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Wednesday, August 2, 2006
Page 2 Quickie: August 1, 2006


 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
WHAT.  IF.

As long as we're entertaining fantasies about Roger Clemens joining the Red Sox in a blockbuster-for-the-ages trade-deadline deal (that didn't happen), let's project the fantasy through the rest of the season as if it happened:

Aug. 1: ESPN.com's Daily Quickie leads with an item proclaiming this the "Greatest Trade Ever."

Aug. 4: Clemens wins his Red Sox debut in Tampa, thanks to more run support than in his last five Astros starts combined.

(Bumped from his rotation spot and a wee bit envious of the attention given his new teammate, Curt Schilling nurses ego "injury.")

Aug. 15: Clemens wins his Fenway homecoming, topping the AL-leading Tigers and flipping the power dynamics of the AL.

Even his biggest detractors join the standing ovation. Bootleg T-shirts sweep New England, proclaiming "We Forgive!"

(Schilling logs on to the Sons of Sam Horn message boards to cryptically post: "But don't forget.")

Aug. 20: Clemens beats the Yankees in prime time on ESPN, triggering proclamations that he is, indeed, the greatest pitcher of all time.

Sept. 26: Clemens wins his 10th straight, thanks to an average of 8.7 runs per game in support. "Rocket for AL Cy" campaign hits apex.

Oct. 2: Clemens pitches Red Sox past Yankees at Yankee Stadium in one-game playoff to decide AL East title.

(New York fans riot. Clemens makes headlines by promising to sign with the Yankees in the offseason.)

At this point, I'll spare you a groan-inducing vision for Clemens' postseason domination and eternal salvation leading the Red Sox to a World Series title.

After all, we're just talking "What if?" here.

MLB Trade Wrap
Who else feels kinda cheated by the relatively boring final outcomes at the MLB trade deadline?

The "big" stories:
Alfonso Soriano: Still a Nat?
Biggest name moved: Maddux?
Most active team: L.A. Dodgers?

Wait, what happened to:
"Tejada shakes up AL West!"
"Mets zeroing in on Zito!"
"Red Sox plot blockbuster!"

Tejada was a non-starter. The biggest Monday move in the AL was the Tigers swiping Sean Casey (Chris Shelton: We hardly knew ye!)

The Mets scuttled their ambitions for a front-line starter after setup guy Duaner Sanchez seriously hurt his shoulder in a taxi accident. They settled for quick fix Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez from Pittsburgh.

And the Red Sox stood pat, figuring they needed their many talented young arms rather than another big bat, given it will now take approximately 300 pitches to get through nine innings against the Yankees.

The deadline is history; August is here. Let the pennant races officially begin.

Papi Does It Again
"Don't Pitch to Papi!" Watch: The Indians were up two runs in the bottom of the ninth, with two players on base. Ortiz steps up.

Say the mantra with me:

Don't …
Pitch …
To Papi!

They did anyway. And OF COURSE he hit a walk-off HR, his MLB-leading 37th and second walk-off hit in three games (five total in '06).

One more time, for the thick-headed managers out there: It doesn't matter that Manny Ramirez is coming up next; just don't let Ortiz beat you.

(Cripes: AGAIN.)

Tom Brady: MIA
Tom Brady missed his second straight day of camp yesterday, without explanation from him or Bill Belichick. What do you think?

(a) Secretly injured
(b) Endorsement commitment
(c) Tryst with a hottie
(d) Online "alone time"
(e) A little bit of everything

Saban Disses Bush
I like Nick Saban's sense of priorities.

He turned down dinner with George W. Bush last night because he didn't want to distract himself from camp preparation.

It's that kind of single-minded focus that has me very close to picking the Dolphins not just to have a breakout playoff season -- but to make the AFC title game.

(Make no mistake: That pick depends almost entirely on healthy seasons from Daunte Culpepper and Ronnie Brown.)

ESPN.com users might not be willing to go that far with me, but 77 percent pick the Fins to make the playoffs, with more than 50 percent projecting 11-plus wins.

More: Len P. at Dolphins camp

Leinart Holds Out
Apparently, Matt Leinart forgets that there's a "0" after the "1" in his draft position.

The rookie QB is acting like he's the No. 1 pick in the draft, holding out from the Cards while his reputation continues to take a nosedive.

Let's recount the decline:

• Passed up chance to be No. 1 overall draft pick in 2005 to return to school to win a second straight Heisman and a national title.

• Not only did he NOT win that national title, but he was beaten out for the Heisman by his teammate AND eclipsed by another QB.

• Went from being a lock as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft to the 10th overall pick, a slide featured on his sorry-looking Green Room face.

• Rumored to be involved with Paris Hilton. (Have to say: At this point, Leinart looks like a bigger skank. At least Paris doesn't hold out.)

Get to camp, jerko.

Landis is Screwed
Floyd Landis' testosterone surplus didn't come from his body's natural production, an extra shot or two of Jack Daniel's, a masseuse with a grudge or for any other wacked-out reason.

His extra testosterone was synthetic, according to a report exposed by the New York Times. What does that mean?

If that's accurate, it means that Landis is finished. If he thought his reputation was tarnished from sketchy tests and conjecture, this news takes it to another level of damnation.

Jeter: The Scent?
Derek Jeter has a new girlfriend, and her name is the Avon Lady.

Avon will release "Driven," a men's fragrance developed in consultation with Jeter. Apparently it smells like grapefruit, oak moss and spice.

You have to believe that it was the product of a process that whittled down other potential MLB player partnerships (and scents):

David Ortiz: "Clutch"
Chase Utley: "Streaky"
Alfonso Soriano: "Commitment"
Francisco Liriano: "Phenom"
Ozzie Guillen: "Payback"
A-Rod: "Desperation"

If the point of perfume (particularly for men) is to ramp up the attraction factor, I'm marketing a Papi-inspired "Seal the Deal." Huge hit.