October 27, 2005
Ozzie Guillen:
Hottest manager in baseball. Now, of course, the greatest move ever would be to retire, as he jokingly said he would back in September.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Sweep home, Chicago!

Those cursed Black Sox?
An exorcised memory (see Wed)

That "1917 is the new 1918?"
Bury the whole gimmick now.

87 years of 2nd-class status?
They're the toast of Chicago.

But let's forget the history: Let's celebrate this scintillating 2005 White Sox championship team.

11-1. 11-1 in the playoffs!

Rank this team right up there with the '99 Yankees for the most dominant postseason performers of the Wild Card Era.

Of course, the White Sox did it with a fraction of the lineup pop that those Yankees had. (So who's more impressive now?)

And rank this streak of 8 straight wins right up there with the '04 Red Sox for the most impressive playoff run of consecutive wins.

Of course, the White Sox didn't need a freakish comeback to win the ALCS. They simply rolled through it. (Again: So who's more impressive now?)

I don't mean to diminish previous champs, but dominance tends to get underrated, say, when compared to more "dramatic" playoff series.

But these Sox were plenty dramatic: S-i-c-k pitching. Timely hitting. Clutch defense. (Uribe! Off that 9th, he drinks free for life in Chicago!)

And memorably dominant.

As for history? For these Sox, we don't need to look any further back than October 2005. Finally.

Dye: Series MVP
With runs so scarce, it's appropriate that the Series MVP went to Jermaine Dye, a guy who drove in 3 runs, including the Game 4 game-/series-winner.

But given the prominence of pitching, I would have sent my MVP vote that way. It's too hard to single out a specific starting pitcher, so I'd give it to the guy who caught them all: AJ Pierzynski.

Garner a Goat?
Why take out Backe? Because he'd hit 100 pitches? Confidence in Bagwell? Come on: It couldn't have been faith in Lidge? (See DQ'ed).

The entire Astros lineup can wear the goat horns for leaving 18 baserunners stranded from the 8th inning of Game 3 onward. But Garner proved himself overmatched by the stage.

VA Tech on TV
Let's hope every eligible college football poll voter (BCS, AP, whatever) bothers to watch the Hokies tonight in a quality matchup with No. 13 Boston College. (7:30, ESPN)

Clemens-watching: What next for ageless Astros pitcher?
Bruschi-watching: Could play Sunday; depends on practices
Bobby V-watching: Wins Japan Series; wants an uber-Series
Ravens: Will play MNF vs. Steelers w/o Ray Lewis, Ed Reed
Air Force: Merely reprimands shameful CFB coach DeBerry
World Series TV ratings: Could be lowest ever. Too bad.
A big win should re-affirm that VA Tech deserves to be in the Rose Bowl conversation with USC and Texas. (Although unfortunately for VT, they're really only in the "Auburn" conversation.)

Marcus Vick can cement his Heisman status, too. He's not in the Top 3, but he's certainly worthy of an invite to New York. (And watch him: He's a much better passer than brother Michael. Not that the bar is too high.)

USA Hoops: Coack K
A luxury-brand Olympic coach is nice, but USA Hoops has a personnel problem more than anything else, and it's two-pronged:

(1) The best players may not be available; USA Hoops wants a significant commitment, even at the expense of the best talent.

The biggest question: Whither LeBron? (And why would he play after Larry Brown mucked it up so badly in Athens?)

(2) The right players won't be picked. 2004 was an embarrassment; Olympic play demands shooters. So even if he's in the NBDL, look for K-fave J.J. Redick to make the roster.

Swoopes Reactions
Generally, it's being met with a shrug, which either says something good about fans' tolerance for openly gay athletes -- or something bad about fans' tolerance for the WNBA.

I'm all for finding true love, but I'm wary of the slippery slope of relationships between coaches and players; part of the Swoopes' story is that her partner, Alisa Scott, is a former assistant coach with the Comets, the team Swoopes has played for since '97

One of the most important underreported stories in sports is the damage that happens in otherwise unethical relationships between college coaches (women OR men) and players. Because that's not about love; it's about power.

The Loaded Bucks
This NBA season's Sonics? That team that goes from Lottery obscurity to hosting a first-round playoff series? Try Milwaukee.

The Bucks continued their overhaul offseason by trading for one-time All-Star C Jamal Magoire for F Desmond Mason.

Magloire's presence might prevent No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Bogut from winning the Rookie award, but that's a unique "twin towers" combo.

Combine that with re-signing star SG Michael Redd, recruiting top 6th-man Bobby Simmons and reviving the career of slick PG TJ Ford, and this team is playoff-worthy in the East.

As for the Hornets, why would they trade away their center? Maybe because Mason played in college in their new home of Oklahoma.

New Big East Rules
Big East as a beast is back: 16 teams for yesterday's official re-launch to the conference as a basketball powerhouse.

Can any other league boast four legitimate Final Four teams? Nova, UConn, L'ville and (one of my FF picks) West VA. Great season ahead.

Halloween Prep
Still looking for a costume? Perhaps you've been foiled in your attempts to find the Costume of the Year: The Burger King mask.

Can you look to sports for inspiration?

Well, you could simply put on a suit and go as an NBA player...

Or stuff a White Sox jersey with pillows on either side and go as Bobby Jenks...

Send your sports-centric Halloween costume ideas to me using the "Email" link at the bottom of the page. I'll run the most clever ideas tomorrow.

Brad Lidge:
I'm sorry: The dude gave up the winning run (again). He's not even Mitch Williams or B-H Kim; he's more like a modern-day Calvin Schiraldi. (Ouch!)
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
Second Guessing
World Series
Ranking Chicago Sports Champs
Bears '85
Still reign the city
Bulls '96-98
Personalities + Wins
Bulls '91-93
First taste of titles
White Sox 2005
How can you not love 'em?
N'western 1995
Won Big Ten, went to Rose

Page 2's 2nd Guessing is a must-read for its debate over whether this is the Worst World Series of the ESPN Era. Awesome column. See Q It Up.

Saints to LA? If NO can't rebuild, the NFL would move the team out West, with a layover in San Antonio. (via Wash Post)

Dorsey to start for 49ers. Watch closely, because here comes a rarity: Wouldn't Tim Rattay look good in a Niners uniform right now?

I thought Eagles K David Akers was on the road to recovery? What are they doing picking up the Cowboys' sloppy seconds in Jose Cortez?

Cashman deal with the Yankees is official, but the real MLB GM drama is what's going to happen in Boston. Keep asking for more, Theo!

Want to hear classic jeering? Keep an eye on the Canucks game in Denver tonight, when Todd Bertuzzi makes his first appearance.

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