The Hippo


May 19, 2019








Big OSU wins make Ryan’s day


 With the Red Sox a week from beginning their playoff run, the Patriots in disarray and awash in as many distracting books as the White House, and the Celtics and Bruins on the horizon, there’s a lot to talk about. So we’ll jam as much into this space today as possible to bring all up to date. 

The final tally was wins over Oregon State, Rutgers and 16th-ranked TCU by a combined score of 169-51 while Ryan Day filled in during Urban Meyer’s three-game suspension. That probably  makes him a hot name on the coaches-to-hire list come November. 
If you’re interested, Nike sales are up 7 percent and the stock price hit an all-time high of $85.55 since the release of the company’s Just Do It ad featuring Colin Kaepernick. 
Try to absorb this. Three weeks into the season the Cleveland Browns lead the Patriots in the AFC playoff race. Maybe all those people who hooted Bill Belichick out of Cleveland with a resounding “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” were right!
Probably not. But I remind all, I said this the week before the draft, in my column the week after the draft and I’ll say it again. Coach B made a big mistake not investing the two first-round picks he had in the 2018 draft in players to help make the defense better. True, the offense hasn’t been great either, but they didn’t need Sony Michael, because they could’ve re-signed Deon Lewis, who did not go for big money, or bring LeGarrette Blount back before signing with Detroit in free agency on the cheap. The D on the other hand was a disaster in the SB and still is. 
Matt Patricia needs to lose the beard. Looking like a wild man when you’re a defensive coordinator is one thing. But when you’re running the product side of a $2 billion company, scruffy doesn’t make it. True or not, it fortifies the belief the ship is out of control because things are too loosey goosey.
I’m not sure if Mookie Betts’ five-RBI game when the Sox clinched the AL East at Yankee Stadium was validation for my belief he should be batting third, or for Alex Cora’s choice for him to be the offensive catalyst leading-off — because he did get those five batting first. 
My vote for AL-MVP comes down to this: How much credit does J.D. Martinez’ presence in the line-up get for the dramatically better seasons enjoyed by Mookie and Xander Bogaerts over 2017 when the line-up had a power vacuum. If you think it’s big, J.D. is MVP. But if you think they each just had down years for reasons other than J.D., then it’s Mookie.
With 38 homers and 33 steals already, Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez, not Mookie (still two stolen bases short), is the majors’ first 30-30 guy. Throw in his 37 doubles and 103 RBI and it seems he should be more fully in the MVP debate. 
Can’t believe the Josh Gordon trade with Cleveland dominated talk radio for nearly a week. From his two-plus years of drug-related suspensions to the Patriots’ Raiders-like willingness to take on reclamation projects on bad guys, it got greater scrutiny than the Steele dossier. Here’s my take: Eleven-time suspended Steve Howe never could kick it and wasted his talent, while equally addicted Josh Hamilton made it all the way to be a league MVP. Gordon will be one or the other, which depends entirely on how determined he is to stay away from his demons. On the field, he’s missed two full years and big parts of two others, which could have dulled his talents. On the up side, he has much less wear and tear on his body than most 27-year-old NFL players. Taking all into account, I give it a 15-percent chance of being a home run, which, given they’re desperate and the cost is just 35 or so slots in the 2019 draft, makes it a worthwhile gamble. 
Tom Brady credits the TB-12 way for extending his career into his 40s. Whatever blows your skirt up. But count me as skeptical since the only other non-kicker playing in any pro sport at 45 today is, ah, the portly Bartolo Colon. Who thinks he TB-12’d his way to playing at 45? 
For the first time in quite a while Tiger Woods justified being the lead in any top golf story. And it’s great for golf he’s got his first even since 2013 Sunday at the Tour Championship, which seemed only a matter of time since finishing a strong second in the PGA. 
Good thing Buck Showalter is so much smarter than all the other managers as we’re constantly told, or Baltimore really would have been in trouble this year. He’s limited the damage to only being 66 games under .500 (44-110) and a closer than it looks 60 games behind Boston in the AL East. 
How bad is the AL Central? Cleveland was the first team in baseball to clinch their division and will likely go into the post-season with the worst record of any playoff team including wild cards. Even Seattle could finish with a better record and they’re 8.5 back in the WC race. 
Jacob DeGrom at 9-9, 1.77 ERA and 259 k’s is the Cy Young favorite. I’ve got guys who actually won games in Max Scherzer (17-7, 2.35 and 290 Ks) first and Philly’s impressive young’n Aaron Nola (16-5, 2.45 and 216) second on my ballot. 
How is Brad Stevens going to divide up the playing time to keep people happy and the team winning? Probably a harder job than most think. 
After scoring 10 points Sunday vs. Philly, Adam Vinatieri is just 34 points short of passing Morten Andersen to become the NFL’s all-time leading scorer. Oh, and one more thing about Adam V: He’s just turned 45 and I don’t think he’s using the TB-12/Alex Guerrero way either.Email Dave Long at  

®2019 Hippo Press. site by wedu