Thursday, October 23, 2008

Friday links

-- This news is about a month old, but do you know who the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voted for as the MVP of the Tampa Bay Rays this season? Nope, not Evan Longoria (.272/.343/.531, 27 HR), B.J. Upton (.273/.383/.401, 9 HR), or Carlos Pena (.247/.377/.494, 31 HR), or anyone on the pitching staff. Instead, they gave the MVP to shortstop Jason Bartlett. Fire Joe Morgan already covered this topic, but I just wanted to make sure I had this right: Bartlett (.286/.329/.361, 1 HR) apparently deserves the award more than the three Rays listed above because he's a great defensive shortstop? Longoria and Upton are both outstanding defensive players at third base and center field, respectively, and Pena is solid at first base as well. Bartlett has certainly made the Rays better this season, but he's not the most valuable player on the team by any stretch of the imagination. Anyway, it probably won't matter if the Rays end up winning the World Series.

-- This story is also a few weeks old, but it's worth mentioning as well. Here's a video of a hit by Arizona Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson on Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards in Week 5. Sure, it's a hard hit, but it looks pretty clean, right? This is the NFL after all. Apparently not, since Wilson was fined $25,000 for "unnecessarily [driving] Edwards to the ground." This article on Pro Football Talk states that Wilson "violat[ed] Rule 12, Section 2, Article 12 (2) of the NFL Official Playing Rules. That rule states: 'a defensive player must not unnecessarily or violently throw [the quarterback] down and land on top of him with all or most of the defender's weight. Instead, the defensive player must strive to wrap up or cradle the passer with the defensive player's arms.'" I didn't know that "cradle the passer" and "football" were ever supposed to be seen in the same sentence. Look, it's unfortunate that Edwards suffered a concussion because of the hit, but football is a violent sport played by very strong and very fast individuals. Players are going to get hurt, even on rather ordinary plays. How exactly is Wilson, running at full speed, supposed to be worried about making the play while also remembering he must cradle the quarterback on the way down so he doesn't get fined? The league can keep handing out unnecessary fines all it wants, but plays like this happen every week and the commissioner can't stop them.

Some quick hitters:

-- An interesting read on the "Curse of 370" carries by running backs.

-- There are passionate Redskins fans, and then there are insane ones.

-- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is "tired of talking" about Pacman.

-- Nick Young understands that he'll need to step up this year.

-- Gilbert Arenas doesn't mind answering some questions for Young.

-- This NFL season makes no sense to Jason Whitlock.

-- Roch Kubatko is willing to "quit [his] job at MASN and work as Pacman Jones' publicist" if Adam Loewen leaves the Orioles.

-- Antawn Jamison is skeptical of whether or not Andray Blatche will step up this season.

-- Jim Zorn filled in as play-caller for one game with the Lions in 1999.

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