Sheff Finds A Job, Nash’s Targets

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - April 08, 2009
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Gary Sheffield’s agent said the former Tiger, Yankee, Brave, Dodger, Marlin, Padre and Brewer had many suitors. And his quick signing with the Mets seems to have proved the point. Not that Sheffield was a hot commodity, but teams are always in the hunt for power even if they don’t really have a position available. The Mets have Ryan Church in right, Daniel Murphy in left and Carlos Delgado at first, which means Sheffield will struggle for playing time and getting around on a fastball.

Though Sheff quickly rejoined the ranks of the employed, Detroit was wise to cut ties with its costly and injury-prone slugger - his claims of confusion regarding the dumping of someone one shot shy of 500 home runs notwithstanding. Topping half a grand in home runs is no longer the feat it once was and offers very little marketing value for a player boasting a short tenure with the team.


The recent addition of outfielder Josh Anderson from the Braves means Detroit has no spot in the lineup for Sheffield, who has already voiced his displeasure with coming off the bench. Moving Sheffield means the Tigers can switch Carlos Guillen and his defensive liabilities to DH while providing the extra trips to the plate for Marcus Thames and his 12.64 at-bats-to-home-run ratio. Plus, the team could no longer wait for the returned health of a 40-year-old who hasn’t played a full season in three years.

The downside of the move is that the Tigers take a massive financial hit. The Mets are only being tasked with the league minimum, while Detroit must pick up the remainder of the $14 million tab. Had the Tigers been able to trade the nine-time All-Star for even an oven-mitt of a player, the payroll hit wouldn’t have been so severe. But lacking suitors willing to eat the overblown contract, the team had little choice.

In other news: * UH athletic director Jim Donovan made the right, if not very quick, decision to extend Bob Nash’s contract to the 2010-2011 season. The former offensive lineman also was correct in adding clear benchmarks for further employment. Citing Nash’s late hire and the need to help, and not hinder, recruiting, Donovan made his expectations clear, and now Nash must prove worthy of the support. The goodwill brought from his standing as a Rainbow legend will not last forever.

Donovan’s standards - 18 wins or a post-season berth to kick in a second extension for the 2011-12 season - coincide with the success of Nash’s predecessor and establish a realistic mark of success. During Riley Wallace’s 20 years on campus, the team averaged 16.7 wins and went to nine post-season tournaments. In his final 10, wins increased to 17.9, with five NIT and two NCAA invites. Two conference titles per decade and winning 59 percent of his games should be expected. * It’s been a number of years since Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson and David Hanson aka the Hanson brothers have crossed themselves before taking the ice in the name of Charlestown community pride and blood-thirsty mayhem. While it may be too late for Steve, Jack and Jeff - their Slap Shot alter egos - to take the ice for any meaningful competition, the pride and pain associated with the Hanson brothers has still not yet skated off into B-movie oblivion.

Christian Hanson, son of David, has joined the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 6-foot-4-inch, 228-pound center signed as an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame, where he scored 16 goals and 15 assists in 37 games this past season. Whether Christian high-sticks the opponent’s bench, trips goalies, clips officials or simply decides to show patriotic fervor while “trying to listen to the f****n’ song!!” remains to be seen. Following in the footsteps of his father, who garnered 65 penalty minutes in 35 games during his two short stints in the NHL, would be an admirable showing. Better, at least, than the one currently on display at the Island Sports Center in Pittsburgh.

David Hanson, who played Jack, runs the center while serving as a youth coach for 11- and 12-year-olds and, with complete disregard for his own legacy, outlaws the use of aluminum foil.

Hopefully, Christian chooses better.

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