March 30, 2004
Breakfast with Ravech,
Gammons and Reynolds:

Were you up at 5 a.m. to catch MLB's Opening Day live from Japan on ESPN? From Bristol, trio offered a new model: Calling games remotely.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

We're No. 4! We're No. 4!

College hoops: The only sport where a fourth-place finish is accepted as cause for massive celebration by fans and career validation by its coaches.

UConn's women are in the Final Four for the unprecedented fifth straight year; the LSU women are in for the first time; Coach K is in his 10th; Georgia Tech is in for the first time since 1990. And ... so what?

In baseball, Grady Little had equivalent success to whichever coaches lose in the Final Four semifinals on Saturday night. Grady got fired; Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt will get a 10-year contract.

In the NFL, Andy Reid is a "Final Four" coach -- three years running --but all it's earned him is a "can't-win-when-it-counts" label he wears as snugly as a headset.

Bottom line: Being a "Final Four coach" is one of the most overrated accolades in sports. Ooh -- you came in fourth ... or even third. Call when you've won a title.

Yankees Lose
The Yankees in last place; the D-Rays in first. It's a sweet, fleeting moment -- like a Tino Martinez home run using a bat corked with irony. Torre and the Boss will be more concerned with Mike Mussina's rusty outing (5 IP, 10 H, 5 ER).

Serena's Outfit
No wonder Serena named Monday's outfit "The Wonder Woman." She's the superhero of sports fashion: White hot pants, white tank top, blinging belly ring, dangling "chandel-ear" rings. The weekend's eye-popping "corset" look was Victorian by comparison.

Serena isn't just the most fashion-forward athlete of her time; she may end her career as the most fashion-forward athlete of all time. (Oh, and she crushed Maria Sharapova.)

Grizzlies: Score 136 in 2OT W over ATL (269 combined pts)
John McEnroe's new talk show: July 7 premiere. Serious?!
Charlottesville, VA: Named Best Place to Live in new book
Fragile Ken Griffey: Strains calf ... running to first base
MLB avg ticket price: Up 4% (but fans seem willing to pay)
Laredo, TX: Ranks 331 (last) in that new city-ranking book
Prior: Out for April?
Mark Prior's status is a death by a thousand cuts for Cubs fans: First, he missed a spring training start; next, he was scratched for his first regular-season start; now, he's reportedly out for all of April.

This isn't like Shaq sitting out for a few months, then being fresh for the playoffs; in the tight NL Central, every game will count; there will be no playoffs if Prior misses too much of the season -- or is too limited when he finally does start pitching.

NFL P'Off Expansion
For some of the greediest guys on the planet, the NFL owners sure are economically stupid about not expanding the playoffs. That's leaving money on a table the size of a football field.

Meanwhile, given that the most glaring result of parity is that more and more teams will just miss the playoffs, the naturally fair balancing position would be to allow more teams in.

NFL Kickoff Wknd
Ironically, the league has no qualms about expanding its increasingly popular Kickoff

weekend. The "Thursday Night Football" season opener is a doozy: Colts at Pats. Since the NFL won't go near another concert (thanks, Janet!) I guess fans will be forced to look forward to ... um ... the game? (For more, see "Odds and Ends," right.)

The FemaLeBron
High school hoops sensation Candace Parker just won the McDonald's slam-dunk title. Sorry: women's h.s. hoops sensation. What's next? Tennessee, which is a big mistake.

She should apply for early-entry to the WNBA (her inevitable destination anyway). The salary may stink -- but the endorsement money will more than make up for it. Come on: She won a dudes' dunk contest!

"Mr. Glass"
Ken Griffey:

Has there been a bigger drop-off from glory than The Kid? Back to "punch-line" status after straining his calf ... running out a grounder.
Today on
Page 2: NBA X Files
Insider: Best rookie class ever?
Fantasy baseball coverage
CBB Coaches
Roy Williams
King of the Have-Nots
Bob Huggins
Title rate = grad rate
John Calipari
But a champion's ego
Rick Barnes
Maybe it's a Big 12 thing
Mike Montgomery
'04: Worst choke of all

More NFL Kickoff Wknd:

Even rusty rookie Drew Henson could throw TDs on the Vikings' porous D...

SUN Nite: KC at DEN
How about another 19-0 Broncos prediction, Woody Paige?

Starts the Favre Farewell Tour off right

Meanwhile, NFL owners want to extend Commish Paul Tags' contract; and why wouldn't they? The guy is making them big bucks...

And from the "Final Four Heroics Don't Really Mean Jack in the NBA" file, we give you Cavs 10-day signee Mateen Cleaves...

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