Bits and pieces

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Still kind of wishing something big would happen in Major League Baseball’s hot stove season. There have been a lot of minor deals, second-tier free agents getting signed… and, of course, there was the blockbuster deal where the Miami Marlins sent a quarter of their team (and most of their payroll) to Toronto. But for the most part, there really have been no mind-blowing transactions this winter. I’m still waiting for the Dodgers to sign Zack Greinke, letting everyone know they are now MLB’s fattest cat. Heck, while they’re at it, they should bring in Josh Hamilton too. Yes, I realize they already have three all-star outfielders, but what the heck, just sign him to show the world you can do as you please. Then again, I guess they already did that when they took on all those guys from the Red Sox back in August.

Lack of excitement is not a problem in the NFL right now. Four teams clinched playoff spots the week before last, but there are still a lot of great races, including the one for home-field advantage, to watch as the regular season comes to a conclusion over the next four weeks. In that line of thinking, the New England Patriots will host the top team in the AFC this Monday night when Houston comes calling. Could be a preview of the AFC championship game and will go a long way in deciding who gets that home field advantage, although Denver and Baltimore also have a shot at getting it (assuming the Texans lose).

Should be an interesting night at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City on Saturday night. As I mentioned last week, two of the three finalists for this year’s Heisman Trophy would make history should they win. Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel is a freshman while Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o is a linebacker. Never has a freshman or a strictly defensive player won the award. Does this open the door for Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein to win? I doubt it. My guess is history is made one way or the other, although I’m not sure which way the award will go.

Bet the Lakers were happy to hear Dwight Howard say he’d be willing to sign with another team after the season is over in his quest for an NBA championship. Wonder if they wished they had Andrew Bynum back? I Don’t understand Rex Ryan’s insistence that Mark Sanchez is his quarterback. It’s like a ship’s captain refusing to jettison the thing that is sinking his boat. At this point, either Tim Tebow or Greg McElroy seem like better options.

Finally, we close on a somber note. When Kansas City Chief Jovan Belcher killed the mother of his child and himself Saturday, we were all reminded how athletes are human beings just like the rest of us. It seems like we might not ever know why Belcher did what he did, but for him to orphan his child in a matter of hours for no good reason, is inexcusable. Still, it is good to remember that while sports are a great distraction, the people participating are not infallible supermen and they are capable of great misdeeds as well as great acts of kindness, as we all are.