The Opening Pitch: I love the Summer Olympics. The other day, someone asked me what defining moments I remember from any recent Summer Olympics.
I actually couldn't point to any — except for maybe the USA basketball failure in 2004. But that wasn't a distinct moment; it was more like an ongoing feeling of Larry Brown schadenfreude.
But that's not why I watch: I tune in for the hold-your-breath moments of greatness, performance under insane pressure and the thrill of the unexpected — the TBD drama everyone will be talking about.
My Top 5 Most Intriguing Storylines:
(1) Athlete protests (if any): Will NBC stay or cut away?
(2) Michael Phelps: Greatest athlete of our time?
(3) Dara Torres: 41-year-old in 25 seconds or less.
(4) Athletes wearing masks: Real symbol of these Games.
(5) USA Oops' redemption: Failure is NOT an option.
There are too many storylines — probably too many events — to count. (It has already started, with stories like this one about boxer Gary Russell.) Glad you'll join me along for the excitement. After a month of Brett Favre nonsense, it will be refreshing to leave our cynicism behind.
Favre hits New York: "I don't know what I'm getting into." Got to love that confidence!
(By the way: All that Favre-to-Bucs talk? Total bunk, apparently. Gee, thanks, Tampa Tribune!)
NFL Preseason Mania: Who needs Brett Favre when you've got Brett Ratliff? ... And that would be the end of the Giants' mojo. ... The Pats have now lost TWO in a row. ... (Fantasy Sleeper: LaMont Jordan)... So the Bears' best QB is Caleb Hanie? (Um, who? And, while we're at it, let's add injury to insult). ... Reggie Bush, off to another raging start (3.1 ypc, 0 TD). ... Today's Games: PHI/PIT, SEA/MIN, SF/OAK.
NFL Legalizes Scalping: Euphemistically, it's called a "secondary ticket market," and it makes a ton of sense. The only question: What took them so long?
MLB Instant History: Raul Ibanez(!) is having the Best. Week. Ever. ... Yes, Manny for MVP! Another HR (4th in 6 games with the Dodgers). ... Huge win for the Marlins behind rookie SP Chris Volstad, taking 2 of 3 from Philly. ... Good news: David Wright walkoff; bad news: Mets bullpen blows another Johan quality start. ... That is 15 wins for the resurgent Mike Mussina. ... Yet another too-little-too-late win for the Tigers. ... Fantasy Stud: Lastings Milledge (5/9, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs in the doubleheader vs. the Rockies).
CFB: Bad news for Florida, losing NFL-caliber tight end Cornelius Ingram for the season with an ACL injury. The Gators have the weapons to fill in, but he was a big, versatile piece.
NBA: I like Jason Williams, but didn't the Clippers just spend a ton of money on Baron Davis? I guess White Chocolate is a role player.
The Last Word: Fantasy college football is going to be huge, and the door is even wider open now that the NCAA has announced it won't challenge the use of actual player names in the games. (I'll take Tim Tebow as my No. 1 overall pick, but once he's gone, don't discount Tebow-lite Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour.)
Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com.
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