Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Page 2 Quickie: August 9, 2004
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
Still waiting to be "ready for some
Olympics" (that'll come Friday). But "ready for some
"Preseason opener" is a passion-numbing phrase in any
sport... except the NFL. And considering tonight's
game (8 p.m., ABC) is Joe Gibbs' return to the
sidelines, that makes it particularly
There's a lot of whining that the preseason is
too long -- that games are meaningless. Let boredom
and griping come three weeks from now: For tonight?
You want it, you need it, you have to have it.
HOF: Elway, Sanders
Like many fans, I don't see sports
history too far beyond the ESPN25 Era. That's why I'll
argue that we won't see a Pro Football Hall of Fame
class much more studly than yesterday's:
John Elway: Era's best QB
Barry Sanders: Era's best RB
(Uh, who were the other two?)
It's a barstool debate that could last for
weeks: Was Elway a better "pure" passer than Marino?
More "clutch" than Montana? Elways rules precisely
because he's in the argument in seemingly every
Meanwhile: Think about how crappy most of
Sanders' Lions teams were, how D's were fully drawn up
to stop him -- and they still couldn't. That mitigates
the "never won big" argument against ultimate
It's so hard to defend the Dodgers'
Penny deal as the trade deadline's best when Sunday
the guy strains his bicep 14 pitches into his second
start with the team.
(Not that they need him to win NL West; because they
can win the division even without him, critics
will use that to say the trade was
But file this away: Rest him, Paul D. Healthy
for the playoffs, Penny will be a monster.)
Taking his... ounce of flesh:
Ricky Williams might be a little free-spirited, but
Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga is anything but. He
reportedly wants a refund on the $5 million of
incentive cash he paid Ricky over the last two
Now that money was for performances rendered,
not pending, but you "keeper league" fantasy owners
who have Ricky can sympathize with Huizenga's
Today's spin: Athens rules!
Note how all the coverage today from reporters and
columnists descending on Athens is that things are
coming together within the once-mocked
That signals either brilliant expectations management
by the host city (which I can't possibly buy) -- or
the fact that the city got its act together in the
But let's track the spin up through the Games' opening
Friday, when event logistics actually have to start
USA Hoops: Barely
Sure, they beat Serbia Friday, but
Serbia is the new U.S. (over-estimated and believing
their own hype).
A better gauge? The way the U.S. nearly blew a
double-digit lead to lightweight Turkey on Sunday,
having to re-insert the starters to finish the job
that LeBron and the subs couldn't.
Payton to Celtics
Last word: Sure, it makes the Celtics
better, but more than that, it's a classic example of
the "Theirs/Mine" Exception to the Fairweather-Fan
When the player is on "their" team, he's a mockery; as
soon as he's traded to "your" team, suddenly flaws are
fixable and upside looks sunnier.
All is good... until the fans find out that,
yes, he really has lost it.