Quick Take #1

    "Ridiculous" is my definition of Tyler Houstonís column in the Sept. 26th. Las Vegas Review-Journal. This columnist accused Shawn Green of letting down the Dodgers and their fans by not playing on the most holy of Jewish dates, Yom Kippur, during the Dodgersí quest for the division title. Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax refrained from playing in World Series games on Yom Kippur; that did not prevent them from being heroes, and making it into the Hall of Fame. Others have as well. Houston has absolutely no right to judge Shawn Green or anyone for his or her religious beliefs and customs. I wonder if Houston knows that Brigham Youngís football team will not play in a bowl game thatís on a Sunday because of religion. Tyler Houston crossed a defined and private line period. Point made!

    Now for a total departure from the point made, a bonus "dig" if you will. Tyler Houston played MLB for eight years. He played for six different teams during those eight years. His lifetime batting average was .265 with 63 home runs and 253 runs-batted-in during those eight years. His career fielding average at three positions, IF-OF-C, was .969. These are not exactly stats that make me want to rush out to buy his baseball card. Itís my opinion that few fans or teammates would have cared if "Judge" Houston had ever taken a day off for any reason.

    On Sept. 26th., I sent an e-mail to the top management of the Las Vegas Review-Journal expressing my displeasure. As anticipated, they have not responded.

Quick Take #2

    Yes, mine is a sports-related website, but I felt the desire to share my opinions on this subject with you. Besides, it's my website and I'll write what I want to write. So there!!

    I was doing fine on election night until I heard one of the network commentators prognosticate that the leader of the defeated party will soon be Hillary Rodham Clinton. If that happens, I can picture her choosing Barbra Streisand to be her V-P running mate on the ticket. 

    After I had a double Manhattan to ease the pain, I came up with the perfect ticket for my party, the other party; Governor Arnold S. and anyone he picks. I predict the law will be changed that will permit Arnold, a foreigner by birth, to run for the highest office in our land. If that happens---when that happens---even Jigs the plumber, Second Hand Roseís boyfriend, will vote for Arnie along with the rest of the U.S., Democratic California included.

Story of the Week

    Following last weekís story on the USA Menís Olympic basketball team, Iím in the mood for this one.

    The biggest sports event of summer 1999 was not hockeyís Stanley Cup finals or basketballís NBA championship. TV ratings show more people, an estimated 40 million, glued their eyes on the US vs China in Womenís World Cup soccer. Iíve never considered soccer terribly exciting, but there are exceptions to any stance, and this game was the exception for me.

    Though the game would go scoreless through regulation and two overtimes, the determination and defensive strategies of both teams kept viewers on the edge of their seats. The largest crowd in womenís sports history---90,185 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena---only added to the drama and intensity.

    The Chinese caught a huge break when our teamís oldest member, 33-year-old mid-fielder, Michelle Akers, collided with our goalkeeper, Briana Scurry, near the end of regulation play, and had to leave the game. China took advantage of Akersí departure. During the 90 minutes of regulation play, China managed but two shots on the US net. With Akers gone, China took three shots in sudden-death overtime, one of which almost clinched the game.

    The overtime periods saw both teams hurling themselves from goal to goal, executing the defensive strategies that kept the game scoreless. In the end, the game came down to penalty kicks, a kicker vs goalie match-up where the team that scores the most goals in five chances wins.

    With the score knotted at four, American Brandi Chastain set up her kick. As the ball sailed past Chinaís goalkeeper and hit the right corner of the net, Chastain fell to her knees, clenching her hands in victory. The fans celebrated as their team captured its second World Cup title. In the process, the US team had invigorated and remodeled the role and perception of womenís athletics, and made many Americans very proud that day, July 10, 1999, myself included.

Last Weekís Trivia

    In 1946, Otto Graham was a member of the champion Rochester Royals of the NBL, later to become the NBA. Via Cincinnati and then KC, the Royals are now the Sacramento Kings. In 1952, Bud Grant was a member of the champion Minneapolis Lakers, later to move to L.A. Both men later enjoyed great football careers and are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Trivia Question of the Week

    Not many NFL QBís have tossed 99-yard pass completions. One was a college teammate of the legendary Brian Piccolo at Wake Forest. He did it as a member of the Detroit Lions. Who? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.