I'm in Chicago right now, and – wow – the fans and media here hate Rex Grossman far more than you can understand simply from reading the local papers, etc. Meanwhile...
This is turning into "Sportsman of the Year" week: You've seen SI's pick (Dwyane Wade) and I chimed in with mine yesterday (Vince Young), but here's a very cool spin-off: Jamie Mottram of Mr. Irrelevant (and ringmaster of the excellent AOL Fanhouse blogs) got 50 leading sports bloggers (including me) to vote on their top 10 sports figures of 2006, yielding 226 nominees and a Top 40 list that's way more fun than anything from SI or any other mainstream-media outlet:
T.O. was Number 1, which – unlike other year-end lists – reflected reality: T.O. had to be the most blogged-about figure in sports of the year. Does that mean he's a good guy? Far from it. It more accurately reflects his status as the sports world's leading douchebag. But still, that should count for something, and it raises the ultimately interesting question about whether "Sportsman" of the year necessarily has to be about a hero, rather than the athlete/coach/etc who had the most impact on the sports year. Check out the link here.
MLB Hot Stove: Red Sox sign JD Drew to 5Y/$70M deal. $14 million a year is a steep price to learn the valuable baseball lesson about "regressing to the mean." And you'd THINK that that would clear the way for
Barry Zito update: Did the Rangers offer him a 6Y/$100M deal? You'd think that Tom Hicks would have learned his lesson about overpaying after the A-Rod debacle. Does this mean the Yankees will be bailing the Rangers out with a 50-cents-on-the-dollar trade in a few seasons?
Ripken speaks out on McGwire: Actually, he didn't want to talk about McGwire. Didn't want to talk about... hmm, could we say "the past?" Where have we heard that before?
NFL: The Saints got some bad news in an otherwise dream season when DT Hollis Thomas was suspended for the rest of the season for violating the league's steroid policy. Expect this to be swept under the rug much like every other NFL steroid violation.
NBA: It's rare to see David Stern make a misstep, let alone admit one, but he did about the new ball, saying he should have consulted with the players before installing it. Oh, NOW he says it...
Meanwhile, the league said no to the group that wants to buy the Grizzlies led by ex-Dukie Brian
Oh, were there actual NBA games last night to talk about? How about Nash's 20 assists? Don't go using that as a springboard to argue he deserves a third straight MVP. Let's hope that era is behind us.
CFB Coaching Carousel: Wake's Jim Grobe said he is staying at Wake. Doesn't anyone want the
College Hoops: What have we learned so far about the young season? Parity rules. Think Gonzaga is all that? Whap: They lose to
You have to take anything Ben Johnson says with a grain of salt, but he insists that his problems at the '88 Olympics were the result of a conspiracy led by rival Carl Lewis. Track and field is so sketchy -- particularly back then, before most people really knew about steroids -- that I'd argue that anything is possible.
And, finally, if you live in NYC and are looking for fun tonight, I highly recommend heading to Happy Ending (302 Broome) for the latest installment of the Varsity Letters Reading Series. This month's event features Jack McCallum from Sports Illustrated, Josh Prager of "The Echoing Green" and Brad Snyder, who wrote an interesting book about Curt Flood. I should mention that the series is under new management; I have passed host and management duties along to Carl Bialik of the Wall Street Journal's excellent "Daily Fix" and Gelf Magazine. Should be a great event – and it's FREE – so head on over there (8 p.m. start time) to check it out. Here's a link.