More new posts coming at 11 am, 1 pm and 3. Check back.
The annual baseball "midseason" stuff is always a bit of a moving target: Do you do it when most teams generally get to 81 games played? Do you do it the Friday before the All-Star Break? DURING the All-Star Break? You don't want to be premature; you don't want to be too late.
So I split the difference -- taking advantage of a relatively slow news morning -- and posted my Top 3 Storylines of MLB's 2nd Half as the lead of today's SN column. Here's the shorthand:
(1) AL East menage a WTF.
(2) Pujols vs. Maris (vs. Bonds/Sosa)
(3) Almost everyone's a contender in the NL
You can get the full work-up in the column, although I'd love to get your own 2nd Half Storylines to Watch in the Comments.
*McNair Murder: I guess that's closure, and Occam's Razor is in effect -- the most obvious answer to the mystery was the right answer. Doesn't make it any less sad.
*LeBron/"No Witness": For someone as media savvy as LeBron (and Nike), they really blew this one. They could have let the video go viral -- it would have humanized LeBron. Instead, the story is their control-freakishness and lack of transparency.
My first thought was that Nike would come to its senses and use the tape -- now in their possession -- to create their own ad, releasing the images from it but spinning it to LeBron's ultimate advantage. Now it seems like they're simply saying, contrary to original reports, "No one was supposed to be taping!" Everyone knows that is b.s. Where are Nike's marketing ninjas?
*Mavs get Matrix: If you read my "Two NBAs" post -- my unifying theory of the state of the NBA -- you know that I will think very highly of the Mavericks (part of the NBA that is playing to win a title NOW) making the moves to keep up with the top contenders. I wasn't all that high on the Kidd re-signing, but combined with bringing in Shawn Marion and the Mavs have as good of a quintet (Dirk, Kidd, Marion, Howard, Terry) as there is in the NBA.
*MLB Last Night: Zobrist! That is all.
Complete column here. More later.