June 30, 2005
Maria Sharapova:
Waking up and spending a morning with Maria ... Yes, dear, there IS another woman. (Oh, don't look at me like that; you'd say the same thing.)
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Kenny Rogers has morphed from feel-good, would-be All-Star pitcher to raging lunatic.

Start with the fact that he broke the cardinal rule of scandal:

He got caught on tape!

Throw in the recent history: He missed his start this week because he broke his non-pitching hand punching a water cooler after a start two weeks ago.

"Dugout rage" usually causes fans to simply laugh and shake their head. Rather than a punchline, it should have been a warning sign.

When he attacked the cameramen Wednesday, he crossed over into wacko territory. Not the level of chair-tossing teammate Frank Francisco, but still player-on-civilian violence.

The evidence is indisputable. (You can watch the video yourself.) The team is mortified. The only remaining question: How harshly to punish him?

His timing is unfortunate: With less than two weeks until the All-Star Game, here's the ultimate "send-a-message" punishment:

Ban him from the game.

His 9-3 record? His 2.46 ERA? Sorry: He lost his All-Star privileges when he went after the camera guy.

Whether he's banned 2 games or 5 or 10 or more, there could be no more innovative (or effective) a penalty than to take away his All-Star honor.

With the selection of pitchers discretionary to managers, there's no muss or fuss of a fan vote. Hey, Terry Francona: Rogers is no All-Star.

Vote Derrek Lee!
"Rock Quick the Vote!"

That's today's rallying cry, on the final day to cast your ballot for the All-Star Game. The instructions are simple:

Go vote for Derrek Lee.

He deserves to start at first base for the National League. If not for his sick stats, then for his thrilling come-from-behind surge to scrape within 60,000 votes of Albert Pujols.

With that small of a gap, Daily Quickie readers can be the difference-maker this year for our 2005 Instant History MLB MVP.

Then, finally, when Lee pulls ahead to win the starting spot, we can claim it was our effort that tipped it. Think of your bragging rights!

Andy Roddick: Into men's Wimby semis with Federer, Hewitt
Golden Eagles: Marquette fans vote for "new" moniker
Thomas Hearns: "Hit Man" planning for comeback fight soon
Changes to Augusta: Tiger asks why they didn't wait longer
Carlos Rogers: 'Skins rookie DB has stress fracture (foot)
Johnny Damon: About to lose out to Ichiro for ASG start
Some argue that the ASG should be about which player fans want to see most, not who has had the best first half of an individual season.

Hey: You'll get to see Pujols bat, don't worry. Let him be the NL's appointed DH. Give Lee the honor he's earned.

Biggio: Ouch!
"268" may not have the cachet of Aaron's "755" or Ripken's "2,632," but how much more hard-earned can a record be than to set the modern mark for being hit by a pitch? (Wait: Did I miss the live look-in?)

Sheffield Trade?
Truer words never spoken: "I would never sit out [if traded]. I would go play for them. It doesn't mean I'm going to be happy playing there. And if I'm unhappy, you don't want me on your team. It's just that simple. I'll make that known to anyone." (Gary Sheffield, on WFAN)

Baseball Wrap
Kerry Wood returns! 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 9 K (and 91 pitches, for those counting, and so many of us are.)

Welcome back: Larry Walker takes a shot of cortisone, then hits 2 HRs in return to Cards lineup. (No sketchy connection there or anything.)

A's streaking, peaking? Win 6th in a row, behind Joe Blanton's 4th straight winning start and Nick Swisher's 4th HR in the 4 games.

Chad Cordero: Records 27th save (14th in June!) and franchise-record 24th in a row.

Oden to Ohio State
When the lock top pick of next year's NBA Draft commits to come to play basketball for a school, it's the Best. Class. Ever.

"Fab One?" Greg Oden is the best prep center prospect since Mourning or O'Neal (or even Ewing). He alone makes a great recruiting class.

But add in the Buckeyes' three other 2006 signees in the top 50, and fans are jacking expectations with talk of the country's most dominant freshmen class since the Fab Five.

NBA Free Agency
Opens at midnight, and the GM under the most pressure is ...

Cavs newbie Danny Ferry, who better land one of the available shooting guards to pair with uber-star (and ass't GM) LeBron James.

Trailing only slightly behind Ferry are the GMs of the incumbent teams, who can't afford to not keep their key players. (See Big 5.)

Watch that rumor mill: There are three long weeks until players can actually sign.

Putin's New Bling
It was a gift.

Let's get that straight, New England conspiracy theorists. Bob Kraft even said so, so lets end the Cold War-era yammering about Putin's would-be pilfering of Kraft's Super Bowl ring.

Add the Russian president to the list of people who have more championship rings than Charles Barkley. Or, more relevantly, Terrell Owens.

Paul Quantrill/
Mike Stanton:

Relievers to be released by Yankees: THIS is supposed to be the "big move" that comes out of an organizational all-hands meeting in Tampa? Zzz ...
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie live!
Draft Fashion Review
Sneaker Bracket
Top NBA Free Agents
Michael Redd (MIL)
GM Harris simply MUST re-sign
Ray Allen (SEA)
GM Sund has new contract, pressure
Joe Johnson (PHX)
GM Colangelo traded Q to retain JJ
Larry Hughes (WAS)
GM Grunfeld: Keep Big 3 intact!
Sam Dalembert (PHI)
GM King needs the inside force

Quickie MLB All-Star Ballot:

1B: Lee (NL)
Teixeira (AL)

2B: Kent (NL)
Roberts (AL)

SS: Eckstein (NL)
Tejada (AL)

3B: Ramirez (NL)
A-Rod (AL)

OF: Cabrera, Abreu, Edmonds (NL)
Manny, Vlad, Ichiro (AL)

C: Barrett (NL)
Varitek (AL)

DH: Ortiz (AL)
Pujols (by default)

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