My challenge this morning was to link Ken Griffey to Armando Galarraga -- I haven't seen anyone else do it yet, and I hope I pulled it off.
The gist of today's SN column lead: Two sides of "not quite" -- one mythic, one mythical.
For Griffey, I say this: For all the skills (power, speed, defense) and the mythology (Upper Deck '89, The Kid, Junior for President), he is saddled both with "What if?" and as the greatest player never to play in a World Series.
For Galarraga, I say this: It was the ultimate "not quite" -- this wasn't your average one-hitter-away-from-a-perfect-game. This was a perfect game that was robbed on the final out by a bad call. In imperfection, we will remember Galarraga a lot more than if he had thrown what would be known rather anonymously as "the third perfect game in a month."
Check out the column for yourself to see if I pull it off or just stretch a bit too far.
Otherwise, there is a ton in the column today -- way more than I thought there would be for a first-Thursday-in-June column:
*There is no reason baseball shouldn't have a more comprehensive instant-replay policy.
*Ump Joyce did everything right: Immediately admit fault, express sincere remorse. The chatter nearly instantly went from "Joyce sucks!" to "He's only human."
*By the way: The NBA Finals start tonight, and I will watch with a renewed appreciation for Kobe, playing with the greatest mastery of the game he has ever had.
*Plus this odd sensation of not hating these Celtics -- they remind me too much of the 1995 Rockets, my favorite NBA title team ever.
*That doesn't mean there can't be some Boston schadenfreude: How about the supposed issues between Tom Brady and the Pats?
*Boise State to the Mountain West? Yes, please. Two problems: (1) It won't happen until 2011, a year after BSU wins the national title. (2) Utah and BYU will eventually leave for the Pac-10.
*Tom Thibodeau should hold out for the Bulls job. Let Monty Williams have the Hornets job. The bigger point: Finally, some new NBA coaching talent, rather than re-treads.
*I almost always take Tiger over "the field" in any given golf tournament. For the Memorial, I'll take the field.
*Spelling Bee. Only the most pressure-packed competition in sports. And an event that I have historically crushed from a fantasy bee standpoint.
(How long before there actually is a fantasy bee product that gets launched? It is a perfect game for ESPN.com.)
See the complete column here. More later.