November 12, 2004
Johan Santana:
Twins P was unanimous pick for AL Cy Young, proving that the Curt Schilling Media Bias hasn't *completely* overwhelmed us.
QUICKIE LIVE! 9-10 a.m.

 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
NOTHING'S.  FREE.

Instead of "Bridget Jones," maybe the new movie should be called "Scott Boras: Edge of Reason."

The agent controls many (if not most) of the top-tier players available for signing as early as today. Player price tags? Enormous. The GMs' willingness to play the game? Equally so.

Yet aside from the playoffs, nothing is more important than the interest drummed up in the offseason. "Hot Stove" simply doesn't do it justice anymore.

Baseball's New Golden Era (July 2003-Present) was built on the strength of last year's offseason, bridging the sick 2003 playoffs and stoking anticipation for 2004 -- keeping baseball top-of-mind with fans with front-page drama like the Schilling deal and A-Rod trade.

Beltran to the Yankees? That's just a start. Will Rocket re-sign with Houston? Who will Boston keep (or pursue)? Is Magglio the new Vlad, the creaky-backed steal? Will Big Unit get dealt?

The players might be pricey, but MLB really doesn't care: Fan love don't cost a thing.

Big Ben: 7th W?
If Ben Roethlisberger wins his start this weekend (vs. CLE) that would make seven straight -- sorry: seven wins in seven tries.

I've had the shakes to say this for two weeks running, since he beat the Pats (and certainly since he beat the Eagles). This is my first chance, but it's been a long-time coming:

Ben Roethlisberger is the best rookie QB of the ESPN Era.

More W10 Subplots
BUF at NE: If only to see the McGahee Pain Train (2-0 when he tops 100 yards) versus that tough Pats D. (8:30, ESPN)

MIN at GB: No Moss? Not the gimme at Lambeau that this looked like four or five weeks ago.

HOU at IND: Showcasing the toughest division in football, the AFC South. Does any team scare you more than the Texans?

CHI at TEN: Craig Krenzel is a poor man's Ben Roethlisberger.

CAR at SF: Has gotta be at least a contender for Worst. Game. Of the Year.

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Carmelo: 34/7/5/4 in slump-busting W for him, team vs. DET
Dirk Nowitzki: 41 (12/14, 13/13), 10 helps hand Heat 1st L
NBA attendance: New record for home openers, tops 97-98
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Dwyane Wade: 20/8/5... and a sprained ankle. Tracking ...
Kobe: Keep your eye on his feet; plantar faciitis is nasty
Ohio St: Must-read of day? Tom Farrey's ESPN.com report
 
CFB Wknd Preview
5 Georgia at 3 Auburn is THE Game of the Week. With a loss, Auburn is out of the title picture.

With a win (arguably the biggest "quality" W of any contender so far this season), they would deserve to be ranked in the top two (no matter what inertia-driven pollsters might say).

As for the other unbeatens:

USC gets yet another cupcake (Arizona). Too bad strength of schedule isn't a factor anymore.

Oklahoma hosts Nebraska. Gee, the Sooners playing at home: Go figure.

Wisconsin has a trap game at Michigan State. Per usual, they'll get no credit if they win.

Utah gets a game on ABC (7 pm) vs. Wyoming, apparently available exclusively to "red states."

What's a Boise? (Find out for yourself on ESPN2 at noon... uh, at San Jose State that's 9 a.m. local time, reportedly the earliest start in college football history. What some teams will do for TV time....)

That Paterno Rumor
You know...that he resigned? Total bunk. On the other hand, the rumor that he's delivering a reputation-eroding, program-stunting embarrassment to the end of his career is painfully true.

NBA Weekend
Game of the Season! (Okay, so the "season" is only two weeks old... what about it?) Shaq and the Heat put their fast start on the line at San Antonio, in a possible NBA Finals preview. Too early for that kind of talk? Never! (8 pm, ESPN)

While we're prematurely throwing around the phrase, another possible NBA Finals preview is Saturday: Detroit at Utah. The unflashy, workmanlike Jazz style should look very familiar to the Pistons.

Ron Artest Watch
Lest you underestimate the power of Instant History, Ron Artest was getting an early start on "defensive" player of the year, doing substantial p.r. damage control after blow-out coverage of his rap-versus-rest controversy.

SportsNation's Morning Quickie led the way, with the majority of user comments posted... in rap-style rhymes. Expecting a deal from Artest's "Tru Warier" label any day now. Stop by the Show every weekday, 9-10 a.m.

Meanwhile, see Q It Up for Artest's exclusive Q&A with ESPN.com's Marc Stein.

MLB Instant Replay:
Voted down by GMs at winter meetings, but the vote was close enough (15-15) that it (a) deserves more talk, and (b) will obviously eventually happen.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie Live!
Bayless on Wanny
Artest Talks
 
More NFL Subplots:
KC at NO
Eye that over
 
BAL at NYJ
Eye that under
 
CIN at WAS
Both teams have mo'
 
NYG at ARI
Are you on Tiki Train?
 
TB at ATL
All eyes on Vick
 

Week 10 office-pool suggestions: KC, BAL, JAX, ATL, PIT, STL, TEN, IND, WAS, MIN, NYG, SF, NE, PHI...

Even more NFL Subplots: DET at JAX (Harrington vs. Garrard isn't tantalizing); SEA at STL (Even in Week 10, playoff implications in NFC West)...

Adu Watch: Freddy's MLS Cup appearance (Sat, 3:30, ABC) in his 1st year tops rookie accomplishments of LeBron, Kobe, KG and A-Rod...combined...

Hot NBA Rumor: Is Isiah Thomas crafting a play for Bulls C Eddy Curry? (Plus: See Chad Ford's Insider on why SAC and IND should swap problems...)

"19 Days" Update: Fla St evades NC State; Friday: So. Miss at Memphis. Saturday and Sunday: The usual football madness...

Correction: Mississippi St. played without star Lawrence Roberts last night, and they struggled to beat Fairfield; Syracuse, Memphis cruise...

Coming later today on Page 2: Skip Bayless on Dave Wannstedt. See Q It Up...

In Friday's Morning Quickie: NFL preview, CFB look-ahead and more. *LIVE*, 9-10 ET or read the transcript. (See Q It Up.)



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