MIAMI -- Long, hot, chip, cheap and rim shots . . .
All sorts of good things lay in store for Otis Nixon, base-stealing catalyst of the Atlanta Braves. He was in position to win Comeback Player of the Year, perhaps play in postseason, certainly command a multimillion-dollar contract as a free agent next season.
Instead, he struck out with cocaine. The immediate impulse is to condemn Nixon as selfish and stupid for jeopardizing the Braves' enchanting, last-to-first pennant run, as well as his own future. But then you ponder a need so overpowering he was willing to risk all, and you begin to feel a measure of compassion.
Jose Canseco's claim that he is treated better by fans on the road than at home is simply goofy. At best, he is booed loudly on the road. At worst -- New York, of course -- they throw things at him from the stands and say truly vile things about his wife. Whatever abuse he has taken from A's fans is trivial in comparison.
Canseco must realize that fairly or unfairly, he will be a target wherever he plays (not that the Oakland A's are about to honor his desire to be traded). His prodigious salary and talent leave people unsatisfied with whatever he achieves. His headline-making, off-the-field behavior provides cranks, jerks and misfits with fertile material for abuse, and his thin-skinned reaction to their remarks only encourages more.
One suspects Canseco's sudden desire to leave the A's may have less to do with fans than the size of the Oakland Coliseum and the fact that balls don't carry well there. He estimates playing in the Coliseum robs him of 15 home runs a year, and will cost him the home-run title this year in his tight race with Cecil Fielder.
You think the Dolphins' offense was bad Sunday? Consider the odor emanating from the Cowboys, Patriots and Colts.
In losing to the Eagles, 24-0, the Cowboys were held to 90 yards, 52 of them coming on the game's final possession. Their first-half totals were 27 yards gained in 20 plays, including six sacks and three interceptions. For the game, fewer than half their plays (24 of 50) gained yardage. Quarterback Troy Ache-man was sacked 11 times, matching his completion total, and the Eagles weren't even blitzing.
At least the Patriots are consistent. In losing to the Steelers, 20-6, they extended their touchdown-less streak to 11 quarters. For those of the sadistic persuasion, the streak covers 146 plays in 29 series over two hours 52 minutes 47 seconds.
The height, or depth, of Patriots futility came on an attempted punt out of the end zone by Bryan Wagner that hit teammate Eugene Lockhart square in the tush and was recovered by the Steelers for a TD. Seeing the replay, you feel guilty for laughing, like you deserve a flag for piling on, but, damn, it was hilarious.
K? The Colts? Thirteen points in three games. Beyond pathetic.
* Hang tough. The fate of the WLAF will be decided soon, so those sleepless nights will end.
* Will Larry Holmes just go away? Please?