||San Diego Padres:
Bash the Giants 9-1 to clinch the NL West division
title. Outrageous, you say? Opposite: One of the most
interesting developments of the year. Read on.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
You play to win the game?
I don't think so:
You play to win the title.
That's why it doesn't matter HOW the Padres qualified
for the playoffs; it matters that they qualified at
A team doesn't have to be better than everyone else in
their league; they only have to be better than the
teams in their division.
So the disgrace isn't finishing under .500: Save your
contempt for the three other NL West teams that
finished behind the Padres.
Wednesday, I argued it would be better to win 2 titles
and stink for 12 years than win 14 straight divisions
with only one ring to show for it.
Today, I'll argue it's better to make the playoffs
with the worst record ever than it is to finish 30
games over .500 and miss them.
(I don't expect any arguments from fans in Boston, New
York or Cleveland.)
In fact, just for spite, San Diego should tank its
last four games to become the first division champ to
make the playoffs with a sub-.500 record.
Remember: Aside from the World Series champ, no one
remembers the other playoff teams.
But a sub-.500 Padres?
In a cool ironic twist, for these final four games,
you can love their storyline and still get to
"How can you NOT be rooting against them to finish under .500?"
Yanks Take Lead
BOS 1 GB NYY: All last night's
developments did is set up an even more thrilling
comeback for Boston at Fenway this weekend.
Backs to a wall? No problem.
But wait: The Yankees pitching got a quality
outing from Shawn Chacon, while the Red Sox couldn't
overcome Bronson Arroyo's mediocrity.
AL MVP Watch: Does A-Rod get Ortiz-like credit
for his game-tying HR, even though it came in the 6th,
not the 9th?
Meanwhile, a clutch power hitter like Big Papi bunts with the
Red Sox down 7-2 ...? Whaaaaat?!
||CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
|WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...|
Jimmy Rollins: Extends hit streak to 33; Phils still alive|
Champ Bailey: Hamstring not torn, unapologetic for MNF yak
DNA testing as part of pro physical: Curry case is huge
|... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'|
Phil Rivers, trade-bait: THIS season (but how about next?)|
NFL TV rules: May black out Saints game from San Antonio
MLB.com IPO: MLB turns down chance at huge payday
AL Central: The Indians picked a really
bad moment to get shut out and an even worse time for
a 3-game losing streak.
With Chicago's 8-2 W, the Indians are 3 GB. The White
Sox need one win to clinch the Wild Card and a
division magic number of 2.
Yankees fans have to be wondering how good Chicago ace
Jose Contreras (8IP, 2R, 7H, 9K, 0BB) would be looking
in a NY uniform right now.
AL Wild Watch
Still tied with Boston for the Wild
Card, Cleveland can always deploy my plan from
Cede the division to the ChiSox, then have Chicago
roll over this weekend to steal the WC from the loser
of the war of attrition in the AL East.
MLB vs. Congress
"Don't you get it?" could become the
lasting catchphrase of the tussle between Congress and
Since it was directed at union honcho Don Fehr by
uber-Senator John McCain, the union has officially
lost any bargaining power over testing.
And Fehr's rival, Bud Selig, got to look like the good
guy in testifying that an upgraded policy could be in
place by the end of the playoffs.
McNabb: In Pain?
Donovan has an abs strain that needs
serious surgery, but he can play with the injury IF
he's willing to deal with the pain.
From the last two weeks' results, a hurt McNabb is an
effective McNabb, so all I'll say is that his grit is
admirable and in the best interests of the
Maybe this will convince people to forget about those
stories from the 4th quarter of the Super
Phil Jackson said his goal for the
Lakers this season is simply to make the playoffs.
Based on the talent he's working with, even
that seems a bit lofty.
Please explain: What has changed since last year?
Bringing in Phil? Or Kwame Brown? Plus: Everyone else
in the West has gotten better, too.
He may not be an Xs and Os guy, but Phil is a master
at managing expectations. Not just for his team, but
for the media, too.
Iowa Thinks Pink
Iowa is not getting rid of its
controversial pink visitors' locker room. But maybe
What does it say about the quality of the program that
they need to resort to lame psychological ploys to try
to gain an "edge" over opponents?
NCAA denies its appeal to keep nickname "Fighting
Sioux." Expect a lawsuit next. Better idea is to
undercut their rivals to the south and call themselves
the "Fighting Dakotans."
|Today on ESPN.com|
|Page 2 Index|
|Today's Key MLB Games|
|TOR at BOS|
|Downs vs. import ace Clement|
|NYY at BAL|
|Sensation Small vs. Bedard|
|TB at CLE|
|Fossum vs. stopper Sabathia|
|CWS at DET|
|Garcia vs. Grilli (1, ESPN)|
|CHC at HOU|
|Phillies have the day off|
NL Wild Card: Credit the Astros for gutting out a
9th-inning W to sweep the Cards and maintain a
2.5-game lead over Philly.|
More MLB/Congress: Hank Aaron is a class act. When
asked what should be done with tainted HR records,
Aaron said it was up to the league, not him.
I seem to be sensing a lot of p.r. for the
Tarver-Jones fight on Saturday, but is it really
deserving? Prediction coming tomorrow.
Are the Marlins really that concerned w/ Miggy
Cabrera's attitude? Because as a Top 3 young player,
I'm sure other teams would love the problems.
Coming Friday: Complete NFL Week 4 and CFB weekend
preview. Games of the Week, Upset Specials and