November 13, 2020 will be remembered as a great day in baseball and sports history.
It is a day that has made me proud to be part of this amazing game after the Miami Marlins made a groundbreaking move when they hired Kim Ng to fill their general manager’s position on Friday.
Ng is the first woman ever to be hired as a general manager in baseball. A woman has never served as a general manager in the NFL, NBA or NHL, so Major League Baseball is the first among the four major North American professional sports leagues to have one of its teams name a female as its GM.
This is progress. It is long overdue, but it is progress. It is special.
Baseball has been a pioneer over the years in a number of ways. Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier in 1947 and the effects of that were felt throughout society. It opened the door not only in baseball but in other areas of culture around the world. After 9/11, it was baseball that aided the healing process in New York and across the United States.
It is not a surprise to anyone who knows Kim Ng that she is the first MLB female general manager. Her resume is worthy of the position. She has been prepared and qualified to serve in such a role for more than a decade. This was finally the time. It’s the right team, people, environment and organization.
Ng started as an intern in the Chicago White Sox organization in 1991. It has been a long, slow road for her to get to this moment. The 51-year-old has more than paid her dues. She is an expert negotiator and made a name for herself in presenting arbitration cases for the White Sox.
She also worked for the New York Yankees and became the youngest assistant general manager at the time and again was put in charge of contract negotiations. In fact, she negotiated Derek Jeter’s 10-year deal for the Yankees in 2001. She learned under general manager Brian Cashman in New York and was part of player personnel decisions, free agent negotiations and decisions in player development and scouting.
I got to know Kim well during her time with the Yankees. It became clear to me very quickly that she is always the smartest person in every conversation. There were times when Yankees owner George Steinbrenner wouldn’t let Cashman attend the general managers’ meetings or winter meetings. Ng would go in his place.
In my role as general manager of the New York Mets, I would sit next to Cashman or Ng because we sat in alphabetical order at the general managers’ meetings. As I got to know Ng better, I found her to be intelligent and someone who has good common sense. She is a very good listener which is one of the things that makes her an excellent negotiator. Often, she would remain quiet in meetings but when she did finally speak everyone would listen. Her opinion mattered even as an assistant general manager. She is professional, classy and very hard working.
For the small-market Marlins, the ability to negotiate contracts is an important attribute. They don’t usually get involved in mega-free-agent deals but they do have to make prudent deals with many arbitration-eligible players. Ng has demonstrated the skill of settling deals before hearings but, more importantly, if she does go to trial she has an ability to present the club’s case and not offend the players. That is not easy to do. She has a real feel for how to treat and interact with people.
Since 2011, Ng has worked in the Commissioner’s Office which has broadened her exposure to international baseball and transactions for every club. She was biding her time until the big job came along, yet she kept learning and developing.
A tip of the cap to the Marlins and their CEO Derek Jeter for making this monumental decision. Kim Ng didn’t get the job because she is a woman. She is a highly qualified executive who just happens to be a woman. Jeter recognized that back when he was playing with the Yankees and he never forgot.
General managers used to be former players who chewed on cigars, drank scotch into the wee hours of the morning, telling each other the same stories over and over. There has been a transition over the last 20-plus years in the role. Contracts got bigger and the stakes became higher. Owners wanted more academic-types making the important decisions. That opened the door for a new breed of executive.
But the door was only open for men, until today.
Tom Brady cuts postgame interview short after Bruce Arians question – Fox News
A flustered Tom Brady cut his post-game press conference short on Sunday after he was asked a question about the “chatter” surrounding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching staff and comments made by former teammate Rob Ninkovich, who said Bruce Arians is “not cutting it.”
It was another heartbreaking loss for Brady as the Bucs fell 27-24 to the defending Super Bowl champions. The veteran quarterback seemed to struggle against the Chiefs going 27-of-41 for 345 yards with three touchdown passes (a slight improvement from last week) but he was sacked once and threw two interceptions.
During his postgame conference, Brady was asked about the relationship between him and Arians — a popular topic these days — and comments made by former New England Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich regarding Arians’ digs at Brady over the past few weeks.
“It’s just external noise that when you are losing, that’s what you deal with,” Brady replied. “I love playing with the guys that I play with, the coaches, the whole organization has been unbelievable. I think I have to go out and certainly do a better job the last four weeks of the year. So, I appreciate it. Let’s have a good week.”
Then, he just walked off. According to NBC Sports Boston, the whole interview lasted a little over two minutes.
This season has been a constant back and forth between Brady and Arians, with the latter being open about his disappointments.
Following a loss to the Los Angeles Rams last Monday, Arians said the problem isn’t his receivers. “We’ve got the guys open,” he said at the time. “I think [Brady’s] getting confused a few times with coverage, that might be causing some inaccurate balls.”
The remarks are what prompted Ninkovich to say that Arians is “not cutting it” and that he constantly “is throwing players under the bus.”
Raptors appear to be giving Terence Davis the benefit of the doubt – Sportsnet.ca
Toronto Raptors general manager Bobby Webster has a lot of things to figure out and a limited amount of time to get it all done.
Not all problems are created equal.
Unable to play in Toronto due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Webster’s club is in the midst of building out a temporary home in Tampa Bay on the fly — including a world-class practice facility in a hotel ballroom — with barely three weeks until the 2020-21 season is due to start.
He’s also trying to navigate a tightrope, which features fairness and due process on one side, and the team’s progressive reputation for actively supporting women and their role in and around professional sports on the other.
The issues could potentially be in conflict as second-year guard Terence Davis continues to train with the team after being charged and investigated for an off-season domestic assault situation. The Raptors guard is alleged to have hit his girlfriend in the face and knocked over her toddler in the process.
Under Raptors president Masai Ujiri — who has yet to comment on the Davis issue — the club has worked to be seen as leaders as it relates to the roles of women within a professional sports organization. The club was proud that vice president of basketball operations Teresa Resch and assistant coach Brittni Donaldson were two of 14 women to earn championship rings with the Raptors in 2019. Their diversity, the Raptors argued, was a key to their success.
But so far, as they try to get settled in Tampa, the Raptors seem to be doing better with the logistics of starting from scratch in a new city than keeping their reputation scratch-free.
In his first comments since Davis was charged after the altercation in a New York City hotel room in late October, Webster attempted to explain Davis’s continued presence with the team as a matter of due process: under the NBA-NBPA Joint Policy on Domestic Violence, the entire matter — from eventual discipline to issues like putting a player on paid leave of absence — is handled by the office of NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
That Davis is in Tampa in advance of training camp is the league’s decision, Webster seemed to be saying.
But the questions got harder and Webster faltered.
Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons pointed out that, given the Raptors’ progressive reputation, having Davis with the team (he was even included for discretionary events like their volunteer mini-camp in Los Angeles last week, for example) could make them seem hypocritical.
“We’ve spoken at length with Terence — multiple people in our organization,” Webster said. “Obviously we wouldn’t make the decision if we weren’t comfortable with the information that we had. Obviously, it doesn’t preclude us from getting new information that will come out in the future for us to make a decision. But we felt we were thorough on our end.
“ … You know us, we take this incredibly serious,” Webster continued. “There’s no basketball issue that would ever prevent us from doing anything [with regard to his role with the team], but we also have to go with our relationship and our understanding of the conversation and what happened.”
Clearly Webster’s hands are tied, to some degree. Any disciplinary action taken before the league’s investigation is concluded — which likely won’t happen until after Davis’s Dec. 11 court date at the earliest, one would assume — would be grieved by the players’ union.
And clearly the Raptors feel the need to be fair to Davis as this all plays out, or at least they’ve been comfortable to do so. The club picked up the non-guaranteed second year of Davis’s contract on Sunday. The logic was that failing to do so before the investigation finished would have triggered a grievance from the players’ union.
But it would have sent a message, regardless. So would keeping Davis at a distance during discretionary team events.
It might have been construed as a different kind of leadership.
But Webster seems to have shown some of his cards, at least in implying that the club believes they were “thorough” in their own inquiry. And that rather than keep Davis at arm’s length for now they have decided to keep him as part of the group — “we also have to go with our relationship and our understanding of the conversation and what happened.”
It’s not hard to read between the lines and conclude that Davis — arguably the team’s most promising prospect based on a strong rookie season for the undrafted shooting guard — has already been given the benefit of the doubt, well before his court date.
To the extent something happened between him and his girlfriend, it could be implied, it was relatively minor — if there is such a thing as a sliding scale for domestic violence.
And who knows, maybe there are grounds for that. Former Celtics guard Jabari Bird was instantly placed on paid administrative leave just prior to training camp after he physically assaulted a girlfriend, attempted to strangle her and confined her to his apartment. Bird was eventually traded and waived and has yet to return to the NBA.
That the league — which holds most of the cards for the moment — hasn’t limited Davis’s contact with the team could be telling.
But at least until the investigation into what happened between Davis and his girlfriend is concluded — either by the legal system or by the NBA — a wiser path for the Raptors would be to avoid implying that Davis’s word is good enough for them and to get him on the floor in as routine fashion as possible.
There is a lot going on and a balance to be struck, but on the Davis matter the Raptors seem to have already shown their hand.
By the Numbers: Comparing Metcalf to Megatron – TSN
After D.K. Metcalf’s monster performance against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football, the second-year wide receiver said he had a chip on his shoulder following comments made to him by Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
Metcalf revealed after the game Schwartz said to him, “I was in Detroit with Megatron, but you’re not there yet.”
While there may have been a misunderstanding about the comment – Schwartz later clarified he meant to compliment Metcalf as the closest thing to Calvin Johnson, the three-time All-Pro receiver that retired after the 2015 season, Schwartz has seen – Metcalf used it as motivation to finish the game with 10 receptions for a career-high 177 yards.
The 22-year-old Metcalf has been outstanding for the Seahawks since the club selected him in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Has he been as good as Johnson through the first year and a half of their careers? Is he on his way to becoming the next Megatron?
TSN.ca takes a closer look at Metcalf’s early-career numbers and compares them to Johnson’s statistics at the same time of his career.
- Metcalf accounted for 77 per cent of the Seahawks’ 230 passing yards. It was the third-highest percentage by a single receiver in the past five seasons, but strangely not even the highest percentage of Week 12. Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant caught the lone completion by fill-in QB Kendall Hinton against the New Orleans Saints.
- Metcalf’s 177 receiving yards were the fifth-most in Seahawks’ history, behind three games by Hall of Famer Steve Largent and one by fullback John Williams.
- Metcalf leads the league with 1,039 receiving yards and his nine receiving touchdowns are fifth in the NFL.
- With his 177 receiving yards on Monday, Metcalf became the fastest Seahawks receiver to eclipse the mark in just the 11th game of the season.
- His 1,039 receiving yards are also the fifth-most by a player in his first or second year in the league through 11 games in the past 30 years.
- His 1,939 career receiving yards are just 88 behind Joey Galloway’s 2,027 for most through two seasons in Seahawks franchise history.
Metcalf vs. Megatron (through the first 27 games of their career)
- Metcalf has 116 receptions on 190 targets for 1,939 yards and 16 touchdowns.
- Johnson had 101 receptions on 200 targets for 1,727 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2007-2008.
- Johnson would finish his sophomore campaign with 78 receptions for 1,331 yards and 12 touchdowns.
- Metcalf is on pace to finish his sophomore season with 84 receptions for 1,511 yards and 13 touchdowns, projected over a full 16-game schedule.
- Johnson wouldn’t earn a trip to the Pro Bowl until his fourth season with the Lions and his best work came in seasons 5-7 when he named an All-Pro in three straight seasons.
- He would twice surpass Metcalf’s projected receiving yards total for this season (1,511) with 1,681 yards in 2011 and 1,964 yards in 2012.
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