September 27, 2005
Anaheim, Los Angeles, whatever: With a 4-3 win at Oakland, the Halos extend their division lead to 5 (magic no: 2). This AL West race is as good as over.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Wouldn't it be ironic if the same Mother Nature, who seemingly sided with Boston last year at the ALCS, turned her back on the Red Sox this year?

Yesterday's rainout forced the Red Sox into a day-night doubleheader today that throws their rotation off for the de facto playoff series with the Yankees coming up this weekend.

Instead of the epic Johnson-Schilling on Saturday, now it's Unit vs. Wakefield, with Schilling pitching Sunday vs. Mussina. Let's hope the Red Sox are still alive for it to mean something.

Meanwhile, the Yankees waited out the rain in Baltimore to deliver an 11-3 pounding that inched them ahead of Boston by a half-game.

(And New York is only 2 GB Chicago for the best record in the AL. Could the Yankees go from dead to home-field advantage?)

AL Central: The idle Indians managed to move up a half-game to 2 GB Chicago after the Sox blew a game at Detroit. Three more games until their de facto playoff.

Is this the most exciting final week of the regular season in baseball history?

Given the Boston-NY drama and the possibility of a White Sox collapse in a head-to-head final series with their rival, it sure lines up that way.

CFB: Vols Stun LSU
My "Who's NOT No. 1" list gets a new addition, with the Tigers joining the group of losers who have effectively seen their national-title hopes end with a defeat.

Makes all those fools who voted them No. 4 on this week's ranking (on the basis of a single win, over AZ St) look even more preposterous.

Meanwhile, I'd be impressed with Tennessee's grit in coming back from 21 points down ... if the Vols weren't already off my radar after their loss last week at Florida.

NL Sub-.500 Watch
I don't understand fans who think the Padres winning the NL West with a sub-.500 is some type of disgrace.

How can you NOT be rooting for it?

This is something that's never been done in MLB history. That type of novelty should be encouraged.

They moved one step closer last night, literally and metaphorically dropping to 77-79 with 6 games to play.

Rick Clausen: TD throw/run for Vols QB, leads UT comeback
D. Haren: A's young star gets 4Y/$12.65M deal extension
Charlie Weis: Story about kid and play-call is tear-jerker
David Akers: Sunday's hammy hero unlikely to play Week 4
Andray Blatche: Shot in chest Sun in attempted carjacking
New Harris CFB "Human" poll: As big of a farce as expected
Probably more worrisome to Padres fans, they're only 3 games ahead of the Giants, and the two teams play three more times.

Marlins' McKeon Done?
Jack McKeon's "grandpa" approach won him admirers during the Marlins' wild ride to the 2003 title. But the act is getting tired.

Angry A.J. Burnett may be biased, but his tirade Sunday (see Monday's DQ Odds and Ends) was a shot at the Florida skipper's management style.

He's now been booted off the team. Young star Miguel Cabrera was benched for Monday's game for violating team rules.

Spring contenders, the Marlins underachieved under McKeon, whose style was chafing. And he's as good as gone. 2003 feels like a long time ago.

MLB 'Roid Plan
Make no mistake: The biggest detail of the union's approved proposal is more rigorous amphetamine testing.

For a half-century, this epidemic has been far more widely reaching than 'roids. And where 'roids simply build muscle, uppers could help reaction time.

That's my biggest problem with folks who jeer the Roid Era (1994-2004); every era has had its own performance enhancer.

If greenies are now verboten, will purists ask for asterisks next to the players from the 50s, 60s and 70s?

It's unclear what the penalty will be. The same modified 20-game suspension? MLB may want 50 for first-offenders, but I think 20 has some teeth.

MNF: DEN 30, KC 10
The Chiefs managed to answer the question about whether their fast start to 2005 is legit: It isn't.

Their D looked like 2004; their offense was stymied by the ex-Browns on Denver's D-line; and they beat themselves with penalties (118 yards).

I know, I know: KC has always had trouble in Denver, but just within the AFC, I'd rank the Chiefs behind the Bengals, Pats, Colts, Jags and Steelers.

How can KC redeem themselves as contenders? A win at home next week over the Eagles would be a start.

Pats: Extra :52?
And you thought the only clock mismanagement in the Pats-Steelers game came from Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher, who left Tom Brady enough time to drive perfectly for the game-winning score.

Apparently, the refs screwed up, too, creating an extra 52 seconds early in the 4th quarter on a timing snafu. That still doesn't excuse the Steelers' soft D in the game's last minute.

Chad Pennington:
Jets QB done for the season with a re-injury to his shoulder. Consider the Jets' season done, too. Brooks Bollinger? (Wait: Is that his porn-star name?)
Today on
Quickie: Live!
Page 2 Critics
Forde on Vols
CFB Top 5
Benefits from schedule
Two weeks 'til Oklahoma
VA Tech
This year's Auburn?
At Bama: Toughest of 05
Michigan St.
Bandwagon pick? You bet!

NL Wild Card: The Phillies managed to lose to the Mets, dropping 1.5 GB the Astros. Best hope is that the Astros lose a few in St. Louis.

NL Cy Young Watch: Dontrelle Willis looks to extend his MLB-best win total to 23 in an otherwise meaningless game between the Marlins and Nats.

Greg Maddux "15": With 13 Ws, Maddux is in a "must-win" in a face-off with Pirates rookie sensation Zach Duke. Here's hoping the Cubs help him.

Barry Bonds' knee-tweak yesterday becomes all the more huge after he said that if he needed more surgery, he'd simply quit playing.

Jimmy Rollins extending his hit streak to 31 games isn't much solace for Phillies fans watching the team blow its chance to win the Wild Card.

CFB on TV: Toledo at Fresno St. Intriguing matchup of future NFL QBs: Toledo's Bruce Gradkowski and Fresno's Paul Pinegar. (9, ESPN2)

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