The best of Baseball Today

Here at Baseball Today, the Fastest 15 Minutes in Baseball, we were so hot last week we made the Tigers look downright tepid. From the ups and downs of the Twins and Astros to the ups and downs of Jim Bowden's trade demands, we had it all for you every morning -- without one mention of Alex Rodriguez! (But you did get this from Jerry Crasnick after Ozzie Guillen reamed out Jon Garland for not hitting Ian Kinsler: "If Ozzie gets suspended for something like this, he wouldn't get through a series.")

Below is our best of last week and a taste what you can expect from this week's daily updates with ESPN's top analysts. And remember, you don't need an iPod to listen to Baseball Today. You easily bookmark this page for quick, one-stop access to this week's shows -- and as always, feel free to send us more e-mail.

Quotes Of The Week
Monday, July 24
Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com

On how he wouldn't vote for Mark McGwire for the Hall of Fame: "I think I'm probably 70-30 against right now. My problem is this is such a volatile time, and so little is known about some of this stuff, my fear is a guy's gonna get in and then some huge new bombshell revelation is gonna occur. ... You can't vote a guy out of the Hall of Fame. But you can wait for a less volatile time, and eventually you'll have some perspective on this."

Tuesday, July 25
Keith Law, ESPN.com

On the so-called "extremely close" Alfonso Soriano trade with the White Sox: "This did not come out of the White Sox camp. This came out of the Washington camp, and what they're trying to do is to try to advance the market, improve the market, for Soriano. I think it's gonna backfire a little bit. The White Sox are not happy to have word of their negotiations leaking out, especially for it to be inaccurate."

Wednesday, July 26
Steve Phillips, ESPN

On how Alfonso Soriano will end up in the AL Central: "Right now I think he's gonna end up with the White Sox. I think that Kenny Williams is gonna do what he needs to do to pull the trigger on that one. At some point Jim Bowden will make a deal. ... Soriano staying in Washington doesn't do the Nationals any good."

Thursday, July 27
Tim Kurkjian, ESPN

On how Carlos Lee will be traded by Brewers: "This is where Doug Melvin is really good. And this is where all general managers make their money -- they make that hard decision right now. It may not make people happy, but you gotta do it if it's the right thing for the organization."

Friday, July 28
Rob Neyer, ESPN Insider

On the blisteringly-hot Twins playing host to Detroit: "If you look at all the playoff odds reports that Baseball Prospectus, for example, publishes, the Twins are still the underdog in the wild-card race. ... I think the projection is that (Francisco Liriano) and their two best hitters, (Justin) Morneau and (Joe) Mauer, have to fall off a little bit. But those guys are all young. Maybe this is how good they really are. I don't think Joe Mauer's a .375 career hitter, but we don't know what their upper limits are because they're so young."

Best Listener Mail
(To contribute a comment for the show, click here.)

"We all know that the Nationals are going to move Alfonso Soriano, so why not to the Atlanta Braves? The Braves need a proven leadoff hitter and a solid left fielder to push them over the top, a little bullpen help wouldn't hurt (maybe Betemit for Linebrink) but that's another story."
-- Shane (Kennesaw, Ga.)

"(Charlie) Manuel has to go. The Phillies are a mediocre team, not a bumbling joke of a franchise. Managers have a little more impact than the media portrays."
-- Andy (Reading, Pa.)

"A-Rod has proven himself over and over again. But he is still human and cannot be expected to perform at that level of skill always. There will be some down times, and he is going through them now (although his down time is still better than most players). We all have come to expect so much from him that we forget that he is still having a year that most players would be excited about."
-- Mike (St. Petersburg, Fla.)

Crystal Ball Standings
Our guests are not allowed to say "might" or "could" when it comes to looking into the future -- I put them square in the crosshairs of prognostication by making them predict three things that will or will not happen in baseball that day or week. (By the way, we plan to set up a way for Baseball Today listeners to compete against our guests by answering the same questions via the Web.) Meanwhile, here are the standings as this week began:

Alan Schwarz is the host of ESPN.com's Baseball Today and the senior writer of Baseball America. His book, "The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination With Statistics," can be ordered on Alan's Web site.