Good morning, Gator Nation:
In the wake of the NCAA’s ruling that upperclassmen on the recently sanctioned USC football program could transfer and play immediately at another school, rumors have been flying around Los Angeles about who the next transfer (turncoat, as some USC fans call them) will be.
After the Trojans saw four players transfer and released 2010 recruit Seantrel Henderson from his leader of intent, some wag posted this rumor – that Traveler VII, the white horse that is ridden around the L.A. Coliseum by a USC alumnus dressed in Trojan gear, is thinking about transferring to Florida State to replace Renegade V, the horse ridden by Chief Osceola.
Now that’s a good one.
P.S. Wonder what Emmanuel Moody thinks about all this?
2. TRADE DEADLINE ARRIVES: And here’s the first interleague trade. The United States is sending 10 Russian spies back to Russia in exchange for 4 spies who had been accused of associating with the U.S. No word yet whether the Russians are throwing in a pair of spies to be named later.
3. LAPORTA COULD PLAY THIS WEEKEND: Former Gators All-American Matt LaPorta, the first baseman of the Cleveland Indians, is expected to play sometime during the final three games of the team’s road trip to Tropicana Field to play the suddenly hot Tampa Bay Rays. LaPorta, who has been batting .333 with four home runs and nine RBI since he was recalled by the Indians on June 27 and installed as the club’s first baseman by Manny Acta, hasn’t played since Monday when he was elbowed unintentionally in the back of his head by Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers during the teams’ series earlier this week in Arlington, Texas. “I don’t know exactly when I will back in the lineup,” LaPorta said prior to the team’s exit from Arlington. Indians manager Manny Acta said that LaPorta will take batting practice Friday and the team will then determine whether LaPorta will play Friday or Saturday. “(Thursday) he still wasn’t ready to get out there,” Acta said prior to Tampa Bay’s 5-2 victory. “He stepped up his cardio program a little today (Thursday). Tomorrow (Friday) he’s going to intensify that, take batting practice and we’ll se from there.” Acta does expect to have LaPorta available sometime during the next three days, which is OK with LaPorta, who grew up in Port Charlotte.
4. A VERY RICH GATOR: On the same day that LeBron James decided to forsake his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, so he could join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on South Beach with the Miami Heat, David Lee, the former Gator standout and NBA All-Star with the New York Knicks, became a very rich man. Lee has agreed to a 6-year, $80-million contract and will be traded to the Golden State Warriors for Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike and Ronny Turiaf. The 6-9, 250-pound Lee recently finished his fifth season with the Knicks, averaging season bests with 20.2 points and 11.7 rebounds a game last season. He became expendable, however, when the Knicks threw $100 million over five years at the 6-10, 249-pound Amar’e Stoudemire, who essentially takes Lee’s position.
5. HE CHOOSES HEAT – BASKETBALL TEAM AND IRE OF FANS: LeBron James is going to be called a lot of things, most of them not very flattering, in the next couple of weeks and months after he decided to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat. The Cleveland Plain Dealer is soliciting letters from spurned Cavalier fans that it intends to put into a special edition about James, a native of the Cleveland area, leaving his “hometown” team for South Beach. Longtime Plain Dealer columnist Bill Livingston is comparing James to former Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell, who took the Browns to Baltimore and rechristened them the Ravens. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert called James “our former hero” and said the fans didn’t deserve “this kind of cowardly betrayal.” Then Gilbert told fans “I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA Championship before the self-titled former ‘King’ wins one. You can take it to the bank.” Of course, if Gilbert had gone to the bank and spent to bring in the players that could help James win a title, we might not be having this discussion.
6. MILLER ON THE MOVE? The James move to Miami will end up affecting former Gator Mike Miller – one way or another. A friend of James, Miller was offered a 5-year, $30-million contract to sign with the Heat but could get possibly $12 million more over the same period from the New York Knicks.
7. THE NEW MR. 59: Paul Goydos, whose picture would define the word “journeyman” in a golf dictionary, shot the fourth 59 in the history of the PGA Tour Thursday in the first round of the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. Goydos went out in four-under 31 and then finished with an 8-under 28 on the back nine to complete his 59 and join Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval to have recorded the score on the PGA Tour. He needed only 22 putts to complete his round. “Well, obviously I wasn’t thinking. If I was thinking I would shoot 74 or 5,” joked the golfer known as “Sunshine” for his often gloomy outlook on things. I had a 59 once – and then went to the 13th tee.
8. COUNTDOWNS: Well, if my calculations are correct, there’s 14 days left until Friday Night Lights, 21 days until the Gator Charity Challenge and 57 until the season opener against Miami, Ohio.
9. INSPIRATION: A friend of mine, Tom Pagna, died this week. He always ended his radio show with these appropriate words, “Never despair, always have hope and remember: God writes straight with crooked lines.” Rest in peace, Tom, your wonderful work here is complete.