America wanted a Triple Crown winner so bad it could taste it and bet it. Philadelphia’s Smarty Jones went off at 2-5 and left as another beaten favorite. Ron Indrisano has the story of Birdstone’s improbable win in the stretch run at the Belmont Stakes. Bob Ryan is sad because for this one time a 36 to 1 underdog could not capture his imagination as Smarty Jones did. John Powers explains the disppointment of many horse racing fans on Belmont Sunday. There is a classic photo with that one.

The Red Sox bats exploded last night in Kansas City. But the big news was that the Red Sox got some good starting pitching for a change. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that it came from team ace, Curt Schilling. Bob Hohler, Michael Silverman and Steven Krasner have game stories on the Sox 8-4 win.

Tony Massarotti explains that although Schilling has been the ace, his problems from the 7th inning on are troubling to him. Michael Silverman has a Red Sox notebook with a look at an injury to Pedro Martinez’ wrist as well as problems with his curveball. Silverman also reports that Scott Williamson felt fine after throwing 25 pitches in his attempt to rehab. Bob Hohler’s Red Sox notebook focuses on various Sox injuries. In his Covering All Bases column, Tony Massarotti tells us that Derek Lowe is sick and tired of talking about his problems. Tony Maz is bullish on the Reds and Pedro Martinez. He also reports that Houston fans are growing restless with Jimy Williams whose Astros are a few games below .500 in games not pitched by Roger Clemens. As hard of a time that Boston fans give Grady Little, nobody here was wishing for the days of Jimy Williams. Gordon Edes notebook has a look at the fantastic Vladimir Guerrero and his impact on the Angels. He also examines the effectiveness of Mark Bellhorn who really doesn’t strike out when it counts. Bob Hohler has a minor league notebook with a trip around the farm.

Speaking of pitching problems, Nick Cafardo explains that the Red Sox may need to bring back Tony Cloninger from exile to resuscitate some Sox pitchers including Derek Lowe and Ramiro Mendoza. According to the maniacal one, Chuck Waseleski, the first six batters in the order are hitting .400 against Derek Lowe. Cloninger turned around Scott Williamson last year and sees hope in the others.

Michael Smith has an NFL Notebook and explains that Terrell Buckley negotiated his own deal with the Patriots and had the blessing of his agents, the Postons, to do that. Buckley had some interesting quotes with respect to Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli. “They’re straighforward. What I really like about their approach is that they’re honest. With me, I can’t speak for nobody else. They’ve been up-front about the situation. The only thing I expect out them is to tell me what’s expected from me.” Carl Poston said Ty Law would show up for the Patriots minicamp this week since it is mandatory. But Poston is not so sure Law will play this season in New England. Greg Hardwig explains that Buckley, a Miami native, wanted to spend the rest of his career in Miami because that is where his family is and he likes taking his three daughters to school. But his next best choice was New England. Michael Felger looks forward to minicamp as the unofficial start to the 2004 season. Felger tells us that Corey Dillon has impressed teammates with his attitude and work ethic. However, Felger’s inside sources say that the Pats will not be changing their offense just because they finally have a threat at running back because the offense revolves around Tom Brady and his skills. Felger also looks at key battles for starting positions including Traylor vs Wilfork, Samuel vs Poole, and Warren vs Bailey vs Green. The other news from Felger is that Seymour is not happy with his contract. Unfortunately for Seymour, he signed a six-year rookie deal and is tied into his current deal through 2006. He’s not happy that his agent went for a six-year deal rather than a five-year deal that Corey Simon got. It’s no coincidence that Seymour fired his agent and hired, Simon’s agent. Mike Reiss tells us that Bill Belichick revisited his roots on Memorial Day in giving a pre-game motivational speech to the Navy Lacrosse team before their national championship game.

***NFL UPDATE***
Mike Florio wonders if Terrell Buckley pushed the Postons aside as his agent because of concern that the Patriots might not want to deal with him with the Postons as his agents. Patrick Saunders spoke to Shannon Sharpe who believes his 1997 Super Bowl Broncos team could handle his 2000 Super Bowl Ravens team. Of course, Sharpe has the view of an offensive player. That Ravens defense was something special. Larry Felser doesn

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