August 24, 2004
US 400m 1-2-3:
Paced by Jeremy Wariner, Michael Johnson's flashy-looking protege, the US' 400m crew swept the finish, setting up a must-see 4x400 relay.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
INCITING.  FANARCHY.

"Fanarchy." Definition: When fans in the stands commandeer control over the judging, reffing or umpiring of a sports event, usually through jeers, boos and other forms of verbal intimidation.

It's my new word (instant fave), but don't think that Monday night's eight minutes of gym-nasty reception for the gack-awful high-bar judging was a new concept.

Has an NFL crowd ever influenced a ref's decision to reverse a call?

They have if you've ever heard fans' home-turf howls -- then seen a suspiciously "late" flag.

Credit the fans for reaching a breaking point on the maddeningly inconsistent -- if not downright sketchy -- judging that is an Olympic specialty.

This wasn't about Paul Hamm, even though he had the bad timing of going (or trying to go) right after Nemov's thrilling, controversial routine.

This was about believing what you see with your own eyes, even if you aren't an expert. Give me 10,000 jeering "judges" over 10 official (and officially laughable) ones.

U.S. Hoops: Spain Next
Spanked Angola: At least one Dream Team tradition lives on.

Next for the U.S. is Thursday's knockout quarterfinal versus the tournament's top team (on paper) -- Spain, featuring Pau Gasol.

But think of March Madness: This is like the regional final where an overrated No. 1 seed (say, St. Joe's) plays the best No. 2 seed (say, Oklahoma State).

Unlike Lithuania or Argentina, teams whose style of play gives the U.S. fits, the Spanish play a lot like the U.S., bruising inside with inconsistent outside shooters.

Don't call it an upset: The quarterfinal vs. Spain is a game the U.S. can win; it's the round after that is the scariest.

Bolts Sign Rivers
The problem with the long rookie QB holdout is that fan expectations couldn't be higher, yet the player couldn't have put

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Ted Lilly: 13 Ks in W (team-high for LHP); outduels Pedro
Willis McGahee: Henry injury his gain? (Starts Saturday?)
China hoops: Del Harris' underdogs shock Serbia to advance
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Indians: Have lost *8* in row since being bandwagon fave
Tom Pappas: Decath star struggles (5th) w/ high, long jump
Jason Estrada: "Super" h-weight gets clobbered by Cuban
 
himself in a worse position to fall short, at least in the short-term.

What next? The Chargers should throw Rivers right in the mix, including snaps Friday vs. Seattle. If he's confident enough to gripe for more cash, he should be confident enough to stand in for a late quarter against third-teamers.

Q. Carter to Jets?
Win-win for the Jets to sign Quincy Carter, as long as Carter can keep his nose clean (metaphorically speaking only, of course):

The Jets get: An NFL-tested back-up QB for Chad Pennington, who has yet to prove he isn't a little fragile.

Quincy gets: The chance for career rehab without the pressure of being (or even competing to be) a starter.

AL Cy Young Watch
As Johan Santana fans know from last season's similar second-half surge, "best pitcher" and "best season" don't always sync. But if the season ended today, I'd give the AL Cy Young to the Twins' Johan Santana, who streaked to his 7th winning decision in a row (11 Ks, 1 R, 8 IP). A's Mulder next-best, obvs.

Mike Williams Saga
Still in NCAA hell: USC's season opens Saturday in D.C. vs. Va Tech, and if his summer grades are in good order (NCAA reviewing this week), he should be re-instated immediately.

Watch this dynamic: The NCAA might act deliberately (both meanings), simply to slap him with a de facto one-game "punishment" for trying to go pro; that would be wrong on so many levels.

Poll Shocker
Monday's poll results are shocking, and I'll let the numbers speak for themselves. The question was:

In a small way, do you want to see the U.S. hoops team lose?

Your responses, from 20,000 votes cast:

Yes: 54.1 percent (54.1!!)
Kind of: 19.9 percent
No: 25 percent

So that means: Fully three-quarters of you either want to see (or kind of want to see) the U.S. hoops team lose. Astounding!

FIG honcho
Bruno Grandi:

Every Olympics needs a great villain, and this dude has seized the mantle with the way he's handled the men's all-around medal flap.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Page 2: Best team in Athens
College football preview
NFL training camp
 
Wheaties Watch:
Last/next 24 hrs
USA softball
Gold! Allowed ONE run
 
May/Walsh (beach v'ball)
Bikinis on box? Big sales
 
US women's soccer
Last hurrah/go for gold Thu.
 
Allyson Felix (200m)
18-y.o. track phenom
 
400m men's crew
(Or, all "track youth" as group)
 

MNF key learnings: KC's offense will be as great as '03; wavering on Priest with that first overall fantasy pick? Your loss...

Who'd've guessed A-Rod would be the Yankees' 2nd-best new acquisition? By a wide margin, Sheffield is NY's MVP (GW 2-R HR Mon)...

NL WC Watch: For the Cubs to stay with SF, they *must* seize on their pitching advantage; Zamb's no-no-ish effort (thru 6) helps...

Ron Artest pouted that he thought he deserved to be on the US Hoops team; based on their shoddy perimeter D, he's right on...

Is Holmgren a Belichick-like genius or overrated? Watch if Seattle can adjust to losing LB Chad Brown for 4-8 weeks (broken leg)...

In case you missed the front-page package, ESPN.com's NFL training camp tour is over, finishing with the Ravens (SB contenders?)...

New ESPN TV drama, "Tilt" (from the "Rounders" guys) sounds like a winner (would not pitch it as "Playmakers meets Poker")...



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