Lead Item: NFL Waiver Mania! For one day, NFL GMs act EXACTLY like you do in your fantasy league:
They scour the list of players released by other teams -- as the final cuts, these are the best pickins -- and pounce:
Most notably, Gary Kubiak picked up his Broncos reclamation project Ron Dayne after Denver cut the disappointing RB. Yet another team for Dayne to offer the promise of productivity, but ultimately let the fans down. (I was high on both Morency and Lundy, and I hope that Kubiak doesn’t automatically give the goal-line carries to Dayne.)
Nick Saban claimed Lee Suggs (injuries and all), apparently continuing his strategy of filling his entire roster with players from the Southeast U.S.
I’m not sure where Najeh Davenport ended up, but the team should make sure there’s a clean hamper for him.
And Charles Rogers was released, thus ending what will go down as one of the Top 3 biggest draft busts of the ESPN Era.
(Finally – thankfully – the ridiculous Jeff George storyline in Oakland is over. Has a washed-up player ever gotten more publicity off of a one-week stint with a team? Sorry, Whitlock.)
MLB Wrap: Howard vs. Pujols. Anything you can do... I have Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard 1-2 in my NL MVP balloting. I’m just not sure which goes where.
My heart says Howard. My head says Pujols. If the Phillies win the Wild Card, I think it has to go to Howard. (Remember what I said Friday: Howard is the new “Face of Baseball.”)
Here is THE MLB storyline to watch: With a month left in the season and Howard at 52 HR, is it possible that he can top 61? And, if he does, can he claim to be the TRUE all-time Home Run Champ?
(If he did hit 62-plus, if I was him, I would immediately offer to take every level of drug test available to science, all the better to strengthen a claim as the REAL single-season HR champ.)
More MLB: Does anyone really think that Jason Varitek’s return to the Red Sox will mean anything? I didn’t think so...
Big Ben out 2 games: Is this just a blip on the season or foreshadowing of larger problems ahead? (Remember, as long as the Steelers make the playoffs and Big Ben can play for THOSE games, the Steelers are fine. Then again, it’s no guarantee the Steelers will get into the playoffs this year without a full-strength Big Ben.)
Andre Agassi: Career over! Here’s what I’ll always remember/appreciate about Agassi – he was sports’ Madonna: Able to reinvent his career (and persona), from “Bad Boy” to “Wise Elder.” Mostly, I think he exposes the bandwagoneers in the media, most of whom cursed him when he was brash and young. He wouldn’t have been “Wise Elder Andre” without “Brash Young Andre.” Strike that: He COULDN’T have been the Andre now without the Andre then.
USA Hoops: Bronze. I think the fact that the USA team beat Argentina is certainly better than losing, but if the team took any satisfaction out of coming in third, they’re destined to lose again. Anything but gold should be thought of as completely unacceptable.
Tonight’s Best: FSU-Miami. I’m not sure how much of the “Full Circle” coverage I’m going to engage in (beyond the standard game broadcast), but there’s something to be said for the end-zone-cam view (which could be dubbed the “Madden View,” inspired by that Slate piece on Madden ‘07 last week). I sat in end-zone seats at the Swamp on Saturday, and – while not as good as the usual seats I sit in – it really is fascinating how you can track the development of the plays so much better from an end-zone view. It’s the Maddenification of the fans. (Hell, when is the first crappy team going to try to market their crappy end-zone seats as “Madden Tier seating!”)
Sucks to be...: Michael Bush. The Louisville RB was an outside Heisman contender (though quickly moving up the rankings after scoring 3 TDs last night), right up until he broke his leg, ending his season. I guess it kinda sucks to be Louisville, too.
I’m traveling back from Florida to NYC today, but I’ll be back with a new Quickie-ish “Wrap” post tomorrow a.m.
BY THE WAY: If you live in/near NYC, don’t forget that I’m hosting my monthly sports reading series on Wednesday night at Happy Ending (302 Broome), featuring readings from Seth Mnookin, Jeff MacGregor and Warren St. John. It’s free and it’s a great night out!