August 8, 2005
Tony Stewart
Takes over NASCAR season points lead with an emotional win in his Brickyard backyard. As the most appealing driver for casual fans, great for NASCAR.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
GREAT.  MOVE.

Can a coach be a league's Most Valuable Player?

That's the situation for the NHL, with Wayne Gretzky set to take over as coach of the Phoenix Coyotes.

It's like Michael Jordan when he took over running the Wizards; the team didn't get better, but it suddenly became a lot more intriguing.

An even better analogy is when Larry Bird took over coaching the Pacers. (Let's ignore Magic's ill-fated stint coaching the Lakers.)

Can a superstar translate his one-time playing prowess from the sideline, dressed in a suit rather than a jersey? That's compelling.

Gretzky's success or failure is actually secondary to his mere presence; the move is exactly the p.r. boost the NHL needs.

The Coyotes offered little cachet on their own and the NHL is lacking the star power to draw in casual fans.

No other legendary player brings as much interest to his sport as Gretzky does to hockey.

At least until MLB re-instates Pete Rose and he takes over managing somewhere.

MLB Weekend Wrap
More Cy: What about the NL's other guy, Chris Carpenter? Cards SP couldn't get 17th W, taking an ND despite 10K/4H/2R in 8IP.

Zach Duke watch: Pirates rookie phenom won his 5th straight decision (in 5 tries), despite allowing a whopping 4 runs (in 7-plus IP).

Nats still stink: Weekend sweep by Padres included a CG SHO by Jake Peavy (10 K's) on Sunday and the now-obligatory 1-run loss on Saturday.

Are you kidding me? David Eckstein hits game-winning grand slam for Cards over Braves in possible NL playoff preview.

MLB series to watch: White Sox at Yankees, starting today. Another good test to see if Sox are legit (and test of Yanks' WC bonafides).

NFL: Bears/Dolphins
Which team has more promise this season? Believe it or not, the Dolphins.

When Ricky Williams is the best active RB option on the field, the Bears are the team in more serious trouble.

Meanwhile, the Bears are coached by a guy named "Lovie"; Dolphins coach Nick Saban makes players cry. Which guy do YOU think gets faster results?

Advantage: Miami.(8 ET, ABC)

NFL Camp News
Falcons top Colts in Japan. Question for ATL fans: Is backup QB Matt Schaub a better passer than Michael Vick?

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Morgan Pressel: Teen star wins U.S. Women's Amateur title
Justin Gatlin: Wins 100m by widest margin in WC history
Travis Pastrana and Danny Way: Earn sick gold at X Games
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Big Unit: May miss next start (back); Pavano hurting, too
Rich Gannon: Intense QB (2002 NFL MVP) retires to TV life
Congress: Using Palmeiro story to push own roid agenda
 
Jets sign Ty Law, apparently taking the position that if you can't beat the Pats, at least try to sign their ex-players.

Brian Westbrook ends holdout, but doesn't have a new deal in place. Eagles fans seem convinced that he's a more valuable piece than T.O.

Credit the new Vikings owners for giving Daunte Culpepper a deal extension befitting the NFL's 3rd-best QB (behind Peyton and Brady).

Karma boomerang: Packers holdout WR Javon Walker hurt his hammy in practice, his second injury of training camp.

Which was more sincere: Joe Gibbs' original dig that Cowboys fans are "the ugliest people in the world?" Or his apology for saying it?

T.O. Update
Hmm: Wondering if the season-ending injury to Eagles WR Todd Pinkston forces Philly's hand to play catch with T.O.?

If the team continues to hold out on negotiating, that would be the ultimate signal that they're ready to play the season without him.

Eagles WR most worthy of a contract re-do? How about playoffs revelation Greg Lewis? Reid should offer Lewis a re-done deal, just to tweak T.O.

(Meanwhile, T.O. returned to practice Sunday after missing two days with that groin issue. Coincidence? You be the judge.)

HOF Ceremony
Jerseys are fine Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony fashion, even if Isotoner gloves may have been more appropriate for Dan Marino.

Most appropriate of all was his podium pass to Mark Clayton.

Meanwhile, Steve Young was classy to allude to the brutal QB comp in San Francisco. Given his combination of skills, brains, perseverance and success in Montana's shadow, Young was arguably the better all-time 49ers QB.

KG Trade Rumor
Joe Dumars quashed it, but the question is worth asking: Would the T'wolves actually be better off trading KG for the Wallaces and a couple first-round picks?

Yes, and here's why: Minnesota has gotten as far as it ever will with KG as the star. No trade would ever bring back equal value, but it would shore up two frontcourt positions with title-savvy vets.

(And the Pistons would be better off, too: Ben Wallace is an anchor, but undersized and specialized; he's replaceable. KG delivers all-NBA D, plus O to eclipse both players.)

MascotGate
Attention, alumni: Your memories of college will NOT be tainted or lost if the school gets rid of nicknames or mascots.

So critics of the NCAA's new policy (No Indian mascots allowed in postseason tournaments) need to stop acting like anything substantial changes by changing offensive imagery.

Critics actually diminish the sports accomplishments by freaking about superficialities, like mascots.

Quickie 50/50: Ohio
When fans think of Ohio:

Jim Brown, Paul Brown, Dawg Pound (and do the Bengals count?), The Horseshoe, Dotting the I, The Big O, "Major League," Big Red Machine.

Vote Best of Ohio here!

Rafael Palmeiro retirement rumors:
Agent says Raffy "is intent on playing" when his suspension ends Thursday, but that certainly leaves room for hedging, doesn't it? (via Wash Post)
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie live!
Insider Index
Fantasy Football index
 
Offending NCAA Nicknames/Mascots
Florida State
Even if some Seminoles approve
 
Illinois
"Chief Illiniwek?" Weak
 
Central Michigan
Chip away at "Chippewas"
 
Bradley (Braves0
Heresy from home of Hersey
 
SE Oklahoma St.
Not D1, but "Savages?" Brutal
 

More MNF: Ricky may be providing the main drama, but what about the QB battle between incumbent Feeley and Saban hand-picked backup Frerotte?

MLB SP Ws: Garland continues surge for AL Cy, getting MLB-leading 16th W (tied w/ Carpenter); D-Train wins career-best 15th; A's Haren wins 9th in row.

Bob Knight will hold walk-on tryouts as reality TV series. Hilarity ensues. Remind him of that next time he brays about a mythical "right way."

Today's must-read: All things NFL Insider, offering a FREE preview all week. Consider it this WEEK's must-read.

Condolences to family, friends and fans of ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, a role model of a journalist and understated in era of media bombast.



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