bereavement leave, in the late hours of the morning in a Portland strip club. And he wonders why Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard doesn’t want him around his young stars.

The strip club situation was just one of many of Zach Randolph’s off-court shenanigans. So it comes to no wonder that when news came about the Blazers winning the lottery, the thought right after “Greg Oden” was “Good-bye Zach!”

For the second straight year, the Blazers did some Draft Day Wheelin’ n Dealin. They stole Rudy Fernandez from the Phoenix for some cash. They drafted Josh McRoberts (Duke), Tauren Green (Florida), Demetrius Nichols (Syracuse), and the big fella from Ohio State.

No move was more important, however, than the one that sent Randolph, the former Michigan State star, across the country to the New York Knicks. It is sad to see Dan Dickau and Fred Jones be apart of the deal, but I’d package just about anybody (except maybe this guy named Brandon Roy) to get Randolph (left - picture from out of town.

The key term here is professional. Can you picture Michael Jordon, Larry Bird, or Magic Johnson abandoning their team to get a lap dance? How about Dwayne Wade and Tim Duncan? Adding the fact that Randolph needs the basketball as much as Paris Hilton needs her credit cards, and this would not be a winning situation if the starting power forward was Z-Bo.

Yes, the Blazers are losing a player that averaged 23 points and over 10 rebounds a game for them last season. However, take a look at some comparisons. First of all, body type. Randolph’s 6-9, 258 pound frame looks like he’s more doughboy than man in the middle. His replacement, LaMarcus Aldridge (right - picture from, is an inch taller and is more mobile than Randolph at 237 pounds.

In Randolph’s rookie season, he averaged 2.8 points and less than two rebounds a game. Aldridge’s freshman year in the NBA, he averaged 9 points and 5 rebounds a game. Those numbers are actually better than Randolph’s second season in the Big Show (8.4 points/4 rebounds). In the paint, Randolph’s BEST year as far as blocks per game was 0.5. Aldridge, in his first season mind you, averaged 1.2 swats a game. With the young post and Portland’s newest celebrity Greg Oden in the middle, opponents will have trouble scoring in the paint. Especially in modern NBA when “jump shot” is not found in the player's dictionaries, forcing the opponents outside is going to make Portland a tough team to deal with.

Will they lose games a lot of games next year? Absolutely. Will Roy, Oden, and Co. need time to develop? You better believe it. Will they mature, and grow to become better TEAMMATES with the absence of Mr. Z-Bo? Without a doubt.

It’s been a long time that Portland lost interest in the Jail Blazers. With Rip City’s population growing by the day, the Boys in Black in Red are finally on their way to the top of the Western Conference. And that guy that spend his time of remembrance and bereavement at a Portland strip club? Well, ladies and gentleman, Zach Randolph, now the face of the New York Knicks.

By Jesse Severson

Mahalic's Decision Still Not Made - High School Baseball

Oregon’s top two basketball prospects, Lake Oswego’s Kevin Love and South Medford’s Kyle Singler, decided to pack up and ship out of state for college.

Its top baseball product, Wilson pitcher Joey Mahalic, however, is looking like he will stay in Oregon after high school. According to Mahalic, the 6a player of the year, most likely he will play for the Oregon State Beavers next season.

Drafted in the 32nd round of the draft by the Cleveland Indians, Mahalic realizes that it was his heavy interest in OSU that possibly kept him from being drafted in the higher rounds. Now the Indians will take a look at him during the summer and fall and make him an offer.

“More than likely, though, I’ll end up in Corvallis,” Mahalic says.

With the opportunity to go to any college he wanted to, he stayed away from the decision like Love and Singler to head out of state. “OSU is a great program, and it’s my home state. I feel it’s very important to stay loyal” Mahalic says.

Draft day was a little disappointing for the 6-5, 200 pound former Trojan. “After I saw I wasn’t drafted in the first ten rounds, I just went to sleep,” Mahalic says. After a quick nap, he was greeted with a congratulatory text message from one of his friends. He just got drafted.

The pick by the Indians—“They’re probably my favorite team now,” he laughs—is the cherry on top of one of the best individual season by one of the heaviest publicized players in Oregon baseball history. He won the state player of the year, been the target for scouts, and added a slider to his arsenal that already featured a fastball, changeup and curveball.

Mahalic, who works out everyday—“No exception”, feels he packs even more punch with his bat than he does with his arm. “I think I’m a better hitter than a pitcher,” he says. If he does decide to head down to Corvallis, Mahalic will try to see if he can hit for the Beavers.

A starter his whole life, Beavers coach Pat Casey has said that he sees the right-hander coming in with a middle relief role next season. That doesn’t worry Mahalic. “Whatever I have to do to go out and impress people,” he says.

While the jump from the PIL to the Pac-10 can be intimidating, Mahalic is just worried about what’s happening on the mound. “As long as I’m pitching my game, hitting my spots, it doesn’t matter who’s up to bat.”

All of the awards and the publicity have failed to give the humble Mahalic a big ego. “It’s not something that will make me work less hard,” said Mahalic, who is still figuring out what he is going to do in the summer.

Despite that he dominated every time he took the mound, Mahalic still wishes he could have pitched two more innings. Being the designated hitter in the state playoff loss against Roseburg, Mahalic had to watch from the bench in the sixth as his Trojans gave away a late lead.
“Every run was like a punch to the stomach. It just killed me to watch from the bench,” Mahalic says.

All the attention is bittersweet for the teenager. “It’s tough. I get a lot of phone calls, and I just never get any time for myself,” he says. Mahalic’s decision isn’t something that an average high schooler has to make. However, most high schoolers can’t throw 92 mph.

On one of the biggest days of a teenager’s life, graduation, there was one Trojan absent from the festivities. “I didn’t go. I can’t miss a workout.”

Story by Jesse Severson