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Thursday, September 2, 2004
Page 2 Quickie: September 1, 2004

The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
22.  0.

Line score worth 1,000 words:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R
CLE 3 3 3 0 6 1 0 0 6 22
NYY 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

3.5 (Red Sox games behind) would have been the most important number of the day, but it's hard to trump 22-0. The superlatives are flying:

Worst Yankees loss ever
Biggest MLB shutout since 1900
Best reason to believe Boston just might catch New York.

That kind of score is a "we-give-up-on-the-season" score. Yankee fans might try to spin it as "kindling-under-keister," but the rest of us know it's symptomatic of a season-long lethargy, one that has been hidden by the previously large AL East lead.

A week or so ago, Joe Torre used the analogy of "fouls to give" to calm the hysterics (say, his Boss) who were watching the once 10-game lead precipitously drop.

Don't think this was the kind of "foul" he was talking about.

Schilling: 17 Wins
Put him in the lead for AL Cy Young. With last night's MLB-leading 17th W, he finished August with a 4-1 record as the lead EMT of Boston's big month. His season has to end leading the Red Sox to a playoff spot, but delivering on high expectations -- the toughest thing to do in all of sports -- should be rewarded.

Watching "The WC": Boston pulled 2.5 games ahead of Anaheim (and 4 over Texas).

Ichiro's Hit Run
This is sick: You must start following it, because Ichiro's attempt to reach the single-season hit total is even more rare than the recent attacks on the single-season HR record.

Can you say "Live Look-In?" 3 hits Tuesday; 56 in August, the most by an MLB player in 68 years. The countdown is on: Ichiro has 212 hits, needing 45 hits in September to break George Sisler's 84-year record.

Welcome Back, Deion!
From Ma$e to Prime Time, this fall's all about the comeback. Sanders' official introduction today will have all the sartorial

splendor of Serena and all the quotability of Barkley at his best.

For example, from yesterday's impromptu interview, a smattering of Quotable Prime Time:

"I'm not here to kick it, I'm here to win."

"The fact that I'm back allows you to know that I never really left."

On his reported 4.38 40 time: "[My trainer] might've gotten it slow; that was after workouts."

Welcome back, welcome back, wel-come baaack!

Pennington's New Deal
In New York terms, what's a few dollars (even, say, $9 mil or so a year), compared to locking Chad up for six or seven years?

That's not just QB stability; Chad will easily be one of the Top 5 QBs in the NFL for more than half of the contract length (already Top 5 in the AFC).

CFB Preview, Day 3
Today: Over-/Underrated Teams

Top 5 Overrated:
1. Georgia (No. 4 ESPN, 3 AP)
Sure: Right up until FLA game
2. Cal (15 ESPN, 13 AP)
Build on SIX '03 Ls? Wake up
3. Auburn (18 ESPN, 17 AP)
Didn't bite in '03, either
4. Utah (21 ESPN, 20 AP)
Show me the schedule!
5. Nebraska (26 ESPN, 27 AP)
Pass-first transition? Ugly.

Top 5 Underrated:
1. Virginia (19 ESPN, 16 AP)
Even in that loaded new ACC
2. Toledo (35 ESPN, 32 AP)
This year's TCU, N. Illinois?
3. Purdue (23 ESPN, 24 AP)
Might sneak up on B10 title
4. Bost Coll (48 ESPN, 39 AP)
Needs huge year to impress ACC
5. Vandy (NR ESPN, NR AP)
Does .500 season count?

5 That Are Just About Right:
USC (1,1); West Virginia (11, 10); Wisconsin (22, 21); Boise St (28, 30); Notre Dame (NR, NR).

Thursday: Bandwagons

Best Seasons Ever
I was wondering where my editor David Schoenfield was hiding this week. It turns out Dave was compiling one of the great lists of the year on The Top 100 Best Individual Seasons of the ESPN Era, today's By-Far-Must-Read (see Q It Up).

Debate fodder? He has me convinced about his No. 1 (Bonds in 2001), but you might disagree. The best part is the way he heavily weighted postseason success.