Moneyball, meet Mannywood.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that baseball's newest odd couple -- Billy Beane and Manny Ramirez -- will tie the knot just before, or soon after, the start of spring training. That's when the A's are expected to sign the ex-Red Sox designated hitter, looking to get back into baseball after a brief, unsuccessful stint with the Rays that ended with his being suspended for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
He still has that suspension -- 50 games -- hanging over his head, but Oakland apparently is willing to wait. After all, as old friend Craig Calcaterra pointed out: "Wacko serial PED offenders are the new inefficiency, you know."
And Billy Beane's all about finding market inefficiencies.
You can add USA TODAY to the Patriots' undefeated season bandwagon.
In its annual projections before NFL teams report to training camps this week, USA TODAY has the Patriots going 16-0 in the regular season, then beating the AFC West's L.A. Chargers and Oakland Raiders in the playoffs before capping a perfect 19-0 season with a Super Bowl 52 victory over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Minneapolis.
Here's their Pats' regular-season rundown from USA TODAY NFL writer Nate Davis:
New England Patriots (16-0): Is it bold? Sure. Kinda. But it's not like Tom Brady hasn't gone 16-0 before ... (and, really, wouldn't he and Bill Belichick secretly love to add 19-0 to their otherwise incomparable resumes?). And from the FWIW department, Brady went 14-1 last season and appears to be surrounded by an even better cast now, especially if Rob Gronkowski is, in fact, back to 100%.
Pats wide receiver Julian Edelman called the 19-0 talk "stupid" last week. Bill Belichick is almost guaranteed to dismiss it if and when he's asked about it this week.