Oct. 17, 2003
Yankees hero:
Aaron Boone:

Could do nothing else this season (and didn't, really); he still qualifies as "Yankee legend" with 11th-inning, walk-off HR.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Let's get to the point: Red Sox manager Grady Little blew the ALCS by leaving in Pedro Martinez too long, which allowed the Yankees to rally, regain momentum and, ultimately, win the game (and the series). More of Game 7's winners and losers: Ace
Winner: Mariano Rivera. Three (count 'em, three!) closing innings.
Loser: Pedro Martinez. To his credit, he took responsibility.

W: Mike Mussina. Spotless in first-time-ever role.
L: Tim Wakefield. Finally ran out of junk magic.

W: Brian Cashman. For trading for Aaron Boone.

L: Theo Epstein. For not firing Little before the LCS.

Fan Base
W: Yankees Nation. Bragging rights over Boston fans for ... infinity, apparently.
L: Red Sox Nation. At least get more fodder for eternal self-indulgent whining.

W: Jason Giambi. Thumped 2 HR from 7 spot.
L: Bill James. Didn't insist Theo personally remove Little and switch in a Pedro replacement.

W: Joe Torre. Brilliant pitching decisions.
L: Little. In-over-his-dim-witted head pitching decision.

W: Boston. How fast will Little be fired?
L: World Series. How fast will Yankees dispatch Marlins?

Best LCS Star
The mammothly hyped ALCS Game 7 actually lived up to it, confirming that we have just enjoyed the best LCS round in baseball history (topping '86). Will the World Series make this baseball's best October ever? Next item ...

World Series Preview
Here's a twist: How many team execs don't want to see the low-budget Marlins win, because it would inspire owners to insist "If they can do it, why not us?"

1 Yankees rally to beat BoSox in instant-classic Game 7
2 Fish-Yanks: Series a proxy for MLB's economic-class war
3 How fast will Boston dump bumbling Grady Little?
1 Red Sox "Curses": No, just really dumb managing moves
2 "Separation Saturday": Great, now only 1-loss leftovers
3 Steve Bartman: Really, you're still using that joke?
Prediction: With the Marlins' already-sketchy pitching rotation in disarray after the NLCS, New York will outrun Florida in high-scoring games. Yankees in 5.

'Roid Scandal Watch
If this unfolding scandal of previously undetected "designer" steroids has you yawning because it seemingly deals with seamy track and field, keep it on your radar; there's every chance that it will ooze into your more mainstream sports, and all hell will break loose (say, this baseball offseason).

NFL Week 7 Subplots
Wonder if any NFL players are suddenly sweating that designer steroid bust ...

Game of Week: 4-2 Titans at 5-0 Panthers. AFC MVP Steve "Air" McNair vs. NFC MVP Stephen "Ground" Davis.

Exposed! QB-lite Broncos will hand one-note Vikings 1st L.

Foreshadowing: Pats-Dolphins winner will win AFC East.

McNabb Watch: Eagles pressured to even-up season at uneven Giants.

No, Seriously: Cowboys will be 5-1 if they win at Detroit.

CFB Weekend
Thanks to last weekend: It's a slow week for the "First Loss" Watch, so let's sub in the "BCS Wannabe" watch, featuring a slew of one-loss teams -- all, apparently, from the Big Ten.

Watch Iowa (9) piling on choking Ohio St (8), plus Wisco (12) over Purdue (15) and Mich. St (18) over Minnesota (19).

Midnight Madness
What's the over-under on number of players who will blow out a body part during the exciting (but extraneous) Midnight Madness dunk contests Friday night? How about the odds on the coach detailing for fans their refreshed commitment to "ethics"?

Meanwhile, want to fake you are up to speed on college hoops (even though you don't pay attention until baseball is over)? Just say: "Gosh, UConn looks loaded," then sidle away.

"Cowboy Up"
Forget the Red Sox curse; maybe it was that lame, overused, overhyped rallying slogan. Next year: Go the safe route and find a monkey.
Today on ESPN.com
P2: Simmon on the Red Sox
FAN: Hec and Vic picks
NBA: Training Camp
Ranking Likely World Series Results:
Yankees in 5
OK, so Beckett is on fire
Marlins in 4, 5 or 6
WS has had much bigger upsets
Yankees in 6
Fla too scrappy to be punk'd
Yankees in 4
Fla P rotation tattered
Someone in 7
Would follow '03 form

Where was Bill James advising Theo Epstein to immediately relieve Little and make the critical pitching change? ...

W7 office-pool suggestions: StL, MIA, DEN, PHI, CAR, NO, BAL, CLE, DAL, NYJ, BUF, TB, SEA, KC (LW: 8-6; Season: 54-34) ...

LeBron's debut in LA was no "Gigli" but not exactly "Mystic River" either: 4-of-18 FG shooting, fouled out ...

Legal beat-down: Romo getting sued by teammate he hurt in preseason practice ...

Second-chance K-O pool still rolling last week with Titans; for those still in it, it's a bad week for Chicago (take the Seahawks) ...

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