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Old 10-06-2002, 03:40 PM   #1
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Default Sports Central Newsletter - #87 - Washington Expos? Maybe Not

===================================
The Sports Central Newsletter
October 6th, 2002 - Issue #87
http://www.sports-central.org
===================================

|-- WELCOME --|

We hope you enjoy this issue of our newsletter. This e-mail is never sent unsolicited. The Sports Central Newsletter is sent out every fortnight. Subscribing and unsubscribing instructions are located at the bottom.

Like what you read? We highly encourage you to share it with your friends and invite them to subscribe.

Sports Central - http://www.sports-central.org

New to the site? Read more about Sports Central at:
http://www.sports-central.org/other/about.shtml

====================================================

|-- IN THIS ISSUE... --|

- Words From the Editor
- The O-Files: "Washington Expos? Maybe Not"
- Reader's Showcase (Sports Rant)
- What's new at Sports Central?
- Feature Article: "Sometimes, Desire Can Conquer Talent"
- Marquee Matchups (MLB, NFL)

====================================================

|-- WORDS FROM THE EDITOR --|

Hello folks,

The AFC West has arguably emerged as the NFL's most difficult division during the first quarter of the 2002 season. So we're asking you which team do you think will come out on top of the division in January? Get in your vote for this week's Fan's Voice poll at: http://www.sports-central.org

This just in: you can catch SC's "Calling The Shots" columnist Ryan Noonan on WFAY 1230 ESPN radio, The Ryan Kilbain Show, this Tuesday. He has been invited to discuss Tyrone Willingham and Notre Dame following his recent column on that issue: http://www.sports-central.org/column...dition77.shtml

Until next time,

- Marc James
mailto:[email protected]

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====================================================

|-- THE O-FILES--|

"Washington Expos? Maybe Not"
By Brad Oremland

It's no secret that investors in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia have been trying for years now to bring Major League Baseball back to the nation's capital. Speculation heated up considerably when the possibility of contraction in the immediate future was eliminated in the latest agreement between baseball and the players' union. Few believe the Expos can stay in Montreal until the current agreement runs out, and almost everyone assumed that Washington was the leading candidate to get a relocated Expos team.

Not so fast. Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos would fight that move tooth and nail. Washington is part of his market. Even some baseball executives are nervous about the idea. Washington and Baltimore are both fairly big cities, but they draw substantially from the Maryland suburbs they share with each other. A franchise in D.C. might lead to two small-revenue teams instead of one profitable team (the Orioles). Many believe that baseball would rather eat the Expos' losses for another few years and try contraction again in a few years.

Michael Wilbon, of "Pardon The Interruption" fame, recently wrote an article for the Washington Post about the cold shoulder D.C. is getting from baseball. The irony is that the Post has covered the Orioles as a home team for 30 years. Baltimore is an hour's drive from Washington, much less from suburban Maryland, and 90 minutes from Northern Virginia. The Orioles have a beautiful stadium (Camden Yards), a proud history, and Cal Ripken jerseys. Most of the fans a D.C. team would try to attract don't see the need. That's not to say they wouldn't like a team a little closer to home, but it's also not to say they aren't Orioles fans.

Furthermore, a baseball team in D.C. would threaten one of the city's most beloved athletic institutions: Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Stadium. The old home of the Redskins -- the city's most cherished sports team -- and the current home of D.C. United and the Washington Freedom, RFK is located in southeast Washington, near the "bad" part of the city. But the area immediately around RFK has always been a little different, and on gamedays, it brings the city together. Middle-class suburbanites mingled with corrupt politicians and working-class city residents at Redskins games, and today D.C. United games bring out D.C.'s growing Hispanic community, as well.

The problem is that RFK would be a temporary solution for a D.C. baseball team. The stadium is considered functional -- barely -- for big time baseball. If Washington gets the Expos, Vladimir Guerrero and company would probably play in RFK for a year, and then RFK would be demolished and a new stadium built, possibly at taxpayer expense. Washington's professional soccer teams would have to find new homes, too.

Some people -- like Wilbon -- desperately want baseball to return to D.C. But the demand for baseball in the capital must be carefully weighed against the opposition of league executives who still want contraction, Orioles owner Angelos, and most importantly, the fans a Washington team would hope to attract. Here's a vote for Portland or Montreal.

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Brad welcomes your feedback on his column: mailto:[email protected]?subject=O-Files

====================================================

|-- READER'S SHOWCASE --|

Each issue, the Reader's Showcase features either challenging sports trivia or sports rant entries from readers on a rotating basis. For the Sports Trivia questions, we will randomly choose trivia questions ranging from baseball to hockey to golf. As for the Sports Rant, you, the readers, have the opportunity write-in with your opinions and thoughts and have your thoughts published in front of thousands of interested eyes,.

In this issue, we're featuring another sports rant. Do you have something on your mind you'd like thousands to read? Let us know: mailto:[email protected]?subject=Readers_Showcase

--> SPORTS RANT

"Randy Moss: Toss Him!"

Patriots fan "seymourgal" writes:

"This guy was trouble while he was in college (kicked out of two, wasn't he, before joining Marshall?) and he's trouble now. He's a cancer on that team. I don't care how talented he is, he's not worth breaking a team over. We dumped Terry Glenn for his problem attitude and believe me we're far better off for it. When will teams learn that character counts and that the whole package has to be reviewed before you bring someone into your system and lavish the big bucks on them."

Discuss: http://www.sports-central.org/commun...&threadid=4981

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[ Last Issue ]

Last issue, we asked: "What city hosted the first Monday Night game on ABC?" The correct answer is Cleveland and congratulations to Don Benson for answering correctly. Good luck next time to those who participated.

====================================================

|-- WHAT'S NEW AT SPORTS CENTRAL? --|

Revisiting the new articles for the week of 09/30/02 - 10/06/02:

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NFL: Martyball winning again
By David Hettrick

One quarter of the way through the football season, and the 1972 Miami Dolphins have only two teams to worry about matching their record of perfection. The Oakland Raiders who, like a fine wine, seem to only get better with age, and the surprising San Diego Chargers are both unbeaten through the first four weeks, says SC's David Hettrick.

http://www.sports-central.org/sports...cle148_4.shtml

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NHL: Rules are rules
By Glenn McCready

Rules, rules, rules. We've been hearing about rules since we were kids. Play by the rules, breaking the rules, rules this, rules that. As the 2002-03 NHL season begins, the NHL has made their first rule changes in a few years and SC's Glenn McCready examines the rule changes and their effect.

http://www.sports-central.org/sports...ticle148.shtml

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MLB: No consequences for Arizona DJ?
By Jon Collins

This week, an Arizona morning radio talk show prank called the widow of Darryl Kile in the midst of the Cardinals' visit to Arizona for the National League Divisional Series. The uproar this one phone call has caused has rocked the station. However, the press reports that no disciplinary actions will be taken other than a short suspension.

http://www.sports-central.org/sports...cle148_3.shtml

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COLUMN: Bulls and Bears - Week 5
By Komments.com Staff

This week's key matchups include the red-hot Raiders taking on the resurgent Bills, the world champion Patriots facing on the powerful Dolphins, and two AFC West teams dueling it out with the Broncos and undefeated San Diego. Find out what all this means for your fantasy teams in Bulls and Bears.

http://www.sports-central.org/columns/bulls_bears

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MLB: Welcome to the Jungle
By Ryan Noonan

It's the best home field advantage in professional sports, and everyone wants to tear it down. Minnesota's Metrodome is the reason the Twins almost didn't exist this season. It is also the reason they won so many games. In his latest article, SC's Ryan Noonan looks at why everyone hates the Dome -- everyone but the Twins.

http://www.sports-central.org/sports...cle148_2.shtml

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NFL: The National Felon League
By Will Meadows

The booming National Football League has its fair share of trouble and black eyes, interestingly enough. SC's Will Meadows takes a candid look at some NFL players who have been in trouble with the law recently as well as some teams who have troubles of their own.

http://www.sports-central.org/sports...cle148_3.shtml

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Back-to-back, no doubt
By Steve Apel

Although no team this year is as good as the Miami squad of last year, the race is as wide open as ever. There aren't any dominant teams this year, thus leaving the door open for anything to happen. Even though the NFL Draft ripped apart the Miami Hurricanes, they still have enough to win back-to-back titles, says SC's Steve Apel.

http://www.sports-central.org/sports...cle148_2.shtml

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COLUMN: Amico Report: Training camp talk

You have to love the fact that somewhere, there's a 7-foot millionaire running wind sprints and working on his ballhandling. And the fact that somewhere else, a 6-1 guard is getting three jump shots to avoid being cut -- and he knows he had better make them all. That's right, NBA training camp has begun amd the majority are happy to be there. More camp news in Amico Report.

http://www.sports-central.org/columns/amico_report

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MLB: Divisional Series previews
By Peter Friberg

The Major League Baseball postseason is underway with eight deserving teams battling for the rights to the illustrious World Series trophy. SC's Peter Friberg is back and previews the Divisional Series matchups complete with picks and commentary.

http://www.sports-central.org/sports...ticle148.shtml

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Unbeatens hope to challange Miami
By Piet Van Leer

Florida State Penn State knocked themselves from the undefeated perch last weekend. SC's Piet Van Leer takes a look at the remaining serious unbeaten contenders to see if any of them can challenge Miami in January.

http://www.sports-central.org/sports...ticle148.shtml

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NFL: Week 4 power rankings
By Brad Oremland

In his latest column, SC's Brad Oremland weighs in on ESPN commentators, slams dumb NFL rules, and makes a less-than-insightful observation regarding Tim Dwight. Rankings and analysis for all 32 teams are in the new Week 4 Power Rankings.

http://www.sports-central.org/sports...cle148_2.shtml

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NFL: You make the call, NFL-style
By Jeff Daniels

The NFL season has more twists and turns than a soap opera during sweeps week. The excitement and uncertainty provides fans with a great chance to be a part of the action on a weekly basis. SC's Mason Williams has concocted a game that puts the fans in the action. Get ready, let's play "You Make the Call!"

http://www.sports-central.org/sports...ticle148.shtml

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|-- SPONSOR --|

ATTENTION SPORTS WEBMASTERS!

Submit your site to SC's Site of the Week contest and you could win free placement throughout the site for an entire week. Fill out the form and get nominated, it's that easy. What are you waiting for?

http://www.sports-central.org/features/sotw

====================================================

|-- FEATURE ARTICLE --|

"Sometimes, Desire Can Conquer Talent"

The 34th Ryder Cup at The Belfry lived up to all the advance billing. As usual, it came down to the singles on the Sunday, but that's where the script took an unexpected turn. Normally, the Americans run away with the last day, as in Brookline in 1999, where Ben Crenshaw's men overturned a 5-point deficit. This time, the Europeans took the singles 7-4 and shook American golf to its foundations. If the United States is to regain its hold on Sam Ryder's Cup, then men like Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, and David Duval need to find the heart and desire to go with their undoubted talent.

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By Mike Round

Until last Sunday, I had a ranking system in my head of the world's greatest sporting events. The football (not soccer, please) World Cup is patently number one. The whole world, bar North America, grinds to a halt for it. The Super Bowl at number two. The games are gradually improving (only one turkey in the last three years) and it's a fun party day. The World Series (my own personal favorite) has lost some of its former pomp in the eyes of many, but still beats out the dreadful and discredited Olympics at number three. But now, straight in at number two (with a bullet, as they used to say on radio chart shows) is the Ryder Cup. Even to the casual golf fan, the Ryder Cup is must-see TV.

For years, the Ryder Cup struggled for acceptance with the United States cruising to easy victory after easy victory over the hapless British and Irish golfers. Then, in the early '80s, it burst into life, reinvented as the United States against Europe, on the back of a thriving European tour.

Legendary battles ensued, like Sam Torrance holing from 15-feet to beat Andy North at The Belfry in 1985, taking the cup from America for the first time in 28 years. Then, in 1987, Muirfield Village and Christy O'Connor's six-footer at the 18th to beat Ben Crenshaw and the United States for the first time on American soil. Kiawah Island in 1991 was one of the greatest sporting events I have ever witnessed. Brookline in 1999 was even better.

The only blot on the horizon for the Ryder Cup is the attitude of the American players. Frankly, this time around, it stank. Nothing had been learned from the near-disaster of Brookline, when the over-matched Euro's almost snatched an unlikely win by dominating the four-balls and four-somes. The rich men of the USPGA Tour thought that turning up was enough to guarantee success. Talent isn't enough -- desire and a willingness to battle has to be present, too.

Tiger Woods, the world's greatest golfer by a long way, seemed barely interested all week. He followed up the disparaging remarks he'd made in the run up to the cup with a surly attitude and a refusal to play along with the team ethos, which culminated in him wearing European colors on the final Sunday. Curtis Strange should have conceded the point to Jesper Parnevik when he saw how Tiger was dressed on the Sunday morning.

Talking of Strange, the quietly spoken Virginian wrested the title of Worst Ever Ryder Cup Captain from Jack Nicklaus with a mind-boggling display of ineptitude. Perhaps he was on vacation during Brookline in 1999 when Ben Crenshaw, faced with a five-point deficit on the final day, front loaded his line up to kickstart the greatest recovery in sporting history? It was blatantly obvious Sam Torrance would do the same thing. Why he instructed his big-hitting lineup to lay up at the 10th, the signature hole on the course and eminently drivable for men like Woods, Davis Love III and David Duval, will remain a mystery. Duval actually ignored him on the Saturday and drove onto the green with a three-wood. Woods didn't even attempt it, despite successes from Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.

Even allowing for the poor leadership of Strange, the United States should have took the cup at a canter. The players must shoulder the primary responsibility. Just six points were needed on the final day. At the bottom of the match-ups, Jim Furyk couldn't hold a two-hole lead with six to play over mediocre Paul McGinley, finally halving. Likewise, Davis Love III halved with Pierre Fulke, ranked 88th in the world and winless in two years. Paul Azinger fluked a half with unknown Niclas Fasth by holing from the bunker at the last. Lackluster Tiger halved with out-of-form Jesper Parnevik. Two points picked up from a possible four -- not good enough.

The goat of the week, by a long way, was Phil Mickelson. Facing 119th-ranked Phillip Price, the world's number two player (and number one choker) crumbled to a 2 and 1 defeat that flattered the lefty from Arizona. It was a truly disgraceful performance that summed up everything that was wrong about the attitude of the multi-millionaires from the USPGA Tour. Mickelson should have been hanging his head in shame at such a diabolical defeat. Instead, he offered a weak smile and shrugged his shoulders. The next easy million on Jack's manicured lawns awaits his bank account. Based on this performance, he should be relegated to the Buy.com Tour as punishment.

Mickelson wouldn't have got away with such a poor effort had Payne Stewart still been with us. Stewart was sorely missed, and not just for his golf. His rah-rah, fist-pumping, in-your-face personality was just what the American team lacked. Payne Stewart would never have let his country, or Mickelson, lose so tamely. Stewart was a team player stuck in an individual sport. He lived for events like the Ryder Cup, and wasn't afraid to admit it.

If the American players don't take on board the fighting qualities shown by their European counterparts, then this competition might degenerate into a succession of easy Euro triumphs. Men like Fasth, McGinley, Price, and Fulke played way above their abilities. Men like Clarke, Harrington, Westwood, and Parnevik played themselves back into form by sheer willpower. And, finally, men such as Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer showed the sort of leadership and fighting spirit sadly lacking on the American side. The sheer tension of the Ryder Cup induces neuroses and panic in even the strongest men, but the often prickly Monty and jittery-putter Langer stood proud and firm all week, going unbeaten and scoring eight points between them. Both are Ryder Cup captains in waiting.

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Mike welcomes your feedback on his column: mailto:[email protected]?subject=Feature_Article

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|-- SPONSOR --|

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====================================================

|-- MARQUEE MATCHUPS --|

--> Major League Baseball

By Mike Round

Minnesota Twins at Oakland Athletics
Sunday, October 5, 4.00 PM EST; Oakland Coliseum; Oakland, CA; TV: ABC Family

The deciding game of a strange series takes place Sunday at a pumped-up Coliseum. This series has swung one way then another since the Twins surprised the A's in Game 1, led by a strong performance from Brad Radke. Radke goes again this afternoon and will be hoping his defensive support is better than in Game 1. Four of Oakland's five runs were unearned in the 7-5 victory.

Oakland counters with Mark Mulder, coming off short rest, the Game 2 victor. Mulder gave up five hits and one earned run in six innings in the A's 9-1 victory.

Oakland will be more than disappointed if they end up losing a series because they should, on paper at least, have dominated. With the best 1-2-3 punch in baseball (Mulder, Barry, Zito, and Tim Hudson) and a playoff experienced lineup, the A's should have seen off a game, but limited, Twins team. The Twins may have ruled the AL Central, but the Devil Rays would have a shout in that division. With divisional rivals the Angels waiting in the ALCS, the A's will be salivating at the prospect of a passage to the World Series that doesn't involve a trip to New York.

With both teams playing erratic defense, this game is a tough one to call. In terms of talent, the A's should have sewn up this series by now. The fact that they haven't is testament to the guts and determination of the Twins.

[ Game Breakdown ]

Pitching - Even
Hitting - Even
Defense - Even
Coaching - Even
Intangibles - Twins

Prediction: Twins 5, A's 4

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--> National Football League

By Brad Oremland

Green Bay Packers (3-1) vs. Chicago Bears (2-2)
Monday, Oct. 6, 9 PM EST; Memorial Stadium; Champaign, Illinois; TV: ABC

The NFL's oldest rivalry has playoff implications again. In fact, it would be no overstatement to say that this Monday night matchup is crucial for both teams. Under realignment, only two wild cards from each conference will make the playoffs, so winning the division is more important than ever. If Green Bay wins on the road, it will open a two-game lead that Chicago, coming off two straight losses, is unlikely to make up. If the Bears win, they'll match the Packers' record and hold the edge in the first playoff tiebreaker.

The story here has to be the home field. It's not Wisconsin, but it ain't Chicago, either. The game will be played in the University of Illinois' stadium in Champaign, since Soldier Field in Chicago is under renovation. The Bears are 1-1 in Champaign this season, with a narrow win over 0-4 Minnesota and an overtime loss to 3-1 New Orleans.

Although the Packers have struggled this season and are facing mounting injuries, they have the advantage over a Chicago team that's got even more problems. After 12 consecutive victories in games decided by a touchdown or less, the Bears have lost by six points each of the last two weeks. Exceptional linebacker Warrick Holdman was injured in the loss last week, Pro Bowl DT Ted Washington is out for 10 weeks, and Brett Favre is 16-4 against the Bears. Last year's phenomenal rookie running back, Anthony Thomas, has looked pretty normal this year, and the team's confidence is slipping away.

Both teams have underachieved so far this season, but the Bears have more to lose. If they drop this game, they can probably kiss the inaugural NFC North title goodbye, and will find themselves on the wrong side of .500 and riding a three-game losing streak into a two-game road trip, followed by matchups against the red-hot Eagles and Patriots in Champaign. With a win on Monday night, the Packers can finally build some momentum and gain a crucial lead in the division. Either team could step up, but the bet here is on the Packers.

[ Game Breakdown ]

Offense - Packers
Defense - Packers
Spec. Teams - Packers
Coaching - Packers
Intangibles - Packers

Prediction: Packers 27, Bears 13

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Got a game you want previewed? Send us your feedback:
mailto:[email protected]?subject=MM

You are welcome to post your thoughts on the message boards at:
http://www.sportscentralboards.com

====================================================

(Thanks for reading! Next issue set to come out on 10/20/02.)

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Contents copyright 1998-2002 Sports Central.
No part of this newsletter may be reproduced without permission.
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