July 7, 2003
29 first-time
MLB All-Stars:

Newbies (14 AL, 15 NL) will be a much-needed injection of star-making for a game usually far too dependent on undeserving "rep" players.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
FREE.  KOBE!?

Early spin on this Kobe Bryant story proves that his previously ripple-less off-court profile translates into what the Quickie calls "Kobenefit of the doubt."

Consider how this would be playing if he played for the Blazers or was nicknamed "AI." Instead, the only rush to judgment is "Couldn't be!"

For now, his legal snafu is a "perception" story only. Kobe's manicured public image has already shown signals of correlation to personal credibility; less important -- but worth tracking -- will be any correlation between this story's perception and his consumer credibility.

All-Stunned
And critics complain about fan voting? Rookie-hating NL players and favorites-playing NL manager Dusty Baker snubbed Marlins pitching phenom (and national sensation) Dontrelle Willis from the NL All-Star roster. That's bad enough.

But the most baffling (and typical MLB) travesty is that MLB left Willis -- who more than doubles Marlins ticket sales when he pitches ... the Marlins!!! -- off the fans' "32nd All-Star" ballot (open through Wed.), the goal of which has apparently changed from "right the wrongs!" to "add insult to injury!"

Instead, the MLB geniuses opted to include uninspiring hitters only as 32nd man choices, rather than "best player available."

Kidd Watch
Can you blame him? Rising star Tony Parker wants out of San Antonio if the Spurs import Jason Kidd, the NY Times reports. The Spurs, though, would get huge trade value for Parker (who apparently doesn't understand that his success is largely thanks to Tim Duncan).

Lakers Dream
Do they read the Quickie? If the suddenly ring-conscious Karl Malone and Gary Payton join the

"NULL-STAR SOSA LEARNS KARMA IS A BOOMERANG"
THE SET-UP: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND
1 Women's U.S. Open: 3-way, Annika-free, 18-hole playoff
2 Red Sox at Yankees: See two snubbed Stars (Pedro, Moose) 3 Vote for MLB "32nd" All-Star (Write in Dontrelle!)
THE SIT-DOWN: DROP THESE FROM YOUR HOT LIST
1 Piniella's blond look: From "Lou 'Do" to "Lou, Don't!"
2 Michelle Wie's daddy caddy: He wisely stepped aside
3 T'wolves 'big' summer move: Juwan Howard? No chills here
 
Lakers together on the cheap, L.A. would have the best foursome to ever take the court in the same lineup.

Payton's other choices: Blazers and Heat, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein. Those two teams indicate that Payton may not be completely interested in playing for a title contender.

Golf Notes
LPGA Teen Watch: While watching the U.S. Women's Open from the Wie Bandwagon, who knew that the 18-year-old Song Sisters (particularly Aree, who finished fifth) would end the weekend as the sensation? The LPGA needs a teen exhibition ASAP.

And on men's side: Think Tiger's ready for the British Open? He won the Western (yet again), posting a ridiculous 21-under.

Wimby Wrap-up
"Venus vs. Serena" has lost something, mainly because Serena doesn't seem nearly as intent on destroying her opponent when it's her sister as when it's a non-sibling rival like Kim Clijsters.

More All-Star
* The Pirates' RP Mike Williams is quite possibly the least qualified All-Star reserve ever ...

* If Atlanta has such apathetic fans, how do they land three starters? ...

* Think relievers are overrated? They make up half the AL pitchers, leaving a bunch of great starters at home ...

* Has there ever been a more appropriate solo rep than Armando Benitez for the Mets? ...

* Albert Pujols overtaking Sammy Sosa for the third NL starting OF spot proves that we fans actually know what we're doing.

Mizzou PG
Ricky Clemons:

Don't know what's worse: That he was injured riding an ATV (learn *nothing* from Jay Williams?), or that he did it at the university president's house.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
P2: Pac Bell ratings
MLB: All-Star controversy
TEN: Wimbledon
 
"Barry White" Edition
Can't Get Enough
Seven Atlanta All-Stars?
 
Ecstasy
Japanese fans love Matsui
 
First, Last, Everything
Managers still rule picks
 
Staying Power
Jeter, Tejada didn't have it
 
Just a Little More
Vote for 32nd A-S player
 

If Roger Federer was American, he'd be a sensation. But he's not, so wake me when Roddick makes a Slam final ...

Could it actually be that NASCAR's best hope to end the "Axis of DEI-vil" is a rookie named Biffle? ...

Forget Lance: Isn't the real miracle of the Tour de France that rack-ups like yesterday's don't happen every day? ...

Lacking the crystallizing visual of Sosa's corked bat, the Kobe story won't likely explode as intensely, but will linger longer ...


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