Monday, August 02, 2010

08/02 Quickie: Rays, Broncos, Masoli

The Yankees-Rays battle in the AL East is turning into something awesome -- Shields over Sabathia brings Tampa as close as they've been since they led the division early in the season.

That said: It feels like a foregone conclusion that one of these teams will win the AL East and the other will be the AL Wildcard, and that they both should advance to the ALCS.

I guess that makes a head-to-head battle on the first day of August a little less meaningful in an absolute sense... and more like foreshadowing.

Strasburg Watch: Throws without pain. I'm not sure how much solace that gives Nats fans who are inclined to presume the worst.

Well, what Ozzie Guillen had to say about how Latino players are treated vs. how Asian players are treated should open up an interesting discussion about race in baseball. Unfortunately, what sports media doesn't do well is discussions about race.

NFL Camping: The good news for the Broncos? The set a team record for fan attendance at training camp (more than 3,100, undoubtedly there for Tebowmania). The bad news? Knowshon Moreno may have torn his hamstring, which will sideline him for at least 3 weeks. (Corell Buckhalter was also injured; the Broncos' RB situation is bleak. Enter Brian Westbrook?)

Darrelle Revis is going to hold out: Depending on who you talk to, he is the best player in the league, the best defensive player in the league or merely the best player on a Jets team that considers itself a leading contender to make the Super Bowl. Whatever: Give him his raise.

CFB: Jeremiah Masoli to Ole Miss. Given his history, he needs a substantial support system. But as a football talent, he will help instantly; the minute he walks on campus -- literally and metaphorically -- he is the best skill position player on the team.

The next big X-sports phenom? Pedro Barros, the 15-year-old who won gold in Skateboard Park at the X Games.

Tracking today: Jeremy Hellickson, the Rays' top minor-league pitching prospect, gets his first MLB start today, to give the Rays' terrific rotation an extra day of rest. Don't go rushing to add him to your fantasy roster; apparently, this is just a one-day thing, even though he is arguably good enough to be starting regularly for every other team in the league.

Ooh: The Preseason Watch List is out! It's not a ranking, but he does list the players in order of their odds of winning -- Terrelle Pryor is first, with Miami QB Jacory Harris at No. 2.

Look who's at No. 7: Florida QB John Brantley, who has never even started a college game before. That's how good he is -- and will be. (No, there won't be a BrantleyBlog.)

Interestingly: Mark Ingram doesn't make the list of 16 would-be winners. That doesn't mean he won't finish No. 2 or in the Top 5 (I suspect he won't, if only because Trent Richardson will get more and more of Ingram's carries), but he won't win.

My biggest quibble: Boise State QB Kellen Moore at No. 11; I see Moore as the favorite. Boise will go unbeaten (potentially playing for the national championship) and Moore will put up sick stats.

Lots of chatter this weekend with NFL training camps kicking off about how close the NFL season is -- let's not forget that college football is closing in fast, too.

I just booked my flight to get to Gainesville for the first two games of Florida's season. Ironically, I will be flying out of Jacksonville an hour before Tim Tebow and the Broncos kick off in their season-opener against the Jaguars. Attendance there was apparently not meant to be for me.

-- D.S.

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