Let me get this straight: The Northwestern University Womens Lacrosse team had some players wearing flip-flops. THAT QUALIFIES AS NEWS?!? WAIT, NO LESS THAN FRONT PAGE NEWS IN CHICAGO?!?

I am so in shock I can barely think straight about this. You know what; I think I will leave the profanity laced tirade to Gallagher on this one.

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A.J. Burnett in a Baltimore uniform is a scary thought. I am hoping that potential deal falls apart.

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So the Diva in Red Sox pitches pretty well in games that do not immediately follow a night of extended karaoke? Good to see Bronson Arroyo had a good night of sleep and put down the guitar long enough to silence the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. A couple more performances like that game will keep Arroyo in the rotation for the rest of the season and help with his endorsements and, most importantly to him, salary negotiation time.

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So the Alan Embree era ends as T.S. Eliot once wrote: not with a bang but a whimper. That is, unless the Yankees claim him on waivers, which I would rate as a pretty high possibility.

Tony Graffanino, who previously had the claim to fame for worst free agent decision by a player (choosing to play for Kansas City rather than the Red Sox last season), ends up with the Sox just in time to see Alex (do not call me Joey) Cora at second base make a couple of plays in the field reminiscent of 2004 folk hero Pokey Reese. Hopefully, this means that Smellhorn will follow Embree out the door. Thanks for the home runs in the playoffs last season, Smellhorn, but this is 2005, and last year, as Bill Belichick would be quick to point out, has no bearing on this year.

Also, be sure to head down to Pawtucket in August to see Adam Hyzdu, who sadly will be there once Welcome Back Kapler is off the disabled list. Hyzdu is a class act and a true professional who just cannot catch a break for whatever reason. He is the forgotten man every year, the outfielder who could hit 20 homers and hit .280 every year if he ever caught a break. He deserves every cheer and ovation he gets.

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So Manny ducks into the Green Monster to take a leak (he claims), or even if he goes in to cool off in front of an electric fan (as Dan Shaughnessy claims), what is the controversy. Outfielders reserve the right to be disinterested before and during innings. Horrors, he almost was not in position for the opening pitch of an inning. Gosh, that has NEVER happened before (note the sarcasm dripping off those words). Poor Manny, if he made $12 million a year instead of $20 million he would be the most beloved player on the team. Hey, if that counts as the best contrived controversy the knights of the keyboard can come up with, then all I can say is that things must be going alright.

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Hockey has returned! At your own peril, push your way through the celebratory mobs at North Station. Nice to see that the time off has not dulled the sword of Boston Globe hockey scribe Kevin Paul Dupont, who last was heard from back in the old days when there was such a thing as NHL playoff games calling for Jumbo Joe to be stripped of his ill-deserved captaincy. Dupont proposes trading Joe Thornton before he is a free agent (due to the new collective bargaining agreement) before the 2006 season. In a way it makes a lot of sense, as Thornton has never endeared himself to the Gallery Gods.

Who am I kidding; it is nice to have another underachieving local sports team to keep me from screaming about Doc Rivers not playing the kids enough during the long winter after football and between baseball. Of course, do the Celtics have any veterans left, and is it a bad thing to think that they should trade anyone over 28 on the roster?

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If I were a Yankees fan, I would be pissed off that with a one run lead in the eighth inning the immortal Wayne Franklin was summoned from the bullpen. Shockingly, he gave up a two-run lead to lose the game. Somehow, a team with a payroll over $200 million can find no one to serve as a set-up man for the best closer in baseball history.

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