Spelling Bee Mania! I love the Spelling Bee. Two years ago, I won the Page 2 Spelling Bee Fantasy League title. Last year, I remained enamored with it. This year, I'm still all in.
Darren Rovell and I have been friends for years, and the Bee is one of the things he and I mutually agree is fantastic. He does a much more obsessive job than I do in breaking down the field. He handicaps the race here.
We both agree on one thing: Samir Patel. Drafting Patel led to my Fantasy League title in '05, and I picked him to win last year (he didn't, but has a mean streak). Rovell likens Patel to the Bee's Peyton Manning, and he's right: It's Patel's year. He's my pick to win.
Mike and Mike will be doing the play-by-play. One of the things I liked most about Bee broadcasts was the earnestness of the otherwise anonymous broadcast team matched the sincerity of the kids. I really hope Greenberg and Golic don't turn this into a case of the "cool" kid and the "jock" kid turning the primetime event into a sarcastic mockery of the "smart" kids. That would be like re-living junior high for me, without the beatings. (Here's a hint that, if they do nothing else, will help: It's not about you, M&M, it's about the kids.)
I was looking around for a live-blog, and here's one I found. (Yes, but will they be doing the early rounds, found on the obscure cable channels?)
Meanwhile, around the sports that wish they had the authenticity of the Bee...
Cavs even up series with Pistons 2-2: When Larry Hughes went down with that injury, how many of you agreed with me that the Cavs were d-o-n-e? Hughes replacement Daniel Gibson (21 points) would like to disagree. (Bonus: Undersized combo guards at the NBA Draft "combine" get a boost!)
Vick Scandal, Day Nth: SI.com says Vick doesn't understand that dog-fighting is wrong. PFT is hearing that league folks think an indictment is inevitable. And there's something about the search/non-search warrant for his property, but I can't work through the thicket of intrigue. Just dig up the damn property already.
MLB Stud, Pitcher: Josh Beckett, who returned from the DL to win his 8th straight decision. ("Straight" should get a mild asterisk, given the break between starts.)
MLB Stud, Batter: Gary Sheffield, who hit 2 HR and had 5 RBI in a 14-2 Tigers clobbering of the D-Rays. For the first two months of the season, it sure looks like the Yankees messed up in letting him go.
Clemens Watch: The only real reason to pay attention to Roger Clemens' prep for the season was that he would make his first start for the Yankees at Fenway. Now, it looks like it'll happen against the White Sox. What a wuss.
(Actually, the other vets on the rotation set up to pitch there, and why mess with their turns? Well, for starters, because Roger Clemens is ALL ABOUT the special rules. Why stop at "doesn't have to travel with the team?" Why not add in: "Enters rotation when/where it makes the most dramatic sense?")
MLB Stats: "FORP." Alex Belth (via Emma Span) is pushing "FORP" (Fun Over Replacement Player), which is a pretty clever concept. Curious who your most favorite "fun" MLB players are. Here's the Belth link.
Duke Scandal: Will any of the "Duke Three" be able to lead normal lives? Reade Seligmann will find out: He has transferred to Brown. We'll see if he brings any stigma with him. That must have made for one hell of an application essay.
Marquise Hill's death was ruled accidental. That compounds the tragedy that he wasn't wearing a life vest.
Lakers owner Jerry Buss arrested for DUI: Forget the 74-year-old man. How about the fact that there was a 23-year-old woman in the car with him? I fully expect LA-based Sports by Brooks to have the photos ASAP. (Please be Lindsay Lohan... please be Lindsay Lohan...)
French Open: Andy Roddick ain't good on clay. For the second year in a row, he is bounced out of the French Open in the first round. Seven other
TV: Kudos to the rookie Big Ten Network for making ESPN's Dave Revsine its signature hire. Beyond being a Northwestern guy, he has always been one of the most underrated talents at ESPN.
My genius friends over at ProTrade have a new live-game application for baseball that could radically change the concept of understanding a game's turning point. Here's the link.
Rookiepedia is back for the NBA Draft.