July 27, 2004
Jason Giambi:
Medical tests due back today, hopefully shedding some light on what's been bothering him. Not that those results are any of our business ...
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

NFL Training Camps are opening. Here's the skinny on the five teams starting today (in predicted order of 2004 success):

Eagles (Bethlehem, PA)
All the hype: TO's arrival
Real story: Young DBs

Rams (Macomb, IL)
All the hype: No QB battle
Real story: The RB battle

Broncos (Englewood, CO)
All the hype: Replacing Portis
Real story: Improving Plummer

Falcons (Greenville, SC)
All the hype: Vick's health
Real story: Mora's offense

Bears (Bourbonnais, IL)
All the hype: Lovie's new D
Real story: Grossman's growth

'Melo's Guarantee
"We're guaranteeing ... gold." Hope the U.S. caterer in Athens includes some salt and pepper, in case Carmelo has to eat those words.

If Melo thinks the U.S. will win simply because it has the collection of the biggest stars -- even the biggest talents -- he hasn't been following international hoops closely enough.

The team's youthful exuberance should help guide them to Olympic gold; if it manifests itself in arrogance, however, they're in for an Olympic-sized shock.

More Ricky W.
"Maybe they'll be better of without me," Ricky Williams told confidante Dan Le Batard, whose access to Ricky has allowed him to put together this story's biggest must-reads. The Dolphins certainly can't rely on Ricky for those 30 carries a game. And there's the rub ...

Overwork the factor? It would be a shame if he quit because he grew frustrated with the massive

Greg Maddux: On the "300 Watch"; goes for No. 299 today
Expos: Inspire hope among DC faithful with 5 straight Ws
Albert Pujols: .413, 9 HR, 21 RBI in June; just 28 K's all year
Mariano Rivera: Blows 2nd straight save; magic touch gone?
Andy Pettitte: Left game in 5th with elbow pain. D'ouch!
Todd Zeile, relief pitcher: 5R, 4H, 2BB ... in 1 wacky IP
offensive load he was expected to carry; it minimizes the thoughtful way he expresses his life philosophy of making yourself happy first.

MLB Rumors
It's all about the pitching ...

Kris Benson to the Twins?
See your Freddy; raise you ...

Victor Zambrano to the Mets?
Trade a cheap workhorse? Why?

Big Unit to Yankees? Angels?
Well, someone will get him.

ACC Kickoff
Perhaps wary of the newcomer, the ACC media picked Florida State over Miami to win the over-stocked football conference.

Neither FSU QB Chris Rix nor Miami QB Brock Berlin inspire much confidence, so props to the media types who had their eye on rising Virginia.

Olympics Watch
What drug is he on? "Now that everybody is talking about doping, athletics is cleaner than it's ever been." -- U.S. Olympic hurdler Allen Johnson.

Yes, but: Cleaner is relative.

Quickie Book Club
"The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Surowiecki. My favorite business writer puts together a fascinating argument for the masses. Like "Moneyball," it will change the way you think about how sports (or any industry) should be managed. (Love/hate my BCS fan-poll plan? Read this book.)

In the most blindingly fast time of the entire Tour de France, our interest in cycling returned to "none."
Today on ESPN.com
Page 2: Robert Lipsyte on snakes, bullies and coaches
NFL: Training camp tour
Neyer: Twins need a pitcher
Tuesday training-camp RBs
Quentin Griffin
Broncos churn on 1K backs
T.J. Duckett
Healthy Vick makes him better
Brian Westbrook
Only as combo w/ Buckhalter
Steven Jackson
Backing up Faulk? Be ready
Thomas Jones
Never lived up to draft hype

Congrats to Bill Cowher, the most overrated coach in the NFL, for finagling a two-year contract extension from the Steelers ...

Dodgers rule: Most impressive about LA's current hotness is that Monday night, they won their *9th straight road game* ...

Nets' frontcourt isn't as bad as you: They just signed Euro big man Nenad Krstic. Can't spell it, but he can play ...

Apparently, Bulls and Knicks will try to make a deal today to bring Jamal Crawford to NYC. Still say bad move ...

Keeping things hot in Miami is the rumor that the Mailman will be joining Shaq ...

Points to Tiger Woods for his optimism: "I'm still ahead of [Nicklaus'] pace." Does he know something we don't? ...

Congrats to D-Backs for ending 14-game L streak ...

I'm headed to Wrigley soon, so I'm glad (and a little freaked) that the Cubs will finally put up netting for the falling concrete ...

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