Teixeira helps the Rangers drill the Orioles …
Before the season's second half started Thursday, the Rangers discussed the importance of having the entire team contribute. Then, they went out and did just that – all in one inning.
On the way to a 15-1 thrashing of Baltimore that kept the Rangers tied for first in the AL West, Mark Teixeira hit three homers and drove in seven runs; Mark DeRosa reached base six times; Brad Wilkerson had a homer and four RBIs; and Vicente Padilla had another quality start.
Enjoy Padilla, says Fraley, because it isn’t going to be here long …
"He's been a joy to watch," said Connor, who first worked with Padilla when he was a 17-year-old in the Arizona organization. "He's been more than what we thought he would be."
Visions of a big payday could be giving Padilla the motivation that he has often lacked.
Padilla can become a free agent after this season. When a club employee raised the subject of what next season might hold for him, Padilla said he would be with the club that pays him the most.
The Rangers accept the mercenary approach. They tread lightly around Padilla.
When Padilla wanted to go to Miami between first-half starts for a birthday, the club told him to have fun.
When Padilla wanted to return to his home in Nicaragua during the All-Star break, the Rangers reminded him that the second half started on the road.
The club held its collective breath for three days, but Padilla showed up in the visitors' clubhouse well in advance of the start. Letting him go home was worth it.
The Mavericks depth chart …
Not that you care yet, (although I am gearing up for sure) but I was asked to make my picks for the Guys Guide to the Cowboys.
Here are my first NFL picks of the season (Expect another round near the end of training camps).
Dallas Record: 11-5
NFC Division Winners: Dallas, Chicago, Carolina, Seattle
NFC Wildcards: New York, Atlanta
AFC Division Winners: Indy, New England, Pittsburgh, Denver
AFC Wildcards: Kansas City, Cincinnati
Super Bowl: Carolina beats Indianapolis
Don Banks on the NFC North …and a few days ago, he did your beloved NFC East …
Coach in the spotlight
BILL PARCELLS, DALLAS
This just in: The Tuna isn't getting any younger and may not coach forever. We are not going to play the Parcells-retirement guessing game again (and that goes for you, too, Brett Favre), but it's fair to speculate that he's gearing up for one last run at the big shiny silver trophy. We're not buying into the idea that Terrell Owens is the final piece of the puzzle in Dallas, but that doesn't mean his addition won't be a huge upgrade for the passing game. It's worth noting that Parcells has yet to endure three consecutive non-playoff seasons.
Phil Mushnick takes on perception and offers reality …
The verdict drops in Italy …
Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio will all be demoted to Serie B for their roles in the match-fixing scandal that has tarnished Italian football, according to today's Gazzetta dello Sport.
The verdict of the long-running trial will not be officially revealed until 6pm this evening, but the newspaper claimed to already know the punishments that will be dished out.
"The verdict will be this: Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio will be relegated to Serie B," claimed the Gazzetta confidently. "AC Milan will stay in Serie A but will not be allowed to take part in the Champions League."
Without disclosing its source, the newspaper went on to insist it even knew the point deductions that each club would receive. Juventus, it said, will begin their Serie B campaign on minus 20 points, while Fiorentina will be penalised 10 and Lazio six or seven. Milan, meanwhile, will be docked 10 to 15 points.
After the verdict is formally announced tonight, the teams will have three days to appeal to a federal court of arbitration; a final decision must be reached by July 24.
The confirmation that three of the clubs are to be relegated is likely to spark a feeding frenzy as Europe's biggest teams close in to snatch talents such as Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluca Zambrotta and Gianluigi Buffon from Juventus and last season's Serie A top-scorer, Luca Toni, from Fiorentina.
Although many of you may not have any idea what the above story means, just imagine the Yankees, Giants, and Mets being sent down to AAA for disciplinary reasons, thus making them lose all of their star players because their revenue streams would disappear. Guess they are getting serious about referee tampering in Italy. Kind of a World Cup buzzkill.
Classic Funny from Deadspin: Fake Steve Bartman with Dan Patrick …
Ty takes over as I take vacation week #2 (of 3) next week. Prepare for bikinis.