Oct. 13, 2003
Josh Beckett:
There was no joy in Wrigleyville; mighty Beckett had struck out 11 Cubs.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Forget any conspiracy theories that MLB rescheduled ALCS Game 4 to increase the chances that the Yankees and Red Sox would go six or seven games.

But let's declare Boston the unofficial winner of Sunday's sogged-out game. Rather than taking a likely loss with John Burkett (giving the Yankees an unbeatable 3-1 series lead), the Red Sox now get to throw Tim Wakefield, who mystified New York in Game 1.

Meanwhile: Saturday's antics may have been an embarrassment to baseball, but they made for thrilling theater. Let's hope the rain hasn't washed away the passion.

Zimmer Post-Fight
Everyone agrees, right? Don Zimmer deserved that TKO from Pedro, just like any idiot fan who runs out on the field and takes a swing at a player.

What's truly mystifying: How Zimmer (admittedly "embarrassed") only got hit with a $5,000 fine, while the hot-headed morons who actually play were penalized far more stiffly.

Then there's that whole bullpen-beatdown incident, still being investigated. Can we get more circus to go with our sideshows?

Cubs Lose! Cubs Lose!
The Cubs' loss on Sunday sucked on so many levels, not the least of which was that I was in Chicago and would have enjoyed a nice, epic city-wide celebration.

Less riot and more relevant: OK, so it won't be Prior/Wood to start World Series Games 1 and 2 (it'll be Wood/Prior, after Prior wins Tuesday night.)

Think that's premature? Right, like the Marlins are going to beat Prior on Tuesday, then Wood on Wednesday. Get in the spirit of Columbus Day, and adopt the Wrigleyville mood of manifest destiny.

1 Red Sox win sog-out: Wakefield goes instead of Burkett
2 Zimmer deserved smackdown; more brouhahas to come
3 What did the Carolina Panthers put in their Wheaties?
1 The Marlins' W.S. chances: Beckett's outing just a tease
2 Break up the Browns! 2nd straight W was over Oaklosers
3 ACC courting Notre Dame: Not with BC now joining
NFL Week 6 Hot/Not
Hot: Panthers (5-0)
Not: Colts (5-1)

Break up the ...
Hot: Cowboys
Not: Bills

NY coach off hot seat:
Hot: Herm Edwards
Not: Jim Fassel

Jake Plummer:
Hot: Who?
Not: Broncos MVP

Hot: Stephen Davis
Not: Dante Hall

NFL's Top Team
The Carolina Panthers uniform's resemblance to the real team of the season (the Cougars of Playmakers) is pure coincidence. But where the Cougs have more issues than a magazine rack, Carolina's season couldn't be going any better.

Awesome D, great running game: The Panthers deserve the respect and attention that comes

with being the best team in the NFL, even if you don't want to believe it yet. (Admit it: You had the same skepticism about the Rams six weeks into '99, too.)

CFB Weekend Wrap
Since almost every previously unbeaten team managed to lose (predictably, ch-ching!), the national-title game is already set: Oklahoma (despite its laughably soft schedule) vs. the Miami-VaTech winner.

That assumes two things:
* That OU doesn't have a late-season stumble (like last year).

* That those other two don't lose unexpectedly to someone else either.

But this season, expect it: Just ask Ohio State, finally outed as a fraud that can't win outside Columbus.

Ben Affleck:
Fenway presence a distraction -- but not nearly as much as that Matt Clement-ish, no-girl-finds-it-attractive chin-only goatee.

Today on ESPN.com
P2: Best Uniform Final Four
NFL: Week 6 Wrap-up
CFB: Heisman Watch
NFL's Best Teams:
Panthers (5-0)
This year's breakout team
Chiefs (6-0)
Needed OT to perfect
Titans (4-2)
Air McNair was flying
Bucs (3-2)
Back on track
Vikings (5-0)
Prove it, fellas

Wow, Rams vs. Falcons sure looked good two months ago. Now, Doug Johnson and Marc Bulger sound like names on an adult-movie marquee. Rams 26, Falcons 17.

Like the homely girl being asked to the prom by the school hunk, Boston College said "yes" to the ACC's invitation to join as fast as the league offered it ...

Condolences to family, friends and fans of legendary jockey Bill Shoemaker, who passed away over the weekend ...

Yes, The Quickie blew the Oklahoma and Va Tech upset predictions, but how about love for calling Mizzou, Auburn, Michigan and Wisconsin? ...

Tomorrow's storylines:
Yankees-Red Sox Brawl Watch ... Prior prepares to finish Fish ... Should we care about the Rams?...

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