Musberger, Bilas Weigh in on Penn State Sanctions: I have a lot of respect for Brent Musberger and Jay Bilas. Musberger has been on the top as a journalist and broadcaster for close to five decades. Jay Bilas was top player at Duke and in now an attorney and well respected sportscaster. However, I disagree with their assessment that the NCAA went too far with their sanctions of the Penn State program. This issue was all about the football program. They are maintaining that the real punishment will be meted out by the courts to the individuals involved. But that glosses over the fact that the football program was at the center of the scandal. Jerry Sandusky was an assistant coach who allegedly retired becasue of his penchant for sexually abusing adolescent boys. The 2001 incident took place within the fotball program facilities and Sandusky was still allowed to continue access to these boys on the Penn State campus and at football program propoerty until well into the new millennium. I'm sorry, but that smacks of some serious lack of institutional control and oversight. What could possibly be worse than turning your back while your facilities are used for the sexual abuse of boys whose parents trusted that they were safe because it was Penn State? So they get thrown under the bus to make an example. So there are a lot of fans who will have to weather six or seven years of sub-par football teams. So be it. At least the athletes get to transfer to other schools if they choose. Did the NCAA come over the top? Sure they did. But it's difficult to argue that a serious level of punishment was called for. All we're really debating is the extent of the sanctions. I applaud the NCAA for taking a stand in an unprecedented case.
Ichiro to Yanks: Great move by the Yankees to bolster their lineup for the post season. When you look at the teams the Yankees will need to beat in order to win another World Championship, they'll need to be able to manufacture runs in some situations. With Ichiro's speed and still-effective bat, he can get to second base in a variety of ways, only one of which is a double in the gap. And the Mariners get what they needed, more young prospects to assist them in building a competitive team in a division dominated by big spending, deep pocket teams.
Who's on Top? Outside of the Yankees and the Rangers, I don't see any locks for division titles. I think the real mystery will be how the Nationals play in September after they shut donw their ace, Stephen Strasburg as they maintain they will. Their lead is 4 1/2 games right now, which is about the number of starts Strasburg will miss. I still like them to win, but this year all of the teams will be trying to avoid that one-game disaster between wild-card teams, so there may be a little different strategy down the stretch. The Tigers, Reds and Giants have are hot, having won 8 of their last 10, but face tough races down the stretch. How the Pirates finish will be fascinating, given their long record of futility.