May 9, 2005
50-1 Giacomo:
If you ever needed more evidence that sportswriters, "experts" and other know-it-alls are truly don't-know-anythings, just look at the Kentucky Derby.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

You can keep Pistons-Heat or Suns-Spurs for the NBA's best playoff pairing.

For "brawlicious irony," nothing beats Pacers-Pistons; fans haven't seen a back story of mutual loathing like this since the heyday of Knicks-Heat.

Don't expect "Brawl II": Fans (and the NBA) will be watching way too closely. But that's also precisely the reason it will be a hit.

It's the tantalizing prospect of another brawl. This is the striptease of NBA playoff series.

Under scrutiny: Every pick, every foul, every glare, every arena response to visiting-team starting-lineup announcements ...

But the drama of Indiana's redemption, the chance of the defending champs being KO'd, the ceaseless replays of November's zany antics ...

With the other three conference semis looking like done deals, this one provides more drama than the rest combined.

Heat Crush Wiz
This is going to be quick. Sure, the Wizards were hamstrung by the NBA's ludicrous playoff schedule ...

... But Shaq and Wade didn't even play well, and Miami still cruised like a senior citizen on the way from Boca to the Bahamas.

Spurs Crush Sonics
If Seattle wanted a glimpse of what life would be like if Ray Allen left as a free agent this summer, they got it in Game 1.

A 22-point loss to the Spurs, with the game getting out of hand when Allen went down with an ankle sprain in the 2nd.

Allen is listed as "day-to-day"; not coincidentally, that's also the Sonics' prospect of not getting swept.

NBA MVP Steve Nash: OK, haters, time to just let it go
"FredEx Watch": Summer's most entertaining NFL story
Eric Gagne: K's side in rehab save for Triple-A Las Vegas
Sergio Garcia: Blows PGA Tour-record 6-shot Sunday lead
Nick Zito: Celebrated horse trainer sports' most overrated
Annika's Six-Pack: Denied in Mich Ultra by Cristie Kerr
Mavs at Suns
All hail the MVP!

(If "all" means "everyone outside of Dallas, where the fans will spend four games watching their offseason blunder run 'em out of the playoffs.")

"Playoff defense" may yet be the Suns' eventual demise, but the Mavs sure as shootin' ain't gonna be providing it.

MLB vs. Bonds?
Baseball denied it is investigating Barry, as reported this weekend; it is happy to admit, however, that it is "monitoring" his situation.

Come on: Fantasy owners "monitor"; when MLB executives pay close attention, it's a bigger deal. (But what did you expect them to do?)

ChiSox Roll On
The line of doubters resembles the line for Star Wars tickets -- long and eager. But at some point, they'll come around that Chicago is having one of "those years."

"They can't keep this up!"
News flash: They are.

The latest: 8th straight win on Sunday, tying the best start in franchise history (24-7). Mark Buehrle pitches again into the eighth and improves to 5-1.

Brady Gets Paid
$60 million, 6 years? What a bargain for the biggest success story in NFL history.

Small price to pay for the biggest single player responsible for the NFL's greatest dynasty (without gutting the team's cap, Manning-style).

No reason to think there won't be even more rings over the next half-dozen years.

Giacomo Wins!
The 50-1 shot wins it all, Nick Zito is shut out and Steinbrenner's odds-on favorite Bellamy Road finishes seventh. NFL parity has nothing on the Derby.

"Royals win World Series": That's how NYT's Araton smartly put it. But if Giacomo is playing the Royals, then does that mean the Boss is playing the role of ... the Boss?

Insider: Day Pass
Curious about all the Insider references I make, to guys like Neyer and Ford and Hollinger? Here's your chance to check it out for free during the Insider Day Pass, all day today.

Yankees Death Watch:
Two shutouts in a row put a damper on what had been one of the most fun weeks for sports fans in years. Good thing we've still got Bellamy Road.
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Maybe all the Nash haters will lay off because the MVP vote total was so close between him and Shaq (65-58 in 1st-place votes).

Twins 1B Justin Morneau is still sizzling since his return from that head conk: Sunday, he was 4-4 with 3 RBI in a Twins W.

So much for that revamped Dolphins secondary; CB Will Poole may miss the entire season with an ACL tear.

Always watching the Pats' personnel moves: Scott Pioli may have scored another coup, landing ex-SEA LB Chad Brown (to help replace Bruschi?)

Clemens starts today vs. the Marlins, which means that you can expect either (a) no run support, or (b) a blown save.

Break up the Pirates! Pittsburgh has won 5 of 6, including a 16-2 walloping of Arizona on Sunday.

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