Thursday, October 20, 2005
Page 2 Quickie: October 19, 2005
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
Is momentum a myth or reality in postseason baseball?
66 percent of fans believe.
(How many from St. Louis?)
But "Mo" is hindsight-driven: If the Cards win tonight, obviously they still have it; if the Astros win, either it's vanished (or never existed).
"Game 6" in a playoff series is the quintessential "Mo" game:
One team is down 3-2, facing elimination; if the other team loses, it's on to a Game 7, riding a losing streak.
What makes THIS Game 6 even more of a pressure-cooker is the Astros' history: Nothing but chokes and heartbreak.
In fact, if the Cards can come back on the Astros, down 3-1, staring down a lineup of aces Pettitte, Oswalt and Clemens, it would be one of the most stunning comebacks in MLB history.
On the other side, it's not like the Cards don't have their own crushing pressures: If they lose, they'll inherit the Braves' title as MLB's reigning biggest postseason dud.
When fans rewrite today's pre-game predictions with the benefits of tomorrow's hindsight, I think we'll find both teams have so much more to lose than to gain.
Joe Torre Stays
But he thought about leaving: Was it his loyalty to New York? His competitive jones?
Love for the Boss? Perhaps the money?
Whatever the reason, Torre will return as Yankees manager in 2006, which ensures no World Series, but certainly another season's worth of speculation that he's leaving and/or will be fired.
Cashman staying, too? But the GM wants more say in personnel decisions. With the Boss slowing down, this might not be too much to ask for.
Mazzone Watch: Rumors are flying that the pitching coach is finalizing a deal with the Yankees, but the O's want to make their own pitch. (Manager Sam Perlozzo was the best man at Mazzone's wedding.)
NFL QB Notes
Big Ben to start vs. Bengals: Good news for Steelers fans, given that we've now established that not just anybody can line up at QB and lead Pittsburgh to a win.
Joey Harrington defiant: "They will not break me. I'm not going to quit. They will have to drag me out of here."
Alas, Joey: Jeff Garcia is nearly ready to return to practice, and conventional wisdom is that as soon as Garcia can hobble, he'll be starting.
Rattay traded to Bucs: Is he insurance for Chris Simms? Or is he being imported to replace Chris Simms?
Meanwhile: Who, then, is Alex Smith's backup in San Francisco? Ken Dorsey? Wow, the 49ers must really really want to draft Reggie Bush.
Feeley traded to Chargers: He was swapped for another QB, but not Philip Rivers. Instead, the Fins got backup's backup Cleo Lemon. (I'm with you: WHO?)
Feeley being shipped out is notable because Dolphins coach Nick Saban named him the starting QB in the offseason, and he was so brutal he couldn't even hold down THAT job.
Bulger will miss 2 games: That would cover the Saints and Jags at home. Based on the way backup Jaime Martin played on Monday night, that could be two losses. Play rookie QB (and Quickie fave) Ryan Fitzpatrick!
NBA Dress Code Watch
Ban on bling a racial thing? That's what Stephen Jackson says (although after last season, perhaps he has a wee grudge against the league). He thinks the NBA's ban on visible chains, pendants and other jewelry as part of the new dress code is racially motivated.
It's probably closer to sartorially motivated, but the ban on jewelry DOES stand out. Being draped in some gaudy piece isn't like wearing a T-shirt; if you equate expense with taste, those things are often more tasteful than an athlete's entire wardrobe combined.
Prediction: The ban on visible chains is lifted. (I'd say modified, but what: Are you going to have some "maximum size" for a diamond-crusted symbol some guy is wearing?)
Memo to MLS: Yes, Freddy Adu IS worth breaking old-school codes about "no player is bigger than the team."
DC United coach Peter Nowak seems intent on keeping Adu on the bench. Unacceptable. MLS needs its biggest attraction on the field.
If Adu's threatening to leave DC, I'm sure every other MLS team would kill to have him. In a "he goes or I go" scenario, the decision is clear:
The star trumps the coach.
"Harmful": That's what the American Psychological Association called the affect on Native American kids of sports teams that use Native American mascots.
Since I don't see any scientific studies coming from the Redskins, I'm going to trust the opinions of the experts. (Don't hold your breath for changes.)