I have lots of things on my mind this morning - I'll throw them all at you here:
Let's start with the Tampa Bay Rays. As I've been saying for a while, they're not going anywhere. The Yankees have had a couple of pretty poor weeks, so they're looking like a long shot to overtake the Rays, and the Red Sox are now without Tim Wakefield, who will miss a couple of starts - it just seems like the stars aren't aligning for them this year. I'm not sure they will even hold onto their wild card lead...but that's another story for another day.
It makes sense with the Rays - they've had this young team that has been on the cusp for a few years - if they only had some pitching, people would say. Well, now their pitching is performing. But here's what I don't understand about Tampa Bay - I get that they have Scott Kazmir, James Shields, and Matt Garza, good pitchers all. But what has gotten into Edwin Jackson? This guy has been awful his entire career - first, as a reliever, with 23 appearances and a 5.45 ERA. Then last year in his first as a starter, 5-15 with a 5.76 ERA. This year he is now 9-7 with a 4.07 ERA. Has it just taken this many starts for him to be comfortable as a starter? Or is he having one of those flash-in-the-pan seasons? I mean, Kazmir had the good stretch earlier this season where he was dominant for 6 or 7 starts in a row, but Jackson has been way more consistent recently. I totally buy into the Rays this year...I just don't know what to think about Edwin Jackson.
Now the Mets - this is their week to make hay. They start this afternoon with a makeup day game against the Pirates at Shea, before hitting the road for the rest of the week - going to Washington then Pittsburgh (a wraparound series ending Monday). That has to be 6 wins. Has to be.
Pittsburgh has given the Mets trouble in recent years, which is why I'm not automatically throwing a 8-0 out there...and also, the bullpen is bound to blow a game this week.
So 6-2, 7-1 - that would allow the Mets to take over first place - especially while at the same time the Phillies are on a west coast swing and the Marlins will have their hands full with St. Louis and Chicago.
So Friday night I was kind of interested in the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. The Wife had it on, I sat for five minutes, and it bored me. I couldn't even tell you which part I was watching because it just didn't register in my head. I kept thinking, "I'd rather watch baseball." So I put on baseball, and didn't tune back in to the Olympics until the swimming Saturday night.
Now all I keep hearing is how wonderful/exhilarating/just plain cool the Opening Ceremonies were. How could this be? Wouldn't I have been able to tell if it was going to be exciting? Is it just that it got good towards the end (4 hours after I watched) when they lit the cauldron? And that the ending was so good that people forgot how torturous the rest of the show was (like women who give birth forget all the uncomfortable aspects and just remember the joyous parts)? Someone help me out here, please.
Finally, the Chad Pennington mystery is over - he's a member of the Miami Dolphins. This is kind of like the football gods screwing with me. I hate the Dolphins. Most of that is Dan Marino residue - I guess I really don't hate them anymore...I probably dislike the Patriots more these days - but I love seeing the Dolphins lose. The Patriots is more of a recent thing - for so long they were harmless, usually joining the Jets in awfulness year to year. But the Dolphins were rivals. And I hated them.
But now I'll be rooting for them 14 out of 16 games a year. I really hope Pennington wins with them, except when they play the Jets. And the cool thing about football is I can root for Pennington to do well against the Jets, you know, 14-20, 200 yards, and throw no touchdowns or interceptions. Maybe a bunch of dropped balls, so he's not even to blame when the Jets beat them, then he can do really well in the other games.
Miami is really the best-case scenario for Pennington - he'll play right away while teaching young quarterbacks at the same time.
In Jets camp, meanwhile, Laveranues Coles is apparently stewing about the loss of Pennington. Listen, I love that Coles is so attached to Pennington...but he's got to get over it and enjoy the fact that he will have a monster season running downfield for Favre bombs. And I think he will - he told the media last week that he just needed time to get over it.
Jerricho Cotchery took the opposite approach - I don't know if it was a veiled shot at Pennington or not (I'd like to lean towards 'not'), but he commented on how hard Favre threw. He said Vinny Testaverde threw hard, but Favre's ball was "definitely the hardest ball I've had thrown at me in a long time." Just realize, Jerricho, that the difference in the speed of Favre's throws compared with Pennington's is about the same as the difference in their accuracy at certain points in the game. I hope the receivers are ready for that.