“Notes On A Scorecard

For years in southern California, there was a sportswriter, Alan Malamud, who wrote a column four times a week called “Notes On A Scorecard”.

It appeared in the Los Angeles Times, and the notes were basically brief thoughts Malamud had about the sports scene. He was the best at this particular format.
Malamud died in 1996, and it’s been revived many times, but as is usually the case, nothing has matched the original.

It will be resurrected once more in this space from time to time. The notes will be lengthier for sure. I’m fully aware it’s an imitation of the master, but I love the title.

So here is “Notes On A Scorecard”…

The NFL draft is more than a month away, but the Tyler Murray dilemma is full blown.
Murray, who won the Heisman Trophy, has been the quarterback at Oklahoma, possessing the style of many of the new-age QB’s. He’s lightning fast, dangerous as an option quarterback who can beat you more than one way. He has decided on a career in pro football, turning his back on a promising life in baseball, where he was the ninth
overall selection by the Oakland A’s in the 2018 MLB draft.

It appears all, or nearly all, of the quarterbacks drafted the past two years will be winners. Franchise quarterbacks who will lead their teams to playoffs and championships.
Some already have, like Patrick Mahomes, Mitchell Trubisky, and DeShaun Watson.
Will Murray follow suit?  How high will he be drafted? Will he be taken Number One? The arguments are already in high gear.

In fact, some strange events have already occurred.

At the NFL combine in Indianapolis, where all the draft prospects are officially measured, timed in the 40, and perform various football moves, Murray’s height of 5-feet 10-inches was questioned. It was said he inflated his size in some manner? Other than wearing shoes with lifts, the idea is hard to fathom. All the players are measured barefoot.

The circus didn’t end there.

Charley Casserly, a former NFL General Manager, now a TV pundit, blasted Murray for doing poorly in interviews with teams, saying he was ill-prepared and adding he was a mediocre team leader. It was a strangely strong reaction from Casserly who said he had talked with some of the teams who interviewed Murray.

As it turned out, Casserly runs a service, preparing players for the questions asked by teams at the combine, and Murray did not use Casserly’s service.

Can you say “conflict of interest”?

Then, days later, in a bizarre turnaround,  Casserly went off the charts in praising Kyler Murray’s quarterbacking skills.

Here’s the bottom line The Arizona Cardinals have the top-pick in the draft. Their new head coach, Kliff Kingsbury who has followed Murray since the quarterback’s sophomore year in high school, recruited him to Texas A&M. Murray later switched to Oklahoma, and Kingsbury eventually moved on to Texas Tech.

I get the feeling Kingsbury would like nothing more than to draft Murray right off the top and build the team around him.

But the fly in the ointment is that the Cardinals moved up to draft Josh Rosen with the 10th choice as their future quarterback last year. Rosen didn’t fare as well as some of the other rookie signal-callers last season taking over to lead the team with the worst record in the league.

In my view, there are some teams who might be attempting to discourage the Cardinals from taking Murray.

Arizona would have to trade Rosen if they did select the Heisman Trophy winner.

The only issue I see is this: Can Kyler Murray win in the NFL?  I say why not?  Not having the size or bulk could he get hurt?

Of course. It’s always a gamble.

Do the pluses outweigh the minuses?  If they do, the Cardinals could have a spectacular weapon leading them out of the wilderness.

In any event, there seems to be number of teams, who want the to grab Kyler Murray, and have the Cardinals take a pass.

Kyler Murray


Antonio Brown, the superstar wide receiver has been traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders.

Without going into all the detail, Brown has become a hard-to-handle player who has performed in tremendous fashion for the Steelers.

Since entering the NFL in 2010, no player has more catches and receiving yards than Brown. He is a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, and there is no argument as to his ability and production. But last season he skipped a Saturday game-prep and was benched in Week 17. That was the beginning of the end for Brown. His relationship with head coach
Mike Tomlin and perhaps many of his teammates disintegrated. It was agreed he would be traded, and this past week he was dealt to the Raiders.

Brown has certainly helped his teams win division titles, even earn Super Bowl appearances, but I wonder about the true, lasting value of players who become the center of attention on their clubs.

These players, mostly wide receivers, have grabbed the spotlight, I believe, to the detriment of their team. Call them a diva. Label them as a prima donna. They often suck the energy out of a team. Obviously they are talented. Otherwise they couldn’t get away with being the way they are. How has Odell Beckham, Jr. really helped the Giants?

Believe me, there are others.

How often have we seen receivers on the sideline ranting and raving, often at their quarterbacks, for not getting them the ball. To them, personal statistics are the only barometer for success.

Teams are better off with a variety of pass receivers who can be targets on any play. They are often dangerous as a group. Not depending on one super performer.

Check out the Patriots receivers throughout their dynasty. Most people would have trouble naming more than a few.

Now, Antonio Brown will be receiving a load of money, including incentives, playing for a lesser team. Is his principal interest in reaching incentives and padding his stats, or on making the Raiders winners?

You figure it out.

Antonio Brown


Bryce Harper has signed a 13-year $330 million contract with the Phillies, the richest contract in the history of North American sports. He was a free agent and was forced to settle for those terms. Tongue firmly in cheek.

First question: Is Harper worth it? Answer: Is anybody? Especially in baseball where you come to bat four times a game, and can stand in the outfield without ever making a play.

Bryce Harper


Here’s the reality the way I see it. If Bryce Harper can get that kind of deal, more power to him. If the Phillies want to pay that kind of money, knowing how long 13 years is in an athletic career, its their choice.

Whenever I see huge money handed out to any player in any sport I shrug and figure the team can afford it. They wouldn’t pay it if they couldn’t.

But why?

Last season Harper batted .249. He finished 7th in the National League in home runs, and 8th in RBI.  He played for the Washington Nationals seven years. They have been one of the better teams in the National League, but even with Bryce Harper, the Nationals never made it to the World Series. In fact, they never even won a playoff series.

Last season, the Phillies were one of the pleasant surprises. After being doormats for several years, the Phils finished third in the NL East with an 80-82 record.

Will Bryce Harper get them to the playoffs and eventually the World Series?  You tell me.

I’m not crazy about Lebron James running the NBA.

Sometimes the best laid plans go astray. That’s what’s happening with Lebron who seems to be orchestrating everything in the NBA.

James, who has been the best in the game for over a decade, got himself to LA to play for the Lakers. He is now going out of his way to lure other stars to become free agents and join him to perhaps win a championship.

Meanwhile, the Lakers will likely fail to make the NBA playoffs, and Lebron, who exercised his right to leave Cleveland for LA will not perform in the post-season for the first time after 13 consecutive years in the playoffs.

He is obviously trying to recruit a championship team to join him for one last hurrah.

It looks as if he’s trying too hard. I don’t think it’s going to work.

How about an upbeat finish to Notes On A Scorecard?  I’m all for it.

We’re on the brink of March Madness. If you want to put a smile on the face of any sports fan, just say the words March Madness.

The one-and-done NCAA Basketball Championships never fail to deliver.

Forget the fact that the true powers, the number one and two seeds advance to the Final Four more often than not, there are always the
Cinderella stories, the upsets and and near upsets, the buzzer-beaters and the emotional drama that mark one of the best sports moments every year.

It’s that time of the year. Selection Sunday is upon us. Get out those brackets and fill them out.

The fun is just beginning.




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