Monday, July 02, 2012

07/02 (Run-Off) Quickie

Busy weekend, busy week...

*Greatest. Side. Ever. -- Spain wins Euro 2012. And, in a way that gets "Quickie Instant History" approval, folks like SI's Grant Wahl and ESPN's Jeff Carlisle are already declaring this Spain side (which also won the Euro title in 2008 and the World Cup in 2010) as the "Greatest Side Ever."

*Olympics US Women's 100M Run-Off: It's the coolest idea ever (particularly on a quiet sports night like tonight), but neither Tarmoh nor Felix seem particularly enthusiastic about it, Tarmoh especially after she read the report that the initial ruling from the official judge of photo finishes that she won. She says she might not do the run-off. Prediction: They get to the starting line, then both back off, ostensibly due to fear of injury. (But from a fan perspective, it would be fun to see.)

*Olympics Name to Know: Gabby Douglas, who edged out Jordan Wieber to become USA gymnastics' No. 1. It's gold or failure for Team USA.

*MLB ASG: That was an impressive bit of ballot-stuffing by the Giants fans, particularly to get Pablo Sandoval into the starting lineup at 3B ahead of David Wright. It's not a reason to abolish fan voting for the spot -- it's a reason to ask your team (say, the Mets) why they didn't have a better strategy for bolstering their guy. In the Mets' case, they should have expanded their campaign beyond NY and Mets fans to all MLB fans with the argument: "Don't let Giants fans spoil your game. Vote Wright at 3B." Thinking that All-Star campaigns are limited to your own fan base -- particularly in the final week of the voting -- is a big mistake. Clearly.

*MLB Final Vote: I thought that Bryce Harper was a lock to win the popular vote for the NL's "Final" spot... right up until they put Chipper Jones on the ballot with him. Jones -- the future Hall of Famer in his final season before retirement -- represents the edge-case exception to the "Harper Rule," and should beat out the phenom for the spot. (Don't cry for Harper -- he is a near-lock to be an All-Star starter for the next decade or two.)

*Dwight Howard, cont'd: He insists he will only sign with Brooklyn next summer as a free agent, no matter who he is traded to (Lakers, Rockets, etc). If I was one of those teams, I would trade for him anyway, then spend the next year convincing him -- in person, with no restrictions -- to re-sign. Meanwhile, the Nets aren't waiting around and are apparently lining up a big trade to take the expensive Joe Johnson off the Hawks' hands, creating the potential for a Deron Williams-Joe Johnson backcourt, which would be the best in the league. (The Nets are also re-signing Gerald Wallace. If they can find a defensive stopper to at least try and guard LeBron, it's not a bad playoff team, given that the Heat has no big presence down low, aside from LeBron.)

*NBA Free Agency: Aside from the Nets' machinations, the big story is where Steve Nash will end up. The Raptors are offering the most money (by a wide margin) and the chance to finish his career in Canada, providing at least a little lift for Canada's only NBA team. It's unclear why Nash would want to play in New York if Lin is the star PG or the Nets if they have Deron Williams -- presumably, Nash is Plan B if Williams goes to Dallas -- and I love the idea of him in Toronto. Meanwhile, the Rockets are apparently going to pry Omer Asik -- great defensively, limited offensively -- from the Bulls, whose title window appears to have closed (before it even really opened) with Rose's knee injury and hamstrung finances.

More later. Check out Quickish for great takes on today's best topics!

-- D.S.

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