Monday, September 11, 2006

Monday A.M. Wrap: US Open Closed

Twins within 2 of Tigers: Are Tigers fans freaking out yet? Johan "Just Give Him the Cy Now" Santana struck out 11 and brought Minnesota within 2 games of Detroit for the division lead. From the AP story:

"The Twins haven't lost a Santana home start since Aug. 6, 2005, going 22-0 in that span. Santana (18-5) is 15-0 with a 1.92 ERA during that stretch and hasn't lost a game at all since the All-Star break."

Consider this: The Twins have closed nearly 10 games on the Tigers SINCE Francisco Liriano went on the DL. He's set to return this week. If he's back to form, suddenly the AL Central race – and the AL Wild Card – is up for grabs. Wow: A Tigers collapse right out of the playoffs would be an epic failure.

Federer wins men's U.S. Open: I can appreciate those who argue that Tiger Woods is the greatest athlete out there right now, but you can't possibly make the argument without mentioning Federer as his chief opposition.

It's not a stretch to say Roger is really the best athlete out there right now, a case I made in the Quickie after the Tiger-related Instant Histrionics that happened after his PGA Championship. (The argument is buried in the middle of the column under the header "Tiger: Best Ever?")

(By the way, I heard that Tiger was actually at the Open to celebrate with his pal Federer. It's not lovey-dovey like Lance and Matt "Cry in My Lonestar" McC., but the friendship covers two sports' worth of country-club dominance.)

Sharapova wins women's U.S. Open: I'm loathe to say this, because she had a great run and is a great player in a way that Anna Kournikova never was, but the fact remains that in the eyes of most sports fans, Maria Sharapova is an athlete-hottie first and a tennis talent second. And this is a priority she herself seems to continue to cultivate.

David Ortiz rips MVP voting: Go figure, just as his Red Sox fall helplessly out of playoff contention. It smacks of an intimidation ploy against the voters (who we all know are hardly fit for the job as it is).

I don't care that A-Rod won it for a last-place team; perhaps that shouldn't have happened. But Papi leading the AL in HR and RBI shouldn't necessarily be the only qualifier for MVP -- because he certainly doesn't earn it as a complete player or by leading his team to the playoffs.

Ortiz is locked in on my mythical ballot: Right there in 2nd place. Short of the Red Sox making a miracle run to the playoffs, that's where he'll stay.

Michael Schumacher is retiring: There won't ever be a more talented or internationally recognized athlete with LESS juice in the U.S. to retire.

Matt Stafford in at QB at UGA: Let the '06 rise of the true-frosh college QBs begin.

Latest Heisman ballot:
1. Troy Smith
2. Adrian Peterson
3. Begrudgingly, Brady Quinn

UPDATE: One last thing that might only intrigue me: Quickie readers know that I love an innovative sports-marketing idea, so suspense novelist Brad Meltzer pimping his new book "The Book of Fate" on the hood of a NASCAR car on Friday night is nothing short of awesome.

I've been delving more and more into the book-publishing industry over the last 12 months or so (for various reasons, one of which I'm sure you can guess), and smart, aggressive, out-of-the-box marketing seems to be EXACTLY what selling books needs.

Will the NASCAR stunt improve sales? At the level I'm talking about, it doesn't even really matter. It's just the fact that he tried it, where no other mainstream fiction writer would.

Meanwhile, Meltzer happens to be particularly bad-ass, across the board: He also is writing the re-launch of the new "Justice League" comic AND his book tour includes a blog component where he's doing "interviews" with celebrities across multiple blogs.

-- D.S.


Anonymous said...

Quinn doesn't perform so well against good defenses. We will find this out as the season progresses. (Disclosure: I'm a Buckeye fan.) Peterson had a great week, he's going to have to carry OU this year.

Mike (Xenia, OH)

Anonymous said...

It pains me that Slaton was knocked off your top 3...( 2 TDs 8 carries 108 yards in one quarter of action) BUT I can see how complete game stats add up more...After Maryland this thursday night he should rocket back up to at least no. 3. Get Brady Quinn out of there..."Notre Dame Defense" should be #3

Dan Shanoff said...

You know what? It actually totally pained me to bump Slaton for Quinn.

Slaton is going to be punished for getting limited touches/minutes. If he played the full 4 quarters, he'd have 300 ypg and about 8 TDs.

Good thing this list is absolutely malleable week to week, and I'm sure Slaton will run wild on Maryland next weekend. -- D.S.

CorrND said...

First off, gotta correct you about Federer-Tiger. They met for the first time ever on Sunday. They had been trying to meet for some time and it never worked out before yesterday.

Second, Quinn for Heisman, begrudgingly? That's crazy talk. I wouldn't argue for him being on top for the Heisman right now, but he's certainly in the mix. Top 3, anyway.

CorrND said...

Here's why Quinn will undoubtedly be in the Heisman picture at the end of the season: he's putting up above average numbers against quality opponents (think GT (38-6 win this week) and PSU won't be bowling? think again) and he has a late-season run of games where he is likely to light up the scoreboard. It's all going to come down to the USC game. Win and I think the voters would have a hard time NOT giving it to Quinn. Lose and it's probably more ambiguous.

Anonymous said...

No reason to play the race card. Serena is a BEAST at 5ft10, 145 lbs, its hard to be "ga-ga" over someone you would be afraid to meet in a dark alley.

As for Ortiz for MVP, no one seriously thinks he will/should win except for bitter BoSux fans who want SOMETHING good to come out of this season.

Anonymous said...

Wow, "Buzz" on ESPN stole Dan's topic of Federer vs Tiger. Granted, he had nothing intelligent to add, but still.

ToddTheJackass said...

As a person who coaches tennis, let me tell you that watching Federer is absolutely unreal. I don't love to watch someone dominate the way he does, but I can't help but root for the guy. He plays the game right, doesn't put himself above the game, and he's just incredibly exciting to watch. His footwork and balance are the best I've ever seen, he never wastes any motion, his forehand might go down as one of the best shots in tennis history, and he actually out-aced Roddick in the finals. He is the best all-around tennis player of all-time already, whether or not he becomes the greatest tennis player of all time remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

I may be alone on this, but I don't put Maria Sharapova in the same sex-bomb category Anna Kournikova once occupied. Sharapova is pretty, but I know women more attractive than her. And she lost some cred in my eyes by posing in the SI Swimsuit Issue: It's very, very hard to look good in bikini when you're surrounded by Brooklyn Decker and Daniela Pestova.

But Maria plays good tennis, which is all you could hope for.

Anonymous said...

I know them, Richard. I didn't say I dated them. :)

I think Sharapova shows a lot of people want to build a moderately attractive female athlete into a drop-dead gorgeous stunner, no matter what the evidence is.

It's one of the things that irritated me about Page 2: I, for one, never saw the hotness Shanoff's colleagues insisted on pinning to Jennie Finch. To me, she's an OK-looking woman, but she moved the good people at into throes of ecstasy, for some reason.

Incidentally, she's another woman who made a mistake posing for the SI Swinsuit Issue. Looks better in a bikini than Sharapova, but is still waaayyyy below the rest of the models.

jason said...

My line of thinking, when there's no real standout MVP candidate, you look to the players who've contributed to playoff-calibur teams. That's why Dye, Jeter, and Mauer will probably be end up 1, 2, or 3 in some fashion. Ortiz isn't even the MVP of his team. Manny is. If he wasn't such a goofball off the field, he'd probably have a couple of trophies already.

Sharapova gets a lot of pub because she's pretty, but also because she's has the reputation of a winner. And having the Nike machine behind her always helps.

Federer is too good. If he was an American, there'd be more "best athlete on the planet" talk, because he's just as dominant as Tiger.

Anonymous said...

The panic is on in Detroit, big time. What is it with my Detroit sports teams building me up and then choking out like Manning in a playoff game, (or against Florida.) Thanks for keeping the blog going Dan.

Anonymous said...

putting an ad for a book on a nascar car is a good idea.....if their fans could read.

Anonymous said...

Look forward to you bumping Troy Smith for Garrett Wolfe on your Heisman ballot!

Anonymous said...

Ortiz is the MVP with out a doubt anyone who says otherwise just hates him cuz hes black.

Kevin said...

Dan, can you get your readers to make a collective push towards Santana as MVP? Without him, the Twins are literally a .500 team. You certainly can't say the same about Jeter.

(And Federer is more dominant in tennis simply because it's easier to dominate tennis than golf. In tennis, you have to beat one player six or seven times. In golf, you have to beat all 106 players at once.)

Anonymous said...

wow. quinn who looked like complete ass makes it into your heisman top 3? Did you watch the game at all? PSU handed ND field position and points the whole first half. Quinn and the Irish aren't that good, PSU is just that bad and it's time to renew the crusade to take joe pa out back and give him the old yeller.

Anonymous said...

Here's another fan from kalamazoo seconding what the first one said. I don't know what the hell happened to the Tigers but suddenly they can't pitch, they can't hit, and they can't play defense. I just hope they make the playoffs.