From the Sidelines

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 4, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / August 4, 1999

Things to consider while sweating out two-a-days…Was it just a coincidence that Mike Ditka came out with the no hazing policy after the picture of Ricky Williams and him on the cover of ESPN Magazine came out? You don’t think the players would haze Williams for wearing a wedding dress, now would you? On that note, with the way the Saints’ receivers have been in recent years, if Williams threw the bouquet, who would catch it? The French are upset because a countryman did not win a single stage in the Tour de France this year for the first time since 1926. Oh well, therewill always be Jean Van de Velde’s performance at the British Open to remember. Oh wait, never mind. Let’s see, first the Major League umpires announce that they will resign en masse. Then they rescind those resignations. Now, they are upsetbecause 22 of them will lose their jobs as baseball has already hired their replacements. Aren’t you glad that these guys are more decisive on thefield than they are off? Barry Sanders was always known for his nifty moves on the field to juke out defenders. But they were nothing like the move he put on the Lions thisweek by his sudden retirement. If he was already planning to retire lastJanuary, why didn’t he announce it then so that the team could have made plans to replace him? Why wait until the eve of training camp? Sanders was always a team player before. Why not now? Speaking of retirements, what’s going on this year? First, there was Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and John Elway. Now Sanders, DominikHasek and Darrell Waltrip are hanging it up. Baseball is about the onlymajor sport that has not had a star make such an announcement this year.

Not yet, anyway.

Baseball officials must be following that old adage, “The best trades are those you don’t make.” Very few of the expected impact trades went downbefore the trading deadline Saturday night. The one that might impact theplayoff races the most is Oakland acquiring Kevin Appier from the Royals.

The deal gives the A’s the pitching to compete with Boston and Toronto for the American League wildcard berth.

Many of the contenders did not make a trade. The team that will feel theinactivity the most is Cleveland. The Indians did nothing to address apitching staff that is in the middle of the pack in the AL and that could hurt them come playoff time, especially against a pitching rich team like the Yankees.

Think the bass fishermen that competed in the BASS Masters Classic can’t wait to get back to New Orleans? This year’s Classic saw 98 anglers catch the five-fish limit, a record.

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