Remembering when Urban Meyer thought he’d be an Indian and Maurice Clarett defended Jim Tressel

The MLB draft begins tonight. Remember that time the Cleveland Indians said they were going to pick Urban Meyer but didn’t?

Well, let me refresh your memory.

“I had lunch with (then-Indians president) Gabe Paul (and his assistant) in the spring of ’82,” Meyer explained (via “How about that? They said, ‘You wanna go look at your position?’ We walked down and looked at shortstop. They said, ‘You wanna be the shortstop for the Cleveland Indians one day?’ I said, “Yeah.’ They said, ‘Son, I think that’s gonna happen.’ It never happened.”

Cleveland passed on Meyer a dozen times before the Braves took him in the 13th round.

Although he never made it out of rookie ball, not much more can be said of anyone the Indians took that year. Only four of their draftees made The Show, and none played more than 24 MLB games. 

Ultimately this is a truly classic MLB draft story as it features failure all around, but it does seem to have worked out for at least one party when all was said and done…

Urban Meyer once thought he would be drafted by the Cleveland Indians
Urban Meyer once thought he would be drafted by the Cleveland Indians

In case you were wondering, the Braves 1982 draft class included five guys who made the Majors, including some California high school pitcher named Randy Johnson.

As for Cincinnati’s draft, the Reds had three first-round picks and none of them panned out.

In the second round, they picked a shortstop from Cincinnati Moeller High School you may have heard of: Barry Larkin.

He wasn’t the only productive major leaguer they drafted that year, either. In the ninth round they found a left-handed pitcher at a small college in Tennessee who would eventually pitch a perfect game: Tom Browning…

We reach into the way-back machine again for item No. 2 today, a curious story from five years ago recounting the time Maurice Clarett called The Dan Patrick Show to explain that while, yes, he broke NCAA rules while he was at Ohio State, it totally wasn’t Jim Tressel’s fault.

“People only believe in what they see, so when they come to college and they’re used to having nothing then trying to live on $1,100 in Columbus, Ohio,” Clarett said. “If you want to stay in a reputable place you’re going to pay $750 for rent, then you’re going to pay $4 gallon for gas, that’s another $100-150 per month. If you have a girlfriend and want to live a normal life, $1,100 is not enough, but in Columbus, Ohio, you’re treated like a celebrity, so it’s not a Terrelle Pryor problem. It’s not a Jim Tressel problem. It’s just a culture not of inner city youth but a culture of the whole system.”

Though I’d quibble with the cost of a “reputable” college apartment near Ohio State being $750 at that time (I split a 3-bedroom place that cost less than that total), I find this very plausible and doubt Clarett was simply calling in to clear Tressel’s name at any cost, but it is an amusing juxtaposition.

At the time, Clarett was still largely persona non grata among Ohio State fans for the many troubles he faced after leaving school, but this did a lot to begin to restore his reputation…

The Cavs did the not-unexpected and looked like a totally different team at home while winning Game 3 of the NBA Finals last night.

The winning effort did not require a larger-than-life performance by LeBron James, although he was fantastic in helping Cleveland maintain its lead after a huge first half by Kyrie Irving.

Since the Warriors still have home-court advantage and more good players, I still expect them to win the series, but they are going to need more than 35 points combined from Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

Curry not only shot the ball poorly, he looked sorta out of it most of the night. Defensively he committed a couple of lazy fouls and just never seemed engaged.

Obviously Green making some of the wide-open threes he clanged last night is important to the Warriors’ overall success (he was making them in Oakland), and maybe by Game 4 Thompson will have been instructed on what is actually a clean screen and what is not.

Just like the role players were huge for the Warriors in their first home game of the series, the Cavs got a big lift from J.R. Smith, Richard Jefferson and Tristan Thompson in Cleveland.

One last thing: Am I the only one who is getting tired of seeing NBA teams pack it in in the fourth quarter of playoff games? This seems like a new phenomenon to me.

While veteran playoff watchers know few series lay out as cleanly as they appear they are going to through the first couple of games, it is also not uncommon to see huge swings in the scores within games. Part of me wonders if we’re seeing teams too easily switch into energy-saving mode nowadays. Something has to account for the record-number of blowouts in this postseason…

Jim Harbaugh seems to get upset about some stupid things, but secret society plots are probably justifiably worrying

I should have known better than to write something positive about the Reds the same day the guy who least represents what I was writing about happened to be scheduled to pitch. Still, it’s worth remembering Alfredo Simon wasn’t part of the plan and made sense as an emergency signing when injuries hit the pitching staff hard late in spring training …

Lastly, is Leon Hall done with the Bengals? Maybe not.

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