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.
Friday's Big Questions
1. Will Barry Bonds be kicked out of Major League Baseball?
2. Will the Sonics stay in Seattle?
3. Will LenDale White be a first-round draft pick?
Another day, another Barry Bonds bombshell. This time, it's a grand jury investigation into whether Bonds perjured himself with false testimony during the BALCO case in 2003. Is the latest drama just one more step down the path to Bonds being kicked out of Major League Baseball? SportsNation answers with an emphatic "No!"
On the draft front, USC running back LenDale White has received news that is both good and bad. The good news is an MRI revealed White has a torn hamstring and his reason for not participating in USC's pro day has been legitimized, but the bad news is such a significant injury could hurt his standing in the draft. Still, more than half of SN voters see White coming off the board in the first round.
As for the NBA, David Stern has blasted the city of Seattle's commitment to having the league in town and it appears he is resigned to the team playing in another city after it's arena lease is up in 2010. SportsNation apparently sees the writing on the wall, too.
71% Barry Bonds will retire of his own free will.
57% LenDale White will be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft.
59% The Sonics will not remain in Seattle after their arena lease expires in 2010.
Check out what chatters had to say in Dan Shanoff's Morning Quickie chat:
Does ANYONE besides me see just how sad this whole Bonds thing is? It's like the box is just getting tighter and tighter. Not saying he didn't do it to himself, but still ...
Chris (Boston via Paris)
If Bonds had just told the truth in 2003 he wouldn't be dealing with this nightmare. There would still be issues with him breaking Babe's record but not these added problems. America would have had nearly three years to deal with his steroid use.
No one at this point can honestly say that there isn't a vendetta against this guy.
Jake (VA Beach)
LenDale White's draft stock is falling faster than a metaphor I can't come up with right now. Any chance he could go back to school?
Christian (High Point, NC)
No chance White's around in the second round. Too much potential. Colts or Steelers would jump on him.
SportsNation's NFL mock draft continued rolling with three more picks on Friday. Three teams will be on the clock each weekday between now and the Thursday before the real draft in New York.
First up on Friday were the 49ers, whose fans want help on defense. N.C. State DE Mario Williams got the nod in San Francisco, while Raiders fans gave Vanderbilt QB Jay Cutler their blessing by a wide margin and Bills fans gave Maryland TE Vernon Davis a slight edge over Texas DB Michael Huff. Check out the results and some comments.
Who should the San Francisco 49ers select with the No. 6 pick?
43% Mario Williams
35% Vernon Davis
13% Michael Huff
6% Haloti Ngata
3% Brodrick Bunkley
Who should the Oakland Raiders select with the No. 7 pick?
48% Jay Cutler
20% Michael Huff
18% Vernon Davis
9% Haloti Ngata
5% Brodrick Bunkley
Who should the Buffalo Bills select with the No. 8 pick?
29% Vernon Davis
22% Michael Huff
20% Winston Justice
19% Haloti Ngata
10% Brodrick Bunkley
As a long-suffering York-era 49ers fan I appreciate the gesture of SN bestowing Super Mario on my team, but everyone knows John York is too stupid to pick the best player available and too cheap to pay franchise DE money (he let our three best players walk for a combined two draft picks).
Jeremy (Vancouver, WA)
For all the talk that Mario Williams wont fit in a 3-4 here's what's up: 3-4 or 4-3, Mario Williams WILL make an impact. 6-7, 295 pounds and a 4.65. The guy's a freak!! .
John (San Diego)
What's this, Cutler to the Raiders? No, no, no, no! They already have a QB like Cutler (Andrew Walter). What they need is secondary help, and Michael Huff is it! We will soon be comparing Huff to the likes of Ed Reed.
The Raiders need a QB since they cut Kerry Collins and if Cutler is the real deal like so many experts are saying the Raiders need to take him. However, the Raider defense has been horrible and an LB or DB would be good as well. But me, I take Cutler.
There's no way we take Vernon Davis. He is an exceptional athlete but we drafted Kevin Everett from 'The U' and he'll be coming off injury this year. We need to get Bunkley or Huff.
Ian (Tallahassee, FL)
No way Bunkley doesn't get picked by the Bills. He fits their system perfectly and he is the best interior D-lineman in the draft, bar none. The guy from Oregon is good, no doubt, but not as good as Bunkley.
Ian (Tallahassee, FL)
Thursday's Big Questions
1. Are the Texans for real?
2. Will Mario Williams slide in the draft?
There weren't any brawls when Pedro Martinez took the mound against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night, just another win for the Mets.
Following an offseason filled with big moves by the team and even bigger talk from many fans, the Mets are living up to expectations in the early going. But have they done enough to sway SportsNation? Not quite, but they're getting there.
After less than two weeks of play, the Cardinals are still the pick as the most talented team in the National League. But the Mets are second in the voting, with more support than the rest of the league combined. Check out what chatters had to say in Dan Shanoff's Morning Quickie chat.
30% Mets are the most talented team in the National League (First place: Cardinals, 41%)
29% Pedro Martinez is the best pitcher in the National League (Second place: Roy Oswalt, 27%)
The Mets have a great chance to make it to the World Series from the NL, but the top four or five teams all reside in the league using the DH.
Gary (Rhode Island)
The Mets are playing great right now, and they could even get some late season help from minor leaguers Lastings Milledge and Mike Pelfrey.
We're only a week into the season; I'm not handing the Mets the trophy yet.
John (Portland, Maine)
Not enough starting pitching. They finally got a closer, but it's not gonna help if you only have two good starters. Pedro's health is a question, too.
Steve (Washington, D.C.)
The Mets don't have much competition. Who else stands out right now in the NL?
As a fan, any optimism has to be guarded because of the weak competition, but it's always nice to get some wins under your belt to build confidence. The whole vibe is obviously a major improvement.
The Mets have a pretty good team. That lineup is nice. Veteran pitching in Pedro, Glavine and Trachsel. If Bannister can pitch this way, they are a serious threat to win it all.
SportsNation's NFL mock draft rolled on with three more picks on Thursday. Three teams will be on the clock each weekday between now and the Thursday before the real draft in New York.
First up on Thursday was Tennessee, and voters made it clear they think Matt Leinart is the best of the bunch at quarterback. But with the 49ers set to go on the clock Friday morning at No. 6, N.C. State DE Mario Williams is still awaiting SportsNation's blessing. Check out the results and some comments.
Who should the Tennessee Titans select with the No. 3 pick?
48% Matt Leinart
33% Vince Young
8% Jay Cutler
6% A.J. Hawk
5% Mario Williams
Who should the New York Jets select with the No. 4 pick?
36% Vince Young
25% Jay Cutler
20% Mario Williams
14% A.J. Hawk
5% Vernon Davis
Who should the Green Bay Packers select with the No. 5 pick?
42% A.J. Hawk
27% Mario Williams
17% Jay Cutler
9% Vernon Davis
6% Michael Huff
Take Matt Leinart. He's not going to play right away. He could learn under either McNair or Volek. Plus, he'll be reunited with Norm Chow. Those two had a little bit of success at USC.
Pete (New York)
The Titans need a QB. McNair may not survive more than another season. I would take Vince Young, but they may want to take Jay Cutler (local product).
Titans have to go with Vince Young, and somehow get McNair fixed so he can continue to mentor him. That way Leinart can go to the Jets, with their three quarterbacks with no arms.
Michael (Linden, N.J.)
If he is there, I think the Titans go with Leinart. Having an offensive coordinator that knows him will go a long way. And if they can have stability at the QB position again, that's great for the franchise. Rarely do you get the chance to transition from one great QB to another potential great QB.
I'm telling you -- Titans should pick Jay Cutler. I wasn't sold on this guy until I saw him SINGLE-HANDEDLY lead Vandy to overtime in the Swamp. And they should have won that game. And, by the way, he led them to a victory over Tennessee the next game. If you watched those games, you know the kid is poised and amazing. He is NFL-ready right now.
Troy (Gainesville, Fla.)
Wednesday's Big Questions
1. Who will the Texans and Saints draft?
2. Do upsets await in the NBA playoffs?
Who needs to wait until the final weekend of the month to start drafting football players?
With the selection festivities looming for real in New York on April 29, SportsNation kicked off its own national mock draft on Wednesday. The Texans and Saints were on the clock with voters, and it's clear that there's no debate in the 'Nation about the first pick. Reggie Bush is the clear favorite for the No. 1 pick, but things got interesting when the Saints went on the mock clock. Proving the glitz and glamour of big-name quarterbacks carries only so much weight, 53% of voters said the Saints should select either Virginia offensive lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson or N.C. State defensive lineman Mario Williams.
SportsNation's mock draft continues on Thursday, with the Titans, Jets and Packers on the clock.
Meanwhile, the NBA playoffs are also fast approaching, but voters aren't expecting much in the way of first-round upsets. Check out the results from some projected pairings, and see what folks in Dan Shanoff's Morning Quickie chat had to say.
Who should the Houston Texans select with the No. 1 pick?
75% Reggie Bush
10% Vince Young
10% D'Brickashaw Ferguson
3% Mario Williams
2% Matt Leinart
Who should the New Orleans Saints select with the No. 2 pick?
30% D'Brickashaw Ferguson
23% Mario Williams
18% Matt Leinart
15% A.J. Hawk
14% Vince Young
76% Cavaliers would beat the Wizards in a potential first-round series
72% Suns would beat the Lakers in a potential first-round series
61% Clippers would beat the Nuggets in a potential first-round series
Cleveland losing in the first round is a possibility if they were to face Washington. Gilbert Arenas vs. LBJ could be a brutal matchup.
Geoff (Amherst, Mass.)
I love the NBA playoffs. I just can't stand the two weeks before they start. The Kings (7) over the Suns (2) is a real possibility (last night notwithstanding).
If the Clips are No. 6, they could knock off Denver, depending on which Nuggets team shows up.
One of the great things about "The Comeback" by the Red Sox is that that momentum never waned because they played four straight days, unlike the NBA postseason.
Out West there are only two teams: Spurs and Mavs. This is the NBA, no upsets!
The Nuggets are the reason getting the No. 6 seed is so much better than getting the No. 5 seed. And that's kind of messed up.
Troy (Gainesville, Fla.)
The Spurs and Mavs are in one tier, with the Nuggets and Suns in the tier below. Either the Spurs or Mavs will represent the West in the NBA Finals.
Denver is right on the doorstep. They are a dangerous shooting guard away from taking out the big boys. And for the record, it is nice that Carmelo is finally getting the props he deserves. He is every bit as good as LeBron.
Dougie Fresh (Washington, D.C.)
Tuesday's Big Questions
1. Where does Luc Robitaille stand among the greats in NHL history?
2. What now for Duke men's lacrosse?
3. Who is your NBA MVP?
4. Would the grass be greener for Calipari in Raleigh?
Luc Robitaille announced on Tuesday that his 19th season will be his last. The 40-year-old will play out the string with the Kings, needing just six points for 1,400 in his career. He will certainly be remembered as one of the top-scoring wingers in NHL history, but how does he rank among all players in league history? While 33% of you placed him in the top 50 of all-time, others felt he was either top 20 (29%) or top 100 (26%). SportsNation sounded off on their favorite moments during Robitaille's great career via mailbag:
Will (Lahaina): Luc's best moment: Any one of those classic, half back-swing, left side, just inside the blue line, slap shots that beats the goalie high to the glove side.
Phil in L.A.: Lucky's goal versus Calgary while sliding on his stomach past the net is one of the greatest goals I've ever seen in the NHL. His goal against Montreal in the '93 Cup final was a highlight, but watching him hoist the cup with the Wings, even though I'm a die-hard Kings fan, was a great moment!
Joe (Long Beach, CA): As a life-long Kings fan, I have many, many fond memories of "Luuuuuc!" Even with 1394 points, my favorite moment is off the ice. When Luc and his wife, Stacia, started Shelter for Serenity, a foundation to put victims of Hurricane Katrina into homes out here on the West Coast, it showed how great a person Luc is and how important he was to the Southern California community. It's that kind of thoughtfulness and goodwill that will be missed, as well as his scoring touch!
Meanwhile, the investigation of sexual assault allegations at a Duke men's lacrosse party continues. On Monday, attorneys representing the 46 players said that the DNA from testing did not match evidence collected from the alleged victim, and that the case should be dropped because of it. However, on Tuesday the Durham County district attorney Mike Nifong stated that he will not abandon the investigation and that he doesn't necessarily need DNA evidence in order to prosecute.
We summoned our legal analyst Roger Cossack to answer your questions about the case, and to explain what is likely to happen next.
Ben(Asheville, NC): Will the DNA results alone prove that the Duke lacrosse players are innocent?
Roger Cossack: It certainly goes to help them, but it depends on if the prosecutors have any other evidence that helps prove their guilt. We don't know that yet.
Brian (Pittsburgh): Even before guilty/not guilty, there is something I've never understood. The alleged victim (key word alleged) gets anonymity under rape shield laws, and rightfully so. However, the alleged criminal (key word alleged) does not receive the same benefit. Innocent until proven guilty, no? Even if the entire team is exonerated, they've still been branded for life. Why the discrepancy? Thanks.
Roger Cossack: That's a good question, and many people have asked that question. In this case, they haven't identified any members by name of the Duke team. But in other cases, people who are alleged to have committed a crime are identified. Another reason is the sixth amendment guarantees every defendant a public trial. That comes from the constitution because the founding fathers did not want to allow the government to hold secret trials. The notion to making a defendant's name public comes from that amendment in that nothing should be hidden.
Michael (Richmond, VA): Hi Roger. I'm no expert, but if a rape occurred, wouldn' there have been some kind of DNA left behind?
Roger Cossack: Michael, you don't have to be an expert to conclude what you have. I think there should be. In my opinion, I think it's highly unusual that there isn't. Now, no one's said there wasn't any DNA, they just said it didn't match any suspects.
On the pro hardwood, the regular season is winding down and talk of the MVP race is heating up. There are many legitimate candidates to choose from, and the favorite seems to change on a weekly basis. We took SportsNation's pulse with just nine days left in the regular season.
Who is the MVP of the NBA?
38% - LeBron James
19% - Kobe Bryant
18% - Steve Nash
14% - Chauncey Billups
10% - Dwyane Wade
Ric Bucher gave us his top three on his MVP ballot in chat:
Rob (Los Angeles, CA): Quit stalling and give us your pick for MVP this year. Nash? Kobe? Billups?
Ric Bucher: Nash, Kobe, Billups it is. Who should I pick for the last two places on my ballot?
In the college game, the coaching carousel continues to spin with former VCU head coach Jeff Capel being named as Kelvin Sampson's successor at Oklahoma. But the biggest news is that of John Calipari and his staff visiting NC State's Raleigh, N.C. campus on Monday about the Wolfpack's head coaching vacancy.
Calipari has reportedly been offered the job and is expected to make a decision by later this week. While Memphis will do what it can to match NC State's offer, Calipari's big decision may be whether or not he wants to go from king of Conference USA to third wheel among ACC coaches in the state of North Carolina. We asked you if you thought Calipari going to NC State would improve his chances of winning a national championship; and you answered with a convincing "no".
62% - Calipari would have a better chance of winning a national title at Memphis
Loyal readers of The Morning Quickie had plenty to say about Calipari and whether he should stay or go - or if he's just playing Memphis for more money:
Calipari has been a successful big fish in a small pond at both UMass and Memphis. Be curious to see how the big fish does in the ocean.
Collin (Framingham, MA)
Oh please. He's looking for a raise from Memphis, he's not going anywhere.
He would be dumb to leave Memphis, he is a god there now.
Tim (Cincinnati, OH)
Bad move for Calipari, He can be the best in C-USA forever or compete for 3rd in the ACC.
I just don't understand why he would leave a place where he has built a #1 ranked team to go to a place where he'll have trouble being #4 in the conference.
Troy (Gainesville, FL)
Monday's Big Questions
1. Will Phil Mickelson win another major this year?
2. Do you prefer new or old baseball stadiums?
3. With no more NCAA Tournament or Masters, now what?
Doesn't it seem like just the other day that all the prognosticators were wondering if Phil Mickelson would, or could, ever win The Big One? Mickelson's streak as a professional reached 0-for-42 in the majors before winning the 2004 Masters. Now that he's won the last two majors and two of the last three Masters, the question might become, when will he stop winning?
As Tiger Woods helped Mickelson into his second green jacket, the winners of the last three Masters stood side-by-side. If, as some suggest, Woods is a modern-day Jack Nicklaus, perhaps Mickelson is becoming his Arnold Palmer, as their rivalry continues to grow. SportsNation certainly agrees with how Mickelson is playing, as 46 percent think Mickelson will win one more major this season. When Woods held all four major titles at once during the 2000-01 seasons, his accomplishment was hailed as a "Tiger Slam." Sixteen percent of SportsNation believes Mickelson will win two more majors this season, thus completing his own "Phil Slam."
And with the Masters finished and the madness of March completed the weekend before, SportsNation is without a major sporting event on the immediate horizon. But of all the things coming up, the NFL draft is drawing the most interest, with 54 percent preferring the draft over the NBA playoffs (25%), NHL playoffs (13%) or Kentucky Derby (8%).
In addition to Lefty, the sporting world turns its attention to St. Louis, where a new era begins when the Cardinals open play in the third Busch Stadium. Any new park brings excitement to the city and the never-ending question of which is better - a brand new stadium with all the perks or the history-laden parks or yesteryear?
In light of the new Busch Stadium's opening, the answer to that question, at least for today, is SportsNation prefers the history of a ballpark over anything else. If the Nation's citizen's could only attend one game this year, over 70 percent would want to go to one of the older parks like Wrigley Field, Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium. Yet at the same time, the detractors of the old Busch Stadium are happy today, because over 65 percent of SportsNation is happy to see the stadium gone and replaced by a newer one.
46% Phil Mickelson will win one more major this season.
31% Mickelson is done winning majors in 2006.
16% Mickelson will complete a "Phil Slam."
37% Field is the best surname for a ballpark.
30% Implode the Metrodome.
55% Sightlines are the most important thing in a new park.
54% The NFL draft is the next big event.
Readers of Dan Shanoff's Morning Quickie hit on Phil's second Masters win and the Cardinals opening their new park on a three-game losing streak Monday morning:
I think Tiger just missed another putt that would have made the Masters interesting
Nick (St Johns Campus, Jamaica, N.Y.)
Phil and Tiger can keep trading jackets, I love how awkward it is up there when they have to do it.
I must admit I was wrong about the Masters. Phil came through in the clutch with a "Tiger" performance. The scary thing is that as inconsistent as Tiger played, one of those eagles falls on the back 9, and it is close.
Dougie Fresh (DC)
I don't know if it was my TV or not, but was Tiger's sunday *red* more like a pinkish salmon color? Drop the wife's fashion advice, Tiger. Red is red. Pink leads to missed putts.
Can we get a list of all the experts who said 2 years ago that Phil would never have the mental toughness to win anything?
Chris (New York)
Dud - Izzy. I could see giving up a slam to Derrek Lee, but Michael Barrett?
Dud: I'll say it. Albert Pujols. After going 5-for-10 with three HRs, he goes 1-10 with none against the Cubs. Welcome back to Earth, Al.
Geoff (Amherst, Mass.)