July 8, 2005
Baseball and Softball:
Dropped from Olympics. Particular shocker for softball, which is one of the fastest-rising "growth" sports in the U.S. Rest of world? Uh, not so much.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Michelle Wie is like the Fantastic Four rolled into one:

The Human Torch: Given her age, skills, potential and (yes) gender, no star on either the men's or women's side is hotter. And only 15, she has up to six more years of "phenom" status.

Mr. Ms. Fantastic: She may not be better than Tiger is now, but if she played a 15-year-old Tiger, she would obliterate him.

The Invisible Girl: Some misguided critics would rather Wie just go away. Doesn't her 1-under opening at John Deere prove she belongs? (She finished ahead of 60 players.)

The Thing: Intangibles? She's got 'em, from endearing "teen speak" to cannon drives. Best: She seeks out the pressure of playing the guys.

The upshot: There isn't a more talented golfer younger than Tiger playing the game today, female or male.

Instead of our paternalistically griping at her to play where she "belongs," joyless critics should appreciate what she brings to golf.

Whether or not she makes the cut into the weekend, Wie should keep pushing. Her breakthrough isn't a gimmick -- it's an inevitability.

Schilling as Closer
Your Friday limerick:

Schilling went to Pawtucket;
Rehabbing skills to chuck it.

His first try as a closer:
Allowed 2 runs! Just a poser?

Damon chimes in to muck it.

(Hey: You try to find a tasteful rhyme with "Pawtucket" that involves screwing up.)

Redd: Max Bucks
You make the call:

$90 million...?

Golf, rugby, squash, karate, X-sports: Olympic hopefuls
Zach Duke: 1st PIT W (8 Ks); Melky Cabrera: 1st NYY start
Murderball: Hottest sports documentary since Hoop Dreams?
Pedro as All-Star: Sunday start nixes NL ASG appearance
Cubs: Lose 8th straight; ship CF Corey Patterson to AAA
Keith Foulke: Has knee surgery and will be out for 6 weeks
...Or playing with LeBron?

This is a no-brainer: $$$.

And, frankly, the Bucks' core of Redd, Ford and Bogut is suddenly more promising than the Cavs' core of LeBron and ... um ... who, exactly?

Cavs update: Talking with Wizards SG Larry Hughes, versatile except where Cleveland really needs it, beyond 3-point line (via Akron B-J).

K. Rogers Watch
Quite reasonably, AL All-Star manager Terry Francona said it was Kenny Rogers' decision whether to participate.

Hmm: Then, Francona said he'd replace any AL pitcher vacancy with his guy Matt Clement. But, y'know, it's totally up to Kenny.

Then Francona lost all cred with this: "Derek Jeter, if he's not an All-Star, there's not an All-Star."

See: This is why fans excluded Jeter.

NL All-Stars
Pedro out, Wagner in: Because the ASG is precisely the place for a guy who argues his team has no chance to win ... in July.

Izturis out, Rollins in: And Morgan Ensberg gets screwed over ... again. Did Tony La Russa make that choice simply to be anti-fan?

NHL Update
Instead of dourly denying that there's a labor agreement, maybe the NHL owners and union could instead embrace the optimism. They need to take their good news and positive PR where they can get it.

Johnny Damon:
His name is Theo Epstein. Not only is he *your* GM, Johnny, but he's the best GM in sports. So why don't you leave the personnel decision-making to HIM?
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie live!
Page 2
MLB Trade Needs
Ranking proposed Olympic sports:
Roller sports
Gotta get kids interested
Rules strange, action great
Isn't this the PGA?
How about Ultimate Fighting?
No offense, but: Zzz...

Tour de Lance: Retains first after a soggy Thursday. The specter of crashes within the peloton makes NASCAR's similar cachet look mild.

Can Jason Giambi possibly keep up his HR-a-day pace of the last three games? Correlation is emerging: Giambi hits, the Yankees win.

All-Star curse? Bartolo Colon was rocked for a season-high 7 runs in 6 IP. But get him ready for Albert Pujols next Tuesday! ASG starter? Heh!

NBA Summer: Knicks rookie Nate Robinson (24 pts) continues to be sensation. Chris Paul debuted with game-high 21 vs. CLE. Gerald Green BOS debut: 14 pts.

17-y.o. Morgan Pressel, fresh off round at the U.S. Women's Open, has asked the LPGA for a waiver to go pro. LPGA, cultivating stars, should oblige.

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