Saturday, February 03, 2007

Saturday 02/03 A.M. Quickie:
Final Countdown to SB XLI

UPDATE (4:45 p.m.): Michael Irvin elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame, along with five others who will be eclipsed in the spotlight by the Playmaker (or, as Whitlock likes to call him, the "Pipemaker.") That'll be some party in Canton. Can a Hall of Famer get a table dance?

Super Bowl XLI Countdown
: The Saturday before the Super Bowl is a great day to do everything EXCEPT care about the game. So just a short batch of briefs today, as I spend some long-overdue P.T. with my little boy.

NFL Commish: "Accountability." If that was the theme of Goodell's "State of the Game" address yesterday, I'd like to see him enforce it with more punishment for idiotic off-field behavior. (But make no mistake: It's not like the exploits of the Bengals or Chargers has hurt the game's popularity.)

Ted Johnson: Blame Belichick. I neglected to point out the dramatic Ted Johnson story from yesterday's New York Times, where he basically said he has early Alzheimer's from all of the concussions. But the headline was buried: Did Belichick force him to play, exacerbating the condition? Johnson thinks so. Genius-level success carries a price.

Favre returning next season: You all know how I feel about this. He does more harm to his franchise than good by coming back – they can't move on into the next era with him still there, and it's not like he's going to lead them to a Super Bowl. It's arguable that he puts himself ahead of the team -- but way worse is that the team execs let him.

Ray Buchanan and Super Bowl weekend don't mix: The ex-Falcons DB was arrested for writing bad checks.

NBA: Carmelo can, should and will be an All-Star, despite the original snub. This reminds me of Gilbert Arenas last season. There's plenty of injury subs to be made in the West, and Melo is a lock. Oh, and he had 33 last night, helping the Nuggets end a four-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, the Celtics lost their franchise-record 14th straight game. They really are working hard to land either Oden or Durant, aren't they? I'll repeat my hypothetical from yesterday, in defense of tanking: Would you trade a single 0-82 season for 10 seasons of LeBron? (Or, in this case, Oden or Durant?) I would.

NBA Tonight: The last time Gilbert faced off against Kobe, Arenas scored 60-plus in L.A. and Kobe whined that Gil doesn't take "quality shots," which was the runaway winner for the 2006 Pot-Kettle Award. The game tonight is in DC and the Lakers are weary, coming off a game last night in Indiana; I expect Agent Zero to go crazy on the Lakers. How about an opening over/under of 45?

UPDATE: Holy smokes. You hear these stories about wild stuff at practice, away from the spotlight. You never actually see them. This is one: Gilbert bet Wiz shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson $20,000 -- $20,000! -- that Gil could hit 100 college 3s SHOOTING WITH ONE HAND than Stevenson could hit from NBA 3-point range shooting normally. And Wizardsdotcom has the video. It's amazing. And, of course, Gil won. $20,000!

MLB Hot Stove: The biggest bargain in MLB? Well, it's probably Miguel Cabrera's $350K salary – but among players who are actually beyond their original cheap-ass deals, Justin Morneau's new 1-year, $4.5 million deal is a bargain. How does a reigning MVP (who led his small-market team to the playoffs) not deserve a bigger raise? What would his value be on the open market? Double that $4.5M/year? More?

Craziness at the top of the high school basketball national Top 25! OJ Mayo and No. 2 Huntington (WV) -- poised to take over the No. 1 spot after No. 1 St. Benedict's lost earlier this week -- lost to Scott County (KY) last night. Who should be No. 1? Current No. 3 Oak Hill? I don't think so: Not after losing so publicly (on ESPN) to Chicago Simeon. My pick: Current No. 5 and unbeaten St. Anthony (NJ).

-- D.S.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Super Bowl XLI: Your Picks, My Picks

Here we go: Your chance to go on the record with your Super Bowl picks. Meanwhile, my challenge to you: Attempt to untangle the complex "Quickie jinx" implications of the following:

First, I am rooting for the Bears. Part of this is because I really like Rex Grossman. Part of this is because I really don't like Peyton Manning. Part of this is because -- widely unknown Shanoff history alert -- I used to be a HUGE Bears fan and I can't imagine NOT rooting for them. Check out this post, under "(C)," on the not-talking-about-it-yet-but-you-get-a-sneak-peek new blog.

Second, despite the point above, I cannot miss the opportunity to see the fulfillment of the greatest sports prediction of my life: That the Colts would beat the Bears in Super Bowl XLI... predicted back in August. At the time, my specific thinking was this: Peyton Manning is going to chokingly shit the bed, but he will be bailed out by a game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri -- only the most clutch player in NFL history... and the reason the Colts paid so much to sign him. Therefore: I am picking the Colts to win on an Adam V. field goal. (Peyton will stink.)

Therefore, given the current Super Bowl point-spread that has the Colts a 7-point favorite over the Bears and given the scenario I laid out in the above paragraph, I pick the Bears to cover.

To summarize:

(1) Picking the Colts to win.
(2) Picking the Bears to cover.
(3) Rooting for the Bears to win.*

* - Even though the Bears winning would ruin No. 1... but I figure that 2-of-3 ain't bad, even if (1) is the most important for the purposes of the greatest "I called it" of my life. Screw it: "I called it" is the lamest boast in the world anyway -- totally worthless.

The upshot: I get the joy, as a fan, of betting on the Bears (not that I bet) yet enjoying the benefit, as an analyst, of knowing that even if the Bears lose, I can win my bet (not that I bet) if/when they cover. But let me be clear: I want the Bears to win. I think the Colts will win, but by less than 7. You can argue that's a lame-ass hedge (I disagree), but that's where I'm standing.

All that said, I am mostly interested to get YOUR picks. Feel free to answer the question on any/all of these levels: (1) Who are you picking to win the game? (2) Will the winner cover the spread? (Obviously, this only matters if you're picking the Colts.) (3) Who are you ROOTING for? (Which, as I've said, doesn't have to be the same as who you think will win.)

Have at it!

-- D.S.

UPDATE: Now THIS is a very cool idea. Don't have the money to run a Super Bowl ad on CBS? Do it for a fraction of the cost and have it simply run on YouTube. (Thanks to -- one of my favorite, most must-read sites -- for the tip-off.)

Friday 02/02 A.M. Quickie:
Countdown to XLI Kickoff

Super Bowl XLI Ramp-Up: Here we go. Save your game predictions (for now). I'm going to have a stand-alone post for game picks, coming later this morning. The three ways I'm looking at it, so you can get ready:

(1) Which team do you think will win, straight up?

(2) Which team do you think will win, against the 7-point spread favoring the Colts?

(3) Which team are you ROOTING to win?

As you'd guess, they aren't necessarily compatible. In fact, I've got a mixed bag. (Will I stick with my preseason pick of Colts-over-Bears or go with my gut?)

Meanwhile, Prince rules. Apparently, Prince provided the greatest Super Bowl press conference of all time yesterday, doing a set of songs, rather than your ordinary "Q&A" format.

(Having covered one of those once, they are brutal. I can only imagine how fun it was to actually be there to hear Prince essentially do a mini-concert for a small room of people.)

Considering this start, Prince has the potential to be the best choice for Super Bowl halftime entertainment in recent memory.

NBA All-Star Game reserves announced. The headlines:

East: Butler breaks through! First-time All-Star Caron Butler will join Carter, Kidd, Hamilton, Billups, J. O'Neal and Dwight Howard. Wizards coach Eddie Jordan will coach.

West: Carmelo left out! Perhaps spending too much time on his MySpace page? His new teammate AI made it, along with Dirk, Parker, Nash, Marion, Amare and Boozer.

Two dynamics worth noting, both around injury-related issues:
(1) Boozer is injured, but don't expect David Stern to pick Carmelo Anthony to replace him (although there will be HUGE fan and media pressure to. Will this be the sports blogs' big movement?)

(2) Anytime Howard and Amare (who will likely start at center for the West over injured Yao) face off will be epic.

More NBA:
(1) Why are the Suns so much better this year than last year and why is this the year they topple the Spurs and Mavs for the West title? One word: Amare. And last night's performance is a good representation of why: Amare had 24 points and 24 rebounds and the Suns thumped the Spurs by 16.

(2) Dwyane Wade hit for a franchise-record 24 4th-quarter points (41 overall) to lead the Heat over the Cavs.

UPDATE (2 p.m.): I don't usually read Simmons (I wouldn't want to see any quality analysis that is half-formed in my own head articulated by him before I could claim it as my own original thought), but I just glanced at Simmons' mag column about "Fantanking," and all I could think of was that it was about time he got on the bandwagon. How long have I been talking about the value of tanking? Since the start of the Quickie chat? Longer?

There's a very simple hypothetical that I use: Would you trade an 0-82 season for LeBron James, straight up? A single winless season in exchange for LeBron for the next 10 years. Let me make it more enticing by saying that if you turn down the deal, your team will only win 17 games anyway, like the Cavs in 02-03, so it's not like you'll be missing anything by conceding the entire year.

NFL Crime-Watch:
(1) Chad Johnson joins Bengals cavalcade of cop-fodder: He is questioned by cops in Miami about a shooting death that happened there. CJ is NOT under suspicion.

Maybe the cops brought CJ in to work as a profiler: No. 85 certainly has enough experience being around criminals.

(2) Andy Reid's sons are the new Bengals: One is suspected of pointing a gun at a motorist. The other is accused of possessing drug paraphernalia. The Bengals 10-day contract is coming any day.

College Hoops Parity Watch, Pac-10 Edition:
(1) No. 18 Wazzou State swept No. 20 Arizona for the first time since '83, beating the Wildcats in Tucson last night.

(2) No. 5 UCLA avenged a loss to No. 9 Oregon from early January with a 12-point spanking in L.A. I'm off the Ducks' bandwagon.


Morning Miscellany:
(1) Eric Gordon, one of the Top 5 high school hoops players in the country (and Illinois de-commit who went to rival Indiana), had 43 points last night on ESPN2 and simply destroyed national No. 22 Loyola, who – if you missed it (and how could you?) – feature Michael Jordan's sons.

(2) There is justice in the world: A judge dismissed that ludicrous "discrimination" lawsuit that was brought against the Angels for handing out giveaway bags to women fans only – on Mother's Day.

Carmelo-vs-Shanoff MySpace Challenge: From the injury of an All-Star snub to the insult of having me gain on him! Merely four full days into "The Challenge" (as it is now known throughout the MySpace Universe... or perhaps only in my own head):

I have 299 friends (as of 7:15 a.m. today). Carmelo has 31280 friends. The "1 Percent" Goal is 313. I am now merely 14 away, and I suspect we can hit the goal by the end of the day. If you're on MySpace and haven't joined the effort, have at it!

UPDATE (11:25 a.m.): SUCCESS! In approximately 96 hours, my Challenge has been met! After my last check, I was at 322 friends. Carmelo was at 31,398. The "1 percent" goal was 314 -- done! Huge thanks to everyone on this terrific effort. I won't be greedy and look for 2 percent, but instead:

(1) Continue accepting as many friends as want in, and (2) Ask for your help in finding new quasi-celebrities to Challenge. Ideally, they would be athletes. Not A-listers like Melo, but ones a little further down the chain. Send any ideas to my email above (or leave a message on the MySpace page).

Finally, in case you missed it: Yesterday's "Thank-You" post. Or just scroll down two posts.

-- D.S.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

ESPN Dropping "2" From "ESPN2":
Oh, And Has Comments Now

Must-must-read: Via Deadspin. Submitted without additional commentary from me. Will does that job just fine. And speaking of "Commenters," let the Deadspin commenters do what they do best on this one. Sit back, put your page on "auto-refresh" and marvel. Old post here.

A Quick(ie) "Thank You" and Update

I don't obsess over the traffic stats of this blog like some people do over their blogs. (I have replaced that with obsessively checking my MySpace new-friend-invite list.) I do look at traffic when I'm mentioned in other blogs, if only because I like to show other bloggers that their links make a difference (which they do).

I also check at the end of the month. And I just saw that January was my second-biggest month ever for page views -- and top month ever for visits -- since the blog launched in September.

For that, I want to take a minute to thank you sincerely for your attention, time and enthusiasm.

Not a day goes by when one (or more) old Quickie readers email me letting me know they have just discovered the blog. This is double-edged: (1) Welcome and great to see you again! (2) Dejected that so many of the six-figure-plus readership of the Quickie thought I just shriveled up and imploded after the column was contracted. To crib from Colbert: You all are the heroes.

That disconnect was part of the motivation for the minor re-design revealed earlier this week: Heading into the post-Super Bowl season (the biggest inflection point in the sports year), give the blog some new juice and momentum. (Amazingly, the new "blogspot-free" URL helps a ton.)

I have been developing some very cool content features for the blog -- to be unveiled later this month and, hopefully, rocking the sports-blog world to its core. (Not to oversell or anything.) And I'm launching a couple of new side projects -- a bit of a departure from this blog and the "Quickie" ethos, but things I'm really excited about.

One has been technically "live" since Monday, but -- interestingly -- none of you have found it (or, at least, emailed me about it), even though I have it listed and linked on the right. It's probably a good indication that many/most of you don't have kids (and, yes, that's a hint).

I wanted to beef this new project up a little bit before the "official" launch next week, but I'm thrilled to "soft launch" it now for you guys. Again, just fair warning that it might or might not be in your wheelhouse of interests. (Don't worry: I'll be shamelessly hitting you up next week to promote it to people you know who WOULD be interested in it.)

Anyway, really I just wanted to say huge thanks again for a great stretch between Thanksgiving and the end of January -- particularly this first month of the new year.

(Wait: Did you think by "Update" in the blog-post title I would reveal that I have resumed my life of the full-time sports columnist for some notable mainstream-media outlet? LOL. That'll take a grassroots campaign... hmm... let's see how it goes with me catching Carmelo on MySpace.)

Back to Super Bowl Ramp-Up and more...

-- D.S.

Thursday 02/01 A.M. Quickie:
SB XLI Can't Arrive Fast Enough

Super Bowl XLI Ramp-Up: Cripes, is it here yet? I really don't have much to say. All the coverage has been recycled quotes from Media Day. Yawn. And having just come from two days in Chicago, I'm a little OD'ed on the SB.

The big post is tomorrow, when I/we make our picks. So start preparing now. My big dilemma: Do I stick with my well-publicized (uh, self-publicized) Colts over Bears pick from the PRESEASON? Or has my time in Chicago -- and perhaps my legacy of serious Bears fandom from age 0-18 -- affected my judgment? Come back tomorrow.

You know what we haven't talked about yet? The ads. There's the K-Fed ad (which doesn't deserve our attention), but which ads have you heard about or seen that you think will score big? Hell, most of them are already available on YouTube. A huge part of the SB XLI live-blog on this blog will be about the ads.

UPDATE: There IS a big story: Super Bowl Week, 15-minutes-of-fame, hot-for-Web-oddity Bears fan Sarah Spain rejected Matt Ufford (of WithLeather and KissingSuzyKolber) as the guy to give her extra Super Bowl ticket to. This was lame. And wrong. You can't bite the hand that feeds you freaking Super Bowl tickets. Check out WL for Matt's epic three-part tale of rejection.

NFL Coaching: Given that the Cowboys haven't picked a head coach yet, I'm going to predict that the next coach of the team will be... Ron Rivera.

(Why doesn't the NFL let assistant coaches whose teams are in the Super Bowl do job interviews? Is it really THAT disruptive?)

Kobe scores 43 in return from suspension. (Bitter much?) The Celtics continue to suck. (Oden much?)

College Hoops Parity Watch: Wisconsin as No. 2? Not for long: The Badgers (one of my preseason Final Four teams) lost at Indiana. The Gators and Heels rolled on – I think they're on a collision course for the NCAA title game.

Speaking of Oden, if the Celtics DO get the first overall pick in the NBA Draft, they might want to consider picking Kevin Durant over Greg Oden. Did you see Durant's game last night? 30-some points, 20-some rebounds. Yeesh. He's a monster.

Nick Saban is a complete jackass.

Barry Bonds' various contract snafus are even more boring than you think they are.

Today's Must-Read: The always-brilliant Henry Abbott over at TrueHoop has this amazing post that continues to enlighten we plebian NBA fans about the real inner workings of the system. Or is that "Wes-tem?" Here's the link.

Carmelo-vs-Shanoff MySpace Challenge: In the latest update (as of 11:38 a.m. on Thursday), I have reached 270 friends. Carmelo has 31,145. Based on my "1 Percent" goal, I need to reach 312 friends. Only 42 behind! The big question: When will Melo request to be my friend?

Not about sports, but perhaps of interest to you: Do you like politics? Do you run a politics blog or simply like to talk about politics? Do you appreciate the reference if I compliment you for being "clean?" Dan Lewis, one of the brains behind, wants to talk with you about a potential opportunity. Email him at dan[dot]lewis[at]gmail[dot]com.

-- D.S.

Thursday A.M.: Coming Shortly

Just got off a flight. (But you gotta love the in-flight TV on JetBlue to get my morning highlights.) Should have a morning post up by 10:30/11-ish. Sorry for the delay. Two words: Du.Rant. - D.S.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Countdown to Super Bowl XLI:
Who/What Are the X(LI)-Factors?

Earlier this morning, I talked about how I think Devin Hester (and, by extension, the performance of the Colts' special teams on Bears KR/PR) will be the biggest X-factor in the game. Yes, even more than the Sex Cannon, Rex Grossman. Here's the question for discussion/debate this afternoon: In your opinion, who (or what) is/are the biggest X-factor(s) in the game? Don't forget to offer up at least a little backup analysis of why.

(Tell you what: It won't be K-Fed. Seen his ad yet? Here's the link. He's such a schmoe.)

Wednesday 01/31 A.M. Quickie:
Media Day Is SUPPOSED to Be Farce

UPDATE: Theo Epstein got married?! Last month?! How did no one hear about this? That Theo: So cagey! Mazel tov! (Extra points to anyone who can find out where they're registered.)

Super Bowl XLI Media Day Hangover
: Is there anything more annoying or disingenuous than the sports reporters who gripe about the circus that has become Super Bowl Media Day?

Here's a big, fat STFU: First of all, they're covering the Super Bowl in Miami, not the World Economic Forum at Davos. Second, it's precisely the circus-style atmosphere that they milk for column inches:

*The "15 minutes of fame" pop-culture reporters: This year, the two American Idol rejects (this year's William Hung) -- Kenneth Briggs and Jonathan Jayne – who are now comically connected forever.

*The inevitably hot Latino TV reporter. This year: Inez Sainz of TV Azteca. (She isn't even "hot for sports media," as so many would-be hotties are. She's legit.)

*Mo Rocca, who continues to find work despite being unfunny.

*Players interviewing themselves.

*The inevitably off-the-wall questions.

Screw it: This is what makes Media Day remotely interesting. God knows that the sports reporters won't be able to do it. And it beats hearing about "real" stories like Tank Johnson.

More SB XLI: I am so wary of any player who expresses a sense of "Just happy to be here." Anyone catch any players doing that?

Peyton Manning was the big Media Day attraction among players: Is he the league's biggest star right now? (Consider his TV-ad binge this season.) He's a little too polished, his answers to 150 questions in an hour a little too pat.

So: Who else finds it easy to root against Peyton? I think he's destined to be this generation's Dan Marino -- arguably the most talented QB of his era... but never winning that Super Bowl ring.

XLI X-factor Debate: I had coffee this morning with a big Bears fan, and he's got me thinking that Devin Hester (combined with the Colts' piss-poor special-teams, aside from Adam V) is going to be the difference in the game. Is Devin the new Desmond (Howard) – the special-teams player who wins MVP honors?

More of today's biggest storylines:

Kobe suspended: Kobe was "shocked" – and will appeal? The league says there's no way that quasi-KO was inadvertent. I'm with the league here. (Meanwhile, without Kobe, the Lakers lost to the Knicks last night.

Gilbert Arenas for MVP: 36 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds and the best-in-East Wizards beat the Pistons – and that was mostly without Antawn Jamison playing for D.C. Eddie Jordan: "We kicked their butts." Wow: That's so uncharacteristic of Jordan. Pole position to coach the East All-Stars must be getting to his head or something.

Bonds clause: If he's indicted, the Giants can get out of the new contract. But if he's close to passing Aaron, would they want to?

(By the way, Barry Bonds' agent said that he has no plans to retire and could reach "1,000" home runs. That's kind of ludicrous, but if you just stop and think about that number for a second, it's wild.)

Cowboys coaching search: Yeah, yeah, they talked to Singletary. But everyone agrees it was a sham to satisfy the Rooney Rule. The good news for Singletary: He'll be a head coach by this time next year; he's better off not being in Dallas, anyway. Where's the upside there?

OJ Mayo plays: He scored 19 points and his Huntington (WV) team beat national Top 15 team Artesia (CA) at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Way bigger: Does that position No. 2 Huntington to take over the national top spot? No. 1 St. Benedict's (NJ) lost to No. 4 St. Patrick's (NJ) last night. Ah: The mythical high school hoops national-title debate! It makes the BCS system look definitive.

Carmelo-vs.-Shanoff MySpace Challenge Update: As of 9:30 this morning, I'm at 220 friends. Carmelo is at 30,737. It's a moving target, but that puts me a mere 88 friends from reaching my "1 percent" goal. Have you checked out the page yet?

(Meanwhile, here's an interesting tidbit you can only know by perusing MySpace pages: One of Carmelo's featured "friends" is Marc Spears, the Nuggets beat reporter for the Denver Post. Now, I'm no journalism ethics prude and I'm all about the new realities of new media, but that strikes me as a strange manifestation of even the most elastic version of "objectivity.")

My 9-month-old son, the Sex Cannon: Do any readers in Chicago know where I can find a toddler-size Rex Grossman jersey? Just email me. ("Sex Cannon" reference via Kissing Suzy Kolber.)

UPDATE: Thanks for the quick response, everyone. $40 makes me want to retch, but I might just convince myself into doing it.

Check that: What a waste of money. I could create a Photoshop image of the phrase "Future Sex Cannon" and iron it onto a onesie for free. And it would be much more fun. Who knew selling out my kid for my own enjoyment would be so easy and fulfilling?

-- D.S.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Super Bowl XLI Media Day Mania

It's XLI Media Day! Here's the challenge: What are the questions you want answered (and who do you want answering them) Feel free to answer your own question - or, better yet, let your fellow Commenters channel their own inner Media Day interviewee. This should be good. - D.S.

UPDATE: Just got an email from the guy who is running Bear vs. Colt, a site with all sorts of weird video between a guy in a Bear costume and a guy in a Colt costume (both with MySpace pages, natch), plus the all-important fan poll, currently running an insanely tight 5944 (Bear) to 5842 (Colt), the outcome of which undoubtedly will predict the outcome of the game itself.

Tuesday 01/30 A.M. Quickie:
Barbaro, KG and Super Bowl Media Day

Super Bowl XLI Media Day is here, the annual symbol of Super excess. More on that (in its own post) a little later this morning. Meanwhile...

Barbaro Euthanized, The Day After: In the frenzy of attention (and even grief) in the last 24 hours, it's worth asking:

What attracted fans to Barbaro's story? Our common love of a great animal story? A sport with an important historical legacy (but archaic value today) with its last great myth? And, obviously: His brief, brilliant career -- his vast potential, tragically cut short?

It was easy to watch the spectacle of anthropomorphic love that human fans assigned to an animal athlete. But this morning, you realize it's a little tougher. It IS the death of an athlete. And not just any athlete, but arguably the Athlete of the Year from 2006.

UPDATE: On an early-morning plane ride today, I was continuing to think this over, and I decided that if I could write this post again, I would go with a "Quickie Vocab" approach and coin the word: "Fanthropomorphism," which means "Sports fans who project human qualities onto animals or sports-related inanimate objects." (No, I wasn't flying down to Miami. Ha!)

Meanwhile, when I want the best horse-racing analysis, I always check out Andy Beyer from the Washington Post. Here's his take on Barbaro.

I also recommend the coverage by Joe Drape, who writes about horse racing as well as any reporter in the country.

Super Bowl XLI: The Colts arrived yesterday. The Bears had already gotten a practice in. I think one team wants it more.

Yeah, right: With one extra day to be lured by South Beach, maybe getting to Miami early isn't such an advantage.

Two words should set the rule-of-thumb for players: Early. Curfew. I know it might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but is it so hard to stay focused on the REAL goal of winning the game?

SB XLI Media Day Mania: Again, coming later this morning. And if you want the BEST Radio Row coverage of SB XLI, you've got to follow SportsBloggersLive. (They've got Spain Mania!)

An "Oh-Sweet-Goodness" Update: Matt Ufford of Kissing Suzy Kolber and WithLeather is going to Miami... with an invite to the Penthouse party. Hide the children everyone. I'm obviously biased, but bloggers will offer the best on-site coverage in Miami, precisely because they have no business being there.

NBA On-Court: KG had 44 points and 11 rebounds in his best effort in years, helping the lowly T'wolves snap the Suns' 17-game winning streak.

NBA Off-Court: Maybe Latrell Sprewell DOES need all that money to feed his family. The mother of four of his kids has sued him for $200 million in a palimony dispute.

MLB: Bonds deal done? You can now officially say goodbye to Hank Aaron at the top of the record books. Bonds passing Aaron will be THE sports event of 2007.

More MLB: The Red Sox won't get Todd Helton. Meanwhile, Curt Schilling won't retire after the 2007 season. (Just ask him.) He's planning to return in '08, too. His life as a TV analyst will just have to wait.

Cowboys coaching search: Mike Singletary will interview today, but why would Dallas hire a young, up-and-coming coach when they so obviously have Jason Garrett waiting in the wings to take over?

College Hoops: Pitt for real this season? Solid win over Villanova on ESPN last night makes me think that maybe – maybe – this is finally the year that Pitt lives up to its great regular season with a run to the Final Four. It's a down year for the Big East, so it's easy to overlook them. Tracking...

Meanwhile, I love the "BracketBuster" concept. It's probably the best thing to happen to the college-hoops regular-season, precisely because it is made-for-TV and precisely because it boosts mid-major teams and precisely because it gives fans who love to accurately pick March Madness brackets the chance to watch teams that might be the next George Mason. This year's schedule was unveiled yesterday. Butler versus "So. Ill." is the headliner, but I want to know: Where is Air Force?

This OJ Mayo story is getting more interesting: He was thrown out of a game Friday after allegedly bumping a ref. But when you watch the video, that looks pretty sketchy.

Check it out here. (The station must have told YouTube to take down the clip, because it's only available here.) The ref has obviously become the central character/villain in the story.

Consequently, Mayo was suspended for tonight's high-profile (read: televised) game. That won't do: Not for the biggest talent in high school hoops this season in his most high-profile TV appearance.

As usual, it went from blogosphere sensation to mainstream media, which will only help Mayo's case to be reinstated quickly. Why the urgency? Fairness, sure, but also his own publicity machine.

UPDATE: OJ Mayo got a temporary injuction to play tonight. Of course he did.

Did you read Warren St. John's New York Times story about the youth soccer team of refugees? Here's the story behind his movie deal, via the Wall Street Journal.

It's me vs. Melo! Can the growth of my new MySpace page keep pace with Carmelo Anthony's? That's the challenge. Be sure to help the effort!

-- D.S.

Monday, January 29, 2007 Blog Reveal, Part 2: When It Rains...
Introducing My New MySpace Page

So I have a new MySpace page. You can find it using the link on the right or just click here. (Warning: My page isn't impressive... at all. No, seriously.)

Going back to the days of the Quickie, readers regularly emailed asking if I was on MySpace. I wasn't before. I am now. Yikes. OK, yes, I'm doing it to stay cool with the kids.

No, I wasn't inspired by feature stories about Carmelo Anthony's MySpace presence, but I am going to find a way to make that relevant:

The Shanoff-vs-Carmelo MySpace Challenge! Simply: Can I reach (and maintain) at least 1 percent of the total of Melo's friend empire? Let the challenge begin!

Comments Question: So, besides Carmelo, which notable friends should I be trying to connect with? (Wait: Does Sarah Spain count as notable? Maybe on MySpace...)

-- D.S.

Monday 01/29 A.M. Quickie:
Will the New Blog Look Get Me to Miami?

UPDATE (12:40 p.m.): Barbaro euthanized. Yes, this will be a huge story today, whether you like Barbaro or not. I will personally miss him -- don't forget: I picked him to win the Derby.

New-ish name! New-ish look!
Have you read the post below about the blog's new look? (And don't forget: It's now

Super Bowl XLI: The Bears arrived yesterday. The Colts arrive today. The media mayhem begins now. What I want to know: Are any of YOU going?

UPDATE: The biggest sensation of Super Bowl Week? Sarah Spain. Is she the new Jenn Sterger? Only if she parlays this into Maxim. (No, getting on da WSCR morning show in Chicago wouldn't count. Nor would an interview with Sean Salisbury on Chicago's WMVP. Has he sent his application to be her Super Bowl seat-mate via camera-phone yet? No?)

Tiger wins Buick, 7th Tour win in a row: Apparently, "parent-to-be" status is going to be pretty good for Tiger this season.

It's like Woods and Federer are playing in their own exclusive game of "Can you top this?" en route to legacies as the best ever in their respective sports.

NBA: Suns win 17th in a row. Nash has 23 pts, 15 ast. How many MVP voters are sorry they gave him the award last year (it should have gone to LeBron), because Nash is even more deserving THIS year. (But they can't possibly give him the MVP three years in a row... can they?!)

Officer Shaq: Some idiot allegedly hit Shaq's Escalade and tried to flee the scene. Little did he know that Shaq fancies himself a lawman. Shaq gave chase, caught up to the guy and beat his ass called in the real cops to close the deal.

More NFL: Cowboys hiring Norv Turner? Really, does it even matter? It's a caretaker job until new O.C. Jason Garrett is ready. (Again: If it is ultimately Garrett's job, why not just give it to him now?)

Meanwhile, isn't the NFL fining Reggie Bush $5K for taunting Brian Urlacher superfluously adding insult to injury? After all, Bush's taunt inspired the Bears to kick the crap out of Bush's Saints.

Barbaro in trouble? He had some risky surgery this weekend, and now he's had a set-back. The Barbaro Watch is on.

College Hoops: So maybe Oregon IS the best team in the Pac-10, especially after No. 3 UCLA lost to Stanford yesterday.

Women's College Hoops: I really had high hopes for Maryland to repeat, but after that ass-kicking they took from UNC (in College Park, no less), it's UNC's title to lose. (How about a men's-women's double?)

MLB Hot Stove: Are the Red Sox really going to get Todd Helton in a trade with the Rockies? I smell a swindle coming on...

Missed this weekend? Well, for starters, my kid's very first words may very well have been the tagline for a sports-apparel company's TV ad.

-- D.S.

Surprise! It's a Re-Launch (Sort Of)
Welcome to

You might notice some changes on the blog today. Some are more prominent than others:

New URL: The biggest is the name change: I've ditched the ol' "blogspot" part of the URL and now it's simply:

I'm still using the Blogger publishing platform, like other Blogspot blogs, but I've switched to the "new" version. We'll see how that goes. But going to the straight "" URL is a big step forward.

(For some reason I have yet to figure out, you can't simply type in You need to include the "www" part. I'm working on that.)

Old URL OK, too: All of your bookmarks to "" should still work fine. Any links you make to specific old posts should still work, too. The only thing that really changes is my Technorati ranking. If you want to modify your bookmarks, feel free. If not, no worries.

Link, link, link. Wait: You haven't bookmarked this blog? You don't have it blogrolled? You don't pass it around to your friends? You don't link to it constantly? (Eh: I understand. But I'm always up for more shameless pandering!)

More links: The right-hand column of the blog has also been modified with a lot more stuff, particularly more links. The first set of links is to all sorts of navel-gazing stuff. The second set is me (finally) building out my blogroll. (It's still a work in progress.)

Tags on posts: Also, individual posts will now include tags, which will begin to be listed on the right and should help sort through what I have posted about. (It'll take me a little while to go back through the archives and tag all 400-plus posts I've done since the blog's launch, but that's a goal.)

More to come: There are a couple of other little new details that you might find intriguing. For now, I'll let you discover them yourself, but I'll plan to put individual posts up about them later today.

What do you think? As always, please let me know what you think of this new stuff. Any complaints or compliments are always welcome. The goal is always to give you a better experience, and I take your comments and opinions to heart.

-- D.S.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sunday 01/28 A.M. Quickie:
Infant Armour: My Baby Boy Speaks?

So I'm not quite sure what to think of this:

I happened to catch the beginning of the Senior Bowl yesterday afternoon. I was sitting there with Gabe, my 9-month-old son, on my lap.

At the first commercial break, an extended version of that Under Armour "Click-Clack" ad comes on. The gist of the ad is a bunch of NFL players doing some training drills and repeating the mantra, "Click-clack."

It's a catchy enough ad. And so I'm mimicking the sound from the TV as the ad rolls along. Then, when the ad finishes, I turn to Gabe and I say, "Click-clack, Gabe!"

And he looks straight at me and says, just about as clearly as he's ever enunciated anything in his short life: "Click-clack."

Now, here's the dilemma: I believe that this was Gabe's first words. Not "Da-da." Not "ba-ba." ("Bottle") Not "Ma-ma."


(I suppose it could have been worse and his first words could have been: "We must protect this house!")

Still... his first words: An advertiser marketing message? Should I be excited or depressed about this development?

Federer wins 10th Grand Slam in straight sets. Friends, we are watching the greatest tennis player of all time. Between Fed and Tiger, we are living in the Golden Era of Country Club Sport Dominance.

College Hoops Game of the Day: I'm not sure if Arizona was quite as good as their ranking, but the fact that UNC came to Tucson and demolished the Wildcats 92-64 says volumes about both teams.

The Heels were even playing without frosh sensation Brandan Wright. Lute Olsen got his worst home loss in his long Arizona career.

I think there's no question that UNC and Florida are the best two teams in college hoops this season. I'd love to see them get to play (and it would likely be for the national title):

The Gators might be the only team that has the talent and experience in the starting five to keep up with UNC – but UNC has the edge in depth.

Meanwhile, is No. 7 Oregon legit? Winning at No. 20 Washington State indicates "yes." The Ducks as the best team in the Pac-10? (Hmm... better than UCLA? We'll see.)

NFL Coaching Carousel: Are the Cowboys going to hire Saints defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs over 49ers offensive coordinator Norv Turner? (Does it even matter? Jason Garrett will have the job within a season or two anyway. What self-respecting contender would take this job? Maybe that's why Dallas has been reduced to interviewing Norv Turner.)

PGA: I will guarantee you that one of the two "Who?!" rookies at the top of the leaderboard, Andrew Buckle and Brandt Snedeker, will falter in the spectre of Tiger. My money's on the guy with a Dickensian name like "Buckle."

Senior Bowl: Well, that kind of sucked. The North team won 27-0. Yeesh. Penn State RB Tony Hunt won MVP honors on the strength of the game's first TD (because it couldn't have been his 39 yards on 8 carries). Notably, QB Troy Smith was 5-for-15 for 52 yards. And, amazingly, that was an improvement on his BCS title game numbers.

-- D.S.