On macademia nuts, Clemens' trysts and Daly

On macademia nuts, Clemens trysts and Daly

BY JOE SANTORO

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

The fascination the media and this country has with Roger Clemens is getting silly. Who really cares if Clemens has had affairs with a country singer and the ex-wife of golfer John Daly? A professional athlete having affairs with women? Imagine that. Shocking, huh? What's next? Are we going to find out that Clemens refused to pay for a $12 jar of macadamia nuts from the honor bar in his hotel room on one trip to Cleveland in 1986? Clemens, though, has nobody to blame but himself for this mess. He should have just made one quick and brief statement along the lines of, "I will not dignify the Mitchell Report with a comment," and then disappeared forever. He'd still be a hero and on his way to the Hall of Fame. Now he is quite possibly one of the greatest tragedies in American sports.

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A bloated John Daly wearing jeans and no shirt, taking a few hacks with his driver in the middle of a television interview has more dignity than Clemens right now. The difference between Daly and Clemens is that Daly never tried to hide his world from us. Daly is just an average guy who just happened to have one magical weekend in his life. He is what he is. And while his life might not be pretty, he is as real as it gets. Clemens becomes a bigger fraud with each passing month.

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College football's Bowl Championship Series turned down a proposal to have a four-team playoff. Amazing. The reason for this stupidty is that, well, college football already makes enough money and why change it? Do you need any more proof that college football couldn't care less about its fans? And, by the way, two more meaningless bowl games have been added to the schedule -- the Congressional Bowl pitting Navy against an ACC team and the St. Petersburg Bowl, matching up a Big East team against a team from Conference USA. Great. Four more coaches of 7-6 teams can now go to their athletic directors after the season and ask for a raise.

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You now have a reason to watch Oakland Raiders games. Darren McFadden in the backfield behind quarterback JaMarcus Russell for the next 10 years could be quite an interesting combination. They might not win more than six or seven games for the next couple years but it won't be boring. The same cannot be said for the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners followed up a boring season with an even more boring draft. But, hey, they'll probably qualify for the St. Petersburg Bowl.

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Don't look now, but the Wolf Pack baseball team just might find itself in the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2000. The Pack just needs to discover a little of its Peccole Park magic and bring it on the road this weekend to Louisiana Tech. This is the best Pack team since the 2003 team with Kevin Kouzmanoff. But, unlike college football with its ridiculous bowl games and college basketball, with its three postseason tournaments, you really have to earn your way into the postseason in college baseball.

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The NBA playoffs have been amazing so far and we're just in the first round. If you are still stuck in 1995 and think the NBA playoffs are merely filled with selfish and lazy players, you are missing out on some top-notch entertainment. It's OK to like both college and professional basketball. It really is. Now go watch the playoffs.

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The Dallas Mavericks have yet to recover from blowing the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat a few years back. So it's time for owner Mark Cuban to blow this team up, starting with pothead Josh Howard, and start from scratch. He has already started the demolition by firing Avery Johnson. Here's hoping Cuban makes like Ted Turner and names himself the head coach.

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Another teams that needs a couple sticks of dynamite is the Phoenix Suns. The Shaquille O'Neal experiment blew up in their faces. Shaq even made Steve Nash look like a confused junior high point guard. Retire, Shaq. Retire. It will, however, be interesting to hear Shaq's reaction in June when Kobe Bryant wins the title.

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Cuban was at Wrigley Field Wednesday night taking in a Chicago Cubs game. It seems Cuban is still looking into the possibility of buying the National League ballclub. Cuban would be perfect for the Cubs. He's an owner with all of the money in the world that will never win a championship. He'll fit right in with Cub fans, who expect nothing more than a fun three hours, plenty of cold beer and hot nachos and a cell phone to tell a friend that they are indeed at the game.

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The Wolf Pack sure seems to be concerned about selling football tickets this fall. The athletic department is offering two-for-one season tickets to graduates and has been hawking football tickets through the public address announcer at Peccole Park all through this baseball season. Why all the concern? Is it because the football team only won six games last year? Is it because the best the football team can reward its fans with is a meaningless bowl game in a place nobody wants to visit in late December? Is it because the UNLV game is in Las Vegas this year? Is it because Pack fans still haven't warmed up to the idea of freezing at night games against boring opponents in contests that don't mean a thing. Yep. All of that.

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