Today's Names to Know: Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson, Don Shula, MLB Replay, Miguel Cabrera, Jose Guillen, Matt Williams, Paul Byrd, Peja and Paul, Kevin Durant,
NFL Midseason Awards: These are as obvious as the fact that the Pats are en route to another Super Bowl title, whether it's 19-0 or otherwise. There's a certain comfort to this much dominance:
MVP: Tom Brady
Rookie: Adrian Peterson
Coach: Mike McCarthy/Romeo Crennel
Must-Read: Matt Ufford's guest-post over at Free Darko about Peterson.
As far as awards go, it would be more interesting to debate the runner-up for MVP (Brett Favre?) and Rookie (Marshawn Lynch?).
Don Shula is a crank: As if you didn't have enough reason to disdain the 1972 Dolphins, their coach Don Shula said a perfect season by the Pats would be "tainted" by their cheating scandal. Ridiculous.
Roger Goodell won't reduce Pac-Man Jones' suspension: Because Pac-Man is JUST that big of a fool.
MLB GM Meetings: Replay rules. The GMs have recommended that baseball adopt a limited instant replay system on boundary calls, mainly related to home runs. I'm all for replay, so this is a start. Now, it's just up to the owners to approve it (along with the players' and umps' unions). Let's hope no one pulls out the "slippery slope" argument.
MLB Hot Stove: If the Marlins are shopping Miguel Cabrera, who's buying? (Hmm: The Yankees have a big gaping hole at 3B, but presumably don't want to give up one of their young arms to fill it.)
MLB Scandal Watch: Jose Guillen bought HGH. I can't hear Guillen's name without thinking of the climactic scene in Sam Walker's amazing book "Fantasyland" (which, if you haven't read, is a must-read sports book – one of my Top 5 favorite sports books of all time).
Matt Williams linked to steroids, too: Honestly, at this point, the bigger question is who WASN'T involved?
MLB Free Agency: It isn't nearly as dramatic as the first time, but Curt Schilling signed (re-signed) with the Red Sox, giving the team a veteran presence to go with all that youth... and presumably giving new life to one of the great athlete blogs in sports (certainly the best in baseball).
Meanwhile, the Indians picked up an option on pitcher Paul Byrd, and you have to wonder whether they picked up the option on his now-tainted reputation involving the league's steroid scandal. (His early ALCS performance presumably overrides that.)
NBA Last Night: The Hornets are totally for real, putting up 118 in a 16-point rout of the Lakers. Peja had a team-record 10 3's and Chris Paul had a team-record 21 assists. I think fans and experts underestimated the Hornets in preseason projections.
Meanwhile: Dwight Howard vs. Al Jefferson matched two of the Top 3 young post players in the NBA (and two poster-guys for the absurdity of not allowing players to enter the NBA directly from high school). Howard won the battle and the game, with 28/16.
Kevin Durant Watch: 27 points (11-22 FG), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 turnovers in a 6-point loss to the Kings, dropping the Sonics' record to 0-4. At this rate, they will be in a position to draft high for a complement to Durant in
(It's been a rough start for Big Ten hoops:
CFB: Bill Callahan says he won't resign at
NHL: Eric Lindros expected to retire. Wow, remember when that guy was going to be THE next big thing?
Strat-O-Matic '86 Update: Heart-breaking season-opening loss! I lost my 1986 Cubs season-opener 5-4 on a walk-off pinch-hit single. As expected, my feeble bullpen (before games get to Lee Smith) is going to kill them/me this season. And check out yesterday's bonus post about Strat if you haven't had a chance.
Sports Media: The Basketball Jones rules. If you are an NBA fan and you are not listening to the Basketball Jones podcast every day, you are not an NBA fan. Tas and Skeets are fantastic, and it's the best sports podcast you'll find online. Go to the Basketball Jones to listen, or just subscribe via iTunes and make it easy on yourself.
NYC Readers: Tomorrow night, Varsity Letters returns with another great lineup that features ESPN's Bruce Feldman reading from his new book about college football recruiting, "Meat Market"; Steve Friedman reading from "The Agony of Victory"; and John and Rick Wolff, father and son, reading from "Harvard Boys." It's at 8 p.m. tomorrow night at Happy Ending (302 Broome). As always, it's free. Here is a link to all the info. Hope you can make it.