Random Sports Roundup

NFL: In the NFC Central, the Steelers won an odd Sunday, at home, under flurries, in a close game against the Chargers. Meanwhile the Baltimore Ravens were run-over by the New Jersey Giants. This makes the December 15th game between the Steelers and Ravens even more important. If I was employed, I'd go see it. I kinda like the Ravens. They have a literary name, a European-style crest, good fans (better than New Jersey or Philly fans, anyway), and a damn good coach and rush defense (except this past Sunday).

Red Sox 1: The Sox are apparently shopping Julio Lugo. If they get anything for him, that would be great. Take what you get and strengthen him in Pawtucket. Lugo was never a power hitter, but he used to be a good infielder. But even last year, that fell apart as he made 16 errors in his position (SS). Just stating the obvious - the Red Sox eventually need a star shortstop. They have had 6 different guys in that position since 2004. I like Kahalil Greene, who has 1 year left on his Padres contract. But ideally, they need a golden-glove candidate under the age of 30 in that spot. They need stability at Short, and so they need to scout/shop around.

Red Sox 2: Moot point department - The Red Sox front office sent Manny Ramirez a letter on July 25th, informing him that he was to be suspended for skipping-out of two consecutive games. Manny phoned-in and told them that he would play the next game (which he did). He was traded a week later to the Dodgers, led by Frank McCourt, Ned Colletti, and Joe Torre. Also, while Terry Francona has a reputation of taking care of clubhouse problems, there's no evidence that he sat Manny down for a talk regarding his insubordination. So what was the point of this story?

Red Sox 3: While the Red Sox need to find a star shortstop, they have an pretty good 3rd baseman in Kevin Youkilis, a Golden Glove 2nd baseman in Dustin Pedroia, and possibly an opening at 1st. That spot would go to Mark Teixeira, should the Red Sox pursue him. And if they pursue him, they would potentially have the highest bid, since the Yankees have opted to go after 1st baseman / outfielder Nick Swisher (who has been signed) and Indians starting pitcher CC Sabathia (who is contemplating the Yankees unspecified offer).
Red Sox 4: And Dustin Pedroia has been named 2008 American League MVP! The Sox fans weren't joking when they started chanting 'MVP!' in July. They called it. Kevin Youkilis came in 3rd in the MVP voting, while Chicago White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin came in 5th.
*Personal gaming footnote - in my 'alternate universe' season of MLB Power Pros 2007, I traded Laynce Nix to the Rangers for rookie Carlos Quentin. It was the only trade I completed that fantasy season, and it was a winner. Blind luck on my part.

Score a ton, shut the door, take a ride, Yuvraj.

Cricket: I think Yuvraj Singh made his international debut 8 years ago, when he was 18. He got my attention in July 2002 when he scored 69 crucial runs in the middle of India's batting order against England in an unforgettable 1-day match at Lord's. He is 26 now, and he's maturing as a star left-handed all-rounder. On Monday, he batted and bowled magnificently against England in Game 2 of a 7-game series in India. He batted 5th in India's order and scored 118 runs off of 122 balls (India's top scorer of the day). And as a bowler, he was even more impressive, going 4-28 (taking 4 wickets in 10 overs -that's 60 balls- and giving-up 28 runs). England probably won't win this series, but they did see a promising performance from 22 year-old fast bowler Stuart Broad, who also took 4 wickets. He was a hero in their triumphs over South Africa this past summer, and it looks like he has a very bright future. England have two test matches against India in December before touring the West Indies in February/March 2009.