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Old 06-16-2002, 06:57 PM   #1
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Post Sports Central Newsletter - #79 - Sleep is For Wimps

The Sports Central Newsletter
June 16th, 2002 - Issue #79

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

- Words From the Editor 06.16.02
- Reader's Showcase (Sports Rant)
- The Lancaster Report 06.16.02
- What's new at Sports Central?
- Feature Article: Sleep is for Wimps
- Marquee Matchup (MLB) 06.16.02



Hello folks,

Last issue, I promised a new feature would be debuting the next day. It did, and if you missed it, you're really missing out. "Real Sports News" is the name of our newest column and according to author Eric Scherer:

"Real Sports News is a fictional, satirical sports column produced by a staff of shifty-eyed malcontents."

When you're looking for sports coverage that'll bring a grin to your face, check into the site on Mondays, Thursday, and Saturdays for new editions of RSN. The latest Real Sports News edition claims: "English Soccer Fans Excited For Sushi, Brawling." More information: https://www.sports-central.org/columns/real_sports

Not to be forgotten, we've launched a new contest for Summer 2002!

"Enter our contest daily and increase your chances to win a free pair of RBK sneakers and a free sports jersey, both of your choice! Thanks to RBK, we'll be giving away these cool prizes at the end of the month to one lucky visitor!"

We can't thank the kind folks at RBK (Reebok, for those not in the know) who have graciously sponsored our random drawing contest enough. Please consider entering their "Freestyle contest" where you could win even more cool prizes such as being in a music video!

With basketball and hockey cooling off now, the World Cup and the Boys of Summer will be entertaining us for the weeks to come. We've got a jam-packed issue, so enjoy!

Until next time,

- Marc James
mailto:[email protected]


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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?




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 one of your sports rants. Got something on your mind? Express your opinion, send us your comments on anything sports:mailto:[email protected]?subject=Readers_Showcase




In our last issue, we asked, "What team used the first ever National League designated hitter?" The correct answer was the Cincinnati Reds and several of you answered correctly. Congratulations to William Odean, Raymond Zaneski, and Larry Andersen!


Comments? Agree? Disagree? Send us your feedback and we might publish it: mailto:[email protected]?subject=Readers_Showcase



By Ross Lancaster

First of all, let me begin TLR by saying congratulations to the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Red Wings, who won their respective sports' championships this past week.

However, the world's greatest sporting event has been going on for the past two weeks in South Korea and Japan, and will continue until June 30, with the aura that is the World Cup Final.

Right now, the tournament is down to 16 teams, and in this issue of TLR, I will be previewing the remaining round of 16 games.

United States vs. Mexico; Monday, 2:30 AM EST; Jeonju, Korea

Two CONCACAF rivals will square off Monday morning. In the final qualifying phase of last year, the U.S. and Mexico split two games, with each team winning on their home pitch. So in the biggest of ways, this a rubber match of sorts. As much as I want to see the U.S. go through to play Germany in the quarters, Mexico will be incredibly tough to beat, and from a team that played one good half, I don't see it happening. However, if defender Jeff Agoos doesn't play, our chances are greatly improved.

Prediction: Mexico 2, United States 1

Brazil vs. Belgium; Monday, 7:30 AM EST; Kobe, Japan

Can you say mismatch? Right now, Brazil's probably coming up with ways to keep Belgium in the game, but they likely can't. In my opinion, Belgium is one of the worst teams to qualify for the second round, and when you couple that with the current Cup favorite, anyone with a brain could smell blowout.

Prediction: Brazil 4, Belgium

Japan vs. Turkey; Tuesday, 2:30 AM EST; Miyagi, Japan

Turkey has been surprisingly good, playing Brazil very tough before falling on a penalty call. I think Turkey has enough to push the game into overtime, but after that, the 12th man that is the crowd will disturb Turkey. I see Japanese superstar Hidetoshi Nakata scoring the winning goal in one of the two sudden death frames. However, a Turkish loss will not take away anything from a great World Cup for Turkey.

Prediction: Japan 2, Turkey 1 (OT)

South Korea vs. Italy; Tuesday, 7:30 AM EST; Taejon, Korea

This match could be the match of the cup thus far, and maybe for the whole cup, period. This has all the makings of a great one, as one of the pre-Cup favorites and one of the host countries face each other. South Korea will need to limit the number of touches that striker Christian Vieri gets, and Italy needs to get out to an early start, to take the crowd out of the game. When it is all said and done, this will be the second match to be decided on penalties, and I think Italy will prevail, with the Koreans putting up an excellent fight.

Prediction: Italy 1, South Korea 1 (OT) Italy on PK



Revisiting the new articles for the week of 06/10/02 - 06/16/02:


COLUMN: Career Center: Computer Gurus Needed For the Sports Industry
By SportsWorkers.com

If you find bits and bytes as exciting as dunks and hockey fights, a career in sports and computers is a possibility.



NBA: How to start a New Jersey revival
By Brian Ault

Life in Newark resembles probably what life in Philadelphia was after last year's Finals loss. But just like Jimmy Johnson with the Cowboys, the Nets have a chance to make improvements with the draft. Question is, can they capitalize on that chance? SC's Brian Ault breaks down some players who could get the Nets over the hump.



NHL: Staking their claim to greatness
By Vishal Patel

As Lord Stanley passes his Cup down again, SC's Vishal Patel breaks down the series and concludes that the championship was the work of owner Mike Illitch, who fortified the title hopes for well-deserving first timers like Dominik Hasek and Luc Robitaille.



MLB: America's love affair with baseball
By Clay Allen

With the baseball season in full swing, America's passion for the sport is once again evident. Fans turn out day after day to watch their teams. SC's Clay Allen asks, why does America have such a strong love for baseball?



COLUMN: Jock Strip: "Tyson's Farewell"
By Greg Turner and Ken Karl

The Jock Strip is a sports editorial cartoon series "for the athletic
supporter" and is the creation of Portland, Oregon's Greg Turner and St.Louis, Missouri's Ken Karl.



TENNIS: Love of the game
By Jay Bewley

The next generation of tennis players is definitely coming. The sand in the hourglass of time keeps falling and so are the rankings of some of the game's current greatest. Even though their ranking may be falling, does it make their contribution or love of the game less?



MLB: Weighing in on interleague play
By Ryan Noonan

Interleague play has now been around for a few seasons. And while the Mets and Yankees are still drawing sellout crowds, fans are also subjected to the Padres and Orioles. Is it worth it to see Pedro and Schilling if it also means we sit through May and Tajera?



NFL: Late rounders can still be gems
By Patrick Moran

Many of today's NFL stars came into the league largely as unknowns and have developed into some of the most productive players in the game. SC's Patrick Moran highlights some of the best late round NFL draft picks over the past decade.



NBA: Dunleavy should stay in school
By John McManus

Mike Dunleavy is in a nice situation, to say the least, but he still has a very difficult decision ahead of him. Greatness is ahead of him either way, but a return to Duke could make him one of the truly special players in both the college and pro game, says SC's John McManus.



NHL: The truth about Bettman
By Steve Goldstein

On Thursday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media. He said he was delighted at the success of the Carolina Hurricanes, and he said that the economics of the NHL aren't working. But SC's Steve Goldstein believes only one of those two statements.



TENNIS: Now who's laughing?
By Michael Cecilio

Richard Williams predicted that his daughters would contest a number of Grand Slam finals and eventually dominate the rankings at No. 1 and No. 2 during the prime of their careers. Five years ago, these were seen as lunatic and brash statements. Five years on, he is the one laughing at the establishment, says SC's Michael Cecilio.



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Sleep is for Wimps - Wake up for the Greatest Show on Earth!

I'll admit it - I'm feeling groggy and we're only two weeks into the football - not soccer, but football - World Cup. My kids think I'm surgically welded to the couch. My wife is seeing way too much of her attorney. I think a Milky Way and nachos are a balanced meal. But it's worth it. The 2002 renewal of the most important sports event on earth has surpassed anyone's imagination and it stands to get even more dramatic between now and the conclusion on June 30th.


By Mike Round

There came a moment earlier this week when I realized I may need help. I'd been standing in a heaving bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans with a bunch of equally deranged Brits, Irish, Germans, Spanish, Mexicans, and a healthy sprinkling of enlightened Americans, from an unearthly hour of the night when only critters, night workers, insomniacs ,and football fans would be awake. Spain was playing South Africa, while simultaneously, Paraguay met Slovenia.

Slovenia is such an insignificant place that even my spell-checker thinks it doesn't exist, yet at that ungodly hour of Wednesday morning, billions of people worldwide were glued to their TV's seeing if the brave Slovenians could hold off Paraguay and thus send South Africa to the Round of 16. They couldn't.

Ten men Paraguay, inspired by substitute Nelson Cuevas' mesmerizing display of individual skill, scored 3 late goals to win by the required two-goal margin and thus advance. O'Flaherty's Bar erupted with each Paraguayan goal. Strangers hugged each other and danced the jig that is in the DNA of football fans worldwide. None of them were Paraguayan. My money says no one in that bar had even visited Paraguay. Few could find it on an atlas of the world. But it didn't matter. We were all Paraguayan for a couple of hours. That's the beauty of the World Cup.

The Japanese have grasped the essence of the World Cup like no host country before them. They deck themselves in the uniforms of the competing countries and become Polish, Swedish, Nigerian, and the like for a brief moment in their otherwise thoroughly Japanese lives. Sure, they holler for their own country with hearty gusto, but when Japan isn't involved, they pick a side and get involved.

The Koreans, co-hosts in case you don't know (why not, if you don't?), are more insular and view the non-Korean games more dispassionately. Almost in a European manner. Maybe that makes them more football-sophisticated? It certainly makes them less fun than their Japanese counterparts.

The big story of the group stages is the shock exits of co-favorites France and Argentina, as well as fancied outsiders Portugal.

There is no doubt that the tournament is poorer for the unexpected loss of both France and Argentina. Les Bleus were a pale imitation of the free-flowing team that won the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championships, looking jaded and devoid of ideas. Zinedine Zidane (for the first two games) and Robert Pires may have been missing, but that doesn't wholly explain a dismal performance that failed to yield even a single goal.

On paper at least, the French of 2002 looked significantly stronger than the '98 vintage, with David Trezeguet and Thierry Henry a huge upgrade on pedestrian Stephane Guiv'rach up front and Patrick Vieira, probably the world's most complete midfield player, infinitely superior to the plodding Didier Deschamps.

Sadly, at least for the neutral fan and the French, being good on paper doesn't always translate to the field of play. Most of the French team ply their trade in England's Premiership, meaning they had played well over 60 games, including cup competitions and the Champions League, by the time the opening game against Senegal started. It showed in all three group games, culminating in an embarrassingly gutless display against Denmark.

However, Spain, England, Italy, Brazil, Ireland, and Germany all advanced to the round of 16 with a similarly hectic schedule for their primary players. Head coach Roger Lemerre has had a disastrous World Cup campaign, by sticking religiously to aging center back Frank Leboeuf and unimaginative midfielder Emmanuel Petit, despite the claims of ignored William Gallas of Chelsea and Eric Carriere, as well as doggedly refusing to adapt his tactics to changing circumstances.

Instead of adopting the modern 3-5-2 system that would have allowed wing backs Bixente Lizarazu and Willy Sagnol of Bayern Munich to gallop forward in support of the midfield, Lemerre stuck rigidly to the outdated 4-4-2 system that left Sagnol completely out in the cold. But, truth be told, the French have won competitions before, despite the idiotic decisions of Lemerre and his predecessor Aimee Jacquet - the man who once claimed you could win a World Cup playing no strikers and six midfield players in front of a back four. The players are equally culpable.

Argentina, a nation already crippled by social problems and economic chaos, has gone into mourning. Easily possessing the most talented roster in the competition, the Argentines were denied by a combination of bad luck, poor finishing in front of goal, desperately poor team selection and the mind-numbing boredom of the English and - to a greater extent - Swedish tactics.

The Swedes bring nothing to the party, save grim determination and pretty yellow shirts. The English rely on an "Us against The World" mentality, the long ball over the top for Michael Owen, David Beckham, free kicks, and a resolute defense. If you were to pick a team from the rosters of Argentina, England, and Sweden, you'd end up with the English keeper (Seaman), Sol Campbell at center back, and nine Argentines - or eight if Owen gets in ahead of Batistuta or Crespo.

The blame lies squarely at the shoulders of Coach Marcelo Bielsa, the monosyllabic former Velez Sarsfield head coach. Only Ariel Ortega and Claudio Hussain of the home-based players made the squad, despite the claims of much coveted midfield stars Andres D'Alessandro of River and Juan Riquelme of Boca. Picking Italian and Spanish based players solely is riddled with danger.

These players are exhausted, for one. They also don't feel the passion of their countrymen back home, isolated as they are in Europe. The urgency isn't there anymore, with their luxury lifestyles and hideously grotesque salaries. Hence the dismal showing of Juan Sebastian Veron, out of form all year at his club in England.

Batistuta - seemingly playing on one leg - was left isolated up front when he was crying out for support from Hernan Crespo. Pablo Aimar was ignored until it was too late. Zanetti and Simeone were shown up for what they are - limited ball winners. Claudio Canigga instead of Javier Saviola up front? That's like picking Arnold Palmer to beat Tiger Woods in the Masters.

Bielsa carries the can for the fact that Gabriel Batistuta - the greatest striker of the last decade by a mile - will retire without a World Cup winner's medal on his shelf. This competition was Argentina's for the taking. Bielsa's ludicrous squad and team selection and his refusal to take the responsibility for axing out of form and aging old favorites cost his team a more than decent shot at ultimate glory.

Finally, a word about the American team. In beating the Portuguese - the world's fifth-ranked team - the USA finally arrived as serious players in world football. They showed flair in a breathtaking first half display; a flair that has been mostly absent in the past decade. They also showed resolution in the face of a second half onslaught from a quality team, a resolution they carried over to the next game against South Korea to earn a precious draw.

The USA is now ranked 13th in the football world rankings. How many of you knew that? The whole world plays this game, and to be ranked that high is a serious achievement that nations like Scotland, Ukraine, Greece, and Chile, where football is way further up the sporting pecking order, would die for.

The Americans have a chance of advancing to the last eight, with a game against CONCACAF rivals Mexico upcoming. Even if they fail, the future for American football is bright, with talents like Landon Donovan, John O'Brien, Clint Mathis, DaMarcus Beasley, and Pablo Mastroeni only just entering their prime.

They deserve a ticker-tape parade on their return. If the Yankees get one for beating only fellow Americans and a few guys from Canada, then surely Bruce Arena's brave boys should get the same courtesy.



--> Major League Baseball

By Ross Lancaster

Seattle (41-26), (Garcia, 9-4) at Cincinnati (38-28), (Dessens, 4-3)

Wednesday, 7:10 PM EST; Cinergy Field, Cincinnati, OH; TV: ESPN Alternate (Cincinnati or Seattle

Two division leaders play in the new, modified interleague play, as one team is supposed to be on top, and the other has no business being there. The Reds have been poor in interleague play thus far, going 2-4, while Seattle has a record of 4-3 against the Junior Circuit.

Speaking of Junior, Griffey has been out for the past week as he re-injured that sore hamstring of his. Strangely, this may make no difference for the Reds or make them better, considering Griffey, Jr. had a horrible average after his return.

Meanwhile, Seattle is having to play their first meaningful regular season game since the 2000 season, as upstart Anaheim is giving the M's all they can handle. However, the Mariners should hold on to the division, at least for this game, as I don't think the reds will get to Freddy Garcia.

[ Game Breakdown ]

Pitching - Seattle
Hitting - Seattle
Outfield - Draw
Infield - Draw
Overall - Seattle

Prediction: Seattle 5, Cincinnati 0


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

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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 06/29/02.)

Contents copyright 1998-2002 Sports Central.
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