Cokin’s Corner, Friday 5-27-16

Art Briles is out as the head football coach at Baylor University. Kenneth Starr is out as the president at Baylor University. Several other athletic department employees are no longer going to be working at Baylor University. Predictably, some Baylor fans are outraged, not at the blatant lack of action on the part of the university, but because the football coach got canned and the program is probably heading straight into the toilet. I'll give Staley Lebby a pass of sorts for her Facebook comments, as the former coach is her dad, and defending her father seems natural. But for virtually everyone else, please just shut up. I'll challenge anyone to read the Baylor University Findings of Fact Report and not be disgusted at what took place at this college. Here's the link: a.espncdn.com/pdf/2016/0526/BaylorFindingsOfFact.pdf Once you complete the report, there shouldn't be much question that heads absolutely had to roll here. As for Briles, when a coach gambles on recruiting ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Thursday 5-26-16

Year after year, the NHL pre-season conversation about which teams had the best chance to skate away with the Stanley Cup included the San Jose Sharks. There wasn't much not to like about the Sharks. It seemed all the elements were in place for the team to make a prolonged post-season run. But season after season, the Sharks teased, but never produced when push came to shove come playoff time. Maybe being under that radar is better. The Sharks came into this season accompanied by little fanfare. There was still some talent on hand to be sure, but there were questions about the goaltending, and the general consensus was that the window had closed, at least for the time being. Fast forward to today, and the San Jose Sharks are making preparations for their first ever trip to the Stanley Cup finals. It's an exciting time for this franchise and its loyal fan base and if the Sharks can maintain their present level of play, I think they're in great shape to hoist the Cup. I'm sure ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Wednesday 5-25-16

Social media has its pros and cons, to be sure. The upside is obvious. Information gets disseminated in the blink of an eye, and that can be of value no matter what an individual's particular interest might be. The downside is that is that the various platforms can also be used by people whose thoughts are probably better left to themselves. But at the same time, even putting negative stuff out there for everyone to see can serve a purpose in terms of heightening awareness. But social media at its very best is absolutely terrific, as we saw on Tuesday night with TNT honoring Craig Sager and his courageous battle with cancer. The crew got decked out in special ties and socks, and as soon as the attire was on display, #sagerstrong and #sagerswag began trending in a big way. Sager has also been named as this year's Jimmy V recipient for this year's ESPYS. That's a tremendous honor and this is one time I don't think anyone is going to find fault with the winner. The guy is an ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Tuesday 5-24-16

Dahntay Jones served a one-game suspension and got fined a few dollars for his actions in Game Three between the Cavaliers and Raptors. Draymond Green will have to fork over five figures but managed to avoid being suspended after his bad behavior in Game Three between the Warriors and Thunder. This piece isn't about whether either, neither or each of the offenders warranted a fine, a suspension or a whatever. I have no idea what the NBA's criteria is as far as level of punishment for offenses committed, and I'm pretty sure no one else does either, as there's no consistency whatsoever. This is about the actions themselves. There's no way to phrase this delicately, but as the actions themselves were anything but delicate, I'll just call it straight. Where I come from, going after another guy with a nut shot is considered gutless. It's basically regarded as an act of cowardice. I guess this is another example of the changing times. All I can tell you is that I've seen my share ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Monday 5-23-16

I'm not big on waxing nostalgic about the good old days. I'll frequently reference something from the distant past, but that's more for amusement than anything else. However, every once in a while, I'll see something take place that lets me know in no uncertain terms that 2016 sure isn't 1967. I used the year 1967 specifically, as it relates to something I saw yesterday while viewing what turned out to be a 17-inning marathon between the Dodgers and Padres. First, I'll talk about the game and two significant gaffes by one player. Yasiel Puig, certainly no stranger to making imbecilic decisions on the field, was guilty of two mistakes in this game. The first was what looked like a bad read on a pop fly, in which Puig's dive came up short and resulted in a one-run single turning into a three-run triple. This was not a smart gamble by Puig, but he gets a pass of sorts because it wasn't a case of not hustling. Players make mistakes, just like we all do, and while this one was costly ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Sunday 5-22-16

I'll take one of my rare days off as far as the commentary goes. Just a quick Saturday recap and the Sunday free play. Normal ranting resumes on Monday. I lost both of my Saturday baseball plays, but nailed the Preakness with Exaggerator, so managed a profit for the day. Nothing dramatic, but a win is a win. Here's the Sunday comp. RAYS (Archer)  at  TIGERS (Zimmermann) Take: RAYS +101 My Saturday call on Tampa Bay didn't work out as the Rays dropped a 5-4 decision to the Tigers. But I'll try them again today, hopefully with a better result. Chris Archer is on the hill for TB, and he's still having some BB issues. But Archer is trending in the right direction for the most part, and when he's on his game, this righty is one of the better pitchers in the game. Jordan Zimmermann got the strikeouts rolling in his last start, but that might have actually been more of a result of lousy overall command. Zimmermann was sort of wild in the strike zone in that outing, and ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Saturday 5-21-16

For anyone setting a price on whether the Raiders end up moving to Las Vegas, here's a good piece of advice. Lower the odds. I'm not saying the Las Vegas Raiders are a sure thing, because they're not. No shovels in the ground yet for a new stadium no guarantee that happens. But with no opposition from Jerry Jones and now stated support from Robert Kraft, the snickering about the NFL allowing a team to exist in Las Vegas has come to a screeching halt. I don't think it's outrageous to suggest that the two most powerful owners in the league are going to swing more than a handful of undecided voters if push comes to shove on a possible franchise relocation. There are still objections from the locals that will get lots of play in the media. Same old stuff. Bad element, traffic and parking issues, too expensive for residents, yadayadayada. Let's call it straight. None of that matters to the people who will run the franchise, nor does the NFL give a rat's behind about it. I ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Friday 5-20-16

A couple of notable occurrences from Thursday's game between the Nationals and Mets that I'll touch on. First was a video I happened to spot featuring Washington star pitcher Max Scherzer playing catch. That doesn't seem worth mentioning, except that this was no ordinary catch. Scherzer enjoyed a back and forth with a kid in the stands who was decked out in Mets colors. The vid has pretty much gone viral, so it shouldn't be hard to find. Check it out and then feel very good about knowing that Max Scherzer is a guy who gets it, and then some. That's the feel good story from last night's game. The feel not so good aspect involves Matt Harvey. The Mets righty had the worst outing of his career against the Nationals. Harvey got absolutely wrecked, getting charged with nine runs in a disastrous performance. Obviously, there is major concern about Harvey at this point. Something is definitely wrong with this ultra-talented pitcher. Exactly what the problem is remains unknown for ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Thursday 5-19-16

I beg to differ, sort of. Hal Steinbrenner did what I'll call a passive impression of his late father yesterday. He's not happy with the performance to date of the team he owns. I sure can't argue with Steinbrenner in his tagging a handful of individuals by name as warranting criticism. But for whatever reason, GM Brian Cashman, as is always the case, caught 0.0% of Steinbrenner's wrath, if you want to call it that. Really? Let's take a look at the current lineup. They have exactly one home grown regular position player, outfielder Brett Gardner. That's it. That's ridiculous, and to heap praise on Cashman in light of the abject failure of the organization to develop talent is kind of comical. I'm looking at the rundown of the last ten top draft picks of the Yankees. Ian Kennedy and Gerrit Cole are the only two success stories. Kennedy recorded one win as a member of the Yankees. Cole passed on signing with the Yankees, so they got nothing out of that pick. Andrew ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Wednesday 5-18-16

If you want to stir up a heated argument between baseball traditionalists and statheads, start a conversation regarding closers. It's a guaranteed conflict. I fall somewhere in between as far as this debate goes. There is little question that the traditionalists overvalue the premise that there have to be defined roles in the bullpen, or the entire relief corps will be dysfunctional. On the other hand, while I completely understand the volatility factor, I also believe there's a big psychological boost to be enjoyed for any team that owns a legitimate shutdown guy for that ninth inning save. But that said, it drives me absolutely nuts when managers get so totally locked into that gotta have a set closer mentality that they cannot see the forest for the trees. Let's use the 2016 Texas Rangers as an example. Shawn Tolleson entered the season as the incumbent closer for the Rangers. No argument on that decision as he had a terrific 2015 season for Texas. But it has also been ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Tuesday 5-17-16

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a problem. It's the same one they had in 2015, only it might well be even worse this time around. This team's bullpen, aside from star closer Kenley Jansen, is simply not very good. The Dodgers also have a solution to the problem. His name is Julio Urias. Despite being only 19 years old, every pitch Urias throws in any minor league game is at this point a wasted pitch. Urias is overwhelming PCL hitters, his stuff is spectacular, and simply stated, he needs to be with the Dodgers right now. I guess LA is playing the Super Two game with Urias, keeping him down on the farm until they can save a fill season on the service time clock. Based on that opinion, the date for the kid's arrival is about one month away if I'm reading the clock correctly. The view from here is that the Dodgers might end costing themselves a playoff spot if they don't simply say to hell with it, and bring him up sooner. This is a hot seamhead debate every season, and the way ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Monday 5-16-16

I'm pretty sure everyone reading this column already knows what took place on Sunday between the Blue Jays and Rangers. So I won't bother to rehash the incident. I'll just focus on the very start of the proceedings, when rookie Rangers righty Matt Bush plunked Jose Bautista in the ribs. I understand the need for debate on almost every issue these days, as that's apparently what the suits at the various networks believe viewers want to see. But discussing whether Bush intentionally hit Joey Bats with the pitch that instigated yesterday's melee is absurd. There is no question, and I mean 0.0% question that Bush hit Bautista on purpose. About the only aspect here that might be open to opinion is whether Bush did this on his own or was strongly urged to do so in the dugout prior to the start of the inning. The view from here is that Bush was told to nail Bautista and naturally, did exactly as ordered. Bush wasn't with the Rangers in last year's playoffs, so he had no personal ... More