Lots of news from the week to discuss, and there's no waiting.

Jacoby Ellsbury agreed to a contract with the New York Yankees last week. In hindsight, it really shouldn't be a surprise at all.

The only surprising aspect is that the Yankees were involved, but contract aside, it makes a lot of sense. The Yankees are better today with Ellsbury in center field and Brian McCann at catcher than they were a year ago with Curtis Granderson in center and any number of catchers.

The signing got me thinking about Ellsbury and a conversation I was part of during the World Series.

On Media Day, I was with a small handful of reporters talking to Ellsbury about this World Series trip, how it compared to 2007 and what he thought about this Series.

"It's been a fun ride," he said at the time. "I'm slowing it down, enjoying it even more."

While Ellsbury's words were all the right ones, it wasn't hard to see that his heart wasn't in it. He made me think that as soon as the Red Sox won the Series, he was going to call agent Scott Boras and say "get me out of here."

In October, he was all about winning a championship. Now in December, Jacoby Ellsbury wins again -- hitting the free agent jackpot.

Speaking of free agent jackpots, Robinson Cano's 10-year contract with Seattle was too hefty for the Yankees.

With teams like Boston and New York, it's never about the money. Both the Red Sox and Yankees can afford whatever they want to spend. It's about contract length.

I believe the Red Sox would give Ellsbury the same annual deal he got from the Yankees, but not the seven years. Certainly, the Yankees aren't scared away by the $24 million Cano gets per year. The Yankees just didn't want to go 10 years.


Last week, two Pennsylvania universities combined to eliminate 14 varsity sports.

Robert Morris and Temple each cut seven sports from their roster. Robert Morris still has 16 varsity sports and Temple still has 17.

But that doesn't make the hundreds of athletes and the coaches of those eliminated sports any happier. They did nothing wrong.

It's all part of what has become, figuratively speaking, an arm's race in the ranks of Division I athletics to have the best facilities and teams. That costs money, lots of it.

Even at the University of Massachusetts, millions are being sunk into athletic projects. There's going to be a dedicated basketball practice facility for Derek Kellogg's nationally ranked team. The football team will have a new support building at McGuirk Alumni Stadium and a new press box is under construction so the Minutemen can play some home games in Amherst instead of Foxborough.

It makes one smile to think that while all that is going on and schools like Temple are cutting sports, MCLA is adding women's lacrosse to bring its NCAA total to 13, while Williams has 30 varsity sports.

The athletes at both schools practice as hard as their Division I counterparts. It's about the sport, not the business at Division III.

Which is why, a week after the holiday, we should be thankful we have Williams and MCLA in our backyard.

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