Maybe Bobby Thompson can help the Giants

BY JOE SANTORO

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

The Giants win the Super Bowl! The Giants win the Super Bowl! The Giants win the Super Bowl! OK, wrong sport, wrong city and wrong century. But you get the idea. If the New York Giants somehow beat the New England Patriots on Sunday, it will be the biggest upset in all of sports history. Sorry Appalachian State. The media has already declared the Patriots the best team in not only NFL history but in the history of all professional sports. We'd like nothing more for the Giants to pull off the upset. But, last time I checked, they don't have Russ Hodges, Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca or an inviting left field wall at the Polo Grounds to save them.

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Patriots 35, Giants 30. It is a law in Nevada that every member of the media supply a Super Bowl score in the week before the big game.

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The Patriots have had quite an easy road to another Super Bowl title. First of all, the NFL was filled with mediocre, underachieving, lifeless teams this year. The Pats then escaped having to play Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game. And now they are playing the third best team in the NFC in the Super Bowl. New England has been ripe for an upset for the past month or so now but they haven't played anybody. That is why you can't consider this Patriots team to be the best in NFL history. The best dynasty, yes. The best single-season team? They are lucky to be in the top five.

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Tiger Woods is dominating golf once again. How exciting.

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The NFL knows how to conduct its Hall of Fame business, doesn't it? No month-long arguments. No bashing of sportswriters. No interest whatsoever. The Pro Football Hall of Fame committee has 44 media members. Those members pick a dozen or so finalists and they announce the new Hall of Fame members (from four-seven) on the Saturday before the Super Bowl. The entire process - before and after the selection announcement - gets about as much publicity as Wolf Pack swimming results. The NFL has never really cared about its history. They couldn't care less about their old, retired players, many of which are batting physical and mental ailments. The way they conduct their Hall of Fame announcement - slipping it into the middle of the Super Bowl hype - is consistent with the way they treat their own history. This is just another reason why baseball is the best sport.

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By the way, in case you are interested in this sort of thing, Ray Guy, Darrell Green, Art Monk, Andre Reed and Richard Dent are the most deserving of the Hall of Fame finalists this year. But don't be surprised to hear Bert Blyleven doing radio interviews and complaining to anyone who will listen about why he should be enshrined at Canton.

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Speaking of the Hall of Fame - the only one that anybody cares about, that is - baseball is going to conduct its final Hall of Fame game this summer when the Cubs and Padres tangle at Cooperstown. And that is a shame. The official reason is that so-called scheduling problems have become too difficult to deal with to continue the game. Yeah, right. For some reason baseball always found a way to play the game in the 1940s when teams traveled by train. And now they can't do it, in an age when some players could fly their own personal jets to get to the game? We don't buy it. You have to figure that Donald Fehr and the almighty Players Association is behind this decision somewhere. A game at charming Doubleday Field in Cooperstown is an amazing experience for a fan. It reminds you of the early days of baseball. Ted Williams hit two homers in the first Hall of Fame game in 1940. This is a time when baseball needs to embrace its traditions. What is baseball becoming? The NFL?

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Chicago Blackhawks (that's hockey, folks) coach Denis Savard ripped into his team this week because he didn't like the effort they showed in a recent loss. Savard asked his team to "Commit to the Indian," the Blackhawks' classic logo that adorns the front of their jersey (or "sweater," for those of you that knew the Blackhawks were a hockey team). The phrase "Commit to the Indian" has already been put on the front of t-shirts and sweatshirts in Chicago, making some goofball with a Web site some money and angering the executive director of the American Indian Center in Chicago.The Wolf Pack, which doesn't have to be worried about offending any particular group except wolf lovers, should jump on this marketing idea. How about "Commit to the Wolf" shirts and sweatshirts?

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Speaking of someone who actually has committed to the Wolf, the treatment Galena High basketball player Luke Babbitt is receiving this year from opposing fans is getting a little out of hand. Babbitt, one of the best high school players in the history of Nevada boys basketball, is constantly taunted by fans of the opposing team in visiting gyms and even in his own gym. Babbitt is a big boy, he's mature enough to handle it and he certainly doesn't need anyone to protect him. But a high school player just shouldn't have to deal with that sort of abuse. A few years ago, after a fight broke out among players in a boys basketball game in Reno, the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association sent out a press release detailing how abusive chants and signs from spectators toward players, officials and coaches, would not be tolerated at high school events. It's time that rule is enforced.

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The new NCAA rule that forced the college baseball season to open a month later has seemingly done some good. The Wolf Pack baseball team is going to play 35 of its 57 games this season at home. The first 22 games of the season will include 18 home games. This is a program that normally has had to pack its suitcase for a month to start the season. But that's when the season started in late January, when Peccole Park looked like a winter wonderland. Now the season opens on Feb. 22. There should only be an inch or two of snow in the batter's box. No big deal.

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Joe Montana's son, Nate, a third-string quarterback last year at De La Salle High in Northern California, is going to walk on at Notre Dame this fall. Yes, the football team. The kid attempted just 16 passes his senior year. It sure pays to have friends in high places (like the family dinner table), doesn't it?

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