Congratulations Junior, Big Boo-Boos & Peek at the Picks

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to the mid-week edition of The Sports Take. Hope it's sunny and warm where you are. It's rainy and flooding here in Minnesota. If you have a home on a lake in southern Minnesota or Wisconsin... well, sorry 'bout that. Does anybody know if the mini-golf place in the Dells is still above water?

Today I'll talk a little bit about a historic achievement by a future Hall of Famer. Then I'll run down some significant injuries that have occurred recently. And finally, it's this week's Peek at the Picks segment.

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Let us away...

First of all we at The Sports Take would like to offer our congratulations to the many being proffered to Ken Griffey, Jr. on achieving the milestone of 600 career home runs.

Monday night, Griffey became only the 6th man in MLB history to reach that mark. Though it's unfortunate that the 600 home run plateau has been sullied in recent years by Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa. Griffey (who has never been suggested to be a performance enhancing drug user) joins Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays amongst those who've hit 600 legitimately.

Griffey's now in his 20th season in the big leagues, split nearly evenly between the Seattle Mariners and the Cincinnati Reds. What's amazing about his achievement is that he's played 130 or more games in only 10 of his 19 full seasons. For nearly half of his career he's been limited by injuries. It makes you wonder what his career home run total would be had he played full seasons in even 15 of those seasons. Perhaps Barry Bonds' tainted numbers would already have been passed.

(Aside: To those of you who hate the Yankees. Fine, be that way. But you have to agree with me in encouraging A-Rod to pass Bonds by sooner than later. Please Alex. We're begging you!)

There were rumblings earlier in the season that Griffey might be traded back to Seattle to finish his career there. But thanks to Seattle's early-season swoon, those rumblings quieted quickly. It's still possible he could be moved, but the size of his contract makes that difficult.

So what will Griffey's legacy ultimately be? The sweetest swing since Ted Williams? The first in a trend of amazingly athletic center fielders? Now that he's passed the 600 home run mark, hopefully it won't be "what might have been".

Kudos Junior!

Next up I wanted to mention a couple of injuries that are likely to impact races in the near future.

Tom Glavine of the Atlanta Braves left Tuesday night's game against the Cubs with what's been preliminarily diagnosed as a strained left elbow. He's scheduled to have a MRI in Atlanta today, after which he's likely headed to the DL for an extended period of time. Coming on the heels of John Smoltz's season-ending shoulder surgery, Glavine's injury is a devastating blow to an otherwise thinly-stretched pitching rotation.

Perhaps you'll recall in the MLB Preview, when I mentioned the following:

They have some very promising young talent along with some grizzled veterans who are about to close the book. This may sound like a good formula, but I think you'd like your young talent a *little* less green and your veterans a *little* less grizzled.

Unfortunately, I think this is the "grizzling" of the Braves if you'll allow me to create a term.

Atlanta's currently 6.5 games behind Philadelphia in the East and also 6.5 back of St. Louis in the Wild Card race. So while they're not in the thick of the race, this latest injury has a major impact because it may turn the Braves into sellers rather than buyers in the forthcoming trade market.

Speaking of St. Louis, Albert Pujols left Tuesday night's game with what's being called a left calf strain. I also noted Albert's status in the preview column, only that mention was in reference to his already-injured elbow. Technically Pujols is listed as day-to-day, but indications are that he won't escape this without a stint on the DL.

Currently the Cardinals are only 2.5 games back of the Cubs in the NL Central and they lead the Wildcard race. Look for that to change if Pujols is on the DL for any great length of time. So this is your chance Crew fans! The door is open for you to at least try to challenge the Cubs and perhaps even climb atop the Wildcard standings!

Good luck!

Finally, it's time for this week's Peek at the Picks! This is the segment where I break down the current MLB standings and compare them to my pre-season predictions.

AL East: Boston Red Sox (whom I hate), 40-27 (DP: Boston)

God I hate the Red Sox. The Rays are still right there, 2 games back in the Win column. But even with Papi's injury, the Red Sox are just too loaded with talent for the competition out east.

AL Central: Chicago White Sox, 37-27 (DP: Detroit Tigers, 10 games back)

I said it a couple of "Peek's" ago. If the Tigers can't get this thing down to a 5-game deficit or so by the All-Star break, we can officially stick a fork in them. And now the Twins are perilously close to joining them in that sense. After the broom-job they recieved in Chicago, the Twins are now 6.5 games behind the White Sox. Suddenly the White Sox are heads and shoulders beyond their competition.

AL West: L.A. Angels, 40-26 (DP: Seattle Mariners, 16.5 games back)

Torii Hunter watch: .268, 8 HR, 31 RBI. Solid, but not the spectacular numbers I forecasted. Torii's still a favorite to make the the All-Star team and it's hard to complain about his performance when he's on a first-place club. Speaking of notable home runs, Torii his his 200th career round-tripper Monday night.

NL East: Philadelphia Phillies, 39-27 (Dan's Pick: NY Mets, 7.5GB)

I don't really want to start beating the "fire Willie Randolph" drum again. But if Mets G.M. Omar Minaya is going to pull that particular trigger and try to save their season, he's going to have to do it soon. The Phillies are rolling and the Mets are in danger of being left in Philadelphia's proverbial dust.

NL Central: Chicago Cubs, 41-24 (DP: Cubs)

The Cubs are still going strong. And with the aforementioned Albert Pujols injury, their lead may be increasing in the weeks to come. The Crew is still 7.5 games back. Come on boys, you can do it!

NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks, 35-30 (DP: Arizona)

The D'back roller coaster continues. A nice rain-delayed comeback win over the hapless Mets last night got the Snakes to 5-5 in their last 10. As has been the case for most of the season, the rest of the division is below .500 giving Arizona a solid, if not entirely comfortable lead.

That's all for today. Back on Friday with more Sports wonder!


  1. Well, I just noticed, but it typical D.Cook fashion, you picked 1/2 of the league leaders correctly, and the other 1/2 you could hardly have been farther off the mark.

  2. I'm all about the consistency! Even if the only constant is my inconsistency. But at least that inconsistency is constant enough to be predictable.

    Did anyone else just go cross-eyed?