Red Sox win Matsuzaka lottery: Well, if out-bidding your nearest rival by an extreme amount is "winning." But if the new meme in MLB is that starting pitching is everything, then the Red Sox invested wisely in plunking down $51.1 million for the rights to try to sign Daisuke Matsuzaka. What price, top-line starting pitching? And if you put him in the mix with Schilling, Beckett and Papelbon, that's as good a foursome as there is in the AL.
Presuming they can sign him, the Sox are the team to beat in the AL East, if not the entire
A sidebar that's going to be fascinating is seeing what kind of deal
(But I'm totally in agreement with the analysts pointing out the halo effect for the Red Sox in
More of today's storylines:
Worst book idea ever? That would be OJ's upcoming book about how he WOULD have killed Nicole Brown...you know...if he hadn't been...uh...innocent.
Brandon Webb wins NL Cy, beating out my choice, the ageless Trevor Hoffman, who both led the NL in saves AND set the career saves record, in addition to leading his team to the playoffs. Is Webb the least distinguished NL Cy winner of the last decade? Of the ESPN Era?
Today's Awards: Managers. This one is easy: In the AL, it's Jim Leyland in a rout. In the NL, it's Joe Girardi. Anything else is a joke.
Zitopalooza: The Rangers are reportedly interested in Barry Zito. Scott Boras just got giddy at the thought of the Rangers and Mets trying to out-bid each other. And that's AFTER he does his Matsuzaka deal.
A-Rod opt-out in '07? Interesting note in today's NY Post: A-Rod has an opt-out deal after '07, which could let him become a free agent (if he's willing to trade the $27 million per season owed to him for, say, $20 million and the right to pick his destination).
NFL Notes: (1) Vinny Testaverde to the Pats. Who doesn't want to see him end up playing? Let him try a drop-kick! (2) Lions assistant coach Joe "Driving While Naked" Cullen is going to get a plea deal. (3) Apparently, Leon Washington's football card has him flashing the bird. He claims it's a hand-signal to his old neighborhood, but it doesn't matter: All of a sudden, that's his claim to fame. Enjoy. (4) Trent Green is cleared to play. If you're KC, do you stick with Huard after last week's impotent loss? (5) Albert Haynesworth is back from his suspension. Not sure if there's a welcome mat.
NFL Network vs. Congress: Ostensibly, they were talking about the subscriber fee that NFL Net is demanding cable systems pay them, or they'll hold out on actual game programming on, say, Thanksgiving. Cable systems are balking. Here's what I'd say if I was a cable system: Sure, NFL, I'll pay you 70 cents per subscriber for the NFL Network... IF you let cable systems have access to "Sunday Ticket," which is currently only available to DirecTV subscribers. I've never understood the NFL's judgment on this: Sure, "Sunday Ticket" basically made DirecTV's business, but aren't they keeping the NFL from millions of willing buyers by not letting it be available on cable?
OSU-Michigan Countdown: Has anyone else noticed that each team has just a single truly "quality" win? And OSU's win over
(Please stop saying that
The winner of this game obviously deserves to be in the national-title game, but the loser will have precisely one quality win to point to. Hardly championship-worthy.
Bobby Knight "slap" incident, Day 2: There IS no Day 2. This thing fizzled almost as soon as it started. His AD defends him. The player and his parents defend him.
Give Knight credit: For all his volatility, he knows how to defuse situations. He gave playful slaps on the rear to several of his players last night. Outraged columnists, this simply wasn't the incident to harp on.
(The one argument from his defenders I still don't get is that somehow "discipline" – in the larger sense, not just for Knight -- is equated to "physically touching someone." Why argue that's OK?)
More college hoops: It's cupcake time! No. 1 Florida won by 46. No. 2 UNC won by 22.
NBA: Melo's 33 trumped Dwyane's 37 because Shaq had 0 (in a DNP-Knee). It's hard to gauge the state of the Heat when they play without Shaq. Isn't the fact they were in the game late a signal that with a healthy Shaq, they're still the team to beat? Meanwhile, the Jazz are 7-1 after beating the Clippers by 22. Who turned them into the Spurs?
Finally: I'm always impressed with the way that MLB Hot Stove news finds a way to grab headlines during what should otherwise be a dead season for baseball. I think it really entrenched itself in the A-Rod/Red Sox situation a few seasons ago. Anyway, this is amazing: It's the middle of November. It's the week of Ohio St-Michigan, it's the middle of NFL season, it's the start of college hoops and the NBA is heating up -- and what is the biggest story of the midweek? The Red Sox signing a Japanese pitcher that the vast majority of MLB fans have never even really seen play.