August 25, 2006
Columbus, Georgia:
Advances to LLWS U.S. title game vs. Beaverton (OR) on Saturday. Winner plays Japan-Mexico winner on Sunday for the be-all-end-all title. No pressure, though.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
INVINCIBLE.  FANS.

Thursday's Quickie led with what might have been perceived as a backhanded compliment for Philly sports fans (or a compliment delivered with the back of my hand).

(Using descriptions like "miserable" and "self-loathing" -- even if accurate -- probably didn't help.)

Yet the response from fans wasn't nearly as virulent (or violent) as I expected. Maybe all the positive attention for Philly sports from "Invincible" opening today softened them up.

But let's face it: Philly sports fans don't play the "dominance" role well.

(The Eagles going to SB 39? Please. The regular season was a fun run, but by the end of the Super Bowl, it was remembered as just another in a string of depressing Philly chokeries.)

But as an underdog? Awesome: Vince Papale, 'Nova '85, even "Rocky." It's the role Philly sports fans were made to play.

I think that's why it's so easy to root for these Phillies in the 2006 MLB postseason race: Even three weeks ago, they weren't expected to be contending.

Regional fan bases have distinct personalities: New York fans are arrogant; Boston fans are self-involved; L.A. fans are fair-weather; Cleveland fans are resigned.

As for Philly sports fans? There's a specific lesson that traces from "Invincible" in '76 through these Phillies 30 years later:

They are at their best as scrappy underdogs; they are at their worst with high expectations. (Spanning that spectrum is what made T.O.'s relationship with Philly such an operatic story.)

Stick with the "overachievement" meme, Philly fans. It makes your bitter attitude charming rather than repulsive.

MLB: Wild '06
NL! Reds reap rewards. Cincy is nearly ineligible for the "Wild-Card Watch," having moved into a virtual tie for 1st in the Central with the Cards, who were swept in NYC.

The Reds have won 5 of 6 but don't play the Cards again. That's not such a bad thing given their remaining schedule: Of 34 games remaining, only 9 are against playoff contenders.

(That includes 6 in a row against the Dodgers and Padres at the back end of a 10-game West Coast road trip that started Thursday night with a W in San Francisco. After Labor Day? The division is there for the taking.)

AL! ChiSox: Fryer to fire. After earning a four-game split with the Tigers in Detroit, Chicago hosts a 3-game series with the Twins, just a half-game up on Minnesota for the AL wild card.

No Thome? The White Sox likely won't have team MVP/DH Jim Thome, who is expected to miss the series with a tweaked hammy. Of course, that didn't stop the Sox from hanging 10 runs on the Tigers on Thursday.

So, yes, it's a huge series, but not that huge: The Twins host the White Sox for the final 3 games of the season. (Now THAT will be huge.)

MLB Hit List
Don't use David Ortiz's trip to the hospital last weekend as an excuse to question his heart. In the 5 games after the trip, Papi has hit 3 HRs in 19 AB, including his MLB-leading 46th Thursday night (a solo shot) as the Red Sox defeated the Angels 2-1.

Ohka is OK: Attention NL RHPs! If you turn around and bat lefty for the first time in your career, like Milwaukee's Tomo Ohka, do NOT expect to similarly collect 4 RBI, in the weirdest stat twist of the season.

Bonds collector selling: Jeff Kranz might earn kudos for selling his extensive Bonds memorabilia in disgust, but any collector will tell you he's a fool to sell when the Bonds market is rock bottom.

NFL Weekend
Biggest story line isn't even until Monday: Carson Palmer's (self-)confirmed return from rehabbing his injured knee. Others:

ARI-CHI: Let's just put Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson into the Octagon and end the Bears' RB debate ... for good.

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Jerry Rice: Signs 1-day deal to officially retire as 49er
Lindsay Davenport: Beats No. 1 Mauresmo at Pilot Pen
Cheryl Ford: Sets WNBA postseason rebound record (23)
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Ashley Lelie: Must pay Broncos $982K for holdout/trade
Chase for the Cup: No changes to NASCAR's '07 sked
LaTasha Jenkins: Another Graham runner tests poz for PEDs
 
BAL-MIN: Too bad "life experience" isn't a fantasy football category, because QBs Steve McNair and Brad Johnson have more than 70 years between 'em.

NYG-NYJ: Coach Tom Coughlin makes Mike Nolan look demure. Wonder what Kevan Barlow would have to say about that?

PIT-PHI: Willie Parker will get the goal-line carries for the Steelers; if only the Eagles had that kind of clarity.

DET-OAK: I'd like to see the mash-up between Mike Martz and Aaron Brooks Randy Moss.

CLE-BUF: If J.P. Losman is the answer, I don't want to know what the question is. (Wait, here you go: Who's drafting Brady Quinn in '07?)

IND-NO: Allow me to fantasize for one minute: What if Reggie Bush replaced Edgerrin James in Peyton Manning's offense?

SF-DAL: Wonder how it feels to be on the Cowboys, and all you hear about is "T.O." (DNP for weekend. D'oh!)

ATL-TEN: Over/under on the number of weekend comments I can find using Google comparing Michael Vick and Vince Young? 50.

WSH-NE: What will coach Janky Spanky have to say about how new RB T.J. Duckett is deployed?

TB-JAX: It doesn't bother Byron Leftwich that some JAX fans are haters; Chris Simms just wants to inspire any reaction at all.

STL-KC: One more sorry offensive performance from the Chiefs will have Herman Edwards on the hot seat before Week 1 even gets here.

SEA-SD: With two of fantasy football's "Big 3" in play, millions of FFL GMs follow breathlessly for reports of freak injuries.

HOU-DEN: Mario Williams is one more top-10 pick that Broncos QB Jay Cutler can overshadow.

CFB '06: Forde on UF
Pat Forde analyzed Florida as part of ESPN.com's preview of the SEC, and it's worth your read, even if you're not a Gators nut like I am.

On a quasi-related note, Urban Meyer said something at the SEC Media Day that still has me fascinated.

He's obsessed with recruiting speed, because he equates it with big plays. He said he had some "NFL friends"* sift data to clarify his fetish.

A team with no "big plays" (say, 15-plus yards) on a drive scores 1/10 times. Just a single "big play" on a drive increases the chance of scoring to 50 percent. Two big plays jacks that chance of scoring to 80 percent.

Wow. Simply put: Speed kills.

Here's how I net out with UF: The '06 schedule is brutal (Feldman calls it CFB's nastiest). Actually, it can only get easier, so I'm calling it now: Behind Tim Tebow, the Gators will win the BCS title ... in '08.

'06? "Only" SEC East champs.

* -- Could "NFL friends" have been someone from Team Belichick? The Pats' coach and Meyer are mutual admirers. Would that give Meyer's speed jones more cred?

Plutocracy Now
The expulsion of Pluto as an official "planet" in our solar system -- and its accompanying frenzy -- inspired me to pick out the teams worth banishing from their respective leagues:

MLB: Royals
NBA: Knicks
NFL: 49ers
NHL: Blues
CFB: Duke
CBB: Kelvin Sampson

Emmy Picks
Are you ready for your pool?

Comedy Series
Should win: Arrested Dev.
Will win: The Office

Dramatic Series
Should win: 24
Will win: Grey's Anatomy

Actor, Comedy
Should win: Steve Carell
Will win: Carell

Actress, Comedy
Should win: Lisa Kudrow
Will win:
Debra Messing

Actor, Drama
Should win: Denis Leary
Will win: Martin Sheen

Actress, Drama
Should win: Kyra Sedgwick
Will win:
Sedgwick

Quickie Closure
The final edition (ever) of the Daily Quickie will run on 8/31. Leading up, I'm highlighting some superlatives.

03/14/05: Best Interactivity

For March Madness in '05, I set up a Tournament Challenge group ("Daily Quickie Readers") that drew more than 6,000 entrants, making it one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) individual office pool in the country.

In 2006, it got even BIGGER: More than 10,500 readers joined in, and I have yet to hear of a larger single office pool ... ever?

The overwhelming Tournament Challenge participation by Quickie readers was definitely one of my favorite highlights of the column's history.

Only 4 new editions left!
Click here to react.

Speaking of reader pools ...

Quickie Pick 'Em
Just because the Daily Quickie is ending doesn't mean readers can't compete against each other in football "pick-'em" games.

Use the links below to join. As usual, search for (and enter with) group name "Daily Quickie Readers" (no password needed). Spread the word!

Pigskin Pick 'Em
College Pick 'Em
The Eliminator Challenge


Albert Belle:
Sentenced to 3 months in jail for stalking his ex-girlfriend. Room him with Lonny Baxter in the pokey and let the reality-TV cameras roll.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
Page 2 Index
Snakes everywhere!
 
More Emmy Picks
Supp. Actor, Comedy
Jeremy Piven in a romp
 
Supp. Actress, Comedy
Liz Perkins for "Weeds"
 
Supp. Actor, Drama
Alan Alda for "West Wing"
 
Supp. Actress, Drama
Sandra Oh for "Grey's"
 
Reality Series
Gotta be "Idol"
 

USA Hoops: What? You haven't started your office pool for the World Championships now that it's down to a 16-team bracket?

It doesn't take an NFL genius to see that the Panthers should give rookie RB DeAngelo Williams more touches (94-yard KO return for a TD).

USA Football will name Mississippi as the nation's top football state. Too bad Mississippi couldn't focus a little more on, say, schools.

Justin Gatlin won't have his world record in the 100m taken away until after his appeal is heard, but does it have any value at all anymore? (No.)

Nice to see Kansas DT Eric Butler suing the NCAA for his eligibility after being denied for taking a season off to care for his newborn.

This is probably TMI, but Tiger and Elin celebrated his PGA win with a new puppy, a labradoodle named "Yogi," to go with their collie, "Taz."

This is it: The final "Friday" edition ever of the Daily Quickie.



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