SportsBytes #3.10 - Happy Birthday LeBron James


• That’s right, today is LeBron’s 24th birthday, which just amazes me, because when I was 24, I was still figuring out what to do with my life (not to mention figuring out how to take apart a 17-inch iMac), but LeBron’s already one of the most accomplished players of his generation -- and he’s only 24!

• If I told you a coach had a .500 record over the last 3 years, hadn’t made the playoffs once in that span, and blew a 3-game lead with 3 games to play, you probably wouldn’t be surprised if that coach got fired. But somehow, I was still surprised when Mike Shanahan got canned today. Then again, I was also kind of surprised to hear those were Shanahan’s credentials. He’s won just 1 playoff game since John Elway retired. Ouch.

• Last night, the news broke that apparently the Dodgers are trying to trade Andruw Jones to the Mets. No, no, no, a thousand times, no. I cannot begin to express how opposed to this situation I am. Let’s just break down some of the facts:
-Jones hit .158 in 209 at-bats last year. He’s the only outfielder in MLB history with that low of a batting average and at least 200 at-bats in a single season (and he “earned” $15 million dollars for it!).
-Jones had an OPS+ of 34. League average is 100. The only player with a worse OPS+ and at least 200 AB was Tony Peña, who’s a slick-fielding shortstop on a terrible team.
-Only 1 outfielder had at least 200 AB and fewer RBI than Jones’s 14 -- Endy Chavez! So I guess, technically, Jones is an upgrade over Chavez -- a $13 million dollar upgrade.

• Andre Smith’s suspension for possible improper contact with an agent opens up the possibility that Utah could actually win my fictional national championship. Boise State already lost its bowl game, leaving Utah as the only FBS unbeaten. Alabama’s offense was significantly worse in the one game it played this season without Smith -- the best left tackle in the nation -- so the Utes might not be as overmatched as previously thought. Of course, if Utah wins in a suspension-tainted game, I might have to reconsider my stance on the whole “unbeaten” thing.

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