August 13, 2004
Dutch DJ will provide the techno-thumping soundtrack to Friday night's Olympics Opening Ceremonies/Parade. Now, about those drug tests ...
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Forget the gold medal: The real action is the jockeying for the Wheaties box, the most recognizable honor for the Olympics' unofficial MVP.

Call it the "Wheaties Watch: Just one of several gimmicks you'll see in the Quickie over the next two weeks as the column juggles "spoilers" from overnight results and "look-aheads" that become obsolete within hours. Good times!

So let's set a Wheaties Watch initial ranking, as of the Opening Ceremonies and the first weekend's action, which includes Michael Phelps' Medal Shot No. 1 (400m IM):

1. Michael Phelps, swimmer
2. Courtney Kupets, gymnast
3. Gail Devers, sprinter
4. Jennie Finch, softballer
5. The U.S. women's soccer team
(USA Hoops? TB-freakin'-D)

Cue the trademark drumbeat and blaring trumpet music ...

LT Gets Big $$$
What a coup for San Diego: With one eye-popping, record-breaking 6-year, $60 million deal to star running back LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers:

(a) Lock up the NFL's best RB.

(b) Repair image of being bad/cheap executives.

(c) Deliver a "Take That!" message to rookie holdout Philip Rivers.

(And it ain't such a bad deal for LT, either.)

Jamal Lewis Trial
The fading likelihood that there will actually be a Kobe trial means that Jamal Lewis' trial (set to start Nov. 1) becomes the most high-profile sports trial of the year.

Starts between Weeks 8 and 9! So the real question here is: How does this affect your fantasy football draft strategy?

Take him: No player will perform with a greater sense of urgency in the first half of the season ...

Jason Schmidt: Gets NL-best 15th W, fanning 11 in shutout
El Duque: Wins again (5-0, 2.08 ERA since making rotation)
Iraq soccer: Beats Portugal; biggest Olympics upset, so far
Michelle Wie: Booted in 2nd round of U.S. Women's Amateur
Ex-Baylor coach Dave Bliss: "Forgive me." Hmm, well ... No.
Scott Erickson: Why are Rangers starting him? (18 IP, 31 H, 6 K's)
Avoid him: Then what? Your team's No. 1 RB is the most critical position; that's a lot of Week 9-16 uncertainty if he's your guy.

NFL: Weekend Watch
13 games between Friday and Sunday. Way too many (and way too meaningless) to preview individually, so here are the five most buzzworthy plotlines to watch:

Chiefs/Giants: Eli's 1st snaps
Eagles/Pats: T.O.'s debut
Bengals/Bucs: Palmer starts
Cowboys/Texans: Henson Mania
Jags/Dolphins: Miami's mess

Vick Watch
Sure, he only played one series, but the hapless way the new Falcons offense worked under the backup QB in the 24-0 Bal'mer blanking is simply foreshadowing for the season.

Atlanta's West Coast O (maybe worth a rename: "Gulf Coast?") is a long-term strategy. Riiight ... Rookie coach Jim Mora Jr.'s toughest job will be to sell that when Atlanta stinks this season.

Peja for Artest?
All-Star trade in works? Pacers honcho Larry Bird calls it just "speculation," but that's a terrific deal for both teams. Ron-Ron toughens up the Kings defensively, while Stojakovic unclogs the middle for Jermaine O'Neal.

PGA Update
"Slow start": That's the euphemism analysts used for Tiger Woods, because they can't say "Whoa, he stinks."

Remember Thursday's analysis: A prerequisite for mainstream interest in golf is that Tiger is in the leaders' pack; if he's not, this tournament is even more irrelevant than merely going head-to-head with the Olympics.

Allen Iverson:
Owes $1,700 in unpaid parking tickets. That's not SO bad; what's DQ'ed-worthy is that he got them parking in handicapped spots. Shameful.
Today on
Page 2: Our Olympic parade
College Football preview
NFL training camp
Wheaties Watch
darkhorse picks
Rulon Gardner
Wrestler a great story
Tom Pappas
Jenner-like decathalete?
Venus Williams
Or maybe Andy Roddick
Maurice Greene
GOAT or Slo-Mo?
Marion Jones
Ha ha ... just kidding

Three huge MLB weekend series: (1) MIN/CLE (where did Tribe come from?!); (2) LA/Cubs; (3) StL/Atl (playoff preview?) ...

Cowboys intrigue! After Vinny plays about a third of the game tomorrow, Drew Henson will come in to replace him. That's my guy ...

More Olympics: The must-have fashion is the official USA parade shirt by Roots (it looks like a 1970s basketball shooting shirt) ...

Won't hold the Bears' 19 penalties against them (or new coach Lovie Smith) -- at least until the real games start ...

More Chicago-ness: Dusty Baker says "there is no misunderstanding" between he and Sammy Sosa over his placement in the lineup ...

Alien vs. Predator: AvP tagline "Whoever Wins: We Lose" could be the slogan for Yankees-Red Sox ALCS (movie looks cool, actually) ...

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