May 15, 2006
Justin Gatlin:
World's Fastest Man: While everyone in sports was concentrating on "714," Gatlin made "9.76" the weekend's hottest number.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
D'OH.  CANADA.

What kind of moronic fans boo any national anthem, let alone the anthem of our wonderfully benign neighbors to the North?

Apparently, Sharks fans do.

It's not just disrespectful; it makes all sports fans in the U.S. look bad. (Hey, Canadians: The rest of us love you! Please continue to bring us fantastic indie rock music, Don Cherry and cheap prescription meds!)

San Jose fans inspired me with their ridiculous jeering (almost as much as they inspired the visiting Oilers).

Listen to "O Canada" here and sing along with my lyrics about the fans below:

"Boo Canada!"

Boo Canada!
So hated by Sharks fans!
But it's no patriot love...
...to rip another's land!

Fans show no heart...
...But they get a rise
From Oilers vi-si-ting!

But an act so snide,
Sharks fans are so dumb:
It's only motivating!

God keep our ice...
...Jingoism-free!

Boo Canada?
It backfires miserably...

Boo San Jose!
Your team's now down 3-2!

Cassell Leads Clips
Remember when Clippers GM Elgin Baylor was a joke?

For all but a handful of the 20 years he has been in charge of the Clippers, Baylor was so mocked that he made Isiah Thomas look competent.

So it must be triply sweet for Baylor today:

• He has reportedly won NBA Executive of the Year, a prospect that would have been laughable a decade ago.

• His Clippers gutted out a series-tying win at home over the Suns last night.

• And it was Baylor's key offseason acquisition, Sam Cassell, who led them to it, scoring 28 pts with 11 rebounds and 9 assists.

What a strange, wonderful career for Cassell: He started as a brash super-sub on the two Rockets title teams.

But then he bounced around on five other NBA teams, alienating himself while injecting heart into an unlikely 2001 Bucks East finalist and in 2004 put soul into the only good team KG has ever been on.

Now, he's having arguably the best season of his career (even better than his 2nd-team All-NBA season in 2004), leading the NBA's most mocked franchise to a playoff run that has turned them into the darlings of the NBA.

Baylor might have won NBA Executive of the Year, but when he accepts the award, he can thank Cassell for making him look so smart.

Bonds Is Slumping
Is Barry Bonds cracking under the pressure to catch (and pass) Babe Ruth? Is this some sort of new Curse of the Bambino?

All theories are on the table, given the way Bonds couldn't hit a HR over six games in a weeklong home stand. He went 1/18 and is hitless in his last 15 at-bats.

Now, instead of passing Ruth in the friendly confines of home (getting less friendly every homerless game), he'll have to try to do it on the road in front of hostile fans.

(Tonight, Astros fans get to try to match the bar set two weeks ago by Philly fans. Innovative signs and chants are welcome.)

Meanwhile, I'm going to add "Pujols 74" to my near-daily "Bonds 714" Watch, inspired by Friday's Quickie lead argument.

Pujols hit his 19th HR on Saturday, making him the fastest ever to 19 HR. Even though he went homerless Sunday, he's still on pace for 83, more than enough cushion to still reach the Magic 74.

CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...
Dirk Nowitzki: Mavs' G3 hero will play despite bum ankle
Hurricanes: Shut down Devils, advance to East Conf. finals
Marion Jones: She's back! Wins 100 race with sizzling time
... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'
Ramonce Taylor: Texas RB charged with marijuana possession
Preakness field: Barbaro in a runaway? Field only 6 horses
Indy 500 qualifying: Rain postpones pole day to next week
 
MLB Wknd: Think Pink!
First-ever pink bat walk-off: After 3 Ks, Brewers SS Bill Hall hit a pink bat walk-off HR in the 10th to lead Milwaukee past the Mets, 6-5.

"My mom was here," Hall said. "She never let me give up, and I wasn't going to give up on the bat just because I was having a tough time."

More Pink Bat Mania: Mark Kotsay might want to consider hitting with a pink bat beyond Mother's Day. He was the first player of the day to hit a HR with the special-edition Mother's Day bat, in a 6-1 A's win over NY.

Speaking of the Yankees, their offense has been gutted, and the Big Unit continues to struggle: Randy Johnson allowed 4 ER (including 2 HR) in 6 IP, his 2nd straight loss and 4th straight ineffective outing.

Ryan Howard is Superman: Battling a bug, Howard hit a pinch-hit HR in the 8th, then followed up with another HR in the 12th, carrying the Phillies to their 13th win in 14 games.

(As for Phillies phenom Cole Hamels' debut? 7 K, 5 BB and 1 H in 5 IP. No doubt: He can be a strikeout machine. But keep an eye on that control; he threw 92 pitches, only 51 for strikes.)

Heat's "Big Four"
Who knew Miami had a "Big Four" of its own to more than overpower the Nets?

Sure, there's Shaq and Wade (31 pts, 8 ast, 7 reb), but throw into the mix Antoine Walker and Udonis Haslem, who combined for 40 points on 15/22 FG.

(The Nets have been reduced to the "Big Zero." As in: Vince Carter was 0-for-7 on 3-pointers as the team shot 4/20, 42 pct FG shooting overall.)

With a 3-1 lead heading back to Miami after a two-game sweep in New Jersey, Miami is suddenly showing the life (and depth) to close out the series in Game 5 Tuesday night.

'Sheed Says "W"
Pistons at Cavs (DET up 2-1): You have to love Rasheed Wallace, who was obviously so miffed by the Pistons' surprising loss to the Cavs on Saturday that he used subtle analysis to imply tonight's result:

"I know we're going to win it. We're going to bust their [butts]. Tomorrow night is the last game here in this building for this year," 'Sheed said Sunday.

"It ain't bulletin board material, it's a fact. They can put it on the bulletin board. They can put it on a video." Hey: They can put it in the Daily Quickie!

What does it say about the measure of respect fans have for the Pistons (or the intimidation they feel from Wallace) that not only does he get away with that but also everyone nods their heads and says, "Well, you know, he does have a point."

More NBA Tonight:
Spurs at Mavs (DAL up 2-1): Who would have guessed that the most pivotal player in the series would be suddenly unstoppable Mavs PG Devin Harris (22 ppg, 35 mpg, 54 pct FG in Games 2/3).

Considering the way he's eclipsing Tony Parker (40 pct FG, only 5 assists in Games 2/3), maybe Harris should be the one with the hot Hollywood girlfriend.

Larry Brown Out?
Or should that be "Buyout?" With news that the Knicks are contemplating paying off Larry Brown not to coach, it's rare to see such a confluence of amazingly good and horribly bad decisions in one story:

Isiah Thomas: Best move ever! Isiah has made some truly awful moves in his career, but excising Brown from what has been a terrible fit from the start would be the smartest of Thomas' career.

Isiah: Worst move ever! And yet, Isiah reverts back to dumb decision making. Rumor is that he'll take over coaching the team himself. If you thought the team couldn't get any worse than last year, think again.

Larry Brown: Best move ever! His "Right Way" might have failed, but his "Right Pay" is going strong! Anytime you can get tens of millions of dollars to walk away from the worst franchise in sports (even if he helped make it that way), it's nothing but a phenomenal career move.

(And watch for Brown's cadre of apologists quickly to spin the story that last season was all Isiah's fault and had nothing to do with Brown's own ineffective coaching methods.)

Brown: Worst move ever! You'd think that Brown would have learned his lesson -- his methods are archaic, his health is failing and he's better off in retirement.

But you just know that as soon as this deal is done (or even sooner!), the rumors about his next (lucrative) coaching job will fly.

Bush Wears No. 5
Wow, did Reggie Bush look cool wearing that No. 5 jersey at Saints minicamp.

If the NFL approves Bush's request to wear that single digit (normally RBs can't go that low numberwise), I predict it would easily be the best-selling jersey of the season -- and possibly the best-selling rookie jersey of all time.

That's not necessarily a reason to approve the "Bush exception": If the NFL lets Bush do it, the precedent is set that any player can do it. I've said before the NFL should do just that, but it's hard to believe the league would be interested in the projected flood of requests.

Meanwhile, good for Bush: He reportedly told his agent that he wants to get a deal done with the Saints quickly, without a holdout. I'm sure his agent was less-than-thrilled to hear that, but it's terrific for Bush's image.

Steve Nash:
Who made the best case for NBA MVP? How about Cassell? Nash folds under the double-team, scoring only 8 points on 3-of-11 FG shooting.
 
 
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
NBA Daily Dime
Page 2 Index
 
NFL's "Randle El-ish" Rookies to Watch
Brad Smith
Jets' Mangini is creative
 
Michael Robinson
New weapon for 49ers' Smith
 
Reggie McNeal
Gets out of V. Young's shadow
 
Marques Hagans
Rams tap ex-UVA scrambler
 
Marcus Vick
That is, if he's in the NFL
 

At least someone is topping Babe Ruth: Luis Gonzalez passed Babe on the all-time doubles list; 38th place is all his. Gonzo on Gonzo!

Ty Law returning to the Pats? DB brought in for a physical, according to a report in the Boston Herald. Let's get the old gang back together again.

NFL rookie trend to watch: Everyone wants a "Randle El." QB-turned-WRs Reggie McNeal (Bengals) and Brad Smith (Jets) were minicamp intrigues.

Speaking of Isiah, the New York Post has a rumor that he's trying to trade a No. 1 pick and one of the Knicks' guards to the Bulls for Ben Gordon.

Is Doug Flutie going to retire this week or announce he's returning for a final year? If he retires, is there any doubt he can head for TV?

Marcus Vick Watch: Dolphins reportedly interested in giving him a free-agent contract (mainly as a WR). CFL's Toronto wants to make him a QB.

Vick might be torn: On the one hand, how could he turn down the NFL? On the other, how could he pass up a "Ricky-Vicky" CFL backfield?



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