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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Off season transactions

By David

The list of the top available free agents is dwindling as teams continue to sign players to handsome contracts. Many starting pitchers agreed to contracts this week and the most notable name on that list was Mike Mussina. At the age of 38 the ''moose'' agreed to a two year contract to stay with the Yankees.

This was a major move for the Yankees as they re-signed a pitcher who has solidified himself as the number two guy behind Chien-Ming Wang in the starting rotation. Last season, Mussina enjoyed his greatest success in pinstripes as he went 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA. His contract will pay him $23 million over the next two seasons.

Left hander Randy Wolf is headed west to play for the Dodgers after spending his first eight major league seasons playing for the Phillies. It seems that reliever Danys Baez has finally found a permanent home after he agreed to a three year contract with the Orioles. This will be the fifth team Baez will pitch for since 2003.

Starting pitcher Adam Eaton will be extremely thankful this holiday season after Philadelphia gave him a three year contract worth $24.5 million. My question is: For what is Eaton deservent of this large contract? After having a productive 2005 campaign with the Padres, he was traded to the Texas Rangers during the off season. He spent much of last season on the disabled list and in the 13 games in which he pitched he posted an inflated 5.12 ERA. It boggles my mind that in today's market a pitcher who has never won more than 11 games and has never had an ERA below 4.08 can be making $8 million a season.

On a brighter note lefty Jeff Francis of the Colorado Rockies agreed to a new four year contract that will pay him $13.25 million. At the age of 25, Francis is blossoming into one of the best young pitchers in all of baseball. Last season he enjoyed his greatest success as he went 13-11 with a 4.16 ERA. That might not seem like much, but take into account that he's pitching in Coors Field. His ERA dropped by an impressive 1.52 from the previous season and became the fourth lowest in team history.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The trade market

By David

The hot stove season got off to a bang in the trade market with the Brewers and the Diamondbacks swapping players. Milwaukee sent pitchers Doug Davis, Dana Eveland and Outfielder David Krynzel to the desert in exchange for pitchers Claudio Vargas, Greg Aquino and catcher Johnny Estrada. Once again Arizona has shipped out quality players for what can be called at best mediocre ones.

Even though lefty Doug Davis is a good person to have on your team and Outfielder David Krynzel who is only 25 could pan out to be a promising prospect, they don't compare to what the Brew crew received in return. Vargas might not have the most impressive numbers, but he is young and showed potential last season as he posted a 12 and 10 record. Reliever Greg Aquino is a solid reliever and he posted a 2 and zero record to go along with a 4.47 ERA last year with Arizona.

The hidden gem from this deal and a player who is transforming into an elite major league catcher is Johnny Estrada. This will be the third team he will be playing for in two years, but I feel he has found a long term home in Milkwaukee. Besides posting good numbers last season, he knew that Arizona would only be a temporary stop because of how loaded their farm system is.

Last season in 115 games Estrada batted .302 with 71 runs batted in. In 2004 with Atlanta he batted .314 with 76 RBI's and since breaking into the majors in 2001 with the Phillies he has gotten progressively better every year. Estrada is lethal behind the plate as he has a career .994 fielding percentage and will be counted on with the Brewers to assist their young pitchers.

Doug Melvin and the Milwaukee Brewers have once again pulled off an excellent trade in acquiring great talent. Don't look now, but the Brewers might shock everybody this season and sneak into the playoffs.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Baseball off season frenzy

During this past week we have seen a plethora of signings throughout Major League Baseball. Top free agent Outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. who is coming off a career year, cashed in with a five year contract worth $50 million with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Evidently, the days of not signing with a rival team are over after Matthews Jr. defected from Texas for the halos.

Outfielders who have found new homes include: Speed stir Juan Pierre who signed a five year deal worth $44 million with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Frank Catalanotto who will return for a second stint with the Texas Rangers after signing a three year contract and veteran Moises Alou who is headed to Flushing to play left field for the New York Mets after signing a one year deal.

Around the infield we saw all star Nomar Garciaparra re-sign with the Dodgers for two more seasons. This was an excellent decision by Dodger management to commit to Nomar for two more years even though he is coming off many nagging injuries that sidelined him for portions of last season. Alex Gonzalez, formerly of the Red Sox's signed a three year contract with the Reds to become their new starting Shortstop. Gonzalez might not be the best with the bat, but is very potent defensively.

Left handed reliever Jamie Walker who was intrical in the success of the Tigers this past season signed a three year deal with the Orioles. If Baltimore wants to be competitive in the Al East
next year, they will need great pitching and they made a great leap forward in achieving their goal by signing a top of the line relief pitcher.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Carlos Lee signs with the Astros

By David

The Houston Astros inked slugger Carlos Lee to a six year, $100 million contract this past week. Lee will provide a much needed offensive threat to the middle of the Astros lineup which has struggled with the bat the last few seasons. Along with fellow Outfielder Lance Berkman, Houston will have a formidable one two threat for many years to come.

''El Caballo'' has been spectacular over the last five seasons as he has compiled a .288 average with 157 home runs and 522 runs batted in. Since beginning his career with the White Sox, Lee has played with the Brewers and most recently the Rangers. He has a cattle ranch not too far from Houston and from what I can observe this signing seems to be a perfect fit for both sides.

With the short fences in left and right field Lee will love hitting at Minute Maid Park. Over an 81 game span Lee has the potential to break several records at his new ballpark. The signing of Lee was very critical for the Astros this off season because they have struggled offensively for many years and now they have finally found the bat to compliment Lance Berkman. Their pitching has always been capable of keeping them in the game, but when it came playoff time the Houston hitters were non existent.

By giving Carlos Lee the largest contract in team history, general manager Tim Purpura is demonstrating that he is committed to taking the Astros to the next level and that he believes ''El Caballo is the man to lead them to their first ever World Series title.

Still, with many teams in their division improving Houston will need to do more in order to distinguish themselves as the class of the Nl Central. At the top of their list,they must convince
Roger Clemens to return for one more season and for his good friend Andy Pettitte to re-sign. If both things happen then you can look at the Astros as major contenders in the National League along with the New York Mets.

Houston did a great thing in going out and signing the second best hitter on the market and according to Lee Houston fans ''won't be disappointed. I see him as being gravy for the Astros for years to come.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ryan Howard & Justin Morneau win MVP honors

By David

Fellow first basemen Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau took home the MVP award in their respective leagues. At the age of 27, the Phillies slugger overpowered opposing National League pitching to the tune of 58 home runs and 149 runs batted in. In the American League, 25 year old Justin Morneau surprised all of baseball in defeating Yankees shortstop and seven time all star Derek Jeter by a slim 14 points. Morneau became only the second Canadien born player to win the award since Larry Walker.

Both players enjoyed remarkable seasons as Howard lead the major leagues in home runs, RBI's, total bases and finished tied for second with a .659 slugging percentage and third with a 1.084 OPS. Morneau rebounded extremly well from a disappointing 2005 campaign where he batted .239 with 79 RBI's to bat .321 with 34 home runs and 130 runs batted in.

Still, Morneau was overshadowed by the heart felt story of catcher Joe Mauer winning the batting title and having the AL CY young winner and arguebly the best pitcher in baseball Johan Santana on his team. This is why Jeter should have won the award because he was the focal point of his teams success and with out him the Bronx Bombers would not have made the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Ryan Howard was the odds on favorite to win the award and even though slugger Albert Pujols enjoyed a productive season, with out Howard the Phillies would have never been in playoff contention. His numbers on the field don't speak enough volume to how overpowering he is at the plate. Just watching him clobber home runs to all sides of the field with such ease is startling for a player only in his second major league season. If Howard can continue on his current pace of destruction he will go down as one of the very best to ever play the game.

It seems to me that the winners of this years MVP award are beginning to open up a new breed of baseball players. Howard and Morneau are two young first basemen who play the game the right way. They are extremly diligent, very benevolent in the press and conduct themselves in a professional manner. If the rest of MLB could acquire some tips from these men maybe the game would be much more attractive for people to watch.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Alfonso Soriano signs with the Cubs

By David

Five time all star Alfonso Soriano is headed to the north side of Chicago to help out a Cub team that limped to a 66-96 record last year. This perennial slugger and one of the brightest stars in the game today will be added to a potent lineup that already includes all stars Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee. By going out and signing the biggest name on the market early in the off season the Cubs have disguinished themselves as a team to reckon with in the NL Central.

Going back to his days as a Yankee, the knock on Soriano has been his inability to blend in as a team player and his lack for following directions. He proved last season after voluntarily switching to left field that he has started to break out of his shell and is now more of a team oriented player. Soriano inked an 8 year deal worth $136 million and this is unprecedent for a player who was undrafted coming out of the Dominican Republic. His contract is the fifth largest in baseball history and the largest in team history.

From the signing of manager Lou Piniella, to the re-signing of Aramis Ramirez and now this recent deal general manager Jim Hendry has invested heavily in bringing a winning product to Cubs fans. Still, with so much young pitching, an ambiguous bullpen and only one viable starting pitcher in Carlos Zambrano it's tough to envision this team making the playoffs next season.

With all the positive news surrounding the acquisition of Soriano it was lost today that the Cubs lost center fielder Juan Pierre to the Dodgers. He was an intrical part of the Marlins winning the World Series in 2003 and is one of, if not the best base stealer in the game. He was the table setter for the Cubbies last year and his presence will be greatly missed.

When you look down their lineup 1-8, the Cubs present major offensive threats with outfielders Alfonso Soriano, Matt Murton and Jacque Jones as well as Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. Alone, Soriano and Ramirez combined for 84 home runs, 214 runs batted in and 84 doubles. These two sluggers will be relied upon heavily after the front office invested $211 million in these men this off season. Soriano also set a major league record as the first player to have at least 40 homers, 40 doubles and 40 steals in a season. He will be batting lead off for Chicago and will be sure to bring a plethora of fire power to the top of the order.

I am intrigued by the vision veteran manager Lou Piniella has for his new team. He took over the worst team in the NL with the knowledge that management would spend the money needed to bring a winning team to the north side of Chicago. The Cubs by far have made the most moves of any team this winter as they've gone on a spending spree to attract the best players. As the Yankees have proven time and time again despite how much offense you have, if you want to win you need good pitching and I don't feel at the present time that the Chicago Cubs have the pitching to be major players in the National League.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Frank Thomas signs with the Blue Jays

By David

Slugger Frank Thomas is headed north of the border after signing a two year deal with Toronto worth $18.12 million. Thomas also has an option for 2009 that will pay him $10 million. This is a great acquisition for J.P. Ricciardi and the Blue Jays as Frank is a major offensive threat.

Last year, as a member of the A's he batted .270 with 39 home runs and 114 runs batted in. He will be added to an already potent lineup that includes all star Vernon Wells, Troy Glaus, Alex Rios, Reed Johnson and Lyle Overbay. The big hurt is currently the only Blue Jay to be born before 1974. This team is founded on its youth and by adding a crafty veteran in Thomas you are telling your fans that you are serious about winning.

During last years off season general manager J.P. Ricciardi went out and signed pitchers A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan. Many people including myself thought that he was crazy in giving them such large contracts, but they both proved that they were worth the money. By going out early into this years off season and signing one of the best offensive players ever to play the game the Blue Jays will now find themselves up there with the best teams in the AL come October.

Toronto took a major step last season in leap frogging the Red Sox's into second place and this season I expect them to finish in first. When you can combine the pitching of all star and former CY young winner Roy Halladay with A.J. Burnett who has won a World Series ring before you are making a great one two tandem that will plow down opposing hitters. The knock on Burnett has been that he's never been able to stay healthy, but this year he will prove the doubters wrong.

Still, if the Blue Jays are to first make the playoffs and have a chance of going deep they need to solidify the back end of their rotation. Toronto possesses an above average bullpen that is lead by closer B.J. Ryan who posted an impressive 1.37 ERA last season and racked up 38 saves. Their offense featured six hitters who had at least a .300 or better average last season and with the addition of Frank Thomas their power numbers will sky rocket. The big hurt will be laying tremendous damage on American League pitching and hopefully he is successful enough to lead the Blue Jays into the playoffs.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hot Stove Baseball

By David

The baseball off season got even more interesting today when we learned that Japanese phenom Daisuke Matsuzaka will most likely be signing with the Red Sox's. All 30 major league teams had the right to bid for the 26 year old pitcher, but Boston entered the highest bid at $51.1 million. Remember that this dollar amount is only for the Sox's to negotiate with the pitcher and not the amount of his contract.

Matsuzaka said "I was very surprised when I heard the figure" and I concur with his comments. It's unthinkable to believe that any team would bid that much money for a player. I understand that any person in any type of profession is entitled to a reservation wage, but the amount of money many major leaguers are making today is absurd. The re-signing of Aramis Ramirez by the Cubs for five years and $73 million as well as this recent transaction should be a good indicator for what the rest of the market has in store. Now, we will see many players who might have average skills receive large contracts.

The move by the Red Sox's will have major repercussions on the field. Their pitching staff struggled throughout last season and by acquiring this outstanding pitcher they are greatly bolstering their team. The tandem of Schilling, Beckett, Papelbon, Matsuzaka and Wakefield will be hard for hitters to beat.

In other news around baseball Jim Leyland of the American League Champion Tigers won the AL manager of the year. This award was expected after his teams surprising success, but you can't count out the hard work Leyland put into having such a great season. Many people laughed at the prospect of Leyland taking over a team that endured so many losing seasons, but he silenced the critics.

Over on the NL side Joe Girardi won manager of the year for the Marlins, but it's unfortunate he won't be back to continue his success. He took over a team that many people said was the worst in the game, but instead guided his club to a 78-84 record and was in contention for the wild card for much of September. More than any manager Girardi deserved this award as he showed the baseball community just how good he is and more importantly how much he was capable of doing with a team full of rookies. I hope that Joe Girardi will return to baseball and manage a team that appreciates his abilities.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Justin Verlander & Hanley Ramirez: 2006 Rookies of the Year

By David

In what was one of the best rookie classes in recent memory Justin Verlander of the American League Champion Tigers and Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins took top honors in their respective leagues. Verlander became the run away favorite after Boston's Jonathan Papelban and Minnesota's Francisco Liriano suffered mid season injuries.

Verlander distinguished himself as one of the best pitchers in the AL after posting a record of 17-9 with a 3.63 ERA. As his young career progresses he will be among baseballs best pitchers. The National League race for rookie of the year was hotly contested between Washington's third basemen Ryan Zimmerman and Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez who went on to win. There was only a difference of four points between both players and this was the closest race in 26 years.

Ramirez was part of a Marlins team that had six players receive at least one point in voting for the NL rookie of the year and this is a major league record. Besides Ramirez, the list includes Dan Uggla, Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen, Anibal Sanchez and Josh Willingham. This speaks volume to the depth of talent the fish have and why they are one of the brightest teams in all of baseball.

After being acquired in an off season trade with the Red Sox's Hanley batted .292 with 17 home runs, 59 runs batted in, 46 doubles, 11 triples, 185 hits and an impressive 51 stolen bases. His 51 stolen bases ranked third in the NL and his seven lead off home runs tied a rookie record set by Nomar Garciaparra. Ramirez's lightning speed and knack for getting on base was a major reason why Florida shattered their expectations. He recently said "If we bring the same energy next year, we're going to be unbelievable." This optimism is a major factor into why this young ball club is so fun to watch on a regular basis.

The rookie class of 2006 exemplified how hard work can pay off. Many of the Marlins rookies and others around the league took a tough road to get to the majors, but these young men have now become very successful baseball players. When a pitcher can go 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and 144 strike outs in 28 games[started sixteen] and a hitter can bat .271 with 28 home runs and 81 runs batted in and not win the rookie of the year, you begin to realize just how talented this class of rookies were. If these players were so good in their first year just imagine how good they will become in years to come.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Manny Acta, The new Manager of the Washington Nationals

By David

The Nationals are set to hire Manny Acta as their new manager. Acta previously served as the Mets third base coach for the last two seasons and he will be taking over a team that has finished in last place for the last two years. Hall of famer Frank Robinson was dismissed of his managerial duties six weeks ago and this permitted the Nats to go after Acta. He separated himself from the other managerial candidates because of his hard work ethic and knowledge of the game.

The newly appointed manager will be taking over a team that showed very limited signs of improvement last year. The only bright spot was rookie third basemen Ryan Zimmerman who batted .287 with 20 home runs and 110 runs batted in. Unfortunately, Washington will most likely be losing their best player and one of the best sluggers in baseball in Alfonso Soriano to free agency. Last season the Nats pitching staff posted the highest ERA, pitched the fewest shut outs and hit the most batters in the National League. It will definitely be an up hill battle for first year manager Manny Acta.

It's nice to see a man who started as a coach back in 1992 with Class A Asheville finally get an opportunity to manage a big league club. With the hiring of Manny Acta, hopefully the Nationals will be able to return the sense of winning to the nations capital.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Tigers trade for Gary Sheffield

By David

The Detroit Tigers acquired disgruntled outfielder Gary Sheffield from the Yankees today for three minor league pitching prospects. This was a move bound to occur after New York exercised Sheffield's $13 million option for the upcoming season. They did this to prevent him from becoming a free agent, but more importantly from signing with the hated Red Sox's.

This move made by general manager Dave Dombrowski so early into the off season will force many people to scratch their heads and think, why trade for a player in the latter portion of their career who is coming off of wrist surgery and only played in 39 games last season. The answer is that Sheffield will be reunited with manager Jim Leyland who he won a World Series ring with in 1997 for the Marlins and he will be able to provide a patient bat in the middle of the Tigers order. Still, I wonder why you give away three young pitching prospects when you can sign a Frank Thomas or someone of his calaber.

Throughout last years magical season Detroit was lead by their young pitching who all came up through the Tigers system either as a draft pick or via a trade. It seems as if the roles were reversed this time as the Tigers acquired a veteran player and the Yankees picked up good minor league prospects. Finally, Brian Cashman has relaized how porous of a farm system he has and if his team is going to get out of the first round they need to start with good young talent.

After failing to accomplish his goal of winning a second ring during his three year stint in the Bronx the 37 year old former all star will try his luck in the motor city. He was very fortunate to be traded to the American League champions and a team who if not for their defensive blunders could have won it all last season. Gary will be playing DH for now on and this will enable him to stay healthy, pro long his career and be better equiped to help his new team. Sheffield called this situation a "blessing" and said " I'm more than happy to be reunited with guys that I'm familar with". He signed a two year extension with the Tigers through 2009, but terms were not disclosed.

Hopefully, the Tigers receive the Gary Sheffield who averaged 35 home runs and 122 runs batted in for the Yankees during his two healthy seasons and not the player who was constantly plagued by injuries last year. If this happens and Detroit's pitching continues to perform well we could see the Tigers return to the World Series and this time win the whole thing.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ron Washington, The new Manager of the Texas Rangers

By David Kaye

A month after firing Buck Showalter owner Tom Hicks and second year general manager Jon Daniels have found their guy in Ron Washington. Washington previously served the last 11 years as first and third base coach for the division rival Oakland Athletics as well as infield instructor. He has been noted by former players on the A’s including all star third basemen Eric Chavez for being an intricate part into why his defense has so steadily improved and this has translated into six gold gloves for the best defensive third basemen in baseball. . Washington will need more than his popularity throughout the A’s clubhouse and his successful track record if he wants to turn around a Texas team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 1999 and has had a losing record the last six out of seven years.

The knock on the Rangers team during this span has been that they don’t have the pitching to compete with rivals Oakland and Anaheim. It was made clear by the signing of Alex Rodriguez that owner Tom Hicks has a deep wallet, but instead of going out and signing top of the line pitching he throws his money away to different sluggers. Even during the hay day of the Rangers in the late 1990’s when they won three AL West titles they continued to struggle with poor pitching. Still, the Rangers were able to find some kind of balance that permitted them to win and if Ron Washington doesn’t want to become another casualty of under performing managers then he needs to re-invent that balance.

The Rangers are not helped by the fact that they play in one of the worst pitching parks in baseball Ameriquiest Field. Since the inception of their struggles began in 2000 the pitching staff has hurled a less than impressive ERA of 5.17, but if you’re looking optimistically Texas has not posted an ERA of over five since 2003. During this span Ranger hitters have enjoyed belting out an average of 223 home runs a season, but last year failed for the first time since 2000 to blast at least 200 homers. Texas has one of the best infields in baseball with third basemen Hank Blalock, short stop Michael Young and first basemen Mark Teixeira who is coming off his first gold glove. Still, these three players can’t do it all and they need immediate assistance in the form of some veteran arms.

We live in a world that is predicated by the saying what have you done for me lately and all the glamour surrounding Ron Washington will be short lived if the Rangers go out and get swept by the Angels to start the season. Owner Tom Hicks must start allocating his money properly and begin to spend on veteran pitching. The Rangers have young pitching, but if they want to return to the playoffs right away they need to sign someone such as Jason Schmidt or Barry Zito. By signing Zito they are re-uniting him with Washington and are also bringing into the clubhouse a winning presence. Last years signing of Kevin Millwood was a step in the right direction as he won a team leading sixteen games, but the acquisitions of un proven veterans Adam Eaton and Kip Wells did nothing to aid the team.

If the Rangers can sign one of these two all star pitchers they will be even closer to winning the division. Their two main competitors Oakland and Anaheim are currently going through some re-construction of their own. The Angels are in a fog of confusion and the A’s are very close to losing their two best players in Frank Thomas and Barry Zito who lead them to all the way to last years ALCS. I’m not saying the signing of a Zito can translate into what former Ranger Kenny Rogers did for the Tigers, but it can certainly put them a top the Al West.

When you mix in second year man Ian Kinsler, outfielder Nelson Cruz and possibly all star Carlos Lee [If they can sign him, but that possibility doesn’t look bright], a healthy Brad Wilkerson, pitcher Vicente Padilla and closer Akinori Otsuka the future in Arlington looks bright. Still, this hope rests on the Rangers bringing back their balance and new manager Ron Washington will do whatever he can to return the Rangers to their winning ways.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Harold Reynolds Suing ESPN For Firing Him For Hugging White Girl

Yep. You've read it correctly. ESPN's Harold Reynolds is suing ESPN for $5 million as reported by the Miami Herald. According to the newspaper's account, Reynolds claims that "he was wrongly fired after a female intern complained about what he called a 'brief and innocuous' hug."

The Smoking Gun has a copy of the filed lawsuit. In it, Reynolds' Lawyer says that ESPN is refusing to let the Connecticut Labor Department have a copy of his personal file, in fact, Reynolds can't see it either and it's about him. Wonder what's in it?

The Smoking Gun also reveals that Reynolds and the intern went out twice that day: lunch and dinner. So the real truth to this story is somewhere in those two outings. But it's clear that we've got a juicy story. If she didn't really like Reynolds, why go out with him twice? He wasn't her direct boss so there was no bureaucratic pressure to do so.

Since my column asserting that race was the reason behind not just Reynolds firing, but the idea that the woman was white and while liked Harold as a "friend" perhaps she didn't like a black man getting that close to her, I've received both praise and insults for my position. But let me re-state that this is a matter of race and the issue of how there are racial double standards in society is not well-discussed.

I was recently the victim of excessive force use by a California Highway Patrol officer, and just because I started to cry regarding how I was being treated. My good friend who's white and male and a prominent Oakland lawyer told me that had I been white, the treatment woujld have been different. He sees the double-standard.

Look, only an idiot or a racist would clam race has nothing to do with this. It does and there's no such thing as being color-blind. Everyone has a reaction to a person of color, one way or another. You can't avoid it.

Hey, Harold should not have hugged her first, but I'm willing to bet bucks that she's hugged some of ESPN's white male personalities. What Harold ran into was a racial double standard. The only problem is he doesn't have the guts to say it; I do. Moreover, if it turns out that the female intern was black -- which I seriously doubt -- the same standard applies. Hey, don't think there aren't African Americans who don't like blacks -- there are, and the self-black-hatred phenomenon is as much a part of the overall social problem as any other factor.

ESPN's offices are in Conneticut, a state not known for its high degree of mixed-race couples. Isn't it possible that ESPN's harboring some latently racist staffers? People who -- let's be honest -- have issues about black men dating white women, but try to keep their problems in their personal mental closets? (As small as they are! Sorry, but racism is a proven mental illness.)

Look, you're not going to tell me that ESPN really doesn't pay attention to female beauty and was protecting the intests of an intern. ESPN just hired Heather Cox, according to Deadspin, who has just two years of community college and a spot on American Idol.

Wow. So much for journalism school! I'll bet more money some guy at ESPN was behind her discovery. I know one thing: it wasn't Harold Reynolds.

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