Welcome to the Breakfast Trey (sometimes the Lunch Trey, if we're running behind) -- a daily hat trick of stories we think you'll find interesting, maddening, funny, or maybe a little of all three.
Leading off is Diana Nyad, who ended her Cuba-to-Florida swim this morning. The 63-year-old record-chaser was trying to become the first person to make the 90-mile swim sans shark cage; she'd started the trip Saturday night, and shortly afterwards, a storm seemed to perch right over her, forcing her to re-route and probably adding hours to the already-harsh travel time (the journey was estimated at 60 hours). Support crews hauled her out earlier today while speaking by phone to Good Morning America. Steve Munatones, official observer of the swim, told GMA's Robin Roberts that "the dangers were so great" that they felt they had no choice.
This was Nyad's fourth attempt on the record; at the time she was pulled out, she was suffering from sunburn and a strained bicep, had gotten nailed by several jellyfish (the reason she aborted her previous attempt), and had a swollen tongue and lips thanks to the salt water.
In the two-hole is another champion of a certain age: Roger Clemens, who's signed a contract with the Sugar Land Skeeters and is expected to pitch in professional baseball as soon as this coming weekend. I think it was a Hardball Talk commenter who grumbled that Clemens, 50, doesn't grasp the concept of "leave them wanting more"; I'd revise that to "leave them wanting any," since the perjury trial probably leeched the last bits of goodwill from the soil surrounding that guy.
But it raises an interesting question: Should pro sports offer a re-entry program for retiring stars, for the Clemenses and Favres who can't seem to let go? Sure, sometimes a twilight comeback works out (Andy Pettitte), and some guys can just pitch forever (Satchel Paige), but other times, injuries (Andy Pettitte again) or time (Jamie Moyer) conspire against a return to form. Still, some athletes don't seem to know what else to do with themselves once the years have ended their time in their games. Should MLB, the NFL, and other pro sports offer (or make mandatory) counseling for players as they prepare to return to civilian life -- or, for some athletes who stepped into the spotlight as teens, confront it for the first time? Should these athletes be given a skills test, or brought to a jobs fair? When the cheering stops, what does a player who's done only one thing, and better than anyone, do instead?
I mean, I know what the Skeeters are doing. They're guaranteeing themselves some gate receipts, and good for them. But why is Clemens, a PED user with an embattled-at-best legacy, doing it? Because I get the feeling he just...doesn't have anything else to do.
Maybe he could get an internship with Dr. Ann McKee. Grantland profiled McKee at the end of last week; she's a neuropathologist who autopsies, among others, former NFL players to determine the extent -- and cost -- of concussive impacts. Her work may change the way pro football is played, and Jane Leavy's article investigates whether McKee is dooming the NFL, or saving it. Or both. With the results of Junior Seau's autopsy coming out last night, sports fans are thinking once again about whether the price of this entertainment is too high.