Sunday, May 9, 2010

Will Taillon Buck His Commitment to Rice?

(Photo courtesy of

Jameson Taillon is going to have quite a decision to make after this June's MLB draft.

Taillon, who is expected by many to be the first right-handed pitcher taken in the draft, will be looking at a signing bonus worth millions. However, the 18-year-old phenom from The Woodlands High School in Texas, has been a verbal commitment to the Rice Owls since his junior year.

Rice baseball head coach Wayne Graham says he's keeping his fingers crossed, even though many doubt they'll be able to actually sign Taillon:

“Obviously, there’s one player on there that nobody thinks we’ll be able to keep,” said Graham. “Too bad he’s so good,” said Graham, laughing. “We’ll have our fingers crossed until August 15th.”

In addition to his blazing fastball, which is consistently clocked from 94-97 mph and can reach 99, Taillon also has brilliant command of a "spiked curve," that comes in from 82-84 mph, a slider that sits between 85 and 90 mph, and a changeup that will come in around 80-82 mph, according to Taillon himself .

Look no further than the kid's personal website— — for an unbiased description of his arsenal: "Plus Fastball, Plus Curveball, Plus Slider, and Great Change-Up." Had Bryce Harper not enabled himself to be draft-eligible , Taillon may have been taken first overall by the Washington Nationals , giving the team quite a duo of right-handed pitching prospects with 2009 first-overall pick Stephen Strasburg.

Taillon hasn't given any indication that he is going to sign with the Major League club that selects him, but said in an interview with Jeff Sullivan of 2010 MLB Draft Blog that his college decision was never really in question:<

"I have always had a twinkle in my eye for Rice. Rice University is 45 minutes from my house, they have a great baseball program with a winning tradition, first class coaches, facilities that are second to none, and incredible academics..." Taillon said. "...I got a lot of letters and invitations to attend practices and games from schools like Texas, North Carolina, Vanderbilt and LSU. However, there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to be a Rice Owl."

Many MLB mock draft experts, including RivalsHigh's own Dallas Jackson have Taillon going third to the Baltimore Orioles. However, if the Orioles are to retain Taillon, it may take much more than the $3.2 million it took to sign 2008 first-round pick Brian Matusz, who is now a staple of the O's starting rotation.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Disgruntled Rangers Fans To Host Anti-Sather Rally Outside MSG

Prior to a matchup between the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden on March 7, a growing number of Rangers' fans are planning a rally imploring Cablevision owner James Dolan to relieve Glen Sather of his duties as team president and general manager.

Sather, who is in his 10th year in the Rangers' front office, has often been criticized by fans for bringing in a number of high-priced players that have failed to live up to gaudy expectations and left the Rangers very little room under the NHL's salary cap.

Mike Zippo, a junior at Sacred Heart University, created a Facebook event that has has immediately gone viral. In just under a week, the event has reached over 3,600 Rangers fans, with roughly 950 already ready to attend.

"We're still deciding on what we are definitely going to do, but I think we are going to have a prepared statement to make about why Sather needs to go and what we would like to see happen," said Zippo, who is currently in the process of getting a permit from New York City officials. "We will have large signs and we're also working on getting T-shirts made for the event. As of right now, it's looking really good."

Zippo, a season ticket holder since 2006-07 who works a summer job while off from school to pay for his tickets, says he created the Facebook page because he is "growing sick and tired of this mediocre team we put on the ice year after year. Sitting at the game Monday night, I had enough."

The Rangers fell last Monday to the Carolina Hurricanes, who currently sit last in the Eastern Conference, 5-1.

Through the use of a famous photo editing site based off Barack Obama's ad campaign in last year's election, Zippo created a polarizing photo of Glen Sather, with the words "Failure. Fire Sather" written under it.

Ironically, the photo seems to have united Rangers' fans against Sather, for the sake of future Blueshirt squads.

Over the course of Sather's tenure, the team has failed to make it out of the second round of the playoffs.

Chants of "Fire Sather" have been heard inside for a number of years, well before Knicks' fans started demanding that Isiah Thomas be relieved of his duties. However, until now, there hasn't been a major rally against Sather's regime held outside the arena.

In addition to the Facebook event page, Zippo has also created an electronic petition that he continues to urge fellow Blueshirt fans to sign. In the petition, he states:

Dear James Dolan,

For the past 10 years, loyal Rangers fans around the world have watched our beloved team go nowhere due to the leadership of the clubs President and General Manager, Glen Sather. Our franchise has been in a state of disarray for 10+ years, and there is no end in sight. This here petition is being signed by Rangers fans around the globe who are asking you to remove Mr. Sather from his job, and to replace him with someone who will restore our hockey club to the top of the NHL with hopes that we will become Stanley Cup Champions. This petition is being signed by people who want Glen Sather removed whether they are attending the rally March 7th outside Madison Square Garden or not. Remove him please James!

Yours Truly,

Loyal Rangers fans around the globe.

Zippo says the goal of the rally is for Dolan, "to hear the people that are supposedly the most important piece of the organization. We pay a lot of money to see this team and are proud to be Rangers fans, but for 10 years Glen Sather has been making terrible personal decisions whether it be via free agency, drafting or through trades. We want Glen Sather out of this organization as soon as possible."