Please forgive the residents of Toronto if they’re not that relieved to learn that Roy Halladay will probably remain a Blue Jay through 2010. They’re in the midst of a rather nasty civic strike up there, and it’s hard to smell the roses when no one has picked up the trash for the past six weeks. And speaking of things that stink, Halladay gave up 11 hits over seven innings as the Jays lost to the Mariners in Seattle on Wednesday, 3-2. Ask not for whom the MLB Trade Deadline tolls. It tolls for thee.
For those keeping score at home (howdy, Steinbrenners!), Halladay has lost three of his past four decisions; kind of hard to fathom since, according to all of the trade rumors that have involved him lately, he’s supposedly The Chosen One. Those rumors have circled him like buzzards, and Halladay can’t wait for all of this to be over.
“It hasn’t been fun,” Halladay said. “There’s been a lot of attention, questions from all angles; not only the media, but friends and acquaintances.”
“I don’t know what the best way is to go about it. They’re doing their due diligence but how you go about that, what’s the best way, I’ve never had to do that.
“You never want that kind of circus. That part will be nice. It’s baseball, something you love to do and I look forward to doing it. But you look forward to a time when there are fewer outside things going on.”
He was supposed to be a Phillie by now, but the world champions got tired of waiting and asked Cliff Lee to the prom instead. (And, sorry Philadelphia, but your pitching still isn’t as good as the Giants’). So now the Jays are saying they’ll probably just keep him, even though there may be some interest from the Rangers, the Angels and the Red Sox. Also, the Yankees have been quiet on the subject … too quiet. That trading deadline of Friday at 4 p.m. (ET) cannot come soon enough.
Oh, and add the Dodgers to the list of teams interested in Halladay. Or if they weren’t before they are now, since Lee landed with the Phillies. LA has lost four straight, Albert Pujols doing the honors on Wednesday with a run-scoring single in the 15th to give the Cardinals a 3-2 win. The Giants, 7 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West and first in the Wild Card race, went out and armed themselves with 2006 NL
MVP batting champ Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates, after having snagged Ryan Garko from the Indians earlier in the week. The Giants gave up a lot for Sanchez in minor league pitcher Tim Alderson, whom I think is going to be great. But at least there’s some wheeling and dealing occurring to keep me amused. The Pirates, by the way, also traded Jack Wilson to the Mariners, meaning that they traded away their starting double play combination on the same day.
Elsewhere in trade deadline rumblings, you’ve got your Padres shopping first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, closer Heath Bell and right-hander Kevin Correia, with the Brewers seeming to be the team most interested in the latter. Of course the Padres offering up the cream of their roster in late July has become a tradition as old as baseball itself. The Marlins are “in serious talks” for Bell, accordingto SI.com. … if the Rangers can’t get Halladay, they’re hoping for Seattle’s Jarrod Washburn … Orioles left-hander George Sherrill to the White Sox? Baltimore needs a third baseman, and Chicago GM Kenny Williams may be willing to include Josh Fields in a deal. But Sherrill doesn’t want to go.
Meanwhile, THE SPORTING NEWS has commissioned one of those pointless, confounding polls that sucker people like me into writing about them, thus oiling the wheels of conversation. This time it’s the 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time, with the winner being — no surprise here — John Wooden. The Wizard of Westwood is the safe choice, as his 10 NCAA men’s titles will likely not be challenged before one school corners the market on human cloning, or the invention of Flubber. The list was voted on by a panel of coaches, the identities of which are uncertain (except for this complete list, that is. I see that Jerry Glanville is on there, which is probably why Bill Walsh is only at No. 26).
I’m not even certain what the criteria is here. Are we just counting Xs and Os, or overall character and influence? Is basketball a harder sport to coach than football or hockey? Why leave out boxing and swimming? What, no Dennis Erickson?
Here’s the top 10:
1. John Wooden, college basketball
2. Vince Lombardi, NFL
3. Bear Bryant, college football
4. Phil Jackson, NBA
5. Don Shula, NFL
6. Red Auerbach, NBA
7. Scotty Bowman, NHL
8. Dean Smith, college basketball
9. Casey Stengel, MLB
10. Knute Rockne, college football
Although I don’t think that Wooden belongs at the top, I think it’s cool that he’s still around to be told he won this. Let’s salute him by lifting our glasses and saying: “What, you think you’re better than me? It’s go time! Mendlebaum! Mendelbaum!”
If you’re looking for something to do tonight, why not travel to Lowell, Mass., and help the Lowell Spinners celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Manny Ramirez trade. It’s Quitters Night at LeLacheur Park as the Red Sox Single-A affiliate reminds everyone that Manny (they say) quit on the season during his last year with the Sox. Activities will include a fan vote of the top five list of quitters, liars and cheaters of all time; the top five Manny moments; and a cardboard cutout of Manny which will be signed by fans and shipped to him.
Also, the Spinners will have a hypnotist to provide assistance for fans that need a little extra help to quit smoking or other addictive habits.
And now, links to ponder while recovering from wounds inflicted by your porn star girlfriend …
- The Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki likes Britney Spears, and he doesn’t care who knows it. Also, if he could have one legendary player as a teammate, his first choice would be Derek Jeter; “except then I wouldn’t have a position. So I guess it would be Babe Ruth. He seems like someone it would be fun to hang out with.”
- This is a pretty poor excuse for a fight at an Angels’ game, but one guy’s t-shirt does get ripped, and someone gets a beer dousing. The funny part is that the guy in the middle with the “Eight Men Out”-era straw hat, who appears to be playing peacemaker, is the one who gets the brunt of the abuse. “For the love of Christy Mathewson, knock it off you guys!”
- I’ve always been able to make a comfortable disconnect between FOX NEWS and FOX SPORTS, but that peace was tested on Wednesday when the latter trotted out their “10 people we’d like to go away” slideshow. Among the usual suspects (Erin Andrews, etc.) we have at No. 8, President Obama? Seriously? Are Rupert Murdoch’s bony fingers pushing the buttons at the sports division now? Sorry, not even going to link to it.
- Tampa Bay pitcher Matt Garza admitted that he hit the Yankees’ Mark Teixeira on purpose Wednesday night, the inning after Yankees starter Joba Chamberlain threw near the head of Evan Longoria. “It’s about time someone made a statement,” Garza said. … “I hate to be that guy, but someone had to take a stand and say, ‘You know, we’re tired of it.’” Time for Bob Watson to get out the whuppin’ stick. But will he?
- Ann Killion is leaving after 21 years as a sports reporter and columnist at the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, not a surprising development as Dean Singleton continues to cut costs and gut sports sections in his teetering MediaNews Group stable of Bay Area newspapers. We wish her well.
- Police in Huntington Beach, Calif., are looking for three teenage girls who, while skinnydipping in an apartment complex pool, pushed a security guard into the water even though the guard couldn’t swim. The girls then ran away, but luckily a bystander jumped in and saved the guard from drowning.
- The Astros’ LaTroy Hawkins accused umpire Mike Everitt of wanting the Cubs to win in Chicago’s 5-1 victory over Houston on Wednesday. “Maybe he was having a bad day,” Hawkins said. “I thought he had determined who he wanted to win the game anyway.” … Asked by Houston reporters whether he regretted the remark, Hawkins replied: “Why would I?”
- The dogs shall rise up, and mankind will fall. You’re next, Michael Vick.
- In a post headlined “Disproving Economic Armageddon Via Stubhub,” THE SPORTING BLOG presents tickets to a Michigan football game in Ann Arbor, row 47 in the corner, on sale for $9,000 each. The game is against Delaware State.
- Bugs Bunny turned 69 this week. I mention this because of one of the greatest cartoons ever produced — 1946’s “Baseball Bugs,” which I’m sure everyone has seen at least once. This classic also indirectly produced one of the greatest blog posts of all time, “Bugs Bunny, the greatest banned player ever,” by U.S.S. MARINER. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
- Police in Shelton, Conn., broke up a canary fighting ring recently, seizing 150 birds and confiscating $8,000 that had been bet on the fights. As you know, there’s nothing lower than canary fighting. But did these sick bastards actually think that they could elude the long arm of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture? Not likely.