Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Page 2 Quickie: August 23, 2004
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
An Olympic "zero" score was never so
The women of USA Softball were more dominant
than Michael Phelps and more steel-willed than Carly
Patterson and Paul Hamm combined.
No team is supposed to win like this: Throwing blanks
across the board, overpowering all comers en route to
gold. It's almost unfair, if it wasn't so
fascinating to watch.
It's the pitching, stupid: When all you see is
the score line, nothing makes you go "Oh!" like all
those Oh's. When you actually see the hurlers, you
understand why the spectacle makes the sport one of
the most promising "growth" sports in the
So what next? Hype-enhancing tours versus men's
teams? A legit U.S. pro women's league? Can a sport
with appeal based on no scoring
Here's one radical idea: Turn the guys' Home
Run Derby on its head and create a one-on-one
exhibition that showcases the pitchers. (You
wouldn't tune in for a "Jennie Finch vs. Crystl
Bustos" one-on-one showdown? More intriguing than Big
Unit vs. Bonds.)
Team Shutout is so telegenic, for now they
could simply barnstorm, Globetrotters-style,
displaying the must-see skills that have made them the
most entertaining spectacle of the Olympics.
Lithuanian for "schooled?" "Sarunas
Jasekevicius." What should scare the U.S. is that is shot better from the outside against Lithuania than it had all
tournament (except for Stephon Marbury), which was
every jingoistic analyst's excuse, and they still
Heading into this week's knockout medal round (likely
more "knock-out" than "medal"), Larry Brown's PT
pattern and inability to teach the players how to
guard the international 3-pointer remains confounding.
"Fouls to give" is Joe Torre's metaphor
for New York's AL East cushion. Based on the way his
pitching is getting shelled, the "Hack-a-Yankee"
excuse might not be far behind.
Something's foul, all right: New York's
10.5-game cushion on August 15 is merely 5.5 a week
later, because they have lost 6 of 7, while the Red
Sox won six straight.
Recruiting and hookers, the "Reese's
Peanut Butter Cup" of college football: If this
Colorado football indictment came down last spring,
Gary Barnett would be gone; now, it might be too late
for Colorado to fire him.
Rams at Chiefs: The common thread
between tonight's two coaches is not that Martz once
worked under Vermeil; it's that both couldn't have
coached worse when their seasons ended in the playoffs. "Past their primes" comes to mind. (8 p.m.
Meanwhile, what we learned this
Forget Kellen Winslow: The Browns' top impact
player will be RB Lee Suggs (6/63, 2 TD) ...
The Bengals can put up points (and the Pats
will allow them) ...
Tony Romo might be the Cowboys' best win-now
Willis McGahee might think too much of himself,
but he should be starting in Buffalo.
Here's the only question: If Paul Hamm
won the bronze under the same circumstances, does
anyone doubt that he would have gotten a "co-gold"
Don't punish the poor Korean just
because he's not American: He deserves the award he
earned. Hamm (and his fans) should be comfortable
sharing it with him.
Olympic Dope Scandal
As much a part of the Olympic spirit as
the medal ceremony and the theme music ... here comes the
dope-testing-related medal-stripping! First up:
Shot put (Russian women) and weightlifting (Greek
men) ... because you'd never suspect cheating in
Today's question is inspired by today's
take by Caple about shifting landscape of Olympic
rooting interests. But the question is a little more
Even in just a small sick way, are you
rooting against the U.S. hoops team? With the
understanding that no one is watching how you vote, be
(By the way, it will be stunning if the
"Yes"/"Sort of" number even breaks the one or two
percent mark, so check back.)