June 7, 2006
Tadd Fujikawa:
A teenage Hawaiian DID qualify for the U.S. Open after all. The 15-year-old (boy) beat out a small field to earn a spot at Winged Foot. Go Tadd!
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Forget the "lasting memory" for Lake County CF Johnny Drennen, the 19-year-old who hit a home run off Roger Clemens:

What about the windshield wiper fluid?!

If Clemens provided any highlights in his "One Night Only!" stop in Lexington, Ky., it was that his strikeout in the 3rd inning earned all fans in attendance free wiper fluid as part of a regular Legends promotion (then he got one more K for good measure).

Clemens didn't even know about it until his son, Koby, alerted him to it at the top of the 3rd. Frankly, if Clemens threw the K's motivated simply by the wiper- fluid giveaway (and because he could), I respect him now more than ever.

It's not exactly calling a home-run shot, but it was, by far, the most entertaining detail of the night: What a classic "You Know You're a Redneck Minor League Baseball Fan" moment.

Free wiper fluid might not top the Legends' Mullet Night from May or Baby Shower Night in July, but I'm pretty sure fans weren't cheering the giveaway anyway.

(Although you have to ask if there's enough fluid to go around: The listed capacity of the Legends' stadium is 6,017; last night, they announced 9,222. If nothing else, local drivers will sport sparkly windshields.)

Next up on the Clemens Tour: Playing for the Astros' AA team in Corpus Christi on Sunday. The Hooks sold out the game within hours and have already started selling No. 22 Clemens jerseys.

But I wonder if the Hooks are still planning to give away the Sammy Seagull bobblehead that night, as previously scheduled? I'm guessing they won't need the promotion to get fans in the door.

If Clemens wants to re-retire from MLB after this season, it's obvious he has a bright future as a minor league novelty: He can be the Max Patkin of the 21st century, filling parks with his brand of gentle jolliness.

Looking Grim-sley
If MLB wanted fans to forget about the teensy HGH loophole in the new and "improved" drug-testing policy, they're freaked now:

Investigators searched the house of the Dickensian named D-Backs reliever Jason Grimsley, looking for evidence related to distribution of HGH in MLB.

The details are wild: Grimsley was allegedly busted for receiving a shipment of HGH back in April; at the time, investigators got Grimsley to talk, revealing details of widespread HGH, amphetamine and 'roid use in baseball.

And here's the part that should have MLB players a little freaked:

Grimsley named names.

After singing earlier this spring, Grimsley has clammed up. But isn't it just a matter of time before someone leaks the names of the specific players Grimsley fingered? Actually, that's not a question; that's a request.

(Of course, fans have shown no traction in caring about the ongoing steroids scandal, so it remains to be seen whether this is BIG! Or just big.)

Previous to this, Grimsley was best-known for his leading role in the infamous 1994 Bat Burglary involving Albert Belle and an allegedly corked bat that was taken away by umps for examination by the league.

Grimsley was the player who crawled through a Comiskey A/C duct to reach the room where the confiscated bat had been secured. Looking back, the idea of corked bats and improv burglaries seems so quaint.

Arizona: Sweeps Northwestern for 7th NCAA softball title
Eric Gagne: Records first save in a year in win over Mets
Craig Hansen: Touted Red Sox RHP called up from Pawtucket
Venus Williams: Last U.S. player bounced from French Open
Roy Oswalt: As Rocket shines, Astros ace put on 15-day DL
Shaq as Mav: Cuban says trade rumor "wasn't close at all"
MLB Draft
Big Winner: Luke Hochevar, the RHP from Tennessee who went No. 1 overall. Of course, he went to the Royals, so both "big" and "winner" are relative.

(The big question: If Hochevar was willing to turn down a multimillion dollar offer a year ago from a big-market club like the Dodgers, what makes the Royals think they can smoothly sign the Scott Boras client now?)

Big Loser: Kyle Drabek. Widely regarded as the most talented player in the draft pool, he slid all the way to the Phillies at No. 18 because of concerns about his, um, attitude.

Still Waiting: Which team will draft Jeffrey Maier? Or Danny Almonte? The drafting of either will get more pub than any other draftee, including Hochevar. What does that say?

(I'll tell you what it says: It says fans love our "Where Are They Now?" file cases more than we care about all-but-anonymous, years-from-contributing talent.)

MLB Hit List
Schmidt ties record: 16 Ks matches 102-year-old franchise record held by the legendary Christy Mathewson.

If I was Jason, I would have "holds same record as Christy Mathewson" legally added to my name (though there are some revisionist SABR-ish rumblings about Matty's status on the All-Time Great rankings.)

Felix vs. Francisco: "King" won the rematch of AL pitching prodigies (Liriano outdueled Hernandez on 5/26), with 5 K's and 1 ER in 7 IP in a Mariners win. (Liriano: 3 K, 3 ER, 7 IP.) Rubber match anyone?

Cole Hamels gets 1st W: But is anyone else still disturbed by the Philly rookie ace's pitch-count problem? Yesterday, he threw 90 pitches in less than 6 innings. I guess it's an improvement: He HAD averaged 99 pitches in his 2 other starts (11 IP).

"Write In Rios!" update: 2-run HR lifts Jays past O's. He went 2/5, lifting his AL-best average to .359. Come on: You KNOW you want to write him into the AL All-Star starting lineup!

NBA Finals
Much is being made of Dwyane Wade missing his second straight Heat practice yesterday, due to the same flu that has been nagging him since before Game 6 last Friday.

But does anyone really think that not practicing is going to slow Wade down? The guy was hooked to an IV last week and STILL had a great game. This stuff is all fodder, set-up for a legend-making Game 1.

My Bad: '99 Knicks
In Monday's Quickie, I argued that Mavs-Heat represents the best NBA Finals matchup since the last Jordan Finals in 1998, because it's the first pairing since then of TWO provocative teams in the Finals.

I also argued that there were 5 teams since '99 that were anywhere near as provocative as these two: The 4 Lakers teams... and the '99 Knicks.

There was some reader outrage: Without question, the '99 Knicks weren't a particularly good Finals opponent; that series was turribull.

I included the Knicks because the argument was about entertaining or interesting teams: The Knicks were the first 8-seed to reach the Finals and featured the redemption of classic NBA bad boy Latrell Sprewell.

However, I obviously projected my own experience living in NYC at the time -- with all of the city's hoopla -- as NATIONAL interest, of which there was little. That Knicks team had less of a chance than the '01 Sixers.

And so, as far as naming the most interesting Finals teams since 1999, I should NOT have included the '99 Knicks. MY BAD.

World Cup Mania
Let's play the Match Game, World Cup Edition!

Match country to nickname:
(Can you spot the fake one?)

1. Angola
2. Australia
3. Ivory Coast
4. England
5. Ghana
6. Saudi Arabia
7. Togo
8. Trinidad and Tobago
9. Tunisia
10. Brazil

A. Black Stars
B. The Eagles of Carthage
C. The Elephants
D. Sons of the Desert
E. Socceroos
F. Black Impalas
G. The Little Canaries
H. The Three Lions
I. Sparrow Hawks
J. Soca Warriors
K. Little Giants

The takeaway: Even if you don't know anything about soccer, you can SOUND like you do by developing a mastery of team nicknames.

Reading Tonight
For all of you in NYC, I'll be hosting a sports-themed reading series tonight at Happy Ending Bar (302 Broome Street). Doors open at 7:30, and authors include Jonathan Mahler on the '77 Yankees, Joe Drape on horse racing and David Hirshey on the World Cup. Consider yourself invited! (And it's free!)

Kyle Boller:
"Kyle Boller is our starting [QB]," Brian Billick said. OK, who's ready now to put their bet on Steve McNair being the starter in September?
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie Live
Forde on Clemens
Page 2 Index
Top 5 AL MLB All-Star Vote-Getters
Derek Jeter (765K)
Day-to-day with hand injury
Vlad Guerrero (745)
Only non NYY/BOS starter?
Manny Ramirez (738)
Just voters being voters
David Ortiz (631)
At 1B, even though he's a DH
Johnny Damon (529)
No! Write in Alex Rios!

NHL Tonight: How will the Oilers respond to the crushing way they lost G1, not to mention the loss of hot G Roloson to injury? His replacement is TBD.

Who is really the World's Fastest Man? We'll find out in a race for bragging rights between Asafa Powell and Justin Gatlin on July 28 in London.

NBA Draft: What does it say that the most compelling story at the predraft camp in Orlando is the frosty relationship between Isiah and Larry Brown?

Congrats to Montgomery H.S. (Rockville, Md.) on winning the National H.S. Quiz Bowl title. My alma mater, Walt Whitman H.S. (Bethesda, Md.), finished 16th. D'oh.

After a 2nd straight week of dominance by the evil "Axis of All-Stars" in the MLB AL All-Star balloting, I have a plan. More details coming soon.

Don't forget to sign up for the Quickie's Germany Cup Pick 'Em office pool. Look for the group name "Daily Quickie Readers." No password needed!

Answers to the World Cup Match Game Quiz: 1-F, 2-E, 3-C, 4-H, 5-A, 6-D, 7-I, 8-J, 9-B, 10-G. (Fake nickname: K)

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