Picking up where I left off last year (and perhaps a little punch-drunk from the Favre coverage), I think that Cliff Lee deserves the NL Cy Young, if the season ended today.
Part of that is because of last night's start he made, which was sick -- sick enough to lead today's SN column as the springboard for my Lee-for-Cy campaign.
Part of that is because he is the biggest reason the Phillies should be considered the team to beat in the NL. Part of that is because "yeah-yeah-Lincecum-is-awesome-ok." Part of that is CC Sabathia last year.
A year ago, Sabathia came over to the Brewers from the Indians and proceeded to destroy the NL, leading the Brewers to the playoffs -- his reward was a 5th-place finish for NL Cy. Terrible.
So it is in part the legacy of Sabathia -- and my own childhood mythology of Rick Sutcliffe in 1984 for the Cubs -- that makes me obsessed with Lee as the NL's best pitcher.
Yes, it's too early to say things like "Lee for Cy!" No, it's not too early to marvel at how he is -- right now -- the best pitcher in the NL.
One other big topic I'd like to touch on: Memphis getting its wins from 2008 "vacated."
There is no bigger joke of a punishment in sports. "Vacated" may change the record books, but it doesn't change your memories. It doesn't change that -- without Derrick Rose -- Memphis wouldn't have made the title game, let alone been a 1-seed... so the teams they beat along the way were robbed. It doesn't change Calipari's recruiting advantages based on that season -- or his job change that was another result.
How about this: Memphis gets a postseason ban for every round of the 2008 tournament they cheated their way into. Or a TV ban for a year. Or a reduction in scholarships.
The NCAA gets mocked because its punishment system is toothless. "Vacated?" Might as well say "Vacation." (And that doesn't even count that the penalty should follow Calipari to Kentucky.)
More you'll find in today's column:
*Holliday vs. Halladay
*Jason Williams is back!
*Two must-read SEC links. (I'm sure you're thrilled.)
*Fran Tarkenton tells it like it is.
Complete column here. More later.