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Old 03-24-2002, 10:57 PM   #1
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Post Sports Central Newsletter - #73 - Down to Four

===================================
The Sports Central Newsletter
March 24th, 2002 - Issue #73
https://www.sports-central.org
===================================

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

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

- Words From the Editor 03.24.02
- Reader's Showcase (Sports Rant)
- The Lancaster Report 03.24.02
- What's new at Sports Central?
- Marquee Matchups (NHL, NBA) 03.24.02
- Feature article: Dust Off the Bunting - Baseball's Back

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

|-- WORDS FROM THE EDITOR --|

Hello folks,

Chances are, by the time you receive this, we'll be down to the Final Four
in the 2002 Men's NCAA tournament, and we're already nearing Opening Day
in the MLB season. This hoops-filled month of March seemed to fly by
faster than normal - it's apparent that time flies when you're having fun.

Do you hate your job or wish you could have a job in sports? With that in
mind, have you seen SportsWorkers.com's column on SC? The "Sports Career
Center" column, as we call it, is updated in the middle portion of each
month. This month's career advice explains how to get a good sports job
interview and how to effectively use resumes and thank you notes in
advancing your career. Check it out:
https://www.sports-central.org/columns/career_center

America's great pastime, baseball, is slowly centering back into focus. In
order to get your minds thinking gloves, double-plays, and strikeouts
again, our Peter Friberg has taken it onto himself to write divisional
previews for each of the six divisions. If you're a baseball fan, don't
miss his passionate writing that includes detailed, team-by-team previews
for every team in the Big Leagues.

Until next time,

- Marc James
mailto:[email protected]

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

|-- 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 intriguing sports rant:

--> SPORTS RANT

Can the Lakers Be Beaten?
By "air_canada"

"Hack-a-Shaq might be used, but Shaq is less productive if you get him
running, get him on the outside, you'll be all right, unless you can't
defend this huge guy, which most teams can't. He's unstoppable unless he
stops himself. What I mean by this is that Phil Jackson is a smart man; he
will remove Shaq if the toe starts hurting. This should make for reduced
minutes and therefore reduced points, which in turn leads to a slow in
productivity for the Lakers. This halt is just what the Kings and Mavs need
to beat the Lakers. If Shaq plays too long, he's harming both himself and
the team's chances."

https://www.sports-central.org/commu...&threadid=3477

----------------------------------------------

Agree? Disagree? Send in your feedback to
mailto:[email protected] and we'll post it in front of thousands
of interested readers if it's worthy. Also, we're accepting entries for any
other sports-related topics.

----------------------------------------------

--> TRIVIA ANSWER

Last issue's trivia question was:

What was the last NL team to win back-to-back World Series?

The answer is the Cincinnati Reds, and congratulations to Mark Brone and Al
Davis for correctly answering last issue's question. Check back next issue
for your next chance.

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

|-- THE LANCASTER REPORT --|

By Ross Lancaster

While the college basketball season is not completely over, it's time for
TLR to give out its first-annual college basketball awards. Awards will be
given out in nine categories, including Team of the Year, the most
prestigious of the TLR Awards.

--> College Basketball Awards

While the NCAA tournament is still in full force, it is the weekend of the
Oscars, and time for TLR to give out its first annual college basketball
awards. The awards will be given out in nine categories: Point Guard of
the Year, Shooting Guard of the Year, Small Forward of the Year, Power
Forward of the Year, Center of the Year, Player of the Year, Coach of the
Year, Surprise Team of the Year, and Team of the Year, the Best Picture of
the TLR Awards, if you will.

[ Point Guard of the Year ]

Nominees:

Steve Logan, Cincinnati
Dan Dickau, Gonzaga
T.J. Ford, Texas
Brandin Knight, Pittsburgh

Winner:

T.J. Ford, Texas
Sure, Steve Logan averaged many more points than Ford, but was there anyone
who played the true meaning of the position better than Ford? No, there
was not. Ford, in averaging 8.5 assists per game, became the first
freshman since Jason Kidd to lead the nation in assists. Ford also was the
main component in Texas' success, helping out teammates immensely after
forward Chris Owens went down earlier in the season. The Ford over Logan
decision can also be somewhat attributed to what each team did in the NCAA
Tournament.

[ Shooting Guard of the Year ]

Nominees:

Juan Dixon, Maryland
Jason Williams, Duke
Hollis Price, Oklahoma
Dwayne Wade, Marquette

Winner:

Jason Williams, Duke
While the Blue Devils lost Thursday night to Indiana, it doesn't take away
anything from Williams' outstanding season for the second consecutive year.
Williams averaged 22 points per game, and shot 38% from three-point range,
in being one of the best long-range threats in the nation. Williams'
closest competition in this award were Juan Dixon and Hollis Price, who led
their teams to No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, respectively.

[ Small Forward of the Year ]

Nominees:

Casey Jacobsen, Stanford
Mike Dunleavy, Duke
Caron Butler, Connecticut
Jared Jeffries, Indiana

Winner:

Caron Butler, Connecticut
The Big East's best player is also my best small forward of the year.
Butler, only a sophomore, averaged nearly a double-double, with 20 points
and 8 rebounds per game, respectively. Butler is also a threat from
three-point range, as well as being able to post up on a regular basis.
The Big East champions' success can very much be attributed to Butler.
Second place in this category went to Jared Jeffries, who is the exact same
type of player as Butler.

[ Power Forward of the Year ]

Nominees:

David West, Xavier
Drew Gooden, Kansas
Sam Clancy, Southern Cal
Luke Walton, Arizona

Winner:

Drew Gooden, Kansas
Gooden was without question the player that most deserved this award all
season long. After a season-opening loss to Ball State, Gooden started to
play exponentially better than last season. The Big 12's Player of the
Year, Gooden averaged 20 points and 11 boards per contest. A pair of
Pac-10 forwards came in second, with Pac-10 Player of the Year Sam Clancy
and the versatile Luke Walton taking the runner-up position.

[ Center of the Year ]

Nominees:

Udonis Haslem, Florida
Chris Marcus, Western Kentucky
Curtis Borchardt, Stanford
Carlos Boozer, Duke

Winner:

Carlos Boozer, Duke
As much as I didn't want to give this award to a Duke player, Boozer earned
it with his play over the last ten games of the regular season. Boozer
missed only 15 of 91 shots over those last ten games, an astonishing 84%
from the floor. Unfortunately for Boozer and for many bracket sheets, Duke
lost in the regional semifinals to Indiana. Chris Marcus came in second,
and most likely would have won if he had not had an injury in midseason.

[ Coach of the Year ]

Nominees:

Bobby Knight, Texas Tech
Ben Howland, Pittsburgh
Tom Crean, Marquette
Lute Olson, Arizona

Winner:

Bobby Knight, Texas Tech
In his first year with the Red Raiders, Knight took a team that was
projected for tenth place in the conference and got them a No. 6 seed in
the NCAA Tournament, a place that the Red Raiders had not been for six
years. The General simply showed us a sign of things to come in Lubbock.
Runner-up was Lute Olson, who lost four starters off of last year's team
and still got them a No. 3 seed, a Pac-10 championship, and a Sweet 16
berth.

[ Player of the Year ]

Nominees:

Steve Logan, Cincinnati
Jason Williams, Duke
Juan Dixon, Maryland
Drew Gooden, Kansas

Winner:

Steve Logan, Cincinnati
Call me crazy, or whatever else you want after I didn't give Logan the
award at his own position, but gave him the most prestigious individual
honor. However, it was simple for me to decide upon both awards, as the
context of the awards were totally dissimilar. The Point Guard award was
for the person who played that position the best, and this award is for the
player who meant the most to his team. Undoubtedly, Logan was that man.
Logan averaged 22 ppg in leading the Bearcats to the regular season and
conference tournament C-USA championship. As was stated previously, if
not for Logan, Cincinnati would be nowhere this season and Bob Huggins
definitely wouldn't have thought twice about leaving for West Virginia.
Runner-up was Drew Gooden, who was the best forward in the nation this
season.

[ Surprise Team of the Year ]

Nominees:

Pittsburgh
Mississippi State
Oregon
Texas Tech

Winner:

Oregon
Some will argue that this award should coincide with Coach of the Year,
but it would definitely be a travesty to pass up the Ducks. Oregon has the
best trio of players outside of Durham in Luke Jackson, Luke Ridnour, and
Frederick Jones. While the Ducks play an up-tempo, full-court style of
offense, they are unlike typical transition teams in that they play great
defense and can usually be in a game, no matter what. Runner-up were those
Red Raiders, who played the Bobby Knight game to the best of their ability.

[ Team of the Year ]

Nominees:

Kansas
Duke
Maryland
Oklahoma

Winner:

Kansas
Of course, this award will ultimately be decided on April 1 in Atlanta.
But the Jayhawks have been the best team to date. The Jayhawks, after
losing to Ball State in the Maui Invitational, won 26 of their next 27
games. Despite losing their final regular season game to Oklahoma in the
Big 12 Tournament, the Jayhawks were the most consistent team in college
basketball. The Jayhawks are very deep in talent, and can get anyone to
step up on a nightly basis. Runner-up is Maryland, who was nearly as good,
but just not quite as good as the Jayhawks.

----------------------------------------------

Send us your feedback:
mailto:[email protected]?subject=TLR

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

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

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

Revisiting the new articles for the week of 03/18/02 - 03/24/02:

----------------------------------------------

NHL: Results of the trading deadline
By Vishal Patel

With another interesting NHL trading deadline behind us, SC's Vishal Patel
analyzes the extent to which the biggest trades of the nights before
improved the playoff contenders while remembering the importance of team
chemistry.

https://www.sports-central.org/sport...ticle120.shtml

----------------------------------------------

NBA: Welcome to the NBA, New Orleans
By Brian Ault

The conflict regarding the Hornets' move to New Orleans is coming to an end
as the Hornets will more than likely develop roots in the Cajun state. New
Orleans has the notorious bad marks in its past team, the New Orleans Jazz.
But even with all that, there is still a chance the second time could be a
charm, says SC's Brian Ault.

https://www.sports-central.org/sport...cle120_2.shtml

----------------------------------------------

COLUMN: Amico Report: Talking bad trades
By Sam Amico

In the previous edition, Sam Amico asked for your votes on the worst NBA
trade of all-time. The clear winner was the Cleveland Cavaliers for the
deal in which they shipped Ron Harper to the Los Angeles Clippers for the
rights to Danny Ferry (1989). Find out who also made the cut.

https://www.sports-central.org/colum...rt/index.shtml

----------------------------------------------

COLLEGE B-BALL: Five reasons to watch
By Sean McDonald

Kent State? Missouri? Indiana? What in the name of Rollie Massimino is
going on here? You've lost your office pool, you're favorite team is out,
why should you watch any more of the tournament? SC's Sean McDonald gives
you five reasons to watch the Elite Eight games this weekend.

http://www.sports-
central.org/sports/college_basketball/articles/article120_4.shtml

----------------------------------------------

GOLF: Length is not the issue
By Vincent Musco

Augusta's new look for the 2002 Masters includes an additional 285 yards in
length. The changes were intended to keep Augusta challenging to the top
players in the world. Unfortunately, lengthening the course only serves to
reward the longest hitters in the field, narrowing the possible winners
down to a handful, says SC's Vincent Musco.

https://www.sports-central.org/sport...ticle120.shtml

----------------------------------------------

MLB: Contraction still hanging over MLB
By Moray Pickering

Despite dominating the offseason baseball headlines, it seems that the
issue of contraction is still no closer to being resolved. How did MLB get
into this situation in the first place and how does it plan to get out of
it? SC's Moray Pickering attempts to answer those questions.

https://www.sports-central.org/sport...ticle120.shtml

----------------------------------------------

COLLEGE B-BALL: Coaches of the Year: Knight to the Izzo
By John McManus

Texas Tech and Michigan State were bounced in the first round of the NCAA
Tournament but it shouldn't take away from the outstanding jobs their
coaches did all year, says SC's John McManus. Also, a few things to note as
we look forward to Sweet 16 action and beyond.

http://www.sports-
central.org/sports/college_basketball/articles/article120_3.shtml

----------------------------------------------

COLLEGE B-BALL: Looking ahead: Sweet 16
By Ross Lancaster

Join SC's Ross Lancaster as he previews the eight Sweet 16 games that take
place on Thursday and Friday. Who's going to Atlanta and who's going home?

http://www.sports-
central.org/sports/college_basketball/articles/article120_2.shtml

----------------------------------------------

NFL: Free agency, surprises, the draft
By Scott Nichol

A few moves by some big names and teams has largely been what most of the
offseason NFL talk has been centered around. The expansion Houston Texans
are putting together their roster, while the draft takes place in April.
SC's Scott Nichol presents to you the latest on what has happened in the
offseason since Super Bowl Sunday.

https://www.sports-central.org/sport...ticle120.shtml

----------------------------------------------

COLLEGE B-BALL: Catching up: Subregional rewind
By Ross Lancaster

Join SC's Ross Lancaster as he recaps the eight subregional sites as we
look forward to the eight Sweet 16 games that take place on Thursday and
Friday.

http://www.sports-
central.org/sports/college_basketball/articles/article120.shtml

----------------------------------------------

NBA: Too cool Carter hurting the NBA
By Sean Rogers

Who would SC's Sean Rogers pick to start an NBA franchise? Surely, not
Vince Carter. In a year where the NBA has gotten back a little bit of it's
popularity, Vince Carter continues to represent the bad-NBA. Vince, it's
time to grow up.

https://www.sports-central.org/sport...ticle120.shtml

----------------------------------------------

SPRING TRAINING: NL East (Pt. 4)
By Peter Friberg

With Spring Training now in session and the Boys of Summer awaking from
their winter hibernation, it's time to start thinking baseball. SC's Peter
Friberg helps you get in the mood with his all-original Spring Training
Preview. Part 4: NL East.

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

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

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

|-- MARQUEE MATCHUPS --|

--> National Basketball Assocation

By Ross Lancaster
Record:2-1

Last issue:
Predicted: Dallas 108, Portland 104; Actual: Portland 132, Dallas 106

This issue: San Antonio (47-21) at L.A. Lakers (48-20)
Sunday, March 31; Staples Center; Los Angeles, California; 5:30 PM EST; NBC

When these two teams meet, they may very well have the two best records in
the NBA. On Wednesday, San Antonio beat the Lakers by 18, to push the
Spurs' win streak to ten games. Tim Duncan has led the team in scoring in
all of the 11-game winning streak (the Spurs won in Dallas on Thursday),
averaging 26.1 ppg in the 11 games.

As for the Lakers, they have won eight of their last 11, but including
back-to-back losses in the "Texas Two Step" against San Antonio and Dallas.
This matchup could be a preview of the Western Conference Finals, and
should be a nationally-televised dandy.

[ Game Breakdown ]

Offense - Lakers
Defense - Draw
Guards - Lakers
Forwards - Spurs
Center - Lakers
Bench - Spurs

Prediction: Lakers 101, Spurs 94

----------------------------------------------

--> National Hockey League

By Lee Manchur
Record: 1-2

Last issue:
Predicted: Ottawa 4, Buffalo 1; Actual: Buffalo 5, Ottawa 1

This issue: Edmonton Oilers vs. Dallas Stars
Saturday, March 30; SkyReach Center; Edmonton, Alberta; 10 PM EST; CBC

As the regular season closes, so does the margin of error to teams battling
for the final few playoff berths. Such is the case for both the Edmonton
Oilers and Dallas Stars. For each of the past three seasons, the Stars and
Oilers have faced each other in the playoffs. This time, instead of the
Stars coasting into the postseason, each are fighting for their lives and a
traditional Stars/Oilers series will not be witnessed this year.

The Oilers (31-26-11-3) were at the top of the Western Conference early in
the season, but are now four points shy of the eighth place, shared by the
Phoenix Coyotes and Stars (33-23-10-4). With a playoff-type atmosphere in
Edmonton, hockey fans are sure to be treated to a playoff-type game, full
of intensity and fast-paced hockey on the best ice surface in North
America.

[ Game Breakdown ]

Offense - Stars
Defense - Oilers
Goaltending - Draw
Power Play - Stars
Penalty Kill - Oilers
Coaching - Oilers
Intangibles - Oilers

Prediction: Oilers, 3-2

----------------------------------------------

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

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|-- FEATURE ARTICLE --|

Dust Off the Bunting - Baseball's Back

It's been the usual long winter for baseball fanatics. Firstly, within days
of an epic World Series finishing in the most dramatic fashion possible,
Bud Selig announces he's closing two (unnamed) franchises. Predictably, to
all but Selig and his acolytes, he's told he can't do that by both the
courts and the players union. So, it's the annual lockout/strike crisis and
by Christmas, the events of early October in New York and Arizona were
consigned to history. Baseball never learns from its mistakes. Such a great
game, but run by idiots and played by fools. Maybe this year will be
different and we'll sit back and enjoy batting, pitching, throwing,
catching, and running? Somehow, sadly, I doubt it.

----------------------------------------------

By Mike Round

Football likes to boast about the parity in its sport - that any one of the
31 teams that start the season can end up winning, or at least contesting,
the Super Bowl. The claim is dubious at best - has the NFL forgotten that
the Bengals, Lions, Browns, Cardinals, and Panthers are NFL franchises? It
also seems a strange rallying cry; "MEDIOCRITY - COME AND WATCH IT!"

Baseball is regularly beaten with the stick that small revenue teams can't
compete. New England Patriots? Meet the Oakland A's - a bottom five
spender, but a top five contender. Or the Minnesota Twins, a team on the
brink of extinction, but with a nucleus of young talent that could take
them deep into the playoffs. Sure, baseball has teams that have a snowball-
in-hells chance at World Series glory, but it also has at least ten genuine
contenders.

Having said that, there are some perennial contenders that won't be back
this year. The Cleveland Indians - to use in-vogue jargon - have "got
younger" this offseason, dumping salary in a fire sale that saw Juan
Gonzalez, Robbie Alomar, John Rocker, and Kenny Lofton depart Jacobs Field.
The Boston Red Sox, for all their posturing, are due to lose $70 million
this year alone, and have a non-contending roster full of overpaid,
mediocre veterans and no one in the farm system to trade. Put a marker pen
through their chances this year.

This is where I have a problem with baseball economics. Teams are allowed
to just give up on a season and laugh at their fans. Salary cap - as I've
said in previous articles - is not there to create parity in a sport. It's
there purely to help owners make more money. Hence the vast profits (and
lowest per-player annual salary in the four major sports) in owning a NFL
franchise.

Uncompetitive teams still make money in baseball. The huge "losses" Bud
Selig spoke of back in the winter are almost all down to five teams - the
Atlanta Braves, the Anaheim Angels, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Arizona
Diamondbacks and the Boston Red Sox (though how much, if anything, the
media-owned teams actually lose is debatable). Teams like Selig's Brewers,
the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Baltimore Orioles make a mint without
having to bother to compete for expensive players. Cleveland will do the
exact same thing this coming season, though how the fans at The Jake will
react to an uncompetitive team is yet to be seen. Hopefully, by boycotting.

The Indians claim they could be baseball's equivalent to the Patriots - an
overachieving bunch of no-namers that get by on team spirit, guts, and a
fierce will-to-win. That may work in modern, salary cap-orientated
football, but I'm afraid baseball's a different game. The Diamondbacks have
their share of blue-collar guys who get the job done without fuss, but they
also have Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, and Luis Gonzalez - difference-
makers that cost money, but win championships. You just can't win a World
Series ring with the baseball equivalent of Tom Brady leading your team on
minimum wage.

So how do you make teams like Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Baltimore and
Pittsburgh compete? Salary cap is obviously no inducement and revenue
sharing just means owners of uncompetitive teams get richer by way of
other teams success. So make them spend a set amount every year - let's
say for sake of argument $50 million at today's prices. That way they are
contractually obliged to their fans to send out a competitive team - in
theory.

The drawback to that plan is that there is only a limited pool of talent to
go round, and the true difference-makers will still gravitate to New York,
Arizona, et al, who'll still have the big bucks to throw at players. So the
danger is guys like Marty Cordova end up earning big bucks they don't
deserve because there's no one else left on the market and a GM has bucks
to unload. But, a salary floor combined with a salary ceiling - say $100
million at today's prices - makes it a more level playing field.

The Kansas City's of this world at least get a chance to hold onto players
like Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, and Mike Sweeney, though still lack to
financial clout to go out and hook Jason Giambi, as well. It's not perfect,
but it's an improvement. It's also not going to happen, sadly, as Bud
Selig, the owners and the players union would form an unholy alliance to
drown it at birth.

There's a lot to like about this upcoming baseball season, however grim the
labor/finance/contraction situation looks. There are eight genuine
contenders (Yankees, Mariners, A's, Braves, Mets, Astros, Cards, and
Diamondbacks) as well as a whole bunch of bubble-teams who'll be fun to
watch (Twins, Cubs, White Sox, Rangers, Blue Jays, Phillies, Marlins,
Giants, and Padres). Then there are the Dodgers and Red Sox - how much fun
is it watching $100 million of payroll go fishing in October?

Sit back, grab a beer and a dog, and enjoy - it's still the greatest game
on earth.

----------------------------------------------

Send us your feedback:
mailto:[email protected]?subject=Feature_Article

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

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

----------------------------------------------
Special thanks to our newsletter editor, Lee Manchur! Visit his web site:

GPCI Online - http://im.pein.org/gph
----------------------------------------------

(Thanks for reading! Next issue set to come out on 03/24/02.)

Contents copyright 1998-2002 Sports Central.
No part of this newsletter may be reproduced without permission.
__________________
Marc James - SCMB Administrator | Sports Central Managing Editor & Founder
Teams: [Kentucky Wildcats] [Green Bay Packers] [Charlotte Hornets]
Follow on Twitter: @mnjames | @sportcentral

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