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Old 06-11-2003, 09:28 PM   #1
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Default [Sports Central Newsletter] #101 - Put a Cork in It!

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The Sports Central Newsletter
June 2003 - Issue #101
https://www.sports-central.org
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|-- WELCOME --|

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

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

- Words From the Editor
- The O-Files: "Sports Potpourri"
- What's New at Sports Central?
- Feature Article: "Show Me the Money -- And a Decent Chef"
- Marquee Matchup (MLB)

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|-- WORDS FROM THE EDITOR --|

Hello folks,

From M.J. to Annika to Slammin' Sammy, Brad covers the bases surrounding the buzz in the sports world this June. Don't miss his "sports potpourri" edition of the O-Files directly below this space. Meanwhile, Mike avoids the overdone Sammy Sosa corked bat saga and instead looks at Kyle Turley and his overshadowed anti-Saints rants.

Speaking of the corked bat saga, we've got complete coverage with takes from various SC writers as well as plentiful opportunities for you to voice your opinion. Scroll to the recent articles section of the newsletter to find takes by Eric Poole and Nick Kimball. And don't miss this week's Fan's Voice poll on Sports Central where we ask you to tell us whether Sammy Sosa is lying or not: https://www.sports-central.org.

True, this discussion could go on forever, and judging by our discussion thread with already over 100 replies, "forever" is nearly the appropriate term. Let us know what you think by participating in the SC community, 1,500 strong with nearly 100,000 posts: http://www.SportsCentralBoards.com

Finally, don't miss the hilarious new SC column, "The Jester's Quart." Published on the web since 1997, "The Jester's Quart" is a weekly satirical look at sports, pop culture, and why NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is a ******* according to columnist Greg Wyshynski. Check it out: https://www.sports-central.org/columns/jester_quart

See you next month!

Until next time,

- Marc James
mailto:[email protected]

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|-- SPONSOR --|

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

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|-- THE O-FILES--|

"Sports Potpourri"

By Brad Oremland

From M.J. to Annika to Slammin' Sammy, this month's O-Files is a tour of all things sports.

* Coming off their two best seasons in a decade, the NBA's Detroit Pistons fired their head coach, Rick Carlisle. Rumors suggest "philosophical" differences between Carlisle and higher-ups in the Pistons administration, and evidently Joe Dumars believes that Larry Brown will surpass Carlisle's achievements. I find it difficult to believe that the Pistons will not eventually regret this move.

* It was almost a year ago that the Masters controversy became big news. Now, after NCWO President Martha Burk, well-meaning though she may have been, conducted herself with neither class nor dignity, Annika Sorenstam played two rounds at the PGA's Colonial and did both. In addition to class and dignity, Sorenstam displayed grace, humility, and skill. Her invitation to the Colonial was the best thing to happen to golf since Tiger Woods won his first Masters more than six years ago.

* "Pardon the Interruption" host Tony Kornheiser declared in the May 27 Washington Post, "Let's dismiss the hysterical feminist proposal to automatically place the No. 1 LPGA player in the Colonial field annually. This is a golf tournament, not a Sadie Hawkins dance. Thank you." Clearly, Kornheiser has missed the point. Annika Sorenstam was invited to the Colonial because she is one of the world's best golfers, not because Dean Wilson needed a date. "Hysterical" and "feminist?" Calm down, Tony. Inviting an elite player to an event for the best players hardly qualifies as affirmative action. And "thank you?" Grow up.

* I watch SportsCenter almost every day, so I have heard Ruben Rivera's pathetic excuse for baserunning called "the worst in the history of the game" at least 20 times. Apparently John Miller -- and the folks at ESPN who chose to replay the call so often -- have never heard of Fred Merkle, who in a 1908 game forgot to touch second base and cost his team the pennant! The Phillies' Coaker Triplett once stole an occupied base, and, when he found it taken, yelled at his teammate to leave. After the man was tagged out, Triplett simply stomped off the bag in frustration -- and was tagged out, as well. Rivera looked silly, but that's some stiff competition.

* Venus Williams had already lost the number two ranking in women's tennis when she made an early exit from the French Open last week. Next week, she'll be ranked fourth. She's been beatable for the last year and most of us haven't even noticed because Serena is so good.

* Sammy Sosa has broken more than a dozen bats in the past, and none has revealed cork. His other 76 bats, plus the five in Cooperstown, are clean. We can debate forever whether or not he knew that bat was corked when he went to the plate, but all the available evidence suggests that the record books should stay the way they look now.

* I have $10 that says Sosa makes the Hall of Fame on his first ballot. Ten years from now, people will remember the corked bat, but they'll also see a big number -- maybe even with a seven at the front -- and vote for him.

* Brian Griese is headed East, to play for his dad's old team. I don't understand why teams like Arizona and Chicago settled for Jeff Blake and Kordell Stewart instead of going after Griese, and I don't understand why the Dolphins want to replace Jay Fiedler, who went 7-3 last year with an 85.2 rating, with a guy who's never lived up to his potential.

* Patrick Roy is retiring. I don't know enough about NHL history to opine on Roy's place among the greatest goaltenders ever, but I do follow baseball closely enough to declare with confidence that Roger Clemens is not the best pitcher ever. In fact, I lean ever so slightly toward Greg Maddux over Clemens among active pitchers. Somewhere between 10th and 15th all-time sounds about right for Clemens.

* Miami. Syracuse. Boston College. The ACC? Miami's defection would destroy the Big East as we know it, but Syracuse and BC are interesting choices mostly because they're in the Northeast. I think John Swofford wants to control the entire eastern seaboard.

QUICK THOUGHTS

* LeBron James: Nike and the Cavs, in that order. But I like the choice of Paul Silas as his new coach.

* How many more games do the Mariners have to win before they get half as much national attention as the Yankees or Red Sox?

* A toast: to Steve Kerr, Kenny Perry, and Justine Henin-Hardenne, a trio of unlikely heroes.

* One game: Cal Ripken in 1991 or Alex Rodriguez now? I guess I'd say A-Rod, but I'm not happy about it.

* I don't follow hockey closely enough to write about it often, but I do love the Stanley Cup playoffs. I also really like Marty Brodeur. Devils in Game 7.

* SI.com's John Donovan got on the case of a fan who wrote to him for using 2003 season numbers instead of only May statistics, and all but called the guy a liar. I am not impressed, John.

* My favorite television show right now is "Sports Night" on Comedy Central. If you get cable and have a VCR or a late bedtime, it's well worth it Monday mornings at 3 AM and 3:30 EST.

* The tennis world is worse with Martina Hingis's absence.

* When the Wizards fired Michael Jordan, my dad called it the worst decision in the history of sports. While I agree that it was a bad decision, it's nowhere near the worst. My choice is Babe Ruth for cash.

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Brad welcomes your feedback on his column: mailto:[email protected]?subject=O-Files
(Copy and paste the address if it isn't clickable)

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

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

A look back at the new articles from the week of 06/02/03 - 06/08/03:

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COLUMN: The Jester's Quart: Tape hooray
By Greg Wyshynski

SC's Greg Wyshynski did the impossible for a fan: he taped the game and avoided hearing a score all night. That, plus rants on Sammy Sosa, Bill Walton, Spike Lee, Curt Schilling, the Bengals, and NHL playoff ratings in the latest Jester's Quart.

https://www.sports-central.org/columns/jester_quart

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COLUMN: Amico Report: Finals to remember
By Sam Amico

Can you believe the New Jersey Nets and San Antonio Spurs are playing in the NBA Finals? SC's Sam Amico sure never saw this coming. Here's a look at the finals, draft, and coaching changes in the Amico Report.

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

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MLB: Sosa's legacy forever tainted
By Nick Kimball

Sammy Sosa has grown into one of the most marketable faces in baseball. He is loved by fans all over the country for his skills and his ever-present smile. But in an act of gross irresponsibility, he may have thrown it all away, says SC's Nick Kimball.

https://www.sports-central.org/sport...cle181_3.shtml

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MLB: Put a cork in it: Sosa's reality bites
By Eric Poole

Historically, baseball has been a sport in which cheating has not only been tolerated, but expected and even celebrated. When Sammy Sosa got caught using an illegal bat, he merely became the latest in a long line of good -- and great, in some cases -- to step beyond the rules to get an extra edge.

https://www.sports-central.org/sport...cle181_2.shtml

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NHL: Leafs should fire Quinn
By Tyler Norwood

Pat Quinn has been GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs for five years. In that time, he has made mistake after mistake and proved that he is not only a bad GM, but a bad coach, as well. SC's Tyler Norwood explains why the obvious choice is to fire Pat Quinn before he can do anymore damage.

https://www.sports-central.org/sport...cle181_2.shtml

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NBA: The NBA coaching carousel
By Bill Ingram

Some have quit, some have been encouraged to move up, and some have been fired. Whatever the case, the only coaches who seem to have secure jobs are the two who are still coaching. SC's Bill Ingram tries to bring some clarity to the frenzy that is the NBA coaching carousel.

https://www.sports-central.org/sport...cle181_2.shtml

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NHL: All about the Stanley Cup goalies
By Josie Lemieux

The Ducks/Devils championship is more than a confrontation: it is a demonstration of will, guts, and moral strength. Regardless of who is leading in the NHL Cup finals as we speak, let it be said that only a player can really make a difference: the one who guards the net, says SC's Josie Lemieux.

https://www.sports-central.org/sport...ticle181.shtml

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MLB: Baseball needs a televised draft
By Lauren Reynolds

You won't find this year's Major League draft by flipping through TV channels. In an time where we televise a never-ending stream of reality-based shows, networks may be overlooking baseball. SC's Lauren Reynolds explains why televising the MLB draft is a must for baseball.

https://www.sports-central.org/sport...ticle181.shtml

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NBA: Questioning The Answer
By Pete Sweigard

Larry Brown has left the Philadelphia 76ers after six seasons of solid results and a roller coaster relationship with star player Allen Iverson. SC's Pete Sweigard discusses the post-Brown future for the Sixers and Iverson. The question on his mind: can The Answer bring a championship to Philly?

https://www.sports-central.org/sport...ticle181.shtml

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|-- FEATURE ARTICLE --|

"Show Me the Money -- And a Decent Chef"

By Mike Round

In a week dominated by Sammy Sosa and the corked bat saga, Kyle Turley and his anti-Saint rant was relegated to an afterthought on most sports shows. Close examination of the points Turley made to Sports Illustrated reveals so much that is wrong with the modern NFL. It's no longer about the team and how a player can contribute towards putting another W on the board. Instead it's about money -- money for individual players and profit for the owner.

I have to say straight off that I'm no fan of Kyle Turley. He's cut from Brian Bosworth DNA as far as I'm concerned, a case of style, posturing, and hype over substance. However, Turley is, for many in New Orleans, a cult hero, primarily for his infamous retaliatory attack on the Jets' Damien Robinson in 2001. Yanking Robinson's helmet from his head and hurling it across the Super Dome's carpet instantly made Turley a folk hero amongst the more intellectually-challenged Saints fans, of which there are many.

Having nailed my colors to the anti-Turley mast, it has to be said that the Saints are a perfect example of how not to run a NFL franchise. Owner Tom Benson is about as popular in Nawlins as a barman calling "time, gentlemen, please." To call Benson cheap would be comparable to calling Bill Clinton a bit of a ladies' man. The list of ex-Saints let go for economics contains enough quality to fill out a good proportion of a Pro Bowl roster.

Since taking the NFC West in 2000, the Saints have dumped Ricky Williams, Willie Roaf, La'Roi Glover, Joe Johnson, and Sammy Knight, each and every one a premier player at their position. Last year's backup quarterback, the useful Jake Delhomme, signed with Carolina after the team repeatedly sent out an injured Aaron Brooks rather than go with Delhomme and then low-balled him in contract negotiations.

Turley takes aim at the Saints for their cheapness, but in doing so, highlights how today's athletes are completely divorced from normal day-to-day life. He slams the standard of food laid on (free of charge) for the players at training camp in Thibodaux and at the practice facility on Airline Drive in Metairie, just outside of downtown New Orleans. I'm sure the thousands of Saints fans would just love the chance of free food at the workplace -- even bad food.

He goes on to complain about the weather in Louisiana during camp. "We had our training camps at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., the s------- of the world," Turley said. "It's right next to the Gulf of Mexico, surrounded by sugarcane fields. On the day Korey Stringer died in Minnesota, the heat index there was 105 degrees; on the same day in Thibodaux, it was 145, and guys were locking up during practice."

In case you haven't noticed Kyle, it gets hot in America during the summer -- and not only in Thibodaux. Unless you feel like having camp in England or New Zealand, it's going to be hot. Ask the garbage men of New Orleans how they feel about collecting smelly trash in 100 degrees for $8 an hour.

Turley takes a mighty slug at GM Mickey Loomis, who replaced Randy Mueller as point man just before the start of last season. Despite the fact that Loomis has spent over 20 years in football with both the Seahawks and Saints, he claims that he "knows nothing about football" and is a yes-man for Benson.

"The guy spent 14 years in a back room, and now, all of a sudden, he's a GM? He has no clue about a 40-yard dash, a pass set, a tackle, or a throw," claimed Turley.

Wake up and smell the coffee, Kyle. A successful GM doesn't need to know squat about the mechanics of playing football. He or she needs to know how to negotiate contracts so as both player and team can walk away happy, how to juggle a tight salary cap, and how to return a profit on the balance sheet. The coach can deal with the football side. Loomis has impeccable credentials to work as a GM in the NFL, having shadowed one of the best in Randy Mueller for 20 years.

Turley's beef with Loomis is basically about (surprise) money. He claims Mueller had verbally-agreed to a $10 million signing bonus but Loomis would "only" pony up $8 million. The fans must be devastated for poor Kyle and his poverty-stricken second wife. As an aside, a Kyle Turley replica shirt cost the average fan $80 last season.

Coach Jim Haslett isn't immune from Kyle's scattergun, either.
"A lot of players stood up for Jim Haslett when he was negotiating his contract," Turley said. "We told management, 'We're not gonna sign here until he gets taken care of, because we want him to be the coach.' But when it came time for him to stand up for the players who had his back, he stayed out of it. His answer was, 'I don't get involved with contract negotiations.' But that's weak."

Again, Turley shows how little, amazingly, he understands the NFL. Coaches exist on four hours sleep a day for virtually the entire year, yet they are expected to negotiate contracts with whining players? That's why Benson pays a GM $500K a year plus. Everyone is the modern NFL is expendable, Kyle, even cult heroes.

The Saints got a second-round draft pick for Turley -- not exactly a great return, but the player never made the Pro Bowl and was seen as a bad influence in the locker room, and not just by management.

The Saints will never be a force in the NFL while Benson is at the helm, purely because he's happy with the status quo. He makes plenty of money from a franchise that completely dominates the New Orleans, Louisiana, and Southern Mississippi sporting scene. The fans are anything but happy and this isn't helped by the continual late season collapses by a team that tends to freeze when they smell glory.

Turley is right in highlighting that the Saints lack the professionalism to be a true force in the NFL. But he can hardly claim the moral high-ground. In jumping on the first plane out of Louis Armstrong Airport for St. Louis, he reminded us all that football players still live by the motto, "show me the money."

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Mike welcomes your feedback on his column: mailto:[email protected]?subject=Feature_Article
(Copy and paste the address if it isn't clickable)

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|-- MARQUEE MATCHUP --|

Atlanta Braves (42-19) at Oakland Athletics (34-26)

Wednesday, June 11th, 10:05 EDT; Network Associates Coliseum; Oakland, CA

Interleague play offers one of its most attractive matchups as the Braves visit the A's. Since 1991, the Braves have been known for having the best pitching rotation in all of baseball. Though Atlanta is still resting comfortably in first-place, the starting pitching has dropped off a bit. Oakland's hasn't, however. Southpaws Barry Zito and Mark Mulder are having outstanding seasons, and righty Tim Hudson is probably the best number three starter in the big leagues.

Even without Tom Glavine and Kevin Millwood, the Braves aren't ready to hand over the title of 'best rotation' to the A's. Pitching coach Leo Mazzone says the current group will again approach the top, once Mike Hampton gets comfortable, but the healthy Hampton pulled his groin in his most recent start. Following a horrid April, ace Greg Maddux is getting closer to his usual form, and Russ Ortiz has been top-notch at home.

The A's hitting has been in a perpetual slump, which could work out very well for Atlanta's pitchers. 2002 Most Valuable Player Miguel Tejada is playing like someone who's very nervous about where his next contract is coming from. Usually, star players turn up the performance level entering a free agent year, but Tejada has struggled from Opening Day. Newcomer Erubiel Durazo has been solid, but not the force the A's had hoped for. Meanwhile, outfielder Jermaine Dye has just returned from injury. His presence could provide some stability to the team.

The top three starting pitchers for the A's -- the aforementioned Zito, Mulder, and Hudson -- should be able to handcuff the Braves' bats. At least, that's what observers would have thought before Mulder was knocked around the yard for nine runs in three-plus innings against the Florida Marlins.

The Braves' everyday lineup, a weakness even in their 12 seasons of success, has been fortified this year. Gary Sheffield, Andruw Jones, and Chipper Jones make up the best outfield in the National League. And the keystone combination of Rafael Furcal and Marcus Giles has proven itself to be potent offensively. Furcal is lightning-quick and has some pop in his bat. Giles has improved to the point where he's one of the NL's five-best second basemen. Catcher Javy Lopez, in the final year of his contract, has been on a tear, with a batting average near .300 and double-digit homeruns.

Both Atlanta and Oakland have had great seasons from their closers so far. John Smoltz is arguably the finest closer in baseball. The Braves have won 75 of the past 76 games in which Smoltz has pitched. Offseason acquisition Keith Foulke may have simply needed a change of scenery and is now with the A's. Last season, with the White Sox, Foulke lost his closer's role. In Oakland, he has stopped almost every ninth-inning threat or rally.

BREAKDOWN

Offense -- Atlanta
Defense -- Atlanta
Rotation -- Oakland
Bullpen -- Atlanta

Prediction: The Braves will take two of three from the A's.

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

(Thanks for reading! Next issue is set to come out on 07/06/03.)

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No part of this newsletter may be reproduced without permission.
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