The Pulse: Is anyone watching Landis?
Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and offering opinions. We'll collect the daily highlights and create a running file throughout the week to measure The Pulse of SportsNation on a wide variety of issues. Check this page every day for an update of what the 'Nation is saying.
1. What do you make of Floyd Landis in the Tour de France?
2. Will Tiger Woods win the British Open?
After a miraculous comeback in the mountains during Stage 17, following a disastrous performance in the previous stage that cost him the overall lead, Landis appears to be in good position to win the Tour de France this weekend. But even after the night-and-day drama in the mountains, less than half of SportsNation appears interested in his exploits. This despite a remarkable medical story of his own, a hip injury that while not life-threatening life Armstrong's cancer, will require hip replacement surgery after the event.
And even if Landis pulls out the win and coasts into Paris to celebrate, he may not win an ESPY. The award that seemingly became Armstrong's annual reward isn't likely to go to Landis, according to voters.
I'm no cycling fan, but I'm racking my brain to come up with anything recent in sports that is comparable to what Landis did yesterday in the Tour de France. Everyone had left that guy for dead.
Reggie (Richmond, Ind.)
Landis is making the greatest comeback. ever. Yep, even better than ALCS '04.
Christian (High Point, N.C.)
Tthe Floyd Landis story is comparable to the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS, down three games to none. He was written off yesterday morning and came storming back. As were the Idiots.
Will B. (Virginia Beach)
The Landis story only compares to the 2004 ALCS if he wins. It's not that big of a deal. If he lost eight minutes one day, why is it hard to believe the new leader would do the same the next?
Jeff (Kansas City)
It's the Tour de Landis.
Mike (Long Island)
That seems like a bold statement considering it's being made with two rounds still to play at Royal Liverpool and Woods just one stroke ahead of a pretty good golfer in Ernie Els. But what other conclusion can we draw when nearly 90 percent of voters say Woods will win the tournament?
With a second-round 65, including an amazing eagle, Woods captured SportsNation's attention and proved he's very much back in top form.
How about the Tigers? Detroit taking two of three from the White Sox and Woods leading the British Open.
Justin (Blacksburg, Va.)
Well, should we just call the British Open over already?
The scary part was Tiger even had a bogey on the third hole and still had a seven-under 65 today. Gotta love that eagle on 14.
Rob (Warwick, R.I.)
He's baaaaaack. Never, ever underestimate Tiger.
Mat (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Tiger shot a 65 today; that would be my score after nine holes.
TIGER WOODS. Now that I've got your attention, did anyone see Chris DiMarco's 65?
1. Does Shea Hillenbrand's departure signal the end for the Blue Jays?
That's the curious case in Toronto, where the Blue Jays cut Shea Hillenbrand after he criticized the team and manager John Gibbons while refusing to sit in the dugout for a game. Hillenbrand was apparently ticked off, at least in part, that club officials didn't find time to congratulate him on adopting a baby. And when Hillenbrand found himself not playing after returning to the club following a few days off to complete the adoption, he sounded off.
SportsNation voters think the Blue Jays acted rashly to cut loose a valuable hitter while the team fights for a playoff position behind the Red Sox and Blue Jays in the AL East. An adding the folks who think this move seals the team's fate to those who thought it was already sealed, the Jays are now widely viewed as done.
Does cutting Shea Hillenbrand signal the end of Toronto's playoff hopes?
42% They were already done
Any hopes and dreams of the Blue Jays making the playoffs were pretty much squashed yesterday. You just don't cut a guy hitting over .300 with some production. And from the comments from the players about Hillenbrand, it didn't seem like he was causing that many problems.
Hillenbrand has a history of this kind of behavior. At the same time, Ricciardi has to share some of the blame. I think it's an all-around mess and probably puts an end to the Jays' postseason hopes.
I think the Hillenbrand thing is just a sign that the Jays' upper management is cracking with the pressure to win. Some team in the hunt would be smart to snatch up Hillenbrand, a good bat that can play either infield corner.
Jeff (Kansas City)
I always try and give the player the benefit of the doubt when it comes to player vs. front office, but Shea is just ridiculous here.
Willy (New Jersey)
Normally, I am inclined to side with the player in this situation, but Shea has a rep of dissing his teams. Come on, just toe the line.
Mike (Dorchester, Mass.)
Hillenbrand is a huge dud in my books. He was given a long stretch off right after All-Star break to be with his new family and then complains that the team didn't give him a cookie too. I think we'll get the full story from the Jays once he's been traded.
Brad (Ottawa, Ont.)
Shea Hillenbrand is the type of guy who runs up to all of his friends on his birthday saying, "Guess what today is?" just so they wish him a happy birthday. Total dud, good luck to whatever team gets him. They better congratulate him on his new daughter!
Jeff (New York)
I would love for the Reds to pick up Hillenbrand. He would be a definite upgrade at first base.
Chris (Lexington, Ky.)
Shea's adoption day has been duly noted in my calendar. I will observe it next year wherever he is. I mean, he was given four days off after the break and management didn't even congratulate him. The nerve!
1. Will the Sonics be in Oklahoma sooner rather than later?
2. Are the White Sox exposing the Tigers?
3. What are the New York Islanders thinking?
Howard Schultz, who made his fortune turning Starbucks into an international omnipresent option, announced on Tuesday that he's selling the Sonics and Storm to investors from Oklahoma City. And while the new owners said all the right things about working with local officials to keep the teams in town, most folks seem to think a move to Oklahoma City in inevitable.
SportsNation voters are almost unanimous in assuming Oklahoma City will get a permanent NBA team within five years, but they're split right down the middle over whether or not the city deserves a team.
Which city should not have an NBA team?
46% Oklahoma City
31% New Orleans
Seattle is such a great city and doesn't deserve this. I mean losing a pro sports team to Oklahoma is just shameful. No one in Seattle should go to games, corporations should cancel their tickets and local stations should not show them. Let's teach these ridiculous people a lesson where it counts.
Anyone who thinks Oklahoma City is too small of a market for the NBA has obviously not done their research and most likely has never been here. Look at cities such as Portland, Sacramento, Indianapolis, so called "small markets" work well in the NBA. I see the Hornets going back to New Orleans and the Sonics coming to Oklahoma City. Sorry Seattle, now you'll only have sports franchises to cheer for from April - January.
David (Oklahoma City)
How many years should the Sonics lose millions if Seattle wont support the team? It might be wrong for taxpayers to foot the bill for a private company, but that's been going on for years and it is the price you pay for a pro team. I just wish we could trade Ridnour for Paul.
Howard Schultz, the Seattle Mayor, and the Seattle City Council have all let the SuperSonics fans down. We should have never gotten to this point. If Oklahoma City wants a pro basketball franchise, take the Hornets. History has shown that New Orleans, while a wonderful town, is a lousy sports city for a franchise. So, take the Hornets, keep the Hornets, love the Hornets, just leave our Sonics (and Storm) where they belong, in Seattle.
Well the Blazers have Nate McMillan, Brandon Roy, and Martell Webster, and they're owned by Paul Allen ... not hard for Seattle fans to switch allegiances in a snap. But it's still lame. And no more Starbucks coffee for me.
The Tigers still own baseball's best record and lead the AL Central, but voters couldn't help but notice when Jim Leyland's team lost to the White Sox for the sixth time in seven games this season. The Tigers get two more shots at the Sox in this series, but voters already think Ozzie Guillen's team will catch and pass Detroit in the standings.
Which team will win the AL Central?
50% Chicago White Sox
39% Detroit Tigers
11% Minnesota Twins
If the Tigers lose tonight, they will overpay for Alfonso Soriano really soon.
Why are people saying the wild card has to go to White Sox or Tigers? Last time I checked, a 2.5 game lead with over 60 games to play isn't that big of a lead.
Kito (New Jersey)
You know, it sucks that the Tigers lost, but it kind of feels nice to be mad that they played so bad rather than just expect it.
Sorry but I'm still not buying the Detroit Tigers as a legitimate contender. They still can't beat any of the good teams out there (Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox), and until they do, they are just a lucky team on a streak.
Chris (North Haven, Conn.)
In a series of strange moves, Islanders owner Charles Wang fired GM Neil Smith just more than a month after hiring him in the first place. Wang then hired Snow, who retired in order to take the job, to take over for Smith. The owner says its all about putting together the right business model for the team, but SportsNation voters are pretty sure he's just lost it.
How can you replace a GM with a newly retired goaltender. Did he win the team's fantasy hockey league last year?
I'm no Neil Smith fan, but come on! In his 41 days, he built a team that has a shot of making the playoffs, especially with Teddy on the bench. If Wang was serious about hockey and this team, he would let people who actually have a clue do their jobs. Anyone who thinks Garth Snow is anything more than a puppet for Milbury is blind.
Kelly (Glens Falls)
Although you can give Wang the benefit of the doubt for trying to run his investment, over the years, this team is a laughingstock to the league. "Mad" Mike couldn't win a series in the last 10 years, and when he finally "stepped" aside and someone with a little winning experience comes aboard, Wang should give Smith a little more than 41 days to build the Isles into more then a 24th place team. This move has set the Isles back five years.
What are they doing? I am a diehard Islanders fan, and I've been waiting years for them to turn this thing around. They were heading in a great direction in 2001, but now we're going backwards, to say the least.
Anthony (Loudonville, N.Y.)
Finally, someone who owns an NHL team is dumber than Bill Wirtz! The marionette show continues on Long Island.
1. Can Alex Rodriguez win in New York?
2. How big is the AL Central showdown in Detroit?
3. Would you sacrifice character for a chance at more wins?
The Yankees star third basemen made three errors in the field during Monday's game against Seattle, drawing a chorus of boos that hardly subsided when Joe Torre lifted A-Rod from the game under the auspices of protecting an injured toe. Earning the ire of those at Yankee Stadium is nothing new for Rodriguez, who despite an MVP award last season can't seem to win the love of the locals.
While voters in New York and New Jersey actually voted the other way, a majority of SportsNation thinks both A-Rod and the Yankees would be best served by finding him a new home.
A-Rod is a loser. Every time he leaves a team, it gets better than it was when he was there. It can't be a coincidence.
Justin (New Jersey)
I don't think that A-Rod has the mind to stay focused and productive in a market in which there is so much pressure on him to perform daily.
Rodriguez is soft and too analytical. All his teams get better when he leaves; there's a pattern there.
Mat (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Would this be an issue if it was Adrian Beltre instead? A-Rod's numbers are better than 95 percent of the league. For Red Sox fans, they loathe A-Rod for not going there. For everyone else, they are Yankee haters.
Colin (Buffalo, N.Y.)
What's ridiculous is the fans of the Yankees. What superstar has ever been booed more by the "home" crowd? They expect him to be great but are more satisfied to see him fail so they can boo him. What morons!
The problem is A-Rod will never ever live up to his notorious contract. He would have to win 10 straight World Series and hit 75 HR's a year for Yankees fans to embrace him.
John (Portland, Maine)
It pains me to say this, because I like A-Rod, but I don't think he can win in New York. He cares about what people think of him and he tries hard and that seems to work against him. All the guy does is show up every day and play hard, but between that contract and the fact that he always gives politically correct answers, the fans don't really know him.
SportsNation voters expect the Tigers to defend their home turf by winning at least two games, but they also picked Chicago's starting rotation as the staff they would trust down the stretch in the AL Central. That won't make fans in Detroit happy, considering the Tigers have the best ERA by starting pitchers in baseball.
How will the three-game series in Detroit between the Tigers and White Sox play out?
53% Tigers win two
31% White Sox win two
9% Tigers sweep
7% White Sox sweep
Which AL Central rotation would you trust down the stretch?
44% Chicago White Sox
34% Minnesota Twins
22% Detroit Tigers
If someone blows the other team out of the water, it could echo throughout the rest of the second half.
This series is pretty big. The Tigers need to establish themselves as the alpha dog. A nice beatdown would help in doing that.
It will interesting to watch how the White Sox totally take out every single frustration that they had against the Yankees on the Tigers. This is the beginning of the fall of the Tigers.
Frankie (New York)
If the series ends up in a sweep in either direction, it's huge. If it ends up in any sort of split, it won't be that big a deal. There's a LONG way to go yet.
A three-game sweep could be absolutely demoralizing for the Tigers. I think even with their recent struggles, this isn't a big deal for the White Sox, they'll be ok.
Matt (Fairfax, Va.)
While Terrell Owens is back in the headlines as he promotes, and disputes parts of, his new book, the real story is in Cincinnati. The Bengals have seemingly stocked up on good athletes with questionable character this offseason, perhaps in an attempt to get over the final hurdle and reach the Super Bowl. Owner Mike Brown and coach Marvin Lewis have defended the team's draft decisions and handling of veteran Chris Henry, but fans in Cincinnati must be a little uneasy.
Nearly half of SportsNation voters say their impression of the Bengals has worsened during the offseason, but even more admit they would support their team taking on questionable guys if it helped win games.
It is ok to bring in one guy of questionable character, as long as you have the veteran enforcer that can smack them down when they get out of hand.
Kev Wash (Richmond, Va.)
As a Bills fan, the answer is yes. I can't remember what the playoffs are anymore. What good are classy players if they don't win?
Does Keyshawn Johnson have questionable character? If so, yes.
Eric (High Point, N.C.)
Why not? In 10 years the questionable player wouldn't be remembered; it would be the championship.
How does the saying go? "He who gaineth the world but loseth his soul ..."
On defense in the NFL, you need aggressive players. Aggressive players rarely can channel those emotions only on the field; they inevitably carry on off the field too.
What amazes me is how fans always look past the bad of their players, but if that guy was on their biggest rival, they would be ripping them to shreds.
Shaun (Madison Wisc.)
Yes, as long as they don't sign them for too long of a contract and they punish them at the first instance of wrongdoing.
1. Which MLB teams will make the playoffs?
2. Would Michelle Wie be winning on the LPGA?
One weekend later, after the Yankees swept the White Sox to open the second half, everything looks different. Granted, 60 percent of SportsNation voters still think either the Red Sox (50 percent) or Blue Jays (10 percent) will capture the AL East, but considering the Yankees are just three games back in the wild-card race, that's hardly a death sentence.
On other fronts, the red-hot Angels (36 percent) are gaining ground on the Athletics (46 percent) when it comes to picking a winner in the AL West. And over in the NL, the resurgent Braves have passed the entire NL West when voters handicap the wild-card race.
Which team is the favorite for the NL wild card?
37% Cincinnati Reds
26% Houston Astros
21% Atlanta Braves
16% Team from NL West
There is still a long time to go in the AL East race, but the fact that the Red Sox could not put some distance between themselves and the Yanks and Jays means that this race is going down to the wire.
The Yanks and Sox always keep it close; this was inevitable. No worries from this Red Sox fan. The only people this weekend affects are people outside these two cities, who are now given a chance to complain about us talking about it.
Mike (Dorchester, Mass.)
I said it many times before the break and will continue now: The Yankees are the most surprising team in baseball. Forget the Tigers. For the Yankees to be THIS close with the Matsui and Sheffield injuries, plus SP problems is amazing. Once they can get some trade help and health, watch out. They are never done!
Jake (Virginia Beach, Va.)
The Blue Jays are going to take the division, Tigers and White Sox a pick 'em for wild card and division, and the world can rest easy, because the Yanks and Sox will be watching.
Justin (Blacksburg, Va.)
One week ago, the talk was that the Yanks didn't stand a chance, the Red Sox were going to run away with it, and the ChiSox/Tigers were going to split the AL Central and wild card spots. So this weekend's turn of events is VERY noteworthy!
Mike (Washington, D.C.)
Boston did not bury the Yanks when they needed to, just like every other year, and now it looks like it will haunt them again. With all of the critical injuries the Yanks have endured, this could be their greatest one yet.
Dougie Fresh (Washington, D.C.)
Everyone acts like the Yankees were 15 games out or something. It has been close all season, so why is everyone acting so surprised? Now, if the Braves make the playoffs, that will be a shock.
Kevin (Manassas, Va.)
Red Sox, White Sox, Angels and Tigers will make the playoffs. Ozzie will right the ship in Chicago, and the Yankees will fizzle. They don't have the pitching to hold up down the stretch.
Andy (Rochester, N.Y.)
As of now, I say Red Sox, Tigers, White Sox (WC), and Angels. The Angels have played well since before the All-Star break. And don't worry about the White Sox; they had a slow second half before wiping out the Indians last year for the division. This year the wild card is theirs.
Rob (Warwick, R.I.)
Kenny Rogers historically is not good in the second half, and as good as the rest of the Tigers pitching has been, I'm not sure I trust it the rest of the way. White Sox in the Central, Red Sox and Yankees battle for East and the other takes the wild card, and A's in the West because Billy Beane hasn't even worked his magic yet.
Cara (New York)
There's absolutely no foundation to the claim that Detroit will tire. Justin Verlander just destroyed the Royals by himself. Kenny Rogers just came off the All Star Game, and Mike Maroth is going to be back soon. No one has any evidence that the young guys will tire.
Matt (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Mets are coasting, the Cardinals talent will rise to the top, San Diego comes ahead in the West, and the Phils, Reds and Astros battle for the wild card, with the Reds pulling it out.
All I know for sure is the Mets and Cards are making it, and the Reds aren't. I'll take Rocket/Oswalt and the Astros for the wild card, while the D-Backs pull of a stunner and win the West thanks to their strong young pitching.
Matt (Fairfax, Va.)
But even before the elements got the best of her, Wie struggled to hold up against what was considered a weak field in her fifth attempt to become the first woman to make the cut in a PGA event since 1945. So is Wie's pursuit of history hurting the development of her game at 16 years old? More than 60 percent of voters think she would have at least one win already had she played the full LPGA schedule.
How would Michelle Wie fare if she played a full LPGA schedule at 16?
43% At least one win
20% Multiple wins
19% Up and down
18% Regular contender but no wins
Wie is 16. If she hasn't won by the time she's 21, then I'll consider her a bust of some kind.
Sooner or later people aren't going to make the case the Wie is still young and is a very good golfer. She eventually has to win something and soon.
Chad (New York)
Wie withdrawing wasn't that big a deal. She wasn't making the cut anyway.
Michelle Wie: Now there's an overkill story.
Wie eventually has to win something? OK, what? A free ice cream cone? She's not winning any golf tourneys; she can't even make the cut or take the heat (literally).
Matt (Memphis, Tenn.)
If Wie isn't careful, she will never learn to close, will burn out, and be a hacker on the LPGA tour.
Dougie Fresh (Washington, D.C.)
If Wie ever becomes what she is made out to be, even I will have to applaud. Until then, beat Annika!
Ryan (New Jersey)
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