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

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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.

Report: Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to four-year contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.

Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.

Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.

Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”