Believe it or not, not the weirdest thing I've had for breakfast this week.
OK, give some credit to the Boston media: they're reporting the busted Bigbie brokering story. SI had it in their Truth & Rumors column as well. In light of the Palmeiro situation, I'm giving Buster Olney (subscription required) the benefit of the doubt, but if I don't see it in his blog today or tomorrow, I'm going to be peeved. As far as Raffy is concerned, hardly a sports outlet out there hasn't covered it to death. Here's the articles I read rather than skimmed: Olney, SI's John Donovan, and the Chicago Sun-Times' Jay Mariotti. What do I think about Palmeiro? Well, my impression of Raffy is dominated by my youthful memories of him as a Cub, when he was a skinny, light-hitting outfielder. In 1988 (the year of the lights) he had 8 home runs in 580 at-bats. So how'd he suddenly start hitting 40 a year? I think he's a liar, and I don't much tolerate liars. This means you, Boston Assistant GM Josh Byrnes.
The A's beat Johan Santana and the sinking Twins to move a scant 1 game behind Anaheim. When Vlad Guerrero isn't right, as he isn't now (.208 BA in July), the Angels are just another team. The A's are beginning to gain national attention but are still victimized by the national sports media's big-market mentality: His name is Bobby, SI. Bubba Crosby plays for the Yankees, as you should know. But check out Baseball Prospectus's daily must-read Playoff Odds Report. The Athletics have in fact passed the Angels as the team most likely to win the AL West and in overall postseason percentage (56.7%). Amazingly, thanks to the NL West's remarkable obsolescence, the Rockies still have a (0.02%) shot at the playoffs. The average win total of the NL West winner stands at a scant 81.8. Bring on radical realignment!
Also in the news, although amazingly eclipsed by the Palmeiro situation: No Barry in '05. Another guy with a suspicious late-career power spike, Bret Boone, was released by the Twins. Minnesota's season seems to be headed down the tubes as they've lost five in a row and potentially Torii Hunter for the season. It's hard to see a team with as much young pitching talent as the Twins staying down for too long, but it is a cautionary tale of the tiny margin for error for midmarket teams hoping to contend with homegrown guys. Last year's injury to Eric Chavez basically sunk the A's, and the Twins, Indians, and Blue Jays aren't likely to overcome time lost from Hunter, Travis Hafner, and Roy Halladay.
Since the Rockies are unlikely to make any more trades or to matter in any fashion for the rest of this season (unless Brad Hawpe gets healthy in time to face Mark Prior when the Cubs come to town later this month), there will likely be more national news in this space for the rest of the year. In fact, as of this moment I'm naming TGTBATB as the official internet home of the Shawn Chacon/Joe Kennedy & Jay Witasick runs to the playoffs. While this does put me in the awkward position of rooting for the Yankees, whom I have been taught since I was a small child to hate with a passion usually reserved for Communist Russia, it will be easier to manage what with the duplicitous nature of certain people in the front offices of a certain formerly lovable Olde Towne Team.
Update: SI.com fixed the Bubba/Bobby Crosby error. At least this time I was able to direct a few of you to it; they beat me on the David Boreanaz typo at the All-Star Break. However it's much more their business to know the name of the guy who won the AL Rookie of the Year last year than the star of "Angel" and the upcoming "Bones." Shame on you, SI.com.