Rose of the day
In the wake of Rays prospect Elliot Johnson bowling over Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and causing Yankees manager Joe Girardi to whine about the Rays playing too hard, we are reminded of Pete Rose.
Rose probably had the most infamous moment of plowing over a catcher in what was, essentially, an exhibition game. Rose creamed the Indians' Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game, separating Fosse's right shoulder in the process. Fosse would go on to play nine more seasons in the big leagues, but he was never the same.
So it's no surprise that Charlie Hustle had absolutely no problem with Johnson and plenty of problem with Girardi crying about it. In fact, no one seems to be siding with Girardi except those who live in the 212 area code.
Anyway, during an interview with Ron Dibble and Kevin Kennedy on XM Radio's The Show, Rose said, "There's one way to play the game of baseball and that is to win. If you try to win and you are within the rules, that's the only way to play. People pay money to watch a game and it's the players' responsibility to win the game.
"You can't tell a player to not bust their chops because it's a spring training game. I don't know why Joe Girardi would get mad, he's a catcher and that's what happens. It was just a freak play; if the player slides normally the catcher could break his wrist too."
Check it out
Look for Times baseball writer Marc Topkin on ESPNews tonight at 7:30. Topkin will be a part of the network's season preview of the Rays.
Good guy of the day
Apparently, Yanks slugger Alex Rodriguez does "get it'' after all. During last year's World Series, when it's pretty much a baseball mandate that no one makes news to take attention away from the Series, A-Rod announced he was opting out of his contract with the Yankees and becoming a free agent. On New York's Mike & the Mad Dog radio show, A-Rod had a chance to throw agent Scott Boras under the bus, but A-Rod took full blame.
"It was one of the classless things I've ever seen in sports,'' A-Rod said. "I'm responsible for that and I'm ashamed of it. I'm glad it's behind me.''
ESPN's coverage of Saturday night's North Carolina-Duke game drew 5,612,328 viewers, making it the most-watched men's college basketball game in the network's history. It breaks a mark that was only a couple of weeks old. The high was between then-No. 1 Memphis and then-No. 2 Tennessee, which had 5.281-million viewers on Feb. 23.
Classless act of the day
Remember Ray Ray McElrathbey? He was the young running back from Clemson who took over custody of his 11-year-old brother because his mother had a drug problem and his father had a gambling addiction. Even the normally pig-headed NCAA made an exception to allow McElrathbey to receive aid in the form of a trust fund and daily care provided by coaches' families.
Now comes this: McElrathbey is set to graduate in August (in just three years, by the way), but still has two years of eligibility left. He is considering grad school, but he won't return to Clemson's football team. McElrathbey won't comment, but a teammate told reporters it's because his scholarship is not being renewed. Why? Clemson is over the 85-scholarship limit and coach Tommy Bowden, who would neither confirm nor deny that is the reason, did say, "We're pretty good at running back right now.''
Bowden said he will help McElrathbey transfer if he wants to keep playing, but this story just stinks. Now McElrathbey and his little brother will have to move if McElrathbey wants to continuing playing football and getting an education — move away from friends, from support, from schools, from everything they know after getting their lives back on track. All because Bowden wants his precious scholarship back.
The only promising note is Clemson senior tailback James Davis reminded everyone that the whole thing could backfire, especially when it comes to recruiting in McElrathbey's hometown of Atlanta.
"There's a lot of guys they recruit in Atlanta," Davis told the Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C. "People are going to ask: 'What happened to Ray Ray?' ''
Number of the day
That's the cost to employers in productivity caused by the NCAA men's basketball tournament, as estimated by placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. It arrived at that number based on 37.3-million workers who earn the national average of $17.50 an hour spending 10 minutes a day following the tournament.
Three things that popped into my head
1. Oh, no. What's going to happen to the Miami Heat now that star Dwyane Wade is out for the season?
2. Who knows how much he has left in the tank, but it's nice to have Warrick Dunn back in a Bucs uniform.
3. The Rangers are starting to look like a Stanley Cup team.
Times staff writer Tom Jones looks at the best and worst from the day in sports news.
Whiner of the day
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is one of the good guys, but he just doesn't "get it'' when it comes to doing all he can to promote the game. Gardenhire was bent out of shape about Twins radio interviewing catcher Mike Redmond in the dugout during a half-inning of a spring training game.
"Do I like it? No, I don't like it,'' Gardenhire told the St. Paul Pioneer-Press. "I think the game should just be played, (and) you shouldn't be interrupting the game with headsets and all those things."
Gardenhire admitted to denying requests for access during games and reluctantly agrees to between-inning interviews when the Twins are on Fox's TV national broadcast. He needs to lighten up. Asking him a couple of quick questions between innings of a game in July isn't interrupting anything. Acting like a curmudgeon just proves that managers and coaches sometimes take themselves and their jobs a little too seriously.