Reading time, two minutes: DO YOU GET the idea the prison where ex-Sooners quarterback Charles Thompson is serving two years on drug charges isn't quite Devil's Island with him having a 900 number to boost sales of his book "Down and Dirty: The Life and Crimes of Oklahoma Football"?
* Last year, Saints coach Jim Mora said he hated talking to the media after games because, no matter how detailed his explanations, the dumbos would never understand. Still, coach, I'm willing to listen to your end-of-game strategy against the 49ers Monday.
* Maybe the speedup rules the NFL has instituted will work, hal the opening week's games beating the three-hour mark and only the Atlanta-Houston debacle (3:47) whipping the average up to 3:05. However, statistics covering 14 games portend a disturbing trend. Teams passed 58 percent of the time, which, if lazy ball continues, means games will drag on as long as they did before with 10 plays missing under the guise of streamlining contests.
* Thing about Pete Sampras winning the U.S. Open is he won 21 of 26 sets against Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Thomas Muster, Jakob Hlasek, Peter Lundgren and Dan Goldie, nary a hardcourt cupcake in the bunch.
* Unfortunately, the women in the locker room story lives, thanks to foul-mouthed Detroit pitcher Jack Morris and club president and curmudgeon Bo Schembechler. Bad enough Morris was abusive to a female Detroit Free Press reporter, Bo then --ed off an insulting letter to the head of the paper, finishing "since you most likely never competed in the athletic arena, understanding the sanctity and privacy of the locker room is impossible." And I bet you thought such people became extinct long ago.
* In the last six years, the team salary cap in the NBA has gone up 330 percent, everyone involved is flourishing and the three other major pro sports still refuse to adopt the measure. Amazing.
* It might be stretching things a tad to refer to Jerrod Mustaf a"The Knicks' new star" as a local Macy's ad touting the kid's appearance did last week.
* One thing you have to give Pinklon Thomas, he didn't take thmoney and run in his bout with Riddick Bowe. Obviously done as a fighter, the ex-champ took a fearful beating before the bout was stopped the other night. So often under similar circumstances, a one-time name will genuflect and depart after one semi-effective punch.
* From the department of lost statistics, this one: Willie Mays is the only player in baseball history with 2,000 hits, 300 homers and 300 stolen bases. Guys who dig out such stuff should forfeit all their record books for a year.
* "Do you realize," Mickey Mantle once asked, "my strikeout total [1,710] means that I played three whole seasons without hitting the ball?" Similarly, during Cal Ripken's consecutive games streak, Paul Molitor has missed something going on two seasons with 10 trips to the disabled list.
* A good made-for-TV event might be to have Steelers running back Merrill Hoge and Trail Blazers guard Cliff Robinson go head-to-head on a geography quiz. On the heels of Hoge saying he didn't realize Canada was outside the U.S., Robinson said he thought Oregon was below California, not above it, right up until he was drafted by Portland.
* Hopefully, Washington Capitals fans weren't overly impressed
with that modicum of success the team accomplished last spring, winning the weak Patrick Division playoff title. The plain fact is the club didn't win half its regular-season games (36-38), -- its worst showing in several years.
* A lot of folks felt pretty bad for SMU last season when Houston's run-and-gun offense ran up 95 points on the Mustangs, who were returning to football after a two-year hiatus. Pity was misplaced because, with its first chance, the Ponies rolled it up against Vanderbilt, 44-7, Mike Romo sticking around long enough to throw six TD passes.
* Not only do the Bullets have a dynamite preseason schedule (visiting gyms in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia), with a couple dozen weekend dates, most against the name teams, they have a handsome home schedule. The games slated for Baltimore are against the 76ers, Pacers, Cavaliers and Hawks, the first coming the day after Christmas.
* The spokesman from the Tyson camp who bemoaned "Mike's name being dragged through the mud" as the result of a lawsuit charging him with sexual assault, battery and making death threats should be writing comedy.