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Thursday, October 16, 2003
Updated: October 20, 11:51 AM ET
Page 2 Quickie: Oct. 15, 2003

The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

He will forever be known as "That Fan," short for "That Fan Who [Nearly/Totally (TBD)] Cost The Cubs The World Series".

That Fan is an obvious (and worthy) scapegoat, but let's spread the responsibility around: Dusty, Gonzalez, the radio announcers, Prior, Farnsworth, Derrek Lee, the headset manufacturer, Pudge, Beckett, the masses on Waveland, Dick Jauron, Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson, the fans sitting around That Fan, Paris Hilton, Bernie Mac, Harry Carey's ghost, the media.

Whether the city has a complete meltdown depends on how Game 7 plays out tonight (understanding that Kerry Wood is as hot as they come right now, but on the flip side, so was Prior):

If the Cubs win:
All is forgiven ...

If they lose:
Yikes ....

Gonzalez: New Buckner?
Lost under the "That Fan" pile-on is Alex Gonzalez's Bobble -- this generation's Leon Durham moment, improbably from a shortstop who led the NL in fielding percentage.

What irony in his trendy name-shortening: "A-Gon." Because his error? Pure "AGony."

Rally-kindling instead of rally-killing: The Bobble doesn't quite rise to the mythic level of Buckner-esque proportions, but That Fan was merely guilty of amateurish behavior; what's the pro's excuse?

ALCS: Almost Over
With success built on the contradiction of SABR and sentimentality, the Red Sox believe they can win when Tim Wakefield pitches. (Problem is, the Yankees feel the same way about Game 6 starter Andy Pettitte.)

Makes perfect sense, then, to start the unreliable John Burkett. If Wakefield and his indefatigable arm feel up to it, Boston has to get him in the game (here's a hint: before Burkett blows it).

Kobe Watch
Check out this quote last night from Shaq about healing his heel: "I want to be right for Derek, Karl and Gary." That's what's known as a glaring omission. Hmm: Kobe can't be a distraction to the team if he's ignored completely.

Meanwhile: Kobe's D may or may not take another attempt at last week's now-infamous "three-point play" as his preliminary hearing resumes today. Considering the backlash, the D would be wise to get this process over with as fast as possible.

Coaches Who Care?
Any college hoops coach who doesn't attend the mandatory all-hands "emergency" meeting in Chicago today on the epidemic of ethical lapses will -- gasp! -- lose their Final Four tickets. First item on the agenda: "Toothless Penalties."

Other agenda items:
* Will That Be Cash? Tax implications of your sneaker-company payoff.
* Natty Light No-No: Partying at the frats ...with class.
* Text This! Understanding new technologies in illegal recruiting.

"New BCS" Ideas
The producers of "BCS!" will be also be in Chicago today, hard at work ton "BCS II: Electric Bugaloo." Debunking the various suggestions:

Playoff: Like "Voldemort"; don't even say it.

Title game after bowls: So last year Ohio State re-plays Miami?

Include more schools: Sure, when the check clears.

Let fans decide: Aha, there's the best plan.

Anna K's Retirement
Who actually has aspirations of being a professional awards presenter? "And the award for 'Widest Ratio Between Monumental Hype and Actual Athletic Success' goes to ..."