July 6, 2005
Rule Britannia! City pulls a minor upset and vaults over favored Paris to win the hosting rights of the 2012 Olympics. Can you say "delayed gratification?"
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Wait 'til 2016!

After its 4th-place finish in 2012 Olympic jockeying (not even good enough for the bronze!), New York City must regroup.

Finishing ahead of Moscow is nothing to brag about; getting beat out by Madrid is embarrassing.

But there is a silver lining:

With the Olympics in Europe in 2012, there's little chance fellow finalists Paris or Madrid will win for 2016. That's a wide-open door for NYC.

With four years to prepare for the next selection process, let's look ahead to how the city might upgrade its offer in 2009:

Senator President Clinton?
A fancy Brooklyn hoops arena?
Olympic ballroom dancing?
Randy Johnson still pitching?
M. Sharapova, U.S. citizen?
A West Side Olympic stadium.

But with the U.S. on the 2016 Olympics host-city radar, perhaps the best thing to happen would be for a few other U.S. cities to jump into the competition.

The good news is that you've got four years to figure out a plan; the better news is that you're competing with New York.

Just ask the Europeans.

"Final Man" Update
Vote Podsednik!

Quickie readers made an impact in the Lee vs. Pujols last-minute voting surge, and you're encouraged to do it again in the All-Star "Final Man" vote, which ends tonight at 8.

Why Pods over Jeter, who at last report led voting by a smidgen?

Standings: Podsednik shows up and the White Sox become the AL's best team; the "Cap" has managed to "lead" the Yanks to a nudge over .500.

Value: The Final Man will be a late-inning insert. Sure, Jeter has a better OBP, but Pos is a pinch-runner supreme, leading the AL in SBs.

Schadenfreud: Wouldn't it be hilarious if the "Face of Baseball" couldn't even win a lousy run-off among All-Star also-rans?

MLB Tuesday Wrap
Nats Bandwagon Update: D.C. wins yet another one-run game; 2B Vidro returns from DL and delivers a critical RBI double.

First-Half Award Watch: Forget Willis or Clemens; Nats closer Chad Cordero (30 saves) is the first-half NL Cy Young winner.

Derrek Lee: Injured?! Left last night's game with shoulder pain. Say it ain't so for the NL's runaway first-half MVP!

Another Slam for Manny: Greatest Slammer Ever? Hit his 20th last night (3rd of the season) and is only 3 behind Gehrig for tops all time.

Lance: He rules! Takes the lead *already* in Tour de Lance
A's: Back to .500 (10/11 Ws); sets up annual 2nd-half run?
Robert Horry: "Big Shot" reportedly signs 3Y deal w/ Spurs
Clarity on Larry Brown's future: Nope, nothing yet, folks
Keith Foulke: Issues? Yeah, sure, if "knee" means "throat"
Josh Beckett: Hurt again (abs strain). Wow, go figure...
World Baseball Classic news: Would A-Rod actually play for the D.R. over the U.S.? The WBC edge goes to whichever team lands him.

Tonight's Must-See: Lou Piniella reportedly will start his game with a reliever, THEN go to the starter after two innings. Lou-nacy or genius? (via SP Times)

HR Derby Update
Credit MLB for innovation: This year's "International Food Court" model of a Home Run Derby is a fantastic idea.

Not only does it prime fans for the World Classic in 2006, but it delivers many more times the rooting interests than the usual "AL vs. NL."

Confirmed participants:
(Ranked by predicted finish,
with the U.S. and Japan TBA)

Curacao: Andruw Jones
Dominican Repub.: David Ortiz
Venezuela: Bobby Abreu
Panama: Carlos Lee
Canada: Jason Bay
Puerto Rico: Ivan Rodriguez

Ray Allen Re-Signs
The Sonics may yet avoid "one-hit wonder" status, re-signing Ray Allen as the cornerstone of the revitalized franchise.

Seattle's remaining horde free-agent players are much less critical; however, coach Nate McMillan remains the team's biggest free agent of all.

Domino Effect: Allen off the board amps the pressure on the Bucks to re-sign Michael Redd (or on the Cavs to poach him).

Meanwhile, Larry Hughes (with more long-term upside than Allen OR Redd) is still out there, though the Wiz are considered faves to re-sign him.

NBA Meets Vegas
Until the NBA creates the Best. Expansion. Ever. and puts a team in Las Vegas, the next best thing might be the 16-team summer-league bonanza that opens today, with a first look at some of last week's most intriguing draftees.

Rookies to Watch: Paul (NO); Green (BOS); Frye/Robinson (NYK); Webster (POR); Wright (NJ); Diogu (GSW); Blatche (WAS)

"Veterans" to Watch: Howard (ORL); Livingston (LAC); Jefferson (BOS); Telfair (POR); Smith (NO); Podkolzin (DAL); Darko (DET)

NHL: Near Deal?
Remember hockey? (No? You don't? Wait: You say you do, but don't care? Gotcha. If so, then reading the following is optional.)

All signs point to league and labor finally reaching an agreement. If the NHL was smart, it would announce on Monday, traditionally a slow day between the end of the first half of MLB season and the day of the All-Star Game.

"It's a Whole New Game": That's the rumor of the new season's slogan. A salary cap and some rule changes won't bring in new fans; why aren't they trying to grovel to the few OLD fans they might yet retain?

No. 1 Enemies
Today's Must-Read: David Schoenfield's analysis of every MLB team's No. 1 Public Enemy. (See Big 5 for my favorites.)

Meanwhile, don't forget to take the poll that lets you pick your biggest baddies across all sports. Click here.

Current "Most Hated" polling:
Baseball: Bonds (2nd: A-Rod)
Football: T.O. (Moss)
Basketball: Kobe (Artest)
Coach: Spurrier (Coach K)
Team: Yankees (Red Sox)

Everyone hates the French. And, apparently, based on the Olympics vote, not just Americans.
Today on ESPN.com
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Jackpot Jay
MLB Enemies
MLB Most Hated Favorites:
Makes list for THREE teams
Cubs fans
Loathed by W-Sox fans
Jeffrey Maier
O's fans still seethe
Jeremy Giambi
A's fans: Slide, you fool!
Don Denkinger
"Time to let the anger go"

NL Final Man endorsement: Vote for Astros SP Roy Oswalt, not just because he pitched well on Monday, but on behalf of snubbed Houston 3B Ensberg.

Schilling update: Expected to make another rehab start; status will be one of MLB's biggest 2nd-half plotlines (along with the status of Bonds).

BCS to use title-game replay? Why haven't they been doing this all along? Do they really want to tempt MORE controversy of a blown call?

Will the Knicks trade Marbury? Should they? Chad Ford's annual summer blueprints are yet another reason you should be an Insider.

NBA F.A. Watch, Lower-Tier Edition: Is Cuttino Mobley eyeing a jump to the Nuggets (does Denver need another gunner?) Stromile Swift to Houston?

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