News item: Over the past few days, three position spots opened up on the American League All-Star team and Orioles star Trey Mancini remains on the outside looking in during a season in which he ranks among the AL’s top four outfielders in runs, hits, batting average, slugging percentage and OPS. Boston Red Sox outfielder J.D. Martinez and shortstop Xander Bogaerts, as well as New York Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres were added instead.
My take: That’s totally understandable, since something had to be done to address the gross under-representation of the large-market teams. The Yankees and Red Sox still account for only 21% of the AL roster.
News item: Competitive eating champion Joey Chestnut wolfed down 71 hot dogs in 10 minutes Thursday to win his 12th title in Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on the Coney Island boardwalk, but fell three franks short of his own record. In the women’s competition, Miki Sudo downed 31 dogs to win her sixth Nathan’s title. Each took home the top prize of $10,000.
My take: And to think of all the times I ate 71 hot dogs in a single sitting and didn’t even get a free “Mustard” T-shirt at Oriole Park.
Free Orioles plug: Of course, you can get a free Hot Dog Race T-shirt at the ballpark when the Orioles celebrate National Hot Dog Day on July 17.
News item: Yahoo Sports reported recently that Peyton Manning resisted overtures from ESPN to join the Monday Night Football crew because he doesn’t want to be in the uncomfortable position of analyzing the play of his brother Eli during the two games the New York Giants have scheduled on MNF this season.
My take: That’s an inspiring display of family loyalty, but by the time the Giants play their first MNF game — against the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 4 — it might not be a problem. Can’t believe they drafted Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick to hold a clipboard all season.
News item: Somehow, the New York Knicks managed to miss out on all of the top free agents while they were figuring out how to use Google Calendar. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both signed with the Brooklyn Nets and the Knicks never got around to meeting with Kawhi Leonard.
My take: Well, to be fair, the word on the street was they were never in serious danger of signing or acquiring any of the truly elite players on either the free-agent or trade markets, so they did the next best thing. They signed a bunch of lesser free agents and kept their options open for the future.
Bonus take: When you lose more games than anybody else, fans will settle for incremental progress if it looks as if it’s leading somewhere. Or, at least, that’s the Orioles’ story and they’re sticking to it.
Related news item: NBA teams spent nearly $3 billion on the first day of free agency, according to a USA Today report.
My take: It’s so funny that you think that’s a big number, since just about everybody in the NBA with a pulse is getting a Chris Davis-sized deal.
News item: Longtime Yankees radio voice John Sterling was not in the broadcast booth Thursday for the first time since 1989, interrupting a herculean run of 5,060 consecutive games.
My take: Sterling took his first game off in all those years on the 80th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s famous farewell speech. Including the All-Star break, radio’s “Iron Horse” is getting a full week off because, he told the New York Post, he’s been feeling “a little under the weather.” Hope that’s all it is. Godspeed old friend.
News item: Nike recalled a line of shoes bearing the image of the original 13-star “Betsy Ross” American flag after activist former quarterback Colin Kaepernick complained to company officials that it recalled the slavery era.
My take: Got to assume Nike knows its market and believes the controversial move will end up being a revenue positive. So far, the company’s association with Kaepernick has been just that, but this move isn’t playing well in the red states and could cost Nike some market share if a boycott campaign gathers steam.
News item: Former Oriole Bobby Bonilla got his annual $1.19 million check from the New York Mets on Monday and will keep getting one every year through 2035 as part of an imaginative deferred salary scheme cooked up by legendary agent Dennis Gilbert 19 years ago.
My take: Of course, in the era of the $400 million contract, turning the $5.9 million final year of Bonilla’s contract into an annuity that will ultimately pay him nearly $30 million seems almost quaint.