31 July 2009

My Take - 31 July 2009

Leading off... the MLB trade deadline came and went, without the huge blockbuster trade of Blue Jays' P Roy Halladay that was so widely expected. I'm not sure if I should feel sorry for him not getting his wish of a trade, or if perhaps talks with the Phillies falling apart was the best thing that could have happened for both him and the team. From a business standpoint, Toronto stands a better chance of trading him after the season, since more teams will be poised to give up more or less than they would now.

The Phillies end up being the biggest winners of this years' sweepstakes, with the Tigers coming in a close second. I would argue that Philly should have traded for Halladay, regardless of the cost, but getting Cliff Lee from Cleveland was a steal, and they paid less for him than they would have for Halladay. Granted, Lee still makes the Phillies a better team, and Lee will feast off of inferior NL hitting. Detroit bolstered their rotation by adding Jarrod Washburn, which in my opinion gives them the best starting rotation in the majors.

The White Sox take a tremendous gamble with Jake Peavy, who they wanted in May, and three months later finally acquired. But now Chicago has a gimpy Peavy, bothered by a bad back which has had him on the DL since the trade fell through. Peavy won't be expected back until late August, right at the start of the pennant stretch. With the Twins making some moves before the final bell, the AL Central may again be the most entertaining division to watch, since surely the three at the top will battle back and forth for the division title.

NFL training camps are opening and for whatever reason, I'm anticipating this season more than I have in past years. Not sure why, maybe it's the feeling that football season is upon us. Brett Favre's "retirement" (I still don't believe it), and Terrell Owens' antics in Buffalo aren't really news. The media is just jumping on whatever NFL related story it can to start the season. I find the Michael Vick story slightly interesting, only because I'm curious like everyone else to see where he will end up. Several bloggers I frequent have suggested he enter the United Football League, and I tend to agree. Knowing that he will not play a down this season in the NFL, Vick can assure himself some real-time conditioning in the UFL, where he'd start every week. Certainly it would give the new league some credibility, as it badly needs it. (Just as badly, the NFL needs a development league and this is the best chance for it.) For as much as sports media are dancing around searching for the team Vick allegedly is close to signing with, I'd find it hilarious if he announced his joining the UFL. Gotcha!

What also isn't news is the announcement of David Ortiz's positive steroid use. We've been through this so many times before, it's old. Why can't any of these guys just admit they did it when they get caught instead of the bull about "not knowing" or "I'm surprised" or whatever. At this rate, asterisks won't be necessary, because it will be soon known that every major star will have been on it. (Please, not Albert Pujols. We need some hope!)

Speaking of cheating, why isn't more of a fuss being made about swimming? At the World Championships in Rome, several world records have fallen, all in the name of technology. What's interesting is that while it's been an issue for at least the last year, even going into the Beijing games last August, it isn't until January 2010 that the supersuits will be banned. Michael Phelps, no doubt a beneficiary of the new suits, isn't complaining, but his coach sure did when he was (ahem) smoked, by Germany's Paul Biedermann, not once but twice at these championships wearing the new suits. Using these new suits is just as bad as using steroids in baseball. Both sets of athletes benefit in their sport by utilizing a technological advantage. If fair is fair, then ban them now. Why wait?

And while I'm thinking of Phelps, I'm following with earnest the upcoming epic rematch with Serbia's Milorad Cavic. You may remember him from the classic 100m butterfly at last year's Olympics where Phelps won by a fingertip, literally. Cavic just broke Phelps' world record in the event today, and wants nothing more than to prove he's better than Phelps. Phelps may lose this race, but then he also has a slew of world records, gold medals, and endorsement deals to fall back on.

That's just my take...