Click here for Today's Sign of the Apocalypse, Game to Watch, Leading Off gallery and much more!
The Big Apple is abuzz over the Big Unit's Big Meltdown. If you've got a sec, judge for yourself whether Randy Johnson deserves having his mug splashed all over the covers of the city's major papers on Tuesday under supersized headlines like "BIG JERK" and "PITCHING A FIT." Quite a contrast from Monday, when Carlos Beltran was the big man in the news here, the newest prince of Gotham. Just a year ago Beltran was toiling in obscurity in Kansas City with a profile lower than Magglio Ordonez's, and a year later, he's bigger news in New York than Brad and Jennifer. What's been most amusing about the city's overblown coverage of NYC's two newest stars is that Johnson and Beltran are two very unlikely fits in a city like this -- Johnson is as media savvy as Tommy Lee and Beltran is as colorful and controversial as a librarian -- and yet now their close-ups have been splattered on the covers of New York's tabloids like they're Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.
A word on the Beltran signing. For a franchise whose Q-rating has long been sinking faster than Martha Stewart's, this was a good, necessary signing, but let's not go crazy over Omar Minaya. Of course the Mets GM deserves high praise for bringing credibility back to the Mets, who have over recent years looked like nothing more than an off-Broadway act alongside the Yankees. But the Mets' big-time acquisitions of Beltran and Pedro Martinez are more about Mets owner Fred Wilpon, who has, for once, shown that he's willing to spend Yankees-type dollars after the franchise's halfhearted courtships of prized free agents such as Mike Mussina, A-Rod and Vlad Guerrero. I'm not convinced the Mets have the pitching to make them September contenders -- New York's playoff chances will likely have more to do with Kris Benson and Victor Zambrano's ERAs than Beltran's home run and stolen base totals -- but few lineups will be as thrilling to watch as the Mets'.
Submit a comment or question for Albert.
Meanwhile, for the Astros this offseason has played out like a Takashi Shimizu film. Interesting article in the Houston Chronicle from Richard Justice on the Beltran negotiations, one that suggests the Astros were simply being used as leverage for Beltran and Scott Boras to get a sweeter deal elsewhere. Either way, the Astros look bad after revolving their offseason on signing Beltran. "The serious parts of this only happened in the last six hours," Astros GM Tim Purpura said of the negotiations on Sunday, hours after the Astros' deadline to sign Beltran had passed. "Really, I think we ran out of time." If the sticking point in the negotiations was truly Beltran's demand for a no-trade clause, how on earth did the Astros not know about it until only moments before the team's deadline to retain their center fielder?
Since taking over for Gerry Hunsicker in November, Purpura has presided over a swift disintegration of a franchise that's coming off its most thrilling and successful single season in its 43-year history. Purpura has been faced an enormous task this winter, but it seems that every move this team has made since October has been a misstep. Letting Jeff Kent go was perhaps defensible, but parting ways with Wade Miller, who was one of this winter's rare bargains when he signed with the Red Sox for one season, was a grave mistake. Factor in Lance Berkman's injury -- he'll be out for five to six months after tearing his ACL playing flag football at a church function -- and Roger Clemens' likely departure, and it seems more likely that all Houston fans will be looking forward to in August will be the start of the Texans' season.
If Randy Moss' TD celebration on Sunday was really so offensive (it wasn't), why is it being replayed as often as those Tilt promos? ... If I had the chance to attend any sporting event in 2005, I think I'd take my free pass now and head to Foxboro for the Pats-Colts this weekend. ... Have you seen the trailer for the new Will Ferrell movie, Kicking and Screaming? Ferrell plays an overzealous soccer coach. Looks like an instant classic. ... Clint Eastwood's new boxing movie, Million Dollar Baby, is a masterpiece, easily the finest sports movie of the last 10 years. Last year was an off year for film, but a superb year for sports movies, between Million Dollar Baby, the overlooked Friday Night Lights, and Miracle. Because you asked, here are The Daily Blog's top 10 movies of 2004, in descending order...
10) Sideways 9) Friday Night Lights 8) Kill Bill Vol. 2 7) Closer 6) Fahrenheit 911 5) House of Flying Daggers 4) Team America: World Police 3) Million Dollar Baby 2) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 1) Maria Full of Grace