Several things to get to, so lets get started...
Giants ace and consensus best pitcher on the planet, Tim Lincecum, picked up his second straight NL Cy Young Award today after leading the league in strikeouts with 261 and finishing second in ERA at 2.48.
The win marks the first time since 1981 that a National League starting pitcher has won the Cy Young with fewer than 16 wins, and only the third time overall that feat has been accomplished. It's also a sign that baseball writers are finally starting to see the fallacy in using wins as the main statistic used to judge starters.
As a Giants fan this is also a very sweet victory after Pablo Sandoval was passed over for the Silver Slugger Award at third base.
The Hand of Henry
Irish eyes are crying today, the day after their World Cup chances were stolen by the cunning left hand of French striker Thierry Henry.
Henry committed a clear handball just to the left of goal during extra time in a playoff game against Ireland, and when the whistle didn't blow he threaded a left-footed pass onto the head of William Gallas who scored the game-winner, sending France to next year's World Cup.
In the aftermath of the blatant officiating error, some have called for extra officials behind the goals and instant replay. Others have said FIFA and UEFA officials stacked the deck by pitting the teams they most wanted in the World Cup against clear underdogs instead of conducting a fair draw to determine the matchups.
To his credit, Henry was quick to admit to the foul.
"The ball hit my hand, I will be honest. It was a handball, you can clearly see it," said Henry. "It was a handball, but I'm not the ref. I told (the referee) but he said to me the same: 'You are not the ref.'"
Given that admission, one thing is for certain and that is that the officials who worked the match between Ireland and France should be immediately banned from working the World Cup or any major international event for at least a year.
In fact, I believe there should be a one game, winner-take-all match between Ireland and France sometime in the very near future. Such a match may be difficult to schedule given the various players and their club commitments. But with so much on the line and zero doubt over the non-call, an extra game should be played.
For those of you confused, thus ends the soccer (aka the most popular sport in the world) portion of the program.
November No More
It sounds like Major League Baseball is finally going to do something to shorten the playoffs by eliminating the gaps in the schedule that have caused the World Series to be played as late as November.
Not much to say here other than it's about damn time. I'm on record as stating that baseball should go back to the 154-game schedule in an effort to further shorten the season.
I believe MLB should eliminate all but the "rivalry" interleague games, but of course that will never happen as interleague baseball has proven popular with the fans and surely teams like the Mets would complain about having to play the Yankees while other teams in their division would get decidedly easier matchups.
In the meantime, this is a step in the right direction and maybe we can finally put Derek Jeter's "Mr. November" moniker to rest once and for all.
I can't help but point and laugh at Notre Dame and their boosters for prematurely firing Tyrone Willingham and hiring Charlie Weis, without giving Willingham the opportunity to see a full recruiting class through their senior season.
It serves them right for being so impatient and so naive about their place in the world of college football that Weis has exactly the same winning percentage as Willingham had when he was fired. On top of that, I am among those that believe many Irish boosters were not happy having the school's first ever black head coach, in any sport, on campus. Subsequently all they needed was small opening to push for Willingham's firing, and they got their way.
How's that working out?
As a side note, I do feel for Weis as any coach who takes the head job at Notre Dame is under an unfair amount of pressure from day one. His recruiting efforts have been commendable, but clearly he is not the offensive genius many made him out to be and his almost total disregard for the defensive side of the ball has led to many of the team's struggles.
Still, it has to be said that Weis' only real success came on the backs of junior and senior recruits brought in by Willingham. Since then it's been nothing but a string of disappointments and it appears Weis' days are numbered.
If I were Florida head coach Urban Meyer I would monitor my caller ID and just let that baby ring if I see anything from the 574 area code pop up.
ESPN.com's Elizabeth Merrill posted a good article on Vikings rookie wideout Percy Harvin today, which you can read here.
Check out what I wrote about Harvin (and 49ers rookie Michael Crabtree) just after the NFL Draft here.
Who Wants a Hall of Famer?
What a strange 18 months or so it's been for Allen Iverson.
First he gets traded from the Nuggets to the Pistons in a move that made very little sense at the time. Then he finds himself coming off the bench in Detroit for the first time since he was maybe 5-years-old. Clearly unhappy with that decision, Iverson is left looking for a place to play in 2009-2010 and ends up in Memphis of all places.
Relegated to a bench role yet again, Iverson leaves the Grizzlies after playing in just three games and has been linked with the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat in recent days.
It seems almost ridiculous given Iverson's stature in the game that he would be unemployed, but clearly he still believes he can and should be the focal point of an offense. However, despite ranking sixth all-time in points per game average (27.02), Iverson needs to realize that he is no longer the scoring dynamo he was a few years ago.
So if it really is to come down to the Knicks or the Heat, the decision should be simple. If he wants points and a chance to be the man, he should go to the Knicks. If he wants to win and have a chance at a ring, he should go to the Heat. In any event, it's too bad to see the career of a sure-fire Hall of Famer and one of my all-time favorites wind down this way.