August 21, 2003
Red Sox ace
Pedro Martinez:

Rare "save" opportunity for Pedro tonight -- as in "save the Red Sox season" by beating the A's, now up two games for AL Wild Card.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

"Jeer Guy for the Buckeye":

Test scores that may have been altered are just the latest signal supporting this prediction: Off-field distractions (if not actual infractions) will derail the Buckeyes' season, starting as early as their opener.

Whether or not Mo Clarett plays in the first game (coach says unlikely, and if you buy that, there's some Enron stock I'd like to sell you), the Buckeyes are primed to be shocked by Washington, followed by half the Big Ten, looking for karma payback from last year.

So who will supplant as new champs? The dull pick? Oklahoma. The trendy pick? Arizona State. The don't-say-I-didn't-tell-you pick? Wisconsin.

Baseball Roundup
* SF pulled out a second straight last-gasp win over the Braves. Our SABR fans might cringe, but there has to be a correlation between late-inning dramatic wins and playoff prospects.

* The Cubs pulled within a half-game of Houston in the NL Central after Mark Prior pitched seven scoreless innings. Just a casual glance at the Cubs' September schedule shows 20 winnable games to end the season. A stay in Chicago might be fuzzing my brain, but the Cubs look great for the playoffs.

* The AL Central is just as fun as the NL version: The White Sox moved into a tie for first with the Royals (unlucky enough to be playing New York); the Twins are just a half-game behind. Whew.

Wie Watch
Want a preview of what men's golf in five years will look like every weekend? Check out young teen Michelle Wie on the men's Canadian Tour today. Don't expect her to do any damage; she's exhausted from a crazy summer and this is her first tournament vs. pro guys. But here's a bet she outdrives at least a few dudes.

1 A's/BoSox 3: Sick P duel, Pedro vs. prodigy Rich Harden
2 LLWS: Saugus (Mass.)/Richmond Tex.; Tokyo/Mex. City
3 NFL Cowboys vs. Steelers: Judge Zereoue for yourself
1 Mariano Rivera: Reputation sinking faster than cutter
2 Baylor hoops: Done. All players given pass to transfer
3 Pete Sampras: Retirement imminent, reportedly (NYTimes)
USA Hoops
What stands out about this team from, say, last year's screw-ups? Balance. Seven guys in double figures, led by the world's best player (Tim Duncan, 17 pts). Still holding to rule that key to U.S. success is that AI holds his shots down and keeps his assists up.

Bettis Demoted
The wheels on the Bus... just fell off. The Steelers put rising RB Amos Zereoue at the top of the depth chart, displacing Jerome Bettis, who looks more like a promising applicant for the Emmitt Smith School of Finishing Your Career With Another Team.

Kobe Update
If the judge unseals key court docs (which he said Wednesday he could decide on by Friday), here's the dilemma: It can't possibly be in the defendant's interest, but if "public interest" means "intense, selfish curiosity," these docs qualify.

What, no scandal this year? Suburban parents' suspicion must just be a Harlem thing. Meanwhile, Curacao (N. Antilles) and Boynton Beach (Fla.) won their semifinal games to advance to Saturday's international and U.S. finals.

Don King TV
Promoter plans to launch 24-hour cable net. As always, ready with programming ideas: "Law and Order: My Favorite Depositions" ... "Queer Eye for the Hair Guy" ... "Magnanimaciousness: After-School SAT Vocab-Building" ... "Pardon My Own Interruption" ...

Jeff Weaver:
Exiled from Yankees' starting rotation (for Jose Contreras, another gem) and maybe booted back to minors.
Today on
P2: Vick vs. Bo
CFB: Heisman Watch
MLB: AL MVP debate
"CFB Hot/Not" Edition
Hot: Ducks' bright yellow
Coaching search
Not Hot: SEC
Bandwagon team
Not Hot: Iowa
Retro jersey
Hot: Kirk Herbstreit
Hot: Auburn's tiger

How does re-signing Reggie Miller help Pacers' status as "up-and-coming?" And why didn't Reggie join Lakers on the cheap? ...

NASCAR's heavy hand: Jimmy Spencer's suspension appeal denied, but his team rightfully wants Kurt "Caught on Tape" Busch docked too ...

14-y.o. soccer star Freddy Adu could ink a pro deal within a month, Wash. Post reporting. Yes, it will be huge ...

Congrats to scrappy U.S. women's gymnastics squad, which took gold at the world championships ...

Suggested slogan for Anna K's new bra line, launching this week: "Your girlfriend can look like me" ...

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