July 21, 2005
Oakland A's
Team Moneyball is back. Blank the Angels to move into 2nd in the AL West. Sit 2.5 GB MIN and NYY for AL WC. See Q It Up for a link to Gammonalysis.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Not that Joe Dumars had many options, but here's what we know about new Pistons coach Flip Saunders:

Great for the regular season,
but a dud in the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the Pistons aren't merely looking to make the playoffs, like 75 percent of the rest of the teams in the NBA. They're not even looking to make a deep playoff run. Flip's record in Minnesota is somewhere in the middle.

But the Pistons aren't a "rising" team; they're the two-time defending Eastern Conference champs. They want to win a title now. (And have the personnel to do it).

Without being flip, Saunders is a "get-them-in" coach, not a "put-them-over-the-top" coach.

Brown Saga
"There was too much Larry Brown and not enough Pistons," team owner Bill Davidson said (via WDIV-TV in Detroit).

And that nicely sums up the lifetime critique of Brown, independent of his success in the standings.

Rumors flying that the Knicks are in Hazard County-style hot pursuit. (Does that make Isiah Thomas the Roscoe P. Coltrane of the NBA?)

See Wednesday's Quickie for my reasons why Brown isn't a good fit in New York right now (the operative phrase being "right now").

MLB Thursday: Woo!
It's very hard not to get excited about today's MLB pitching storylines:

Zach Duke: He's the league's reigning phenom, riding a 17-inning scoreless streak.

Kenny Rogers' last start? Meets with Bud Friday about his suspension appeal, so this could be his last start for a while. And the Rangers need it, having just been passed by the A's.

Discovery Channel: Team, not just Lance, in lead at TdF
Braves ace John Smoltz: Racks up 7th W in row for Atlanta
Kevin Hall: Deaf golfer makes PGA debut in Milwaukee
Kerry Wood: Exits in 3rd after stiff shoulder (and 3 HR)
Troy Smith: Ohio St QB in yet more trouble for camping
Jennifer Capriati: Will miss U.S. Open with injury
Maddux goes for 3000K: He only needs 6 more. Will Reds SP Eric Milton give up more HR than Maddux throws Ks?

Buehrle vs. Boston: The AL's leading Cy Young candidate goes head-to-head with the AL's top offense (and fellow All-Star Matt Clement is no slouch).

Big Unit vs. Big Bartolo: Given Angels' quiet bats recently, could be a K fest; A-Rod lit up Colon in New York earlier this season.

Jake and Johan, too: Peavy and Santana might be the best pitchers in their respective leagues. Both always a must-see.

NFL Holdouts
Needing less than 24 hours,
CPR hero/agent Drew Rosenhaus
returns to being a jerk:

T.O. is "50/50" about showing up at Eagles training camp, says Rosenhaus. Much as I expect fans are 50/50 about whether to embrace T.O. or loathe him.

Packers WR: Pay me/trade me. Let's see Javon Walker earn those holdout-worthy stats receiving from, say, Henson instead of Favre.

Shaming both, Tedy Bruschi announced he won't play in 2005 season as he continues to recover from a stroke. Puts holdouts in perspective.

Flip-Flop Scandal
A Northwestern alumnus weighs in on the ludicrous "scandal" over the sensational national champion women's lacrosse team from NU:

Flip-flops are perfectly acceptable footwear in the summer. Yes, even at the White House. And from what I can tell, the ones worn by the NU players were fairly stylish.

Here's the lesson: Always trust judgments of anyone from such a great school, from flip-flopping collegians to, umm, flip-flopping columnists.

(P.S.: The team is auctioning the controversial kicks to benefit a 10-year-old fan suffering from cancer. There's still time for joyless haters to flip-flop and support the team.)

50-in-50: Alaska
Impressions of Alaska:

Iditarod: The gold standard of dog-sled racing. Wait: Can you name any other brands in dog-sled racing?

Great Alaska Shootout: For college hoops junkies, games in November that tip off at midnight on live TV rule.

Vote Best of Alaska here!

Livan Hernandez:
Nats' 2nd-half struggles continue as All-Star ace SP contemplates season-ending knee surgery following another Nats L last night (5th in 7 G).
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie live!
Jackpot Jay Finale
MLB Trade Poll
Put-Over-Top NBA Coaches
Larry Brown
But then he'll leave
Phil Jackson
Titles are psychological
Rudy T.
Helps to have Hakeem
Pat Riley
(Not an invite to return)
Nate McMillan
We'll see in Portland ...

Wouldn't it be hilarious if NHL players voted today to *reject* the new labor deal? But they won't, and fans move one step closer to not caring.

Jeremy Roenick has said some dumb things, but he's right on that the NHL should skip Friday's lottery and give Sidney Crosby directly to the Rangers.

Don Shula disses Jimmy Johnson, saying Dan Marino only "had one coach." You'd think Shula would want to share blame for never getting Dan a ring.

NBA postpones official free-agent signing day indefinitely: Odds of having a "Boozer Incident" get indefinitely better.

Vikings decide not to charge fans to watch training camp. Looks like Mike Tice won't be able to pad the income this year ... Heh: Too obvious?

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