DARTING HERE and there ...
ı So what's next for Randy Johnson? Anything he wants. Even though he's just 155 strikeouts from 5,000, his amazing career doesn't really require any additional milestones.
But here's one that hasn't been dwelled on much: He's the greatest pitcher Northern California has ever produced, and arguably the entire state.
Johnson became the 24th major leaguer to achieve 300 wins, but he's only the second California-born player to do it. Tom Seaver, a Fresno native, was by himself until Thursday with 311 wins. The chance to pass "Tom Terrific" might be more incentive for Johnson to stick around another year than the 5,000 K's.
The Seaver-Johnson "who's better" comparison is a pretty tough call. Johnson has five Cy Young awards to Seaver's three, 1,205 more strikeouts and a higher win percentage, .647 to .603. Seaver has the edge in career ERA (2.86 to 3.28), shutouts (61 to 37) and complete games (231 to 100).
Each won one World Series, but Johnson was the MVP of his: 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA. Johnson also has achieved his numbers in 50 fewer starts and nearly 700 fewer innings. We'll go with the Big Unit.
ı The most amazing Johnson stat from this view: Of his 300 wins, 201 have come from the point he turned 32 years old. That's fourth all-time behind Cy Young, Phil Niekro and Warren Spahn. He also has more strikeouts than anyone, including Nolan Ryan, since turning 32: 3,221. Seaver, by comparison, had 203 wins up through his 32nd year, only 108 after.
ı Just as an aside, nice to contemplate baseball numbers that are legit for a change, eh?
ı The incredible double play Emmanuel Burriss initiated in the fifth inning to save Johnson's victory presented the convincing answer as to why the Giants picked him as their starting second baseman over Kevin Frandsen. Roberto Alomar-like.
ı If there's a move to be made by the Oakland A's this year, the time is now. Vin Mazzaro's sterling major league debut start Tuesday was the most hopeful sign from the A's in a few years, and fellow rookie Brett Anderson followed that up with a gem of his own Thursday. Jason Giambi and Matt Holiday are heating up. Injuries still abound, but isn't that always the case in Oakland?
ı It's not looking as if it will happen, but Patrick Mills should stay at Saint Mary's one more year. He'll be pushed down by the glut of point guards in this year's draft, possibly into the early second round. Next year, he could be solidly in the top 15.
Of course, Mills also could get drafted by the Lakers, who need a young point guard, at the end of Round 1. That alone might be enough incentive to go pro.
ı The Lakers didn't just beat the Orlando Magic in Game 1, they crushed their psyches with both interior and perimeter defense and way too much Grade A Kobe Bryant. If they do it again in Game 2 — and very likely will — bye-bye Magic.
ı Early Warriors draft projection: Brandon Jennings. Quick, tough, explosive and cocky. Looks very good on paper, but can he lead a team at the point? Larry Riley's first big decision.
ı It's nice East Bay high school players could play their North Coast Section baseball championships at the Coliseum, but the prices were way out of line for families in this economy: $12 for adults, $8 for anyone over age 3, plus $15 to park. On top of that, 21/2-hour time limits for each title game.
ı You bet, Jerry Hollendorfer would take a Belmont victory today. The field isn't so large or formidable that Chocolate Candy couldn't take it, either. Then again, the way he's been riding, Calvin Borel might be able to complete his Triple Crown without a horse.
ı Finally, it's Roger Federer's window of opportunity at the French Open — career Grand Slam and a tie with Pete Sampras for most Slam titles at 14. Well worth getting up at 6 a.m. to watch ... even on a Sunday morning.
Contact Carl Steward at email@example.com.