April 12, 2006
Laura Quinn:
The rumors are true: Brady's sister is engaged to future NFL top-10 draft pick A.J. Hawk. No word on what jersey the offspring would wear.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

There's a must-read essay on Bonds from Chuck Klosterman that ran on Page 2 yesterday (and leads this week's issue of ESPN The Magazine). I don't think Barry will be asking him to do a reading of it on next week's "Bonds on Bonds."

No matter how you feel about Bonds, Ruth, 714/715, asterisks and everything else, you'll be obsessively tuned in for the moment he passes Ruth -- it will instantly become baseball's defining moment of the last dozen years since the 1994 strike.

Having an allergic attack?
OK, so what moment is bigger?

Here are a few contenders, based on the criteria that it has to be (a) post-1994; (b) nationally shared; and (c) not necessarily happy.

1. Ripken new "Iron Man" ('95)
As heartwarming as that moment was, it's a lunch-pail stat that won't provoke the same reaction as a home run record. (And, let me date you and me both: Few fans under the age of 21 even remember it.)

2. Red Sox Comeback ('04)
The 24-hour ride between ALCS Games 4 and 5 was as dramatic as any. But was there a single crystallized moment? As epic as it might have been, it all blended together (with Games 6 and 7) as The Comeback.

3. Cubs and the Bartman Ball ('03)
Transfixed by the idea of the Cubs in the World Series, we watched in agony as Bartman made the play that Alou couldn't. (But remember: At that moment, no one knew the Cubs would choke; the game was still in hand.)

4. McGwire hits No. 62 ('97)
From August 1997-March 2005, his duel with Sosa was said to have "saved" baseball. Now, it embodies baseball's ruin. It's only listed here now as an ironic bookend to the pending Bonds/Babe moment of 2006.

You may find it distasteful that this upcoming 2006 Bonds-Babe moment will be the defining one of the last decade in baseball, but it cuts to the heart of our layered baseball obsessions:

With records, history, stats, sluggers, scandals and -- most recently -- "sanctity," which is certainly as loaded a concept as any fans have had to deal with since '94.

Klosterman argues: "To care about [Bonds'] home runs is to care about nothing."

Yes, but fans will care anyway. Maybe it'll give you heartburn. Or heartache. Or maybe even a feeling of closure on a decade of baseball gone awry.

But forget Bonds: What does the fact that we'll be paying such close attention say about us as fans?

Cheney vs. Bonds
Who will draw more boos in D.C.: Dick Cheney or Barry Bonds?

Cheney threw out the first pitch at the Nats home opener yesterday afternoon and was greeted with quite a few jeers.

On July 25, Bonds will make his first (and only) appearance in D.C. for a three-game midweek series. How will it compare?

By then, either booing Bonds will be played out or Nats fans will be even more hyped up for their turn to outdo (or should that be "out-boo?") the efforts of fans in other cities on Bonds' road tour.

(Of course, put the booing for Cheney and the booing for Bonds together, and you just might reach the level of antipathy towards Pedro tonight.)

Shaq: Earned 2nd career trip-dub (15 pts, 11 reb, 10 ast)
Indians: MLB's hottest. Defeats Seattle for 6th straight
Jerome Bettis: Inducted into Bowling Hall of Fame. Really.
Ricky Williams: NFL has no timetable for ruling on appeal
Bob Sheppard: Yankees PA legend misses 1st O.D. since '50
Yao: Star could be out 4-6 months after his foot surgery
NBA Watch
Suns vs. Kings: Ron Artest may talk big about the Kings being ready to topple the Suns in the first round of the playoffs, but with a chance to prove it at home, the Kings took it on the chin, 123-110.

After giving up 68 first-half points and falling behind by 17, the Suns broke off 72 points in the 2nd half (pulling even in the 3rd) to remind pundits about who they should be picking in this potential playoff series.

East 8 Watch: The Bulls beat the Nets to move into a tie for the East's 8th seed with idle Philly. (Tonight, the Nets play the East's other 8 contender, the 76ers, in a "transitive property" showdown.)

NBA playoff rosters expand to 13, with one player deactivated on game day. Show me the team that needs that 12th/13th player to contribute to a win, and I'll show you an early playoff exit.

Tonight: Cavs at Pistons. Not just a preview of a potential conference semifinal playoff matchup, but Detroit's chance to match the '88-89 title team for most regular-season wins in team history.

MLB Wrap
Derek Jeter! Derek Jeter! Derek Jeter! (There: Are you squealing Jeter fans happy now? It was just a simple 3-run HR in the 8th to take the lead and lead the Yankees to their 9th straight home-opening W. Call me back when it's Game 7 of the 2006 World Series and he's won something.)

Puckett honored: Perhaps inspired by pregame and in-game tributes to Kirby Puckett, the Twins held off the A's for a 7-6 win in their home opener. There's a "34" painted in CF for the first home stand.

Give me "Bronson on Bronson": Arroyo now has two more home runs this season than Bonds, not to mention a 2nd straight win over the Cubs to start the season. If only every game was against Glendon Rusch.

BoSox newbies first impression: In the Fenway opener, Josh Beckett chalked up another win, Mike Lowell went 4-for-4 and Quickie fave Adam Stern had a team-high 2 RBI. Quick way to ingratiate yourselves with fans.

Today's Stud: Brad Hawpe. Unknown Rockies RF a single from the cycle with 4 RBI in Colorado's win over Arizona (in last 2 G: 6/9, 7 RBI, 2 HR, 2 3B).

Check out the Morning Quickie weekdays from 9 a.m. ET on SportsNation to nominate your own MLB Studs (and Duds!)

Calipari Nixes NC State
I'm kind of impressed with John Calipari's loyalty to his Memphis assistants, which is reportedly the reason he turned down a sweet offer to jump to NC State, despite ... well, let's review:

• Better conference
• Better program "brand"
• Much more money

The fact is: Calipari will never have a better situation at Memphis than this past season -- Top 5 team, conference champ, NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed. Yet he was still marginalized as managing a second-tier program.

(Curious why NC State got hung up on compensating Cal's assistants. When you're making a multimillion dollar play for a big-name coach, isn't the rest just details?)

NFL Draft Watch
Are the Jets looking to trade up from the 4th pick to the No. 2 spot to get their choice of QBs? Todd McShay says the Jets have a derby set up to evaluate the Big Three.

But I'm with McShay: Didn't rookie coach Eric Mangini learn from the Genius that stockpiling is preferred to trading away picks for top-of-draft movement? (And didn't the Pats prove that 1st-round QBs couldn't be more overrated?!)

Duke LaX Update
"This case is not going away," says DA Mike Nifong, who asserts that DNA testing will not make or break his case in the Duke lacrosse investigation.

But the DNA results trumpeted by the players' lawyers on Monday beg the question of whether national attention will be going away.

That doesn't make the story any less serious; it just means it might lose much of the momentum of national outrage driving it the last month.

Cincinnati Reds:
Lose two minor league pitchers (among four overall) to 50-game bans from MLB for violating the drug policy, one for enhancers and one for "abuse" drugs.
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
Klosterman: Bonds
Page 2 Index
5 More Post-'94
MLB Moments
Gonzo's GW WS bloop
Ends Yankee dynasty? ('01)
Jeter's backhand
Gotta hate the Yankees ('01)
Middle name: "Bleepin'" ('03)
Ripken ASG HR
Hits it in final showcase ('01)
Bonds' 73
You were cheering then ('01)

Jamie Dixon on his sister Maggie: "She saw the good in everyone. She made everyone around her a better person. She made me a better person. I've said this before -- when I grow up I want to be just like her."

As long as Muhammad Ali was selling his marketing rights, he could have done a lot worse than getting $50 million and selling to the company that manages "American Idol."

There's a mystery in Memphis surrounding the brutal death of Logan Young, the Bama booster convicted of bribing a high school coach to send a player there.

First order of business for Jeff Capel at Oklahoma: Clean up the recruiting mini-scandal left behind by Kelvin Sampson. Next: Restock talent.

Congrats to Cal-Berkeley for winning the 2006 national collegiate quiz bowl championship held Saturday in College Park, Md. No rioting expected.

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