Some Nightmarish Thoughts Certain to Keep You Awake

Dreams can be bizarre or haunting, comical or frustrating or almost anything else a mind at rest can conjure onto its screen of inner vision.

Also realistic.

For example, take a dream I had one night this week. The Padres had three runners in scoring position and no one out. That's right, three runners in scoring position. Honest.

This is a good trick, of course, because the only bases in "scoring position" are second and third. The Padres made this possible by having one runner on third and two on second. Now, that's a potentially realistic situation, assuming the Padres could get that many runners on base simultaneously.

This not being fantasy baseball, one of the runners on second retreated successfully to first . . . though that may be a fantasy. This still left the Padres in the advantageous circumstance of having the bases loaded with no one out, yet another fantasy.

Alas, realism continued to intrude, as the Padres managed to get through the inning without scoring.

The genesis of such a dream is understandable. Just look at the National League West standings. A lot of folks following the Padres this season may have equally discombobulating dreams.

I almost asked Manager Larry Bowa if he had experienced any such dreams, but it occurred to me that it is impossible to dream when it is impossible to sleep.

On another occasion this week, I was dreaming that the National Basketball Assn. was returning to San Diego. A lot of folks hereabouts have just such a dream.

After all, the NBA was adding four franchises, and surely San Diego would be one of them. Professional basketball has been a curse to this city, rather than vice versa, and this was an opportunity for the NBA to make things right.

Wrong.

The NBA granted franchises to Minnesota, Orlando, Miami and Charlotte, N.C. Where's it going to go next? French Lick? Taking pro basketball to Florida has to be like taking dog racing or jai alai or maybe even golf to Indiana. North Carolina needs a bad pro team about as badly as Boston Garden needs a bad college team.

Minnesota? Fine, give it a franchise. Los Angeles stole the one it had, so making amends is appropriate. So what if the Lakers have been in Los Angeles for so long that no one wonders why they are not called something more appropriate . . . like maybe the Hot Tubs?

San Diego also lost its franchise to Los Angeles, though I hesitate to say it was stolen. The Clippers are sort of the NBA's landfill, and no city in its right mind has ever been anxious to annex a dump.

However, the Clippers were San Diego's team. Their problem here, as in Los Angeles, was that they bring in new executives and new coaches and new players . . . and retain the same glaring weakness. That would be the owner. If owners could be fired, the Clippers still would be here.

As it is, San Diego's collective dream in terms of a future in the NBA is that the Clippers are litigated back down the freeway . . . without Donald T. Sterling.

You want a funny dream?

How about if the NBA puts the Clippers, Charlotte, Minnesota, Orlando and Miami into the same division?

The winner would qualify for the NCAA's Sexy 64.

Do you complete projects in your dreams and then wake up perturbed to find they are not actually done? I do. I write columns in my dreams, then awaken dismayed that a printout of sorts is not awaiting beside my bed. What a waste of a perfectly good dream.

The Charger hierarchy will likely be dreaming such dreams Monday night. Al Saunders, Steve Ortmayer and Ron Nay will be "pre-playing" Tuesday's National Football League draft in their fleeting moments of sleep before the predawn rendezvous at the stadium.

Their dreams will start with the No. 2 selection, since Tampa Bay has already signed No. 1 Vinnie Testaverde. They will dream that Cornelius Bennett, the Alabama linebacker, will not be drafted by Indianapolis (2), Buffalo (3) or Green Bay (4).

Naturally, the No. 5 team in the draft would then step up and declare its intentions to secure the services of this franchise linebacker.

The Chargers, of course, are No. 5.

Unfortunately for them, they will awaken from their dreams just as I awaken with unwritten columns. Unfulfilled. They will awaken to the reality that Cornelius Bennett will be gone when their turn arrives.

For the next week, I will be dreaming my dreams somewhere in the nooks, crannies and canyons of Lake Mead. I have a suspicion I will not return to find the NBA in San Diego, Cornelius Bennett with the Chargers or the Padres with three runners on any or all bases.

Dreams don't change reality.

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