With Chris stumbling home from his Hollywood red carpet experience early this morning, Ben's take a crack at the Big 5:
1. DEADLINE SURPRISE: Rather than being sellers at baseball's trading deadline, the Padres were one of the only teams to add a well-known player, acquiring pitcher Ian Kennedy from the Diamondbacks in exchange for Joe Thatcher, a minor league arm, and a draft pick. The Padres hope Kennedy can recover some of the form that helped him go 21-4 and finish 4th in the Cy Young voting in 2011. Arizona gets the situational left handed reliever they want to try and help them keep pace with the Dodgers in the N.L. West.
2. PRO BOWL SHAKEUP: As the Chargers continue training camp this morning, the NFL is trying to breathe new life into the Pro Bowl, abolishing the AFC vs. NFC format that has served the game since 1971. This season, teams will be picked "fantasy football style", with the help of captains Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice. Other rule changes have also been implemented (perhaps a preview of things to come in the regular season), including the end of kickoffs. The ball will be placed on the 25-yard line after a score.
3. THE CIRCUS IS COMING TO TOWN: Tomorrow is the day many expect MLB to announce suspensions for players linked to the Miami Biogenesis Clinic, including Everth Cabrera and Alex Rodriguez. And wouldn't you know, the Yankees are coming to town, which could put Petco Park in the center of the cyclone, if Bud Selig tries to impose a lifetime ban on ARod. Expect a few dozen members (of not a couple of hundred) to descend on the Gaslamp Quarter this weekend.
4. NOT HANGIN' WITH MR. COOPER: No one wants to stand too close to Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, after a cellphone camera caught him using the "N" word at a Kenny Chesney concert. Cooper apologized profusely yesterday to anyone and everyone, and seemed quite sincere. But many think that's a bell that can't be unrung, especially in a league filled with hundreds of black athletes.
5. SWISS MISS RETURNS: Martina Hingis made a comeback to tennis last night at La Costa, teaming with Daniela Hantuchova for a 6-1, 6-1 doubles win at the Southern California Open. The 32-year-old 5-time grand slam champion hadn't played in a WTA event since announcing her retirement in 2007. She plans to play in 3 more doubles events this year, including the U.S. Open.