This is my first live article in about a week. The newest member of the Observer family was welcomed into the world last Tuesday. It was a bit earlier than planned, but we’re happy he decided to join us. We’ll be even happier once he figures out the difference between day and night.

With a new baby in the house, I have understandably been a bit behind on sports news. That’s a bit of a shame, since it has been a pretty newsworthy week.

There are reports that Matt Holliday is closed to signing a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. I’d love to see this happen. If the Rockies can’t have Holliday (and it appears that they can’t) then the Cardinals would probably be my second favorite landing spot, since they are currently my second favorite baseball team.  One of the rumors sets the terms of the contract at $112 million over 7 years – an average of $16 million per year.  This would be comparable to the deal that Jason Bay signed with the Mets (worth up to $80 million over 5 years if his option vests).  A key point is the length of the contract – a 7 year deal would be a nice coup for agent Scott Boras.  Holliday and Bay are often regarded as being comparably productive offensively, with Holliday deemed the better defender.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, who led the Red Raiders to the brink of an undefeated seasons in 2008, was summarily dismissed by the team.  The school says that Leach mistreated a player by forcing him to stay in a dark shed near the practice field when the player had suffered a concussion in a previous practice.  The school then fired Leach for refusing to apologize to the player.  I’ll admit that I haven’t been getting all of the sports news lately, but this seems to be just a fraction of the story.  I find it difficult to believe that a school would fire a winning coach over an incident with one player.  On the other hand, there is a renewed focus on concussions recently, as well as a few firings of coaches who were deemed to be abusive.

Iowa State hung on in the Insight Bowl to pick up a 14-13 victory over their northern neighbors, the Minnesota Golden Gophers.  The Cyclones finished the season with 7 wins, up from just two wins in 2008.  At the end of 2008, I was cautiously optimistic for this year, as I felt that the team had been more competitive than in 2007.  However, I did not expected new head coach Paul Rhoads to take the team to a bowl game quite yet.  The team was just a couple of bad breaks away from having 8 or 9 wins.  The best win of the year?  The 9-7 victory over Nebraska – courtesy of 8 turnovers by the eventual Big XII North champion Cornhuskers.

And in the “what were they thinking” segment, Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton of the NBA’s Washington Wizards reportedly pulled guns on each other in a dispute over debts arising from card games.  It seems that we have a couple of issues here.  First, if you need to use a gun to settle a gambling debt, your elevator probably doesn’t go all the way to the top.  Second, if you’re incurring large enough gambling debts that would cause a teammate to pull a gun on you, you just might have a gambling problem.  Seriously, guys, you’re living the dream of millions of kids – making some serious coin for playing basketball.  Don’t mess it up with something stupid.