Quick Takes


    When will the media learn to report the facts as opposed to conjecture their worthless opinions regarding injuries? Probably never! Eight Belles followed a sensational effort to finish second in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday by fracturing both ankles, falling to the track and being euthanized on the spot. Yet two members of the on-the-spot television reporting staff immediately reported that it was probably a heart ailment that caused Eight Belles to fall. The media should stick to reporting the facts…………after medical experts do their jobs.


    This Fall will be 20 years since Kirk Gibson’s dramatic home run off Dennis Eckersley in Game One of the 1988 World Series. I own the tape that showed the impossible clout, and all that led up to it, as well as the interviews after. As a Dodgers fan, it is the greatest sports footage I have ever seen, and it feels great every time I see it. Roy Hobbs (The Natural) did it in 1984, but that was the movies. Nothing like that could happen in real life. Right? Wrong!


    Lewis Bettman of St. Louis (we’ve been friends for 48 years) writes: Several years ago when Rick Ankiel was trying to pitch, I wrote to Bernie Miklasz (reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) that we ought to change him into an outfielder. I knew he could hit and obviously he could throw. Miklasz never acknowledged me, but two weeks later he used my recommendation in his column. Ankiel is a tremendous outfielder with the best arm I’ve ever seen. He is “the Natural.”


    Danny Ainge and Kevin McHale were teammates and close friends as players with the Boston Celtics. Ainge is now GM of Boston, while McHale is GM of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Before the 2008 NBA season, it was announced that the Celtics had acquire 10-time All-Star and 2004 MVP Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, a 2009 first round draft pick (top three protected) and a return of Minnesota's conditional first round draft pick previously obtained in the Ricky Davis-Wally Szczerbiak trade. Minnesota also receives cash considerations in the deal. In other words, the Timberwolves received virtually nothing in exchange. Gee whiz, I wonder how that happened. If the Celtics do win the NBA title this year, Kevin McHale deserves a player's share. Player's share hell; he deserves a piece of the Celtics franchise. I can't figure out who McHale works for.


    The above (collusion) won’t affect the NBA title this season. MVP Kobe Bryant and the Lakers will win it all.


    The metropolitan area with the smallest population to have at least one team in each of the four major sports is the Denver area. Additionally, Colorado is the least populous state to have a team in each major sport. However, as Denver is the hub for a vast area of the Rocky Mountain region, the city's influence far exceeds its population ranking and therefore supports franchises in all four major professional sports.

    The largest U.S. metropolitan area without a team in any of the four major sports is Las Vegas, Nevada. Despite its population, and growing daily, Las Vegas is unlikely to get a franchise in the foreseeable future, if ever, for all the reasons I’ve written about in the past, the primary ones being:
Gaming is the big industry in Vegas, and gaming doesn’t want competition.
Therefore, no one will fork up the bucks to build pro facilities.
Vegas residents wouldn’t support it. Too expensive. Little interest.
Vegas visitors wouldn’t support it. They come here for other reasons.


Story of the Week



    Marcus Allen, the tenth player selected in the 1982 National Football League Draft, played 16 seasons with the Los Angeles Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. During that time he gained 12,243 yards rushing, 5,411 yards receiving, and scored 145 touchdowns.


    Considered one of the game’s best goal line and short-yardage runners, Marcus began his pro career as the NFL Rookie of the Year and ended as the game’s all-time rushing touchdown leader.


    At the time of his retirement following the 1997 season, he held the single-season record for most rushing and receiving yards combined (2,314), second in consecutive 100-yard games, and was third in career-combined yardage. During his 11 seasons with the Raiders, the former University of Southern California standout, was named to the Pro Bowl five times. He added a sixth appearance in 1994, as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.


    He was the Raiders leading ground gainer seven consecutive years and the Chiefs four consecutive times. He even led the Raiders in receptions with 51 in 1987. Allen’s big-game performance in Super Bowl XVIII when the Raiders defeated the Washington Redskins 38-9 earned the then-second-year player game MVP honors. In that game he rushed for 191 yards and scored two touchdowns, one a Super Bowl record 74-yard gallop.


    Allen’s finest season came in 1985, as he led the league with 1,759 rushing yards on 380 carries for a 4.6 yards per carry average and 11 touchdowns. He also caught 67 passes for 555 yards and scored an additional three touchdowns. For his performance he was rewarded with league MVP honors.

In 1995, Marcus made NFL history when he became when he became the first player in league history to rush for over 10,000 yards and catch passes for 5,000 more. As further evidence of his versatility, Allen completed 12 of 27 passes for 282 yards and six touchdowns during his career.


    In 15 career playoff games, he carried the ball 267 times for 1,347 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging an impressive 5.0 yards per carry average. He also added 52 catches for 522 yards and two receiving touchdowns.


    Marcus Allen should have been a Raider his entire career. Were it not for Al Davis, he would have been. Marcus was grossly mismanaged by Davis and his stubbornness. While they were at odds with each other, Davis relegated Allen to the bench, thus hurting himself and the Raiders in the process as well. I’ll choose my words with great care; Al Davis’ management of Marcus Allen was absolutely stupid!


    Marcus Allen maintained his professionalism and commitment to his Raiders teammates throughout the Davis ordeal, then beat the Raiders nine out of 10 times (including the first seven straight) during his five seasons with the rival Kansas City Chiefs. It’s so nice to see how karma works. And even better to see Marcus in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, enshrined as a Chief in 2003.


    At the time of Allen's retirement following 1997 season:


Pro Bowls: 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1994.


NFL Records:

(1st)   Most Touchdowns Rushing, Career – 123.
[2nd] Most Touchdowns, Career - 145.
[2nd] Most Rushing Attempts, Career - 3,022.
[2nd] Most Consecutive Games, 100 or More Yards Rushing - 11 (1985-1986).
[2nd] Most Combined Net Yards Attempts, Career - 3,624.
[2nd] Most Combined Net Yards Attempts, Season - 449 (1985).
[3rd] Most Combined Net Yards Gained, Career - 17,648.
[Tied for 3rd] Most Games, 100 or More Yards Rushing, Season - 11 (1985).


Super Bowl Records:

(1st)  Longest Run From Scrimmage - 74 (Super Bowl XVIII).
(1st)  Highest Average Rushing Gain, Career - 9.6 (Super Bowl XVIII).
[2nd] Most Yards Rushing, Game - 191 (Super Bowl XVIII).
[2nd] Highest Average Rushing Gain, Game - 9.6 (Super Bowl XVIII).
[Tied for 2nd] Most Touchdowns, Game - 2 (Super Bowl XVIII).
[Tied for 2nd] Most Rushing Touchdowns, Game - 2 (Super Bowl XVIII).


Post-Season Records:

[2nd] Highest Average Rushing Gain, Career - 5.04.
[Tied for 2nd] Most Consecutive Games Scoring Touchdown - 7 (1982-1985).
[Tied for 3rd] Most Games 100 or More Yards Rushing, Career - 5.
[Tied for 3rd] Most Consecutive Games 100 or More Yards Rushing - 3.
[3rd] Longest run from scrimmage - 74 (Super Bowl XVIII).
[3rd] Most Combined Net Yards Gained, Career - 1,877.


Last Week’s Trivia


    The great Frank Robinson set a record by hitting eight opening day home runs in his career. Robinson played for 21 MLB seasons, mostly with the Reds and Orioles. Ironically, his last opening day home run came on April 8, 1975 when, as the first black manager in baseball history, he was the player/manager of the Indians.


Trivia Question of the Week


    Who hit the first home run in New York Mets history? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.