August 23, 2005
Maria Sharapova:
Hottest name in tennis takes over from Lindsay Davenport as the women's No. 1-ranked player (just in time for media frenzy of U.S. Open).
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
WILD.  THINGS.

The prematurely dramatic three-way tie for the AL wild-card lead is so tantalizing.

Can fans manage the minutiae of day-to-day "Wild-Card Watching" for the next six weeks? Isn't this supposed to start after Labor Day?

Forget that: Embrace the wildness today.

Who would have thought that the rehabbed Jaret Wright (7 IP, 0 ER) would be the key to the Yankees' WC hopes?

Meanwhile, we already knew Grady Sizemore stirred Cleveland's drink (3/5, HR, 3 RBI in Indians' 11-4 W over the designated season-spoiler D-Rays).

And it's the previously sizzling A's who have lost 7 of 9, including an embarrassing 2 of 3 over the weekend to Kansas City.

Which team has the edge?

Dare I say it? The Indians!

Cleveland's offense is cranking; the pitching is peaking; and the schedule is willing.

Plus, after last season's tease-and-collapse, the players seem jaded enough to be motivated, but still too green to know to be nervous.

If the post-steroid era is about curse-busting (see Boston, 2004), then the worthiest wild-card successor to the Red Sox has to be the Indians.

NL Wild Card Watch
If it took the Phillies only the first day of a 14-day road trip to lose the NL WC lead, then what will happen 11 games from now?

NFL Camping
Cowboys rookie DeMarcus Ware could be the NFL's biggest rookie defensive sensation since Jevon Kearse. The Dallas DE/LB owned the Seahawks in Monday night's W: INT, sack, two forced fumbles and three tackles.

Eli's shoulder OK: Manning will sit out for a little while (possibly Week 1), but the team is no longer concerned about the longer term.

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Dontrelle Willis: Wins MLB-lead-tying 17th (in just 5 IP)
M. Sharapova: Tennis' new No. 1, just in time for US Open
West Oahu: Li'l sluggers (d. FLA 10-0) my new LLWS faves!
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Kerry Wood: Blows gem for Zamb, gives up Chipper's G-W HR
ChiSox forfeit rumor: Will totally make up Red Sox rainout
Soriano-to-waivers/trade rumor: Looks like he stays in TX
 
Stephen Davis returns: Panthers' RB situation is like Denver Southeast, loaded with indistinguishable talents. Fantasy nightmare!

Pats trade for WR: Why would any team trade with the Pats? Won't fans believe they're being fleeced by the genius, Scott Pioli?

Lance: J'accuse!
Why can't the French sporting press just let it go? The incessant campaign to smear Lance Armstrong (most recently a front-page story today in L'Equipe accusing Lance of using EPO in '99) is as baseless as it is sour grapes.

New BCS "Human" Poll
Already being criticized, and rightly so:

If you thought media members in the AP poll or coaches in the coaches' poll were harboring biases that affected their votes, this new group is a mockery. Who do you think the Purdue play-by-play guy will give an edge to?

I'm not trying to single him out: Every ex-coach and ex-player (plus homer media members) included in the new poll is sketchy until proven otherwise. The BCS should release all individual ballots each week until the new voters establish credibility with fans.

(Disclosure: I contacted Harris Interactive about being a member of the poll, but I was rebuffed in my efforts for consideration.)

Finley Meets Heat
Miami can offer "mid-max" money (that being the maximum mid-level exception of $5 mil), the chance to play with Shaq and Dwyane and the glamorous South Beach lifestyle.

But signing with the Heat would also mean playing with Antoine Walker. Doesn't Finley want to be able to take shots?

Zach Duke Watch
The NL's hottest rookie pitching sensation will have his toughest outing of the season tonight in a must-follow matchup with the Cardinals. Duke vs. Pujols? Now we'll see what kind of stuff the kid has.

Quickie 50/50: PA
Impressions of Pennsylvania:

JoePa, Steel Curtain, Eagles fans, Phillie Phanaticism, "We Are Family," 'Nova '85, Super Mario, Maz, Wilt's 100.

Vote Best of PA here!

San Diego Padres:
It's *only* 2 games below .500 (after Mon L to HOU), but it's still notable that SD remains the div. leader with worst record EVER this late in a season.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
Page 2 index
Gammons on baseball
 
Most Exciting Philly Pro Athletes (ESPN Era)
Allen Iverson
Best Lb-4-Lb player ever?
 
Randall Cunningham
Every scramble must-see
 
Charles Barkley
Outsized player, personality
 
Dr. J
Eked past his prime in '83
 
Mike Schmidt
S. Carlton hates the media.
 

Herrion Follow-Up: 49ers OG's family had a history of heart problems, but that seems like a lot of speculation given autopsy. (via NY Times)

Antonio Gates Watch: TE blames his missed Saturday deadline on travel problems (reasonable), but he's still put on list to be suspended for Week 1.

Way Under The Radar: Frank Beamer has turned Va. Tech into a football powerhouse; 7-year deal extension is a smart move for Hokies.

Bonds Watch: Finally, someone besides Barry comments! Giants GM expresses optimism at Bonds' "marked improvement," prospects for return in '05.

NBA Free: Boston to bolster with solid PG (and guaranteed fan fave) Dan Dickau; McKie joins Lakers; D. Davis to Pistons; Damon Jones to Cavs?

LLWS: I love those Hawaiians, but don't miss that 18K kid from Rancho Buena Vista-CA vs. Lafayette-LA's Cardiac Kids! (7:30, ESPN2)



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