We’ll talk about the tournament lots more this week of course, but for now we’ll use the break in the action as an excuse to look elsewhere to see what’s been going on:
I was very intrigued by the comments coming from Mike Tomlin that he is worried about Ben Roethlisberger – both personally and because of the potential impact on the team. He obviously should be concerned, but that doesn’t always translate to what coaches say publicly. There are a couple of reasons to be concerned. First, the current legal problems could evolve into a situation that keeps him out of games for an extended time, and that would leave the Steelers in a big hole. Second, the fact that he keeps getting himself into bad situations is a pretty good sign that the guy just doesn’t think. It’s hard to know if he’s just a moron or if he has an attitude problem, but the Steelers are unquestionably built around the guy, and it’s scary to be built around a guy who is too stupid to keep himself out of trouble. Just ask the Falcons.
Speaking of guys who moronically get themselves in bad situations, it was very interesting to hear Tiger Woods’ interview with ESPN yesterday. I still find him robotic and insincere, and the interview was overly managed to the point of ridiculousness, but I came out of the thing with a stronger feeling about his chances at the Masters. I’m still not convinced that he can knock the rust off effectively, but hearing him talk made me feel better about his mindset and his chances of pulling off a big showing. I still don’t think I’ll even consider betting on the Masters, but this interview made it slightly more reasonable.
The other big news of the weekend was the monster contract that Joe Mauer signed with the Twins. You have to absolutely love this deal from the Twins’ perspective. Sure, with a no-trade clause they are on the hook for $184 million over the next eight years, but the risk is more than worth it. Mauer is still young, and he’s only getting better. He hasn’t had a long history of injuries, and he’s versatile enough to play elsewhere or DH once he can’t catch every day. With a new stadium this year this is the best possible way to show fans that they are serious about winning, and to sell lots of tickets up front. As hard as it is to believe the best part of this deal is that it is good value. Given what he has done and will still do if Mauer had have gone on the open market he would have captured the interest of all the big players. Given that, and given the A-Rod comparison (a surprisingly fitting one), Mauer would have been inline for 10 years instead of eight, and probably a couple million more per year. In other words, the Twins got a player of Mauer’s caliber for a much better deal than they – or anyone else – could have otherwise. Kudos to Mauer for taking the deal and making a commitment to a team like this. refreshing.