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Old 07-04-2002, 02:11 PM   #1
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Default Sports Central Newsletter - #80 - The Walmart All-Star Team

The Sports Central Newsletter
June 28th, 2002 - Issue #80

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

- Words From the Editor 06.28.02
- Reader's Showcase (Sports Trivia)
- The Lancaster Report 06.28.02
- What's new at Sports Central?
- Feature Article: The All-Star Team at Walmart prices
- Marquee Matchup (MLB) 06.28.02



Hello folks,

We're coming at you early this week due to Sunday's World Cup final. Ross has a complete preview of the big game in The Lancaster Report and we want to give you all the chance to read the preview before the game is played Sunday morning.

The legendary Ted Williams has a 33-year-old son who has started playing baseball professionally. With them back in the news, we bring you a new trivia question this issue about his Hall of Fame father. Good luck!

It's coming down to your last chance to throw your name into the hat in our random drawing where we've teamed up with Reebok to give away a free pair of sneakers and a jersey. Sunday the 30th marks the end of our enormously-successful contest: https://www.sports-central.org/features/contest

Do you have an upcoming baseball game you'd like one of our staff members to preview in an upcoming issue? If so, e-mail me at mailto:[email protected]?subject=MM and we can arrange it.

Enjoy your Fourth of July!

Until next time,

- Marc James
mailto:[email protected]


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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 challenging sports trivia question. If you answer correctly, we'll mention you in the next issue!


How many AL batting titles did baseball great Ted Williams win?

A) 4
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B) 5
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C) 6
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D) 7
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Note: If the text below each choice is not a clickable link, you may reply to this newsletter with your selection.



We'll be featuring one of your sports rants next issue. Got something on your mind? Express your opinion, send us your comments on anything sports: mailto:[email protected]?subject=Readers_Showcase and we'll publish it for thousands of readers to see.



World Cup Final Preview
By Ross Lancaster

After 63 games, the world's greatest sporting event has come down to two teams who have won a combined seven World Cups: Germany and Brazil.

This game should be an awesome one, with the defense and goalkeeping of Germany getting them this far, and with the attacking, fun to watch half of Brazil's team making the difference. Many are counting Germany out in this game, but such a consistent, defensive team will always have a chance against the high-powered offensive engines.

Germany should be able to win this match by just playing the formula that has worked for them in their three 1-0 knockout stage wins. That formula is to play impenetrable defense, have the keeper work his magic, and then have the midfield possess and make things happen for one great opportuinity to score, resulting, hopefully, in a 1-0 win.

The Germans will be very hurt by the suspension of midfielder Michael Ballack, who scored the game-winning goals against both South Korea and the United States. Ballack received two yellow cards in knockout play, thus making him ineligible in Yokohama, Japan on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Brazil will need to devise a plan that gets past the brick wall that are the German defense and Oliver Kahn, the best keeper in the world, hands down. However, the offensive minds of Brazil can devise a scheme to beat anyone in the world short of a Global All-Star team, as no task is too hard and no mountain too tall for Brazil to climb.

I feel this is an evenly-matched game with each team excelling at the areas that the other team does not. So in that case, if it stays tied after 90 minutes of play and then another 30 for extra time, Germany will then be in position to carry the ultimate trump card of the better goalie in the penalty kicks. While a shootout is a very distinct possibility, the team that carries out their gameplan the best will undoubtedly win, and I do think one team will do it in regulation.

While it is just as hard to doubt Germany as it is to doubt Brazil, the three R's of Ronaldo, Rivaldo, and Ronaldinho, who have scored 13 of Brazil's 16 goals, will likely find a way to get past Oliver Kahn by a 2-1 score to win Brazil's fifth World Cup in Yokohama, Japan.



Revisiting the new articles for the week of 06/24/02 - 06/28/02:


MLB: Hanging chads on All-Star ballots
By Ryan Noonan

Each year, the fans get to choose who plays in the MLB All-Star Game. And for the most part, unless you're an Oakland A's fan, we do a pretty good job. But SC's Ryan Noonan takes a look at those guys who can't buy a vote no matter how well they play.



WORLD CUP: World Cup runneth over
By Piet Van Leer

America went farther than it ever had since 1930. One of the questions that arose, other than those circulating around poor officiating, is whether that will translate in nationwide soccer frenzy or suffer the same fate as what's her name with the sports bra, says SC's Piet Van Leer.



NFL: Bills' resurgence: Myth or reality?
By Brad Oremland

Everyone seems to agree that this year's New England Patriots -- the team to rise from mediocrity to greatness -- will be the Buffalo Bills. Writers and talking heads everywhere -- including this web site -- have put forth the idea that the Bills will be solid contenders in the 2002 season. At the risk of putting his foot in his mouth, Brad Oremland disagrees and explains why.



COLUMN: Amico Report: Feel the draft
By Sam Amico

The NBA draft is about daydreams and high hopes. And for a lot of the world's finest young basketball players, the draft is about dollars -- and that's great. The draft has always provided columnist Sam Amico with a vacation from day-to-day life. The draft makes him way too excited. Maybe even a little obsessive. But he's gonna try to control myself here as he discusses the NBA draft.



MLB: Dodgers cooking without Sheff
By Michael Melissa

A move of necessity has turned Tinseltown into gold this season. While Brian Jordan has filled in nicely into left field for Los Angeles, it's been the pitching of lefty Odalis Perez that is making Dodger fans ask, "Sheffield who?" If the 23-year-old keeps up his current pace, the January trade of Gary Sheffield will soon be called the Odalis Perez trade, says SC's Michael Melissa.



NHL: Offseason just isn't the same
By Vishal Patel

With the Stanley Cup Finals now over, preparation for the 2002-2003 season has now begun. SC's Vishal Patel reports that this year's offseason just isn't what it used to be as the old guard will remain the guard -- the dominators will continue to dominate and the bad teams will continue to struggle.



MLB: Batting stance standouts
By Gary Cozine

The batting stance shows off a player's individuality. It also reveals how deeply in need of therapy some of these players are. If you want to see Grade A obsessive-compulsive behavior, you need look no further than the batter's box at your local stadium. SC's Gary Cozine looks at some of the standouts in baseball today.



TENNIS: Martina, let it go!
By Mert Ertunga

Last week, Martina Navratilova played singles for the first time since 1994. Will we see her more often in the weeks to come? With Martina's ego and crave for attention, anything is possible, says SC's Mert Ertunga.



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The All-Star Team at Walmart Prices

It's the time of year for the usual suspects to be announced as all-stars. Try politely stifling that yawn. Any given year your average baseball fan could pick 90% of each team's starters on April 1st. And with Japanese ballot stuffers clogging up the Internet, the whole process has become barely credible. As an alternative to the ballyhoo that is Sunday's announcement, here is my Discount All-Star Team. Including the bench players, this lot cost roughly the same as Jeromy Burnitz's annual salary.


By Mike Round

CATCHER: At $7 million and $9.6 million per year, respectively, Jorge Posada and Pudge Rodriguez (when he's not on the DL) might produce at and behind the plate, but those ribbies don't come cheap. The Twins' A.J. Pierzynski is a cheap and cheerful option at only $250K a year. He's never seen a pitch he can't swing at, but his production is more than adequate with 35 runs and a .319 average.

FIRST BASE: Nick Johnson (11 HR/39 RBI/.238/$220K a year) gets consideration here, but he's basically played at DH for the Yankees all year and his future may lie in the outfield. Pittsburgh's Craig Wilson (6/31/.286/$229K a year) is also a versatile player who's no world beater but looks great compared to Mo Vaughn and his 7 homers and 28 ribbies which come at $12 million a season.

SECOND BASE: A no-brainer here as MVP candidate Alfonso Soriano must be the biggest bargain in baseball at a mere $620K a year. The second-year man had a sensational rookie season last year, displacing Chuck Knoblauch and hitting 18 homers, 73 RBIs, and stealing 43 bases from the bottom of the lineup. Many wondered whether he'd suffer a sophomore slump as pitchers wised up to his free-swinging ways, but Joe Torre moved him up the order and it's paid dividends with 21 stolen bags already to go with his 18 homers and .320+ average. The sky's the limit for Soriano's career and salary. An honorable mention goes to Junior Spivey in Arizona, who's more than earned his $215K for this season.

THIRD BASE: At a mere $260K per year, Boston's Shea Hillenbrand stands out. He will hopefully learn to draw more walks (he only drew 13 walks all of last season), but at the moment, the Red Sox are delighted with his 13 HR/49 RBI/.313 effort.

SHORTSTOP: A position dominated by high-earning, glamour boys, where it's tough to find a bargain. Apart from Phillies pocket-dynamo Jimmy Rollins, that is, who's not had an outstanding year, but hardly breaks the bank at $355K a year. For a 23-year-old all-star, that constitutes value.

OUTFIELDERS: Albert Pujols ($600K), Lance Berkman ($500K), and Jacque Jones ($312K) have combined for 49 homers and 165 RBIs. Power, defense, and youth at a combined price that wouldn't even get you Gabe Kapler ($1.8 million a year, but looks muscular in his uniform).

STARTING PITCHING: Whilst Jose Lima is raking in $7.25 million a year and dining at the Waldorf, Barry Zito (10-2 record, 3.07 ERA, $295K), Roy Oswalt (7-5, 3.20, $300K), Wade Miller (3-3, 5.20, $350K), Vincente Padilla (10-4, 2.95, $245K), and Mark Buehrle (11-5, 3.18, $310K) are sharing a bag of onion rings in McDonalds. The upside on these guys is limitless - as is the dollar value on their next contract.If any of these guys go down, there's Ted Lily (2.97 ERA, $237K), Jarrod Washburn (7-2, 3.59, $350K), Kip Wells (9-4, 3.09, $272K), and the Expos' pair Tomo Okha (7-4, 3.02, $240K) and Tony Armas, Jr. (7-7, 3.97, $355K) waiting in the pen.

RELIEF PITCHING: After last year's meltdown in the World Series, many were waiting for Byung Hyun Kim ($762K) to fade into obscurity as Matt Mantei came off the DL and replaced him as the Diamondbacks' closer. Keep waiting - Kim's racked up 19 saves and at times has looked unhittable. Even better than Kim is bespectacled converted Dodger starter Eric Gagne (a NL-leading 28 saves) for a ridiculous paycheck of $300K per year. He came into spring training hearing rumors of being on the trading block and by default ends up closing. He issues a free pass around once a month and has an unfathomable ERA with men in scoring position of .029. He also looks like he'd be more than useful in a bench-clearing brawl, despite those glasses. The individual story of the season so far, without a doubt.

* Quoted salaries courtesy of AP.
** Statistics correct as of completion of Wednesday's games.



--> Major League Baseball

By Ross Lancaster

Minnesota (44-35) (Reed, 6-4) at Oakland (44-33) (Zito, 10-2)

Monday, July 1, 10:05 PM ET; Network Associates Coliseum; Oakland, CA; TV: ESPN Regional

Two interdivisional teams in the AL will square off in a crucial pre-All Star break series Monday-Wednesday. The Marquee Matchup will take place on Monday between two teams that could be in the playoffs, if the playoffs happen.

The A's got off to a slow start, but now, the "Big Three" in the rotation are starting to heat up as the season heats up.

The Twins, as usual, have been overlooked, but are playing old-fashioned team baseball, the way it was meant to be played. The Twins, as of Thursday, are six games up on the White Sox, and are the only team in their division with a winning record.

[ Game Breakdown ]

Pitching - Oakland
Hitting - Oakland
Infield - Minnesota
Outfield - Draw
Overall - Oakland

Prediction: A's 4, Twins 2


Got a game you want previewed? Send us your feedback:
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Special thanks to our newsletter editor, Lee Manchur!

(Thanks for reading! Next issue set to come out on 07/14/02.)

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