To start with Brett Favre or Cliff Lee? Hmm. One is done, another not, so Lee it is. In a stunner, Cliff Lee turned down a seven-year $148 million offer from the New York Yankees and looks like he'll take 5-years and $120 million from the Philadelphia Phillies to be the #2 to Roy Halladay. First thing: why even have an agent? Lee is said to have reached out to the Phillies himself to put the wheels in motion, and left nearly $30 million on the table. For this you pay a guy 5% or $6 million? Second thing: that is one hell of a rotation the Phillies will be trotting out with Halladay, Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels as your top four. Now, let's not get crazy and say they're better than what the Atlanta Braves rolled out in the 1990's, but that is damn good, although three will be 33 or older before 2011's season is done. Third thing: the Texas Rangers, in the game for dollars and years, have to be stinging in losing Lee, given they traded prized prospect Justin Smoak for four months of Lee. Fifth thing: Yankees GM Brian Cashman will regret not throwing in Ivan Nova alongside Jesus Montero back in July when they were minutes from acquiring Lee. I'd wager heavily that had Lee moved to New York then - and he wanted to - he might not have even hit free agency. George Steinbrenner will be rolling in his grave here, this wouldn't have happened under his watch. Sixth thing: history may show Texas and New York are happy they didn't have Lee for six or seven years, but short term, they won't be happy. Sixth thing: the Phillies offered Lee three years and $54 million last winter, so he gained $66 million and two years by going away for a year. Not bad! Seventh thing: my guess is with Albert Pujols vowing he'll go to free agency if he doesn't sign in the next 10 days, the Yankees will be approaching St. Louis for one of their pitchers, likely Chris Carpenter most readily available given age/risk, for a short term fix. Eighth thing: cannot wait for next season!
In a gritty one, Manchester United were the more impressive side than sloppy Arsenal, who repeatedly gave the ball away, and were 1-0 winners to jump on top of the EPL by a pair of points with a game in hand.
Arsenal have lost 10 and drawn one of their last 11 games against Man United and Chelsea in all competitions, scoring only five goals. They cannot get it done when it matters most. Chelsea and Man U will play Sunday in London.
And then, there is Brett Favre. His vaunted streak of 297 games came to an end yesterday, and with the reaction on the sporting networks, you'd have thought he died for the treatment he got. We can only dream. It looks like Favre is officially done for the year as he's likely to be placed on IR, replacing "INT" as the way he ends a season for the last couple years. But fret not for Brett, within minutes of word coming out that he wouldn't be playing in Detroit last night, his website was selling "297 starts" balls for a mere $499.99.
Jon Heyman at SI.com has repeatedly referred to a "mystery team" being in the Cliff Lee running on Twitter, and has since seen a strong backlash from colleagues including Keith Law, Peter Gammons and most fiercely, Buster Olney, mocking him for being a mouthpiece for an agent looking to create leverage, among other things. Funny stuff here. Still, in the end, Heyman either knew something, or guessed right, and he's not hiding his smugness over it.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told 60 Minutes that not only was he good friends with George Steinbrenner, but that he has no doubt that if Steinbrenner were alive and owned the Cowboys and Jones were GM that he'd "no doubt" be fired. Yet he keeps himself on the job.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter hasn't taken enough PR hits of late, so he's adding fuel to the fire by saying that homosexuals "should refrain from any sexual activities" during Qatar 2022. The Pope thinks this guy has overstepped his bounds.
TSN.ca has an article touching on the top sports moment's of 2010 where you can vote for what will be the top moment on its annual Christmas Eve year in review show. Not sure how the World Cup didn't get a mention. The Toronto Star has an article on The Lou Marsh Award, for Canada's best athlete. You can make your picks there as well. Inexplicably to me, Joey Votto is trailing Sidney Crosby.
Jim Gray was allegedly paid $500,000 to try to give credibility to the joke that was LeBron James "The Decision". Shame he cost himself any and all cred if that is true.
Carmelo Anthony is beating the trade drums again and says he'll only accept a move and sign an extension with the New York Knicks. If I'm the Denver Nuggets, I make the deal now. The Knicks want him, he wants to go there, and adding him gives the Knicks ensures the Knicks make the playoffs, and are a threat to do some damage. May as well get something for him before he jumps for nothing. Of course, word comes this morning that Anthony - again - says that he wants to remain with the Denver Nuggets. Sound familiar?
My bad for not mentioning UFC 124 in Montreal this past weekend. When Georges St. Pierre said he'd shut Josh Koschek up, I assumed he just meant his mouth. Didn't figure he'd shut his eye with some impressive jabs in the first round. The fight was all GSP, a 30-25 shutout on all the scorecards. Guess GSP's work with Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao's trainer, on his boxing worked a bit. Be sure to see the video at that link from 15 seconds on to get a glimpse of Kos' eye. More importantly, GSP emerged healthy and should headline the massive UFC 131 coming to Toronto at the end of April.
The Sports Pickle has a great piece in which Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for the collapse of the roof on the Metrodome in Minnesota. Nice.
113,000+ watched a hockey game in Ann Arbor, Michigan as Michigan hosted Michigan State this past Saturday, a world record. That's about as many as watched the average NHL broadcast south of the border. Impressive!
Buster Olney says it is time that MLB does away with its divisions and goes back to a balanced schedule, league format, with the key benefit being that the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays don't have to worry about topping the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees every year with other spots available. Who could argue against that? A balanced sched is a far more fair test for all. Article here, Insider only unfortunately.
Oh yeah, Baltimore beat Houston in overtime - and covered! - while the New York Giants beat the Minnesota Vikings, who appear to have packed it in for the season.