No rest for the weary

June 13, 2002|by DAN KAUFFMAN

Random rants from a World Cup-watching insomniac:

-- If Major League Baseball suspends Roger Clemens for hitting Barry Bonds on his elbow pad, claiming it was premeditated, it will be the biggest bunch of baloney since ... since ... oh, who am I kidding? This is Major League Baseball, after all.

Fact one: If Clemens had hit anyone other than Bonds (or Sammy Sosa, or perhaps A-Rod) in an area other than the head, a suspension wouldn't even be considered.

Fact two: Throwing inside is part of the game. And don't even try to tell me that this premeditated thing matters. Pitchers premeditate how they're going to pitch to hitters all the time. The only thing that makes this case different is Clemens went public with his premeditation. Good for him. I like people who are honest. Don't you?


Oh, and this other thing about people wanting to see Clemens step into the batter's box at Shea Stadium this weekend, hoping the Mets retaliate for earlier incidents between Clemens and Mike Piazza. Let me ask you this: Would you throw at Clemens when he has a bat in his hands? He'll throw the bat right back at you. And claim he thought it was the ball.

-- Another thing I'm sick of is all this talk about Tiger Woods and how he can't win on a par-70 course, that he's 0-for-8 in such tournaments.

Give me a break.

I've heard commentators say Woods is losing eight shots because two par-5s are now long par-4s. So what? He loses eight shots in relation to par, NOT in relation to the field. If Woods shoots even instead of minus-8, and everyone else shoots plus-8 instead of even, guess what? Tiger wins.

It's not higher math. I would know. I took calculus at North High. It's on record. Not that that makes me smart. In fact, I tend to think people who sign up to take calculus are morons.

Here's a thought: Maybe Woods lost those eight tournaments because - heaven forbid - somebody else played better.

There. I feel better.

-- Face the facts ... Mike Tyson isn't going anywhere. Lennox Lewis has a better chance of fading into obscurity by way of retirement than Tyson. Who else is there for Lewis to face? Evander Holyfield? We've seen it. John Ruiz? Who'd watch that? Chris Byrd? Please. The Russian brothers whose last name rhymes with stop-and-go? Why risk it?

Tyson needs boxing. He needs to fight. He needs money, and this is the only way he knows how to get it. And he'll suck us in. Again. Just watch. A couple of years from now, he'll get another title shot, and we'll bite. We always do. There's something about the man that draws us in.

Speaking of drawing me in ...

-- Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am not a soccerhead, unlike the other Dan who works in this sports department. But when it comes to the World Cup, I'm hooked.

I can't explain it, and I'm not going to try. It's futile, and it doesn't matter.

Besides, those of you hooked on the World Cup (like I am) don't need me to explain; those of you who don't care, well, don't care.

The one rule about watching games at night: Don't, under any circumstances, shut your eyes. At halftime of a 2:30 a.m. contest last week, I shut my eyes for what was supposed to be five minutes of rest.

I woke up at noon.

I'm nervous about Friday's match between the U.S. and Poland. Most likely, we need a win or a tie to qualify for the second round, and if we play aggressively, looking for scoring chances, we should win. But if we play conservatively looking for a draw, we'll lose. Write it down.

Of course, none of this will matter if South Korea beats Portugal. The games begin in prime time ... 7:25 a.m.

Hey, it's prime time somewhere. And it's prime time for me.

Dan Kauffman is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at or 301-733-5131 ext. 2332.

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