September 16, 2004
Randy Johnson:
Another game, another claim to "Best Lefty Ever": This time, breaks Steve Carlton's record for career Ks by a LHP. Records trump stateaus.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

At any other moment, almost nothing in sports could be as painfully dull as Brewers day game. (No, not even NHL lockout.)

But when that game is against the Giants? And Bonds is still looking for 700? And it's an otherwise slow day before a wild weekend? It's must-see.

Now, I'm not suggesting using a sick day and finding a bar with the game feed. But you can still keep your finger(s) on the pulse of the day's biggest plotline:

Bust out GameCast, and stretch your fingers for some serious ALT+TABbing between the play-by-play and your ol' reliable dummy spreadsheet.

Bonds has got the stage all to himself today.

Chasing Sisler
"258" isn't "700," but at least it's a pursuit of a record, rather than simply a stateau. Yesterday, Ichiro collected a simple single, giving him 233 total hits. He needs 25 more with 17 games to go to break George "We Goin' To" Sisler's 84-year record.

Howe Fired
Glutton for ...: Art plans to stay on the bench for the rest of the season. There's a reason it's called "lame-duck."

"I'm not a quitter," he said. Fair enough. "I'm not going to leave this team in the lurch." Too late. NHL Lockout
Three things you should know:

1. The Big Euphemism
In this case, it's "cost certainty," otherwise known as "salary cap." It's the big only issue. (Winner: Union. Who are the owners trying to fool with this phrase?)

2. The Big Stat
P.R. highground can be won or lost with a position-anchoring statistic. In this case, it's that the owners say they simply want to reduce the average salary from $1.8 to $1.3 million. (Winner: League. No sympathy for millionaire players from Joe Fan.)

Cardinals: Beat WC-wannabe Astros (Magic number? Just 4)
Twins: 8 straight Ws, simply cruising (Magic number? 6)
Braves: Do double-digit magic numbers count? Sure! (10)
Scott Rolen: Out at least a week with that calf strain
Kidd-to-Blazers rumors: Nets in serious play-down mode
Miami Heat: Nothing portends "bad times" like Laettner
3. The Big Quote
Fans have attention span for a single sound bite. Who wins this faceoff? The league. Here's what the two sides said:

NHL: "They are instigating a fight." (Analogy to sport: Smart.)

Union: "Absolutely stupid and ridiculous." (Read: Why didn't WE think to say that?)

Using these three guideposts, the projection is that the league will ultimately prevail. Not that you're going to follow this story over the next 12-18 months ...

A's Fan to Sue
Wouldn't you? Hard to imagine there won't be a settlement here in quick fashion. The only question is: Who gets slapped? The Rangers, for employing Francisco? The A's, for lack of security? The chair company, for obvious reasons? Why not go after MLB itself?

Rivalry: BAL-PIT
Nothing adds NFL subplot like a grudge. But Joey Porter's juicy smack in the Ravens' direction ("Pure hatred: That's the best way to go out there.") is met by ... nothing from Baltimore, muted by last week's humiliating loss to the Browns. Personally, quiet Ray Lewis scares me more than raging Ray-Ray.

Let's inflate the stakes of today's Red Sox/D-Rays game: Because the Yanks are idle, if Boston wins, the Sox are 3.5 GB, meaning a weekend sweep can close the gap to under a game. (It's just that kind of "what if" thinking that gets us all into trouble.)

Meanwhile, in a shocker, the NY pitching staff has thrown two straight blanks. Will the day off prove necessarily restful ... or mojo-wrecking?

Quickie Book Club
And in honor of the weekend's Yanks-Sox series, I recommend the recently released "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty," written by ESPN's Buster Olney. The best inside look at the most dominant team in sports over the last decade.

Move back to Miami and promptly lose both ends of a doubleheader to the Expos. Never should have left sweet "home" Chicago.
Today on
Page 2: Stump Page 2
Morning Quickie chat transcript
NFL Power Rankings
MLB Managers on the Hot Seat
Art Howe (NYM)
Oh, wait: Why is he still here?
Larry Bowa (PHI)
Making it past Labor Day a W
Lloyd McClendon
No talent ... or no talent?
Al Pedrique (ARI)
He's been overmatched
Terry Francona
If BoSox can't top Yanks?

Rangers d. A's: Have taken 2 of 3, with one game left today. It's a little early to re-start the TEX bandwagon. Still 4 GB ...

Cubs fans get optimistic: Sosa hits 2 HRs, including a grand slam; Cubs lineup produces only 10th 30-HR quartet in MLB history ...

This USF women's hoops story is interesting, and the underlying issue is a good debate: Should on-court religious garb be allowed? ...

Who else is surprised that this is the first season ever that the Red Sox have sold out their entire 81-game schedule? ...

Ivan Watch: Thoughts go out to the communities in the hurricane's path ...

Be sure to check out The Morning Quickie on SportsNation, every weekday from 9-10 a.m. ET (See Q It Up for the link) ...

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