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Thursday, September 30, 2004
Page 2 Quickie: September 29, 2004

The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Three ways the new D.C. Expos can succeed:

1. Buy some talent. An ownership group can't lobby for a team, then cheap it up (see: Nets, NJ). Go "Moneyball" crazy, but shade closer to the Red Sox than the A's on the spending spectrum.

2. Live in luxury. Create MLB's most unique stadium: 75 percent luxury boxes (for huge revenue from wealthy lobbies) and only 10,000 "regular" seats (to inflate demand among a fan base of still-TBD interest).

3. Change the name. There's still some cachet left in the "retro" movement, so MLB should pressure the Rangers to give up the rights to "Senators," the only name this team should consider.

(Wild) AL West
In baseball's lone remaining division race (sorry, Giants fans, but at least you've got the wild card), don't worry about paying attention until Friday.

Now that Anaheim and Oakland are tied for first, nothing that happens the next two days will do anything to change the weekend's playoff showdown series between them.

NL Wild Card
Ranking the contenders, now that SF is tied with Chicago for the lead, with Houston a half-game back:

1. Giants: Well, they better win the WC, because trailing L.A. by 3 with 5 to play means the NL West looks just barely out of reach, even with those 3 season-ending games vs. L.A.

2. Astros: With a legacy of postseason problems every bit as sorry as the Cubs -- but with none of the cachet -- Houston has beaten NL standard-bearing St. Louis two straight. Earning it; what's not to like about that?

3. Cubs: With every loss to a team they should be thumping, the Cubs make it harder to root for them. Chicago has the least mo' of the three WC contenders.

Kobe Tattles
Kobe may be playoff-clutch, but under police pressure, he squeals like an extra from "Deliverance."

According to an emerging story about his interview with cops after The Incident, he compared his situation -- favorably -- to Shaq, who Kobe accused of paying off women in "situations like this."

Shaq found out about this last September; still wondering why they seemed to hate each other last season?

NFL Trade Rumor
In a league where trades are as scarce as KC's defense, here's the latest: Bucs holdout WR Keenan McCardell to the Chiefs for doghouse RB Larry "Take the Diapers Off" Johnson. (Hold on: Does McCardell play D?)

Streak Ending!
447 consecutive days. Not counting weekends and a handful of national holidays, that's my Quickie-writing streak, as of Wednesday morning. Not exactly Ripken or Favre, but hey ...

Who would put up with that kind of deviant behavior? The early mornings? The TV addiction? The obsession with awk. abbrev.? That would be devoted Quickie reader Margery, who -- assuming the rally caps work -- I'll marry on Sunday.

So Thu, Fri and Mon, for the first time since -- well, ever -- I leave you in the capable hands of pinch-hitter David Schoenfield. As the Quickie editor, he's the counter-balance to my instant-histrionics. (He'll also guest-host the Morning Quickie, live from 9-10 a.m. ET on SportsNation.)

Next week, left typing ring finger a little heavier, look for the start of a new streak.