No, Mike Krzyzewski, it’s not harder to win at Duke than with the New York Yankees


Last night Mike Krzyzewski became college basketball’s all-time winningest coach. Good for him. One of his postgame comments was interesting:

Krzyzewski used the New York Yankees to explain how hard it is to keep a program on top because of players changing every four years, or even earlier with the NBA draft looming overhead. “We don’t have Jeter or Rivera for 15 straight years and you have to do it in intense competition in a great school,” he said. “We never have problems because usually we can develop a team.

Call me crazy, but is it not 1000 times easier for an elite college sports program to attract top talent year-in, year-out than it is for a major league baseball team to develop two Hall of Fame talents and keep them together for 15 years?

In the latter instance you have those couple of Yankees players and … well, that’s pretty much it.  In contrast, what Duke and Krzyzewski does is to basically sign the top three or four free agents every single year for decades on end.  Except they don’t have to pay them. And there are several programs that do this in both basketball and football, albeit not quite at the high level Krzyzewski does it.

That’s not to take away from Krzyzewski.  He has to maintain that high standard he has established and he has certainly done it really well.  But to think that there isn’t a really huge amount of momentum that keeps a major program like Duke basketball going that simply doesn’t exist in baseball seems off to me.

I’ll cut him some slack, though. Bobby Knight hugged him after the game and that was bound to addle his senses a bit.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

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Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.