1. There will be no Duel of the Jews this week because Mandel agrees that Mike Vick is a black eye for the Virginia Tech program. Oh, and he also answered the questions that were asked this week, so there's really nothing to mock. I'm sure he's tremendously relieved.
2. There's little worse that staying up way your bedtime to watch a Braves game on the West Coast and the last thing you see before turning off the lights in disgust is Bob Wickman blowing a beautifully pitched game by Tim Hudson. The game really illustrated the silliness of the traditional pitching stats. Hudson was outstanding for eight innings before leaving in the 9th with a 4-1 lead and runners on first and second following a bloop single. Wickman promptly allows a double and a single to tie the game, so Huddy doesn't get a win despite pitching really well and his final line is three runs in eight and two-thirds, a line that does not reflect the quality of the performance. The good news is that the Braves ended up winning the game, but Wickman's crap pitching not only cost Hudson a win, it also taxed four innings on the bullpen, including two innings for Peter Moylan, who is right now the Braves' only reliable reliever. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the team needs to bolster the bullpen before the stretch run. It will be much easier to find a quality reliever than it will to find someone to pitch significantly better than Jo Jo Reyes.
3. I watched the two-disc highlight video of Barca's victorious Champions League campaign and the prevailing notion I took away from it is that Samuel Eto'o is not a clinical finisher. I thought at the end of the season when he was failing to put away chances (like the one that would have knocked Espanyol out and effectively won the Primera, or the one that would have put Barca ahead in the first half at Villareal) that he was rusty, but I'm beginning to get the sense that he just isn't a good shooter. There are a ton of sequences on disk one where Eto'o is sent clear and then shoots at the keeper. His movement is great and he does a lot to free himself, but he doesn't finish as many of his one-on-one chances as a great striker should.
Oh, and I also had a good chuckle at the Special One whining about Messi getting Del Horno sent off when Barca were denied two clear penalties in the match, including the memorable instance when John Terry ran over Leo Messi in the box, then proceeded to land on the ball with his hands. Keep talking, Jose.