March 2, 2005
St. Joe's
New fan fave clinches A-10 regular-season title in emotional road win (on ESPN, no less) at GW, whom the Hawks booted onto the Bubble's bad side. QUICKIE LIVE! 9-10 a.m.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Atlanta Braves GM John Schuerholz admitted that he had "suspicions" about player steroid use, according to a newspaper report today.

I KNEW, BUT ...: The dean of baseball GMs says he was powerless to stop it.

"If we had our suspicions, all we could do was ask the player, and if the player said no, we were done," Schuerholz said. "We had nowhere to go. Our hands were tied behind our backs."

I knew that steroids can cause impotence, but this is ridiculous.

What a crock! If any GM thought the player was cheating, why didn't he report it to MLB? Instead, he's going to hide behind claims of powerlessness?

That reasoning is almost as sketchy as the 'roid use itself:

"I want to make this clear: As general managers, we didn't turn our heads away from players who might be using steroids because it was a benefit to us. No, if we turned our heads, it was out of frustration because there was nothing we could do about it. Sadly, we didn't have the authority to test players or fix the problem."

Hmm, let's see. He could have: Reported it to MLB.
Reported it to the owner.
Threatened to tell the media.
Saved their own weak skins.

The GMs' emerging brand of hindsight rationalization should draw as much outrage from fans as players juicing.

The cover-up IS as bad as the crime, and suddenly, every GM has to face more than: What did you know and when did you know it?

But this, too:
Why didn't you do anything?

Kobe Settles
Bryant won't sidestep the shadow of the public humiliation of his infidelity. (Nor the lingering question: What, exactly, will the former accuser never tell?)

But his solo failures on the court -- without Shaq -- will be a far more damning legacy he'll be burdened with.

NFL Free Agency
Today's biggest NFL news won't even have to do with F.A., but with the opening of the trade pipeline: Moss to Oakland.

There are few NFL trades, so the rare blockbuster is extra-special, but it also makes the free

Red Sox: Champs at White House today (no "idiot" jokes)
Mourning joins Heat: Ah, if only he was the old Zo ...
Wrigley Field: Adding 1,790 more seats (any barstools?)
Randy Johnson: Will miss first scheduled Yankees ST start
Troy Brown: Pats WR/DB released; thanks for the rings, guy
Nashville Rhythm: ABA laughingstock says "no" to playoffs
agency/trade segment of the NFL's offseason a wee bit dull.

Especially this year, where the free-agent crop is unexciting:

When RB LaMont Jordan is the headliner on offense, you've got trouble. On D, it's all about the DBs: Three notable offerings at the NFL's new glamour position: Samari Rolle (TEN), Fred Smoot (DC), Gary Baxter (BAL) and Ken Lucas (SEA).

Frankly, the most exciting way to spend the offseason is to watch the Pats, who just gave the heave-ho to Troy "Two-Way" Brown (who may very well re-sign, just at a pay cut).

Nats Debut!
Quick! Name the "Nats' 9!" (Extra credit if you're not from D.C.; only half-credit if you are -- you should know by now!)

As the Nats take the field for their spring-training opener vs. the Mets (1, ESPN), the enthusiasm for them is infectious. (Even a D.C. ex-pat like me has one of those must-have script-"W" Nats hats.)

But we'll see where the fan base stands when the team is double-digit games behind the Braves, Mets and Marlins in June.

With spring comes new hope -- and fair weather.

(See Odds/Ends for Nats 9.)

Where's the Glove?
Hawks release Payton, so where will he end up? (Better question: Where should he end up?)

Back with the Celtics?
Pros: Atlantic Div. title?
Cons: First-round p'off exit

Joining the Heat?
Pros: Guaranteed Finals trip?
Cons: Memories of '04 Finals

Joining the Suns?
Pros: NBA's most fun O; no D!
Cons: Would back up NBA's MVP

Joining the T'wolves?
Pros: Play with reigning MVP
Cons: Postseason? Try Lottery

NHL: Scab Skaters?
There will be an NHL this fall, even if it takes replacement players to make it happen, according to the owners.

"Scab Skating," however improbable (or catchy), begs an interesting question:

What would have more success:

An NHL of replacements? Or ...

Players forming a new league?

Edge to owners: Hard-core fans may mind, but would casual fans even know the difference? (Wait: What casual fans?)

NFL obesity:
56 percent of players. It may be "obvious" or "just part of the game" now, but it's a post-career epidemic of even more premature death in waiting.
Today on
Quickie Live!
Gammons on the Nationals
Amanda Beard: Hottest!
NFL Free Agency By Position
Defensive backs
Rolle, Smoot, Lucas, Law
Defensive tackles
Carer, Ferguson, Williams
Offensive linemen
Wahle, McKenzie, Jennings
Defensive ends
Douglas, Hayward, Burgess
Wide receivers
Burress, Mason, Housh

Nats quiz answers: CF Chavez, SS Guzman, 2B Vidro, RF Guillen, CF Wilkerson, 3B Castilla, 1B Johnson, C Schneider, P Armas Jr.

ACC Bubble Watch 1: Bubbler Ga Tech at 4 Wake Forest. If Wreck can pull off the upset W, they help their chances A LOT (7, ESPN).

ACC Bubble Watch 2: Virginia Tech's slim chances just went on a diet, with a loss at feisty (but inconsistent) Clemson.

AI scores 48 on the Bucks: Yawn. He's scored 40-plus in last 3 G vs. MIL. (But 45 after 3 quarters? Now THAT's awesome.)

Why would the Pirates alienate their best player (P Oliver Perez) by low-balling him in contract negotiations, simply because they can?

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