October 25, 2005
Roy Oswalt:
Down 0-2, it's once again up to *real* team ace Oswalt to come through in the playoffs.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

World Series controversy!!!
Umpiring calls? Nope.
Team in-fighting? Nope.
Brad Lidge demoted? Nope.
National League rules? Nope.

It's the stadium roof.
"Open!" vs. "Closed!" is
the new "DH!" vs. "No DH!"

As the series moves back to Houston, MLB wants to leave the retractable roof of Minute Maid Park open on a beautiful Texas night. (After all, isn't that why it's retractable?)

The Astros players want it closed. Not only is it noisier, but their record when it's closed is 36-17, as opposed to a 15-11 when it's open.

Here's the controversy: In the regular season, the team decides on open/closed. In the playoffs, MLB makes the call.

This is one of the more bungled opportunities in MLB's long history of them. Simply put: A team should be allowed to use the roof as they want. (Especially in the playoffs!)

In the Astros' case, the roof being closed is a signficant advantage. Enjoying a nice night versus not being down 3-0 in the World Series?

This is an easy decision, and MLB can look VERY good by simply (and publicly) deferring the choice to the team owner (and, therefore, the players).

And, yet, it seems so easy that you just KNOW that MLB will make it unnecessarily difficult on themselves by keeping it closed.

With all apologies to P-Funk:
Tear the roof off this mutha!

Put the roof on this mutha!

Cool: "Hit-by-pitch." Craig Biggio holds the MLB record and even spawned a cultish Web site devoted to it.

Uncool: "Hit-by-fan." Biggio's wife was assaulted by a nasty Chicago fan at US Cellular Field on Sunday night. Ban that guy for life.

Scott Podsednik: His Wonderboy-ish bat sent to Cooperstown
Freddy Adu: Back with United from brat-reaction suspension
Favre-to-FredEx: Say it ain't so! GB works out WR Mitchell
Alex Smith: 49ers rookie QB questionable for Sunday (knee)
Ahman Green: RB done for season (or career?) with Packers
Gerald Riggs Jr: Vols star RB is done for the season (leg)
Quote of the Day
"I'm not planning on changing anything." -- Astros closer Brad Lidge.

White Sox fans rejoice.

BCS Mess: TX No. 1
UT vaults USC; critics howl: Of course, it's the computers' fault. Stop. Freaking. Out: It's only going to be for one week.

Is it so bad for a weekly ranking to reflect (and reward) the No. 2 team for spanking the No. 7 team?

Meanwhile, QB Vince Young says he plans to pull a Leinart and return to Austin next year for his senior year. That's almost unfair.

Let's hope that wouldn't influence any Heisman voters who figure they can give it to him NEXT year. (Because THAT'S not a sketchy group.)

Cashman Back to NY
Why would the Yankees GM sign up for more years of being treated like a dog by the Boss?

Simple -- and HUGE: It's the loudest signal yet that the Steinbrenner Era is winding down. And I'm betting that New Boss, Steve Swindal, lets Cashman do his job like the other GMs get to.

With a different managing partner and the same budget, the Yankees GM job remains the best in sports.

And Bowa to coach 3rd base:
As he might say: $%#& yeah!

Falcons Pound Jets
Did this game feature the worst combined QB play of the year? Let's see:

Vick: Set his own new personal career low with a 16.3 passer rating, connecting on only 11 of 26 pass attempts and throwing 3 INTs.

And, yet, Vinny topped Vick!

Testaverde: 3 early fumbles (which led to 17 Falcons points) and an INT, and he left the game in the 3rd with an Achilles injury.

Oswalt and Garland throw better stuff than *either* of those two guys.

Mike Martz:
Thought the "insult-to-injury" moment was when he wasn't allowed to signal a play to his team on Sunday. But it's *really* that he's done for the season.
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
Page 2 Critics
World Series
Quickie Heisman Ballot
Reggie Bush
No one else is close
Vince Young
And coming back in '06?!
Matt Leinart
Didn't he win one last year?
Brady Quinn
Irish QB will get votes
Marcus Vick
Might be better than Mike

Clemens Watch: He IS listed to pitch in Game 5* (as always, the "*" is for "if necessary," which in this case, just might be in effect).

Following up my first-in-nation prediction that Orel Hershiser would end up with the Dodgers, he's interviewing for the manager job today.

In a thin free-agent market for pitching, Phillies closer Billy Wagner can expect some serious looks from teams that need him (say, Boston?)

NBA Watch: Chris Webber may try to play tonight, despite a lingering quad injury; Shaq will be a DNP (calf). Is that something to worry about?

Don't forget you can talk with me (and a lot of smart, passionate fans) every weekday in the "Morning Quickie" on SportsNation, 9-10 a.m. ET.

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