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Old 05-21-2002, 05:17 PM   #1
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Post Sports Central Newsletter - #77 - World Cup Fever

The Sports Central Newsletter
May 19th, 2002 - Issue #77

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

- Words From the Editor 05.19.02
- Reader's Showcase (Sports Rant)
- The Lancaster Report 05.19.02
- What's new at Sports Central?
- Marquee Matchups (MLB, NHL) 05.19.02
- Feature article: World Cup Fever Brings the World to a Halt



Hello folks,

As Americans, we often overlook many great world sporting events in favor
of our more native and familiar baseball, basketball, football, and hockey.
One such event is the insanely-popular World Cup soccer tournament which
brings fever to sporting fans from China to Argentina. Mike has his take on
the upcoming event in his Feature Article space below. Just what are we

We're down to just eight teams combined in the NBA and NHL playoffs. By
next issue in early June, the puzzle will be even more complete. In the
meantime, keep checking out the site for new content on the playoffs daily!

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 sports rant. Got an opinion? Voice


From Lee Manchur:

"I would like to voice my despise for the NBA. Through 24 days of the NBA
playoffs, just 51 games have been played while the NHL has played 71 games
through 27 days of their playoffs. Hockey is 10 times more physical than
basketball and a thousand times faster than any other sport.

In the 2002 NHL playoffs, not only are players are getting injured left,
right, and center, but superstar players are, too, like Mats Sundin and
Richard Zednik. Some players can't even walk, yet they are on the ice
skating to try and win what is widely considered the hardest trophy in
professional sports to win, the Stanley Cup.

In the NBA, there are as many as three days between games in the early
rounds, and none are ever back-to-back. Heaven forbid one of the basketball
superstars rips a hangnail off his fingers! These players have it easy.

Boy, can't you wait until next year when all series in the NBA playoffs are
a best-of-7!? We would just be starting the second round by now! If you
want to see a REAL athlete, look at any game during the Stanley Cup
playoffs - at any given moment, you'll see even the smallest, most-skilled
players dishing out a body check, a role usually reserved for those 6'3",
230 lb. defensemen."


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


Last issue's sports trivia question was: Who was the first player to play
in the NBA past 40? Contrary to popular belief, Robert Parrish was not the
correct answer! If you recall, Bob Cousy was the first to do this.



By Ross Lancaster

On Friday in Yankee Stadium, the event of so many great baseball
happenings, there was another downright classic against the Minnesota

In the fifth inning, the game had the pretty lackluster score of 8-3, with
the Yankees out in front. Then, the very next inning, the Twins directly
made up that deficit with six runs of their own and led 9-8. The score
stayed that way until the bottom of the ninth, when Bernie Williams hit a
solo homerun that tied the score and sent the game into extra innings, with
one out and the Yankees on their last two outs.

In the extra session, the two teams were stuck at 9 all until the Twins and
Yankees went into the 14th inning, when three different Twins singled
homeruns, making the score 12-9 and looking as if the Yankees had very
little hope once again.

However, then Shane Spencer led-off against Twins pitcher Mike Trombley
with a single. Then, with one out, Derek Jeter singled, and after that,
Bernie Williams walked to get the bases loaded, and bring up Jason Giambi
with the winning run.

Giambi hit the first pitch he saw from Mike Trombley into the right-center
bleachers, capping off one of the wildest games that Yankes Stadium has
seen in its 80 some-odd years of baseball. The Slam may be a turning point
on both the Yankees' chase for the hot Red Sox in the AL East and Jason
Giambi's season and career as a Yankee.



Revisiting the new articles for the week of 05/13/02 - 05/19/02:


NBA: The changing of the guard
By Jeff Daniels

For years, the NBA was controlled by the center, the man in the middle.
GM's and coaches believed that they had to have a dominant big man to win
it all. In today's game, however, the multitalented guards have taken over,
says SC's Jeff Daniels. Stars such as Paul Pierce, Jason Kidd, and Kobe
Bryant have their teams on the brink of winning a title.



NHL: Classic rivalry takes center stage
By Josie Lemieux

The biggest test is finally here for the Detroit Red Wings, who are trying
to reach the Finals for the first time since 1998. The Colorado Avalanche
won the Stanley Cup last year and now, the old rivalry starts again. Or is
it still the case? Nevertheless, this series will be one for the ages, says
SC's Josie Lemieux.



COLUMN: Sports Career Center: Is a career in ticketing for you?
By SportsWorkers.com

The next time you buy a ticket to a professional sporting event, realize
that you are the key contributor to the successful business operation of
almost all franchises. Masked underneath the glory and excitement of
skilled and dedicated athletes, a professional sports team is like any
other business. Its focus is on one thing, and one thing only: revenue.



MLB: Baseball's poet laureate
By Michael Melissa

For more than 50 years, one Dodger has transcended the game and his
profession. With an amazing, almost lyrical grasp of the English language,
Vin Scully has turned baseball games into poetry. No matter if you're
watching the game live or listening in a room to the radio, Scully's game
is the same, says SC's Michael Melissa.



TENNIS: Agassi's injustice to tennis
By Mert Ertunga

It's about time Andre Agassi lived up to expectations, but is it too little
too late? Here's a look at Agassi's failure to be a part of one of the
greatest rivalries in the history of the game. His lack of commitment for
the most part of his career leaves a legacy full of question marks, one
that undermines his true talent and ultimately hurt the game of tennis.



COLUMN: Jock Strip: "Rockie Humidor"
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.



MLB: Cigar or humidor with that ball?
By Sean McDonald

Humidors in Coors? Are the umpires rubbing down the balls before the game
or are they rolling cigars? SC's Sean McDonald tries to clear away the
smoke from MLB's latest foray into the absurd and suggests some other ideas
to promote fairness throughout baseball.



NBA: Same old story this postseason
By Ross Lancaster

The Lakers took control of the Western Conference Semifinals by rallying to
beat the Spurs 87-85 last Sunday afternoon. SC's Ross Lancaster takes a
look at just how incredible this comeback was, while looking at other games
in the playoffs, as well.



NHL: Goaltending caused Blues' downfall
By Lee Manchur

The St. Louis Blues were recently eliminated from Stanley Cup contention in
a 4-1 series defeat, courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings. It was the 28th
time in their 35-year history they came out empty-handed, searching for
answers. SC's Lee Manchur tells Blues' management what's wrong in his
latest NHL article.



MLB: Griffey controversy erupts in Cincy
By Masees Nishanian

Ken Griffey, Jr. is finding out that criticism is at its loudest at home.
Three years of injuries and poor performances has made Cincinnati a hostile
place for Griffey and his family. But a healthy season is all Griffey needs
to prove everyone wrong, says SC's Masees Nishanian.



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--> Major League Baseball

By Ross Lancaster

This issue:
New York Yankees (Clemens) vs. Boston Red Sox (Burkett)
May 24th, 7 PM EST; Fenway Park; Boston, MA; TV: Local

Baseball's best rivalry is renewed when the far and away two best teams in
the division play in Fenway Park for a three-game series, one that will
likely decide the lead in the AL East. As previously mentioned in this
newsletter, the Yankees played an amazing game with the Twins last Friday,
while Boston took two of three against Seattle, the next best team in the
American League.

[ Game Breakdown ]

Hitting - Yankees
Pitching - Yankees
Infield - Draw
Outfield - Red Sox
Coaching - Yankees

Yankees 5, Red Sox 2


--> National Hockey League

By Lee Manchur
Record: 4-3

Last issue:
Prediction: Colorado 5, San Jose 2; Actual: Colorado 4, San Jose 1

This issue:
Colorado Avalanche vs. Detroit Red Wings
May 20, 7 PM EST; Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI; TV: ESPN, CBC, SRC

If there was one word to sum up Game 1 of the Western Conference finals
for the Colorado Avalanche, it has got be "ugly." Patrick Roy was exploited
for 5 goals, including giving up a natural hat trick to Red Wing forward
Darren McCarty. The Avalanche scored with two minutes left to make the
score 5-3, but could not muster two more goals past Hasek, even with a
two-man advantage late in the game.

Detroit is now 9-1 in their last 10 playoff games after a horrible 0-2
start against the Vancouver Canucks in the quarterfinals. All signs would
point to Detroit taking a 2-0 series lead into the Pepsi Center on
Wednesday night, but history says otherwise. After Patrick Roy has allowed
5 or more goals in a single playoff game, he's rebounded with wins each of
the seven times since 1996. This "intangible" alone is enough for me to say
that Roy will out duel Hasek in the next game, tieing up the series heading
back to Colorado.

[ Game Breakdown ]

Offense - Colorado
Defense - Detroit
Goaltending - Draw
Power Play - Colorado
Penalty Kill - Detroit
Coaching - Detroit
Intangibles - Colorado

Prediction: Colorado 2, Detroit 0


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

You are welcome to post your thoughts on the message boards at:


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World Cup Fever Brings the World to a Halt

In less than two weeks, the football (soccer, to those of North American
persuasion) World Cup kicks off in Japan and South Korea. Thirty-two
nations from Africa, South, North and Central America, Europe, and Asia
will contest the month-long event that culminates in Yokohama on June 30th.

It's the biggest sporting event on the planet, with billions watching on
television around the world and brings the continents of Europe and South
America to a virtual standstill for a month. Yet in North America, it will
be virtually ignored (despite the presence of a U.S. team), relegated to a
footnote beneath the NBA and NHL playoffs.


By Mike Round

I've been in the UK for the last couple of weeks. To visit my family?
Partly. To look up old friends? Yeah - I did that. The real reason I'm here
in damp and miserable old England, paying $6 for a gallon of gas and
suffering the sheer awfulness of British cuisine, is football. My team of
over 30 years (Birmingham City - perennial losers and heartbreakers) made
the Holy Grail of the Premier League, via the playoffs. So I had to be
here to see it, even though it meant a 7,000-mile round-trip in aluminum
tube, a row with the wife, an expensive plane ticket, and even more
expensive match ticket, courtesy of the local, friendly - and rich -
scalper. Football gets in your blood and stays there - like malaria.

The actual game was momentous - a rollercoaster of a ride that culminated
in a victory via a penalty shootout (outfielder against goalkeeper from 12
yards for the uninitiated). Over 70,000 fans were packed into the cavernous
Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales to witness the game, though the
stadium could have been filled easily by fans of Birmingham City alone,
such is the lure of football.

At the end of the game, grown men cried, hugged, kissed, laughed, roared,
and jigged around gleefully as if suffering from repeated electrical
shocks, all without a hint of self-consciousness. I did all of the above,
often at the same time. The whole day will go down as the fondest memory of
my life, along with the birth of my children (in case, through boredom, the
wife's reading this). That's what football does to you - reduces you to a
blubbering wreck and endangers personal relationships.

It's hard to believe the hysteria in Europe - and no doubt Asia, South
America, and Africa, too - surrounding this latest renewal of football's
biggest prize. On a day of important news stories in the UK, a couple of
weeks back, like the Middle East conflict, the fight against terrorism, and
a missing school girl who may have been murdered, the tabloids ran with a
picture of England's talisman player, David Beckham, and his injured foot -
on the front page, in glorious Technicolor.

In fact, his face didn't make the cut. Just a close up of the foot, with a
banner headline speculating that the fate of the nation rested on the
welfare of this valuable lump of skin, bone, muscle, and tissue. The foot
seems to be healing, by the way. There are hourly updates on Sky Sports

Forget the Olympics, with its mind-numbingly tedious and just plain weird
events, like the 50 km. walking-like-you're-constipated, fencing, archery,
weight-lifting whilst in steroid-rage and synchronized swimming, the
football World Cup is the daddy of all sporting events. Other sporting
events get a global audience, but outside North America, the Super Bowl,
World Series, et al pull in small-potato ratings. Especially compared to
the World Cup, where the global television audience is so vast, even
football's governing body, FIFA has trouble giving a realistic estimate.
With China competing for the first time, this renewal will break all

It's sad that the sports-mad North Americans will largely ignore this
global feast of football, content to immerse themselves in the parochial
world of hockey and basketball playoffs. The U.S. team performed heroically
to qualify, and has a legitimate outside shot of coming through a group
that includes South Korea, Portugal, and Poland. Bruce Arena and his
veteran team are organized, hard to break down in defense, and are
experienced enough to make it hard for their group opponents in the
sweltering heat of South Korea. If they make the last 16, they should get a
ticker-tape parade.

The early group action eliminates only the outsiders, though Group F,
containing England, Argentina, Nigeria, and Sweden will see a competitive
struggle, as all four nations have a shot at qualification. Once the groups
are completed, it's 16 teams in a straight knockout fight to the finish.
No best of five or seven here - one slip, and it's the summer vacation and
a Mediterranean beach with the wife and kids.

The eventual winners will no doubt emerge from the old powerhouses.
Argentina, Italy, and France are most favored, followed by Spain, Brazil,
Portugal, Germany, and England. France and Argentina look head and
shoulders above the others, though, sadly, because of the ridiculous way
the draw was set, they can only meet in the semifinals. Italy, Spain, and
Portugal will fight out the other half of the draw.

France holds all the aces, from a solid defense, led by Lilian Thuram of
Juventus, through a star-studded midfield including Patrick Vieira, and
Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid, to a strike force of racehorse-speed, led
by David Trezeguet and Thierry Henry. Their only weakness is aging Frank
Lebeouf at the back and goalkeeper Fabian Bartez, brilliant one minute,
mind-numbingly stupid the next.

So here it is - the world's greatest sporting event - coming to your
screens soon. Mostly in the middle of the night. But try to catch it - it's
worth it.


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

You are welcome to post your thoughts on the message boards at:


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 06/02/02.)

Contents copyright 1998-2002 Sports Central.
No part of this newsletter may be reproduced without permission.
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