Am I the only who thinks Johnny Damon is going to end up as the centerpiece of the blockbuster trading deadline deal? Damon is a free-agent on the wrong side of thirty who is looking to break the bank this off-season with a mega-deal. Considering he is one of the few remaining players who was not brought in by the current ownership and front office team, his position is likely tenuous at best. Where Damon would go and what he would garner in return is subject to debate, but his value is as high as it is ever going to be after his highly productive first half.

Besides, it would give NESN the excuse it needs to dump his darling fiancee and her fashion report from the pre-game show.

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I was really hoping to see the non-Miller boys potentially be packaged and shipped out of town. A package of Bill Mueller and Kevin Millar would certainly free up short-term cash if there was a match. The media keeps throwing them out as rentals in Minnesota in exchange for bullpen help, which would be fine with me. Also, I have no problem including them both in a deal with San Francisco for ace starter Jason Schmidt.

With Mueller out of the way, it opens the door for Kevin Youkilis to step in at third base. Getting rid of Millar frees up first base to be divided between incumbents John Olerud, David Ortiz, and possibly AAA first baseman and former Japanese League player, Robert Petegine. Of course, any chance to obtain a front-line starter like Jason Schmidt should be jumped at by the Red Sox management team. Schmidt has the make-up and stuff to be a number one starter for many more years, and if the Giants are dumb enough to let him go for anything less than top prospects Jon Lester, Jon Papelbon, Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia and a starter like Wade Miller or Bronson Arroyo then it is a no-brainer for the Sox to make the move.

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Training camp has finally arrived. The newspapers will have daily reports from Foxboro again at long last. The Patriots have one of the deepest, most talented rosters ever assembled in the salary cap era. There are going to be some tough cut-downs this summer, as there are probably sixty-five legitimate NFL players competing for fifty-three spots (plus some rookies and young UFAs that need to get onto the practice squad). How many instances will a team fresh from a Super Bowl have so much depth that their starting cornerbacks could end up on the bench not because of any drop-off in talent, but because the players returning from injury and arriving via trades, free agency and the draft could be talented enough to knock them out of the starting lineup? SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS for the second straight season and for the third time in four years, and they have improved themselves as much or more so than any other team in the league. They have young, intelligent playmakers being added to the mix every year along with talented, high-character veterans to create a mix that is automatically a super Bowl contender before the season even starts.

These are the glory days for the Patriots franchise: glory days I never dreamed would arrive. I thought the Bill Parcells-Drew Bledsoe-Pete Carroll days were the glory days for the franchise. Never did I dare dream that the Patriots would be the standard-bearers, the class and dignity of the league. Not the team of the Chuck Fairbanks, Rod Rust, Irving Fryar, Lisa Olsen, Victor Kiam, Sullivan family debacles seemingly every season. The Patriots are the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburg Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, or Washington Redskins of this decade; they are the team all others are measured against. Someday, I fear, maybe not for two, five, ten or more years, but someday it will end, and we will remember what we had and how we took these teams for granted. Enjoy the Patriots while you can. They are the greatest football team we have, or will ever see in these parts.

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It is Monday, so that means NESN Sportsdesk features Hazel Mae once again. Why do I mention this? Well, much like on SportsDesk, Hazel Mae brings the eyeballs. Anything to get new readers and bring traffic to the site. Of course, this time I will refrain from mentioning the words nude, naked, or lingerie near the words Hazel Mae. Whoops.

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