Miller Lite’s Big League & Bush League

August 01, 2008 | Drew Forrester

Note: Some of the elements of this edition of Miller Lite’s “Big League and Bush League” were included in a Thursday blog that was lost when we encountered server issues on Thursday night. That explains the repetition. That explains the repetition.

Big League — Andy MacPhail isn’t throwing a perfect game in his 13-plus months with the Orioles, but it’s a 2-hitter over 7.2 innings with 9 strikeouts and no earned runs. In other words, he’s been REALLY good. This week, he once again did the right thing by not jumping the gun on a trade offer “just to make a deal.” Sure, moving Aubrey Huff somewhere would have been cool by me…getting a really good prospect or two for George Sherrill or Chad Bradford might have been interesting as well. But, MacPhail’s accumen has been on full display since June of ’07 and it’s worth trusting him based on the results he’s generated thus far.

Bush League — This time last year, a slew of Ravens players were dipping their toe(s) into the world of radio, hosting or co-hosting their own weekly radio show during the 2007 NFL season. I raised an immediate “red flag” on those shows and noted that not only do they cause internal strife within the business-side of the organization, but they also provide players with a forum to talk about “team business” in a public environment that is not good for locker-room unity. Last year, the shows became a hot topic when players openly criticized the coach, styles of play and other elements of the organization. I assumed one of John Harbaugh’s first “stamps” on his team would be to eliminate those shows in 2008, but evidently the new sheriff in town only has one set of handcuffs, because FOUR more shows are set to air this year on a competing radio station in town. Ray Lewis, Bart Scott, Chris McAlister and Terrell Suggs will get behind the mic this year…for better or worse. I said it in August of 2007 and here I am saying it in August of 2008: Having players do weekly radio shows outside of the organization’s best interests is not a good thing. It usually leads to more bad than good. It did last year. It will this year, too.

Big League — Theo Epstein will get a standing ovation when he walks into the Red Sox locker room around 3:45 pm this afternoon. I’m sure every player on the team yelled out “THANK GOD!” yesterday afternoon when they heard the news that Manny Ramirez was on his way to Los Angeles and would no longer be poisoning the Boston clubhouse. How much of a royal pain-in-the-rear did Manny become for Epstein to ship him out while the Red Sox are involved in a daily fight for their lives in the American League East? Think about that…Boston just traded one of the most powerful and prolific hitters of our generation during a pennant race because he was wrecking their locker room. I love it. Ramirez has become the most ungrateful athlete in all of sports (yep, more ungrateful than Favre) and yesterday he got his due when Epstein said, “The joke’s on you, pal…we won two World Series titles with you…we’re sick of you…and now, you can pack your stuff and we’ll carry on with our work.”

Bush League — Brett Favre. Enough said.

Big League — I heard Ray Lewis on a radio show this week and he commented on his lack of an ’09 contract by saying this…”I’m not even focused on that now. I’m worried about this football season and getting my defense ready to play 16 games. That contract stuff will be dealt with later on.” Now THAT is the kind of comment you want to hear from your team leader.