MLB Pennant Race Mania! With just more than a month to play, it is SO on:
Phillies pick up a game on the Mets, after a head-to-head win. Padres pick up a game on the D'backs in a similar way. The Cubs came back to hold off the Brewers, and the Cards took over second place in the NL Central. The Angels came back to hold off the Mariners, pushing
And, oh right: The Yankees beat the Red Sox. But with all of these other (more) compelling division races, this one is the least dramatic of them all – by far the least competitive division race of the six. How great is that?
(I'm not sure why the Yankees would focus AT ALL on the division title, when they should be concentrating on winning the Wild Card. The mantra should be: Make the playoffs, however it happens. In the Wild Card Era, who cares about division titles?) And, for now, the Yankees are 1 GB the Mariners, with
Yi signs with the Bucks: Well THIS was an unexpected development, but kudos to the team for closing the deal (even if it took owner Herb Kohl going to
MLB Stud (and Dud): Ian Kennedy (and Mike Mussina). The MLB vet was booted from the Yankees rotation in favor of rookie sensation Ian Kennedy. The future is now for the Yanks.
NFL Fantasy Watch: Is Jesse Chatman about to displace Ronnie Brown as the Dolphins starting RB? (Was it so long ago that Brown was a hot pick to be in the Top 5?) At the very least, sounds like they will split carries, making Brown's fantasy value proposition all the more shaky. (Will Chatman be this season's Maurice Jones-Drew?)
CFB: How bad is Erik Ainge's finger injury? And how much will it hurt the Vols when they play at
Meanwhile, USC Running Backs coach Todd McNair has a history with dog-fighting, convicted of cruelty to animals a decade ago. In the current environment, will that embroil him in a scandal that could cost him his job? If he was coaching in the NFL, definitely.
But under the shield of the college system – where a coach like Pete Carroll rules with no restriction (from either the NCAA or even the leaders of his own institution) – unlikely. Carroll will cover for one of his own.
Artest supports Vick: Sort of. He says "I want to support him and be there for him." To his credit, Artest also says, "I don't support the dog fighting. I can't watch it. I can't imagine another dog biting a dog. It makes me nauseous." (via NY Post)
NBA Scandals: The refs get a lawyer. (Why: Do they NEED one?)
Meanwhile, Rafer Alston was arrested (again). At what point does David Stern invoke a Goodell-style "personal conduct policy" and suspend Alston for the quarter-season "time-out" he probably deserves?
Tim Couch coming out as having used HGH shouldn't come as too much of a surprise: The pressure to use steroids or other PEDs has always been felt greatest at the margins. Oh, I'm sure the superstars do it too, but it's the guys who need the artificial boost just to get to the point where they stay be on the margins that must feel the greatest temptation.
Equipment Watch: Given the court ruling upholding a ban on metal bats in high school games, I think we're seeing the beginning of the end of the "ping."
CFB: By mistake, I didn't post my Heismania post yesterday. It'll go up today. Sorry about that.
Meanwhile, I submitted my Week 2 Blog Poll ballot, with a few changes. Dropping USC behind LSU. Moving
But there's one constant: I kept Virginia Tech at the top of my ballot. I believe that I am the only college football-related pundit (mainstream or blogger) that has the Hokies picked to win the national title. (Please shoot me a note if you know that I'm not.) If the Hokies win at LSU ("if?" I mean "when"), EVERYONE will be on that bandwagon. And it will be here in a mere 10 days. Reserve your seats now. Still plenty of room.
Here's one of my favorite parts of the Blog Poll: The weekly roundtables off the poll results. This week's is: Who's overrated? Who's underrated? Lots of great stuff here. (None from me, this week.)
Alert: Stop reading here if you don't care about other people's fantasy teams. (I think that disclaimer should be standard before any item about your own fantasy team, particularly during the height of draft season.)
Fantasy Football: After a fierce draft battle among DS.com commenters, the results are in. Picking 4th in a 10-team league, I got (in this order): Larry Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Chad Johnson, Brandon Jacobs, Calvin Johnson, Vernon Davis, Reggie Brown, Santana Moss, DeAngelo Williams, Jon Kitna, Vince Young, Chester Taylor, Denver D, DJ Hackett and David Akers.
Finally, in case it's not on your radar today, don't forget to take a moment to consider the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the civics outrage it should continue to provoke.