July 28, 2006
Dusty Baker:
Cubs manager will not be fired before the end of the season, GM Jim Hendry said. That groan you hear is from the thousands of fans in Wrigleyville.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

What's a selfish superstar to do?

I'm not privy to the negotiations between Reggie Bush and the Saints, but I imagine the drama is unfolding something like this:


Team Bush: "We want Mario money!"

Saints: "But he was the first pick in the draft. You were second."

Team Bush: "But everyone knows we should have been No. 1!"

Saints: "So what are we talking here?"

Team Bush: "Mario got $54 million. We want $54 million, too!"

Saints: "Hmm..."

Intermission: Word comes that Vince Young, the No. 3 pick taken behind both Mario Williams and Bush, got a deal worth up to $58 million.


Saints: "About that $54 million..."

Team Bush: "No! Wait! Did we say $54 million? When we said 'Mario money,' you know we meant to say 'Vince Young money,' right? Right?!"

Saints: "You're insane."

Team Bush: "58! We want 58! Curse you, Vince Young! You beat us again!"


Landis' Lament
Two curious quotes from Floyd Landis yesterday, in the wake of his positive test for high levels of testosterone:

"I think there's a good possibility I'll clear my name."

(Not your typical "deny!" response from someone who tests positive for performance enhancers. "Good possibility" is what you say when you think it might rain, not when defending yourself against charges like these.)

"Regardless of whether this happens or not, I don't know if this will ever go away."

(Now that is right on. Even if his "B" sample comes back clean -- which would negate the first test and let him keep the Tour de France title -- he is going to be marked with the scarlet "C" for "cheater" forever.)

There's one final quote that Landis provided that sums up the current culture that Pat Forde talked about:

"I wouldn't blame you if [your reaction] was a bit skeptical because of what cycling has been through in the past."

Amen to that.

NFL Camping
The final installment of a weeklong preview providing the shallowest NFL training-camp analysis you'll find anywhere!

Jets (Hempstead, NY)
Subplot: If you have any idea who is going to play QB, please send your e-mails to eric.mangini@jets.com.

Pats (Foxborough, MA)
Subplot: I've heard they're going to install a trick play called the "Drop Kick Cuckold."

Steelers (Latrobe, PA)
Subplot: Won't know how Big Ben will take a hit until the first time an opposing linebacker cracks him in the mouth.

Titans (Clarksville, TN)
Subplot: All the attention is on Vince Young, but LenDale White (if he gets enough touches) is my chic pick for Rookie of the Year.

Bills (Pittsford, NY)
Subplot: Dick Jauron. Feel the excitement!

Chargers (San Diego)
Subplot: It doesn't take Drew Brees to get the ball to LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. Philip Rivers will be fine.

Chase Utley: Hit streak reaches 27, MLB's longest in '06
Michelle Wie: Tied for the lead after 2nd round at Evian
Corey Pavin: Sets PGA record for 9 holes (26) at U.S. Bank
Curtis Martin: Jets RB on physically unable to perform list
Richard Seymour: Pats put D-lineman on PUP list, too
Carl Poston: Agent's two-year suspension put into effect
Packers (De Pere, WI)
Subplot: If Brett Favre were a true team player, he would voluntarily give heir-apparent Aaron Rodgers first-team snaps.

Cowboys (Oxnard, CA)
Subplot: Ignore him.

Seahawks (Cheney, WA)
Subplot: The only surprise will be if Shaun Alexander doesn't have a season-ending injury after signing that huge deal.

Bengals (Georgetown, KY)
Subplot: If enough players make bail to field a team, the obvious question is how Carson Palmer's rehab is going.

Jaguars (Jacksonville)
Subplot: Another Florida team headed for a breakthrough playoff year. Who doesn't like Byron Leftwich?

Dolphins (Davie, FL)
Subplot: Six straight wins to end '05 plus a healthy Daunte Culpepper make Miami the hot pick for a playoff breakthrough.

Panthers (Spartanburg, SC)
Subplot: Is it a good thing or a bad thing to be the trendy pick to win the Super Bowl? Better than expectations of stinking.

Colts (Terre Haute, IN)
Subplot: Does it even matter? Anything less than a Super Bowl title is (yet another) failure for Peyton and Co.

Vikings (Mankato, MN)
Subplot: Everyone will be watching rookie coach Brad Childress and pricey Seahawks OG import Steve Hutchinson. Which is better than watching the lake for another boat-cruise incident.

Cardinals (Flagstaff, AZ)
Subplot: Which of the sick WRs do you bet on as a fantasy pick, and how will Edgerrin James' presence affect their numbers?

Redskins (Ashburn, VA)
Subplot: Skins win my "no urgency" award, going annually to the team that starts camp last. Apparently feeling no pressure to get started.

More coverage found here. MLB Trade Talk
Soriano Rumor of the Day: Are the Astros the latest team to be sure they're getting the Nats OF? (Right: Just ask the White Sox.)

Tejada to Angels? Jayson Stark has a must-read vaulting Miguel Tejada to No. 2 on his Trading Block list. Surprise blockbuster? Zito to Mets? The prospect of making a run this year will be too enticing for New York to hold onto Lastings Milledge.

Lidle on block? Won't hurt the Phillies' chances of moving Cory Lidle after his gem of a win on Thursday (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 8 K, 0 BB).

Bad teams' playoffs: For bad teams, the trade deadline is as exciting as it gets all season. The Pirates are shopping SP Kip Wells and the Royals reportedly are dangling All-Star P Mark Redman.

MLB Hit List
AL Weekend Best: Tigers/Twins
After sweeping the White Sox earlier this week, the sizzling Twins can send a message about their viability as a contender in the AL by beating the Tigers in Minnesota. Francisco Liriano pitches Friday; Johan Santana throws Sunday. Yikes.

NL Weekend Best: Braves/Mets
Nothing would quash this Atlanta mini-rally like being throttled by Pedro in his return from the DL.

One more: Angels at Red Sox.
Just one-half game behind Oakland, the Angels swoop into Boston having gone 17-5 in July. The matchup to watch is Saturday: Unbeaten rookie Jered Weaver vs. 13-game winner Josh Beckett.

Boss: "I'm very happy." What's the over/under on how long that lasts? With a series with nemesis Tampa Bay coming up this weekend, I'm taking "Monday."

Tatis Sighting: Fernando Tatis, who always will be remembered for becoming the first player ever to hit two grand slams in the same inning in 1999, was back in baseball for the first time in more than 2 seasons, with 2 hits, 2 runs and an RBI starting for the O's in a win.

Baseball Hall
Excuse me if I can't get worked up over the induction of a guy (Bruce Sutter) who was on the ballot for 13 years before his election.

I'm way more energized by the induction of 17 Negro league players and execs, including the HOF's first woman, Effa Manley.

CFB Media Daze: SEC
If Auburn racks up offense as effortlessly as the team does easy academic credits, the Tigers, with an established D, are the SEC team to beat.

But the SEC will end up with the problem that it has every season: The conference is so tough, its champ is unlikely to escape with the unbeaten record necessary to play in the BCS title game. Them's the breaks.

(I'm picking Florida, despite the brutal schedule. I'm sure you're shocked. But Urban Meyer's record in his program's second season speaks for itself. Bold pick: UF frosh QB Tim Tebow is starting by the SEC title game.)

More: Woj's SEC report

Brewers Add Chorizo
Milwaukee made a bold trade-deadline move, announcing the addition of new meat to the team's lineup...

...Of its famous sausage race. (Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, but the sombrero that tops the "El Picante" costume might get some backlash.)

Meanwhile, given that the Brewers are:

*4-8 since the All-Star Break;

*In a wild-card free fall;

*And trying to trade Carlos Lee...

...this is as exciting as it's going to get for Milwaukee fans this season.


If it ain't the rookies getting into cycle accidents or blowing ACLs, it's the high-priced free agents (like LeCharles Bentley) being KO'd for the season on Day 1 of camp.
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie Live
Page 2 Index
NFL Camping
Ranking Brewers Sausages
The original and best
Adds spice to lineup
(Shoot me for that last one)
Makes any dinner better
Hot Dog
Save it for July 4

Lions rookie coach Rod Marinelli ended whatever speculation might have been floating around (was there even any?) by naming Jon Kitna the No. 1 QB.

It'll be a happy homecoming for Al Harrington, who is escaping the purgatory of playing for the Hawks with a return to the Pacers.

Maurice Clarett has hired two new lawyers to replace the ones he fired a week ago. He's going on trial on Aug. 14, and it ain't People's Court.

Did Thursday see an unofficial kickoff to the "Barkley for Governor" PR campaign? Seriously, when do "Barkley for 'Bama" T-shirts come out?

Greg Anderson Watch: Bonds' buddy went to court, but more importantly left it, presumably after reaffirming his commitment to not testify.

There's an early contender for wackiest NFL injury of the year: Bears RB Thomas Jones. How do you get hurt during your team physical?

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