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Today's Best

by Doug Farrar, 7/22/14
The second -- and more brutal -- irony about Dungy's comments regarding Sam is that those people who were opposed to the integration of professional sports leagues decades ago often used his argument against his predecessors. Nobody wanted black players in the major leagues, it was said, because there would be problems. Things would happen.

by Tim Brown, Yahoo Sports 7/22/14
At a time the Phillies would seem to require better young players and salary relief and the Yankees would seem to require better players no matter the age or cost, it was of some interest that Lee would pitch for the first time in two months, and 10 days from the trading deadline.


Home Grown

by Kevin Oklobzija, Democrat and Chronicle 7/22/14
The first time, the rookie wide receiver deked and then darted his way past veteran cornerback Leodis McKelvin. The second time, he left rookie Kenny Ladler in his wake. Each time he had separation, he found the pass from Manuel dropping right into his hands.

by Peter King, Monday Morning Quarterback 7/21/14
I’ve been coming to Bills camp most summers since their decline began. This is a better team than most if not all of the teams the Bills have fielded since their last playoff season, 1999. It’s a group that can win now if the quarterback plays at a B-plus level. If Manuel’s a C player, Buffalo won’t win. It’s simple.


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Our Contribution

Lacking Adaptability

by Bill Pucko, 7/21/14

A week or so back a couple of guys on the Fox Sports Radio Network spent part of the afternoon discussing how to make baseball more interesting.  They took callers' suggestions, normally a counterproductive practice. 
Among the solicited comments were; shorten the game to seven innings; institute the International Tie Breaker they use in softball where a runner is placed on second base to start the inning; and the most bazaar, play five five-out innings.  These were all designed to both shorten the game and add a little offense.
You couldn't do a show like this about football, or basketball for that matter.  There isn't enough wrong with those two sports. They both have one thing that baseball and soccer for that matter, lack.  Adaptability.
Football wasn't afraid to make moves to juice the offense, protect its quarterbacks, adjust to safety concerns on kickoffs and invented replay.  Basketball has likewise been open to change over the years.  The implementation of the three-point shot by the old American Basketball Association in 1967 and by  the NBA in 1979, might be the most fundamental change in any of our favorite games.
Baseball meanwhile clings to its past.  The last fundamental change in the way the game is played on field came in 1968 when they lowered the pitchers mound five inches.  That followed a season when Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals posted a 1.13 earned run average, and Boston's Carl Yastrzemski won a batting crown with an average of .301.
These days the problems are more fundamental.  Runs are down.  Strikeouts are up.  Fewer balls are being put into play.  Despite less actual action on the field, most games are still taking over three hours to play.  Baseball is becoming less relevant to younger fans.  Washington infielder Anthony Rendon on Sunday said that he doesn't watch baseball because it's "too long and boring."  He's getting ridiculed for those comments.  He should be listened to.
Soccer is in the same boat.  Despite metrics that indicate the sport is on the verge of real emergence, it still lives in fear of the international governing body FIFA.  Which is why among the 19 teams in Major League Soccer, only two, DC United and the Seattle Sounders, have won more than half their games.  There have been 57 ties.  Ties don't fly.  Even the National Hockey League knows that.
Baseball and soccer are still fundamentally good sports.  They'll survive.  But are and will continue to be held back in this country because they lack adaptability.



from 5/21/14

Tyler Ennis' game likely would have benefited from another season or two in college, but as a possible lottery pick, he probably made the right decision from a financial standpoint.

from 5/20/14
Both Toronto and Minnesota jumped five places this week, with the Blue Jays continuing an impressive rise up the rankings. Toronto is the only team in the AL East with a positive run differential, thanks in large part to the division's best offense -- the Blue Jays have scored the third-most runs in the AL and lead the league in home runs.



by Ron Shandler, USA Today 7/22/14
For the winners of this deadline sweepstakes, the expectation is that it can be a season-changing event. The impact, however, is typically far less than expected and much more uncertain.

by Nathan Grimm, 7/21/14
Mookie Betts became the latest cautionary tale for fantasy owners looking for the Next Big Thing after the Red Sox demoted him Saturday. Betts hit .235/.278/.382 in a brief stint with the club. He'll be back in the big leagues, likely with better results, before too long.