Tony Kornheiser of the Washington Post, writing before the start of the Laker-76er NBA Finals:
"Please, Philadelphia, win one game. I understand winning even one is a lot to ask--winning four is probably out of the question.
"[Though I love that 'David and Goliath' bit Larry Brown is peddling; the only drawback is that Shaq is so big he'd reach out, grab the slingshot and then eat it! And then where are you?]
"One game is all I ask. That way we can avoid that messy conversation about whether these Lakers are the best team ever. . . ."
Trivia time: Who holds the record for scoring average in an NBA championship series?
Exhibit A: David Whitley in the Orlando Sentinel: "Ty Cobb's dentures, valued at $8,000, will be on display this summer at baseball's Hall of Fame. Museum curators also are trying to line up Casey Stengel's hearing aid, Shoeless Joe Jackson's socks and Babe Ruth's liver."
Super gamble: Ron Rapoport of the Chicago Sun-Times, wondering why Brian Billick became coach of the Baltimore Ravens, a team that looked like it was headed nowhere fast before winning the Super Bowl.
" 'The biggest lesson is things aren't as bad as they appear sometimes,' Billick told me. 'People said, "Why would you go to Baltimore--a sketchy financial situation, an underachieving team, organizationally disjointed?"
" 'This job is like fine wine. If it were any worse, you wouldn't drink it. If it were any better, they wouldn't give it to you.' "
The gunner: A fan at Yankee Stadium retrieved a home-run ball hit by Derek Jeter into the right-field stands on Sunday. He then raised his arms in celebration to reveal a gun strapped to the side of his pants.
"As my former teammate Benny Ayala used to say, [Jeter] gunned it out of here," TV analyst Ken Singleton said.
Turns out the fan was an off-duty corrections officer.
A real challenge: Minnesota Twin executive Patrick Klinger, on the team's plans to honor Sean Conley, 13, who won the National Spelling Bee last week in Washington: "We'll see if he can spell [first baseman Doug] Mientkiewicz."
Omnipresent: Joel Sherman of the New York Post, commenting on David Wells: "This weekend [he] became the bulky satellite who will hover around the Yankees' daily life until the White Sox either deal the veteran or the July 31 deadline passes.
"Such is the size of both Wells' body and personality that he can exist in two places at the same time."
A gig is a gig: Detroit Tiger pitcher Jeff Weaver did some moonlighting last week in Chicago as a bouncer on the "Jerry Springer Show." Steve Wilkos, the show's director of security, told the Detroit News that the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Weaver broke up two scuffles, one between "two extremely overweight women."
Said Weaver: "I had a great time doing it."
Comment: Jeff, don't you have something better to do?
Trivia answer: Michael Jordan, 41.0 points against Phoenix in 1993.
And finally: Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune: "You could say the Cubs have waited almost 20 years for [USC pitcher] Mark Prior. Scouting director John Stockstill claims [he is] the most complete pitcher to enter their farm system through the draft, Greg Maddux included."