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Monday, October 24, 2005
Page 2 Quickie: October 21, 2005

The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

"1917 is the new 1918."

Three weeks ago, I dubbed that baseball's slogan of the year. The best thing to happen to the sport is for the White Sox to fulfill that promise and win the World Series, which they will in 6 games.

That's not an easy call. Last year, everyone knew the Red Sox would complete their destiny (well, everyone except me).

This year, what can you make of TWO teams, both with legitimate claims to the type of novelty that makes any championship prediction easier:

The White Sox have "1917."
The Astros have "19-Never."

But there was something about the way Chicago dispatched the Red Sox -- a sweep, no less. This was two weeks after they were left for dead.

And then the unprecedented way they banished the Angels with Four(!) Straight(!) Complete Games(!)

Any manager that flouts the conventional wisdom like Ozzie Guillen -- from his unfiltered yammering to his confident-in-my-masculinity man-kisses to his decisions about his pitching staff -- yet still wins is doing something very right or is very lucky.

It takes a combo of both to win a title.

I appreciate the eye-popping strength of the Astros' starting pitching. And I appreciate the franchise's "never" situation.

But 40 years of waiting has nothing on 88 years of waiting.

2005 is the new 1917.

NFL Week 7
Game of the Week: PIT at CIN
Steelers at Bengals: What does it say about mighty Cincy that Big Ben returns and still no one thinks the Steelers have a shot?

Postcard from Rock Bottom:
Packers at Vikings: How much worse can things get for the Vikings? Well, they can lose at home to the equally sorry Packers.

Game of the Week (2nd Choice)
Chargers at Eagles: If Philly had trouble with the Cowboys' offense before their bye week, what will they do with LT and company?

Alex Smith Rookie Induction
49ers at Redskins: I'm not sure things could get uglier this weekend. Wait, wait a second...

Colts (6-0) at Texans (0-5)
Yes, yes they CAN get uglier.

Injury Watch: Randy Moss
BUF at OAK: Maybe the Raiders will be more successful without Moss. They can't get much worse with him.

Winner will be best of NFC?
DAL at SEA: I can't believe that the winner of this game will have the most wins in the conference. Does EITHER scare ANY team in the AFC?

Manny to Angels
Ramirez likes LA/Anaheim: And if the Angels were smart, they'd do the deal in a second. "Vlad/Manny" would be even more effective than "Papi/Manny."

Manny would also go to Cleveland, another team that should do this if it's available. "Pronk/Manny" is as good as "Papi/Manny." (Don't hold your breath for "Beltran/Manny"; Ramirez has no interest in the Mets.)

What's the lesson here? Simply put: Papi is Papi because Manny is Manny. And Manny can turn any great hitter ahead of him into a world-class one.

Theo Epstein Watch: Latest number I've seen is $900K per year. Where are the D-Rays (or even Yankees) giving him the $3-5 mil a year he deserves? MLB GM: The most undervalued position in sports.

More BoSox: Wells wants out. Pitcher wants a trade to the West Coast, and the team will try to accommodate him. (But does anyone want him?)

Saints Update
Just as the Superdome is being cleared for play in 2006, Saints owner Tom Benson will reportedly break his lease with the building, another part of his attempt to move the team to greener pastures of Texas. Maintain some outrage, people.

Vikings Watch
Multiple developments...

Ex-owner McCombs rips Wilf: Pot, meet kettle. McCombs says the team's problems (off- AND on-field) are the new owner's fault, and -- if nothing else -- NOT his. That's called "chutzpah."

Tice says only a "select few" are to blame for the cruise fiasco. If he thinks more than a dozen players are a "few," no wonder the team's X's and O's stink.

The NFLPA may have problems with the team dishing out harsh punishments. Yeah, that's the way to win the p.r. battle...

A bunch of the players allegedly involved got lawyers. Go figure...

More NBA Dress Code
Charles Barkley offered the most interesting and authoritative take yet supporting the NBA dress code. Here's the money quote from Leno on Wednesday night:

"Young black kids dress like NBA players. Unfortunately, they don't get paid like NBA players. So when they go out in the real world, what they wear is held against them.

"See, these players make $10 million to $15 million a year, so nobody cares how they dress. But regular black kids go out into the real world and how they dress is held against them.

"If a well-dressed white kid and a black kid wearing a do-rag and throwback jersey came to me in a job interview, I'd hire the white kid. That's reality. That's the No. 1 reason I support the dress code."

Meanwhile, Tim Duncan offered an argument *against* the code that was the antithesis of articulate:

"I think it is basically retarded."

CFB Weekend Preview
At this point, the only teams worth tracking are the ones still unbeaten:

Texas hosts Texas Tech, in a battle of TWO unbeatens. Everyone seems to think TT is built on a foundation of a Charmin-soft schedule; frankly, I think this is Texas' toughest game of the season.

Alabama hosts Tennessee. Bama's O isn't the same without injured WR Prothro, but Tide fandom hatred for Phil Fulmer will make up for it.

USC should rout Washington; the closest Ty Willingham is going to get to pacing USC is what his old recruits managed to do last week.

Georgia at home should handle Arkansas, even if they're looking ahead to the Cocktail Party next weekend in Jacksonville vs. Florida.

UCLA hosts Oregon St, and should continue to up the ante in anticipation of its season-ender with rival USC.

VA Tech pulled away from Maryland last night, 28-9. Team may be No. 3, but D is clearly No. 1, plus Vick scrambled for 100-plus yards, TD.