`Money' ballplayers can lose millions, too

The Flip Side

December 28, 2004

It was the 1996 movie Swingers that gave us the immortal words, "You're so money, and you don't even know it."

In this season of baseball free agency, it's time to recall some individuals who thought they were more money than they actually turned out to be.

In 1993, infielder Jody Reed rejected the Dodgers' offer of $7.8 million for three years, then, after changing agents, wound up signing a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers that was to pay him $350,000 if he won a major league job.

Before the 2003 season, Nomar Garciaparra turned down the Boston Red Sox's offer of $60 million for a four-year contract extension. He became a free agent this year and signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Cubs for $8 million.

This year, the New York Yankees offered Miguel Cairo a two-year, $3 million contract. But Cairo wanted more. The Yankees instead acquired Tony Womack to play second base. Cairo remains unsigned.

Indiana Pacers fans can point to the misbehavior at the Detroit Pistons' home arena this season, but Indianapolis holds an ignominious place in the NBA history of fan misdeeds.

And it happened before the city even had a team.

During the 1955 league finals, the Fort Wayne Pistons couldn't use their home court because the arena was being used for a bowling tournament. So the Pistons' home became Indianapolis.

According to the recollection of Red Rocha, who played for the other finalist, the Syracuse Nationals, here's what happened in Game 5 in Indianapolis: One fan threw a chair on the court and another tossed a pocketknife that landed near one of the Nats players.

Back in Syracuse for Game 6, a fight between players brought police and fans onto the court.

However, no one on either team needed time off to push an album.

The Rose Bowl is called the Granddaddy of Them All for good reason. The first game was in 1902. It started as a fund-raiser to help pay for the Rose Parade put on by the Tournament of Roses Association. That first matchup was Michigan vs. Stanford.

It wasn't much of a game. Fielding Yost's undefeated Michigan team rolled over Stanford, 49-0. The Wolverines ran for more than 600 yards through three quarters, and Stanford refused to come out for the fourth quarter. The passing game was a bit lacking, however, because the forward pass wasn't yet allowed.

The game went away for 14 years - replaced by ostrich races, bronco-busting and Roman-style chariot races, among other exhibitions - until it came back to stay in 1916. Before Texas' appearance for this season's game, the last team from the state in the Rose Bowl was SMU in 1936.

Here's something else you rarely see at the Rose Bowl: rain. It hasn't rained during a Rose Bowl since 1955.

"There was an agreement made years ago with the churches in Pasadena that we would never have a parade on a Sunday because it would interfere with church," Dave Davis, president and chief executive officer of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, told The Dallas Morning News. "So we figure maybe that's why God has been good to us."

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