Portland center Greg Oden is back after being out with a foot injury since opening night and scored three points in 16 minutes of play in his return. While I’m sure he isn’t totally recovered from the injury, I don’t think he’s ever going to be the dominating center that many envisined him to be coming out of Ohio State. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in time, Oden will be a dominating force on the defensive end but his offensive skills remain very raw and I don’t think he’ll ever be more than an average center on the offensive end. Think Dikembe Mutumbo in his prime. Only time will tell but I remain steadfast in my belief that Kevin Durant will ultimately be the better pro when all is said and done.
Another ML award was announced recently and I’m once again confused by the balloting results. Rays skipper Joe Maddon was the obvious choice for Manager of the Year in the AL and anybody who witnessed Tampa’s unbelievable worst-to-first turnaround this year would have to agree with that one. It’s the NL results I have an issue with. Lou Piniella beat out Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel and Florida’s Fredi Gonzalez to win his third MOY award. Don’t get me wrong, both Piniella and Manuel did nice jobs with their respective squads but were leading playoff teams from the previous year. Gonzalez on the other hand led the young Marlins into contention which is far more impressive than Piniella leading the favored Cubs back into the playoffs.
Considering that the Cubs had the 7th-highest team payroll in the league while the Marlins ranked last in that category at just over $21 million compared to the Cubs $118 million and Gonzalez’s effort was just that much more impressive. Remember back in March when everybody was making their postseason predictions? Almost everybody had the Cubs winning the Central and many made them the favorite to represent the NL in the World Series. Don’t remember too many people even mentioning the Marlins in those talks and they were in contention in the NL East right up until the final week of the season.