I promised myself that my top story today would not have anything to do with the Homerun Derby, because so many other writers and bloggers will be all over that event, but after watching it all and taking it all in, there is no way I could call myself a red-blooded American if I did not lead off with what turned out to be a big-time battle in the Bronx.

Justin Morneau of the Twins stole the title at the end of the day pelting five dingers in the final round, but the man who stole the hearts of everyone in New York City and worldwide was Rangers’ slugger Josh Hamilton who graduated from a “good story” to a legit slugger overnight with numerous 480+ foot blasts into the night in Yankee Stadium.

We all know Hamilton’s story: Big-time prospect turned drug/alcohol abuse turned comeback and now turned all-star. But what we need to focus on now moreso that the black-eyes is just how good this player is.

Hamilton has nearly 100 RBI at the break and has helped turn a club that was a lost cause in the preseason into a team that is above .500 and contemplating being a buyer at the trade deadline.

I often get heat because I like to give athletes second, third, fourth and fifth chances sometimes, but stories like these are the reason why. The same people who throw Ryan Perrilloux under the bus, the same people who wouldn’t want Terrell Owens on their team are also the same folks who want Hamilton playing for their club now and I wish both Hamilton and the Rangers the best in the second half of the season.
________________________

The Derby is an undercard (kind of) to the actual game itself which is tonight. On the hill for the NL will be Brewers hurler Ben Sheets (10-3 2.85 ERA) was probably not manager Clint Hurdle’s first choice, but with Brandon Webb having thrown 100+ pitches Sunday, his hands were tired.

On the American League side, Terry Francona will give the ball to the Indians’ Cliff Lee (12-2 2.31 ERA), despite flirting with the idea of using Yankees’ pitcher Mariano Rivera to appease the home-town crowd. \

The two manager’s also announced their batting lineups and they are as follows.

NL:

Hanley Ramirez SS
Chase Utley 2B
Lance Berkman 1B
Albert Pujols DH
Chipper Jones 3B
Matt Holliday RF
Ryan Braun LF
Kosuke Fukudome CF
Geovany Soto C

AL:

Ichiro RF
Derek Jeter SS
Josh Hamilton CF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Manny Ramirez LF
Milton Bradley DH
Kevin Youkilis 1B
Joe Mauer C
Dustin Pedroia

All-in-all, this looks to be yet again, advantage AL. But anything can happen in baseball and I look forward to an exciting Mid-Summer Classic.

But despite my excitement for the game itself, I am not now, nor ever have been excited about the home field advantage in the World Series thing. It’s a crock of bologna. Why should a guy for the Royals potentially be able to determine who will win the World Series? If the MLB doesn’t want the team with the best record in the bigs to be guarantee home-field, then grant the honor to the league with the better W/L record in interleague play.

Official Prediction:

AL 6

NL 3

MVP: Ichiro 2-3 with 2 doubles
_____________________

We are now into the Top 5 in our newest countdown. We’ve been to some pretty cool places and I have learned a lot of things that I did not previously know about a lot of the premiere stadiums in college football. It’s getting down to the nitty gritty and today, we take a trip to the northern heartland in a place simply known as the Big House.

No. 5 stadium most difficult for visiting teams to play in: Michigan Stadium

What’s better than having 112,000 people all in the same arena at the same time cheering on their team? That is what you get each Saturday in the Big House, which is known for its huge, gently sloping bowl shape that does not have a true “upper deck.”


The Michigan faithful may not be the most rowdy or the most energetic during the game and despite the larges masses of fans, stadium noise is rarely an issue in Wolverine games. But despite the more laid back atmosphere, Michigan fans are some of the most fun-loving of any in the country. You want passion and true love? Michigan’s official university Web Site has a live web-cam in the Big House at all times for fans to check in to see how the ole stadium is holding up.

We get into the Top 4 tomorrow.
______________________

Headlines:

CBS’ Packer out after 27 years – I will keep it short when I say: It’s about time. Packer has for years and years made controversial quirks to try to make himself a part of the telecast and that is the cardinal rule not to break in Journalism 1001. Good riddance. Not that Clark Kellogg will be a ton better. Here’s to wishing Bill Raftery gets the gig next time it comes available.

Charges aganst ex-Bengal Henry dropped – Congrats to NFL Commishioner Roger Goodell. You took away Henry’s livelihood and suspended him indefinitely, making his search to find a new team next to impossible. All for what, Roger? The dude’s charges were dropped. Sure, there are others on the table in other places, but that is not the moral of the story. The moral of the story is that Goodell tends to play God and suspend people before they are found guilty in an actual court of law and it will bite him in the backside before his reign at the top is over.

Peyton Manning has minor surgery– This is nothing major and nothing that will force him to miss any sort of time, but I just wanted to use this headline to thank the Manning family for again conducting their Passing Academy in my home Lafourche Parish out in Thibodaux. The camp is a treat for fans and prospective players in the area and the region who want to refine their skills and we’re glad to welcome the Manning’s each year.

_________________

New stuff: Oh, watch out. We’re at it again. Now, along with your daily headlines and your daily news and Top 10 entries, I am adding a new feature: The Sports Palace’s You Tube Video of the Day.

Each day, I will post a video that I think is cool. It may or may not be about sports, but it will be interesting nonetheless.

For today’s debut video, I don’t need to say anything except: Happy NCAA Day!

That’s all for me. Take it easy.

Advertisements