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Old 08-27-2001, 04:21 PM   #1
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Default Sports Central Newsletter - #58 - Baseball's Wild Card; More

The Sports Central Newsletter
August 26th, 2001 - Issue #58

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

- Words From the Editor for 08.26.01
- What's new at Sports Central?
- Feature article: Baseball's Wild Card Doesn't Reward Mediocrity
- Community Spotlight Center for 08.26.01
- Sports briefs: The latest in the sports world



Hello folks,

Let's start off with a little non-sports and site related news...

There's a lot of scum in the real world, and unfortunately, the same is true for the online world. There is something I would like to talk about and perhaps warn you all in this issue's Words From the Editor.

This will anger web publishers like myself more so than anyone, but most of you regular users are also contributing to this, so it effects everyone who uses a certain software called KaZaa. KaZaa is a music sharing application that is a popular download for music enthusiasts. It is sort of a Napster clone, to put things into perspective.

While music lovers are downloading MP3 files freely, little do they know they, like the other six million people who have downloaded and installed it, have also installed a little-known program called "TopText" onto their systems. This program sneakingly comes bundled with KaZaa. Everyone who is running KaZaa are also running TopText.

So what's so bad, you ask? What makes TopText so tricky and malicious, in my opinion, is that it highlights words on any web site, at random, and it creates links to advertisers' sites - competitors of sites you're visiting. So, if you're looking for new shoes on Nike.com, the word "shoes" on that
page might be highlighted, directing you to a competitor's web site, such as Adidas. Simply put, web publishers are losing visitors and revenue and they have no way of stopping this "scumware" from hijacking their web sites.

The six million people who have this innocently running could be clicking on links to your competitors as you read this. That's not a happy thought.

What can YOU do? If you have KaZaa, you can either uninstall it or attempt to uninstall TopText by itself. You are contributing to this scumware's dishonest approach at stealing visitors if you are running TopText, unfortunately.

For the record, I recommend an alternative called "Morpheus", which is available at popular locations like Download.com and HotFiles.com and best of all, doesn't include any of "scumware".

There's a lot more to this, but to avoid making this any longer, I'll provide you with a link to more details. For more information and to see if you have this installed, go to: https://www.sports-central.org/commu...&threadid=1989

Moving on, the sports world seems to be obsessed with winning. "Win or go home," the saying goes. Well, we're going against the norm here at SC and we're having our own Worst Logo in Professional Sports contest. From 32 nominated teams, to 16, to 8, to 4, and to 2 remaining team logos.

Each week for the past month or so, we have been holding polls for each round of the tournament. As voting progressed, so did the rounds, and the number of team logos decreased. Folks, we are down to *two* teams, the finals are here and we want you to vote! The finalists are the Washington Capitals' old-style logo and the old-style Washington Bullets logo. Coincidence it's two Washington-area teams? Decide for yourself.

Vote for the worst logo by private messaging columnist and Senior Moderator Lee Manchur on our message boards (must be registered): https://www.sports-central.org/commu...ssage&userid=8 . Or e-mailing him: mailto:[email protected] . You can find more information on the tournament, including full-sized color brackets:https://www.sports-central.org/commu...&threadid=2045

That's that. Thanks for reading. On a closing note, let's put the money of a famous athlete in perspective. Consider Michael Jordan, having "retired" with $40 million in endorsements, he makes $178,100 a day, working or not. If he sleeps seven hours a night, he makes $52,000 every night while visions of sugarplums dance in his head. If he goes to see a movie, it'll cost him $7.00, but he'll make $18,550 while he's there. If he decides to have a five minute egg, he'll make $618 while boiling it. He makes $7,415/hour more than minimum wage. Ah, the joys of being a famous athlete.

Until next time,

- Marc James, Your Packer-Loving Editor
mailto:[email protected]

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Revisiting the new articles for the week of 08/20/01 - 08/26/01:


COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Who Will Reign Supreme in the Big Ten?
by Keith Thronson

Who will rule the Big Ten this season? Will it be Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Ohio State, or Purdue? Nobody seems to have the answer for sure. Read on and make your own conclusions, says SC's Keith Thronson.



MLB: Yankees Searching For Consistency
by Joe Dyton

Someone must've forgotten to tell the New York Yankees the regular season isn't over until September 30. How else could one explain the Yanks' erratic play over the course of the last few weeks? Night in and night out, it's been anyone's guess which Yankees team is going to show up on the field, says SC's Joe Dyton in his SC debut.



MLB: The Lamb Lies Down on Fenway
by Gary Cozine

Last week, Jimy Williams was fired from his job as Red Sox manager. What was the reason for the dismissal? Do we look to the players or the front office? Or is the answer somewhere in the barnyard? SC's Gary Cozine gets out his shears and tries to cut through the confusion.



TENNIS: And Now, The Greatest Show on Earth!
by Tom Kosinski

Tennis fans are excited, as the 2001 U.S. Open is right around the corner. SC's Tom Kosinski takes a look at the seedings and makes some interesting predictions.



NBA: Buyer Beware: Pool Tips For the Upcoming NBA Season (Part Two)
by Adam Weatherup

For those of you who failed to heed my advice last week, here's yet another chance to get yourself re-acquainted with the ever-changing NBA climate, says SC's Adam Weatherup.



NHL: Deal 88
by Vishal Patel

With the trade of holdout center Eric Lindros to NYC complete, SC's Vishal Patel takes a look inside the trade, breaking down the key points of the trade and the impact each player in the trade can make.



NFL: QB Merry-Go-Round Spins Again
by Sean Rogers

This year, there are many new starters at the NFL's premier position: quarterback. While some are battle-tested (Brad Johnson), others are being thrown into the fire (Quincy Carter). How will these new QBs change their team's fortunes? SC's Sean Rogers analyzes.




Baseball's Wild Card Doesn't Reward Mediocrity

Baseball was criticized by some for allowing a wild card team from each league into the playoffs back in 1995. But the system keeps the season alive for some teams who deserve postseason play - like Oakland and Boston this year.

By Mike Round

Allowing two teams into baseball's playoffs via the wild card isn't to everyone's liking. Old schoolers, presumably Bob Brenly amongst them, hark back to the days when you had to win a division to make it into October.

There is some justification for that view - no one who loves baseball would want to see it go the route of the NFL and let so many wild cards into the postseason that mediocrity is being rewarded. But one wild card in each league gives hope to good teams who make poor starts or suffer chronic injury problems; teams like the Oakland A's and the Boston Red Sox.

By the end of April, the A's were 8-17 and already out of contention in the AL West behind the surging M's. For a small market team, that would have meant a fire sale, with the club losing Jason Giambi, Jason Isringhausen, and Johnny Damon for sure, as well as, in all likelihood, at least one of their young-stud starters. That would have spelt disaster for a franchise under threat of contraction and beset by ownership problems. The opportunity of grabbing a wildcard spot kept Art Howe and Billy Beane from pressing the panic button. Instead of posting the "yard sale" sign outside Network Associations Coliseum, Beane trusted his young starters to get it right, Damon to get on base and Giambi to bring him home. Instead of sending Giambi to the Bronx, Beane brought in Jermaine Dye to help him out and show the team wasn't throwing in the towel.

Despite an offensive turn around (the A's are hitting .276 since the break and have a league-leading 260 runs as of Friday), it's pitching that has taken the team into contention for a playoff spot. Before the break, the starters had an ERA of 4.01. Since the break, they are 3.23 (second in the AL behind Seattle). Tim Hudson (14-6) stands second in the AL ERA rankings at 3.11, with Mark Mulder (15-7) eleventh (3.66) and Cory Lidle (8-6) twelfth (3.67). Barry Zito, the A's other young stud, has a Pedro-like ERA of 1.11 in August. Pitching like that deserves to see October.

The A's responded to the vote of confidence from Billy Beane by going 19-8 in July and 16-6 in August (as of Friday). They sit a game ahead of the Red Sox in the AL Wildcard chase. There's every chance of the team re-signing Damon (hitting .344 since the break after a disastrous start in Oakland) and Giambi after the season - especially if the team makes the ALCS or World Series. No one would begrudge this gutsy team that.

Except maybe the Red Sox. No one hankers a WS win more than the Red Sox nation. But there's always something wrong up in New England. This year it's been injuries and open warfare between GM Dan Duquette and ex-manager Jimy Williams.

Duquette finally won his war with Williams, but still managed to bungle the job. Felipe Alou was the preferred replacement for the stubborn-as-a-mule Williams - and the assumption was a deal was done before Williams was shown the door. It wasn't, and now ex-pitching coach Joe Kerrigan is in the hot seat. This is Duquette's last year in Fenway - he probably won't be back unless he brings home a ring.

Injuries have crippled the Sox, but amazingly, they've hung in behind the dour Yankees in the East. Nomar has been missing all year until late July. Pedro has missed two months and is as brittle as glass for the rest of the year. Jason Varitek was lost early one from behind the plate. Carl Everett hasn't been the everyday player the Sox need. Bret Saberhagen couldn't get over his rotator cuff problems. Despite all this, and against a background of ownership uncertainty, Williams kept them in contention. The Sox have shown true grit in hanging in there - and the wild card berth might be the catalyst for a late-October celebration no one in the Red Sox nation will forget.


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And now, a collection of the latest and hottest sports stories on the

Sampras still "satisfied" with play

Tiger chips out of rough, winless summer

Sosa joins McGwire, Ruth in four-time 50-homer club
The Sporting News

Casey claims first win
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Soft economy and hard heads
Boston Globe Online


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(Thanks for reading! Next issue set to come out on 09/09/01.)

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