Brownie Points: D-Backs' upgrades worth spending for - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Brownie Points: D-Backs' upgrades worth spending for

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Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. Contact him at

Posted: Saturday, June 4, 2011 12:00 am

So many topics, so little room. Let's see how many we can hit:

• David Wright. Michael Young. The list of third basemen on the block at the trade deadline should have Arizona's attention.

The D-Backs' front office hacked $20 million out of the payroll in the off-season, and now it's time to spend some of it on some more pop for the lineup, a seventh-inning setup man (to take over for this staff of six-inning starters) and maybe another dependable starter at the top of the rotation.

• Don't take your eye off the ball, Cardinals. Kevin Kolb should be the target. Not a washed-up Marc Bulger. Not a beat-up Carson Palmer. Not a jacked-up Kyle Orton, who has proven in two cities that he's not the kind of quarterback that can get you over the top.

But Arizona fans shouldn't get too excited about this year. No matter who is calling the signals, teams with new quarterbacks will be at a severe disadvantage without OTA's and likely part or all of training camp due to the lockout.

Even in a wide-open division with only one team settled at quarterback, the Big Red's goal is to find a quarterback you can have moving forward. If that costs you a first-round pick, Tim Hightower and $25 million in bonus money, so be it. Do we have to rerun the Derek Anderson/Max Hall video?

• No one likes to see a guy like Buster Posey go down for the year, but Giants GM Brian Sabean was definitely running out of the baselines with his comments toward Florida reserve/battering ram Scott Cousins. If you want to champion changing the rule against home-plate collisions, that's fine. But to say that his team will "have a long memory" and intimate some sort of revenge is necessary for a clean baseball play... Now the Giants have not only lost their catcher and their cushy lead in the NL West, they've lost their integrity as well.

• How would you like to be Plaxico Burress - you walk out of the lockup and right into a lockout.

Word is the Philadelphia Eagles are interested in Burress. Sounds like a good plan. The Michael Vick-to-Plaxico-Burress connection would be lights out - by 9 p.m., of course.

Let's hope whichever team that takes a chance on Plax doesn't wind up shooting itself in ... OK, I'll stop.

• Word is Terrelle Pryor may have driven as many as eight different cars during his three years at Ohio State. Eight rides in three years, and Jim Tressel needed an email to know his star quarterback was on the take? Jay Leno hasn't had that many cars.

It's not a question of whether Tressel should have been bounced; the question is how Gene Smith still has his gig at this point.

Do you really need to cheat to win at Ohio State and USC? If that's the case, about three-fourths of the other 117 Division I-A football programs in the country should discontinue the sport.

• Win or lose in this series - and I still think he's going to lose - Dirk Nowitzki has raised his stock among the superstars in his sport. And can we now stop talking about Chris Bosh's defense? I'm not sure the guy could guard David Hasselhoff.

• I was going to say a few things about Shaquille O'Neal, but he has already said everything for us. He was fun to cover, fun to get to know, he worked hard and he answered emails promptly. Bet Russell, Wilt and Kareem didn't have writers on internet speed dial.

Shaq wasn't always the best person, but you always believed he wanted to be. And in an age where so many athletes fall short of the mark, O'Neal stayed out of serious trouble, understood the business of sports and exploited his name and brand as successfully as any athlete of his era.

• Donnie Walsh is out as the GM in New York. Jay Triano is out as the head coach in Toronto. Mike D'Antoni is on thin ice and could be fired this summer, and Bryan Colangelo needs some help before he gets sent to the penalty box in Canada. Can we all connect the dots from here?

Not a bad deal for D'Antoni. He got famous in Phoenix. He got rich in New York. And now he goes to Canada when the dollar is worth more here than there. And compared to New York, the Toronto media will be a clam bake - it's not like he's coaching the Maple Leafs or something. Things could be worse.

• Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. Contact him at


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