Aaand we're back.
I will present this statement (which leads today's SN column) with zero cynicism:
Albert Pujols has saved baseball this season.
It was hijacked in early spring by A-Rod, then again by Manny just after the season started. Now, let's set aside that -- as we know -- fans don't really care about PEDs or cheating.
But the media sure makes an issue out of it. And Pujols has been the antidote (again, hold your cynicism, please).
He is crushing the ball, affirming his place as (a) the best player in baseball, (b) the best player of the decade, (c) one of the greatest players of all-time, based on his first 9 seasons.
The Cardinals are a (mild) surprise to be leading the NL Central at the break (I believe I picked the Cards to win the division back in the spring.)
And St. Louis will host this year's All-Star Game -- and a more earnest bunch of fans you will not find anywhere else in baseball. They will politely cheer everyone.
And they will roar when Pujols steps up for the Home Run Derby tonight. He's a must-see -- in addition to the favorite. (I'm also intrigued to see Joe Mauer, the AL's version of Pujols.)
It has been the Summer of the Cardinals -- Pujols, First Place, All-Star Game -- and for that they can thank the best player in baseball.
More you'll find in today's column:
*I go through every NBA Vegas Summer League box score so you don't have to! (Short version: Anthony Randolph is killing it. Stephen Curry shoots a lot. DaJuan Summers is a pleasant surprise. DeJuan Blair's double-double is NO surprise. Rodrique Beaubois is the real deal.
*MLB Talking Points
*Favre update (ugh)
*UFC 100 as WWE
*More Wade mockery (and my vision that he ends up playing for...the Knicks!)
Complete column here. More later.