June 14, 2005
Michael Jackson:
To celebrate the verdict, he could have moonwalked out of the court room (or at least let out a "Hee-hee!") He'll have to settle for being a Quickie theme.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Could there be any other running theme today?

Didn't think so. So, in honor of Jacko's big win, let's filter all of today's big sports news through the lens of "Not Guilty."

No justice, no... y'know...

Pistons Griping
The Charge: The Pistons claim that the officiating in the NBA Finals stinks. (Claim? Sure, if "claim" means "whine.")

The Verdict: Not Guilty!
Blame the road, blame being outhustled, blame overconfidence, blame the toll of a 7-game East finals. But there's no evidence to blame the refs.

Appeal: However, who else thinks that with the series moving to Detroit tonight, with the crazy crowd and hopped-up P.A. guy, the calls will go their way.

DH in NL Parks?
The Charge: Second-degree gimmickry, with Bud Selig proposing that NL ballparks use the DH during next season's interleague games.

The Verdict: Not Guilty!
Applaud, don't criticize, Selig's innovative thinking. AL pitchers in NL parks is a wasted at-bat, denying NL fans the opportunity to see good AL DHs.

Appeal: However, it messes with tradition. And you don't want to get the purists in a hoo-hah over something small -- not with the battle over ads on uniforms coming...

Nats Wagon Overload
The Charge: The Nats bandwagon is too crowded, and they don't deserve it. Look at runs scored vs. allowed; they're a .500 team!

The Verdict: Not Guilty!
Despite Monday's 11-1 loss to the Angels, the team had won 10 straight and is still in 1st in the NL East. Best story of the 2005 season.

Halladay: Blue Jays P aces Cards on 5-hits for 5th CG
Vlad: Welcome back! 4-4 (HR, 5 RBIs) vs. Nats
Dontrelle Willis: Wins MLB-leading 11th game vs. Cubs
World Golf Rankings: Tiger passes Vijay by SKIPPING event?
CFB Boosters: Bama booster sentenced to 6 mos for bribery
Akili Smith: Cut by Bucs; at least R. Leaf stopped trying
Appeal: However, Livan pitches tonight. In an era of pitch counts as strict as the Nats' salary cap, you have to catch his throwback 150-pitch outings while they last!

Golf Too Slow?
The Charge: The play of golf is, in fact, too slow, and while Rory Sabbatini's antics at the Booz Allen were lamentable (he apologized Monday), they weren't that out of line.

The Verdict: Not Guilty!
This ain't "ArenaGolf." Any PGA player (or fan, too) knows what they're getting when they sign up for a standard PGA snoozefest.

Appeal: However, someday a smart entrepreneur is going to create a version of golf (X-Golf? SpeedGolf?) where accuracy is paired with aggressive pacing.

NBA Early Entry
The Charge: Florida SF Matt Walsh is crazy to declare that he's staying in the NBA Draft.

The Verdict: Not Guilty!
Wowing scouts in workouts. And does Walsh have a promise from a certain South Florida NBA team that has a Gators alum that he shares an agent with?

Appeal: Here's a handy rule of thumb: If you're going to be a 1st-round pick (especially late-1st), you should always go pro.

Fisk Foul Pole
The Charge: Excessive sentimentality, as the Red Sox renamed the LF foul pole the "Fisk Pole" after Carlton Fisk's famous HR.

The Verdict: Not Guilty!
Up until last October, it was the greatest moment in the last 85 years of team history. We'll pretend that 1975 somehow still matters.

Appeal: However, the moment itself is overrated in the annals of baseball history. Sure, it tied the Series; the Sox still lost.

Kellen Winslow:
With surgery today, his 2005 season will officially be finished in mid-June. Hopefully, he can get his head screwed on right before 2006 rolls around.
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie live!
Rank MLB Managers
Ford's Mock Draft
Top 5 MLB Managers in 2005:
Frank Robinson
Fun while it lasts...
Ozzie Guillen
Can't argue with results
Lee Mazzilli
Gotta love Torre disciples
Bruce Bochy
Adapts to team strengths
Lloyd McClendon
Come on: Pirates nearly .500!

Prince Fielder, son of Cecil, was called up by the Brewers for a few games (he went 0/4 in his debut); he's a 21-y.o. DH. It's a new world...

Kerry Wood made his first rehab start (3IP, 1R, 3H, 3K), but didn't throw any curveballs and barely threw balls into the 90s. Judgment pending...

NBA Draft Withdrawal: Wake Forest PF/C Eric Williams pulls out, making him the top returning post guy in the country (sorry, Sheldon Williams).

NCAA Withdrawal: Oklahoma PG Drew Lavender is transferring to Xavier.

Don't forget to rank the MLB managers (see Big 5 for my Top 5 and Q It Up to rank for yourself).

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