Odds and ends

There has been a flurry of major sports stories over the past week. Here are my thoughts on what has been going on of late in the sports world.

Poor Tom
It would have been one of the best sports stories of all time if 59-year-old Tom Watson held on to win the British Open. Watson has always been a class act and this would have been a fitting way to add an exclamation point to his career. It was painful to watch as his game unraveled in the playoff against Stewart Cink.

In regards to Cink, I also felt sorry for him. This was the greatest moment of his career, but he came off looking like the bad guy after beating Watson. It’s true that probably the only people rooting for Cink on Sunday were his family and friends, but he made a huge putt on his final hole of regulation and then played great golf in the playoff. He certainly deserved the victory.

Vick free
Michael Vick is a free man, but I do not believe he should immediately be allowed back in the NFL.

Vick paid a stiff price for his dog fighting involvement by spending almost two years in federal prison. It sounds like he is remorseful for his actions and has learned his lesson, but if I were NFL commissioner Roger Goodell I would want to see a little more before I let Vick play again.

Vick has agreed to work with the Humane Society and other organizations in an attempt to speak out against dog fighting. However, I would make sure that he walks the walk and follows through on what he has said he will do. If he does, then I believe he deserves another shot to play football. If not, he should be kept away from the game until he shows his remorse is genuine.

Halladay on trading block
Toronto Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi has said that he would have to be blown away by a trade offer to get rid of ace pitcher Roy Halladay. I think Ricciardi wants to deal Halladay more than he is leading on, though.

Halladay is going to be a free agent after the 2010 season and it is highly unlikely the Blue Jays will be able to afford to re-sign their star pitcher. Trading him now and getting a bunch of talented prospects would be in Toronto’s best interest and I believe Ricciardi knows it.

However, by acting like he doesn’t want to trade Halladay, Ricciardi is driving up the price. It looks like an attempt to get as much as possible in return for this year’s American League starting pitcher in the all-star game. I don’t expect Hallladay to still be wearing a Blue Jays’ cap by next week’s non-waiver trade deadline.

Overrated dunk
Video of the controversial slam dunk at LeBron James’ invitation-only basketball camp two weeks ago surfaced Wednesday and it failed to live up to the hype it received.

It was reported at the time that Xavier’s Jordan Crawford dunked on James during a pickup game at the camp. The video was captured by two cameramen, but Nike officials apparently confiscated the video because of policy that did not permit shooting video during that segment of the camp. Nike sponsors both James and the camp, and speculation soon followed that the company was protecting its big star by not allowing the “embarrassing” tape to get out.

Eventually the video leaked out, but it was hardly earth shattering. James was defending someone else on the play as Crawford drove through a wide-open lane to the basket. As Crawford went up for the dunk, James tried to slide over and get in Crawford’s way. James was too late as Crawford was able to get past him for the dunk.

It was a nice dunk for Crawford, but it was not like he jumped over the top of James or knocked him down as is normally the case when one gets “dunked on.” You can judge for yourself by going to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IidiHiPTqu0&feature=popular.