Haven't written one in a while, so...
I'm currently watching the Red Sox/White Sox game on MLB.TV online. It's in the 17th inning as we speak. This is the last game before the All-Star Game, a game in which White Sox manager demanded that every pitcher be available for at least an inning, and to which he selected a nice number of his own players (7). Surprise surprise, he has already taken out a couple of his All-Stars from today's game. How Mark Buehrle (9-6 W-L, 4.02 ERA, 54 K's) made it over Francisco Liriano (10-1, 1.83, 102), Justin Verlander (10-4, 3.01, 69), and a few others boggles the mind, and how Travis Hafner (.321 batting average, 25 HR, 74 RBI, 68 runs, .462 on-base %) didn't make it is amazing, but that's another subject.
The question is... what will happen when he needs a reliever during the All-Star Game? [Cool! Some guy just caught a foul ball from a box with a long fish net!] Will he go with his own Bobby Jenks, a closer who threw 2-2/3 innings? Jose Contreras, who threw 6 innings? Or will he force Boston's Jonathan Papelbon to go in first, even though he just threw 2 innings in relief? My bet is he'll protect his players at the expense of other teams, and that's just low. [Niiice double play by Cora, stepping on 3rd on a shot down the line and throwing to first from foul territory to complete it...]
Soccer: I didn't watch a single minute of the World Cup, something I actually do enjoy somewhat, until 4:20 or so this afternoon. I see everyone standing around, and while the rules do confuse me at times, this was completely new. Finally I see that they're setting up for penalty kicks, which means that I have perfect timing! I gather that French star Zidane Zidane head-butted an Italian in overtime to get himself thrown out of his last game ever; brilliant. The Italians win after a French guy hits the bottom of the top crossbar despite fooling the goalie, who apparently is on his team most of the year and therefore knows him well. The Italians hit all five of their kicks. For some reason the stadium wasn't as excited as I recall it being during the '02 cup...
NBA: Lebron re-signed! That's pretty much the most important thing.
NFL: I'm saying now that the Browns will win at least 9 games, and I told someone recently they would go 10-6. It would be interesting to see if 3 teams from the AFC North go to the playoffs. I'm surprised people are so completely underestimating the Browns, who didn't lose anybody, should have Kellen Winslow all year, the defense which was already getting pretty good added pieces and will be playing a 3-4 for the second time, and Braylon Edwards - though out until October - will be playing his second season. They also made a bunch of great free-agent moves, picking up some top O-linemen and defensive pieces. I'll wait until the season begins to finalize my picks, but for now, I'm going to say the Browns are going 10-6 and challenging for a playoff spot. Remember: They were 5-5 against non-division opponents, and 1-5 against the division last year. If they can sweep Baltimore and split Cincy and Pitt, that's 3 more wins right there; their non-divisional schedule is easier than last year.
Plus, I just got my season tickets (50-yard line, upper deck) yesterday. SWEET. :) [We invested with a couple of friends; for now, we sell them, mostly on StubHub.com.]
MLB: Back to baseball... I'm going to write a post about the Indians and how they can still make the playoffs (and a look ahead at '07). But not now. Meanwhile, go (Red) Sox!