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Monday, July 24, 2006
Page 2 Quickie: July 21, 2006

The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

As a new dad, I'm not sure how I feel about putting my infant son in a bib that says anyone "sucks."

(Then again, he hears that word enough when he sits next to me when I'm watching sports, reality TV, whatever.)

But I know who I want negotiating the toughest issues in baseball right now:

New England mom Ann Sylvia, whose little eBay business beat back Team Boras for the right to sell "Damon Sucks" bibs.

Get that woman an MLB front-office job! Out-negotiating Scott Boras puts her ahead of, like, half the GMs in baseball.

And, when applied, her simple, charming, homespun wisdom can solve almost every big baseball issue today.

Hardball? Nah, go "Bib-ball":

Perjury indictments?
"Bonds sucks!" Actually, the more appropriate response is "Prosecutor sucks!" If the feds had a case, wouldn't they have indicted by now?

Intra-team squabbling?
"Hillenbrand sucks!" Does that fit on a bib? Verbally pop off about your team's management, and you might get away with it. But deliberately write it on the clubhouse bulletin board, and you deserve your exile.

Trade-deadline decisions?
"Abreu sucks!" Well, not really. But the price he commands, both in prospects and outstanding salary, is way too high.

Alex Rodriguez's woes in NYC?
(Do I even need to say it?) Actually, I'm pretty sure that after this week, I can find that bib on any Manhattan corner.

So: Does Sylvia have any fantasy trade-deadline tips? Hey, just keep in mind the "S-word" when rival GMs send offers, and you'll be fine.

Bonds: Stop the Ride
"Not Indicted!" isn't quite "Not Guilty!" But as long as the feds are still investigating, empaneling a new grand jury, the worst result is that the story drags on. No news is bad news.

(Can't we come up with a better Bonds story line between now and the now-endless timetable of possible indictment? How about the Giants dangling Bonds at the trade deadline? He'd look awfully good in a Tigers uniform.)

More A-Rod Woes
Perhaps the lead item in Wednesday's Quickie was prescient. Is it possible that A-Rod is actually requesting a trade out of NY?!

"That's a ridiculous thought."

All A-Rod's answer from last night does is convince me that he's as deluded as the Yankees fans who e-mailed me to rip me for even suggesting that he should be traded.

Maybe those fans have a different response this morning after A-Rod's throwing error last night led to a Jays rally -- and ultimately a Yankees loss. (Defense wins MVPs? Yeah, sure.)

Meanwhile, even more ridiculous was the rumor A-Rod was dangled to the Phillies in a blockbuster. If his relationship with NY is spoiled, Philly would be toxic. "I would veto it," says A-Rod. (And who wouldn't?)

"This is a sinking ship. Play for your paychecks." This, via the NY Times, is what Shea Hillenbrand wrote on a whiteboard in the Blue Jays' clubhouse, and what led to his being cut by the team this week.

The juiciest detail is that manager John Gibbons didn't just challenge Shea Hillenbrand in front of the team -- he actually egged him on to fight.

It wasn't necessary; Hillenbrand wanted no part of that. And I'm not even sure Gibbons needed to give the Jays a "he goes or I go" ultimatum.

Hillenbrand wrote his ticket out of town when he wrote on that clubhouse board.

Tiger's New Ad
Tiger Woods' new Nike ad may go down as the most mesmerizing sports TV ad ever created.

If you watch the British Open, you'll see it this weekend, and it's one of those ads that everyone will be talking about on Monday. But why wait?

Here's a direct link.

(Meanwhile, tied for the lead after his scintillating 65 this morning, is there much doubt that Tiger is going to crush his doubters with a win Sunday?)

Danica Staying Put?
After all that tantalizing talk about Danica Patrick bolting Indy Racing for NASCAR, the news that she's about to sign a new deal with an IRL team is disappointing.

For all of her fame, she faces a ceiling -- and it has nothing to do with her gender.

Call it the "gas ceiling": There's a limit to how much casual fans will follow open-wheel racing; NASCAR would have vaulted her into a new stratosphere of sports celebrity.

"Soonics" Day 3
What's a Sonics fan to do? No, seriously: Come fall '07, there won't be a team in town. (Don't buy the new owner's claims. "We're going to give it our best shot" is putting the hedge in "hedged bet.")

So what are a fan's choices?

(A) Still be a Sonics fan, even though the team is elsewhere (think: Oklahoma). Analysis: No way. Did Browns fans root for the Ravens?

(B) Wait for a new team to come to Seattle, even though that might take years. Analysis: Beats rooting for the Blazers.

(C) Declare "fan free agency" and take the opportunity to pick a new team.

To me, (C) is the only reasonable choice, and Sonics fans -- like any fans whose team bolts town -- have earned an exemption from any established norms about allegiances.

(In fact, why not use Simmons' guidelines for picking an English Premier League team? Let me know what you decide to do.)

Sacto Not "Sonicked"
Meanwhile, NBA fans in Sacramento avoided being "Sonicked" when the Maloofs signed a deal with the city for a new arena.

Sorry, Sonics fans: The Kings leaving Sacto would have been much worse than your team leaving Seattle.

(1) The Kings are the only game in town; and (2) the team would surely have gone to Vegas, meaning fans nationally would have been cheering too loudly to bother caring about the fans being left behind.

NFL Camping
Quickie camp previews start next week. For now, a few teams are having rookies show up early.

Sunday: Browns (Berea, OH)
Subplot: In a Browns rookie tradition, what's the over/under date on a season-ending injury to first-round pick Kamerion Wimbley?

Coming Monday: Raiders!

"Voice" Jr. Suing NFL
On the frozen tundra of the American legal system…

(Cue video of anonymous 1970s NFL lineman exhaling steam on a cold December Sunday.)

…John Facenda Jr., namesake of NFL Films' "Voice of God," defended his father's honor…

(Cut to video of 1980s Giants fans cheering and jumping up and down.)

…by suing the National Football League, claiming they misused his father's voice in the TV show "The Making of Madden 2006."

(Cue traditional NFL Films background music, then cut to a clip of Dick Vermeil or Hank Stram caught on film jabbering to the ref.)

Sidekicks, Cont'd
See Big 5 (right) for the five best suggestions from users about great sports sidekicks I didn't mention, but probably should have.

Meanwhile, the most interesting trend was the substantial number of e-mails with the inspired argument that Shaq is Wade's sidekick, not the other way around. And I think I agree with that.