Ready or Not, Here Comes the WLAF's Opening Kickoff

Synchronize your watches. The opener of the World League of American Football, the latest incarnation in a heretofore failed series of alternative football ventures, is less than two weeks away. Goose pimples be warned.

The international league boasts 10 teams representing five countries, five time zones and four languages. A quick preview: The first game is March 23, featuring London at Frankfurt (bring a sweater). The first player selected was a running back named Tony Baker, a former 10th-round NFL choice. The first head coach named "Mouse" is Darrel Davis of run-and-shoot fame, who commands the New York Knights.

Other teams and nicknames include the Montreal Machine, Sacramento Surge, London Monarchs, Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks, Barcelona Dragons, Frankfurt Galaxy, San Antonio Riders, New York Knights and Birmingham Fire.

Previewing the league for Pro Football Weekly, Jerry Greene of the Orlando Sentinel predicted Montreal over London in the WLAF title game, 28-25. Greene guesses Montreal may have gotten the jump on its competition by conducting its draft discussions in French.

The draft, by the way, was a marathon 11-day affair held in Orlando last month. Ten teams selected a total of 610 players, some of whom actually had prior playing experience.

Stan Isaacs of Newsday recently surveyed the talent pool and concluded it to be a "rag-tag bunch of never-wases . . . "

Add WLAF: Players are advised not to quit their day jobs, because yearly salaries shall not exceed $20,000 or, about the amount Roger Clemens will earn per inning pitched this season for the Boston Red Sox. Site of the WLAF title game has yet to be determined. Any volunteers?

Last add WLAF: If nothing else, the league does provide another much-needed job for one of the famous kicking Zendejases, in this case Max, who heard London calling and signed on with the Monarchs.

Trivia time: Who among pitchers Bob Feller, Nolan Ryan, Catfish Hunter, Steve Carlton and Ferguson Jenkins has the lowest earned-run average?

Just Dig Baby: Spotted recently on a Southland street was a truck with the advertisement, "Aurora Casket Company, Inc. Commitment to Excellence, since 1890."

Bo Knows Blows: Or, a scene you won't see in Jackson's next Nike commercial: Apparently, Bo's baseball teammates in Kansas City haven't been sympathetic to the football hip injury that still has Jackson walking on crutches. Reports Bo: "The guys have been picking on me a lot. They throw sweaty T-shirts and socks at me, hitting me in the back of the head. They pick up my crutches and throw them down. I've wanted to throw them down since the first day I got them."

Reply: Just Do It.

Trivia answer: Nolan Ryan at 3.16, followed by Carlton at 3.22, Feller at 3.25, Hunter at 3.26, and Jenkins at 3.34.

Quotebook: Tom Watt, Coach of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs, "Better teams win more often than the teams that are not so good."

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