By Tim Keown
Page 2

At times there's a certain poetic justice in numbers, like God just decided he needed a good laugh and threw something out there to see if anyone else would notice.

On Monday morning, you could open your newspaper to the standings and see the following:

Alex Rodriguez
Weren't these guys supposed to be breaking records?

Texas Rangers: 11-8
New York Yankees: 8-11

This Week's List

  • The time is coming ... tick, tick, tick: Isn't it time for A-Rod's problems at the plate to be attributed to position change, which might make the Yankees raise the possibility of moving their second-best shortstop -- Jeter, by a mile -- to second or third?

  • There are those fortunate few who can defy cliché and, indeed, fool all of the people all of the time: Danny Fortson, still collecting a hefty check.

  • If they don't watch out, we're all going to lose our faith in the purity of track and field: The San Francisco Chronicle reports that BALCO chief Victor Conte told investigators he provided steroids to Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery, among others.

  • Just for the heck of it: Billy Paultz.

  • If he'd only asked: I would have given Gary Coleman his 10 grand with 20-percent interest due in full in 60 days, and then maybe we wouldn't all be repeatedly subjected to him doing that talk-and-walk in his best Gap getup.

  • The San Francisco Giants have provided us with a reason to ask the age-old question: Does a team's management owe it to a superstar player to put a serviceable product on the field around him?

  • Because, if the answer is yes, the reality is this: This year, the Giants have failed Barry Bonds, and failed him miserably.

  • Then again: If you operate under the principle that fans will continue to spend their money to see Bonds reach milestones and break records, you don't have to care about the team.

  • Something for Steve Nash to consider: Dirk Nowitzki being guarded by Mike Bibby cutting to the hoop is a better bet than you being guarded by Peja Stojakovic beyond the three-point line.

  • Kind of like the old third-place game in the NCAA Tournament: Just to add insult to insult, why don't the Celtics and Knicks -- two paragons of fortitude -- play a seven-game series for comic relief?

  • What the Rockets' offense must look like to Yao: Keep-Away.

    Doug Christie
    When not making awkward signals to his wife, Doug Christie puts his hands to good use.

  • This year's playoff shocker: Jackie Christie, the recipient of all those Tourettic hand signals, getting herself on camera when her husband Doug was interviewed after Game 4 in Dallas.

  • Revealed! The secrets of the L.A. Lakers' training staff: Shaq, endorsing Icy Hot Back Patch.

  • Just a thought: Do you think when Shaq and Tiger go out on the town in Tiger's Buick, Shaq slaps on an Icy Hot Back Patch before leaving the crib?

  • Two pitchers whose considerable talents are overshadowed by the company they keep: Carl Pavano and Matt Clement.

  • They showed it so often it started looking like Gary Coleman whining about lost money: Karl Malone and his torn jersey in Game 4 against the Rockets.

  • The only good thing about Malone's torn jersey: It provided ABC with a reason -- a flimsy one, but who cares? -- to show old footage of Jeff Van Gundy latching on to Alonzo Mourning's leg.

  • By the way: Doesn't Malone look like this year's Guy Who Will Do Anything For a Championship, including alienating (for life) everyone he plays against?

  • Like watching a mosquito buzz around a museum: Tony Parker, navigating the Spurs' tediously effective offense.

  • With what they gave up, the man better be able to sell some jerseys and T-shirts: Eli Manning.

  • If you tuned in for the final five minutes of Game 4, you'll understand: Granted, Chris Webber is injured, but watching him play is probably more painful for the viewer than the actual playing is for Webber.

  • The view from a non-orthopedist: I know it's Webber's knee that's bothering him, but he's moving like it's his back.

  • Which leads, of course, to the obvious conclusion: He might want to talk to Shaq about a patch.

  • You can say what you want about the Eastern Conference, but remember this: Next round, Kenyon Martin vs. Rasheed Wallace.

    Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.


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