Short hops

Haphazard pieces while wondering how many weeks of Peyton Manning deification we’re in for…

Theo Epstein, back in Boston? That’s just how unappealing this search for a GM is, that folks are holding out hope for something that is clearly not going to happen. I mean, Jim Beattie? Seriously? Ugueth Urbina will be back on the mound for the Red Sox before Epstein is back in that office.

Speaking of Urbina, you think now the reason Joe Kerrigan went out and got him that infamous chair had anything to do with a machete, a book of matches, and the Red Sox manager on the floor of his office after he lifted Urbina in the ninth one night, rambling on about how his demands include a La-Z-Boy “like Archie Bunker sat in on American TV?”

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I thought Bartolo Colon had won the Cy Young Award yesterday. So consider my surprise when I opened the paper this morning to discover that Barbapapa took it home instead.

Back to Theo for a moment, while unfounded discussion keeps popping up that Epstein might return to Boston, there is also speculation that he’ll end up in Washington, where Cal Ripken could also become the Nationals’ team president. Now, I wouldn’t want to be within 50 miles of Baltimore on the day this is announced, for fear that Peter Angelos might seriously just lose it and start signing any free agent he can get his hand on in retaliation, his last-ditch, hey, “over here” attempt. Before you know it, the Orioles have a $300 million payroll, and Victor Santos is the team’s ace.

The Bruins defense is so bad that they’re wondering what all the fuss is about over Duane Starks.

Psst. Hey, buddy. Boston.com has learned through team sources that the Red Sox are preparing for a big deal. The unnamed source said through a mediator on Instant Message that he couldn’t describe the specifics, but that this was a “done deal.” In addition, one baseball official said, “This deal will knock your socks off.” Another team source told Boston.com via Morse code through a Yawkey Way window, “This is the big one.”

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The Sporting News’ Tom Gatto floats an absurd Manny-Ramirez-to-the-Angels rumor that involves Steve Finley, Casey Kotchman, Howie Kendrick and Joe Saunders. He and follows that one up with one that would involve Alfonso Soriano and Jonathan Broxton coming to the Red Sox; Torii Hunter going to the Dodgers; Kendrick, Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis headed to the Twins and Bronson Arroyo, Cla Meredith, and Derek Thompson going to the Rangers. Before you start laying down your corn flakes to figure out the particulars here, Soriano ain’t coming to Boston unless John Hart is the GM and John Henry is off lost on safari in Zimbabwe somewhere.

The New York Daily News, of course, has learned that Omar Minaya is laying the groundwork for another ridiculous proposal involving Aubrey Huff. And we now know that Manny doesn’t want to go to Philadelphia. Tomorrow, we’ll have wherever else in the world Manny doesn’t want to go. Maybe we can create a little contest with Matt Lauer’s trip around the world. Spot Manny in Spain at the Plaza Espana, and enter a chance to win great prizes from Olympia Sports and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Speaking of Lauer, the folks over at The Barking Bear point out that during an interview with members of the US Ski Team last week, the Today Show host asked Bode Miller if he had skied yet this season in preparation for the 2006 Olympics (which of course air on NBC). Miller finished second in the grand slalom event in Austria three weeks ago, mind you. But as far as NBC is concerned, he won’t get on the hill again until he’s on tape delay and squeezed in between countless hours of figure skating in February. My God, where is Jim McKay when you need him?

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I think Dale Arnold, Rob Simpson, and Jack Edwards have been doing a solid job in the new Net minders blog, but check me off as an instant fan of old friend PJ Stock’s hysterical entry into the blog world with his work on Eklund’s wonderful world of hockey site. In his latest entry, Stock rants:

“Hockey is exciting with the new rules and yadda yadda… But football..that`s where the entertainment is. The have players getting caught with drugs, fist fights in their own locker rooms, players been suspended by their own teams, owners fighting with the media and to top it all off, the grand enchilada, cheerleaders getting arrested. What is going wrong in the NFL today? The players have enough problems as it is but it seems that everyone else wants a piece of the action. Minnesota Viking`s head coach, Mike Tice, was reportedly accused of scalping his super bowl tickets. Not bad, could be worse. New Orleans saints owner has been quoted that he believes that his family`s lives are in danger and he`s moving the team out of New Orleans. OK, getting somewhere. Two of the Carolina Panther`s cheerleaders have been kicked off their cheer team for getting arrested in a bar fight in Tampa, Florida. In the police report, witnesses claimed the two women were having sex with each other in a stall when other patrons grew angry that the two were taking so long in the bathroom. Someone said something to someone and before you knew it, the stall door opened and the pom poms where thrown to the ground. Cat fight. Ding Ding Ding, we have a winner. That`s what hockey needs. Who cares how fast the players are or how many points Joe Smith has, we want owners fighting and coaches getting caught for illegal acts AND we need the entire Carolina Panther cheerleading team at as many games as possible. Maybe we can get the Hulkster to rip his shirt off between whistles or someone from the WWE to be a guest referee one night. If I`m paying 85$ for a ticket and 9$ for a beer, I want action. Until then I guess I`ll settle for Les Habitants and Youppi in Montreal.”

Good piece today in the Seattle Times about how baseball teams vastly overvalue starting pitchers when we get to this point of the offseason. Hello, AJ Burnett.

Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel wins today’s prize for strangest lead: “Unless he’s hitting between Sneezy and Sleepy, or taking throws from Bashful and Doc, Carlos Delgado wants to remain a Marlin.”

Um. All right.

Now, I’m confused. Did Corey Dillon make the Colts “pay” the other night, or not?

Have you caught Revs fever yet?