Will LaRussa Knuckle Under?

This is a big one. The choice is really about the meaning of the All-Star game itself. Because if you think it’s about the game’s emotional connection to its fans, a celebration of what makes them sit through four-hour games while players and managers delay every minute of action possible (for more on this plague, do read ), then Dickey is the no-brainer choice. As , he’s the best story in baseball this season, bar none. If it’s about sheer talent and eye-popping stuff, Cain is your guy. As , Cain has more than just a magical half-season going for him.

You can be certain La Russa will over-manage this in his mind every way possible (hey, he no longer has a regular team to inflict that on) and Mets Manager Terry Collins said he has as one of La Russa’s assistants. But there is the distressing possibility that the pitch that makes Dickey great, the knuckleball, . That’s because starting catcher Buster Posey of the Giants is desperately trying to finish the copy of “Catching the Knuckleball for Dummies” that he just ordered from Amazon and he might not make it. Either that, or he could show up behind the plate with a shrimp net and hope for the best.

Feel free to debate this up until Tuesday’s game. It might help keep you from noticing your sneakers are sizzling alongside those hot dogs.

The heat at Wimbledon, meanwhile, has almost entirely been emanating from Serena Williams’s racket. In a twist of events that almost no one can explain, , Williams has replaced her drama-filled recent fortunes with her dominant form of old. Her serve has again become a force of nature, , and has rocketed her into the final against Agniezka Radwanska after leaving Victoria Azarenka helpless in the semifinal, . This has the helpful side effect of sparing us , which vies for the most annoying on the tour. The final might not be any more competitive, with .

That match might not last long enough to qualify as a distraction from the N.B.A. free agency scene, which is currently being dominated by old guys changing teams. A day after the Steve Nash-to-Lakers move, 39-year-old , which is either a great move to add leadership, as , or a move that comes 10 years too late, as .

Nash’s signing has not stopped reverberating in the West, with pondering whether it helps the Lakers’ chances of signing Dwight Howard, and with his full endorsement. that it does speak well of Kobe Bryant’s maturity that he wanted Nash to come. Or perhaps he just wanted to feel less old.

There is no word on who Bryant thinks should start in the All-Star game. Hey, La Russa can use all the help he can get.

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