About Frank Verde

Many years in the employ of newspapers, I also write e-books available at amazon.com. You can find me on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Pat Summitt and the right to say ‘when’

I’m the type of guy who loves an underdog. It’s not often that I root for a No. 2 seed to beat a No. 11 at the NCAA Basketball Tournament, but that’s the situation I found myself in yesterday as Tennessee rallied from a 14-point deficit to knock off Kansas, 84-73, and reach the quarterfinals of the women’s tournament.

I’d like Pat Summitt to get one more trip to the Final Four in what is most likely her last go-around as head coach. Perhaps even win one more championship before walking off into the sunset, retiring on her own terms and with the sounds of celebration echoing throughout the arena rather than the quiet calls for her to just go away. For the good of the program.

Getting old sucks. Getting old and sick is much worse. Continue reading

Fantasy Baseball: Second Basemen

Second base has been one of those positions that I have targeted early in my fantasy baseball draft in seasons past. The reason behind the strategy is that, like the catcher position, there aren’t many second basemen who can make a difference in winning or losing a fantasy title. If I can get one of the top 2 or 3 best performers behind the plate or at second base, then I feel I have an advantage.

Of course I’ll have to hold my own in the positions with deeper reserves, such as outfielders or starting pitchers, especially when I’m picking later. Continue reading

Fantasy Baseball: First Basemen

The top two players at first base are arguably the two biggest names in the sport. In fantasy baseball, the discussion about sluggers begins and ends with Albert Pujols of the Angels and Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers. You don’t have to have one of them to win a championship, but it sure does help.

This year finds Pujols with a new team in a new league. Cabrera is relearning how to play third base, the position he played when he came to the big leagues. Each presents their own challenge, but at least Pujols hasn’t had a bone under his eye broken by a bad-hop groundball this spring. Continue reading

Tebow-Mania Hits New York

Tim Tebow is a Jet. If Lin-Sanity hadn’t already been elbowed toward the door by the Knicks themselves, the arrival of Tebow-Mania today would have shoved it all the way out the door.

The Jets have acquired the celebrated quarterback and a seventh-round pick from the Broncos for  fourth and sixth-round draft selections. Tebow-Mania and Lin-Sanity in the same market. Unbelievable. On several levels. Continue reading

Fantasy Baseball: Catchers

About this time last year I was setting my sights on Mike Napoli, who had just come over to the Rangers from the Blue Jays, who had traded him right after acquiring him in a deal with the Angels.

Two teams dealt Napoli away in the offseason, but I still wanted him.

Napoli wasn’t expected to play every day behind the plate, but along with the bats he got while filling in at first base and designated hitter, I figured he would hit enough to hold down the catcher’s position for me. Not exactly high expectations, but that’s the catcher’s lot in life as a fantasy baseball player. There’s just not enough offensive-talented backstops to go around. Continue reading

Fantasy Baseball: Relief Pitchers

At first glance, the sight of Craig Kimbrel sitting atop the list of fantasy baseball’s top relief pitchers doesn’t exactly inspire awe. Not to take anything away from the third-year Braves closer, but even the great Mariano Rivera at the age of 57 is still a Top 5 relief pitcher this season.

Okay, I’m joking about Rivera’s age – he’s actually 42 – but the message is the same. In what most likely will be his last season, Rivera remains one of the top relievers in  the game. What does that say about his competition? Continue reading

Obama and the Final Four

The question everyone is asking these days is, “Who do you have going to the Final Four?”

Everyone’s doing it, even President Obama.

Today, ESPN broadcast Obama filling out his bracket from the White House. The president went through each game on a large white board in front of the cameras, coming up with his own Final Four: Kentucky vs. Missouri in one semifinal, Ohio State vs. North Carolina in the other. Continue reading

Year of the long shot?

If you’re like me, your favorite part of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament takes place early with a ton of first-round matchups. The prospect of the little guy (David) knocking off the big guy (Goliath) is what makes March Madness fun, almost as much fun as filling out the bracket sheets that make their way through offices all over the country. Almost, I said.

There has never been a 16th-seeded team that has won a single NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament game. Not since the tournament expanded from 32 to 64 teams in 1985. That’s a long time in basketball circles. Continue reading

How to say goodbye

A tape of Peyton Manning’s farewell to Indianapolis yesterday should be required viewing for aging or not-so-aging superstars who find themselves having to say farewell to friends, teammates, fans and an entire city.

Manning got it right, leaving everyone with class, dignity and a lesson in how to say goodbye.

Although acknowledging that there has never been anything quite like it, WFAN’s Mike Francesa today compared Manning’s departure from Indianapolis to LeBron James’ decision to bolt Cleveland for Miami. How each elected to handle their situation, with Manning playing his role as the classy pro and LeBron playing the role of Ryan Leaf, completely devoid of class, dignity or professionalism. Continue reading

Peyton and the Jets

The Peyton Manning era is over in Indianapolis after 14 years. The Peyton Manning in (fill in the city) will begin soon.

As a lifelong Colts fan, from Johnny Unitas to Bert Jones to Manning, it’s pretty tough to accept. But only half as bad as seeing the four-time MVP wearing anything other than the horseshoe.

Like seeing Unitas with a lightning bolt or Jones in a Rams uniform. The only saving grace, from my point of view, is that the Colts’ Andrew Luck era gets underway next season. Continue reading