October 6, 2005
Tony Graffanino:
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

The Curse of Bellhorn lives.

First IDed in the Quickie when the Red Sox exiled their beleaguered championship 2B in August, the Curse claimed a new victim:

Tony Graffanino, the very player who replaced Bellhorn when he was dumped by the team. Simply irony? Or something more?

Granted, Graffy's ugly error didn't let the tying and winning run score, but the 2B allowed Chicago's rally to live long enough for David Wells' hanging curve to Tad Iguchi, who pounded it, Ortiz-like, for the comeback.

The image was too reminiscent of Buckner in '86 to NOT make Red Sox Nation think twice. ("Buckner?" Wow, did you ever think we'd be able to recycle THAT after Boston's 2004 exorcism?)

If the Red Sox go on to be bounced from the ALDS (though down 0-2, you could argue they have the White Sox exactly where they want them), it's hard to imagine Graffanino could remain in Boston. For now, he's a goat.

So which 2004 Red Sox star will have a "Jeter leadership moment" and claim that '05 imports (and ALDS chokers) Clement, Wells and Graffanino don't have the same championship make-up as the guys from last season?

Guys like...hmm...Bellhorn?

Halos Tie Yanks
If it wasn't for Graffanino's bungle, the most conspicuous error of the night would have belonged to A-Rod.

The, um, "MVP's" error in the 6th combined with C-M Wang's E-1 in the 7th to let the Angels rally to beat the Yankees, 5-3, to earn a home split.

Wait: Weren't A-Rod-for-MVP partisans touting the guy's defense as one key reason he's more valuable than Ortiz? Hey, at least Ortiz isn't in a position to bungle away runs.

Astros Win Game 1
Weren't the Astros the team that was going to whiz through the playoffs on the strength of that "Three Ace" pitching staff?

Jake Peavy: Padres ace not ruling out G4 start. Really?
Morgan Ensberg: 5 RBI after being moved to cleanup spot
Joe Girardi: Marlins get permission to talk w/ Torre aide
Ken Macha: Argued $$$ with A's; now Oakland's EX-manager
Rangers: Cameraman who Kenny Rogers attacked sues team
Peter Forsberg: Flyers debut ruined by Jaromir Jagr (2G)
So what are fans supposed to think when Houston hangs double-digit runs on the Braves in a Game 1 rout in Atlanta?

Start with this: If the Astros offense can even remotely do similar damage the rest of the way, all those predictions of an Astros championship will easily come through.

Today's Games
8 p.m. Astros/Braves: If pedigree counts, there isn't a more star-studded matchup in the NL playoffs than today's sick pairing of Clemens vs. Smoltz.

4 p.m. Padres/Cards: When your team's last, best hope is Pedro Astacio, you know you're in trouble.

NHL Openers
Well, apparently average ticket prices are down 7.5 percent, so that's a start (it should down be so much more). Refs' whistles were up, but for all the new rules, that was to be expected.

And Sidney Crosby earned an assist on his team's only goal in a 5-1 loss. (Get used to that, kid. Hey, he's in good company: The Great One lost in his coaching debut, too)

Vinny T to Start
How bad is it for the Jets? So bad that a 41-year-old who was on his couch two Sundays ago will be starting in Week 5 against the unbeaten Bucs.

So why did Herman Edwards bother keeping Brooks Bollinger on the roster if they were going to yank him after a single (albeit awful) start?

They may insist the move is "win now," but New York might as well call Matt Leinart now and start negotiating for that No. 1 overall draft pick.

Wie Turns Pro
But she's only 15, you say? You'd let your daughter turn pro too, if she could hang with pro men as a tween...

(...Oh, and if Nike and Sony were offering deals worth a reported $10 million a year.)

But as the second most talented, popular and endorsement-friendly golfer in the world (behind Tiger), going pro this early is only what she deserves.

Four Minutes
The story of Roger Bannister breaking of the 4-minute mile is one of the most compelling in sports history (definitely read "The Perfect Mile," by Neal Bascomb). Frank Deford wrote the script for the newest EOE movie, premiering tonight at 7 (ESPN2).

JP Losman
Don't expect Bills fans to gripe now the struggling soph QB has been sat for vet Kelly Holcomb. Support the QB? Only when he's winning. (via Len P).
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
Page 2 Index
Olney on Boston
Rankings MLB SPs
Roger Clemens
All he needs is some runs
John Smoltz
Really, this is must win
Mark Mulder
Why they traded for him
Pedro Astacio
Better than you think
Tim Wakefield
Better be ready for Friday!

Actually, why is it unfair to blame Graffanino? The error was in the 5th; where was the vaunted Red Sox "clutch" hitting the last 4 innings?

So which two starting pitchers are standing between the Red Sox and 2005 oblivion? Spotty Tim Wakefield and even spottier Curt Schilling.

If Ottawa's win is any indication, the shootout will be the best innovation of all the offseason NHL rules changes. No ties? How satisfying!

Normally, news about Mike Martz and heart would be cause for a joke. But he's taking a few days off for a heart infection. Here's to full recovery.

With starting WRs Engram and Jackson doubtful for Sunday, apparently the Seahawks will start Jurevicius and Warrick.

NFL owners will vote today on the Super Bowl in 2010 that was supposed to go to NYC. The contenders are Houston, Atlanta and Miami. Ho-hum.

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