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A day in the life of a Herald-Mail sportswriter

July 22, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

Another work day begins. Confetti drops from the ceiling and balloons rise from seemingly everywhere, complete with this phrase: "Congratulations on your 1,347th day at The Herald-Mail!" I'm not making this up. OK, maybe I am.

4:01 - I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Lance Armstrong is the most amazing athlete of my lifetime (yes, I realize "my lifetime" is considerably shorter than most of my readers' lifetimes). This was supposed to be the year Lance was vulnerable. Let's see ... he's won three of the five mountain stages so far, and could have won a fourth had he not conceded one of last week's stages to Ivan Basso, who's in second overall.

Once again, allegations of drug use are shadowing Armstrong, as they have for, what, half a decade now? Don't we go through this every year? Here's my take: If you can't bring significant evidence to the discussion - and for me, significant evidence would be a failed test - then shut up. The guy's been tested dozens of times and never failed a test once. When do suspicions become a witch hunt? Bring real proof, or zip it.

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4:40 - The Tennessee Titans, as expected and asked, release Eddie George. Here's a reminder: When you see NFL superstars sign these multi-year, multi-million dollar deals (seven years, $124 million! Five years, $80 million!), understand that it's basically monopoly money. Only the first two years of a contract are guaranteed. Nobody actually gets paid $124 million. All the superstars wind up reworking their contracts because of the cap. Too many people fail to realize this.

4:59 - The Detroit Pistons sign Ronald Dupree. Who? (That was for you, boss.)

5:43 - The Associated Press moves an NHL labor talks story, which is inside this section. Without getting into too much detail, here's my problem with the NHL: When my dad and I went to see the Capitals play in February, two upper-deck tickets plus the normal concessions ran us $150. I'm sorry, but there's not enough general interest in pro hockey to be charging two people that much for upper-deck tickets and refreshments. The salaries NHL stars make are totally out of line with the overall interest in the sport. Just look at the abysmal TV ratings.

6:30 (from the Kauffman household during dinner break) - Rotisserie chicken ... yummmmm.

7:14 (back in the office) - How the heck do you spell rotisserie?

8:04 - Just noticed the story saying Rasheed Wallace agreed to stay with the Pistons. Yeah, but he's no Ronald Dupree.

8:58 - White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle has thrown six perfect innings against Cleveland. This would destroy my front-page layout plans ...

9:11 - Omar Vizquel singles to break up Buehrle's perfect game. Whew.

9:38 to 12:15 a.m. - Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ...




Dan Kauffman is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7520, or by e-mail at kauffman@herald-mail.com

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