April 8, 2005
Cincinnati Reds:
Sweep the Mets for first 3-0 start since 1990 title season. (Of course, it WAS the Mets.) Enjoy huge challenge Friday vs. Astros (Clemens 2005 debut).
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Some things are worse than a Curse.

The last half-decade has basically established the Red Sox Nation archetype as ... wel l... Bill Simmons, I'd argue.

Now, in one fell swoop, it has been overwhelmed by the caricature of Jimmy Fallon in "Fever Pitch," last seen at the movie premiere's Red (Sox) Carpet on Wednesday night in Boston.

What self-respecting Red Sox Nation member could live with this mockery?

And from many I've heard from, they think it's bad enough Fallon and co-star Drew Barrymore despoiled the World Series Game 4 celebration.

Fans across the rest of the country, however, are collectively enjoying an all-time great "LMAO" moment. (At you, RSN, not with you.)

There are things worse than a Curse, and they might be having your lifeblood favorite team be reduced to a romantic comedy.

The joke's on Red Sox Nation.

Masters: Rain Rules
DiMarco the new Phil? Maybe, except first-day scores at the Masters have all the shelf-life of your average Daily Quickie. (Frankly, second- and third-day, too.)

Tiger's folly: Not just putting into the water on 13 or tossing his clubs. How about that surreal "review" after his putt on 14? (Prompted by TV viewers, reportedly!)

Billy Casper's 106: You've got to be "half-full" about it; it was a 106 at Augusta. (And you try breaking 100 when you're 73.)

Hudson's NL Debut
"Effectively wild": He's his own toughest critic (6 H, 4 BB, 5 IP). But he contained that powerful Marlins lineup, the Braves won -- and so did he. Cy voters love win totals.

New Nats: Break 'em up! 2-1 after Vidro 10th-inn heroics
Terry Francona: Docs say problem wasn't a heart attack
Jeff Weaver: Finally? 8 IP, 0 R, RBI in LAD W over SFG
New Mets: Same OLD results; reeling 0-3 after Reds sweep
Alex Sanchez' suspension challenge: He's not contesting
Spurs without Duncan: Mavs crush by 36 (how's TD feeling?)
More debuts: That "other" Yankees offseason pitching pickup, Jaret Wright, makes his NY debut on Friday vs. Baltimore. (Bigger debut: Mariano Rivera vs. anyone but the Red Sox).

Lakers Reeling
With Phil Jackson looking on, the Lakers ensured their first losing season since 1993-94 with a listless L to the Rockets.

That's exactly the kind of thing that will drive Phil to the other coast, if Jerry Buss had any intention of wooing him.

First condition he should set for a return is Kobe's ouster. Wonder if Jackson tried to play armchair GM while sitting in the luxury box?

Meanwhile, the NBA's biggest long-term drama is LeBron's dissatisfaction with the Cavs. It's not huge (yet), but it's simmering. Think teams in NY and LA will start hording cap space now?

Lance Flip-Flops
Armstrong supporting Paris' 2012 Olympic bid didn't jibe with his All-American image, so it's no surprise that he flipped his support to NYC.

Meanwhile, it's also no surprise that he hinted that this summer's Tour de Lance could be his last. Didn't he say that last year?

NHL Rule Change
Smaller goalie pads? Wider blue lines? Shootouts instead of ties?

GMs, players can brainstorm all the incremental changes they want, but they mis-evaluate their fan base.

The diehards will come back no matter what; the casual fans ... well, the real problem is that there aren't any casual fans.

And tweaks won't fix that. The NHL needs radical changes to create a wider fan base.

Texas H.S. Dad:
Lunatic shoots son's ex-football coach. Things are bigger in Texas, all right: Like the maniacs.
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie live!
BBTN Extra
NFL Draft
Ranking 49ers No. 1 Pick Finalists
Aaron Rodgers
Bigger arm in windy city
Alex Smith
The next Tom Brady?
Braylon Edwards
Has T.O.-size potential
Antrel Role
CBs aren't No. 1 picks
Wild Card
They SHOULD trade the pick!

Thanks to the Business of Sports Club at my alma mater, Harvard B-School, for inviting me to participate in their lively annual forum yesterday.

MLB weekend: Opening Day aces and No. 2s are back up in the rotation. Unit throws Sat (vs. BAL). Sunday's best: Pedro vs. Smoltz, Lowe vs. Ortiz.

NBA Draft watch: Kentucky SG Kelenna Azubuike is in. I like his game a lot, but Insider rumblings are that the NBA scouts don't agree with me.

Frozen Four mania: Last chance to feed your hockey jones! North Dakota and Denver will meet for the title. Did you have them in your pool?

Calling it now: The hot prom shoe (for guys) will be the all-black patent-leather Air Jordan XX, releasing Saturday. If only I was 18 again ...

Full disclosure: "Fever Pitch" is my favorite sports book of all time, and I'm a little disturbed that it was turned into some Sox fandom joke.

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