Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Willie McGee. …
- In the Chip Off the Old Block department, former Red Sox pitcher Charlie Mitchell's son, Ross, has become one of Mississippi State's top pitchers.
Ross Mitchell played high school ball at Blackman High where he was 9-1 as a senior, bettering the school record for wins previously set by last year's Cy Young Award winner, David Price.
He is currently a redshirt sophomore at State, has a 12-0 record with a 1.41 ERA in 83 innings pitched. He has given up only 13 earned runs. The 6-1 left-hander has also appeared in relief in tournament play.
He came in against South Alabama with two outs in the fourth inning of a regional series and shut them down the rest of the way in a 6-2 win. State beat Virginia, 11-6, Saturday in Game One of their Super Regional at Charlottesville.
Mitchell came on in relief in the sixth inning, earning the save after throwing 3 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball. He held the Wahoos to two hits and benefited from three double plays. He retired the side in order in the ninth on three infield grounders.
- Sprinter Usain Bolt lost to former Tennessee track star Justin Gatlin in a 100-meter race in Rome.
A six-time Olympics gold medalist, Bolt has been bothered by a nagging hamstring injury earlier this season and he faded in the final 20 meters.
Still, Gatlin finished in 9.94 seconds while Bolt was 0.01 second behind.
- Rutgers' entry into the Big Ten didn't cause the hysteria among its fan base that Commissioner Jim Delany is used to when new teams join the league.
"There should be, in my view, far more momentum than there is,'' Delany said.
"But I understand why there's not. Now all we can do is keep pushing forward through the top.''
Delany should realize Rutgers isn't Michigan, Ohio State or Penn State. It has also been a program, whose men's basketball coach was fired and athletics director Tim Pernetti resigned under pressure.
Now, recently hired AD, Julie Hermann, is under fire after the Newark Star-Ledger revealed she was charged by players with mental and verbal abuse while volleyball coach at Tennessee in 1996-97.
Delany pushed for Rutgers mainly to grab the massive New York-New Jersey TV market.
- Sad to hear of NFL legend Deacon Jones passing last week. He died of natural causes in Southern California. He was 74.
Jones was born in Orlando, played college ball at Mississippi Valley State, was drafted in the 14th round and tormented NFL offensive linemen. With the Los Angeles Rams, he was part of the Fearsome Foursome with Rosey Grier, Lamar Lundy and Merlin Olson.
He didn't have much good to say about today's players. "I'd probably be arrested with this bunch of guys. They're soft – give me a break. These guys are soft. I hit the head. I started there. This game ain't never going to be safe.''
I always wondered where the Deacon got his nickname.
"No one would remember a player named David Jones. There are a thousand David Joneses in the phone book,'' he said. "I picked out Deacon because it has a religious connotation and it would be remembered in the violent pro football world.''
Rest easy, big guy. Rest easy.
- Jason Kidd has been playing in the NBA all his life, or so it seems. After 19 years in the league, Kidd is walking away with two years left on his contract worth $6 million.
Kidd won one NBA championship, two Olympics gold medals and was a 10-time All-Star and named to nine All Defensive teams. The former Cal star made Sports Illustrated's cover in 1993 when his team upset Duke and Bobby Hurley in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
There are believed to be only six players in the NBA who were even born before Kidd entered the league. One was former Kentucky star Michael Kidd-Gilchrest. He had not arrived while another UK star Anthony Davis was a newborn.
Kidd should be a first ballot Hall of Famer.
- Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi dispels the notion that Florida State AD Randy Spetman led the school's athletic program to its highest finish in the NCAA's All Sports standings.
"Former AD Dave Hart is the man responsible for building FSU's across the board athletic excellence. He's the one who hired most of the coaches and committed the resources it took to build the Seminoles' non-revenue program,'' Bianchi wrote, throwing bouquets to current Tennessee AD Dave Hart.
- Tennessee native Erik Jackson continues to prove why he is regarded as one of the most decorated paddlers in history.
Jackson recently qualified for his 25th consecutive season for the USA team in freestyle qualifying. He will face his son, Dane Jackson, at the Freestyle World Championships this September in North Carolina.
The world-class kayaker just won the Dominion River Rock Festival in boatercross racing.
He founded Jackson Kayaks in Sparta in 2004 and eight years later, it became a multi-million dollar grossing company with the number one fishing and whitewater kayaks in the world.
Eric Jackson's entire family has been involved in the sport. At one point they lived on the road in an RV for seven years so Eric could pursue his career in kayaking.
- If you want to see a passionate college baseball fan base, look to Baton Rouge where the LSU Tigers rule the diamond.
It's an impressive site to behold as Alex Box Stadium is filled with yellow and purple dressed fans. They overwhelmed Oklahoma's fans Saturday, as they adore their beloved Bayou Bengal baseball team.
They can also put on a tailgating experience for visitors, and are proud of showing off their Cajun cookin' and hospitality.
Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.