1. With the World Cup finished and college football still a distant ship on the horizon, I desperately needed something new to watch, preferably something that Der Wife would enjoy as well as penance for a month of "I'll be in the back room watching Spain-Ukraine if you need me." Lo and behold, we stumbled upon the World Series of Pop Culture on VH1 last night. As Brett Favre would say, it's our new addiction. The format of the show is incredibly simple: two teams answer pop culture questions until one team is eliminated, then Lisa Guerrero asks them inane questions as the men try to keep a straight face and suppress the "I saw you naked and you looked fantastic!" that they almost certainly want to make. The highlights last night for me und Der Wife included me desperately trying to remember what Kate Capshaw sang in the opening credits of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (there is nothing worse than knowing the tune of a song, but not remembering the words) and the two of us realizing that we are way out of touch when we didn't know any of the members of The Gorillaz. Anyway, the show is going to be on every night this week at ten, so clear your schedule.
2. I watched about 60 seconds of the Home Run Derby last night and have two thoughts:
a. I really need to see a game at PNC Park some time soon.
b. Chris Berman is beyond the pale of insufferability. Granted, there's only so much you can do for a home run derby, but what idiot can't read a map and then proclaim that balls are being hit to [insert name of suburb here]? Thank G-d he doesn't do college games.
3. Was I the only one outside of northeast Ohio who was relieved to see LeBron re-sign with the Cavs? The overexposure possibilities of LeBron playing in Los Angeles or New York were too frightening to behold. Plus, while Boston fans might mope endlessly about their bad luck (or at least they did before October 2004) and Philly fans use their futility as an excuse to act like depraved idiots, Cleveland is easily the most screwed major city in American sports. Their teams haven't won a major championship since the Browns in the 60s. My feelings on Ohio aside, I'd be happy for the city if and when LeBron gets them a championship.
4. Baseball Prospectus had an interesting article on the Braves last week. It was subscription only, so I won't link it, but they made the interesting point that the bullpen, while terrible, has an only slightly higher ERA than last year's craptastic bunch. So what's the difference this year? Regression among every one of the starting pitchers. Smoltz's numbers are slightly down, but every other starter - Hudson, Thomson, and Sosa - have seen significant regressions. Add in the injuries of Davies and Horacio and you have the recipe for terrible pitching.