Once again, it’s time to check off some items on my “TIDU List” – Things I Don’t Understand:
***How Koda Glover grew into his role so quickly.
Just two years ago he was finishing at Oklahoma State. Now the 24-year-old is finishing Nationals games like a natural born closer. Glover has appeared in 22 games and yielded nary a run in 18 of them. Presented nine save chances, he has converted eight. And not just his stuff is nasty. He exchanged unpleasantries – and nearly blows – with Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig after a pressurized, game-ending strikeout Tuesday.
Time to resurrect “Natitude” just for Glover’s sake.
***Why Thad Matta wasn’t shown more respect.
Two Final Four appearances, five Sweet 16 appearances and five Big Ten titles ought to buy more than the shabby treatment Matta received Monday from Ohio State. Athletic director Gene Smith fired his men’s basketball coach two months later than necessary and compounded the indignity by having Matta sit with him at the news conference. “It’s time,” Smith said repeatedly. That very well could be true.
But mishandling the separation gave the Buckeyes a couple of black eyes.
***How Alex Ovechkin can reinvent himself.
As they age, some pitchers rely more on precision. Some basketball players rely more on shooting. Some football players rely more on technique. The Capitals star winger – 32 when next season starts – should take note. “He’s going to have to think of ways he can evolve into a player that still has a major impact on the game,” general manager Brian MacLellan told reporters last month. “The game’s getting faster.”
Faster and older usually don’t go together.
***Why English in baseball is a big deal.
Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt said Phillies centerfielder Odubel Herrera can’t be a leader or franchise centerpiece “because of the language barrier.” (For good measure, Schmidt added Herrera’s love of bat-flipping). Then Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy objected to Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka being allowed a translator during mound visits. “I don’t think that should be legal,” Remy said. “Learn baseball language.”
Hey, old-timers: You can’t make baseball white again!
***How De’Aaron Fox won’t be another John Wall.
It’s more than the fact that both played point guard for John Calipari at Kentucky. It’s the speed. The athleticism. And the shaky shooting. “He reminds me of myself a lot, just a lefty,” Wall told Comcast SportsNet recently. The Wizards star said Fox eventually could become the best NBA point guard from a class that includes presumed top picks Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball. That’s great.
But more importantly … can the Wizards find Wall’s backup?
***Why Michael A. Taylor took so long.
Adam Eaton’s injury opened a door and Taylor is trying to seal it for the rest of the season. Previous opportunities to be an everyday player ended in disappointment but the third-year veteran has seized his last shot to be more than a defense-oriented reserve. Taylor is on pace for career-highs in batting, slugging and on-base percentage while his strikeouts and walks remain relatively the same.
The former center fielder of the future is fine for now.
***How ogling would be a good promotion.
Creative ideas often are found in the minor leagues, where teams devise innovative ways to draw fans and attention. But the Ogden Raptors, a Dodgers affiliate, went too far by announcing plans for “18 hourglass-shaped commentators” in a video-streamed broadcast. “Gorgeous women whose curves rival that of any stud pitching prospect!” said a release, illustrated with bikini-clad women. The team quickly apologized and said the promotion was never approved or scheduled. Thank you.
Minor leagues or not, sexism is a major issue.
***Why more teams don’t follow the Jets’ example.
Tanking has reached the NFL and the Philadelphia 76ers are beaming over the New York Jets. They said goodbye to two more solid veterans Tuesday – wideout Eric Decker and linebacker David Harris. Only four current players are older than 30. The Jets clearly are shooting for an 0-16 season and USC quarterback Sam Darnold with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft.
Just hope coach Todd Bowles is clued in and not cast out.
***How Josh Norman will keep his cool.
Maintaining composure was hard for Washington’s star cornerback last season. With the Skins’ plan to put him more often on the opponents’ best receiver – Odell Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant to name two – more combustion looms. “It’s going to be bad blood this year,” he told Bleacher Report. “You think the NFC East didn’t like each other before? … There’s going to be a lot of fines and maybe some suspensions.”
Fine him now for premeditation.
***Why the scent of weed made news.
After Game 2 of the NBA Finals, The Undefeated’s Mike Wise tweeted: “Cavs locker room has a strong reefer aroma to it tonight.” He wasn’t alone in that observation. “I did smell marijuana but I have no idea where it came from,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said Tuesday on First Take. The substance is legal in California and the scent could’ve been from anyone.
But firing up after another beatdown? That would be totally understandable.
— Brooklyn-born and Howard-educated, Deron Snyder writes his award-winning column for The Washington Times on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Follow him on Twitter @DeronSnyder.