Another All-Star Game has come and gone. These are good times in early July.
Ichiro take Chris Young deep (inside the park) …
Willie Mays, the greatest Giant of them all, was the focus before the game, taking a victory lap in a Caddy from 1958, the team's first year in San Francisco. Barry Bonds was the focus once the game started, receiving constant love from Giants fans who voted him into the starting lineup and watched him play three innings and go 0-for-2.
But the signature moment for the 71/2-year-old bayfront ballpark, the site of San Francisco's first All-Star Game in 23 years, was delivered in cool and quirky fashion.
We're talking about the fifth-inning drive off the brick wall that unevenly parallels McCovey Cove, with Ichiro Suzuki, Ken Griffey Jr. and the ball all moving in different directions. When the play was over and the noise from 43,965 fans reached its crescendo, Ichiro had the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star history and game No. 78 had its highlight for all time.
The American League won, naturally, and the 5-4 decision was distinct because the National League was unable to defend Ichiro running the bases or the ball rolling toward the right-field corner. Griffey, who moved from center to right this season because he's beyond his defensive prime, was helpless for one of the few times in his two-decade career.
When did Griffey think Ichiro could touch 'em all?
"As soon as it kicked the other way," he said. "If it hits (flat) off the bricks, it goes to center, but it hit off a corner. Barry came up to me and said, 'I've never seen that before.' "
A Mariner outlasted an ex-Mariner, and the AL walked away with its unbeaten streak intact despite a two-run homer in the ninth by Alfonso Soriano and shaky relief pitching by the Mariners' J.J. Putz and the Angels' Francisco Rodriguez, who finally retired Aaron Rowand on a lazy fly to end it.
The AL is 10-0-1 since 1996 and, as a result, once more will hold home-field
advantage in the World Series.
"We're not going to open the Series in Chicago," Soriano of the Cubs said with a straight face. "Now we have to open on the road."
I was enjoying the broadcast last night, with Buck and McCarver who I think can be a bit preachy at times, but for the most part, I would take them over just about any broadcast team going, and I particularly enjoyed this fun fact from the broadcast – that shows how huge Alex Rodriguez is, and how he should obliterate the Home Run Record before he is done:
Home Runs at 31 years, 348 days
Aaron 398 (Finished with 755)
Bonds 315 (Has 751)
Ruth 356 (Finished with 714)
Mays 370 (Finished with 660)
That is crazy. He may have 500 by his 32nd Birthday.
Evan Grant on Mike Young not getting in the game …
Mavs will re-sign Stack and George, and wait ….
Now, the Mavericks will patiently wait to see which bargains slip through the cracks around the league. A short list of possibilities:
• A swingman who is athletic and defensive-minded. Qualifiers for this role would include Golden State's Matt Barnes, Miami's James Posey, Toronto's Morris Peterson, Golden State's Mickael Pietrus and Cleveland's Sasha Pavlovic, among others. They are all looking for the full mid-level exception. They won't all get it.
A full exception, extended out for five seasons, will mean about a $35 million investment for a team. It's more likely that the Mavericks try to find a bargain for about half of the exception.
• A veteran center. P.J. Brown is considered the best of the bunch and probably could be had for the $1.8 million bi-annual exception. Another possibility is Chris Webber, whom the Mavericks coveted when he was released by Philadelphia last season and signed with Detroit to be near his hometown. Darko Milicic, released by Orlando to make room for Lewis, is not believed to be a candidate.
• A sign-and-trade for Gerald Wallace. He's the last of the marquee free agents who is unaccounted for, although it still seems likely that he will remain with the Bobcats.
Meanwhile, in full spin, Jim Lites gets the message out ….
For Stars fans concerned by the team's inability to land a scoring forward in the early days of NHL free agency, the message from team president Jim Lites is clear:
"We're not dumb, we're not cheap and we've not fallen asleep," he said this week.
The Stars planned to spend $4 million to land an impact scorer when free agency began last week. Their goal remains the same, even if the timetable and method might have changed. Now, any major acquisition will come from a trade and is likely to happen months from now.
"Are we likely to make a trade? Yes, but not in the next week," Lites said, emphasizing the Stars intend to be patient. "Are we preparing to do something? Absolutely. But we're not going to do anything stupid."
Admittedly stung by fan and media criticism after the Stars failed to land any of the forwards considered in the top six among free agents, Lites provided insight into the team's plan, what went wrong and what lies ahead.
With the NHL's salary cap rising to $50.3 million for next season, the Stars estimated they could add a $4 million player without having to do major surgery to the core of their roster. Afraid of long-term deals that could hinder financial flexibility, the team decided against offering any deal longer than three years.
They targeted three unrestricted free-agent wingers: Paul Kariya, Jason Blake and Slava Kozlov. Then they were stunned by a spending spree that conjured up memories of the pre-cap, pre-lockout NHL.
Kariya, coming off a 24-goal, 76-point season, received $18 million over three years from St. Louis.
"I'm sorry; in our opinion, he got offered crazy money," Lites said.
Blake, 33, received a five-year contract from Toronto averaging $4 million per season. Kozlov cited family reasons for deciding to stay in Atlanta, though the Stars offered more money on a three-year deal.
The perceived inaction angered fans used to high-profile signings and upset by three consecutive first-round playoff exits. In response, Lites pointed to the Stars' long-term record. Only Detroit has more regular-season NHL victories since the start of the 1996-97 season. And the team posted 51 wins last season.
Getting a big share of my attention last night, Copa America has the semi-finals going. Tonight, Mexico and Argentina battle for the right to play Brazil, who was lucky to slide by Uruguay ….
Defending champions Brazil teetered on the brink of defeat before beating Uruguay on penalties after a bad-tempered 2-2 draw in their Copa America semi-final on Tuesday.
Pablo Garcia, needing to convert Uruguay's sixth kick in the shootout to send them through, instead crashed his effort against the post.
Brazil, who twice surrendered the lead during the match, took advantage as they won 5-4 to earn a place in the final against Argentina or Mexico, who meet on Wednesday in Puerto Ordaz.
Gilberto converted their next penalty, then Diego Lugano saw his effort saved by Brazil goalkeeper Doni, who appeared to move several metres before the kick was taken. Both teams had previously missed one kick each.
The game ended in an ugly scuffle after Brazil's celebrations appeared to provoke Uruguay as they repeated their penalty shootout win over the same opponents at the same stage of the previous tournament three years ago.
Brazil – Uruguay Goals Here
Finally, we have found the Bill Maas/girlfriend mug shots, thanks to NoBillMaas.blogspot.com
And, Tocchet plays poker as he awaits sentencing for running a sports book …
We're not sure who is giving career advice to Rick Tocchet and Janet Jones, but they might want to look for second opinions in the future.
With nothing to do while on indefinite suspension from his job as associate coach of the Coyotes and while awaiting sentencing on third-degree conspiracy and promoting gambling convictions, Tocchet decided it would be a terrific idea to enter the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
And the First Lady of Hockey, Jones, whose name came up in the Operation Slapshot investigation in New Jersey that nabbed Tocchet, also took part in the tournament.
What are these people thinking?
Look, we understand it isn't illegal.
We also understand that it's really stupid for two people caught up in a gambling controversy with ties to the NHL and Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky to thumb their noses at the whole thing.
Tocchet faces a maximum of 10 years in prison at his sentencing next month. Of course, we all know he probably won't serve any time.
And if he's fined - up to a maximum of $500,000 - and owes some legal fees, so what?
Surely he'll get even on the next hand.
What am I doing Saturday night at midnight? 25K, of course at the first ever El Scorcho!
What it is El Scorcho?
• A 25 km / 50 km ultramarathon run in the middle of the summer. That's 15.53499 miles / 31.06999 miles. In the heat.
When is El Scorcho?
• The hottest part of the year. July 15, 2007. At midnight. This is no joke. Runners should arrive at the run site no later than 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, 2007. We will make announcements and give instructions at 11:45 p.m.--15 minutes before the start of the run. Runners will run all night until Sunday morning.
(So...El Scorcho takes place late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, although Sunday officially begins at midnight.) Our permit with the City of Fort Worth runs until 7 a.m.; however, the run takes place in a city park and runners who haven't finished by 7 a.m. may keep running. El Scorcho staff intends to keep at least one of the two aid stations open until 8 a.m., if needed. If you're concerned about finishing after 8 a.m., e-mail us, and we will try to figure something out.
This email is cool; Brian has put together a 1310 group at youtube.
I add in the videos that I hear about on your show:
There are quite a few on there.
brian darley | web stuff
And another email:
You mentioned more than once today that, and don't quote me, but something like A Rod is miserable, and doesn't know how to deal with the media. comparing him to the Rangers draft choice.
SINCE WHEN has A Rod been miserable?
And thru the years he's been known for being the PERFECT media guy. As far as not offending anyone. Granted, he says nothing interesting. He says nothing controversial. He is a robot/zombie to the media.
I was really intrigued by your comments. What were you referring. thank you,
I would say he is quite miserable when it comes to dealing with the media. He tries, and he tries to be loved by all, but the harder he tries, the worse it gets. He is involved in one media story after another about how his team-mates hate him, how he is disingenuous, how he is not clutch, how he cheats on his wife, etc.
I just think that he has never learned to let down his guard and be human. I don’t begrudge him for any of this as I am a pretty big fan, but I can tell he is uncomfortable in his own skin, and when his wife wears a shirt like she did last week indicates that this is a family that is not happy with perceptions of their reality.
Ray Hudson – Most over the top Announcer in the World
Gerald Wallace Mix Tape