Tyler Kepner of the Times broke the news that RHP Gerrit Cole will spurn the Yankees and attend UCLA. We’ll know for sure later today. The Yankees, I’m told, are still working on it. But they’re also fine with the idea of getting a second first-round pick in 2009.
Cole was said before the draft to be immature. That he blew off a conference call the day of the draft to go golfing seemed like further evidence of that.
Last week came word that the player’s father was running the show instead of Scott Boras. That’s certainly the family’s right. But it’s usually best to leave such things to the pros.
The kid is taking a heck of a chance. Pitchers are fragile, especially high school pitchers. College coaches tend to abuse them and there are no guarantee the same money will be waiting three years from now. Beyond that, you have no control which team drafts you in three years. When you have a shot to play for the Yankees, you need to take it.
Then we have Chris Russo, who left WFAN and is apparently heading for satellite radio and a big-money deal. Russo can be very funny and what he and Mike Francesa did was basically invent sports-talk radio as we know it today.
But why would anybody, particularly outside of New York, listen to him on satellite radio? WFAN was smart enough to pair Russo with somebody who actually knew sports and knew the people involved in sports. Francesa is not the most charming fellow in the world but he’s willing to pick up the phone and do a little research. He has credibility.
Whatever credibility Russo had was because he was with Francesa and on WFAN, which reaches millions of people. People wanted to be on their show.
Russo alone? That’s why they invented the scan button.
Three years from now, you have to wonder whether Gerrit Cole and Mad Dog Russo will be on anybody’s radar. Everybody needs to be selfish to some degree. But don’t be stupid.