Only Barry Bonds could pull off a feat so spectacular.
Bonds is such a weasel, such an arrogant jerk, that he's made Alex Rodriguez fans of us all.
A-Rod eclipsed the career 500-homer plateau this weekend, a great accomplishment, but one that probably wouldn't have been so heavily covered and commented upon without Bonds's own death march to 755. It's as though the sports world can't bear to live with the farce of Bonds' steroid-addled excellence without counterbalancing it with the possibility that all his records will be wiped out in a few years by a certain Yankee third baseman.
Let's face it: A-Rod isn't a particularly likeable guy. His personal grooming is too detailed. His on-field girl-slap of Bronson Arroyo was lame. Yelling at that poor Toronto Blue Jays third baseman was mean. And he just tries way too hard to be understood by the media and (by extension) the public. He's not clutch, so he's not Derek Jeter. And he's never won a thing.
But next to Bonds? Rodriguez is Mother Bleepin' Teresa. He doesn't have the swollen cranium of a performance-enhancing-substance abuser. He's not a freakish bodybuilder type. His name hasn't ever been linked with the Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi scandals. And he just turned 32. He's the youngest man in baseball history to reach the half-millennium mark, and there's very little indication he's slowing down. (Just don't expect him to hit the next 255 in October.)
So A-Rod, baseball turns its lonely eyes to you, woo-woo-woo. You are the lesser of two evils, so if you average around 40 dingers over the next six seasons, you'll get near Bonds, and I'll bet just about anything Hank Aaron will follow you around the country. Anything to wipe San Francisco's fraud out of the record books.
The baseball trade deadline got trumped by news that Kevin Garnett is heading to the Boston Celtics. Does this make the Celtics a contender to get to the Finals as early as this year? How will this move change their team odds?
Bodog Bookmakers, Bodog.com: Their newest acquisition gives the Celtics three all-stars in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen (who came over in an earlier trade from Seattle). In a conference where LeBron James can carry his team to an Eastern Conference championship with little or no help, this new Boston trifecta should be good for 50+ wins. Chances are they won't make the Finals this year, but they'll definitely make some noise. The Celtics will be in tough competition to win the Atlantic Division, as the Toronto Raptors are looking to prove they're not one-year wonders, but if Ray Allens surgically-repaired ankles hold up, the Celtics could take the division.
The Atlanta Braves evidently are "going for it," acquiring Mark Teixeira and, it looks like, Octavio Dotel at the trade deadline. Do you think they win the NL East?
BDB, Bodog.com: The Braves have a sense of entitlement to the NL East crown, having won the title 11 years straight before relinquishing it to the Mets in 2006. Considering the Braves are 4 1/2 back of the division-leading Mets and only 2 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race, they stand a very good chance of at least making the playoffs. Teixeira will give the Braves production at first base, something they've lacked all season. He'll also pick up the slack for Andruw Jones, who is suffering through his worst season. And the acquisition of Octavio Dotel will provide insurance incase Bob Wickman struggles to close out games.
What other deals at baseball's trade deadline have piqued your fancy?
BDB, Bodog.com:It was a great week for those Boston fans. First Garnett and then the Red Sox acquired a revitalized Eric Gagne from the Texas Rangers. How would you feel knowing your team was trailing, and you had to mount a comeback versus Hideki Okajima, Eric Gagne and Jonathan Papelbon in the final three innings?
Has the arrival of David Beckham changed the way the betting public is treating American professional soccer? Does MLS get wagered on any more now? And does it get wagered on even a fraction of what European soccer does?
BDB, Bodog.com:It's been hard to gauge how the arrival of Beckham has affected the betting public's opinion of American soccer, as he's only spent about 15 minutes on the pitch so far. Serious bettors are going to stick to the European leagues, regardless. Right now interest in MLS is miniscule compared to that of the European leagues. Comparing the two is like comparing the NFL to the now-defunct NFL Europe; they're on completely different levels.