Eight Quick Hits For Thursday

1. There’s an article today on ESPN that suggests that Notre Dame is going to go 11-1 and return to the BCS this year. Apparently they aren’t kidding, either. I’m not sure I have ever read anything more stupid. They are returning a bunch of players and all, but it’s not like they are returning BCS caliber players or anything. Experienced garbage is still garbage. Eight or nine wins is believable, but 11 is a joke – even against the puffball schedule they have given themselves this year.

2.  Real Madrid is out-Yankee-ing the Yankees these days. Just a couple of days after spending a ridiculous sum to purchase Kaka from AC Milan they have now spent a hstorically ridiculous amount to purchase Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United. Real Madrid paid $131 million to Man U for the player, and that is on top of any new contract that the team gives the player. In total, that makes $223 million that they have spent for two players this week. Apparently the recession doesn’t apply to Italian soccer. Needless to say, Real will be a much improved team this year.

3. I was doing a bit of research today and came across something interesting. The Texas Rangers have a bullpen which, on the surface, is lousy – they are 27th in bullpen ERA, and 26th in opponent’s batting average. You’d think, then, that this unit would be a liability for the team. Strangely, that’s not the case at all. Only Boston has fewer bullpen losses, only Milwaukee’s ‘pen has more saves, and no team has blown fewer saves. Every time you think you have this sport figured out something bizarre like this rises up and makes it clear that you have no idea.

4. There are reports that the Cavs might fire coach Mike Brown after their playoff debacle. Any team that fires a reigning coach of the year needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror. I really hope that this isn’t true.

5. Yankees fans must be just thrilled right now – their team lost to the Red Sox for the eighth straight time this year. I don’t find it hard to believe that the Red Sox are the better team right now, but this level of dominance is, to say the least surprising. If I was a Yankees fan, though, I’d be far more concerned about Chien-Ming Wang. He was terrible again last night, and it suddenly seems unlikely that he will return to last year’s form this year – or at least not anytime soon. There is a lot more that is wrong than the team is really talking about right now, I think. I can’t believe that they’ll give him another start right now, but we learned the hard way last year that they don’t have the starting depth to overcome this setback over the long term.

6. Zack Greinke gave up three or more earned runs for the third straight game tonight. That wouldn’t be notable for most pitchers, but given that he hadn’t done that at all this year it is cause for a bit of concern. No time to panic, but I’ll be holding off on playing with or against him for a while until things stabilize.

7. I hope everyone who is a Cleveland fan takes a moment of silence for the bird that probably gave his life so that the Indians could score the winning run tonight. He died too young, but at least he didn’t die in vain. If you missed it, Shin-Soo Choo hit a ball that probably would have been fielded easily, but it clipped a low-flying seagull and changed direction. The bird was stunned, but eventually flew away. I can’t imagine that he’ll live through it, though – eating a line drive is not good for a bird’s health.

8. Orlando really needs to get over the bad habit of missing the winning shot at the end of the game and then blowing it in overtime. Not that it matters for this year – this one is over, methinks.

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