Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and offering opinions. We'll collect the daily highlights and create a running file throughout the week to measure The Pulse of SportsNation on a wide variety of issues. Check this page every day for an update of what the 'Nation is saying.
Friday's Big Questions
1. Are you ready for the NFL draft?
After weeks of preparation and quite possibly literal tons of mock drafts, it's time for the NFL draft. And we couldn't possibly cover all of SportsNation's prognostications and interaction in a space this small. So check out our special NFL draft edition of the Pulse.
"Even though we are committed to instant history around here, when it comes to the draft, it is useful to take a little bit longer view. Here are the top 10 from the 2003 draft: 1. Carson Palmer, 2. Charles Rogers, 3. Andre Johnson, 4. Dewayne Robertson, 5. Terence Newman, 6. Johnathan Sullivan, 7. Byron Leftwich, 8. Jordan Gross, 9. Kevin Williams, 10. Terrell Suggs. What do we see? Some real studs and some real duds. And that's just in the first 10 picks, who should be the surest things!"
Moe (Divonne) in Dan Shanoff's Morning Quickie chat
Thursday's Big Questions
1. Why is Kobe Bryant changing his number?
2. What should happen to Delmon Young?
It's too bad Kobe Bryant is changing his uniform number next season, because his dunk over Steve Nash on Wednesday night was prime poster material.
On the same day that we learned the Lakers have informed the NBA that Bryant will ditch his current No. 8 jersey for a No. 24 edition next season, Bryant proved once again why he's the kind of player for whom such a decision warrants media coverage. With 29 points (on efficient 12-for-24 shooting), 10 rebounds and five assists, Bryant led the Lakers to a win in the second game of their first-round series against the Suns.
What does SportsNation think? First of all, voters think Bryant, and not coach Phil Jackson, deserves the most credit for the team's surprising success this season. Not surprisingly, considering that, voters still think Bryant is a more deserving MVP than Nash, who apparently will win the award for the second year in a row.
And as for the jersey? Most people chalk it up to either Kobe's new image or a blast from his past.
55% Kobe Bryant deserves more credit for Lakers' success than Phil Jackson or the supporting cast
Which player would get your vote for NBA MVP?
37% Kobe Bryant
25% Steve Nash
22% LeBron James
Why is Bryant changing his number?
29% To help his new image
22% Because he wore 24 in high school
18% To "one-up" Jordan and LeBron
17% To honor "24" character Jack Bauer
14% To increase jersey sales
Check out what chatters had to say about Bryant's future number change:
Kobe's changing his number for the same reason he was seriously considering signing with the Clippers. It is something no one would expect him to do.
Patrick (Glendale, Calif.)
I don't know why he is changing his number to 24 ,but he should change it to 81 because No. 8 is No. 1 and because of that magical game against the Raptors.
Jacob (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
He's changing his number to 24 because he is the successor to Jordan. Then LeBron will change his number to 25 because he will succeed Kobe.
It's for each second in the shot clock. It means the whole possession, the ball will be in Kobe's hands.
Kyle (Washington, D.C.)
Kobe is changing his number to 24 in honor of the only player to get snubbed as bad as he did in the MVP voting: Rick Barry.
In the end, Delmon Young might end up being the best thing that ever happened to striking minor-league umpires. After all, how many fans knew minor-league teams were using replacement umps this season before Young tossed his bat at one of the replacements on Wednesday? Upset with a called third strike, Young, according to reports, flipped his bat end-over-end, striking the umpire but not injuring him.
Thursday, the International League suspended Young indefinitely and the Devil Rays spoke out against the actions of their top prospect, but what should happen? Voters think throwing a bat at an umpire ought to result in a season-long suspension, and even if the nature of Young's toss softens the punishment, voters still think he should get at least 20 games.
70% Throwing a bat or a ball at an umpire should trigger an automatic season-long suspension.
How many games should Delmon Young be suspended for throwing his bat at an umpire in a minor-league game?
37% The entire season
28% More than 20 games
19% 11-20 games
12% 1-10 games
3% No suspension
Give Young 25 games, because it was only a replacement umpire. It would be 50 had it been one of the real umpires.
TJ (Portland, Maine)
Somebody let Delmon know when spring training starts next year, so he isn't late rejoining the team.
A 25-game suspension. I'm sure we're all imagining it to be a lot worse than it was.
Fifty games minimum and anger management classes. At least it will end any speculation about him playing for the D-Rays this year.
Ten games, because it sounds like it was more petulant than violent. More like Alomar spitting than anything else, and what did he get?
In Young's defense, with the REAL minor league umps on strike, "Johnny McFake Ump" was probably blowing over 50 percent of the calls. I'd be frustrated, too, if I was trying to crack into the big leagues.
Matt (New York)
I say 30 games. It's minor league, so there are less regular season games. Plus, he flipped it at him. If he threw it forcefully, it would have been half the season or all of it.
Jake (Virginia Beach)
Give him 30 games. On the other hand, Tampa Bay should be suspended for keeping him in the minors for the exclusive purpose of not wanting to start him on the free-agent clock. He should have been in the majors the beginning of last year.
Ephraim R. (Maple Shade, N.J.)
If it was a casual flip, I'd go with like 30-40 games. If he threw it at him really hard, then gone for at least one year, and I'd lean toward two years. Give me a break, you can't be throwing the bat at an ump. You know how many times I went down looking? A LOT, and I didn't agree with them all. But it never once crossed my mind to throw my bat. Little kids don't do that.
Wednesday's Big Questions
1. What does Brett Favre's return mean?
2. How did the SportsNation's mock draft wrap up?
Favre is coming back
Brett Favre is coming back for another season, but is that a good thing for the Packers?
As ESPN's own Chris Mortensen first reported, Favre will put an end to an offseason of drama by returning for his 16th season in the NFL. The Packers haven't made a lot of big free-agent splashes, contrary to what their veteran quarterback may desired, but he'll be under center again this year.
What does SportsNation think? Well, not a lot of folks are buying that the future looks bright with Favre at the helm of a team that struggled a great deal last season, but that murky present looks better than the dismal future. While an overwhelming majority of voters don't expect Favre to reach the playoffs, they appear even less sold on Aaron Rodgers as the answer when Favre does retire for good.
81% Favre and Packers will not make the playoffs this season
76% Favre playing one more season is best for the Packers
59% Aaron Rodgers will not be a success when he eventually takes over
Who are the top quarterbacks for the upcoming season?
1. Peyton Manning
2. Tom Brady
3. Ben Roethlisberger
4. Carson Palmer
5. Brett Favre
Who are the top quarterbacks of all time?
1. Joe Montana
2. Dan Marino
3. John Elway
4. Brett Favre
5. Johnny Unitas
Check out what chatters had to say about Favre's return in Dan Shanoff's Morning Quickie:
There aren't five teams in the league that would take Brett Favre if he was a free agent. This guy is a joke; I don't understand why he mistakes himself for Elway when Elway was winding his career down.
I like the fact that the GM stuck to his guns with the rebuilding plan and didn't cave to Favre's demands to sign expensive free agent. They're going to stink for the next couple years anyway.
Terrible decision to bring Favre back. Green Bay should have taken control and released him quietly. He was a great player, but he is hindering the long-term growth of the organization and the QB position. Shame on Green Bay for letting one person control them.
Dougie Fresh (Washington, D.C.)
Thank goodness this is over. I am happy for the Packers that it was pre-draft, so they can actually plan. Even though he only gave them three days.
Jake (Virginia Beach)
Brett's numbers in 2004 are close to his numbers in 1997. If McCarthy keeps him restrained, and the offense doesn't suffer a ton of injuries again, I see no reason why he won't be 25/15/3000-plus this season. With a lousy NFC North, the Packers probably win the division if they stay healthy and get some good players in the draft.
Christian (High Point, N.C.)
Maybe this is Green Bay's way of dumping the season for the draft. As long as they are horrible, but Favre is there, they wouldn't get as much heat.
Did Aaron Rodgers wake up from that nightmare that was his draft day yet? Seems things just keep getting worse for him. Be interesting to see if Favre tried to convince Javon Walker to stay.
Favre still has gas left in the tank, and if the Pack can get D'Brickashaw Ferguson (which is a real possibility if the Titans take Vince Young), then they can have an improved O-line. Hey, in that division, where there are no great teams (don't try to sell me on a Rex Grossman-led Bears team) they could be in the mix. Why not go for it one more time? No way the Pack didn't want a Green Bay legend to come back.
DC (Altoona, Pa.)
SportsNation's mock draft came to a close on Wednesday. Here's who SportsNation would pick for the final three teams in the first round:
Who should the Colts select at No. 30?
42% Joseph Addai, RB
28% Brian Calhoun, RB
13% Kamerion Wimbley, DE/LB
12% DeMeco Ryans, LB
4% Davin Joseph, G
Who should the Jaguars select at No. 31?
25% Donte Whitner, S
25% Max Jean-Gilles, G
22% Kamerion Wimbley, DE/LB
18% Johnathan Joseph, CB
9% Richard Marshall, CB
Who should the Steelers select at No. 32?
31% Jason Allen, S/CB
28% Kamerion Wimbley, DE/LB
16% Manny Lawson, DE/LB
13% Gabe Watson, DT
11% Max Jean-Gilles, G
All of you act like the draft is actually going to help your team significantly. Bottom line: The Seahawks will beat out the Giants in the NFC championship and take back what was stolen from us. It's so close, I can smell the Lombardi Trophy. No ref In the league can deny us this year. It's time for revenge.
The Colts only draft players from the Big 10 in the first two rounds (look back and check). If Maroney is off the board, don't think they will take a RB just for the sake of replacing James. Dominic Rhodes can play. They also have needs at LB, OG, and CB or a trade down is possible.
I can't believe SportsNation really thinks the Colts will draft Joseph Addai, the RB out of LSU, with their first-round pick. They are looking for somebody to replace Edge. The only RB they will take in the first round would be Maroney, because Williams and Bush obviously won't be available. If Maroney is not available, they will most likely go for a LB. They won't waste a first-round pick on the RB from LSU.
I honestly believe that Wimbley will be a top-15 pick at the very least. It's unbelievable that he is still on the board. He is a very good athlete and the fact that he could be used as a linebacker should only strengthen his stock. I think the only reason he is still on the board is because he has yet to prove that he can play linebacker. That being said, I still feel that with his ability, a team picking in the top 15 will be unable to pass him up.
Tuesday's Big Questions
1. What's next for Reggie Bush?
2. Which NHL team will be upset in the first round?
3. Who comes off the board in SportsNation's mock draft?
Is Reggie in trouble?
Reggie Bush was motoring through the draft process and avoiding bumps in the road on his way to being the No. 1 overall pick, then came the revelation that his immediate family had been living -- possibly rent-free -- in a home owned by a San Diego businessman.
The details are sketchy but there is enough concern that the USC, the NCAA, the Pac-10 conference and possible NFL suitors are putting the arrangement under a microscope. What does it all mean for Bush? He could be forced to vacate school records he set at USC or even give back his Heisman Trophy, and some have even suggested he could lose is status as the sure No. 1 pick.
What does SportsNation think? He is by far the top pick as the biggest impact player in the draft and eight of ten voters would still take Bush with the top pick but opinion differs on who should pay if wrongdoings are uncovered. SN thinks USC should be punished if rules are deemed to have been broken but believes Bush should keep his Heisman Trophy.
59% Bush should keep his Heisman even if his parents broke NCAA rules
64% USC should be punished if Bush's parents broke NCAA rules
80% Would still draft Bush with the No. 1 overall pick
Which player will have the biggest impact in the NFL?
46% Reggie Bush
21% Mario Williams
18% Vince Young
10% Matt Leinart
5% Jay Cutler
Check out what chatters had to say about Bush's situation in Dan Shanoff's Morning Quickie:
Did you see the Reggie Bush interviews on NFL Live and later on PTI? His answers were identical! At least his agent/attorney prepared him well. I still think this is a non-story that is getting way too much pub.
If my parents moved into a swank house right around the time I won a Heisman, I wouldn't suspect anything. Nope. Not me.
Tom (Parkville, MD)
It's a non-factor for Bush, but it could be a big factor for the USC football program if the Pac-10 or NCAA decides to
"make an example" of USC
Tom (Framingham, MA)
I want to say no biggie, but something doesn't seem right. I'll go with potentially big, but a non-factor until the truth comes out. That sounds like a wait-and-see to me.
No big deal. Another situation where breaking a rule and what is right are two different things. The NCAA rule isn't logical. It was a recruiting tool. The agent was trying to sign Bush for the pros. Leave USC out of it.
Jake (VA Beach)
On the NHL front, four series resume Tuesday night and all are tied at one game apiece. No. 1 seeds Detroit and Ottawa are in Edmonton and Tampa Bay, respectively, while No. 4 Nashville heads to No. 5 San Jose and No. Calgary is at No. 6 Anaheim. So which top seed is headed home? Nashville tops the list but both Detroit and Ottawa got at least 20 percent of the vote.
Which series currently tied 1-1 is most likely to produce an upset?
32% Nashville vs. San Jose
28% Detroit vs. Edmonton
22% Ottawa vs. Tampa Bay
18% Calgary vs. Anaheim
DUD: The time the Wings game starts tonight, 10 p.m. I'll be tired tomorrow morning.
Mike (The D)
STUD: I want to give a general stud to the NHL for making what was a very bad product two years ago the most interesting show on TV right now.
Be sure and tune in tonight to watch Edmonton play the style of hockey that ruined the NHL in the first place!
SportsNation's mock draft is nearing its conclusion and the Panthers, Jaguars and Jets were on the clock Tuesday. Here's who SportsNation would pick for those teams:
Who should the Panthers select at No. 27?
46% LenDale White, RB
28% Laurence Maroney, RB
9% Kamerion Wimbley, DE/LB
9% Donte Whitner, S
8% Nick Mangold, C
Who should the Jaguars select at No. 28?
43% Laurence Maroney, RB
17% DeMeco Ryans, LB
16% Kamerion Wimbley, DE/LB
15% Donte Whitner, S
10% Manny Lawson, DE
Who should the Jets select at No. 29?
36% Nick Mangold, C
18% Kamerion Wimbley, DE/LB
17% DeMeco Ryans, LB
15% Manny Lawson, DE
14% Donte Whitner, S
LenDale White is a perfect fit for the Panthers The 'ol 1-2 punch with DeShaun Foster
The Jaguars do not need another running back. Drafting Laurence Maroney would be pointless. Johnathan Joseph would make more sense with this pick.
Jets passing on Mario Williams to pick Vince Young with the 4th pick? I think all of you who picked the Jets to take Young are nuts. The Jets should pick Super Mario with the 4th pick and an lineman like Nick Mangold with their 29th pick.
Monday's Big Questions
1. What's next for LeBron and the NBA playoffs?
2. Should Keith Hernandez be fired for his comments?
3. Will the Bengals, Giants and Bears draft offensive playmakers?
Will James score another triple-double?
The NBA playoffs started over the weekend, with the playoff debut of LeBron James in Cleveland. James was in seventh grade the last time the Cavaliers made the playoffs in 1998. Cleveland waited eight long, cold years for a return to the NBA playoffs and King James put on quite a show in the Cavs' 96-87 win over the Washington Wizards.
His 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists made the Cleveland star the first player to record a triple-double in 26 years by someone making his NBA playoff debut. James joins Magic Johnson (13 points, 12 rebounds, 16 assists in 1980 with the L.A. Lakers) and Johnny McCarthy (13 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists in 1960 with the St. Louis Hawks) as the only players to accomplish the feat.
SportsNation enjoyed James' performance so much that it believes he will record another playoff triple-double before anyone else in the NBA.
Who is most likely to record the next triple-double in the playoffs?
56% LeBron James
16% Jason Kidd
10% Kobe Bryant
9% Steve Nash
9% Dwayne Wade
Which Eastern Conference team is most likely to score a first-round upset?
50% Pacers vs. Nets
23% Wizards vs. Cavaliers
22% Bulls vs. Heat
5% Bucks vs. Pistons
Check out what chatters had to say about LeBron and the NBA playoffs in Dan Shanoff's Morning Quickie chat:
So does that answer the question of what would LeBron do in the playoffs?
Welcome to the NBA playoffs King James!
John (Portland, ME)
Wow, LeBron sure had a difficult time adjusting to the playoffs. Like Magic Johnson.
Vik (Fort Myers, FL)
Stud: Lebron ... I'm a Wizards fan and I was enjoying the show he put on
I want to see LeBron tomorrow night. If he performs like that again he might take the Cavs further than anyone thought possible.
On Saturday, former Met player and current Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez rocked the boat a little bit with his on-the-air comments about a female San Diego Padres trainer. After Mike Piazza hit a home run and high-fived the Padres' Kelly Calabrese in the dugout, Hernandez said he won't say "that women belong in the kitchen, but they don't belong in the dugout."
Should Keith Hernandez be fired for his comments about women in the dugout?
Overblown media circus again. Granted, it probably was a joke better suited with buddies ... but it WAS a joke, he even said so immediately after. He even apologized to make sure. Move on.
Jake (Va. Beach)
Exactly how ignorant could he be? Keith, women have been trainers for years. There probably was one for the Mets when you played. Get with it.
Funny how someone's true colors come out when they are surprised. He should be suspended at a very minimum and more appropriately fired. If he hadn't kept at it I wouldn't be so tough, but he wouldn't let it go, so the Mets should let him go.
Everything he said was clearly very jovial, and nothing seemed mailicious or offensive. Like he said, get a sense of humor.
Biggest. Moron. Ever. Guys like him are the reason we still have gender and race issues in this country.
On Monday, SportsNation's NFL mock draft sizzled right along, moving into the late first round. There was a run on offensive weapons by the Bengals, Giants and Bears, with the 'Nation giving all three potential playmakers in the form of two very large, athletic tight ends and one of the quickest receiving prospects in the draft.
Who should the Bengals select at No. 24?
28% Leonard Pope, TE
23% Marcedes Lewis, TE
19% Kamerion Wimbley, DE/LB
18% Donte Whitner, S
12% Johnathan Joseph, CB
Who should the Giants select at No. 25?
38% Sinorice Moss, WR
18% Johnathan Joseph, CB
17% Donte Whitner, S
15% DeMeco Ryans, OLB
12% Kamerion Wimbley, DE/LB
Who should the Bears select at No. 26?
47% Marcedes Lewis, TE
20% Ashton Youboty, CB
12% Johnathan Joseph, CB
11% Donte Whitner, S
10% Kelly Jennings, CB
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Kamerion Wimbley is going to fall out of the first round in the SN mock draft because most fans don't know who he is, even though Scouts, Inc. has him rated 12th! And no, I have no idea why I care about this so much.
Even though there hasn't been much buzz around the NFL Draft, this might be the most interesting first round in a long time - lots of indecision and probably lots of people moving.
I just want to put it out there that I have completely no idea who's going where because they change the projections hourly.