Originally posted on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 7/31/12

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“Hands down at this early stage of the summer, it is the last player selected by GM Tom Heckert in the 2011 draft. It is free safety Eric Hagg. Hagg is not a screamer on the field and he is soft-spoken off it. Like his nature, he has quietly moved onto the starting defense. The coaches promoted him during the offseason practices before training camp.

On the first day of practice in full pads on Sunday, Hagg picked off Brandon Weeden throwing for Mohamed Massaquoi on a deep seam route in a 7-on-7 drill. Now that’s the way to make coaches feel good about their evaluation. “It’s really good, of course, to be running with the ones,” Hagg said. “But it’s still not a starting spot. I’m just trying to hold it. I still have to get better, learn the system.”” [Grossi/ESPN Cleveland]

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“One of the reasons that most good writing about sports is nonfiction is that you just can’t compete with the inherent drama of the reality. In 1986, I sat with Roger Angell of The New Yorker and Peter Gammons of Sports Illustrated in the Shea Stadium press box for the end of Game Six of the World Series between the Red Sox and the Mets. I was then 23, a cub reporter, paying careful attention not only to the games, but also to those two. Mr. Gammons was the relentless private investigator probing a public realm, an obsessive who, during his years at The Boston Globe, opened up the game to readers by covering vast pages of the Sunday newspaper with sprees of information, speculation, gossip and discourse. Mr. Angell formed belles-lettres out of ballplayers; his prose was a martini poured across the page — smooth and elegant, with juniper wit and distilled insights that made something you already liked even more complex in its flavors.” [Dawidoff/NY Times]

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“Richardson was the prize running back in this draft. Seeing him run behind left tackle Joe Thomas and left guard Jason Pinkston is a treat. Thomas is arguably the best left tackle in football, and Pinkston is developing as a guard. Richardson can run well to either side, but each carry to his left offers potential excitement. The Jones trade with Atlanta gave the Browns the draft choice they used on rookie right tackle Mitchell Schwartz. Schwartz is expected to start but like most rookies will take some time to set the proper lane for Richardson.” [Clayton/ESPN]

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“Because beyond Choo, the Indians’ outfield arrangement at the upper levels of their farm system can best be described as barren with a side of bleak. The most illustrative moment came midseason, when former No. 1 pick Trevor Crowe, drafted nine slots ahead of Jacoby Ellsbury in the famed 2005 First-Year Player Draft, was released by an organization that too often whiffed on amateur talent.

The Indians, though, got it right on several relatively low-profile trades, and that was undoubtedly the case when they acquired Choo from the Mariners six years ago. All it cost them was Ben Broussard, the second half of their 2006 first-base platoon. The first half, Eduardo Perez, had also gone to Seattle in exchange for future All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Those two swaps are still nothing short of amazing.” [Castrovince/MLB.com]

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“On Sunday, he tipped things off by helping his country move past Patty Mills and Australia in opening round pool play action. I would’ve said he helped lead Brazil past Andrew Bogut and Australia on Sunday, but Andrew Bogut didn’t play. He was injured still, Anderson Varejao wasn’t.

In 25 minutes of Olympic work, Varejao scored 12 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field. He grabbed 7 rebounds for the Brazilians, and added 1 assist and 2 steals on his way to earning the 75-71 win over the Aussies. Patty Mills threw in a game-high 18 points in defeat, on 7 of 14 shooting. Brazil hit a couple free throws in the final five seconds to secure the four point win.” [Bowers/Stepien Rules]

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