April 14, 2004
HR No. 661:
660 hype may have been overblown, but to hit 661 the very next game -- under this much scrutiny? Why Bonds is *worthy* of all the hoo-hah.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Forget Barry Bonds: The week's real star is superfan Larry Ellison.

He caught HR No. 661 last night -- to go with No. 660 he caught on Monday. Not only should he keep the 661 ball (as Barry himself suggested), Ellison might want to start playing the lottery.

But it gets better: After graciously giving No. 660 to Bonds on Monday, he was given six seats behind home plate for Tuesday's game, which he promptly gave away to family, while he returned to his kayak in McCovey Cove. Don't devalue his 660 gesture by calling his 661 fortune "luck."

Karma, friends: It's a boomerang, just like that freaky coffeehouse barista's tip jar proclaims. I'm the first to laugh at "curse" talk, but Ellison's 660 give-back earned some serious karmic payback.

What's the larger lesson here? Do the cool, neighborly thing and you'll be rewarded. Maybe not as immediately and ridiculously as Ellison, but his model is one worth following.

Kobe Scores 45
If Kobe thinks that dropping a season-high 45 last night (on 29 shots and 18 chances at the FT line) will quash chatter that he tanked Sunday, he's so misguided.

If anything, the way he dominated just proves that he has such hoops mastery that he can (and will) do what he wants, whenever he wants; thus, one-shot-by-halftime is all the sketchier.

NBA Finales
More quality conspiracy theory: The Grizzlies didn't mind losing last night to the Mavs because in losing out on the 5-seed, they'll sidestep a first-round matchup with the Lakers.

I'm not saying that the Spurs are an easier opponent than L.A., but the whole Jerry West thing (or maybe it was the Shaq thing) would have added even more pressure to the team's first playoff appearance ever.

Miguel Cabrera: 4 HR in last 9 AB (2 Tues, 5 this season)
Lawrence Frank: Wonderboy Nets coach reportedly to return
Garret Anderson: Gets 4yr/$48mil extension from Angels
Browns: Certainly worse off for losing consultant Ron Wolf
Maurice Clarett: Draft talk heats up; his stock going down
Meaningless NBA finales: Why not give a few fans some PT?
Love the Preds!
For we hyper-casual NHL fans who have been waiting for a bandwagon to hop on, I nominate the Predators.

Sure, because the idea of hockey in Nashville still seems as ironic as the Opry relocating to Ottawa, but -- more important -- the Preds tied up their series with the prohibitive Cup fave Red Wings last night in a stout 3-0 win. Don't choke now!

"04 NFL Schedule
Released at 5:15 today: Yes, it's kind of exciting to check out who seems to have a rough road and who seems to be a candidate for a breakout season, but -- really -- it's like trying to read tea leaves.

One curiosity: Which teams will be slated to play on Xmas Eve (rare Friday game) and the Xmas Day doubleheader?

Barnett Testifies
Not quite as riveting as the 9/11 Commission hearings. Still, I'm confused: In blaming the party attendees where women were allegedly sexually assaulted, is Gary "Not My Fault" Barnett saying that it was the women's fault for being there?

312! 312!
OK, 312 pitching wins doesn't have, well, ANY of the cachet of 660, but as long as we're wedging milestones into the calendar, Roger Clemens passed Tom Seaver for 16th on the all-time list.

Eat at Karl's
In the spirit of TGIFriday's, certainly hope that Karl Malone's new restaurant enjoys a "theme" menu. A few suggestions:

*Free-Throw Mutter-ella Stix
*Phantom-Foul Home Fries
*Summerfield Steakburger
*18-Wheeler Pu-Pu Platter

All available with, yes:
"Mailman's Delivery Guarantee"

Bob Sura:
Watching the replay of his offending rebound for a Monday triple-double, it looked like even Sura knew the NBA's dis was coming.
Today on ESPN.com
Page 2: The Passion of the Damon
NFL Draft coverage
NBA: Handing out the awards
NBA Finale Games Tonight
T'wolves will clinch 1st
Kings can clinch 2nd
Spurs there if Min loses
Which Kobe will show up?
East 4/5 seeds at stake

Dwight Howard, prohibitive fave to be the No. 1 overall NBA draftee, will make it official today; let the scrutiny begin! ...

UConn's stellar Ben Gordon is going pro, where his handle might be sketchy, but he sure looks like the next Gilbert Arenas ...

Michael Phelps wins Sullivan Award for top amateur athlete of 2003; that's nothing: wait until his six Olympic golds this summer ...

Clarett's lawyers filed their rebuttal to the NFL's appeal: The league's existing 'farm' system is a joke (Judge Shanoff's interpretation) ...

Monkey, Stix and a 4-0 hole: With the Angels' 7-5 win, Vlad (HR) was inculcated into Anaheim's Cult of the Comeback ...

Ben Affleck hosted a Red Sox charity auction yesterday. No word on whether he was able to place the winning bid on "career CPR" ...

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