It’s game day as National Security Adviser Condaleezza Rice goes to the mound against the lineup of the 9/11 Commission, and bloggers are gathered eagerly in their front-row seats.

Will Rice whiff the side, or will she give up too many unearned runs in the late innings? More to the point, how will the sporting press cover the game?

In a post titled “‘Hardball’ Bingo” Stuart Benjamin at the Volokh Conspiracy puts words in the manic mouths of “the partisan talking heads who populate shows like ‘Hardball,’” predicting what they will say about Rice’s testimony today (he provides “scripts”). Unlike himself, Benjamin opines, “many others have made up their minds” ahead of time about Rice, and he doubts that “any of the talking heads” will veer off-script and cross “ideological lines.” It won’t take long to learn how his predictions play out.

The Corsair outlines “The Condi Rice 9/11 Commission Drinking Game,” which prescribes two drinks “if Condi puts down Richard Clarke and “pound[ing] if the commission breaks into verbal jousting among themselves.”

Moving on, the Kerry campaign has hired MoveOn.org’s Zack Exley, and Blogs for Bush—a group blog run by one Matt Margolis and “not affiliated with the official Campaign to Re-elect President George W. Bush”—today takes note. “There is just no way that scandal will not erupt due to this new hire,” Mark Noonan writes expectantly, doing his part to start the lava flowing. While Blogs for Bush hopes for scandal, Atrios hopes that “[Exley] improves things a bit over there.”

Meanwhile, it’s mutual admiration society time on the left. Arianna Huffington blows kisses to bloggers (“I’ve got a big-time crush…[on] Atrios and Kos and Josh Micah Marshall and Kausfiles and Kevin Drum and Wonkette”) and today at least one blogger returns the gesture. The Corner’s Ron Drehr betrays his admiration for CNN. “Ok, I might as well confess,” Drehr writes, “I’m a conservative who watches CNN in the morning, not Fox & Friends….I want Jack Cafferty being all curmudgeonly. I cotton to low-key snark of Andy Serwer.” There’s love on the airwaves as well; Al Franken reads Atrios, someone on Atrios’s comment board notes. Franken, during yesterday’s O’Franken Factor on Air America, apparently recommended that his guest—“The Daily Show“‘s Jon Stewart—read Atrios and Josh Marshall. Atrios hugs back, noting that Franken and Stewart “make a great pair. Funny” and gives the “best metaphor for the media” award to Stewart who compared the media to 6-year-olds playing soccer—“the ball pops up and they all run towards it.”

Wonkette shows no love for ABC’s The Note— or other works of staggering genius— calling it the “the Dave Eggers of political newsletters: long-winded, cutesy, self-referential, and mysteriously immune from criticism. Oh, and no one ever finishes reading their stuff.”

Don’t let Wonkette’s tough love get you down, Notettes. She once called Campaign Desk “the Lieberman of poli-blogs”—a moniker we’ve grown fonder of month by month.

Liz Cox Barrett

Note: The above has been updated to reflect the correct author on the Blogs for Bush quote.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.