If It's Up to Hackett, He Won't Be Any Old Joe

Paul Hackett has a special assignment with the New York Jets: To turn Vinny Testaverde into Joe Montana.

During the off-season, the former USC coach, now the Jets' offensive coordinator, sent the 37-year-old Testaverde tapes of Montana in hopes he can run the West Coast offense more or less as Montana did for Hackett with the 49ers and Chiefs.

The project carries Montana's endorsement.

"I think Paul will help Vinny," Montana said.

"Vinny has got a great touch down the field and Paul will help him understand the main focus is getting the ball to the right people. It will lengthen Vinny's career to work with that offense. You're not taking big hits all the time."

Has anyone ever run the West Coast offense better than Montana?

"Oh, no. Oh, no," Hackett told the New York Daily News' Gary Myers.

"People can argue all they want about Steve Young, but with this guy, the bigger the game, the better he ran it."

Montana: "One thing you know with Paul is you will always be prepared. One thing he strived for is that when you go into a game, you weren't supposed to be surprised by anything."


Trivia time: How many batters have driven in more than 2,000 runs?


Rip job: Will McDonough, Boston Globe baseball writer, had this to say about Red Sox outfielder Carl Everett returning to the lineup after being out six weeks because of a bruised knee:

"You've got to be kidding. Out of the lineup six weeks with a bruised knee? His team desperate for another bat to produce runs?

"We are coming up to the 25th anniversary of Marvin Miller's curse: free agency. In retrospect, what has it given us? Overpaid players who are more interested in protecting their futures than playing the next game.

"There is no better example of this than the Texas Con Man, Roger Clemens. Clemens put it on cruise control his last four years in Boston, allowing himself to balloon like the poster child for the Pillsbury Doughboy, letting his fastball drop to the high 80s, making sure he didn't get hurt.

"It's paid off. He left Boston for a huge contract in Toronto. He won two Cy Youngs. He then forced a trade for bigger contracts with the Yankees. Roger never took the ball unless he was 100%. He was saving himself for the money."


More McDonough: On what new ownership of the Red Sox would be looking at:

"The team loses money now with very little debt. If the next buyer has to come up with $800 million or more just to buy controlling interest, and then pay for a new stadium, his debt service to the banks is going to be enormous every year.

"Even if they get the money at 10%, you are talking about paying off $80 million in interest each year, which the team now doesn't have. This sale is not for people light in the pockets."


Trivia answer: Two, Hank Aaron (2,297) and Babe Ruth (2,204).


And finally: Talk about obscure statistics. Jack O'Connell of the Hartford Courant points out that the Arizona Diamondbacks' Erubiel Durazo and David Dellucci are the first teammates in history to have four or more pinch home runs in one season. And you thought you knew baseball.

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