Jim Salisbury previews tonight's All-Star Game in Houston, including the much-hyped Roger Clemens-Mike Piazza pairing from the mound and behind the plate. He warns us that Fox will run drag out the footage of the "history" between these two over and over again. Thanks for the heads up Jim. In a dually authored notebook, he and Todd Zolecki say that the Randy Johnson "bidding" wars may have officially begun, and that the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Cubs, Angels and Dodgers could be in the running. The Phillies? "Their shaky status in the National League East probably wouldn't fit his criteria" to join an actual contender, not "a team that has a theoretical chance to win." Paul Hagen has Jim Thome attributing some of his success to the patient at-bats of first time All-Star Bobby Abreu. Even though he didn't make it out of the first round of the home run derby, Hagen says Thome had "a lot of fun." Hagen also has an article about the "This One Counts" theme (for the second straight year) for this year's All-Star extravaganza. He includes these quotes from Joe Torre regarding what's at stake with the outcome of the game:
You always want the homefield advantage. But there's a certain pressure that goes with having homefield advantage because you play the first two games at home. You probably need to win two games, because otherwise the other team can win on their home turf. I think homefield advantage is good when you get to that sixth and seventh game, but getting there is not easy... I know what Bud Selig is trying to do, but as far as determining the homefield advantage, I don't care for that.As I mentioned in this space around the NBA Finals, it's interesting how less of an advantage home field seems to be in MLB as compared to, say, the NBA.
Sam Donnellon says the Phillies aren't the only team looking for a pitcher (or two) as the trading deadline approaches. "Eighteen days, 11 suitors, 18 other potential competitors - those are long odds. Pull it off and [Ed Wade] might be in the lead car during an October parade down Broad Street." Jack McCaffery looks on the bright side of things for the Phillies season so far.
Mark Lelinwalla has a look at the flip side of the coin tossed up by Stephen A. yesterday, and notes the decrease in white athletes in the NBA and NFL. Rich Hofmann tries to shield his eyes from the spotlight Kobe Bryan has been focusing on himself for the past year. Once you get past the Kobe stuff, he actually makes an interesting observation regarding the impending Shaq-to-Miami trade:
The result is that the balance between West and East is at least starting to approach equilibrium again. On the other hand, Shaq lives here now. No longer can general managers look at certain names on their rosters and say, "Well, he can play center in the East." Because he can't, not anymore. It used to be such a comfort, being able to get away with fake centers. Well, no more.Maybe losing out on Mark Blount as a free agent center wasn't so bad after all. Not that the alternative is much better.
FOX29 has the MLB All-Star Game at 8.