Trust. That's what he's asking of us, right? Trust him. Donnie Walsh is as trustworthy a man as they come. He's earned our trust. We want to trust him. We'd like to trust him. Well, we have to trust him. Hands up who had the New York Knicks selecting Georgia Tech guard Iman Shumpert in their mock draft? The outgoing Knicks president's final first-round draft pick for the team was a surprise that came out of left field. And the Knick fans who made their way to Newark were not very happy with the selection. In fact, they acted as if they were blindsided by a 2x4. Even Spike Lee was uncharacteristically tongue-tied. They certainly were not expecting Shumpert's name to be called. And Shumpert probably wasn't either, as he wasn't at the venue, making for a letdown when it came to the celebratory, emotional aspect of the evening.
Ok, so Walsh passed on guys like, Marshon Brooks and Kenneth Faried, and the new Knick guard isn't a sexy/Jimmer Fredette-like pick, but what are the pros of the Shumpert selection? He plays defense. Surely, the Knicks can use all the defensive help they can get, and he'll be an asset in that department. He's athletic. He can jump. He can play point guard. He can play the two guard. Did we mention that the Knicks need help on defense? Just checking. And the last pro? He's not Frederic Weis. We'll actually get to see him play at the Garden in a few months. The cons? He's not much of a shooter. Selecting him at No. 17 may have been a bit of a reach. And the Knicks still need a big man to help Amar'e Stoudemire. Walsh did purchase a second-rounder and nabbed Kentucky center Josh Harrellson, but unlike Shumpert, he most likely won't be in next season's rotation.
Donnie Walsh has a track record of success. He turned around the Knicks in just a few short years. So let's give him the benefit of the doubt. If you can't trust Donnie Walsh, who can you trust?
And now on to the other top stories of the week in the world of New York sports.
And the New Jersey Nets Select . . .: Billy King was in wheeler-dealer mode last night, making two moves. And unlike the Knicks, the Nets went for offense with their initial pick. The first was a swap with the Boston Celtics, which netted them Providence guard Marshon Brooks, who the team has visions of teaming up with Deron Williams for years to come. In the second round, they traded with the Minnesota Timberwolves and picked up Croatian swingman Bojan Bogdanovic. And finally they drafted forward Jordan Williams out of Maryland. King was ecstatic: "I feel really good. I feel that we accomplished a lot of things we wanted."
1932 & 1938 World Series Rematch: With interleague play happening, when you see the matchups, you can't help but think of past World Series. And with the New York Yankees visiting the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field, we have a rematch of two old Fall Classics. The Bombers swept both, with Babe Ruth's infamous called shot taking place in the 1932 Series (while Lou Gehrig belted three homers, drove in eight runs and batted .529) and the Yankees only needing a total of two innings of relief pitching in the four-game 1938 Series (which were provided by future New York Mets GM Johnny Murphy). And history held serve this past weekend as the Yankees again won a series against the Cubs. After losing the opening game when Freddy Garcia and Doug Davis staged a Wiffle ball pitching duel featuring floating off-speed pitches, the Yankees took over the series when Brett Gardner and Russell Martin teamed up for an electrifying defensive play at the plate, which highlighted Saturday's sloppy win. And the Yanks bashed their way to a 10-4 win on Sunday, with Nick Swisher hitting the go-ahead three-run homer, helping to overcome CC Sabathia's un-CC-like outing.
1939, 1961 & 1976 World Series Rematch: After defeating the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series twice (Charlie Keller starred in the first one with three homers, six RBIs and a.438 average, while Hector Lopez drove in seven runs in nine at-bats in the second), the Yanks went to Ohio this week to avenge the 1976 sweep (though Thurman Munson batted .529 with two RBIs, Johnny Bench hit .533, with two home runs and six RBIs). And avenge it they did. Though he probably should have been left in to try for a complete game, Ivan Nova led the way in the win on Monday, with the best start of his career. Garcia and Jorge Posada were the heroes in game one of Wednesday's doubleheader (those two veterans might have played in the 1939 World Series as well -- I'll have to look up the box scores), before getting shellacked by the Reds and Chris Heisey in the nightcap. Ever since the sweep at the hands of the Red Sox, though, the Yankees have been on a serious roll. But they might have to do it for a little while longer without the services of Derek Jeter, who may be on the DL for more than the minimum 15 days.
1973 World Series Rematch: Manager Yogi Berra may have doomed the Mets when he chose to pitch Tom Seaver and Jon Matlack on short rest in games six and seven, respectively, instead of George Stone (12-3, 2.80 ERA during the season) in game six and a fully rested Seaver in the finale. The Oakland A's won both games, ending the Ya Gotta Believe Mets' season one win short of a complete miracle. The Mets, as usual, made big news off the field with Jose Reyes stating he wouldn't negotiate a new contract during the season, which isn't much of a surprise. Why would he? But he did once again say he wanted to remain a Met for his whole career. And another day-to-day injury has turned into a nightmare, with Ike Davis now possibly out for the season. As for the games, I tuned in Tuesday, and I wondered how I entered into a world where Coco Crisp bats third and Daniel Murphy hits cleanup. At any rate, just as the Mets start heading further and further south of the .500 line, and the starting pitching falters, a few of their unsung players start slumping and Reyes has a few hitless games, they win a series, get a pair of excellent outings from their starters (R.A. Dickey, Chris Capuano), win on a rare walkoff hit-by-pitch and even Jason Bay has a good game, with a home run and a triple. And in more good news, David Wright has been cleared to resume baseball activities. They keep hanging around just enough to make Sandy Alderson's trade-deadline decisions harder and harder.
No World Series Rematch (Just the Mets vs. the Angels): The Mets began their portion of interleague play with the Los Angeles Angels, which doesn't give us a World Series from years past. It did, of course, give us a three-day reminder of the Nolan Ryan trade. Couldn't the Mets have traded Ryan to, say, Cleveland in 1971 for Graig Nettles, which would have made for a less nightmarish outcome and decades of regret? Unfortunately, the Angels stuck it to the Mets again, winning two out of three. A lack of execution did the Amazin's in on Friday with a couple of errors and Capuano's inability to get down a sacrifice bunt. And a poor outing by Jon Niese was the bugaboo for the team in Sunday's loss. But in between, Mike Pelfrey twirled a gem, when he threw a complete game, only allowing one harmless run with no walks.
Winter Classic: Rumors were around about a month ago so we already know this, but the New York Philadelphia Flyers in the next Winter Classic. It's just the Rangers' luck, though, that when it's finally their turn, they don't even get to play on New Year's Day but instead January 2 (the 1st is a Sunday, so football takes precedence, of course) nor will it be staged in a classic venue like Wrigley Field or even new Yankee Stadium but the traditionless Citizens Bank Park. Oh well, it'll be fun anyway. That is, if the Blueshirts make it that far without killing each other after having to start the season in Sweden, playing much of their early schedule on the road due to the Garden's face-lift and filming HBO's 24/7.will be taking on the