Sunday, July 31, 2005
Before last season, only a desperate Jet fan could come up with reasons for the Patriots' dynasty to crumble. Some wondered about the effects of losing Damien Woody and Ted Washington and a few even made a big deal of the Patriots losing Mike Compton, Damon Huard, Antowain Smith. This year even loyal Patriot fans are looking at signs that the dynasty might be ending.
- The loss of Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson, Roman Phifer, Keith Traylor, and Ty Law on defense
- The loss of Joe Andruzzi and David Patten on offense
- The loss of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel and not hiring a new offensive coordinator
- The Richard Seymour holdout
- Losing players on defense: in each of the Patriots Super Bowl seasons, they had to deal with major injury problems. Unlike the seasons before, the Patriots actually have been able to prepare for these important losses. They drafted a corner, a safety, and a linebacker, they signed defensive backs Duane Starks and Chad Scott, and they signed linebackers Chad Brown and Monty Beisel. They've also been developing young linebackers that may be able to step in soon.
- Losing players on offense: again, the Pats have dealt with this before. They've had third stringers playing on the offensive line against the best pass rushers in the game in the last two Super Bowls. I liked Patten, but they have plenty of replacements for him.
- The coaching losses may be the biggest concern, but the Patriots have been expecting to lose Crennel and Weis for the last three years. I'm sure Belichick prepared for this.
- I'm assuming Seymour will eventually play and if he doesn't, the Pats have good depth on the defensive line. I'm also not worried about the Patriots having a disgruntled player. When Lawyer Milloy was released the whole team was disgruntled, and they still managed to win the Super Bowl.
- The improved health of Roosevelt Colvin, Ben Watson, Rodney Bailey, Gus Scott, Ty Poole, and some offensive linemen.
- Maturity and expected improvement from young players such as Watson, Scott, Eugene Wilson, Asante Samuel, Dan Klecko, Randall Gay, Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Tully Banta-Cain, Marquise Hill, David Givens, and Deion Branch. I think it's safe to say that none of these players have reached their full potential yet.
- Better depth at quarterback with the addition of Doug Flutie
- Improved depth at wide receiver with the additions of P.K. Sam, Tim Dwight and David Terrell.
- Improved special teams with the additions of Chad Morton and Tim Dwight.
- Improved depth in the secondary with the additions of Chad Scott and Duane Starks, players returning from injuries, and a few draft picks.
- The Patriots' draft class. Two years ago it was Koppen and Wilson, last year it was Wilfork. The Patriots usually have at least one rookie who becomes a big contributer.
Sure, I'm worried about the impact of the Patriots' losses this offseason, but I'm also excited about the weapons they still have and the weapons they may add.
Gabe Kapler returned to the Red Sox last night getting two hits and scoring two runs. One of the weaknesses of the Red Sox this year has been the bench. Adding Olerud has helped and Kapler's another good guy to have in the clubhouse and on the field occasionally. Now let's see if the Sox can trade for Dave Roberts.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Early in his career Johnson was the star of the Pats defense. While Bruschi was running around on special teams, it was Johnson who was corralling running backs like Jerome Bettis. He then had to go through some terrible injuries and a reduced role. Last year, however, he seemed to be as good as ever and was an integral part of the Patriots Super Bowl Championship.
Tom E. Curran of the Providence Journal wrote a good article (firstname.lastname@example.org, password: dandan -- thanks to bugmenot.com) summing up Johnson's career and going through some scary details about Johnson's concussions:
...Johnson cited symptoms such as irritability, cognitive clarity, trouble sleeping and memory loss as things he's experienced. "It was strongly urged and suggested that I should consider the ramifications (of continuing my career)," he added. "Could I still play? I could still play, but I open myself up to some potentially damaging long-term health issues. I love this game. But at the end of the day when I look at my wife and kids, those are the most important things to me."
Asked how many diagnosed concussions he's had, Johnson could only guess that it was around six. But he didn't include times that he was on the field and "couldn't focus, when it felt like my head was still moving. It happened more than it should have and I maybe let it go and maybe didn't say anything. It happened more frequently than I care to remember, quite honestly." So on the day he was to report for his 11th season, Johnson instead called it a career.Also in the article, Bill Belichick summed up the Johnson retirement very well: "It goes without saying, but Ted Johnson is a class act. He was a solid contributor to this defense and the New England Patriots organization his entire career. Ted's signature was a work ethic and toughness that were second to none. He retires a champion."
...Gammons has done more to influence the way major league baseball is covered than any columnist or beat guy of the last half-century. He is, and forever will be, the de facto commissioner of baseball. He is to our craft what Ted Williams was to his: When Gammons walks through a press box, any scribe who knows history should point and say, ''There goes the greatest baseball writer who ever lived."
...The shame is that Gammons today is most famous as a television analyst and commentator for ESPN. He writes for ESPN's websites and ESPN The Magazine, and you can find him in Baseball America, but most young baseball fans know him solely for his TV work. That would be like knowing the late Joe DiMaggio only as a pitchman for Mr. Coffee, or knowing Bob Cousy only as a color analyst on Celtics broadcasts.
Manny told the Sox he wanted to be traded because he doesn't get any privacy in Boston (guess I should stop giving him those base running tips). Manny's timing couldn't have been worse. As this story was coming out he refused to rescind a planned day off despite an unexpected shortage of outfielders caused by the injury of Trot Nixon. Combine this selfishness with not running out a groundball in the tenth inning and you get some very angry fans, writers, and sports radio hosts.
Some are so angry that their brains stops functioning correctly, saying foolish things like, "just get rid of him." If the Red Sox do trade him they better get more than Aubrey Huff and Mike Cameron. It is very frustrating to see Manny do some of the things he does -- especially when he poses in the batters box after hitting a single. However, he's too good of a hitter to just give away.
For the Red Sox to have success in the playoffs this year they'll need to outslug their opponents. Don't expect much from their starters and bullpen. The Red Sox will find it much more difficult to outslug other teams without one of the best hitters in baseball in their lineup.
As for the rumored deal with the Devil Rays and Mets -- don't trade with these teams. Trading for a Devil Ray is like an NBA team trading for a WNBA player. As for the Mets, it's okay to try to get one of their prospects, but do not trade for a Mets veteran. Shea Stadium is where veteran players go to watch their skills decline.
Monday, July 25, 2005
I'm back from New Hampshire and getting ready to leave for the Cape tomorrow. It was great kayaking on a clear day with the White Mountains surrounding me; it was not so great dealing with the sunburn afterwards. Before you send me Get Well cards, it really isn't that bad.
The sunburn did not surprise me. The switch from Gin and Tonics to shots of Whiskey with Rum and Coke chasers did. Not even a sunburn could bother me after that.
I'll write again this weekend or next week at the latest.
Admittedly, this is a nightmare for coaches juggling egos (and for fantasy owners figuring out their draft board.) However, I believe coaches in this situation often waste a good opportunity to develop a dangerous offense.
Why don't coaches put both of their top backs in the backfield at the same time? Having two strong weapons in your backfield would greatly put the defense at a disadvantage and your offense would be unpredictable.
This offense I'm proposing has been successfully implemented before. The Tecmo Super Bowl Raiders had Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson in the backfield at the same time and that offense was unstoppable. If it worked in Tecmo, it should work in the NFL.
Then we get to hear someone smugly say, "Well, was K-Rod ready?" And this clever remark somehow ends the argument.
Yes, they're right, K-Rod was ready, but what they fail to mention is that K-Rod is a once-in-a-generation prospect. K-Rod was ready because he had mental toughness and the best slider in baseball. Besides K-Rod, how many other pitchers have stepped right into the majors and dominated? Off the top of my head I can just think of Woods and Prior.
I believe it is okay to try out prospects in the bullpen when the team thinks they're ready, but the K-Rod reference is ridiculous. It's similar to an NBA team considering a high school prospect, saying, "Was LeBron ready?" Or a baseball team considering a 40-year-old pitcher saying, "Was Clemens too old?"
So bring up some prospects; just don't expect anything close to K-Rod.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Starting tomorrow I'll be traversing the continent with some fine ladies (going to the White Mountains and then Cape Cod with my nieces). I might be able to squeeze one or two posts, but don't expect much for the next week.
To prepare for my absence, I'll write some opinions about what will happen in the upcoming week:
- Baseball should be ashamed of how another umpiring crew blew a call and then instigated and inflamed an argument.
- Lance Armstrong is really really good.
- T.O. is a jerk.
- The Jets gave too much money to Ty Law.
- That training camp injury will really hurt that NFL team.
- What was Manny thinking?
- Too many NBA teams paid too much money to too many players.
- Joe Johnson does not deserve a max-contract. Aren't those reserved for the stars of the league like Shaq and Duncan? Johnson was the third best player on his team.
- A.J. Burnett is not worth what the Orioles/Yankees/Red Sox gave up for him.
- What the hell happened to Mike Lowell, Jack McKeon, and the Marlins?
- Shouldn't NBA fans be nervous that the collective bargaining agreement still isn't complete?
There won't be a Guess the Athlete next week, but Patriotsy2k, feel free to make a random guess to keep your incorrect streak going.
Because the Red Sox played a day game yesterday, their minor league team was on television last night. The Pawtucket Red Sox had men on first and second with no outs. A sharp grounder was hit to third and the Louisville Bats pulled off a perfect 5-4-3 triple play. I felt so lucky to be able to see this play.
In what other sport are there rare exciting plays like triple plays and inside the park homeruns?
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
I think he just wants to be closer to Patriotsy2k in Boca.
I forget, did people throw stones and try to kill Jesus when he demanded to be traded from the Bethlehem Bengals or was it when he was holding out while with the Jerusalem Jets?
''I [urinated] in a cup," said Ramirez.
I'm reacting to this news in two ways, as a human and as a football fan. As a human, I'm happy he's making this decision. He seems to be a good a family man, and he should be taking every precaution before he even thinks about playing football again. If he chooses to retire, I won't hold it against him.
As a Pat's fan, I'm nervous, There's still talent at the middle linebacker position with the additions of Chad Brown and Monty Beisel, so that position won't be a weakness. What the Patriots will miss is Bruschi incredible ability to make a big play -- a tackle preventing first down, an interception somehow almost always returned for a touchdown, or forcing and/or recovering a fumble. Bruschi was the best linebacker in football last year, and the Patriots will miss his superior play and his knack for always being in the right place at the right time.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
(In the ESPY's)
The category was Best Record Breaking Performance. The Pats' 21 game winning streak was up against Manning's touchdowns in a season record along with some others. While Manning was giving his victorious acceptance speech, Belichick was in the audience politely clapping ... with his three Super Bowl rings on.
Brown finally won his NBA championship with the Pistons, but I don't think it was his best coaching job. Rick Carlisle had the Pistons in good shape before Brown arrived, and Joe Dumars has been incredible putting together a roster (let's just ignore the Darko Milicic thing). Brown's most impressive coaching feat was getting the Clippers into the playoffs for two straight years.
Next stop for Brown, New York Knicks.
Monday, July 18, 2005
If you really want to learn more, go to the site from where I got the information.
How do you inadvertently shove someone to the ground?
He just doesn't like or understand cameramen. Rogers had another little run-in with a camera man.
"...WFAA reported on its Web site Monday that photographer Mike Zukerman was videotaping the procedure when Rogers turned to him and said, "You're getting really close; you know that? Do you hear me?"
A few seconds later, Rogers again turned to the camera, saying, "You must be pretty proud of yourself, too."
After Zukerman replied, "It's just my job, Kenny," Rogers responded: "Yeah. Your job. That's just your excuse..."
That's just your excuse! Is Rogers insane? Does he actually think the cameraman is using his job has an excuse for some desire to film Kenny Rogers? Does he view these people as paparazzi? I'm sure this guy who was told by his boss to film Rogers would be there even if he didn't have a cameraman job.
Friday, July 15, 2005
I guess I'm supposed to come up with a Viagra joke now. What's interesting about Palmeiro is there's nothing really interesting about him. He was remarkably consistent and consistently overshadowed. He also happened to join Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray in the 3000 hit/500 homerun club. Plus, he earned over $86 million in his career, and that's not even including his Viagra income (sorry, couldn't resist).
- striking out with bases loaded and no outs
- walking the pitcher
- balks (not the lefty ones where there's a fine line between a good pickoff move and a balk. The mindless ones.)
- false starts
- missing free throws
- missing an empty net
- missing extra points
Bob Watson is baseball's vice president in charge of discipline, and he decided to suspend David Wells for arguing with umpires and making incidental contact. Anyone who agrees with this decision obviously has not seen the game or is a Yankees fan. Oh, and Bob Watson is a former Yankee. What a coincidence!
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Nonetheless, the Schilling to the bullpen move has not made sense to me since the Sox announced it. I think that there's a lot that Schilling and the Red Sox aren't telling us. I don't think they're expecting Schilling to be able to start for the rest of the season. If he was making progress in his rehab starts, they would have continued with it until Schilling was ready, even if it was September. To do well in the playoffs, the Sox need Schilling to be an effective starter.
However, they chose to move him to the bullpen. Schilling will not be rehabbing his foot and building his endurance while sitting in the bullpen and throwing a few pitches every other day. Schilling isn't continuing his rehab now, he's pausing it. During his bullpen stint, Schilling may be able to improve his foot through some exercise, but he won't be getting his body ready to start.
When the Red Sox decide it's time for Schilling to start, it may take weeks for him to work his way up to pitching seven good innings.
It just doesn't make sense to delay Schilling's work to become a starter again. This is why I think the Red Sox don't think Schilling will be able to start this year. Knowing Schilling probably won't start this year, the Red Sox decided to take a chance and try Schilling in their struggling bullpen.
I hope I'm wrong about this one.
- Streaking Giambi suspended for blatant use of undetectable steroids
- Richard Seymour says he'll report to Pats camp after awakening to find Ty Law's severed head in his bed
- ESPYs aim to boost athletes' low self-esteem
- Patriots hope Super Bowl win was good enough for an ESPY
- Bobby Abreu wisely uses Phillies pitching staff to throw to him at Home Run Derby
- Kenny Rogers legacy further tainted when people look at his career ERA
Here's a link to the page, and don't forget to do their weekly poll. I voted for, "Is Ozzie Guillen gonna to have to slap a b-tch?"
Here's a pretty good article about a 17-year-old kid people are getting excited about. Some interesting things about O.J. Mayo:
- According to Sonny Vacarro: "Right now, at worst, he's an absolutely tremendous player and I think a future NBA All-Star many times over."
- LeBron talks to Mayo weekly
- According to Baron Davis: "O.J. is my dawg."
- Marshall University sent him a recruiting letter when he was in 7th grade.
- With the new NBA labor agreement, a lucky College team might get him for a year.
- I see OJ (audio link)
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
One of the reasons I can't stand the unbalanced schedule is I have to see boring teams like the Devil Rays play the Red Sox over and over again instead of seeing the Sox play interesting teams like the Twins and Angels more often.
I used to also complain that I had to watch the Orioles along with the Devil Rays. However, now with Tejada and Roberts (Brian not Bip), the Orioles are an exciting team to follow.
One note on the above picture. Did Grady Little come up with the three mediums and one skinny lineup for the yellow team? Notice one yellow is lying on his back. Medium players are pointless. The three bigs one skinny is clearly the best lineup. I think I discussed this the last time I wrote about hockey.
It's good to see Sweden winning.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
World Baseball Classic
I'm really excited about this. If soccer and hockey can have World Cups, why not baseball? I love the idea of Ichiro and Matsui playing with other Japanese players against Americans, I want to see if any team can beat the Dominican Republic, and I want to see how good the Cubans are.
There are some concerns, specifically injuries. This is from USA Today:
Picture this: Randy Johnson starts for the USA, injures his left arm and is finished for the season. That is the type of risk this tournament provides.
I'm liking the idea of this tournament even more!
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Eckstein, who's five foot seven on his tippy toes plays the game the way it should be played. He out-performs players with more natural talented because he plays with the intensity of a little leaguer (not the kid chasing butterflies in right field).
Eckstein comes from a family with a history of kidney problems. From the article I linked above: "I just have always given everything I had," he said. "Growing up as a kid, with my oldest brother and two sisters losing kidneys, I could never complain."
As long as he doesn't sign with the Yankees, I'll keep rooting for Eckstein.
"Tell him Shaq doesn't respond to juvenile delinquents without a college degree. Tell him to get his degree and we can talk. In the meantime, he should call me Dr. Shaq because I'm working on my PhD."
"My season is when I get paid," Sheffield told the New York Daily News. "I'm not doing that. ... I'm not sacrificing my body or taking a chance on an injury for something that's made up."
Sunday, July 10, 2005
"Some guy's being aggressive with a woman, and she says no, and he keeps on doing it. Well, you know what's going to happen. No is no in anything, when it comes to sexual or you know, whatever it is. No is no," Wells said during an appearance on Rhode Island radio station WSKO on Friday. "And I'm sure Kenny said, 'Hey, get it out of my face, don't do it.' But no, they want the big story, they want the scoop, you know?"
Wells added: "I probably would have done the same thing."I should have written, "David Wells -- Stupid Jerk."
Sorry for the confusion.
Friday, July 08, 2005
''I'm glad he did that. He needed to vent. He's been a mild-mannered ballplayer his whole life."
Wells, in his defense of Rogers, said sometimes players don't like cameras ''when they're pissed off."
''What Kenny did, I'm fine with," Wells said. ''The cameraman wasn't hurt. He went to the hospital, pretending to be hurt. He's winking at another guy, saying, 'I'm going to get paid.' That guy's a [expletive] idiot."...
....''The guy's not hurt," Wells said of the cameraman, when David Heuschkel of the Hartford Courant reminded Wells that there were criminal charges involved. ''Be a man. Take it. The same thing happened with that guy in Boston in that incident in the bullpen."
Just as a reminder, here's a story about when David Wells took it like a man from someone 10 inches shorter and 70 pounds lighter.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Cheaters will need to work as male exotic dancers at the next big NBA party.
Schilling is struggling and the bullpen is struggling, so why not mix them together? I don't know how Schilling pitching in relief will help him regain his form as a starter. Usually pitchers rehab in the minors so they can build up their stamina and work off the rust. Now the Red Sox are expecting Schilling to build up endurance and work out his control problems pitching one inning stints in close games. They must really not want to give up their prospects for a closer.
Study: 96-Percent of Boston Sports Fans Have No Idea How Annoying They Are
...Due to an overwhelming inferiority complex stemming from decades of playing second fiddle to New York, the study found that Boston fans are woefully lacking in knowledge of how to respectfully conduct themselves when one of their teams actually wins. But worse, they revel in their boorish behavior and seem to find more enjoyment in flaunting their good fortune in the faces of others than they do in sincerely celebrating and relishing their teams' achievements....
...And when the Red Sox finally won last year -- on the heels of two Patriots championships that were then followed by another in February -- it created a vicious cocktail that made even the most subdued and casual Boston sports fan into an obnoxious, drunken meathead, unbearably annoying to anyone with different rooting interests....
...Predictably, the ever-belligerent and cantankerous Boston fans do not agree with the study's findings.
"That is wicked stupid. People are just jealous. What -- did some Yankees fan make up that study? Probably, 'cause the Yankees suck!" said Tommy Reilly, a 27-year old Boston bartender. "Yeah, that's right. You heard me. The Yankees suck!"
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
One reason Joe Torre and Terry Francona are successful managers is that they're patient and loyal. This patience and loyalty is more important than daily strategy. All manager, except for Grady Little, are competent with game strategy. Not all managers are patient with their players.
Maybe the best example of Francona's patience leading to success is how he handled Mark Bellhorn last postseason. Bellhorn was horrible in the beginning of the playoffs, and everyone, including me, wanted him benched. Francona stuck with Bellhorn and Bellhorn's hitting helped the Sox win Games Six and Seven against the Yankees.
Being patient works on at least two levels. One, players usually do get out of slumps, so they will eventually deliver. Two, players see that their manager believes in them, so the clubhouse gets a good atmosphere and players want to perform well for managers who support them.
Here's two problems with patience:player who don't get out of a slump and restless fans and owners. It was reported a while ago that George Steinbrenner was upset that Torre didn't want any drastic changes to his team. Terry Francona has some leverage with Boston fans because of his ring, but fans are getting restless with his loyalty to Bellhorn, Foulke, and Millar (even though he's improving now).
Torre and Francona are secure enough with their jobs that they're not worried about being fired. Torre might actually welcome it. It's the managers who don't have job security who must find it tougher to stick with players through a slump. A manager's patience is usually good for the player's development, but it can also get the manager fired.
So, what does Francona do about Keith Foulke?
Monday, July 04, 2005
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Throughout the game David Wells thought he was getting squeezed by the homeplate umpire (not Guccione). After getting squeezed again, Wells gave up a hit and then he waved his hands in digust and started yelling. The homeplate umpire yelled back, and apparantly told Wells to stop. Both men then wisely turned around and walked away to diffuse the situation.
Here's where Guccione decided to get himself on SportCenter. As Wells and the homeplate umpire were calming down, Guccione comes in from second base to throw Wells out. Before Wells can even look at Guccione, this showboater is already yelling at Wells hoping to start a big argument.
Needless to say, Guccione needs to be fired.
Friday, July 01, 2005
For example, Tim Duncan was drafted by a team with David Robinson and a good coach in a city that matches his personality. If the lottery balls bounced differently, Duncan could have ended up playing with Antoine Walker and horrible Coach Pitino in a high pressure city. Duncan's career may have taken a drastically different path. He gets an 'A' for being drafted by the Spurs and would have received a 'D' for being drafted by the Celtics.
Anyway, here are some grades for a ten of the 2005 Draftees:
Marvin Williams - Atlanta. He goes to a team with too many swingmen and a city that deserve no professional team. On the other hand, if he's as good as people say he is, the team is his to lead. C
Channing Frye - New York. If you're a big man and drafted by the Knicks, you'll have a mediocre career. The good news is they'll eventually pay you too much. D
Yaroslav Korolev - Clippers. All players drafted by the Spurs receive an automatic F. F
Sean May - Charlotte. He gets to play with his college teammate who knows how to get him the ball, and his front court mate is Emeka Okafor, which he should be very thankful for. May will have a good shot blocker helping him on D, and all of the rebound and low post scoring burden will not just be on him. He loses points because the last time Charlotte drafted the hometown hero, the J.R. Reid era began. B+
Rashad McCants - Minnesota. If he was drafted by Portland, his career would have been over in three years. Now he gets to play with Garnett who will be a strong offcourt influence, and he'll give McCants plenty of easy scoring opportunities (on the court, maybe off the court too). A
Gerald Green - Boston. Scenario one: Doc Rivers creates an enthusiastic exciting atmosphere as a young Celtics team slowly matures into a championship team with Jefferson and Green as the core players. Scenario two: Paul Pierce and Ricky Davis take away all of Green's playing time and make life miserable for him with their bullying and selfish behavior, as the Boston fans grow impatient with Green's development. I'll say he gets a little of each scenario. B
Francisco Garcia - Sacramento. Is smart, has an all around game, and likes to pass. He was born to be a King. Then again, the Kings aren't what they used to be. B
Ian Mahinmi - San Antonio. All players drafted by the Spurs receive an automatic A. A
Wayne Simien - Miami. Playing with Shaq and Wade and living near South Beach. Sign me up. A +
"It's a joke. I've seen worse than what I did. ... Sheffield only gets two games and I get four for something I don't even know what I did yet? Go figure."
There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the method of MLB's suspensions. Earlier in the year Terry Francona was suspended because the Sox had a beanball war with the Devil Rays. I believe it was three days and he wasn't even allowed in the ball park. Later the Yankees were involved in beanball war, so Torre gets a two game suspension. Unlike Francona though, Torre is allowed in the ballpark, just not in the dugout.
In addition to the two catches, a bunch of other managers and players got thrown out by umpires. In every case, the umps inflamed the arguments by being confrontational even following managers as they walked away.
In no other sport does an official instigate arguments. NFL refs don't even look at the coaches and players when they argue, and NBA refs despite being so inept manage to stay calm no matter how heated the player gets over a bad call.
Most arguments do start when the umpire or ref makes a bad call, so they look even more foolish as they inflame the arguments.
Just his facial expressions and the way he walks reminds me of one of the obnoxious jerks you see in bars.
Way to promote the game Pedro. Just about every other superstar in all sports (NFL excluded) manage to persevere through the rigors of the All Star Game -- parties, a couple of minutes playing the sport they love, and more parties -- because they know it's good for the fans and good for the sport.
What comes first, Pedro's shoulder injury or Willie Randolph's nervous breakdown over Pedro's theatrics?