This Week in Baseball -Taylor Ballinger, Matt Korte, Jeff Gangloff Good morning, Nation. We’re back with our weekly installment of “This Week in Baseball”, where Taylor, Matt, and Jeff will highlight interesting and/or important stories happening throughout baseball. As always, hope you enjoy – and let us know what you’ve been reading by posting in the comment section below.

Manfred May be Willing to Push MLB Trade Deadline Back from July 31 by Jesse Spector, Sporting News

With one week until the non-waiver trade deadline, the hot stove has been turned off.  There have been literally zero deals of note to report and a lot of stale rumors circulating.  At this point in time, the majority of teams can consider themselves in contention for the playoffs; and as a perfect example, the AL only has 5 teams with winning records!  It looks like the commissioner is willing to move back the non-waiver trade deadline into the middle of August in an effort to let contending teams separate themselves from the pack.  However, I would not be in favor of moving the deadline back…as it currently stands, the season is past the halfway point come July 31st…and I don’t want to see teams make a playoff run due to a trade made 40 days before the playoffs (Korte).

Barry Bonds Will No Longer Be Prosecuted by US Justice Department by Adam Wells, Bleacher Report

Lucky for baseball fans everyone, Barry Bonds, the Asterisk King is back in the news…just this week the Justice Department announced it would be dropping the charges against Bonds ending nearly a decade long legal battle.  In a way, I’m personally glad this is over…I really don’t care whether or not the federal government can prove a perjury case against Bonds, and if this gets him out of the headlines, then that’s fine by me.  Best case scenario, Bonds fades into history…he lives out his life with his new found hobby of cycling and he is denied entry into the Hall.  Whether legal action was ever taken against Bonds or not shouldn’t be of great concern to baseball fans as long as he isn’t recognized for the fraudulent statistics he accumulated (Korte).

‘The Battered Bastards of Baseball’ a fun, true underdog tale by Glenn Whipp, LA Times

If you have Netflix instant, you need to check out ‘The Battered Bastards of Baseball’(it came out last year) ASAP. It’s the story of the Portland Mavericks independent baseball team from 1973-1977, which was owned by actor Bing Russell (Kurt Russell’s father). What a fun documentary on how Bing helped revive independent baseball in America, while drawing the ire of the baseball establishment. I highly recommend. (Ballinger)

Randy Johnson’s viewfinder points to the Hall, and beyond by Tyler Kepner, NY Times

Tomorrow, Randy Johnson will enter the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown as Major League Baseball’s career strikeouts leader for left-handed pitchers (4,875) and as the last pitcher to win over 300 games. His staggering strikeout numbers are just part of the Randy Johnson story, though. In his post-baseball years he’s traveled the world as a photographer – including working NFL games in Arizona. This story highlights both his incredible baseball career, and his life as a photographer. Johnson was always one of my favorite pitchers (who can resist a 6’10” man with a mullet?), and I’m glad to see him entering the Hall and enjoying a productive post-baseball career. (Ballinger)

Genius turns rap legends into hall of famers in these incredible baseball cards by Mike Foss, USA Today

Bob Leminem, Method Mantel, and Lou Brock Shakur are just some of the rappers/players/managers mashed up to produce some of the coolest baseball cards of all time. Who knew Eminem could spit heat behind the mic all while throwing heat on the pitcher’s mound? (Gangloff)

Japanese baseball player has the most awesome bat routine by Demario Phipps-Smith, Sun Times National

There really isn’t a better word to describe this Japanese player’s bat routine than “awesome”. The Japanese may not produce a ton of quality major league baseball players, but when it comes to the bat routine game, they kill it.  (Gangloff)