November 1, 2005
The NBA:
After a wild offseason that saw the rehiring of Phil Jackson, the relocation of Larry Brown and the reformation of the dress code, the new season is here.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Good for you, Theo!

It's not about the money;
it's how he was treated.

(That said, Epstein deserved to be among the highest-paid GMs in baseball, if only as compensation for what he did in 2004.)

How bad must it have been for a lifelong Red Sox fan -- the guy who was the architect of the franchise's first world championship in 86 years -- to quit?

The amazing thing out of Red Sox Nation is the backlash at Larry Lucchino (Theo's erstwhile mentor) and owner John Henry. You can't spin this.

I can't wait to see what team takes advantage of the Sox screw-up to give him the big bucks he deserves and poach him. Dodgers? Phillies? D-Rays?

Heck, I can't wait to see what team fires its current GM simply because Theo is now on the market. He's a once-a-decade catch for a team. Isn't there a team in Chicago looking to break a Sox-style curse?

(If this happened a week ago, I'll bet the Yankees would have snubbed Cashman for Epstein and made Theo an offer to be the highest-paid GM in sports.)

As for the Red Sox, who will replace him? Let me define "no-win situation": Following the guy who brought Sox Nation a title.

Add to that: The next best GM in baseball -- Theo assistant Josh Byrnes -- just left to run the D-Backs. Bad timing for management.

Apparently, Lucchino and Henry want both to lowball and to control. The best fit? I say go "Theo Lite" and call Paul DePodesta.

Meanwhile, I'm not gleeful for Theo; he walked away from his dream job. That must have been excruciating.

But he walked away with his self-respect intact. That makes him a bigger winner than Lucchino or Henry can ever be now that he's gone.

Drive away their best talent?
A guy who is also a huge fan?

Let the Curse of Theo begin.

Steelers Edge Ravens
Give Baltimore credit: The Ravens made the game (and score) a lot more interesting than anyone ever thought they could have. Probably says more about the Steelers, who weren't able to put away from a weakened Balto team. Doesn't make me believe they are any more ready to win the AFC.

Antonio Tarver: Offered role of key villain in "Rocky 6"
Jerry West: No move soon. Signs 2-year ext. with Grizzlies
PGA "Playoff" system: Details could come as early as today
Trent Dilfer: Bray Edwards stumps for backup Charlie Frye
Nebraska: Bill Callahan denies making throat-slash gesture
Tennessee O-coordinator: Sanders axes role for ugly Vols
BCS Easy As ...
...1-2-3: USC-Texas-VA Tech.

But is it so easy? Hardly: The Hokies are behind for now, but if they can beat BCS No. 6 Miami this Saturday, it would be the most impressive win by any of the Big Three -- and earn them a vault over Texas.

Benson Gets Off
If a Saints player had smacked a cameraman, he would have been punished with some Kenny Rogers-style justice.

By not punishing Saints owner Tom Benson, the NFL sends a message that owners are above the rules that regulate league-related conduct.

In a season that has already seen the Vikings' embarrassment, couldn't the NFL have made a statement by giving Benson even a nominal punishment?

NFL Notes
Culpepper Done for '05: How often can you argue that a season-ending knee injury is preferable to playing out the rest of a season?

The biggest question is how it affects him in 2006 and beyond -- and whether he'll even be playing for the Vikings at that point.

Alexander Back in '06? Apparently, the Seahawks are going to wise up (and lock up) the second-best RB in the league.

Here's a case in which fantasy GMs knew a LOT better than their real-life counterparts.

MLB Awards Season
Pujols was rated top player in baseball by Elias, but the most intriguing position ranking was DH, where Travis Hafner was ranked ahead of David Ortiz. (Who's your Papi now?)

(I wish I could say the rankings were for fun, but they are actually used to label each player's class of free agency, to determine a team's draft comp if they go somewhere else. Zzzz...)

NBA '05-'06 Preview
Top Story Lines: Coaches Rule
*Phil returns to L.A.
No Shaq? Big problems.
*Brown hits New York
Enjoy the lottery, Larry.
*Riley's return in Miami?
Watch for early dysfunction.

Quickie Superlative Awards:
Biggest Breakout: D. Howard
Biggest Comeback: T.J. Ford
Most Overrated: Paul Pierce
Most Underrated: N. Krstic
Most "Must-See": Ron Artest
Best Rookie: S. Jasikevicius
Snappiest Dresser: Shaq
Most Valuable: Tim Duncan

Quickie Division Picks:
EAST: Heat, Pacers, Nets
New to p'offs: CLE, MIL, ORL
Replacing: PHI, BOS, WSH
WEST: Spurs, Suns, Nuggets
New to p'offs: None
So you won't see: KG, Kobe
Finals: Spurs over Pistons

Click here to see how I stack up against other analysts from

Larry Lucchino:
The sages on the "Sons of Sam Horn" message board get it: The Red Sox prez may have the leverage with media toadies, but he has lost the fans.
Today on
Quickie: Live!
Page 2 Index
NBA Preview
Preseason NBA MVP
Tim Duncan
Trust the NBA GMs
Will HATE the new guys
LeBron James
More talent around him
Steve Nash
As effective w/o Amare?
Dwight Howard
Soph has breakout year

MLB Hot Stove: Are the Mets eyeing Braves SS Rafael Furcal and Angels C Bengie Molina? GM Omar Minaya apparently works fast! Got to love the rumor mill.

More MLB Awards: Silver Sluggers given out by managers and coaches. 8/9 NLers were first-timers, including D-Lee, Ensberg, Miggy C and Andruw.

(Related question: When will stat community give out its awards, and when will they get the respect accorded awards given out by execs, media?)

Golden St. gives Dunleavy Jr. a 5Y/$44M ext. What a good fall for "Warriors." Team should adopt cachet from movie revival via video game.

More NBA extensions: The Wizards decide they like Caron Butler, give him a 5Y/$40-some-M deal. (Yes, but will they start him?)

NBA Tonight: Champs (Spurs) host wannabe (Nuggets); how will PHX do w/o Amare; first look at new-look Bucks; fans in OK City love this game?

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