Help out Wie: Be kind and remind

BY JOE SANTORO

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

The Legends Reno-Tahoe Open has all of the mystique, intrigue, glamor and credibility of a Wolf Pack intramural basketball game. It's the PGA Tour's version of the Golden Baseball League, minus the mustache growing contest. That's why we don't blame the Smallest Little PGA Tour event for allowing Michelle Wie to grace the greens of Montreux Golf & Country Club next week. Why not? Sure, it's a publicity stunt. So what? In case you haven't noticed, the Lack of Legends Reno-Tahoe Open doesn't give you a whole lot of reasons to spend your hard-earned money other than the lure of green grass, fresh air and a glimpse at how the people who can still afford to drive gas-guzzling SUVs live.

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When you are out at Montreux next week, do Wie a favor and hand her a pen. And after she signs your program, politely remind her to sign her scorecard. The last thing the Lack of Legends Reno-Tahoe Open needs is a female golfer making the cut and then getting disqualified for not signing her scorecard.

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It is amazing how negative and downright violent the reaction male golfers still have when a women enters a PGA Tour event. It's as if their manhood is being threatened. How dare a woman attempt to play a sport with real men? Well, first of all, golf is not a sport. It's a bet. It's a skill. Athletic ability has nothing to do with it. It is why women can indeed compete on the same playing field as men. Wie is better than 99.5 percent of the men in the world who play golf. The other half-percent just happen to be PGA players. So get over it. Grow up. We should be applauding Wie and other women who have the guts to tee it up with the boys.

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Since we are on the subject of pubicity stunts (no, not the Reno Silver Sox's mustache growing contest), Nancy Lieberman is going to sign a seven-day contract with the Detroit Shock of the WNBA. Yes, the 50-year-old Nancy Lieberman who won a golf medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Most of the WNBA players weren't even alive in 1976. Lieberman, who obviously prides herself in being the Minnie Minoso of the WNBA, just wants to extend her record of being the oldest WNBA player to ever play in a game. She holds the record at 39-year-old when she played for the Phoenix Mercury in 1997. Again, we have no problem with this. Wouldn't it be great if 49-year-old Magic Johnson played a few games with the Los Angeles Lakers next year? The WNBA, like the Lack of Legends Reno-Tahoe Open, is in dire need of a publicity stunt. I wonder if Michelle Wie can shoot free throws.

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Since we now live in a world where a high school player has skipped college and has signed a contract with a professional team in Europe and a NBA player has left the best league in the world to go play in Greece for more money, Steve Bartman is a breath of fresh air. Bartman, the most famous Cubs fan in the world (he's the guy who interfered with the foul ball in the 2003 playoffs against the Marlins) has turned down $25,000 dollars to sign a photo of himself in that infamous 2003 game. OK, we're probably giving Bartman too much credit. That $25,000 check probably isn't enough for him to appear in public and risk getting his face pummeled by Cubs fans. But it is nice to see someone connected to sports turning down a big paycheck for once. Bartman probably wouldn't even accept an invitation to play in the Lack of Legends Reno-Tahoe Open or sit on the Detroit Shock bench for a week.

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Isn't it peculiar how the national media (that's ESPN for those of you have have yet to discover cable TV) portrays Brett Favre as a warrior and someone who just loves the game too much to retire while Barry Bonds is a whining, arrogant, crybaby for complaining that no team in major league baseball has offered him a contract? Favre retired. Bonds did not. Who is the real whining, arrogant, crybaby?

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OK, someone please tell me how the sport of professional boxing survives. I'd really like to know. What was the last fight that truly captured our nation's attention? Who are the best fighters? Can you name five fighters not named Tyson, Holyfield, Foreman, Dempsey, Marciano or Ali? The best two fights over the past four years have been by NBA and WNBA players at The Palace of Auburn Hills. What happened to boxing? You remember boxing, don't you? It's the sport where they fight without skates.

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Memo to the Wolf Pack football team: It is time to beat Boise State. You took care of that UNLV problem nicely. Great job. The Fremont Cannon should forever be blue and make appearances at the Wolf Pack store in the mall. But now it's time to set your goals a little higher. Beat Boy-Z State. Paint an Idaho potato blue, if you need motivation. It doesn't matter what you need to paint blue, Just beat Boy-Z State.

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With apologies to Jeff Rowe, Carson Palmer is now my favorite NFL quarterback. The Cincinnati Bengals QB had the guts to be honest this week on a Los Angeles radio interview when he bashed Ohio State and stood up for his USC Trojans. Ohio fans, though, got upset at Pamer and Palmer had to backtrack on his comments the next day. It's about time fans get a reality check. Pro athletes couldn't care less about the other teams in the area. They (like college football and basketball coaches) are mercenaries. They follow the money. Half of them wouldn't know what uniform to put on if it wasn't hanging in their locker.

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You have to admire Billy Beane. The Oakland A's general manager has his team in a constant rebuilding mode. It's a brilliant strategy if all you're doing is trying to keep your job. This way Beane always has a bulit-in excuse for never winning. You trade away your established stars for minor leaguers and you can never be fired. Are you getting sick and tires of watching Triple-A baseball yet, A's fans? Then again, it's better than the 35-and-over Loser Buys the Keg League baseball that is being played across the Bay.

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