Ideas to improve the home-run derby, which I'm watching at the Big A right now:

-Ban anyone from the contest who isn't currently taking steroids. I mean, like, between pitches.

-Make NBA players do the home-run derby and baseball players do the slam-dunk contest. Much more interesting.

-Break ties with penalty kicks.

-Taser any player who has kids come to home plate with a drink and a towel.

-Make it more like H-O-R-S-E. Players have to call their shots, and sometimes bank the ball off a nearby wall.

-Make it sudden-death, from the first swing.

-Make the hitters swing at every pitch.

-Make Nick Blackburn the all-time HRD pitcher.


Joe Mauer sounded quite frustrated when I talked to him today. He doesn't like to admit much, but reading between the lines he...

-Doesn't like hitting in Target Field.

-Is banged up enough that he considered skipping the All-Star game.

-Wishes he could spend this time fishing.

These are perturbing developments for a guy who just landed a $184-million contract. He's now the franchise player and yet he doesn't particularly like the way the new ballpark plays and he's having trouble staying healthy or producing power or runs.

Not good.


Talked to Torii Hunter today. Still my favorite athlete. The guy actually acts happy to be making millions of dollars and playing a child's game and getting cheered by millions of people. What a concept.


Baseball managers, coaches and announcers love to talk about mechanics. Then you watch Miguel Cabrera hit a ball 450 feet while falling away from the plate and letting go of the bat with his right hand, and you realize that it's mostly about talent.


The Padres' mascot is here. Gotta be the worst mascot in sports - an ugly monk in a purple dress.


I'll check in from the All-Star game on Tuesday, to tell you how all the Twins are doing.


Don't miss my daily sports updates with Joe and Pat on 1500espn, at 2:40 p.m. It's a great format - I offer my opinion, and then Pat tells me I'm wrong.