As usual, the Tour de France finish was
anti-climactic. Doesn't it feel like it has been
decided since Day 2? Regardless, Lance rules. Take
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
Is the Tour de France over?
I don't mean "over" for 2005.
I mean: Over. Finished. Done.
The downside of Lance Armstrong's unprecedented
success is that for fans in the U.S., the athlete
became bigger than the sport.
When was the last time an athlete from such a
lower-tier sport took over our consciousness like
On the flip side, he made cycling relevant.
Must-follow, if not must-see. Don't buy the cynicism
from the haters. Lance updates were a daily fixture
among ESPN.com's most popular stories.
So what next for the sport?
I just hope the champagne tasted good on Sunday,
because cycling is in for nothing less than the worst
hangover that any minor sport has had in the ESPN
(Even NHL is back on the radar. Cycling's drop-off
will make the NHL seem popular at its low point.)
Without Lance, the sport isn't the same. Will fans
still care? As the French themselves might put it:
Without Lance, cycling is just history.
MLB Trade Mania
A.J. Burnett Watch:
All the would-be trading partners (White Sox? Red
Sox? O's? Are the O's even still in it?) must have felt like
Harry Potter feels about Ginny Weasley after Burnett's
W on Sunday (7 IP, 0 ER). He even hit a HR.
Meanwhile, when a setup LHP (Twins' J.C.
Romero) is the next-best trade "name," it's a slow
season. Deadline is Sunday at 4 ET.
More: Padres 1B Phil Nevin reportedly set to
waive no-trade clause to head to Baltimore for
disappointing SP Sidney Ponson. But we've heard trade
rumors before out of Balto, haven't we? (via Wash.
What did fans learn about the larger
picture (say: October) from the weekend series split
between the White Sox and Red Sox, the best two teams
in the AL?
||CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
|WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...|
Rich Hill: Cubs P phenom will start today for Kerry Wood|
Kurt Busch: 2nd W of season (NASCAR Penn 500 at Pocono)
76ers: Make 6y deal w/ C Samuel "Double-Single" Dalembert
|... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'|
Dontrelle Willis: 3 straight Ls; 2nd-half slump clockwork|
Padres: Swept in Philly, 0-6 on road trip, 7-G L streak
New NHL logo: Orange with sans serif font was a classic
Sox have no fear. (Wait, that doesn't help. I
mean Chicago has no fear of Boston. Huge, because the
mystique is half the battle.)
ChiSox are legit contenders. After losing 2 of
3 to Detroit heading into Boston series, a fold was expected.
Split bolsters first half as no fluke.
Both teams could use Burnett. But are they
willing to give up top prospects to get him?
(See Gammons' latest via Q It Up.)
Today's camp opening:
Falcons (Flowery Branch, Ga.)
Key plotline: Vick's progress
Recap of weekend camping:
Dolphins: Ricky arrived Sunday, and reportedly
there will be a news conference today after practice.
Now that'll be interesting.
Bears: Wow, Rex Grossman didn't get hurt. Every
day he doesn't, the season can be considered a
Pats: Rookies start speed testing. Frankly,
whatever the Genius named Belichick does should
be the gold standar for the rest of the league.
Pittsburgh: New Hotness
If Detroit was home to a sports Renaissance in
2005, is Pittsburgh next in 2006? Consider:
Penguins win the rights to
the hottest phenom in hockey.
Key star: Sidney Crosby
Steelers mania hot as ever,
coming off AFC title game.
Key star: Big Ben R'berger
Pirates speculated as Mark
Cuban's next hot investment.
Key star: Rookie SP Zach Duke
And the '06 MLB All-Star Game
will be in Pittsburgh, too!
L. Brown Watch
Met with Knicks owner Dolan this
weekend. Still, no word yet. Next: Dinner with Isiah
and incumbent coach Herb Williams.
Because apparently "doing it the right way" includes
looking in the eye of the guy you're going to replace
and saying, "You gonna finish that?"
50-in-50: Rhode Island
Impressions of Rhode Island:
Providence: Fans still feasting off 1987 Final
Four run. They should: Friars were one of the most
memorable Cinderellas ever.
Red Sox Nation satellite: If anything, presence
of AAA Pawtucket makes fans from RI even more
Vote Best of R. Island
Struggle in 14-inn L to Astros. In a personal
"50-in-50"-style moment, I went to my first D.C. game
on Sunday. Nats' O is as ugly as the stadium.
|Today on ESPN.com|
|Shanoff on Lance|
|Top Athletes, ESPN Era|
|I know: What a cop-out...|
|Key: *Relative* to sport|
|Top Olympian of last 25?|
|Hard to say "Barry Bonds"|
A's still sizzling: Tied with Twins for AL wild-card
lead after sweeping the pretender Rangers and winning
26th in last 32 games.|
Pacers outlast Cavs, win battle for star Euro-PG
Sarunas Jasikevicius, who should supplant incumbent
Indiana starter Jamaal Tinsley by April.
"Law-lapalooza" Tour: Ex-Pats DB Ty Law to continue
working out for whoever might have him. Latest: Lions,
who could certainly use the help on D.
U.S. Soccer wins CONCACAF Gold Cup, which sounds more
like a specialty drink from Starbucks than a soccer
More NBA Moves: Bonzi Wells heads to Sacramento in trade
with Griz for one of my all-time underrated, Bobby
Jackson; Magic snag ex-Heat PG Keyon Dooling
Happy 41st birthday, Barry Bonds.