Even though the Chicago Bears have yet to play their opener, columnist Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun-Times predicts the team will be a big-time loser. A sampling:
“This is an offense only in how it offends. You wish it were behind tinted glass, under lock and key, eligible for a mercy killing.
“The more we see the Bear offense--better, the Bare offense--the more we realize this season should end before it ever begins.”
Trivia time: Who holds the NFL record for most touchdowns?
Fascinating: In the fervor to find new things to write about tennis players who are interviewed and written about to death, New York City’s Tennis magazine has discovered the following, quoting Pete Sampras’ coach, Tim Gullikson: “Nobody eats faster than Pete Sampras.”
Merely another slice from the Big Apple.
Makes sense: From Blackie Sherrod of the Dallas Morning News: “Remembered philosophy from old Phil Niekro, on why ballplayers try to hang on so long: ‘Nobody ever gives you meal money in real life.’ ”
Something smells: Apolinar Garcia, a pitcher for Canton-Akron, Ohio, a double-A team, is thinking twice now about being kind to animals.
Recently, the native of the Dominican Republic, picked up a skunk to pet it. The skunk apparently didn’t appreciate the gesture, according to USA Today, and Garcia became a very unpopular player in the clubhouse.
Pregame meal: Philadelphia Phillie relief pitcher Mitch Williams struck out Charlie Hayes of the Colorado Rockies with the bases loaded on a pitch in the dirt.
The next day, Hayes told Williams: “You know I was swinging. I was either going to be a hero or a goat.”
Said Williams: “What did you eat before the game, a tin can?”
Busy time: Josias (Manzy) Manzanillo, 25, a rookie pitcher for the New York Mets, explaining how he came to be one of 18 children:
“Back then in the Dominican, nobody had a TV. They had to go to bed at 6 o’clock.”
Warning: From CNN’s Ron Meyer: “If (quarterback) Drew Bledsoe doesn’t start, Patriot fans will run Bill Parcells out of town quicker than they did the British.”
Enough already: On the North Carolina sideline, enjoying his alma mater’s 31-9 trouncing of USC, was Laker James Worthy.
As USC’s band played on, in spite of the score, TV microphones picked up Worthy saying, “Stop playing that song!”
New math: Tim McCarver observed recently that 6-foot-10 Met pitcher Eric Hillman looks extra tall when he is standing atop the 10-inch pitcher’s mound.
Broadcast partner Ralph Kiner replied: “So that would make him 7-foot-10.”
Trivia answer: Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns, with 126 from 1957 to 1965.
Quotebook: Brian Schmidt of the Orlando Sentinel on the value of NFL exhibitions: “The preseason is like your appendix. You simply don’t need it.”