Small balls: home runs, redemption, and Brett Favre’s tears

La première étoile: As baseball reaches the All Star break, the story of the season is, without a doubt, Josh Hamilton. The Dallas Morning News does a nice job of telling the tale of Hamilton’s battle against drug and alcohol addiction, to claw his way back into the major leagues. Batting over .300, with 21 homers and 95 RBIs, just two years after he was completely out of the game. We at Balls don’t often get teary over tales of redemption and the power of the human spirit, but, you know…sniff…we’re not made of stone either.

Two minutes for…Breaching your contract. Alex Radulov has decided he doesn’t want to play in Nashville anymore. He likes Russia. He also likes money. That’s all perfectly understandable to the Ballsters. but when you sign your name on a contract that says you will play in Nashville for two years, for almost a million dollars a year, you should honour the contract. It’s kinda like a promise, except more official. If I’m David Poile, I fight like crazy to make him stay in North America, then I ship him out of town for whatever I can get.

Who’s got tickets? to the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium. Canadian slugger Justin Morneau will be taking part. It should be fun, especially if you like to watch hours of batting practice and major leaguers clowning around on the field with their children. Look! They’re just like us! They seem to love their children too! Except whereas I play with my kid in my backyard, they dress them up in authentic pro gear and goof around in Yankee Stadium. But, other than that, they’re just like us!

Fun police: A lot of people in Green Bay are all heated up about the Packers giving Brett Favre the cold shoulder. The guy is one of the best ever, and the Pack are treating him shabbily because they don’t want him back, but they don’t want him playing elsewhere either. The fans want Brett back, but the team doesn’t. Favre hummed and hawed, and then finally quit, then changed his mind and essentially demanded that the team throw out an entire off season’s work preparing his replacement so that he can do one more victory lap. The Packers are willing to bring Brett back as a backup/mentor to Aaron Rodgers, but Brett thinks that’s beneath him. Remind me again who’s being selfish? Remind me again who is tarnishing the great memory of Brett Favre

Extra bases: They say that in some companies, you know you’re fired when they hold meetings and you’re not invited to them. apparently, the Tampa Bay Lightning are that kind of organization. Three games into the season, but it’s not too soon to officially declare: the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are terrible. AJ Burnett could never quite elevate his game in Toronto. Not enough incentive I guess. But when the prize on the line is a ticket out of town, AJ is at his best.