Friday, August 1, 2008


So besides the Beijing Olympics, what else is there to keep up with in August?

Here's something to start with this weekend:

Tomorrow: Pro Football Hall of Fame
Could you be a Hall-of-Famer and underrated at the same time? Or overlooked? If you take a look at this year's class, you could make the case for all of these players.
  • Fred Dean made his name known to the masses as a San Francisco 49er, but it was in the shadow of San Diego's highly potent aerial attack led by Dan Fouts that he emerged as one of the most feared pass rushers in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
  • Before offensive linemen grew in profile (mainly because of criticism of those who underperformed), Gary Zimmerman was a dominant offensive lineman whose lone champion for a long time was famed analyst John Madden (only because of how much the former Raiders coach loves his OLs).
  • Emmitt Thomas was a top-flight cornerback for Kansas City whose 58 interceptions are fourth all-time among pure corners (his passes defensed must be pretty impressive if that statistic was kept in the sixties and early seventies).
  • Most people forgot there was a football team in New England until the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI, but Andre Tippett was a beast at outside linebacker on a team that other than a SB appearance in '86 ('85 season), was just awful. Playing in the same era as Lawrence Taylor didn't help his profile over the years, but any quarterback who felt his wrath could tell you of his ferocity.
  • Twenty seasons in the NFL, let alone twenty seasons as a cornerback for one team is an accomplishment in itself. Yet, Darrell Green was one of the best in the business with wide receiver-like speed and free safety vision for the ball. Oh, wasn't too shabby returning the ball, either.
  • Jerry Rice will officially be enshrined into the Hall in 2011; one of the few guarantees in life, let alone sports. Art Monk's addition to the Hall in some ways is still a surprise considering how long he had to wait to get the call. The prototype to today's big wideouts, Monk utilized his speed and quickness on any and every route. How three Super Bowl titles and career records (many broken by Rice) were not enough for media members who love to talk about numbers and major markets as HOF qualifiers is still beyond me.
All week: Same faces, new places
Yes, Manny Ramirez is a Dodger, Mark Texieira is an Angel, Ken Griffey, Jr. is a White Sock (Sox is still plural, right?), Jason Bay is a Rod Sock, Ivan Rodriguez is a Yankee and I'm headed to the Brewers... However, to get a better sense of how your favorite team will adjust with new players, you have to look beyond the first weekend series after the trading deadline and keep at least the first week in focus. Each team will have at least one home series and one road series to give their new managers an idea of how their newest ballplayers are going to either adjust to unfamiliar teams and parks (or reaquaint themselves). As August rolls along, you may see some adjustments (especially in the case of Boston and Los Angeles, who need Bay and Ramirez to learn new leagues) to the lineups.
Or maybe all of the GMs were playing MLB '08 on XBox/PS3 and won't save the rosters to memory after it's all over.

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