Bob Verdi in the Chicago Tribune: "One disturbing aspect
of the World Cup is the insistence of some very annoying soccer
nuts on shaming the masses to fall in love with their sport.
"These windbags are everywhere, in America and overseas,
in the public and the press....
"Pay no attention to people who call us stupid for dismissing
the world's most popular sport, and by all means that includes
European 'journalists' who label the U.S. soccer program a joke.
"It's amazing how America can be dissed in so many different
languages--that is until other countries need protection or a
few billion dollars in loans."
Trivia time: Who holds the Laker career record for playoff
Big deal: Rick Morrissey in the Chicago Tribune: "After
watching 7-foot-5 Yao Ming in a workout, Denver Nugget General
Manager Kiki Vandeweghe said, 'It was a very impressive workout
that is testament to how far Chinese basketball has come.'
"That's like gushing over how far inner-city yodeling
Short shift: How do you get a save by throwing one pitch--for
a ball? Here's how Texas reliever Randy Flores did it:
He came on with two on and two out in the ninth inning, the
Rangers leading Houston, 9-6. On his first pitch, catcher Ivan
Rodriguez picked Richard Hidalgo off first base and Flores had
the first save of his career.
Classy group: Tim Keown in ESPN The Magazine: "Did you
catch how the international players--five of the first 16 picks--handled
themselves on draft night. They're personable, they're confident
and they speak English better than many schoolteachers.
"NBA teams are constantly telling their fans character
is an issue, and maybe the increasing reliance on overseas talent
is one of the results."
Rout 'em anyway: Ron Rapoport in the Chicago Sun-Times: "Now
that the bowl championship series honchos have eliminated point
differential from their ranking calculus, we'll go back to the
good old days when football powerhouses rolled up the score on
an opponent for the sheer sport of it."
Unnecessary: Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times asks, "Isn't
banning a team [California] that finished 1-10 last year from
playing in a bowl game akin to telling Anna Kournikova she's
ineligible to play in the Wimbledon final?"
Advance planning: Steve Hummer in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"Martha Stewart's 'College Football Insider' says dump all
your Miami stock and go with Florida State."
Looking back: On this day in 1990, the Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela
and Oakland's Dave Stewart threw no-hitters on the same day,
a baseball first.
Trivia answer: Magic Johnson, 2,346.
It's also the NBA record.
And finally: Berkeley astrologer Andrea Mallis says she
ran the charts on Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent and--no surprise--"They
have the compatibility from hell. It's a strange brew of power
struggles, one upmanship, emotional explosiveness, making for
volatile and unstable relationships, not to mention goading each
other to rash, ill-considered, impulsive acts."
Otherwise, they're real chummy.