July 23, 2004
Lance Armstrong:
Beyond a historic 6th straight title, more reason to follow the Tour de Lance finish in Paris this weekend: He might not be back in '05.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

C.J. Hunter took that big, beefy finger and shoved it right at ex-wife Marion Jones.

Just like the old scandal maxim, "It's not the crime, it's the cover-up," in this steroid issue, the reality is: "It's not the crime, it's the accusation."

Knows she cheated?
Saw her cheat?
Helped her cheat?

That's the triathalon of condemnation, and no degree of Marion's spin is going to help. Even coming from an ex with a grudge, eyewitness accounts are brutal to counter.

But in all the hysteria about this over the weekend -- and there will be -- remember the mantra:

Fans don't really care about this issue.

Parcells vs. Jones
Heard talk that Parcells didn't want Eddie George, because the coach wanted to develop rookie Julius Jones, but apparently another Jones (Jerry) had a jones for George.

Perhaps the compromise to this titanic ego power play by the owner/GM over the coach was to give George only the one-year deal being reported.

Expos vs. D.C.
Someone yapped prematurely, and now the MLBPA is trying to wipe up the mess before MLB officially reveals the decision to move the Expos to D.C. ... in August.

Denials are fine, but so is I told you so. As in: "I told you to make the stupid announcement during the All-Star break."

El Duque: Pitching so well (10K, 4H, ND), who needs Unit?
Freddy Garcia: Moved to 4-1 since joining White Sox
Greg Maddux: Win No. 298. Countdown to 300 is on ...
Jason Schmidt: W streak snaps (12) after shellacking (8 R)
Rangers rotation: Loses Ricardo Rodriguez (Unit, anyone?)
KenJen: Blissfully, the Jeopardy season finale is Friday
Management rule of thumb: The longer you wait, the more chance there will be a leak.

Yankees vs. Red Sox
Remember in April when this rivalry seemed like it mattered? Now it's just yet another hot ticket for political conventioneers decending on Boston.

Same with Cubs-Cards: The history is there, but the standings say otherwise. Best current rivalry? Any for the wild card (AL: Boston-Oakland? NL: Giants-Padres?). That's why the wild card is such a great innovation.

NHL vs. Offense
The only ground rule of yesterday's blue-ribbon panel of NHL experts given the task of coming up with ways to improve offense was "No labor talk."

Icing, pads, yada yada yada: Too bad the biggest impediment to offense is the freakin' lockout.

Liberty vs. Rockettes
Novelty rules: That's the single guiding lesson for any/all second-tier sports leagues. And it's exactly why I'll actually check out a NY Liberty game -- they are playing at Radio City Music Hall while the GOP commandeers MSG.

Bourne vs. Catwoman
No contest: The hottie wins.

Matt Damon seems like a nice enough guy and all; I'd love to go to a sports bar with him and have a few drinks while watching a game.

But Halle is -- well -- Halle.

David Ortiz,
Carlos Zambrano:

Hotheads suspended 5 games each; pretty hefty considering where their teams stand. Might make others think twice before freaking out.
Today on ESPN.com
Page 2: We play in a dodgeball tourney
ESPN25: 100 most memorable moments
NBA: Aldridge on the offseason
Top catwomen
Eartha Kitt
Best role though? Boomerang
Halle Berry
More leather, please
Julie Newmar
Totally underrated
Michelle Pfeiffer
Back when she was A-list
Lee Merriweather
This is a competitive list

Under discussion, according to Broncos owner Pat Bowlen: moving MNF to ESPN after 2005 contract expires ... Quality Mavs-related NBA rumors: Shipping Antoine to the 76ers? (Yeah, THAT's AI compatible); getting Drew Gooden from Magic? (Hmm) ...

Holding up the D-Backs Steve Finley trade (and presumably trading the Unit) is Finley's demand that he'll only play CF ...

Glancing over the Preseason NIT Tourney lineup, it should be an Arizona-Wake Forest final (at least, it *better*) ...

Why did MLS bother with a lottery for 17-y.o. Danny Szetela; growth leagues need to assign prospects territorially (for Danny: NY/NJ) ...

Props to David Aldridge for a three-tiered NBA must-read about offseason moves; he ranks the entire league. See Q It Up ...

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