Is This Why They Call Him a Horse Under the Basket?

A hard look at the news while sipping cider from Ray Bourque's Stanley Cup:

News item: Point Given wins the Belmont Stakes.

Second thought: Sport or not a sport? Several race hands had to physically force the jittery horse, Dr Greenfield, into the start gate Saturday. Imagine Laker teammates having to drag Shaquille O'Neal to the free-throw line against his will?

News item: Report raises possibility of Disney dissolving the Angels.

Second thought: Say it ain't so, Snow (White).

News item: Laker flags flutter atop Southland vehicles.

Second thought: So much for my business acumen and sense of history. Anyone willing to take a garage full of L.A. Xtreme flags off my hands?

News item: In a far-flung Heisman Trophy campaign, the University of Oregon spends $250,000 to plaster a 100-foot poster of quarterback Joey Harrington on a Manhattan building.

Second thought: An unfortunate misunderstanding, really. New York advertisers agreed to the deal believing the poster was of Joey Heatherton, the 1960s sex kitten.

News item: Seattle Mariners become baseball's winningest team after unloading future Hall of Fame players Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson.

Second thought: Just think how good the Mariners might be if they dumped superstar Edgar Martinez.

News item: Los Angeles newspaper offers readers a life-size poster of Lakers' O'Neal.

Second thought: Citing rising print costs and shrinking space, New York tabloids only can offer readers a fold-out of Knick guard Muggsy Bogues.

News item: Raider owner Al Davis calls Pittsburgh Steeler owner Dan Rooney and Cleveland Brown President Carmen Policy "two punks."

Second thought: In other news off the Fantasyland ticker, the pot calls the kettle black.

News item: Two Sony executives are suspended for fabricating quotes by nonexistent film critic who praised Sony's movies in advertisements.

Second thought: Dave Manning, of the Ridgefield Press, is the fictional reviewer's name. Turns out Manning also reviewed sports movies:

"William Bendix shines in big screen portrayal of Babe Ruth!

"Anthony Perkins is laugh-out-loud funny in "Fear Strikes Out!

"My heart beat quickly in rip-roaring 'Bang the Drum Slowly!'

"If you see only one sports movie, make it 'The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh!' "

News item: The par-five fifth hole at this week's U.S. Open golf championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., has been lengthened to a whopping 642 yards.

Second thought: Not to be outdone, the British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Anne's next month will feature a 1.5-mile par-five, dogleg right, reachable by driver and ferry.

News item: Golfer Colin Montgomerie had considered sitting out the U.S. Open because of injury.

Second thought: Doctors have diagnosed the injury as Eldrick Syndrome, often known as Tigeritis. The rest of the U.S. Open field is expected to withdraw today.

News item: President Bush and his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, enjoy Little League T-ball game on White House's South Lawn.

Second thought: Wouldn't you know it, the Benning Park Pirates defeated the Fort Lincoln Brewers, 5-4, on a Supreme Court decision.

News item: Miami defeats Tennessee, 21-13.

Second thought: Impressive. I thought Miami would struggle without coach Butch Davis, but this victory should move the Hurricanes up in the bowl championship series rankings.

What? It was a college baseball game?

News item: Erik Weihenmayer becomes first blind man to scale Mt. Everest.

Second thought: I tried closing my eyes from the living room to the garage and stubbed my toe on the dryer.

News item: Laila Ali defeats Jacqui Frazier-Lyde at Verona, N.Y.

Second thought: Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, let's pray this is the last fight between daughters of fighters, that we will ever see.

News item: Dr. James Naismith carries over in his grave.

Second thought: If you're looking for kicks, check out Naismith's 13 Original Rules of Basketball, first published in 1892.

Sampler: Rule No. 3 states "a player cannot run with the ball," while Rule No. 5 stipulates "no shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed."

Wow. Can this possibly be the same sport NBC is televising?

News item: Minnesota Viking receiver Randy Moss seeks $100-million contract.

Second thought: Based on his performance against the New York Giants in last season's NFC title game, that works out to $50 million a catch.

News item: Former President Clinton attends French Open.

Second thought: Word is Clinton visited so many French restaurants while in Paris the band started playing "Hail to the Chef."

News item: NBA halftime shows feature rock band U2 and segment of "Weakest Link," starring Anne Robinson.

Second thought: My two cents on improving the ratings: Have Bono host the game show and Robinson sing lead on "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."

News item: Jerry Rice jumps from San Francisco 49ers to the Oakland Raiders.

Second thought: It pains me when a past-his-prime athlete misses an all-time cliche opportunity.

Asked how he would adjust in Oakland, Rice should have said: "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it."

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