2. Cooperstown blues: The annual Hall of Fame Game is Monday, Cubs vs. Padres, and there's more nostalgia this year than usual. Because it's the last of the Hall games as we know them.
Yep, baseball tossed the game overboard because it became too difficult to shoehorn into today's corporate schedule. No doubleheaders anymore make for extremely limited off days. And the players never liked giving up off days for exhibitions, especially now.
So they'll turn the game over to minor league teams in future years. Truth be told, clubs have used mostly minor leaguers in the game for years and years, anyway. But the history-appreciating folks in Cooperstown still could appreciate a Sparky Anderson or Chipper Jones coming through town.
"We always had fun up there," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox says, fondly recalling tiny Doubleday Field, dressing at the Cooperstown rec center because there were no facilities at the field, and Jonathan Schuerholz's two-homer game there with dad John (Braves president) watching.
Cox, in fact, broke into a broad grin while recalling one of his coaches, Bobby Dews, strapping on the gear to catch during the game's first at-bat. Dews was in his 60s at the time.
"It's fun," Cox said. "We had a great time."
Not anymore, unless Kristian Connolly, a modern-day Don Quixote tilting at windmills, is successful with his grass roots campaign to save the game. In fact, that's what his website is called, savethefamegame.com, and you can find information there if you wish to e-mail or telephone your complaint about the end of a tradition.
3. Instant replay: It's coming to baseball, probably in August, just in time for the stretch run, and now instead of arguing over whether it's a home run or a double, umpires will be able to click "Rewind" and "Play" a dozen times before making their final decision.
If they limit replay to "boundary" calls as promised, this is a good idea -- but maybe not because of the modern advancements you may be thinking of. Yeah, the digital age has made all sorts of things possible.
But it's the quirky wall angles and funky yellow lines so prevalent in the newer ballparks that have caused things to reach the crisis point.
"I think that, in a very limited scope, it has some merit," Angels manager Mike Scioscia says. "The logistics (of using it) are where the real issue is going to be -- whether this thing will flow. Are they going to let the crew chief look at it or is there going to be someone up in the press box?"
Or, as Angels outfielder Torii Hunter quips, "You watch: They're going to have robots playing the game one of these days."
4. Milton Bradley vs. the TV booth: The Texas outfielder charged up four flights of stairs late last week to confront Kansas City television broadcaster Ryan LeFebvre about some things said on the air. Simply outrageous things, too, like Josh Hamilton, current AL MVP candidate, seems to have gotten his life together while Bradley seems to still be struggling with that. Wonder what would give anyone that idea? And hey, what's that loud pounding noise on the door of the TV booth?
5. Braves injuries: John Smoltz, Tom Glavine ... on and on the Atlanta disabled list goes. "I feel like I'm in the twilight zone," Braves GM Frank Wren told MLB.com's Mark Bowman. "I'm going to be like Pavlov's dog and have an aversion to phones ringing." Wait, Frank, don't answer your cell phone! Chipper just got drilled in the eye with a ball ricocheting off the crossbar of the batting cage! Seriously! In Anaheim! Hey, Frank ... Frank? You there? Frank? Hello?
7. This just in: The Red Sox and Rays still hate each other: After discipline czar Bob Watson stayed up for something like 102 hours straight figuring out all of those suspensions following this month's brawl, crazy Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon went on his radio show and said "this thing isn't all settled and done." Tampa Bay starter Scott Kazmir said the comments were "a little bit" uncalled for and third baseman Evan Longoria called it "pretty surprising." Then they challenged Papelbon to a dance-off.
8. Interleague play: If the point is to give fans in the other city a look at a team they never see, why not change things up a wee bit more and flip the designated hitter rule so that it's used in NL parks but not in the AL parks? That way, AL fans get to see baseball the way they saw it before 1972, and NL fans get the novelty of the DH. Except, yes, yes, I know: Discerning NL fans would toss the DH back as quickly as they saw it.
9. Tigers roar: Is the cat nap over with? Tigers head west this week having won six in a row and eight of their past nine. And they're expecting to welcome setup men Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya back.
10. The Phillies second-half rotation: Don't know that manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee have drawn up their post-All Star-break plans yet. But I'm going to guess they don't need anyone to suggest that they work lefty Jamie Moyer into the plans for when they open the second half against Florida. When Moyer beat the Marlins on Thursday, it ran his career record against them -- over nine starts -- to 9-0 with a 3.03 ERA. In four career starts in Florida -- gee, which is where the Phils start the second half -- Moyer is 4-0 with a 1.30 ERA. He's 45, but the Marlins might keep Moyer pitching until he's 55.