Commentary

Veteran Players Should Offer Boost

Updated: August 4, 2008, 2:26 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Each week I will talk about the world of sports:

• The baseball trade rumors became reality for superstars Ken Griffey Jr. and Manny Ramirez. Griffey should give a lift to the White Sox as his experience and clubhouse presence should be a positive force. Obviously he is not "The Kid" anymore, a dominant performer and a Hall of Famer. He still has something left and he should provide stability in center field. Ramirez in Los Angeles is a defensive liability but he can swing the lumber as we all know. There is no DH and his powerful bat had an immediate impact. The big question after the deal was, Joe Torre dealing with five outfielders and only three slots. That is the kind of dilemma most managers would like to have. Ramirez will energize Dodger Stadium and that's what Los Angeles needs. Tinseltown has another star!

• The Brett Favre soap opera goes on and on. Now that he has been reinstated, the Packers have a full-blown quarterback controversy on their hands. I can't wait for a resolution and I feel that given his iconic status, if he wants to play again he should. The question is where and a trade is necessary if Green Bay doesn't really want him. He should have the opportunity to play and I understand the team will not just release him without getting something in return. I also know that Green Bay doesn't want to see him in a Vikings or Bears jersey twice a season. Imagine if he came back and haunted the Packers?

• USA basketball looks ready as Olympic play begins later this week. I really feel this could be the best U.S. squad assembled since 1992. This unit has an incredible confidence and a swagger in a positive way. You can see Coach K has a group that plays with an intense, special pride wearing the red, white and blue jersey. They want the gold medal and they have dominated the exhibition games so far, playing very good defense. You look back at the Lithuania game and see 34 assists and only 11 turnovers. That shows how well this squad is performing early on.

• The Carolina Panthers sent a message loud and clear to star receiver Steve Smith. Coach John Fox dished out a two-game suspension to Smith for his violent action against teammate Ken Lucas last week. Punching a teammate will not be tolerated. Arguing and battling in practice, something leading to a shoving match is one thing. What Smith did, breaking Lucas' nose, is totally unacceptable.

• Who would have thought Georgia would be rated No. 1 in the preseason college football poll. The Bulldogs have a lot of talent, but coach Mark Richt's club faces a brutal schedule. Let me tell you, the SEC is a monster conference, dominating with so much talent. Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, the hits just keep on coming. The Bulldogs have to face Arizona State in non-league play too; that will not be an easy contest.

• The Tampa Bay Rays got a big win on Sunday, rallying from behind to sweep the Detroit Tigers. This team continues to increase its confidence level, winning contests that they would find a way to lose in the past.

• The Cubs sent a message earlier this week when they swept the Milwaukee Brewers. Then Lou Piniella's team won two-of-three from the Pirates. This team has handled the adversity of several injuries, and with Alfonso Soriano back, watch out!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.