Oh, mercy! Rangers put up 30 runs: In this Worst Summer Ever for sports, there have been glimmers of glorious frivolity.
Isn't it nice to have a moment when we can all kick back, stare at the 30 runs -- 30! -- that the Rangers hung on the Orioles and enjoy the distraction that comes with something that hasn't happened in baseball since the 19th century.
And it begs a question of particular relevance given that we're in the middle of the Little League World Series:
Should Major League Baseball have a "mercy rule?"
The easy (and obvious) answer, of course, is "no." But maybe there's something to the idea. Aside from the novelty (and the impact on record-keeping), there was little point to continuing the game after the Rangers' lead reached, say, 20 runs. (The Little League mercy rule is triggered at 10.)
Would anyone have blamed the Orioles if newly "un-interimed" manager Dave Trembley had forfeited the game during the top of the 8th inning? (Especially considering they still had a second game of a double-header to play immediately afterward. With the idea of salvaging a split, it's not such a ludicrous idea. I would have given him huge credit if he did forfeit Game 1.)
Perhaps you believe that professional players should have to take their defeats in any and all forms. I was on a JetBlue flight and watched the highlights probably half-a-dozen times, unable to look away, even after multiple viewings. It's hard to feel mercy when you're laughing.
But -- if the (not unreasonable) clever gamesmanship implications of a "mercy"-driven forfeit don't do it for you -- maybe MLB can (or should) learn a little sportsmanship from their pre-pubescent peers.
Tom Brady joins the Varsity Dads: Congrats to Brady (and Bridget). Aside from Tiger, I can't imagine a more theoretically ideal father if you had to grow up the son of a sports star.
Reader E.F. quickly responds with an astute observation:
"How about any father that is married to the mother? What is the point of having Tom Brady as a dad if you don't ever seen him because he lives 2000 miles away from the mom who will be raising him?"
Brandon Webb Milestone Watch: Consecutive scoreless innings streak ends at 42 after Prince Fielder ruins it with an RBI single in the 1st.
MLB Stud: Albert Pujols, who homered for the 5th consecutive game. (In case you were, like me, too enthralled by the Rick Ankiel story to notice that Pujols is still the king of the Cards.)
MLB Dud: Cole Hamels, who went to the 15-day DL, temporarily tweaking the Phillies' postseason-race chances (and his own NL Cy campaign).
NFL: Jerome Bettis admits to faking an injury in Steelers camp in 2000 in order to avoid getting cut.
Rather than thinking of this as scandalous, I think it merely pulls back the curtain on what I can only imagine is an incredibly popular -- and widespread -- tactic among players, particularly aging stars.
(But nevertheless, anytime in sports – especially in the hyper-macho world of pro football – someone deploys the phrase "faked it," it doesn't sit well with most fans' ideas about sports and meritocracy.)
More NFL: Eli vs. Tiki. Seriously, do you really care? Here are two of the least likeable personalities in the NFL of the past year. If they want to feud, let 'em. Neither deserves the air time or attention.
Vick Watch: Why would Stephon Marbury defend Michael Vick? Marbury had built up an incredible amount of good-will from his populist sneaker line. Then he goes and erodes it by taking an insanely unpopular position.
Meanwhile, an NAACP leader wants the NFL and the Falcons to let Vick return after he does his jail time. I think that's the wrong battle to pick.
Meanwhile, 50 dogs found on Vick's property will be euthanized if they are not claimed by today. The problem is that the dogs are so brutalized that a domesticated life is probably unrealistic, with euthanization the only humane thing left for them.
Golf: FedEx Cup "Playoffs" and the question: Does anyone really care? Mainstream pundits have made a mistake trying to make this about casual fans.
(I'm not quite sure what a "casual" golf fan is: Someone who only watches the majors? Someone who only watches if Tiger is contending on Sunday?)
I think the PGA's "playoff" marketing is about keeping the more avid golf fans interested, using language (if not appeal) that casual fans can understand.
CFB: Did somebody mention Tim Tebow? (No? Just me wedging him into the discussion? Oh well.)
More CFB: I just filled out my first preseason ballot for the Blog Poll Top 25. The process (not the poll itself) affirmed how difficult (and ludicrous) it is to try to rank teams now. My guiding principle was to rank them based how I think they'll end the regular season (as opposed to my ballot after each week's games, when I'll rank them based on actual performance).
For an example of another BlogPollster, here's the entry from EDSBS. I'm not one to talk, but needless to say, I don't have South Carolina at No. 6. (But my list is so uninspired, so far, that I have to give him credit for taking a flying leap now, when the premium should be on clever choices.)
The real surprise (especially to me, as I realized what I was about to do) was which team I ended up ranking No. 1. (Hint: It was NOT USC.) I'll reveal that (plus the entire Top 25) next Monday to kick off the week-long college football preview coverage.
(Wow, between the CFB preview coverage and the celebration of the blog's one-year anniversary, next week's going to be a big week.)