October 14, 2004
Mariano Rivera:
(2nd day in a row!) Another postseason game, another 4-out shut-down. If you had one inning to pitch, he'd be the No. 1 all-time selection to do it.
QUICKIE LIVE! 9-10 a.m.

The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

RSN can spin it all they want:

Next three at Fenway...
0-2 on road not unexpected...
Bats are keeping it close...
Damon is so due...
Lieber can't do that again...
Schill will gut it out...
Did we mention Fenway?

But the ALCS is over: I agree with my colleagues Rob Neyer and the must-read Page 2's "2nd Guessing" crew (see Q It Up).

Live by emotion, die by emotion: That's the problem for RSN and the Sox themselves. Banking on intangibles -- chemistry, "head games," Schilling as some kind of lock W -- leaves no room when results don't go according to script.

Curt's injury is devastating, as much for what it does to the psychology of the team (and Nation) as it does to Game 5 prospects. Mainly because they let psychology be such a driving factor.

Meanwhile, the Yankees continue to prove that stoic, clinical, antiseptic focus -- think of it as the soulless intentional absence of intangibles -- is the secret ingredient to winning.

Schilling Watch
Pick your Game 5 poison, RSN:

(1) Schilling plays The Gimp.

(2) Lowe replaces him.

(3) Pedro on 3 days' rest.

(4) Concede L; advance to G6.

NLCS Game 1
Fans of the Cards, the NL or the maligned Midwest at large should be rooting for the NLCS to continue to get eclipsed by the Yankees-Red Sox series.

Short shrift will make way for "short series" when St. Louis pummels whomever comes out of the East ALCS, made all the sweeter when the ECB media is left scratching their head at the Cardominance.

Scott Rolen: Cards 3B gets his first hit of the postseason
Ben R'berger hype: Now Parcells is comparing him to Marino
Chad Johnson: Cin WR sends Browns DBs bottles of Pepto
Johnny Damon: Rally-spiking K in 8th; now 0-8 in ALCS
Carolina DT Kris Jenkins: All-Pro out for year (shoulder)
Jets WR Santana Moss: Questionable (hammy) for W6
Kobe vs. Phil
Jax disses Bryant in his new diary-book; Kobe dismisses Phil as simply trying to sell books. Wonder if Kobe kept a diary last season ... and how much would you pay to read that?

If Kobe wrote a diary this season, it would be called: "Don't Sweat the Big Losses (and It'll All Be Big Losses)."

NBA: No 3s?
Straight off the Progressive sports fans' platform, the NBA is embracing radical rule changes to spice up the game. The latest possibility: Eliminating the 3-pointer until the game's final 5 minutes.

Not sure how that helps scoring, considering mid-range jumpers usually clank as badly as 3s. But the intent is appreciated, even if the 3 was one of the NBA's best ABA larcenies "innovations."

Prediction: This never gets past today's "trial balloon" stage.

Three unbeaten BCS-crashers: Utah, Boise State and Louisville. Only the first two have any shot at going unbeaten (and a smart BCS bowl would match them up in the Other Title Game); the Cards play Miami tonight. Expect UL's BCS dream to end. Don't worry, Miami fans -- your BCS dream ends at Virginia later this season. (7:30 pm, ESPN)

NHL Opening Night
Did you even know that it was supposed to be last night? Check that: Did you even care? (That's the point.)

Lockout update: League says it won't use replacement players. No word from players on whether they are thinking of using replacement owners.

Ron Zook:
Florida football coach having a tough week: First a bad loss to LSU, now he's forced to apologize for role in brouhaha between his players and frat punks.
Today on ESPN.com
Morning Quickie!
Second Guessing
NLCS Coverage
If I had 1 inning to save:
Mariano Rivera
MVP of 96-04 dynasty
Bob Gibson
Would've made sick RP
Randy Johnson
See Game 7 in 2001
Sandy Koufax
In his prime? Easy
Hoyt Wilhelm
First RP in HOF

Catch the crazy crowd this morning on ESPN for the Rockets-Kings game in China? The biggest cheer was undoubtedly coming from David Stern ...

Carlos Beltran hit his 5th HR of the playoffs last night. Wow, he's going to look very good in a Yankees jersey next season, don't you think? ...

Only slightly less thrilling than the Michael Vick Experience was Week 4's Wes Welker Experience, which is now over: MIA signs K Matt Bryant ...

Phillies' manager search is so exciting, I'm sure you can hardly stand it: Charlie Manuel wants the job; Philly interviews Grady Little today ...

The NFL averts a P.R. problem, convincing Jake Plummer to stop wearing his Tillman helmet decal. Plummer will record PSAs in his honor ...

Apparently in the works, a "Miami Vice" movie. How would YOU cast it? Rumored to play Crockett is Colin Farrell; Tubbs? Jamie Foxx ...

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