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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Slightly Extended Week-in-Review: Phillies near the Trade Deadline, PSU, more

          It’s not really a Week-in-Review, but here’s a little rapid fire look at some of the hot issues since my last post:

·       The Phillies should absolutely re-sign Cole Hamels. He’s not only their best pitcher right now, he has the best potential future ahead of him. If Cliff Lee was tradeable for a couple solid everyday players, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I doubt the Phillies could get value for Roy Halladay because he’s just off the Disabled List, but I would see what might be out there for him. I would also shop Jonathan Papelbon. Obviously, since I wouldn’t have re-signed him, I would trade Jimmy Rollins. I’m not saying give anybody away, nor would I trade all of the guys I just mentioned. I agree with the idea that the Phillies need to see what the core players who brought so much success in recent years can do now that Chase Utley and especially Ryan Howard are back. But they do need to add at least one serious bat to contend next season even if the best case scenario plays out for Utley and Howard.

·       The All-Star Game was brutally boring this year, but that’s just the nature of a baseball game sometimes. It had nothing to do with the format. The Home Run Derby by contrast needs to go. People who complain about it need to answer one question though – why were you watching it? Also, the extra day off for every team after the ASG probably makes a lot of sense, but, man, did it make for a dull sports week.

·       The Penn State scandal is in the headlines again with the release of the Louis Freeh report. I still think Joe Paterno was an old guy who didn’t get it, but there’s no excuse for his actions in covering up what Jerry Sandusky did especially when you read the CNN story about Vicky Triponey. It seems clear Paterno had a habit of sweeping things under the rug and that Penn State University had a habit of letting him do it. I’m still not sold on the idea that the football program should be ended because it mostly punishes the innocent, but it would be hard to muster much of an argument if it was shut down. That said, I wonder if sanctioning a football program trivializes the seriousness of what happened. Does shutting down a football program really do anything in this situation? The people involved need to go to jail, not just miss football for a while. And if anyone thinks that suspending the program would do anything but create a mega-countdown to “the return of football” on campus, they’re nuts.

I do think the Paterno statue has to go if for no other reason than it would be a constant reminder of the scandal. However, I still think the focus on Paterno is misguided. I understand that he was the one who apparently vetoed the others from going to the authorities about Sandusky. That’s disgraceful beyond words. But the people who allowed him to make that decision are no better. I don’t give a damn about the idea being floated in the media that JoePa was akin to a small town sheriff who ruled with an iron fist at the university. The minute the football coach is asked whether or not Sandusky should be reported, there’s a problem.

·       The Sixers have made a bunch of nice moves, but nothing that is overly exciting. I like that they went big in the draft and didn’t try to hold on to Lou Williams. I don’t know anything about Nick Young and the other guys they brought in, but it’s a little disconcerting that they continue to stockpile 6-7 guys. I like that they brought back Spencer Hawes for the short-term. Let’s see if he can stay healthy because he’s ok when he can actually play. The “other shoe” apparently won’t be dropping as the Sixers seem poised to bring back Andre Iguodala. If it’s by choice, it’s a mistake. Their best move so far is not wasting their new found cap flexibility with the release of Elton Brand for the future.

·       This year’s version of the USA Basketball team couldn’t come close to beating the original Dream Team of 1992. The debate over the notion that they could isn’t even fun. We never got to see how good the ’92 team really was because they never had any competition. A more intriguing debate might be started by the question of whether or not the USA Basketball team would be a team we would even root for if it wasn’t about national pride. I might have watched one complete game of the Dream Team, and I haven’t watched any significant time of any Olympic basketball games since. It’s just boring. They’re basically the bullies of the Olympics. We never root for the team that’s supposed to win (except for people like Heat fans who bought a jersey a year ago and act like they’ve been lifelong supporters of the Miami franchise). America loves the underdog. The only way it will ever be interesting again is if they lose, and we’re not supposed to be rooting for that.

·       Jeremy Lin turned a 26-game stretch of hot shooting on a team that was riddled with injury and went a nice 16-10 into a 3-year, $25 million deal, and somehow people are screaming that the Knicks should have matched the offer sheet to their restricted free agent. This is one of the dumbest things I’ve seen in sports in a while. This guy played at Harvard and did absolutely nothing before the Knicks were forced to play him because they had so many injuries. The Knicks should be thrilled the Rockets are taking him off their hands.

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