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Friday, November 21, 2003

Friday Sports Post

I've been slacking a bit on my sports blogging during the week. To rectify, I will now briefly weigh in on the contentious sports issues of the week, followed by my weekly college football preview.

Alex Rodriguez is a deserving American League MVP. He has been the best player in the AL for years, and it's no fault of his that Texas has bad pitching and can't make the playoffs. That has been one of the best offensive teams in the league in recent years, largely due to A-Rod. His stats speak for themselves. This year, with no good candidate on the playoff teams, the MVP voters finally gave Rodriguez his due.

Barry Bonds is also a deserving National League MVP. No one disputes that he had the best season, but some say the THG subpoena is a black eye. I say that shouldn't have anything to do with the MVP voting. Bonds is guilty of nothing at this point, and voters can only take into account what happened on the field this year. If the THG thing turns out to have been a big problem, it's a black eye for all of baseball, not just Bonds.

Bob Costas made a good point on Inside the NFL last night, by the way, that he thinks the 5-7% positive tests for baseball steroids this past year is worse than it sounds. Pitchers have far less incentive to use 'roids than hitters, guys can cycle off things before the season, and the tests don't cover Andro or human growth hormone. Costas complained that the NFL program was his only forum to discuss baseball (he brought this up in a chat about THG and the NFL), and I agree his insights are useful and deserve a forum. Hey Bob: get a web site.

Moving on to basketball, Doc Rivers was undeservedly fired by the Orlando Magic earlier in the week. The Magic began the year 1-10. Tracy McGrady has struggled and the team has some injuries. The team has overachieved a lot the last few years, though, since it's basically McGrady and a bunch of spare parts. When McGrady struggles and some of the better parts are hurt, the team will lose period. Being saddled with Grant Hill's contract makes improving the team difficult, too.

Charges that McGrady is unselfish are also unfair (these have appeared in the papers and on TNT last night). When a guy cares a lot about winning and his team is losing, he is labeled a distraction, hurting the team. If he's on a good team, well then he's just a great competitor. Paul O'Neill of the Reds and Yankees is my favorite example of this.

Finally, on to football. TCU proved me right last night by losing to Southern Miss and blowing their chances of getting into the BCS by going undefeated. They were never close to being one of the eight best teams in football, and it's good we no longer have to listen to their stupid advocates.

The big game is obviously Ohio State-Michigan. This game will settle all of the belly-aching people have had over OSU passing USC in the BCS for the #2 slot. If the Buckeyes win, they deserve to be in teh Sugar Bowl. If they lose, USC will probably go instead (unless LSU wins out and can rise enough). It's that simple, so can everyone stop complaining and picking apart every little bit of the BCS? It's a formula, which is always going to be imperfect somehow. A playoff makes far more sense. I could slog through it all, but just go read Bob Ryan instead.

LSU-Mississippi should be a good one too on CBS at 3:30. Oklahoma-Texas Tech probably won't be competitive either, but the Tech offense is quality TV viewing. That one's on ABC after OSU-Michigan.