Saturday, July 05, 2008

Dara Torres is Ridiculous

Not sure we've ever seen anything like this before in sports.
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Sunday 07/05 (Very) Quickie

Dara Torres!
Chris Duhon!

More in a bit.

- D.S.
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Friday, July 04, 2008

Friday 07/04 (Very) Quickie: Happy July 4

Nothing says "America" like Serena vs. Venus in the Wimbledon final. Um, except that it's in England.

Brendan Hansen: Wow. Shocker at the Olympic swimming trials in the 200 breaststroke.

Chris Paul gets paid: $68M -- a bargain.

Red Sox stifle Yankees: One more sign the Yankees just can't compete with the Rays.

Have a hot dog. Just not 55 or 60 of 'em.

Have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July, everyone. I'm trying to stay dry today.

-- D.S.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Few Seconds of Panic By Stefan Fatsis:
Must-Have for Your Summer Reading List

A Few Seconds of Panic by Stefan Fatsis is THE sports book of the summer -- probably the fall, too, given its NFL-focused subject. It will certainly make my short list for Best Sports Books of 2008.

The premise is simple: Fatsis goes to NFL training camp as a kicker with the Broncos. But this is no "Paper Lion" -- it's better. It's the most fascinating look at life inside the NFL that I have ever read, but also this totally engaging personal narrative by this guy who could be you or me -- certainly one of your buddies -- with an absolutely amazing story to tell. Fatsis just happens to be a uniquely gifted writer, too, who can pull it off. (He wrote the similarly must-read "Word Freak.")

I'm going to have a more extensive review next week, but if you are looking for an absolutely awesome read for this long holiday weekend -- or anytime the rest of this summer, pick up the book, either at the store or via Amazon. (And, if you're jonesing for the NFL in early July, this totally satisfies that craving.)

(Hardback books are often hard to recommend. In this case, it's one you'll want to have on your shelf long after you have enjoyed it. I actually recently reorganized my main "sports-book" bookshelf, which is large; the process of paring it down was much more involved than I thought it would be, but I had a chance to really revisit my favorite sports books of all time. As it happens, "A Few Seconds of Panic" made the cut.)

Kudos to Fatsis on an amazing effort. Get this book.

-- D.S.

(It must be noted that last December, Fatsis gave me and this blog a name-check on his weekly NPR sports segment, related to a turn-of-phrase I made about Tim Tebow breaking the Heisman's traditional "Class Ceiling." I was a fan of Fatsis long before that.)

Thursday 07/03 A.M. Quickie:
Favre, A-Rod, Longoria, Maggette, More

It's a good day for rumor-mongering, which is why I lead my Sporting News column today with some of the choicest:

Brett Favre unretiring? Come on! Who DIDN'T see this coming? He can deny all he wants (and he isn't even denying it!), but you know it's happening.

A-Rod and Cynthia splitting? And not just over A-Rod being with Madonna, but C-Rod is supposedly rocking out with Lenny Kravitz (between A-Rod's dabbling in Jewish mysticism and Cynthia hanging with Kravitz, the two Rods SO love the Jewish thing).

The Rays bandwagon should reach epic proportions, following their sweep of the Red Sox in Tampa. (0-6 at Fenway? Who cares: If the season ended today, the Red Sox would have the bigger problem, sitting behind the Rays in the standings and 0-6 at the Trop.) I'm not sure if the Rays are the best story in baseball this decade, but they are the MLB story of 2008 for sure.

Meanwhile, you have to feel awful for Seattle NBA fans, who officially lost the Sonics when the city sold them out to Clay Bennett for $45 million and the hope that the NBA will put a team there again someday. Good luck with that. It sucks for Seattle fans, with the only solace being that they have had months to prepare. But it sounds like now the team moves virtually overnight. (On the other hand, congrats to Oklahoma City, a fan base that earned its cred with its unconditional support of the Hornets while the team was relocated.) It will be wierd not to have the green and gold Seattle Sonics anymore, though.

Katie Hoff is awesome.

Everyone suddenly loves Corey Maggette, because he can't make more than the MLE, so he has the freedom to pick a contender (my money is on the Spurs, and he helps them continue their on-again, off-again, on-again championship run).

No Sporting News column tomorrow (or over the weekend, as usual), but I will be blogging all three days, if you have any interest in popping by. Otherwise, have a safe and relaxing long weekend. Another post or two coming this morning, I think.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Terry Pluto Is Living In Denial Re LeBron

"Too early to talk about it?" Give me a break. What I'm wondering is: What took everyone so long? Some of us have been spouting this for years already.

Here's my question: Resignation aside, why don't Cavs fans just enjoy the next two seasons? That's what Pluto should have said. (Second question: If LeBron leaves, will Cavs fans hate him?)

Another: Why aren't Cavs fans more outraged that LeBron does nothing to quash the speculation (his lack of quashing a big reason that there is speculation to begin with)?

Perhaps it's because they're so afraid that if they express any outrage about it, it provides him with a more convenient excuse to leave -- which he is going to do anyway.

(Presuming that Cavs ownership eventually realizes that there's no way in hell that LeBron is staying, I hope they have the good sense to deal him at the 2010 trading deadline.)

So there you have it, Cavs fans: Enjoy the next two seasons and STFU -- OR -- get noisy about it and force LeBron to make the same commitment to you that you have to him.

Those are the only two options that retain any modicum of self-respect for yourselves; what most of you are doing now -- irrational and angry denial at those who say Brooklyn is a done-deal and/or meek acquiescence toward LeBron himself -- is slightly pathetic.

-- D.S.

Slide Over, Koufax: So Does Alex Rodriguez Now Qualify As a Jewish Baseball Player?

Is A-Rod the greatest Jewish baseball player ever?

So one quite awesome detail about the A-Rod/Madonna story is that according to the New York Post, A-Rod has reportedly been studying Kabbalah, a "Jewish mystical practice popularized by Madonna."

OK. Hold it right there.

I am officially embracing A-Rod as an officially unofficially officially Jewish baseball player.

Today was already sizing up as an amazing one for fans of Jewish baseball players -- perhaps the most selective of all of the various segments of baseball players. Kevin Youkilis appears to be headed for an All-Star Game starting position, and Ryan Braun was giving Kosuke Fukudome a run for his money as the 3rd NL outfield starter.

But this tops them both. I welcome A-Rod to the meshpuchah as an honorary participant.

Hank Greenberg. Sandy Koufax. (Rod Carew, per Commenters). Alex Rodriguez.

This changes everything.

-- D.S.

Wednesday 07/02 A.M. Quickie:
MLB All-Star Voting, Rays, Baron D, More

As I wrote in the lead of today's Sporting News column, I am torn about the All-Star Voting (which ends tonight): Six Red Sox in the starting lineup would make me retch; six Red Sox in the starting lineup at Yankee Stadium would make me laugh.

There is a middle ground: Youkilis, Pedroia, Manny, Papi -- yes. Varitek and Drew -- no. Either way, Red Sox Nation is flexing; the Rest of the Nation isn't organized enough to rally around one "Anyone But Red Sox" contender at each position.

Meanwhile, I would love to see Kosuke Fukudome make the All-Star Game as a starter -- but not at the expense of Ryan Braun, who probably ranks as my favorite active player. Should be an interesting final surge today; presumably, Japan in its entirety rallies more than Milwaukee.

In the NBA, the Baron Davis deal putting him in LA with the Clippers is fascinating. Remember yesterday that I was saying Gilbert Arenas is first-team All-NBA when it comes to entertainment? Baron joins him, instantly giving the Clips a star they can build some enthusiasm around -- not to mention lure Elton Brand back (if he doesn't go to Golden State) and pair with rookie Eric Gordon.

Oh, and the Seattle judge decides on the fate of the Sonics today: My bet is that they are allowed to leave for OK City.

Finally, you might still be a month away from caring about watching Olympic events on TV, but you really should be watching the US Olympic swimming trials, where world records are falling every night and the nail-biting finishes between going-to-Beijing 2nd and going-home 3rd are intense.

Here is the complete column

More later. I have a book review ready for a new book that I think is a must-read for this long weekend.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Gilbert Arenas: Washington or Golden State?

The Warriors want Gilbert Arenas back. Badly. I think if the Wizards hadn't re-signed Antawn Jamison so quickly and aggressively, Gilbert would have thought twice; now, I can't seem him turning down roughly equal money to bail on teammates and a town he loves in D.C.

(One rumor has the Maloofs desperate to bring him to Sacto; I understand the impulse: As I've been saying for a while, if you're not winning the NBA title -- as the Kings and Wiz aren't -- you have to go for highest entertainment value. And that's where Gilbert is All-NBA.)

Still, the offer made me nervous, if only because with Gil, you never know.

-- D.S.

Tuesday 07/01 A.M. Quickie:
Rays, Tigers, NBA Free Agency, More

Where are all the Rays fans? That's the lead of today's Sporting News column

Sure, the Trop was 80 percent full last night, but -- seriously? -- the first-place Rays were playing their new-rival Red Sox. I know it was a Monday, but it was also probably half Red Sox fans; despite the Rays' success, the fans aren't following. What a shame. 

As I said in today's column, there are more Rays fans among other teams' fans than there are natural Rays fans. There is no shame in being bandwagon here, MLB fans who live in Florida. Adopt the Rays today, and no one will ever fault you for it.

Meanwhile, for something presumed to be a dud, NBA Free Agency is kind of hopping today: Antawn Jamison went back to the Wiz, presumably setting the table for an Arenas return, too. Baron Davis opted out, as did Brand and Maggette from the Clips. The Knicks are looking at Chris Duhon; presumably, others might be, too.

And yet all anyone can talk about is 2010. I'm going to try to have a post about that later today.

-- D.S.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday 06/30 A.M. Quickie:
Phelps, Hoff, Gay, Rays, Lackey, More

Now that Tiger Woods is done for the year, it is clear that Michael Phelps will be the biggest superstar in sports in America -- perhaps the world -- this year.

That's why he is leading today's Sporting News column, even though the Olympics don't start for another 5 weeks.

You got a taste last night when he broke the world record in the 400 IM, in a phenomenally dramatic swim with Ryan Lochte.

NBC was right on to put Phelps in prime time -- he is even more ready for the spotlight than he was in Athens 4 years ago.

Meanwhile, the Rays are in 1st place. It is June 30 and the Rays are in 1st place. And in a delightful bit of scheduling karma, they play the Red Sox at the Trop.

Now, what's the over-under on the attendance tonight. Anything less than a sell-out is a shame, but I wouldn't put it past the region to only make the place half-full -- oh, unless Red Sox fans show up to fill up the rest.

NBA Free Agency starts today: As a Wizards and Gil Arenas fan, I should probably be at least slightly nervous that something will go wrong before he signs a new deal with them, now that he has become an unrestricted free agent.

Count me among the folks who are willing to take a risk and give him max or near-max money. As long as the Wizards aren't winning any NBA titles -- and, let's face it, they aren't, now or anytime soon -- I want one of the Top 3 most entertaining players in the league on my team.

There's a lot more in the column. Check it out here. More later.

-- D.S.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday 06/29 (Very) Quickie

If you had to pick only one story to talk about this weekend, it is a baseball milestone that is even more exclusive than the 600 HR Club:

The Angels became only the 5th team in MLB history to lose after pitching a no-hitter. Jared Weaver and Jose Arredondo get the no-no, but the Dodgers get the win.

Matt Kemp: Reached 1B on an error. Took 2B on a SB. Got 3B on another error. Scored on a sac fly.

Otherwise, the Dodgers got bupkus; unfortunately for the Angels pitchers, that was one more bupkus than the Angels had.

Meanwhile, Euro 08 final today: Germany (without Ballack?) vs. Spain, seemingly destined to break its curse today.

Tyson Gay: New American record in the 100M.

NBA: Lot of talk that the Knicks want a PG and that Stephon Marbury is as good as released when that happens. (Hmm: Monta Ellis in a sign-and-trade? Would the Warriors want to give up on him?) Meanwhile, is there going to be a Camby-for-Hinrich deal?

Sports of interest in our house today: US Olympic swimming trials.

-- D.S.