...That's what Roberto Alomar is of induction in Cooperstown. Alomar was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday along with patient pitcher Bert Blyleven, who got the call to the Hall in his penultimate year of eligibility. Blyleven was a tough case. Robbie Alomar was a Blake Griffin slam-dunk.
The switch-hitting, 10-time Gold Glove-winning second baseman was one of my favorite players of all-time to watch. His balletic play at second base was unmatched. His patented backhanded flips to first on balls that were hit almost behind the first base bag were as graceful as anything in sports.
Alomar was one of the most cunning and instinctive players of his generation. Alomar's signature move was to feign a bunt on a pitch that he planned to take all along, allowing him to figure out how he was being played at the corners and manipulate the infield defense. I've always wondered why more speedy players didn't do this.
The spitting incident was regrettable and unforgivable, but Alomar was as easy a Hall candidacy as voters can have from the Steroid Era.
...That's what the Patriots have when it comes to picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which starts Thursday. After all those years of stockpiling picks the way a survivalist does non-perishables the Patriots have just five picks in this year's draft, thanks to Band-aid trades for Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco and Aqib Talib. Five picks would be the fewest draft picks in franchise history. (Part of that is attributable to the trimming of the draft to just seven rounds in 1994). Further complicating matters is that two of the Patriots' greatest needs are at wide receiver and cornerback, positions where they have sustained draft droughts. With that in mind, I'm convinced the Patriots are going trade back out of the first round of a quanity-over-quality draft where you're just as likely to pick a Pro Bowl player in the second and third round as you are in the first round.