Zach Johnson

Local favorite Zach Johnson (or ZeeJay, as I refer to him) stormed into contention on Sunday, shooting a 12 under par in the final day of the John Deere Classic to finish in a three way tie for second place.  This is not quite as impressive  as it sounds, as Zach (and the rest of the field) were forced to play 36 holes on Sunday.  23 of the players in the Deere then boarded a flight across the Atlantic so that they could play in this week’s British Open.  Oh, sorry, Goodman, The Open.

Matt Cassel

Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel has cashed in on his strong 2008 season with the Patriots by signing a 6 year contract with the Chiefs that will pay him as much as $63 million – with $28 million guaranteed.  This seems like an awful lot of money to pay to a player who still just has one good season under his belt.  I’m really not sure how much downside there would have been by waiting until after the 2009 season – or even after week 8 of the season – to see how Cassel performs outside of New England.  Cassel is definitely a feel-good story, though.  He did not start even one game during college.  It wasn’t that he wasn’t a good quarterback; it was simply that he was sandwiched between Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.  Only an injury to Patriots QB Tom Brady allowed Cassel a starting opportunity.

Pedro Martinez

 The Phillies signed Pedro Martinez to a one year, $1 million deal, with the opportunity to earn $1.5 million more through incentives.  Martinez currently has an ailing shoulder, but should be ready to go in early August.  His presence should give the Phillies a boost in their quest to repeat as world champs.  Pedro’s Hall of Fame caliber career has been derailed by injuries.  I doubt that the 37 year old can make a serious run at 300 wins – he currently stands at 214 – but getting above 250 should erase any doubts about his Hall of Fame status.  Interestingly, Pedro’s next loss will be the 100th of his career.

Danica to NASCAR?

Rumors have been swirling for quite a while about Danica Patrick jumping from Indy to Nascar.  The flames were stoked a bit when she visited Stewart-Haas racing recently.  The race team – 50% owned by 2 time champion and current points leader Tony Stewart – is believe to be interested in adding a driver next year.  Patrick would definitely earn a ton of sponsorship money from Stewart-Haas, and she might be able to learn a lot under the wing of Stewart, who himslf made the jump from Indy to NASCAR.

In other NASCAR news, Jeremy Mayfield has tested positive for meth for a second time.  Also, Mayfield’s step-mother – with who he has a very strained relationship – has filed an affidavit accusing Jeremy of a long history of meth use.  NASCAR is asking for Mayfield’s indefinite suspension to be reinstated.  A judge had previously granted an injunction against the suspension – although Mayfield was not able to race, because no team was willing to give him a ride.

NBA

You won’t  see a lot of NBA news in The Soap Boxers, mostly because Goodman and myself are not big fans of the defenseless game played by the professionals.  However, there are a few interesting stories this week.

The perennial losers known as the Los Angeles Clippers are interested in signing Allen Iverson.  A prolific scoring machine, Iverson has had a tendency to rub teammates and coaches the wrong way, downplaying the importance of activities such as “practice”.  The Clippers might give Iverson the best chance to keep his career alive, although the move might not make a lot of sense from the team’s perspective.

Magic backup center  Marcin Gortat was upset when the team matched the contract he had been offered by the Dallas Mavericks.  The NBA essentially has a right of first refusal, allowing teams to match another team’s offer to a particular player in order to retain the player’s services.  Gortat will be paid a total of $34 million over the next 5 years.  In Orlando, he will back up superstar center Dwight Howard.  If he had been able to sign with Dallas, he would have likely been the starter.  This story might not be done, thought.  It is possible that the Magic are signing Gortat simply so that they can trade him (perhaps to the Mavericks)?

Winter Olympics

The 2010 Winter Olympics are slowly approaching.  For those of you who have been wondering if there will be a “fantasy” style contest for the Olympics on The Soap Boxers, the answer is a resounding YES!  Get your cheat sheets ready.  Some aspects of the contest will include:

  • A limit on the number of US athletes on your team
  • Limits on the number of atheletes from medal-rich sports (speed skating)
  • Points awarded based on gold, silver, and bronze medals.

I ran a similar contest with a few friends for the 2008 Summer Olympics – it was a lot of fun.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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