Millwood off-line about trade talk
Column as I see ’em …
While left-handed starter Jason Vargas remains prominent in trade rumors, his teammate Kevin Millwood might be the more viable trading chip for Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik.
Millwood, who hadn’t won a decision since May 28, pitched into the seventh inning Saturday, holding the Kansas City Royals to one run on six hits. The right-hander’s record is 4-8, but his ERA is a respectable 3.90, and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 83-41 shows he’s still got his command.
Millwood is 37, a 16-year veteran whose business card ought to read “Have Pitch, Will Travel.” He’s got pennant-drive experience, a hankering to return to the playoffs for the first time since his days with the 2002 Braves, and a contract that expires at the end of the season.
Most important, he’s healthy, no longer bothered by a groin sprain he suffered June 8 – the night he held the Dodgers without a hit through six innings.
Now that Zack Greinke has been traded from Milwaukee to the Los Angeles Angels, and Cole Hamels has decided to stay in Philadelphia, the starting pitcher most likely to be traded before the nonwaiver deadline Tuesday is Tampa Bay’s James Shields. But don’t be surprised if Millwood is moved.
To know Millwood is to realize he won’t be losing sleep the next few nights, no matter how often his name is mentioned before the deadline.
After the Mariners’ 4-3 victory over the Royals, I asked him if he paid attention to the trade rumors.
“Nah,” he said. “My computer’s broke.”
Millwood added: “I try not to worry about things I can’t control. I’m just going to come back tomorrow and prepare for my next start against the New York Yankees, and we’ll see what happens after that.”
• Best bets to trade for starting pitching are the Braves, Indians, Orioles and Rangers. Millwood has played for each of them.
• Joeseppi’s 75-plus men’s softball team won its fourth consecutive state championship last week at the Washington Senior Games in Shelton.
Joeseppi’s will travel to the Western National Championship in Aurora, Colo. (the three-day competition begins Tuesday) in preparation for the national championships at Las Vegas in October.
• A Nielsen Research survey ranks Michael Phelps’ epic performance during the 2008 Summer Games as the most memorable TV sports moment of the past 50 years. (Phelps won his eighth gold medal – a record – by leading the Americans to victory in the 4x100-meter medley relay.)
According to Nielsen, five of the top 10 most memorable TV moments were Olympics events, including the Beijing Opening Ceremonies (No. 3, 2008), the USA hockey team’s “Miracle on Ice” gold medal (No. 6, 1980), Greg Louganis winning a gold medal after clipping his head on the diving board (No. 7, 1988) and gymnast Kerri Strug, despite a sprained ankle, clinching a gold medal for the USA in the women’s team competition (No. 10, 1996).
The rest of the list:
Mike Tyson biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear (No. 2, 1997).
The home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa (No. 4, 1998).
The Boston Red Sox’s curse-busting World Series victory (No. 5, 2004).
Kobe Bryant responding to allegations of sexual assault (No. 8, 2003).
Tiger Woods defeating Bob May in a playoff to win the PGA Championship, Woods’ third consecutive major victory of the season (No. 9, 2000).
• The most curious “event” on the Nielsen list is Bryant’s response to charges brought against him in Colorado. We’re supposed to believe Americans think Bryant’s denial is more memorable than any football game – college or pro – played over the past 50 years? More memorable than any fight involving Muhammad Ali, or any basketball game starring Michael Jordan? More memorable than Secretariat’s majestic home-stretch run for the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes?
My nomination for the most memorable TV sports moment of the last 50 years: Super Bowl III, in 1969.
The New York Jets’ 16-7 upset of the Baltimore Colts was not a classic in the conventional sense – it was a plodding game with no breathtaking plays or controversial calls – but when it was over, the AFL had achieved parity with the NFL, paving the way for the league to become the most successful business operation in the history of sports.
• The most memorable TV sports moment involving a Seattle team? It had to be Edgar Martinez’s game-winning 11th-inning double in the 1995 American League Division Series clincher against the Yankees.
• Randy Johnson, the winning pitcher that night – he was brought in from the bullpen with two runners on in the ninth inning – was on hand at Safeco Field on Saturday along with catcher Dan Wilson. The batterymates were inducted into the Mariners’ Hall of Fame.
Johnson (18-2, 2.48 ERA, 294 strikeouts) won the Cy Young Award in 1995, but a case could be made that he also was deserving of the MVP. The Mariners won 27 of the 30 games the lefty started that season. When Johnson didn’t start, the Mariners were 52-66.
Red Sox first baseman Mo Vaughn won the MVP in ’95, edging the Indians’ Albert Belle. Johnson finished sixth, but no player meant more to his team that season than Randy Johnson meant to the Mariners. Isn’t that the definition of an MVP?