Steve Henson

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Steve Henson is a Senior Writer and Editor for Yahoo! Sports. He previously worked at the Los Angeles Times, where he covered Major League baseball, college football and basketball, and did general assignment and investigative reporting and editing.

  • 10 Degrees: Ryan Dempster's travel travails are among obstacles faced by the upwardly mobile

    One day a guy's gurgling seawater on a sinking ship, the next he's sipping bubbly in a penthouse suite. That might apply to me taking the reins of 10 Degrees while my estimable colleague Jeff Passan attends yet another wedding of yet another friend, but I'm referring to players traded from a loser to a contender at midseason.

    A ballplayer's overnight journey from the wretched to the wonderful sounds like bliss, but it can be jarring. Expectations rise, pressure mounts and unfamiliarity can make performing well a challenge. A guy can become so distracted, for example, that he has passport issues and is unable to accompany his team to Canada to play the Blue Jays.Things haven't gone as planned for former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster in Texas. (AP) 

    Even when said player, Texas Rangers pitcher Ryan Dempster, grew up in Canada.

    Dempster's travel problem, reported via tweet by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, is especially odd because he lived in Gibsons, British Columbia, until graduating from high school in 1995.

    Could Dempster have immigration or other

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  • Giants losing Melky Cabrera is apt five years after Barry Bonds ended his PEDs-fueled reign

    SAN FRANCISCO – Five years on, the specter of Barry Bonds lingers in the Giants' clubhouse. Performance-enhancing drugs were pervasive in baseball throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, and the interminable Steroid Era was symbolized by the hulking, prodigious Bonds. This was Team BALCO.

    Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games for violating baseball's drug policy. (Getty)The ugliness of the era repackaged itself in the form of another Giants star left fielder, not nearly as hulking but guiltier in baseball's eyes than Bonds ever was. Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games Wednesday for testing positive for testosterone. Cabrera, second in the National League with a .346 batting average and a pleasant surprise for a team starved for offense, is gone for the rest of the regular season.

    That it happened where Bonds conducted his steroid-fueled reign without reprisal is somehow karmic, somehow appropriate. Cabrera, a career slash line of .278/.331/.408 suddenly boosted this season to .346/.390/.516, is out of uniform and the Giants must suffer because of it.

    This is the

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  • A's move from Oakland to San Jose can't get traction because the Giants prove slippery

    OAKLAND – We all know glass half-full and glass half-empty people. Jemile Weeks is a stadium half-full ballplayer. The Athletics second baseman doesn't see the thousands of empty green seats every game at the Coliseum.

    "I see the diehard fans," he said. "When we get something going, they make the place sound and feel like a full house."

    That doesn't mean Weeks, and everyone else on the A's, wouldn't welcome a new stadium. They've been pining for, planning for and pursuing one for years. But the obstacles are daunting.

    "This might be the most difficult decision in baseball history because of the circumstances," said one MLB executive.The Oakland A's had a phenomenal July, going 19-5. (AP)

    The need is obvious. The Coliseum is serviceable – for the NFL's Oakland Raiders. It's not a baseball stadium; it's a cold and cavernous mass of concrete, the dugouts seem acres away from the foul lines, and fans even at field level could use binoculars. The outfield bleachers are so far from the action they might as well be in Berkeley.

    And, of

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  • Rockies' Project 5,183 is historically wacky, and it's not helping league's worst pitching staff

    LOS ANGELES – This isn't the first time Jim Tracy's front-office bosses have tried to reinvent baseball. So excuse the Colorado Rockies manager if he isn't in mutiny mode just because he must pull his starters after only 75 pitches and the first reliever he summons is called a "piggyback" and the entire cockamamie plan was dubbed Project 5,183 because that's the altitude at Coors Field.

    Project 5,183 forces Jim Tracy's hand when it comes to certain pitching changes. (Getty)The Rockies could become the first team in baseball history without a single pitcher logging at least 100 innings. It's a distinction to file under Just Plain Weird and will have taken a perfect storm of injuries, ineptitude and idiocy to happen. The plan was implemented in mid-June when it was clear the season was lost, and it's only gotten worse: Colorado is 39-68 and in last place in the National League West.

    "We wouldn't have ventured into this if we were in a pennant race," Tracy said. "It's very safe to say we're not. We have nothing to lose. We are looking at young players. We're trying to

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  • Worst MLB contracts are obvious when players can't be moved through waivers or a trade

    The waiver wire is crackling and humming, making this an optimum time to identify the worst contracts in baseball, players nobody wants because at one time so many teams coveted them that they were vastly overpaid. Funny how a player can go from priceless to pariah, sometimes only months after signing.

    Waivers remind us of the most ridiculous contracts because the murky process is a lot like big fish languidly swimming far beneath the surface of the ocean. Big fish that aren't good eating.

    Players placed on waivers – which are supposed to be kept secret – often have bloated contracts no other team is willing to take on. Once a player is ignored by every team, known as passing through waivers, he can be dealt just like before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline. Alex Rodriguez will be paid more than $20 million a year through age 42. (AP)

    Most waived players get a hard look by a few teams, and often when a player is claimed, his team allows the 48-hour waiver period to expire because there was never any intention of letting him go. Occasionally the

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  • Dodgers show money is no object as they trade for Joe Blanton, put waiver claim on Cliff Lee

    LOS ANGELES – Regardless of whether the Dodgers do or don't acquire Cliff Lee, the wacky waiver wire machinations that began Friday and might not end until Sunday send one unmistakable message:

    The Dodgers are willing to spend money as if it's being made with a PC, scanner and color inkjet printer.

    Cliff Lee's enormous contract makes no difference to the free-spending Dodgers. (AP) By claiming Lee hours after the Philadelphia Phillies placed the left-handed starting pitcher on waivers, the Dodgers did what the nine teams beneath them in the National League standings were afraid to do: risk that the Phillies would say, "He's all yours, and enjoy paying the last $110 million of his contract."

    Frankly, the Dodgers were hoping the Phillies would tell them that very thing. Money is no object in L.A. right now, not with new ownership hell-bent on winning the National League West and making a postseason run. And doing it now.

    The Dodgers also claimed starter Joe Blanton from the Phillies off waivers Friday and quickly completed a deal by taking on the $2.8 million

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  • Penn State star Silas Redd's transfer helps USC recover from its own NCAA sanctions

    LOS ANGELES – Standout running back Silas Redd went from reluctant workhorse on Penn State's foreclosed farm to eager addition to USC's juggernaut Tuesday when he transferred under a rule designed to enable players to escape a severely punished program.

    Redd, Penn State's top offensive player who rushed for 1,241 yards last season, informed Penn State that he is transferring and his father, Silas Redd Sr., sent a text message to Nate Bauer of Rivals.com saying as much.

    That the transfer added the crowning piece to a national championship contender just now shedding its own bad-boy sanctions was unforeseen by the NCAA, a bit ironic and completely within the rules, or absence thereof.

    Not only can Nittany Lion players transfer without sitting out a year, they can be aggressively recruited. And USC coach Lane Kiffin was especially forceful with Redd. Remember, Kiffin was on the other end of the same rule two years ago after USC was hit with heavy NCAA sanctions stemming from the

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  • Matt Barkley's commitment to USC through sanctions can give Penn State hope

    LOS ANGELES – Matt Barkley is Penn State's sliver of hope. From the unhappiest of valleys, the Nittany Lions can look, of all places, to USC and its blond, sundrenched senior quarterback for inspiration in their time of despair.

    Not that the Trojans have a special affinity for Penn State. In fact, they are reportedly recruiting Nittany Lion junior Silas Redd, who rushed for 1,241 yards last season. Any Penn State player can transfer under the NCAA sanctions levied for the school's failings in the Jerry Sandusky sexual molestation case. And USC could use a running back.

    Matt Barkley decided to return to USC for one shot at a title. (AP) All's fair, apparently, when it comes to luring players from punished programs. USC knows that all too well, and Penn State is about to learn.

    But back, for the moment, to Barkley, a Heisman Trophy candidate and potential first overall pick in next year's NFL draft. He returned for his senior year in large part because sanctions against USC after his freshman season – including a bowl ban and a reduction of

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  • The peculiar origins of the modern Olympics lie in a tranquil town outside London

    The Olympics that spawned the Olympics concluded recently in England with a joyous medal ceremony and rapturous celebration.

    What, you didn't know?

    Participants in the Wenlock Olympian rode penny farthings like this one. (AP)The 126th Wenlock Olympian Games took place July 8 through July 22 in the historical and usually tranquil town of Much Wenlock northwest of London. Events ranged from the traditional (marathon, tennis, fencing) to the peculiar (aircraft gliding, senior citizens' swimming, net ball for 11-year-olds). Not as peculiar as events in the original games held on the same turf in 1850 (blindfolded wheelbarrow race, cycling on penny farthings and the not-to-be-missed "old woman's race for a pound of tea"), but peculiar just the same. The 100-mile walk, added just this year, was especially popular.

    You might say it sounds more like a company picnic than an Olympics, and you'd be right, but appreciation for the Wenlock Games grows as its history is studied. A man as responsible for resurrecting the ancient Greek Olympics as any other, Dr.

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  • Coaching your child: Expert advice from T-ball to high school and beyond

    It's an unforgettable line from Field of Dreams: "Hey, Dad, you wanna have a catch?" Kevin Costner is already an adult when he tosses a baseball to his ghostly father. For most dads and kids, the moment comes much sooner; and for thousands of families across the country, a simple catch leads to dad signing up his son or daughter with the local youth league, and then signing up himself as coach.

    Then the simple joy of tossing a ball back and forth transforms into something more complicated. The team, of course, includes other players. And they have parents, many of whom have opinions about you as a coach. Practices are difficult enough to run smoothly, and they lead to games, and games are competitive. Are you a good coach or a poor one? Is your child a good player or a lousy one? Are you playing favorites with your child? Or are you harder on your kid than on the others, creating friction in the family?

    Chipper Jones has enjoyed a 19-year career thanks to the teachings of his dad. (AP) None of that mattered during the backyard catch. Coaching a son or daughter,

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