University of Arizona all-time saves leader Mark Melancon was a “Yankees hater” once upon a time.
Not any more after he signed with the New York organization last week.
The right-handed hurler is already working out at the Yankees’ minor league complex in Tampa, Fla., and said he will be facing live batters for the first time since missing the last two months of the college season with an elbow injury.
“I hated the Yankees, but now that I am part of it I see what a first-class organization it really is,” Melancon said in a phone interview Tuesday. “It’s been great.
“Before the draft I didn’t know who was going to pick me or what round, but I couldn’t be happier that I was picked by the Yankees. I’m thrilled.”
Melancon was expected to be a first-round pick until he suffered a partial tear to his ulnar collateral ligament – or a “minor sprain” as the ex-Wildcat called it.
He dropped to the ninth round because of questions regarding his talented right arm, which helped him set a school record with 18 career saves.
Melancon was dominant his sophomore season, recording 11 saves and a 2.58 ERA.
It took all summer, however, for Melancon and the Yankees to come to terms. He finally agreed to a $600,000 contract.
“I was anxious to get it done and pleased with the way everything turned out,” Melancon said.
Melancon’s job now is to finish fine-tuning his arm and getting back to work.
He’s tired of being asked about his arm.
“It has been really frustrating, but it is a business and I know that,” Melancon said. “I know if they are going to invest a lot of time and money into me, they had to make sure I was healthy, which I am, and that I can last a long time.”
Kornheiser’s debut ripped by his own newspaper
Tony Kornheiser’s first time out as a “Monday Night Football” analyst received no home-field advantage.
Kornheiser was leveled in his own newspaper, The Washington Post. Some excerpts from the review written by the Post’s Paul Farhi:
● Kornheiser “wasn’t many of the things ESPN hired him for. He wasn’t especially witty, provocative or insightful.”
● “It wasn’t exactly clear why he was there at all.”
● “Kornheiser is the first to admit he’s no matinee idol, but he looked oddly washed out under the TV lights.
● “Some unsolicited advice: Tony, get a tan.”
● And, the unkindest cut of all: “It was enough to make one yearn for Dennis Miller, the comedian whose star-crossed tenure as ‘Monday Night Football’ analyst in 2000-01 was at least marked by a certain danger, a whiff of the unexpected or the just plain loony.”
In Kornheiser’s defense about the tan, he just had a bout with skin cancer.
‘MNF’ helps ESPN to high NFL preseason rating
NEW YORK – The debut of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” drew a 4.5 rating, the network’s highest-rated NFL preseason game in four years.
Monday night’s game between the Oakland Raiders and the Minnesota Vikings was the first with Kornheiser working as an analyst. The rest of the new three-man team was Mike Tirico doing play-by-play and Joe Theismann as an analyst.
The last preseason game to have a better rating on ESPN was the Miami Dolphins against and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which did a 4.7 in August 2002.
Also, the rating for Monday’s game was 21 percent better than ESPN’s first preseason game last year, when the San Diego Chargers and Green Bay Packers drew a 3.7.
A ratings point represents 1,096,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 109.6 million TV homes.
The Associated Press
South Africa says it will be ready for 2010 World Cup
CAPE TOWN, South Africa – South Africa’s parliament approved legislation Tuesday for the 2010 World Cup, with lawmakers showing rare unanimity that South Africa will be ready to host soccer’s biggest event.
Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile dismissed criticism that construction of stadiums is behind schedule and the country’s transportation network won’t cope with the influx of visitors. Stofile also sought to ease fears about the cost.
“The World Cup offers us an opportunity to present ourselves to the world for what we really can be,” he said. “It presents an opportunity that no money can buy.”
The government has earmarked about $700 million for building and renovating 10 stadiums, and another $1.2 billion for upgrades to airports, roads and railway lines.
Some 350,000 foreigners are expected to come for the monthlong tournament. Organizers predict the World Cup should create 129,000 jobs.
The Associated Press