September 20, 2005
Cleveland Indians:
There isn't a fan outside of the NY tri-state area, Red Sox Nation or Chicago's South Side who isn't pulling for this likeable group of overachievers to keep sizzling.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
CHOKE.  SOX.

No one likes a choker.

In fact, fans like to mock a classic choke more than they like to cheer a classic rally.

There's just something about a choke that makes even the sorriest person feel better about themselves. "At least I'm not the White Sox..."

This week's head-to-head between the Sox and their rivals from Cleveland only exacerbates the problem. Last night's loss makes it even worse.

You'll see this all day:
Aug. 1: Central lead? 15!
Sept. 20: Central lead? 2.5?!

That neatly sums up why the White Sox have gone from the summer's uber-sympathetic rooting interest to the object of our scorn and derision.

But there is one hope for the White Sox to get back in the good graces of baseball fans: Lose the division lead.

Sounds counterintuitive, but at that point fans will root like crazy for them -- to hold on to the wild card by edging out the AL East runner-up.

Because no one likes a choker. But most fans like the Yankees and Red Sox even less.

Saints: "Home?" Bah!
The Saints as America's Team?

Someone forgot to tell the Giants fans.

Don't try to tell me New York is a fitting "home" for the Saints, that New Yorkers can relate. Didn't hear much empathy Monday night.

The NFL had to do something with the Saints, at a time when decision-making was hard. This made as much sense as anything at the time.

But after watching last night, don't patronize the Saints or their fans by insisting that New York was some kind of second home.

They might be America's Team, but the overwhelming cheers for the Giants indicated the Saints weren't New Yorkers' Team.

AL East: .5! .5!
The Yankees finally caught a break from the D-Rays, with a little help from the woeful Orioles bullpen.

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Brunell-to-Moss: Skins QB-WR combo hooks up 2X TDs in 4th
Curt Schilling: Pressure on in start vs. D-Rays today
Fire Mike Tice: Is his spin really "It's Daunte's fault?"
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Chris Palmer: Texans fire O.C.; someone had to take fall
Thompson: Oklahoma QB switches to WR for playing time
Jose Canseco: Wrestlemania next? (Realer than "Surreal")
 
Tampa held off the Sox and NY edged Balto, so Boston's margin in the AL East is down to .5 (with 9 to play before the NYY series).

Tonight: If the Yankees win behind unbeaten Aaron Small and the Red Sox lose behind inconsistent Curt Schilling, not only will the Yankees take over the AL East lead, but the Red Sox will suddenly find themselves behind the Indians for the AL wild card.

Meanwhile, it must be asked: Why do opposing teams still pitch to David Ortiz in the late innings of close games?

Monday night, he jacked a HR to bring the Sox within 1 in the 9th, but the D-Rays escaped when Baez struck out Manny. Stop. Pitching. To. Him.

'Skins 14, 'Boys 13
The Redskins could be the worst 2-0 team in the history of the NFL. The rest of the league must look at the NFC East standings and simply shake their heads.

And yet, at the end of the season, no one remembers how the wins happened, but simply that they happened at all. Parcells will stew over this choke for a while, particularly if/when the Cowboys miss the playoffs by a game.

MLB Wrap
NL Wild Card: Do the Astros have a scheduling advantage over their NL East rivals? Consider Houston got waxed by the Pirates on Monday, 7-0.

But also consider "regression to the mean": More often than not, the Astros will win that matchup. Meanwhile, the Phillies get the Braves (ouch!) and the Marlins get the Mets (rekindling hopes?)

Bonds Watch: On his first road trip of the season, how should Bonds expect fans in D.C. to greet him? I'm guessing: "BOOOOOOOOO!" (Till he parks one.)

"Bound for Glory"
What happens when Dick Butkus takes over as a youth-sports coach?

No, not "Hang Time," featuring his immortal role as coach Mike Katowinski, but if you guessed "H.T." give yourself partial credit.

"Bound for Glory" (10 p.m. ET, ESPN) puts Butkus in charge of a hapless team of Pennsylvania prep football players. Will hilarity ensue?

Rafael Palmeiro:
Congress simply won't let go. Now, they're running around talking to other players about Raffy's possible indiscretions. But what are players saying?
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
Page 2 index
Stark on Tribe
 
Ranking NFL's Bottom 5
Vikings
Why? Higher expectations
 
Texans
Changing OCs won't help
 
Cardinals
That was SOME bandwagon
 
Packers
Favre's swan song ugly
 
Chargers
05's schedule not 04's
 

Bill Belichick punted on questions over his decision to not challenge Stephen Davis' sketchy TD; he spun it into a call for a new goal-line cam.

Nick Saban on Ronnie Brown: "I'm not disappointed. I'm not upset. I'm not angry. I'm not tired of Ronnie Brown. I'm not nothing."

Predictably, CFB pollsters didn't penalize USC for poor sportsmanship for running up the score vs. Arkansas (simply to impress Eastern voters?)

NBA pairs teams with D-League franchises, but doesn't answer questions about how D teams will handle PT between competing teams' young players.

NASCAR Road-Rage follow-up: R. Gordon was fined 35K; K. Kahne 25K; both put on probation; and M. Waltrip fined 10K for obscene gesture.

If the Week 2 schedule had the Saints playing the Vikings, the NFL would have had them in Minnesota and come up with a rationale for that, too.



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