Saturday, August 01, 2009

Worlds Collide: Shanoff, Tebow, Deadspin

"A George divided against itself cannot stand!"
That is sort of how I felt when I saw that my little TimTeblog side project was last night's featured material for Deadspin's DUAN (Deadspin Up All Night) post.

Because there is Deadspin Dan: Who wrote the weekly 2007 college football column; who guest-edited Deadspin for a weekend in June 2007; who Zerkle mocked when I offered to let Tim Tebow perform the circumcision on my newborn son last October; who posts on this site you're on now.

And, now, there is Teblog Dan: Who launched a blog exclusively dedicated to coverage of Tim Tebow -- yes, out of fanboy appreciation, but also because it was an interesting business concept; who throws out theories that the Pats will sign Mike Vick (likely correct!) because they want to test the single-wing before they draft Tim Tebow next April (likely crackpot!)

And last night, those two Dans met in the hallowed ground of Deadspin's DUAN, partly at the mercy of Dash Bennett and the Commenters (what else is new?) but partly in some kind of unholy union when my worlds finally collided.

The sun still came up today -- but am I the same Dan?

-- D.S.

Full Seinfeld dialogue, referenced above:

George: "You have no idea of the magnitude of this thing. If she is allowed to infiltrate this world then George Costanza as you know him ceases to exist.

You see, right now I have Relationship George. But there is also Independent George. That's the George you know, the George you grew up with... Movie George, Coffee Shop George, Liar George, Bawdy George."

Jerry: "I love that George."
George: "Me too, and he's dying. If Relationship George walks through this door, he will kill Independent George.

"A George divided against itself cannot stand!"
MEANWHILE: Oh, was there sports to cover? How, in all of the trade crazy -- Peavy (hunh?), V-Mart to Boston, Washburn to Detroit (that's not Seattle giving up on this season; that's the Mariners' selling high) -- the main trade attraction was a dud: Halladay to... no one. Cliff Lee was dominant in his Phillies debut. And, no, that wasn't Mike Vick working out for the Patriots -- it was Cleo Lemon. Cue jokes about New England racism.

Cliff Lee for NL Cy Young: Why Can't Cliff?

Is it too early to start a Cliff Lee for NL Cy Young bandwagon?

Considering I tried the same thing with CC Sabathia when he came over to the Brewers a year ago, I think not.

It is based on Rick Sutcliffe's successful '84 Cy campaign when he went from the Indians to the Cubs.

Last night, Lee got off to a pretty good start: Complete-game 4-hitter with 6 Ks (to only 2 BBs) and 1 earned run, on only 109 pitches (79 for strikes).

Lee for NL Cy. (Yes, yes: Tim Lincecum. Save it. If the Giants make the playoffs, OK. Otherwise, if Lee keeps pitching like this for the Phillies, "Why can't Cliff?")

-- D.S.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Michael Vick to the Patriots, Updated

So there's this rumor -- I guess it's nearly an urban legend, at this point -- that Michael Vick was spotted at Logan Airport, which -- combined with his brief assertion that he's close to signing a deal with an NFL team -- MUST mean that he is signing with the Patriots. (Sarcasm, but still...)

Let's review why this makes sense for all involved:

Mike Vick: "Moss Theory" (instant credibility, stable environment)
Bill Belichick: Itching to experiment with the single-wing (w/o risking Brady)
Tom Brady: Can get 6-10 single-wing plays off per game (those add up)
Pats fans: You know that Vick is going to succeed wildly. (See Moss.)
Pats haters: One more reason to hate the Patriots.
Fantasy GMs: Scared to be the douche who DOESN'T draft him.
Tim Tebow: Single-wing test with Vick sets stage for Pats drafting Tebow.
"Dual-threat" college QBs: Instantly improve NFL draft value.

There is no NFL situation that Vick could land in better than the Patriots. There is no move more brilliant for the Patriots to make than to bring in Vick. This is the ultimate no-brainer.

-- D.S.

Friday 07/31 Quickie: MLB Trades, Papi,
Brady, NFL Camps, USC, Canseco, More

I feel like I said my piece about David Ortiz in yesterday's post (below). You also get the sense that fans -- as always -- REALLY don't care (aside from schadenfreude value) and would much rather talk about the MLB Trade Deadline. I agree.

So let me summarize this morning's lead argument from today's SN column:

Remember when I presented my "Two NBAs" theory? The gist: Like 10 total NBA teams seem to truly be playing to win a championship right now -- this season.

OK, compare that to MLB: There are 10 teams NOT taking the season seriously enough to compete for the 2009 playoffs. (8 teams for the NL Wild Card, alone!)

2/3 of the NBA is either tanking, faking, hiding or evading payroll; in MLB, 2/3 of the league is in playoff contention -- and it shows.

Consider the conventional wisdom about the Giants or Rangers or Mariners before the season started. Now consider that they are BUYERS, not sellers at the trade deadline. Amazing.

Maybe it is the lucky vagaries of baseball's anything-can-happen playoff system that has teams at the periphery of contention saying, "Why not us?" Whatever it is: It works.

If you're not making moves today -- or at least this week -- you're falling behind. Or you're that majority part of the NBA that doesn't seem to think competing THIS season matters.

Meanwhile, if you do want more Papi analysis, it's in the column -- including what I think is a pretty good approximation of how Papi's "fact-finding" mission will end up:

"That milkshake my 'friend' handed me was laced with PEDs? I'm shocked! I always thought my ballooning home run totals in 2003 were a result of my emerging talents!"

Oh, and file that Canseco quote away. He's a world-class d'bag, but more than anyone -- players, media, owners, MLB execs, politicians -- he has been right about all this stuff.

Complete column here. More later.

-- D.S.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Today on TimTeblog

What slow offseason?
*OK, so maybe it's the Jags and not the Pats testing Vick before drafting Tebow.
*QB recruit Trey Burton is like Tim Tebow in at least ONE way.
*Don't hand Tebow the 2009 Heisman yet. (No, really.)

Why Leach's 64-Team Playoff is the Health Care "Public Option" of College Football

Mike Leach frames the college football playoff debate correctly: Playoffs are "mainstream." To not have a playoff is not mainstream.

But I think everyone agrees that college football needs a playoff. Where Leach proves himself even smarter is when he advocates a 64-team playoff. This is the bold innovative thinking needed to reform the system.

A widespread playoff is the college football equivalent of a "public option" in health care, the transformative step that would break the chokehold that the special interests have on something so necessary to us: College football.

Folks who propose a 4-team, 8-team or 16-team option are mere incrementalists who don't really want to see a playoff, because in all those scenarios, they end up with as many problems as they claim to solve. "It's better than nothing" is, in this case, not better than nothing.

Let's start with this: The "Plus-One" idea -- a title game after the bowls are over, re-ranking the teams -- is ridiculous, unless you can match 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 in a "semifinal" bowl pairing. That would be, I suppose, the "4-team" playoff option.

So let's look at the 4-team option: Even assuming you could match 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3, let's take an easy example: What would happen last year? Let's say Florida is 1. I guess that makes Oklahoma No. 2. Who's No. 3: Texas? So we get a rematch. OK. And who's 4? Alabama, you say? We saw that game a week earlier. Maybe USC has a claim. Or, oh right, there's unbeaten Utah, which proved itself to be a Top-4 team when it was all said and done. So Plus-One and/or the 4-team option doesn't really help.

How about the 8-team playoff? More teams involved? Great. Let's be naive and think that we would be able to select the 8 best teams, rather than the champs of 6 conferences, plus two "at-large" teams -- maybe from the power conferences, maybe from the non-power conferences. So that's one issue: Good luck when 4 of the Top 8 are from the SEC or Big 12 and a bunch of conferences are shut out. Even if you could pick your Top 8, it's easy to know that Florida, Oklahoma and Texas should have been part of an 8-team playoff field a year ago; once you get past those obvious choices, the decision-making is a LOT murkier, even if you have your choice of any team, regardless of conference.

(If we were going to do an 8-team playoff, it would need way more innovative thinking, such as the plan I proposed here, to "open source" the playoff. I actually loved this idea.)

How about the 16-team playoff? First, every power conference would insist on being given an automatic bid -- and the not-so-power conferences would probably demand the same treatment, which would be insane in a 16-team field -- too many great teams left out. (Try this thought experiment: Eliminate the 31 at-large bids of the NCAA basketball tournament and see how enjoyable it is to have the "small school" factor.) Meanwhile, if you thought picking between teams 4th-12th was hard for 8 spots, try picking between teams 12th-30th for 16 spots.

Which is where Leach comes in: The 64-team playoff makes sense. Every conference can have an automatic bid, but we can include enough at-large teams that it would be very hard to claim you were "snubbed" (and, like the NCAA Tournament, most folks would have no sympathy for you). Reduce the regular-season and put the games at neutral sites -- let cities bid for them and let local fans join die-hard travelers the stands for a playoff game, like they do at NCAA sub-regionals.

But I'd even be willing to walk it back: How about 32 teams? You can play the first three rounds in between conference-championship weekend and New Year's Day, then the semis and finals in the two weeks after New Year's Day. Every conference can have a slot, with plenty of room left for great at-large teams. Because every non-power-conference has a guaranteed spot, there will be no griping when every at-large bid goes to a power-conference team. And no guarantees for Notre Dame; join a conference or earn your way as an at-large.

The fact is: 4-, 8- and even 16-team playoff scenarios just won't solve the problem -- worthy teams being left out, the debate continuing to rage.

In the end, I would still stick with my old "everyone-in-the-pool" concept that proposes we let EVERY team into the Tournament -- like Indiana high school basketball used to be.

But the truth is that Leach is closer to being right than other playoff proponents, who just don't go far enough.

College football needs its "public option."

-- D.S.

David Ortiz Used Steroids Back in 2003: Come On, Are You Really Surprised?

Please -- PLEASE -- tell me that you're not shocked to find out that David Ortiz used PEDs back in 2003. (Obviously, to find out Manny was is hardly a shock at this point.)

I have never been much of a PED hysteric -- I'm more of a realist: Everyone was using PEDs in some way, either steroids or amphetamines, so it is what it is.

But you can bet that a hot meme will quickly become: "Well just how delegitimized is Boston's 2004 title now?" We're not taking the banner away, obviously. But it's certainly tainted.

And that's the point: Everything is tainted. Therefore: In a twisted way, nothing is tainted.

I think what should offend fans more than the cheating is Big Papi's lying. He has consistently denied using steroids. Which makes him a Hall of Fame hypocrite.

It's always the cover-up, never the actual crime. I don't blame Ortiz for the cheating; I blame him for lying about the cheating.

-- D.S.

UPDATE: Because I am more concerned about the lying than the cheating, can we please agree to have a one-day window where anyone who ever used PEDs can admit to it without punishment (aside from taint, I guess). After that, if it came out you used, we would know you were a liar and in the best interests of baseball, you'd be banned. So clean! And when we figure out that EVERYONE did it, it wouldn't be a big deal anymore.

Books: Beckham Experiment by Grant Wahl

Apparently, it's Summer Reading Week here! Today: "The Beckham Experiment," by Grant Wahl.

Deadspin beat me to the punch yesterday with its excerpt (and chat!) with Grant Wahl, who wrote the recently published "Beckham Experiment," which is exactly what it sounds like: In-depth reporting and analysis of David Beckham's attempt to turn soccer in America into a "major" sport.

Beckham's goal was that audacious and both Wahl's book premise and execution match it -- even if the goal itself has fallen short. (Perhaps way short, if last week's Beckham Revolt was any indication.) But, for me, that makes the book all the more interesting. Success is never as interesting as failure.

Like my post about "Cooperstown Confessional" yesterday, I am still mid-way through Wahl's Beckham book, but it is already one of my favorite sports books of the past few years. I am constantly looking for the "If you read only ONE book about this sport, make it X." ("Sunday Money" is my gold standard.)

I hesitate to compare "Beckham Experiment" to "Fever Pitch" (memoir of fandom) or even "Among the Thugs" (sociology of fandom). As a book purely about the sport -- the business, the inner-workings, really -- of soccer, Wahl's book is a must-read, if just to be soccer literate as a sports fan (as you should be).

I even got Wahl to give me my own "exclusive" Q&A -- literally, one question of mine, via email, for which he was gracious enough to answer:

Q: Youth soccer participation is huge -- and feels like it has been for at least 30 years, since I was a kid. And there's a strong argument to be made that you develop fan affinity by actually playing a sport as a kid. (That is certainly an argument that MLS has made for at least 15 years, if not longer.) At what point -- if ever -- will this youth participation translate to widespread, "mainstream" (ie, up there with MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR) fan interest in soccer within the U.S.? Star-wattage apparently won't do it. What will? Wahl's reply:
I love soccer, and I've been covering it for 12 years for Sports Illustrated, but I still have no idea if it will ever be one of the top three spectator sports in America. I do find it fascinating, though, that so many wealthy businessmen--billionaires, in fact--continue investing so much money in trying to make pro soccer matter on a regular basis in this country. I don't think there's any magic bullet that will suddenly skyrocket pro soccer's popularity, but I do think that a combination of factors have already made soccer bigger here: the advent of MLS, the infrastructure that has come with it (read: soccer stadiums), the changing demographics in America (most notably the huge population increase of Hispanic-Americans, many of them soccer lovers) and the improvement of the U.S. men's national team (five straight World Cups after going 40 years without one). I hope the soccer failure (so far) of the Beckham Experiment doesn't prevent MLS owners from opening their wallets for future stars, because I do think that star power will help MLS, but MLS's slow-growth strategy has worked in some ways. The league isn't in any danger of folding, and new expansion cities like Seattle have seen soccer be a rousing success. The continued growth of pro soccer here is a slow process, one that might take decades, and it may never compete with the Top Three. But it is here to stay.
It is here that I should add that during my brief tenure at SI from 1998-1999 (working on the side, then, Wahl was probably my favorite person on the magazine side. As you can imagine back then, most SI magazine staff thought we dot-com staffers were second-class citizens. Not Grant -- he "got" the Web, as his terrific mailbags (mostly about college hoops, which I got to edit) were evidence. He was also a congenial person to work with.

He and I were both assigned to cover the 1999 Final Four -- he wrote the magazine's cover story, I did stuff like this (which, frankly, helped crystallize my thinking for the Daily Quickie, so it sort of worked out) -- and he couldn't have been nicer to me, despite being under a ton of pressure himself. I have always appreciated that -- even as I have marveled at his writing and reporting talents, which are among the best not just at SI, but in all of sports media. I had sort of been waiting for him to write his Book -- "Beckham Experiment" is probably the purest representation of Wahl's abilities fulfilled.

You can get the book here. Your summer reading diet -- and sports-book library -- will be better for it.

-- D.S.

Thursday 07/30 Quickie: Top Coach Ever?
Favre, Vick, Lee, Halladay, Urlacher, More

Who is the best team-sport coach ever? What a debate-starter. SN's panel picked John Wooden, and it's hard to argue. In today's SN column, I break down their Top 50, including:

*Pat Summitt was screwed. She's Top 3 all-time.
*Bill Belichick may end up in the Top 10.
*Of coaches not on the list, Urban Meyer is most likely to crack it one day.

There seemed to be a formula to being Top 50: Longevity. Consistent winning. Championships. Media myth-making (which tends to follow the first three things).

It's a fun list to argue over, particularly when you break it down by sport or think about snubs or think about who will eventually make the list a decade from now.

*I told you: Brett Favre isn't going to stay retired.
*Mike Leach is so awesome. More on that later today.
*The Phils win, the Jays lose.
*Look at the Mariners and Giants dealing like contenders!
*Vick to the Jaguars? (Makes sense.)
*Urlacher hates Cutler? (Makes sense, sort of)
*I have no problem with Marvin Williams.
*Who will USC unexpectedly lose to THIS year?
*I couldn't feel more awful for Erin Andrews.

Complete column here
. More later.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Book Club: "Cooperstown Confidential" by Zev Chafets

Longtime readers know my general disdain for the process related to entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame -- mostly for the overly clubby, overly opaque clique of arbiters of Hall-worthiness from the Baseball Writers Association of America. I think the selection process is inherently flawed, and that -- at a minimum -- the current voting system should be imploded. (The late Red Smith agrees with me, by the way.) I would even suggest fans would do a better job than the BBWAA.

Because of that, I was thrilled to get a review copy of "Cooperstown Confidential" by Zev Chafets, which I have been enjoying as a fun bit of myth-busting about the Hall. I was going to do a post about it later this summer, but there is a terrific review of the book in today's New York Times, so it seemed appropriate to bring it up now. (FWIW, I have a stack of books from this summer that I am trying to work through simultaneously to post about here. Bear with me.)

-- D.S.

Why Vick Will End Up With the Patriots

Michael Vick will end up with the Patriots. And not just because of the lazy "image-rehab" comparisons to Randy Moss. No, because it also fits neatly into my "Patriots draft Tebow" theory.

In the end, it would be a win for Vick, a win for Belichick, a win for Brady, a win for the Patriots, a win for Patriots-haters, a win for Tebow... and it is the theory behind today's big post at the Teblog.

(UPDATE: Fanhouse has a handy list of teams who have made some kind of remark on the record about Vick -- may be legit, may be standard NFL deception. Note who isn't on the list: Pats.)

Wednesday 07/29 Quickie: Favre, Vick,
Buehrle, Halladay, Phelps, Pryor, ACC

I don't believe Brett Favre. And I'm a little surprised anyone would.

Oh, sure, I believe that he isn't unretiring TODAY. But per today's SN column, there's still time for him to do a U-turn on this season.

And even if he doesn't come back THIS season, who's to say he won't get the itch to return NEXT season? That's a full season away. Full season to get healthy. Full season to mutter to himself (and the various media folks he works with): "I'm still better than most starting NFL QBs."

More than anything, Favre craves the attention he gets from floating his comebacks. And so we might begin enjoying a blissful lull in Favrian theatrics today, but they -- and he -- will be back.

Meanwhile, what should the Vikings do? Sign Mike Vick, obviously. Like, today. Just do a sneak attack on the rest of the league. What do they have to lose? No, seriously? Just give him Favre's No. 4 and don't look back.

Buehrle Watch: I defy a starting pitcher over the next few decades to match Buehrle's new MLB record for consecutive batters retired. It's not quite "56," but it's pretty rough to top -- start with the notion you'd have to have a perfect game first, then throw nearly 2/3 of another. Then get that one more out.

MLB Trade Talk: The Yankees are talking about getting Jarrod Washburn. The Red Sox are talking about getting Roy Halladay. You be the judge. (The Jays would be insane to trade Halladay to a division rival, except that the Red Sox seem willing to offer up some prime prospects - and I think the Jays could uncynically say, "We're not competitive this year or next anyway, so why not?"

CFB Media Days: Terrelle Pryor is the talk of the Big Ten -- as he should be -- although I think Pat Fitzgerald did more to raise his stock with the media than any other coach. I tweeted this yesterday: He's the best coach in sports under the age of 40. Not just in football. All of sports. That includes Mike Tomlin. As for the ACC... eh... hey, I'm no hater: I think that Georgia Tech will end up in my preseason Top 5.

Phelps loses (Phelps loses?!): The whole "supersuit" thing is fine, as long as Phelps is the beneficiary in shattering world records and collecting Olympic gold medals. But as soon as a Speedo rival comes out with an even more buoyant suit -- and Phelps loses to an Arena swimmer -- it's "Nope, these suits have got to go." Here's an idea: One common suit for all competitors, who can put whatever logo they want on them. FINA can sell the worldwide production rights to the highest bidder.

Complete column here. More later.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Is The Coaches' Top 25 Poll Dead?

Great post by Matt Hinton synthesizing the discussion around Spurrier's all-SEC ballot and its impact on the Coaches' Top 25 poll ballots, which we all know are corrupt to the core -- either filled out by coaches with nothing but massive conflicts-of-interest that obliterate any credibility they may have... or simply not filled out by coaches at all, but rather by assistant SIDs.

Because the Coaches' poll is part of the BCS formula, it is important. (That's why maintaining its transparency was so important.)

But let's not let the media -- who are tap-dancing on the Coaches' poll grave -- off so easily.

The AP Top 25 is nearly as corrupt as the coaches' version, wracked by regional (certainly school-specific) biases; a lack of transparency; a lack of accountability; and at least one other thing that we kill the coaches for but rarely see pointed out about the AP voters: If they are doing their day job of following their specific team on a Saturday -- watching the game, getting quotes, filing their story, etc -- how do they possibly consume enough football to make an educated vote?

(There is another consideration: No matter what the "BCS" stands for, an AP national title still means something important. Just ask USC if they think they were "national champs" in 2003. And you get the sense that AP voters would like nothing more than to have an excuse to exercise their importance by splitting the title at the earliest available opportunity.)

That's one reason I am such a huge fan of the BlogPoll, of which I am a voting member: (1) While the roster of participants is large, there is some semblance of criteria by administrator Brian Cook (whose own rep is unimpeachable); (2) there is complete transparency -- not only can you see what a voter did on their ballot, but most voters encourage their readers to make an argument for changing the ballot; (3) I would argue that most BlogPollsters consume more college football on a Saturday than their AP counterparts.

Is it a BlogPoll fail that they/we ended up with Florida as our national champ, rather than Utah? If we, as a group, had sincerely picked the Utes, that would have been incredible. But as we all fill out our ballots with some semblance of integrity, it simply didn't register to "game" it by voting for Utah.

That was a couple of AP pollsters' jobs, apparently.

-- D.S.

Tuesday 07/28 Quickie: Vick, Goodell,
LeBron, Pryor, Bowden, Rose, Okafor, More

Michael Vick and Roger Goodell can spin all they want, because the only spinning that counts will be coming from the teams that will consider pursuing Vick.

"Are you thinking about Vick?" will be THE question at training camps, much like "Did you vote for Tebow?" was the question last week at SEC Media Day.

It's an easy storyline for reporters, the fans are certainly curious and -- let's face it -- Vick's return (even if it won't be until Week 6 or beyond, and in a limited role) will be the most prominent (though hardly most intriguing) story of the season.

If you were an owner or GM considering Vick, would you want to be first to announce it? You better have a p.r. plan ready for the vocal detractors -- I'm still pretty convinced that NFL fans, like NFL coaches and owners, just want to win. If Vick will help, they're sold.

(Make no mistake: For fans of the team that has Vick, they will cheer for him, much like Giants fans cheered without compromise -- OK, maybe a little compromise -- for Bonds.)

Or do you wait for the first team to say it, take the p.r. firestorm, then sidle up and quietly learn some lessons and figure out your own deal with Vick?

Anyway, for me, that's the big story about Vick: Who will be the first team to even float their interest, let alone sign him?

Meanwhile, the second most intriguing storyline of the day is this one about the NY Mets beat reporter, Adam Rubin, called out by GM Omar Minaya for asking the Mets GM about a job.

What media person WOULDN'T want to be running a front office? Rubin's cheeky answer should have been: "Have you seen the state of the media industry?" (He could also have added, "At least newspapers aren't the Mets.") (UPDATE: He sort of did, to reporters afterward.)

Learn a lesson from Simmons: Make your candidacy for a front-office job a talking point of your own -- an open campaign -- rather than being defensive about it.

I don't know if Rubin is going to parlay this into 15 minutes of fame -- it likely won't be parlayed into a baseball exec job -- but his colleagues seem ready to jump all over Minaya for "outing" their teammate. And Minaya WAS a fool for bringing it up.

But let's agree that it was inappropriate for Rubin to talk about front-office jobs -- seemingly, how to GET a front-office job, not about front-office jobs as part of reporting -- with the folks he covers.

There's a ton more in today's SN column, including a ton on Big Ten and ACC Media Days, the latest on LeBron's re-signing in Cleveland (ha), the Okafor-Chandler trade, the grand-slam-off between the Cubs and Nats and more.

More later.

-- D.S.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday 07/27 Quickie: Rickey, Lance,
Halladay, CFB Media Days, Swimsuits, More

So maybe it was filing unexpectedly from the road overnight, in between a plane flight that was cancelled at 10 pm and one I (plus wife and 2 kids) would have to get up at 3:30 am today to try to fix, but I'm feeling a little chippy in today's SN column:

*With one master stroke, Rickey Henderson undid a lifetime's worth of "bad selfish" to look like someone who appreciates something other than himself: "I am very very humbled." Now we can all remember him as the astonishingly talented player he was -- perhaps Top 10 all time?

*Lance Armstrong's 3rd-place finish was more impressive than any of his 7 Tour de France titles. And will be more impressive than when he finishes 1st next year.

*What the hell is the leading swimming governing body thinking in getting rid of the super-suits in January? In 8 Worlds races yesterday, we got 6 world records. Folks CARE about swimming -- and it's not just an Olympic off-year, but WAY off. And the suits help.

*Halladay Watch: I don't know why the Phillies wouldn't mortgage a small piece of their future to win right now. With Halladay they would be the favorites to win the World Series -- sorry, to repeat as World Series champs. You don't let windows like this pass you by.

*CFB Media Days: Needless to say, the Big Ten, ACC and everyone else won't be nearly as self-regarding (or exciting) as the SEC Media insanity last week. Nobody is asking who DIDN'T vote for Terrelle Pryor as 1st-team all-Big Ten QB.

There's actually a lot more. (Find it here.) You'd be surprised at how productive you can be between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m. when you are fueled with travel rage.

-- D.S.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday 07/26 (Very) Quickie

Tour de France wrapping up: This may be a little TOO contrarian, but I think that Lance finishing 3rd in the 2009 TdF after 4 years off is more impressive than any of his 7 titles.

Re: Rickey in the Hall of Fame
-- I *love* this take from USA Today (and perhaps other places that I just didn't see) that Rickey was the Greatest Fantasy Baseball Player Ever. (Is it strange that I think that should be a qualifying factor for Hall enshrinement? Two words: Tim Raines, who was probably a Top 5 fantasy player throughout his peak years.)

Hank Aaron is OK* with PED users in the Hall -- as long as their plaque gets an asterisk:

I have a follow up question for Aaron: Would Aaron suggest the same thing for players in the Hall who used amphetamines, like greenies or coke? That would put stars on every enshrinee...ever.

MLB: Rays flash that '08 magic, with their biggest comeback (8 runs) in franchise history and beating the Jays.

MLB Fantasy Stud: Luke Hochevar (13 Ks)

NBA: Is Lamar Odom going to end up on the Heat? That probably does more to hurt the Lakers' chances of repeating than it does help the Heat's chances of contending. (Unless the Heat combine that with trading for Boozer and getting Wade to re-sign now, not next summer.)

-- D.S.