Today's Names to Know: Randy Moss, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Francisco Liriano, John Wall, Yao Ming, Ben Roethlisberger, Marshawn Lynch, John Brantley, Liverpool, Andy Behrens and More.
Randy Moss to the Vikings?(!?) That is intriguing enough to bump the Heat preseason debut and the MLB Playoffs preview from the top. (Moss back on the team where he made his reputation! Moss receiving passes from Brett Favre!) But only briefly. Much more later.
Heat Superfriends debut: Last night put in stark relief the scenario that could derail the Heat's dream (or, for the rest of us, nightmare) season -- injuries.
Because as a "Big Three," the Heat are seemingly an unstoppable carnival of talent. But if it's just LeBron and Bosh -- or LeBron and Wade, or Wade and Bosh -- the team is great, but not THAT great. Not "coronate" great. Not "72" great.
The only way this experiment works is if all three are playing, without injury. The first game of the preseason really doesn't matter. All that matters is that they are healthy starting in, say, mid-April.
But let's call last night "foreshadowing."
MLB Playoffs Preview: Can you isolate a single factor that is going to win a team a championship? Probably not, but for now I am enamored with starting pitching as a pretty good basis for postseason success -- and no one has a better playoff rotation than the Phillies, who feature Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. That, plus the Phillies' overall experience, should be enough to win the NL pennant -- then edge the Rays (another team with superior starting pitching) in the World Series, in a repeat of the 2008 W.S. The most dramatic storyline of the AL playoffs are if -- perhaps when -- the Yankees are eliminated.
ALDS 1: Yankees over Twins in 4
ALDS 2: Rays over Rangers in 5
ALCS: Rays over Yankees in 6
NLDS 1: Phillies over Reds in 3
NLDS 2: Giants over Braves in 3
NLCS: Phillies over Giants in 5
World Series: Phillies over Rays in 7
Today's LDS Game 1s: That Cliff Lee vs. David Price match-up in Game 1 of the Rangers-Rays series is spectacular. (Sabathia vs. Liriano -- in Minnesota -- tonight is a close second. In distant third, Roy Halladay's start is notable for being his first-ever in the postseason.) This is a terrific triple-header.
John Wall's NBA preseason debut: The 21 points isn't nearly as important as how he got half of them -- making a living at the free-throw line, not unlike Kevin Durant. His jumpshot will come around eventually; drawing contact, creating fouls and getting to the line is innate. Oh, and most promising of all: 9 assists and only 2 turnovers. In a -- you read this correctly -- Wizards win.
More NBA Preseason foreshadowing: DeMarcus Cousins with the double-double (16 and 16)... Yao plays, but only very limited minutes (12)... The Nets showcased an uptempo blueprint for entertaining, if not winning 50 games... Cavs win! Cavs win! (Take that, LeBron!)
Newsflash! Ben Roethlisberger will start for the Steelers in his first week back (Week 6, following Pittsburgh's bye week next week.)
Marshawn Lynch traded to Seahawks: Can those of us who (over-)drafted CJ Spiller finally get the production we were hoping for?
CFB: Hmm, Vegas sportsbooks took down the line on LSU-Florida on rumors Florida QB John Brantley might not be able to play. Silly bookies: Don't they remember Florida is playing LSU? Florida could trot out Trey Burton at QB -- or simply a series of skill-position players like Jeff Demps or Andre Debose. Les Miles still coaches LSU, right?
Business: Liverpool fans' long Hicksian nightmare is over! The team has been sold to John Henry and the Boston Red Sox ownership group, of all people.
Now, my Liverpool friends, this is not the case of going from one idiot American sports owner to another: The difference between Hicks and Henry is as wide as loser and winner, as chump and champion, as bankrupt and brilliant.
Consider what Henry was able to do with a floundering Red Sox franchise -- expect competence. And, after the reign of Hicks, that should be a welcome change. (Shout-out to longtim Quickie reader Fred R. for flagging this as an issue.)
Here's an odd one: The fantasy baseball player of the year was... a London cab driver? He used Bloomberg's new fantasy-analysis engine to crush the field.
And congrats to Yahoo! Sports fantasy guru Andy Behrens for winning Tout Wars, the most competitive fantasy baseball league in the world. (Here's hoping Yahoo gives him a bonus, like team that rewards a player or coach who wins MVP or a World Series.)