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This And That From A Strapping Jock.

By Tom Danehy

JULY 20, 1998:  THINGS YOU MIGHT have missed while glued to the TV set watching the World Cup. Yeah, right....

  • Don King got acquitted again. He was on trial for about the 19th time in the past six years and they can't convict this clown. Apparently, the prosecutors are graduates of the Marcia Clark Night School of Law and Long-Haul Trucking.

    King was on trial for insurance fraud, and while that can be confusing and boring to prove, they had him dead bang. Geez, even the tobacco industry loses these days.

    Hey Don, can you say...jury tampering?

  • TV ratings for the World Cup plummeted in the United States. Some soccer aficionados claim the poor showing by the U.S. team doomed the ratings, but most American TV viewers didn't even know the U.S. had a team in the tournament. The Iranian team would probably agree with that.

    Still, soccer people keep claiming their sport is on the rise in America. I think what we need to do is have the World Cup here in the United States so maybe it'll catch on. Yeah, we could have games all over the country and give the American people a chance to catch soccer fever. It would be great.

    My son Alexander just told me he read somewhere that we did have the World Cup here in 1994. Darned if I can remember it.

    Well, next time they'll have it in Japan and Korea, so we'll have games coming on a day later at four in the morning. That should send ratings through the roof.

  • Our girls' basketball team at Amphi this summer is a model of ethnic diversity. At one time they had a starting lineup consisting of Summer Raymond, whose dad is from the island of Truk in the Federation of Micronesia; my daughter Darlene, whose background is Mexican, Spanish, Irish and Italian; Charron Campbell, who is black or Puerto Rican or something; Allison Mains, our token generic white kid; and Eagle Woman Ereaux, a Lakota Sioux. Eagle Woman has a sister named White Thunder Woman.

    When we have a fast break, it looks like a fire drill at the United Nations. We were thinking of changing the school's mascot to an immigrant.

  • Baseball had its annual All-Star Game. Really, they did. I think it was in Denver. In all seriousness, I'm more than a casual sports fan and I swear to God I couldn't tell you who won the game. That's how little I care.

    I do know that Ken Griffey, Jr., whined about having to be in the Home Run Derby and then won the thing. But then, to get back to his dark mood, he went to the press hotel accompanied by two large bodyguards to make sure no one would dare ask for an autograph.

    Here's the state of baseball as we enter the new century: People are talking seriously about downsizing. Rather than expanding like other sports or even having weak franchises move to Sun Belt cities, baseball is thinking about killing off franchises in Montreal, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Kansas City.

    It's actually not that bad an idea. The product is weak, the haves are running away from the have-nots, and things are just going to keep getting worse.

  • Major league baseball also has a new commissioner. His name is Bud Selig. He's the first commissioner in almost a decade. He's been sitting in the commissioner's office and sleeping in the commissioner's bed for several years, but he just last week got the official title.

    The owners who hired him are quite impressed with his résumé, especially the part where he helped cancel an entire World Series. Hey, not even Hitler could do that.

  • Former Notre Dame assistant football coach Earle Mosley has accused his former boss, Lou Holtz, of assaulting him during halftime at a game against Boston College.

    Hey Earle, if you want to retain any self-respect at all, drop the case. We've all seen Holtz. Celine Dion could kick his butt. Why not go with something realistic, like maybe claiming that Richard Simmons pimp-slapped you?

  • Mike Tyson is eligible to ask for reinstatement as a boxer in Nevada. Maybe he can bite the winner of the Dennis Rodman-Karl Malone wrestling match. If you spend money for that thing on pay-per-view, we're kicking you out of the trailer park.

  • Without cheating, answer these questions:

    1. Which teams are in first place in all six major-league baseball divisions?

    2. Which division has six teams, and which has only four?

    3. If the playoffs started today...THAT WOULD MEAN WE'RE IN FOOTBALL SEASON! I'm sorry; if the playoffs started today, which teams would make them as wild-card entries?

    4. Which playoff team(s) from last year currently hold sub-.500 records this season?

    If you can answer two of those correctly, you're above average. If you can answer three, you need to get away from the radio and maybe start watching that new-fangled TV thing. If you can answer all four, the rest of your kind are holding a meeting in the phone booth at the Famous Sam's on Ruthrauff.

  • ALERT! ALERT!! Radio sports sissy Jim Rome actually said something mildly amusing when he referred to beaded tennis player Venus Williams as "Predator." I mean, it's not that funny, but for the painfully unentertaining Rome, it might mark a breakthrough.

    I heard that some local pub even has a Rome Room where people can eat lunch without ever having to worry about laughing or nodding in agreement.

    The Rome Room is fashioned after the Rush Room, where Mark David Chapman types used to gather on their lunch break from middle-management jobs to plot the overthrow of the House of Representatives. At the height of its popularity, there were tens of Rush Rooms around the country. Rome will never get close to matching that lofty achievement.

  • Seven weeks until the UA football season kick-off. Seven long weeks.

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