September 21, 2005
2005 WNBA champion
Sacramento Monarchs:

At least one pro basketball team in Sacto is able to break through the wall and win a title. (MVP Yolanda Griffith: Gotta love the "Yo" shorthand.)
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
CHOKE.  THIS.

If the White Sox hang on for the AL Central title, they can point to Joe Crede's walk-off HR last night as the turning point.

But the bigger impact is that we can even resume using the word "if" to describe Chicago's chances of winning the division.

Wasn't it a foregone conclusion (say, yesterday) that the White Sox were done? Finished? Chokers on an epic scale?

With a dozen games to play, 3.5 games is a canyon compared to 1.5. More than that, the ChiSox snap the Indians' W streak at 6.

Chicago doesn't have to stop Cleveland's momentum outright, only slow it down long enough to squeeze into the playoffs.

(That's right: Playoffs. Let's face it: There's too much emphasis on winning the Central, when winning the Wild Card is good enough.

Mentally, it would seem a lot easier for the White Sox to fend off Boston (3.5 GB) or NY (4 GB) for the Wild Card than Cleveland.

But the fact that fans can even talk about the White Sox being back in it shows the outsized psychological impact of Crede's game-winner.

MLB Wrap
Red Sox: If Boston feeling pressure from NY means a 15-run whomping (including 2 more HR by Ortiz), then Boston has no worries.

Yankees: Who cares if Sheffield can barely move? He's still almost Ortiz-ish with the bat (slam, 6 RBI). NYY wins to keep pace with BOS.

Angels: Bartolo Colon won his 20th with a gem in a 2-1 Angels W over the Rangers; if the Angels hang on, give him the AL Cy Young.

A's And just off the radar, Oakland is keeping up the race pace in the West, thumping the Twins to stay 1.5 GB the Angels.

NL Wild Card: HOU beat PIT, up 2 on PHI (who lost to ATL). FLA? Don't ask: Lost to NYM 3-2 in 12 to fall 3 GB. Astros zeroing in....

Wie Turning Pro
End of September, reportedly. How can anyone question this move? Why should she play for free, or with restrictions of amateurs?

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Manny Ramirez: Who's your Papi? Manny hits 2 HR of his own
Mike Mussina: Ready to return as Yankees starter tomorrow
NFL's MNF Katrina telethon: Raises $5 million in donations
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Donovin Darius: Jags DB will miss rest of season (knee)
Brian Roberts: One-time '05 MLB sensation dislocates elbow
Nats: Religion in clubhouse turns into major p.r. fiasco
 
She's the second-most endorsement-friendly player in all of golf, behind Tiger (who turned pro early, too).

Come October, she's probably the biggest endorsement draw of any female athlete *anywhere.* The bigger question is: How could she NOT go pro?

Hopefully, this will spark more age-limit debate about the double-standard between sports that are, let's say, urbane versus urban.

I'm against the hypocrisy of age limits in major pro sports, so I say: Good for her, and bring on the argument!

Mr. Bonds Goes To...
If only Barry Bonds had a p.r. sense as good as his batting eye. Instead, he'll make no new friends trying to play the Katrina card after being asked by reporters in D.C. about Congress' interest in 'roids:

"There are other issues a lot more serious, and you guys should direct your attention toward taking care of that. Ask yourselves how much you've donated to Katrina. Everybody should be pointing the fingers at themselves."

Meanwhile, you just know that all those D.C. boo-birds were thrilled when Barry clocked that 460-foot HR into the right-field upper-deck. That's 3 HR in 19 at-bats, for those scoring at home.

Saints NYC Post-Script
Quote of the Day, from Saints coach Jim Haslett, on the NFL's decision to put the Saints in New York for its "home" opener:

"They could have done that anywhere... To play it in Giants Stadium, to give them another home game and to put us in a situation where we couldn't hear ... It wasn't why we lost that game, but..."

Go ahead and say it, Jim. You know you want to: If the game was played anywhere but the Meadowlands, the Saints could-should-would have won.

Quickie Book Club
"Mind Game": The gang over at Baseball Prospectus breaks down how the Red Sox won the World Series in their own unique way: By debunking most of the mangled, qualitative "wisdom" that most "experts" spout. Sure, it's a little wonky, but even non-quant (and non-BoSox) fans will really enjoy it.

San Diego Padres:
Regress to .500 in style, giving up 20 runs to the Rockies. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your future 2005 NL West champs!
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
P2: Small-Ball
Stark on ChiSox
 
Ranking 2-0 NFL Teams
Steelers
But who have they played?
 
Bengals
This year's Chargers?
 
Chiefs/Colts
Seem to have found D
 
Bucs
Believe in the Caddy
 
Giants/Redskins
Eagles looming large
 

More Nats news: MLB put a $450 million price tag on the team. Yes, but is there a "Buy It Now!" option?

Where should the Sugar Bowl be played? If the choices are Baton Rouge or Atlanta, my vote is for B.R. Let's keep any economic gain in-state.

NCAA Mascot Ban: Extends it to bowl games, but it only affects Illinois in D1. (Florida State, Central Michigan and Utah got exemptions.)

Reserving judgment on NHL's new ad campaign ("My NHL") until I see the new commercials. But readers know I favor self-deprecation over rah-rah.

"Be a Saint": Kudos to Reebok for quickly turning around a well-intentioned (and clever) Katrina charity program, as seen on MNF. I got my shirt.

Dancing with the Stars update: After last night's Dance-Off, will John O'Hurley win the all-fan vote to take the title from Kelly Monaco?

Tonight's Must-See: Quickie Heisman fave Omar Jacobs and Bowling Green vs. Boise St. Offensive game of the year?



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