The Pulse: Do you care about Beckham in America?

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 Question

1. Do you care about Beckham coming to America?

David Beckham will try to start a second career in Los Angeles.In any other country, it would be the biggest story of the year.

Think about it. A marquee athlete, among the most famous players in history, signs a gargantuan contract for a team that plays in the most glamorous area in the world. He immediately becomes the best player in the league and seeks to reinvent himself as the savior of an entire sport. Huge deal, right?

Just remember, this is soccer in America we're talking about. Beckham has his work cut out for him.

SportsNation is cautiously optimistic about Beckham having an impact, although a sizable contingent will watch more soccer now that he's around.

What have you watched more of in the last year?
38% English Premier League
36% I don't watch soccer
13% MLS
13.0% Other

How much have you watched David Beckham play?
47% A few games here and there
27% Only highlights
13% I've never seen Beckham in action
13% A lot

How will Beckham's arrival to MLS affect your interest in the league?
68% More interested
31% I wasn't a fan and still won't be
1% Less interested

How will Beckham fare with the Galaxy?
60% He will be among the top players in the league
31% He will be a solid player with average stats
9% He will disappoint

How will he impact the Galaxy?
47% Playoff team
28% Instant championship contenders
18% Make them slightly better
7% No impact

Is Beckham worth $250 million over 5 years?
66% No
34% Yes

Will soccer ever achieve the popularity it once had in the United States again?
55% Yes
45% No

Who are you more excited about moving to Los Angeles?
44% David Beckham
31% Victoria Beckham
25% Neither

What is England's best export?

43% The Beatles
18% Keira Knightley
11% Monty Python
10% Sacha Baron Cohen
10% The Rolling Stones
7% David Beckham
1% Jude Law

I'm as big of a Beckham fan as you'll likely find in America, but $50 million a year? Ridiculous. He'll give them an initial spike, but he's not the player he once was. He's a world class role player.
Bham, AL

I never got the impression Beckham was anything more than an all-star. I wouldn't watch an NBA game just to see Chris Bosh play.
Seattle, WA

Beckham brings MLS a new level of exposure, both nationally and internationally. Don't you think that every Galaxy game will be one of the top stories on Sportscenter this season? Don't you think he'll have a LeBron/AI effect when the Galaxy play on the road (people will actually come to the game to see him).
Philadelphia, PA

Beckham to L.A. created ONE THOUSAND new season tickets sold... so as long as they each sold for *calculating...* $50,000 apiece, then it was a good decision...

Georgetown, KY

Thursday's Big Question

1. What do you think about Barry Bonds' positive drug test?

Barry Bonds tested positive for amphetamines in 2006.Amphetamines aren't quite steroids, but when the taker in question is Barry Bonds, the impact across baseball is just as widely-felt.

The New York Daily News reported that Bonds failed an amphetamines test in 2006, attributing it to an unknown substance he said he took from teammate Mark Sweeney. Sweeney has denied having anything of that nature. Repeated positive tests for amphetamines can result in up to a 50-game suspension from the league.

This news comes as Bonds is still negotiating his $16 million, one-year contract with the Giants. Will the team have issues with the positive test?

SportsNation doesn't see the report as much of a surprise, but thinks that it may not affect his eventual Hall of Fame chances.

Do you care that Barry Bonds, according to a report in the New York Daily News, tested positive for amphetamines last season?
56% Yes
44% No

Do you believe the report that Bonds tested positive for amphetamines?
92% Yes
8% No

If the report is true, do you believe Bonds could have taken the substance from a teammate's locker without knowing what they were?
90% No
10% Yes

What is your take on the use of amphetamines in sports?
37% Just as big a deal as steroids; they're all performance-enhancing drugs.
36% Not as big a deal as steroids, but a positive test is still a big deal.
27% Not in the same league as steroids; athletes have been using amphetamines for decades.

Does the Daily News report change your opinion of Bonds?
89% No, I already thought he used performance-enhancing drugs.
7% No, I still believe he's never intentionally used performance-enhancing drugs.
4% Yes, I was giving him the benefit of the doubt until he tested positive for something.

Should MLB have an official ceremony to honor Bonds if he breaks Hank Aaron's all-time home run record this season?
67% No
33% Yes

Based on all the information currently available to voters, do you believe Barry Bonds would be elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot?
74% No
26% Yes

Based on all the information currently available to voters, do you believe Barry Bonds would be elected to the Hall of Fame at any point during his eligibility?
63% Yes
37% No

Barry Bonds test positive for drugs? I'm (yawn) stunned.
Parkville, MD

I'm sure Bonds would take some random substance from another guys locker. His 20 million dollar salary only hinges on his body.

I dont understand the outcry to Bonds, i guess people just hate him -- but McGwire, Sosa, Belle, Clemens, not to mention everyone who took Greenies (ahem George Brett), i mean it seems like a steep double standard of vehemence toward Barry, while turning the other way for those players.

The sad thing is that bonds would be considered one of the best ever if he had stayed off steriods and retired with 600 home runs.

Casper, Wyoming

Wednesday's Big Question

1. What will the NFL coaching roster look like in 2007?

Pete Carroll says he's sticking with USCSuccess and failure is changing professional football's coaching landscape in 2007.

Art Shell's raiders failed to win even a quarter of their games. He's gone. Tom Coughlin's Giants self-destructed after starting out 6-2. He's staying. Nick Saban's Dolphins were the very definition of mediocrity. He's long gone (of his own volition, however).

Meanwhile, success at college programs may lead coaches to jump levels (and pay grades). Smarting from the Saban snub, the Dolphins are looking to Pete Carroll, fresh off a Rose Bowl win with USC. Carroll has said he's happy with the Trojans, although he's got more than enough time to make a decision. Several other coaches may make the jump as well.

In a way, it's a question of philosophy. Do you stay in the lower-paying and lower-level college system, where coaches can recruit at will and employ a more relaxed style? Or do you move up to the frenzied but well-paying NFL, where no game is easy and coaches get an hour of sleep per night. Tough decision.

SportsNation is pretty divided on which coaches will make the leap first, but their split opinion may mean that all of them will test the waters eventually.

Which current coach will jump to the NFL first?
30% Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
25% Charlie Weis, Notre Dame
24% Pete Carroll, USC
21% Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

Is keeping Tom Coughlin the right move for the Giants?
65% No
35% Yes

From Chris Mortensen's Wednesday Chat:

Speaking of Pete Carroll, do you think he is actually considering the Miami job? From what he is saying, it sounds like he is getting lured in.
Mike D
Stillwater, OK

I know that Pete has always had a certain criteria for a third shot as an NFL HC - great owner, control and money. Wayne Huizenga offers all of those elements. But Carroll has not been offered the job yet and he probably will stay at USC.
Chris Mortensen

Mort, what the heck does if Coughlin does not fight the changes to his staff, then he why have a H.C job, why in the heck would he hire someone for the ownership group to fire them, if a coach can't field his own staff then why stay?
Unknowing Fan
North America

Pretty good point. I think that good organizations have healthy discussions and come to a consensus. The head coach is part of that process but if he believes in somebody on the staff then he should fight for that person or face the consequences so he can look himself in the mirror.
Chris Mortensen

Tuesday's Big Question

1. Did the Hall of Fame voters get it right?

Cal Ripken Jr. breezed into the Hall.The big-time favorites got in easily, while the longtime candidates will have to wait a little longer.

Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr., favorites of statheads and curmudgeons alike and untainted by steroid accusations, became two of the highest-percentage inductions in the Hall's history. More controversial candidates, like Bert Blyleven, Goose Gossage, and Jim Rice, went another year short of the 75% induction line. Mark McGwire, in a litmus test for the steroids issue, received less than a quarter of the total votes cast.

SportsNation didn't quite agree with all the voters' choices. Will their predictions prove correct?

Should Gwynn and Ripken have been elected unanimously?
64% Both should
20% Neither
9% Ripken only
7% Gwynn only

Will any player ever receive a unanimous vote?
75% No
25% Yes

Will Goose Gossage ever get in the Hall?
45% Yes, in 2008
34% Yes, via the Veterans Committee
12% No
9% Yes, in 2009

Will Jim Rice ever get in the Hall?
36% Yes, via the Veterans Committee
33% No
19% Yes, in 2008
12% Yes, in 2009

Will Bert Blyleven ever get in the Hall?

55% No
32% Yes, via the Veterans Committee
8% Yes, in 2009
5% Yes, in 2008

Will Andre Dawson ever get in the Hall?
47% No
28% Yes, via the Veterans Committee
16% Yes, in 2009
9% Yes, in 2008

Will Mark McGwire ever get in the Hall?
51% No
49% Yes

Is Tim Raines (eligible in 2008) a Hall of Famer?
82% No
18% Yes

Is Rickey Henderson (eligible in 2009) a Hall of Famer?
95% Yes
5% No

Should writers who leave off players due to historical precedent (not voting for first-time players, for example) receive a vote?

75% No
25% Yes

If you were a player, which would you rather have?
57% World Series ring
43% Hall of Fame plaque

From Rob Neyer's Tuesday Chat:

I continue to be amazed that Jack Morris is not a HOF'er. 254 career wins and a phenomanel performance in game 7 of the 1991 World Series. I can understand voters keeping somebody out because of the steroid issue but just because a player was a jerk should not keep him out. I guess what goes around comes around.
Dean Swanton
British Columbia, Canada

So you're saying he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame based on these qualifications alone? A lot of non-Hall of Famers won more than 254 games, and Blyleven's postseason ERA is better than Morris's. Ask yourself this, friends: If Morris hadn't won Game 7, would we even be talking about him? And if the answer is no -- and you must know it is -- then shouldn't we stop talking about him?
Rob Neyer

I was wondering why Dawson still gets shunned year after year, his knees gave up on him early and he still gutted out over 400HRS and 300SBS, not too many fit that category, one of the top players of the 80s. Will he ever get in?


I'm not going to critique the entire argument for Dawson here. Not enough time or space. But could we all agree to stop talking about his knees? Please?

Rob Neyer

Jim Rice doesn't deserve to be in the HOF because he never cracked 400 home runs and benefited from Fenway. His Home/Road splits are astounding. You should look it up.
New York, New York

I've looked it up. Many times. But Tom, I can tell you from hard experience that you can look up everything you want, and the Red Sox fans -- most of them, anyway -- will tell you the numbers are lying. Because that's what numbers do. (Stupid numbers.)
Rob Neyer

Why did Goose Gossage get snubbed again?
Colorado Springs

The only thing I can figure is that there are too many old writers who don't like relief pitchers, and too many young ones who don't like relief pitchers who didn't save 40 games per season.
Rob Neyer

If McGwire only received 24% today, do you feel that Barry Bonds will get similar treatment from the voters? Looking at polls on ESPN a few days ago only 1/4 of voters would vote for Mac, yet 3/4 of voters would vote for Bonds. Why is there such a shift? Bonds is far less likable the Big Mac was?

The difference, I think, is that many of us believe that Bonds would have put up Hall-worthy numbers even without the drugs, while McGwire would not.
Rob Neyer

Trammell only got 13%. Disgraceful.


Rob Neyer

Rob, what would your ballot have looked like?
Philadelphia, PA

In this order: Ripken, Gwynn, Blyleven, Trammell, Gossage. And if I had a ballot, I would have spent some serious time looking at Dale Murphy and Lee Smith.
Rob Neyer

Monday's Big Question

1. Who will win the Tostitos BCS National Championship?

Will Troy Smith be smiling after tonight?A Fiesta to remember. A Rose to forget. A bunch of other bowls somewhere in between.

Yes, the college football season is finally coming to an end, culminating in the national championship game tonight. Many experts are picking No. 1 Ohio State to win it all, but some see the potential for No. 2 Florida to shine. Regardless, the two teams will have a tough time approaching the excitement and drama of last year's championship game, but if they do, they'll be a part of history.

Two-thirds of SportsNation picked Ohio State to win. Will the Buckeyes prevail? Will the Gators pull off an upset?

Which team will win the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game?

67% Ohio State
33% Florida

From Joe Schad's Monday Chat:

Do you expect Florida to air out the ball tonight? It seems like the ability of UF's receivers & Leak's talent in throwing accurately down-field is Florida's best kept secret...only due to the fact that they just don't do it very often. However, when they do, it usually works. These receivers are amazing - will they be utilized tonight, other than dunk or shuffle passes? How often will UF throw a pass over 9-10 yards?


Jacksonville, FL

Florida has to pass. But it won't be downfield stuff. You can't run past Ohio State's zone D. They keep everything in front of them. They need Percy Harvin and Andre Caldwell to take a slant or a hook and break it for a big gainer to the outside. They are fast. It's gotta be dink and dunk and shuffle and hope Harvin and Caldwell - they are the keys to the entire game - make the athletic plays of a lifetime...
Joe Schad

From Pat Forde's Monday Chat:

I can see FL moving the ball on OSU the way Michigan did, except Florida has a better, 'faster' defense so how come everyone feels like Florida needs a miracle to win? OSU has nothad to play from behind, so I love Florida's chances if they can score first and put pressure on Smith.
Chicago, IL

Scoring first will help but UM scored fisrt too and I sure didn't see any panic in OSU that day. I think if you look at it objectively OSU is better than Florida in every aspect of the game. I'm not saying it will be a blowout but I think OSU can win by 10 points.
Pat Forde