It's late Sunday night and I'm still trying to process the appearance of Neil Diamond on the Grammy's and wondering if the show actually carries any weight or relevance anymore.
But while I was watching three-plus hours worth of strange duets and odd combinations of singers (Jonas Brothers and Stevie Wonder?), I also perused about four days worth of baseball news on the internet to get some links up for you.
Obviously, the news about Alex Rodriguez and steroids dominated most of the coverage and with good reason. I've read a few comments in Larry's first post not wanting to hear about this. You have good reasons, but I'm still going to post some links about him - for the moment - for four reasons:
1. He was a former top pick of the Mariners and a celebrated player during his playing days here.
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2. Since he left to sign a free agent contract, he's become persona non grata with the bulk of M's fans. And anybody who's heard the booing he's received at Safeco, even last year, will understand.
3. Despite what you think of him - and my opinion is not positive - A-Rod is one of the most visible players in baseball and is on pace to shatter many offensive records in the game.
4. Besides Mariners-related and American League West-related links, I think it's important to offer some other news around baseball to keep everybody informed and offer different perspectives.
But in fairness to those who aren't interested, it's not something to dwell on and I am going to post the A-Rod links at the bottom.
So lets get to the links ...
Um, there's a reason why the Angels aren't hurrying to re-sign the their all-time leader in games played, at-bats, hits, singles, doubles, extra base hits, RBIs, grand slams, total bases and a few other records. He isn't anywhere near the same player that set those records. The Angels are going with younger, cheaper and probably more efficient outfielder in Juan Rivera. Manager Mike Sciscioa told Anderson he might have the a role on the Angels as a utility outfielder. But he wants to play in 145 games this season. It just doesn't seem like a move consistent with what the front office has been doing, unless they know something we don't.
Kirby Arnold of the Everett Herald has this story about how the area around the Peoria Sports Complex has grown and a spring training guide.
We don't usually link to the P-I or Times but since we did already, here's Larry Stone's story on the anniversary of the trade for Erik Bedard, all I can say about it is, "Happy Anniversary." For some, it's kind of like the anniversary of their wisdom teeth extraction.
Recently acquired lefty Garrett Olson talked to the San Luis Obispo Tribune about the trade after pitching a scoreless inning in the Cal Poly-SLO alumni game.
Let's go around baseball ...
George Sherrill avoided arbitration with the Orioles signing a nice one-year deal. Not bad for a guy that used to pitch for the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
One-time Mariner Rich Aurilia (something many fans would like to forget) re-signed with SF Giants as a right-handed option at first base. Aurilia will give the Giants a right-handed bat opposite the two lefties vying for the job - John Bowker and Federal Way standout and former TNT all-area player of the year Travis Ishikawa (pictured right).
Here's some notes from Randy Johnson's first meeting with Bay Area press.
Chico Harlan of the Washington Post has this story about Stephen Strasburg, who the Nats are expected to take with the top pick of this year's draft. M's fans need to get used to the idea that he's out of reach. It may save on pain.
The Philly Inquirer has this big feature story that looks deeper into Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and his life.
The Rangers have signed Andruw Jones to a minor league contract. The hope is that Jones can be something more than the bust he's been the last few seasons and allow the Rangers to move Josh Hamilton to right field to reduce wear and tear on him.
Manny Ramirez talked to LA Times reporter Dylan Fernandez about the on-going negotiations with the Dodgers and his thoughts about free agency.
Times columnist Bill Plaschke offers his thoughts on the situation.
Here's some Sunday columns from national baseball writers ...
People forget that Mike Hampton was once in the Mariners organization. Anyway the oft-injured lefty is the key for the Houston Astros' success, according to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle.
Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain news doesn't think the Rays can repeat last year's success.
Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo has his Sunday notes
Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune has his Sunday column.
WARNING: A-Rod links start here ...
Here's the always entertaining NY tabloids covers ...
If you read just one of these links, read this column by Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post in which he notes that now only Ken Griffey Jr. should be remembered as the greatest slugger of this era, because there was never a question about him using PEDs.
Well you should also read our own John McGrath's take on the news.
The Dallas Morning News' Kevin Sherrington adds A-Rod to the list of players on the 2003 Rangers team now linked to PEDs. The list includes Rafael Palmeiro, Pudge Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez and more.
Here's the story from the NY Times' Tyler Kepner where it leads with A-Rod's obsessive desire to succeed.
Of course, players and former players all have reactions to the situation. Of course, Curt Schilling, who always seems to have an opinion to share, offered his, saying he wants to see the 103 names on the list of players that failed tests.
Former Mariners pitcher and teammate of A-Rod, Jeff Nelson, who recently signed on with MLB Network offers some thoughts - mainly for A-Rod to keep quiet.
Newsday's Ken Davidoff said A-Rod's rights have been violated.
Sports Illustrated's legal expert Michael McCann offers some thoughts.
Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan believes A-Rod should learn from how Barry Bonds has handled the situation and not make the same mistakes. Someone who knows about Bonds is the SF Chronicle's Ray Ratto, who offers his thoughts.
Finally, here's some the clips of him denying steroids usage on 60 minutes.