This has been a summer of deals, rather it be a new CBA for the NFL and the NBA, or even a new debt deal in congress that has proved to be even more painful then the NFL lockout itself. The debt lock has President Obama playing the role of Roger Goddell and House leader John Boehner that of DeMaurice Smith (Yeah I keep up with politics as well, you have to nowadays.) This last week has been filled with acquisitions in the NFL and the passing trading deadline in the MLB, different forms of deals if you will but still the same. The summer is the time for teams in the NFL to fix that leaky offense line and in the MLB its means its time to get that left-handed power hitter or whatever is needed to make a playoff push.
However, this year has a different feel to it and especially in the NFL. The lockout has compressed a myriad of deals that usually take weeks to develop. When you couple the X games (What an epic comeback by Shaun White), Serena Williams winning her first title in 2011, and a first time winner at the Brickyard in Paul Menard, then you my friend have an eventful weekend in the sports world.
MLB trade deadline passes: The trading deadline came and went with not much of a whimper. There were some deals including a few good moves with former Houston Astro All-Star Hunter Pence going to the Philadelphia Phillies, Michael Bourn landing in Atlanta, and Ubaldo Jimenez becoming a Cleveland Indian. There were no blockbuster trades that shifted the power in one division this year as most teams looked to just improve their clubs or add prospects for those who not in the race. The biggest winner in my opinion was the Texas Rangers as they acquired Mike Adams from the San Diego Padres and Koji Uehara from Baltimore, giving them two great additions to there bullpen. The Rangers already have a lineup that can bash their opponent’s heads in featuring defending AL MVP Josh Hamilton and a pretty good stable of pitchers in C.J. Wilson, Alex Ogando, and Derek Holland. Now they have three lock-down relievers when you add Netfali Feliz to the mix. Watch out Boston, Texas is hot on your trail in the AL.
It’s always sunny in Philadelphia: I mean that literally these days with all of the free agents flocking to the land of Philly cheese steaks (that makes me hungry just saying it). It’s been an embarrassment of riches when it comes to top flight free agents making there way to the city of brotherly love. It started with the Kevin Kolb deal to Arizona for the elite corner Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie. They didn’t stop there both as they swooped in and landed All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who was the biggest fish in the pond this year. The Eagles also plucked DE Jason Babin who had 12 sacks with the Titans last year, DT Cullen Jenkins and his 11 sacks from Green Bay, and got more than decent backup QB in former Titan Vince Young. I think most people are underestimating the valuable recruiting chip the Eagles have in Michael Vick, as players are seemingly gravitating to his resurgence. The Cheese Steaks are good but it has to be more than that right? If there was a competition for winning free agency, it wouldn’t even be close this year as the Eagles have thoroughly dominated everyone in the NFL. Philadelphia looks to have the best team on paper thus far but as everyone knows (Especially Daniel Snyder), you don’t win the Super Bowl in August. It will be interesting to see how their acquisitions translate on the field, but they look tough to beat.
Plaxico Burress: From to Jail to the New York Jets: Burress has come full circle after his own self imposed nightmare. After shooting himself and going to jail, Burress has resurfaced in New York of all places. Sexy Rexy and the Jets had to make a splash after losing out on Nnamdi Asomugha and hated rival New England picking up Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco. Everyone knew that Burress would get signed, he is too talented a player not to, but it was surprising that he landed across the pond from his old New York Giants team. It has to a bit unsettling for Giant fans who saw Burress lead them to the promise land not too long ago. There were a number of teams chasing him including the Pittsburgh Steelers, those New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. According to ESPN insider Adam Schefter, Burress was on his way to meet with the 49ers when he received a choice call from the Jets front office. Burress reportedly named a price and the Jets quickly obliged. The rest is now history as Burress begins his comeback and has a chance to be a difference maker on a Super Bowl caliber team. If he can return to previous form, than the Jets may have a steal on their hands. This also signals the end of Braylon Edwards in a Jets uniform.
Paul Menard wins the Brickyard 400: This has become of season of first time winners in NASCAR. First Trevor Bayne at Daytona, then Ragan Smith at Darlington and now Paul Menard joined the winners circle for the first time. Menard’s victory was a rousing upset as he outlasted defending race winner Jamie McMurray and legend Jeff Gordon. He was able to conserve just enough fuel to take the checkered flag. The win at one of the most historic venues in NASCAR was only Menard’s second victory all-time, as his only other win came in the Nationwide series. The win also moved Menard up to 14th in the Sprint Cup championship making him a contender for one of the coveted wild card spots in the Chase. Keep it going Paul.
Kobe says he will play overseas if he gets the right offer: Kobe Bryant gave a point blank answer to if he would be interested in playing overseas during the NBA lockout. He stated that he is just waiting on the right offer. So any Euro, Chinese, or Turkish team has a chance at signing one of the world best players. Bryant, just like the rest of the NBA players just want to play ball somewhere this year, even if that means going abroad. Kobe has already participated in a Philippine All-Star game that featured NBA MVP Derrick Rose and others so its not like Kobe has any second thoughts about traveling. He also grew up in Italy with his father playing in the Italian league, so again Kobe has no reservations about playing elsewhere other than the NBA. I thought out of all the NBA elite players, Kobe would be the one who did not trek overseas. His recurrent knee problems coupled with the mileage that he has logged by going to the previous 2 out of 3 NBA finals was enough for him to take a deep rest until the labor unrest cleared up. But not a competitive guy like Bryant, he just can’t sit around while others are still playing. That’s just not in his DNA even with the knees begging for mercy. This is a guy I remind you that missed most of the Lakers practice last year because his aching knees and now he wants to go over and play just because he can’t sit down. One thing is for sure, someone will be getting one hell of a player if he does sign.
And that does it for the weekend round-up. Make sure to check in with the Sportaholic this week as we have some anticipated new additions to the team. Also if you haven’t already, make sure you tune in every Saturday 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for The Sportaholic Radio Show on Beatknockin.com.