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On Sammy, and other topics on my mind

June 19, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

I'll always remember the junior high field trip I took to the Franklin County Courthouse, where my civics class got to witness a real trial.

This guy, who was being tried on a charge of dealing cocaine, claimed he had absolutely no idea what was in the package that he exchanged for thousands of dollars in cash.

He was so sincere in his plea of innocence that I almost believed him, much like I almost believe Sammy Sosa.

He probably just hoped what Sosa hopes.

"Hopefully they'll forget," the Cubs slugger said Tuesday, "and just let me continue to make people happy."

Maybe if Sosa's blood or urine is ever tested and comes out as clean as his other bats, this jury won't be as hung.

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As for other early summer topics I don't have real strong convictions on:

-- Unlike most of my friends and colleagues, I don't hate the NBA. I - apparently just as the rest of the TV-viewing world - just can't watch it anymore, not even in the finals.

I love basketball and easily recognize that the NBA features the world's greatest players, several of whom I enjoyed watching in college.

I can't quite put a finger on the problem.

-- "More ping, less bling."

Maybe that's it - if we could get NBA players to exchange the guns in their rides for licensed, aluminum bats.

Over the past few years, I have become a big fan of the College World Series, for the same reasons as ESPN's catchy ad slogan. Armed with metal, no team is ever out of any game, and the players only seem concerned about winning in what are often their first and last national TV appearances.

-- Although being a guy who primarily has to get his ESPN fix during the afternoons, I'd probably be a big fan of anything other than the World's Strongest Man competitions. I can only drum up so much excitement for Iceland's Magnus Ver Magnusson doing log-lift repetitions in Sun City, South Africa.

But I must be the odd man out on that one. Almost every time I turn on the tube after lunch, there's nothing but boulder heaving and barrel tossing.

-- Unlike most springs, I had no burning desire to visit Camden Yards to watch my beloved Orioles stink up the joint again this season.

Why should I continue throwing money on Peter Angelos' misspent pile?

Well, I finally gave in this past Sunday, and it was money well spent.

Watching the O's beat the Brewers from my seat down the third-base line, while clutching my mitt in eager anticipation of a foul ball, I really did feel like a kid again while I was at the Yards.

I'm even back to believing that the Orioles can finish with a winning record ... and that if I'm a good boy, Santa Claus will pay me a visit.

-- So I understand that for only $2,500 you can spend an entire afternoon splashing around the pool with Jose Canseco at his Florida home.

Maybe that guy I saw on trial really thought all that loot he was getting was for a game of Marco Polo.

Andy Mason is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at andrewm@herald-mail.com.

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