Palmeiro traveling light? Unlikely

July 01, 2006|By JOHN EISENBERG

Opinion: There's only one appropriate response to Rafael Palmeiro's telling The Sun that if some team might happen to want him, "I don't see myself as someone who brings a lot of luggage." Is he kidding?

Fact: Two of the 12 Negro leagues players going into the Hall of Fame this year have Baltimore connections. Jud Wilson played third base for the Baltimore Black Sox for most of the 1920s. Ben Taylor managed the Black Sox.

Opinion: Forget the drama of all those trades and the gambles that various teams took. The hands-down best moment of the NBA draft was when commissioner David Stern accused ESPN's Dan Patrick of being "pithy."

Fact: Corey Patterson leads the American League with 30 stolen bases, and if the center fielder maintains his lead through September, he would be the first Oriole since Luis Aparicio in 1964 to lead the AL in steals.

Opinion: The second-best moment of the draft came after Isiah Thomas, coach and general manager of the pathetic Knicks, spent his first-round pick on some anonymous guy he probably could have signed after the draft as a free agent. It was nothing short of hilarious to watch the already-angry New York draftniks become dangerously overheated and bug-eyed.

Fact: The National League had just a .373 winning percentage in 2006 interleague games going into last night, and as if that wasn't embarrassing enough, the supposed cream of the league, the division-leading Mets, Cardinals and Padres, were a combined 16-23 (.410).

Opinion: When college basketball coaches recently suggested expanding March Madness from 65 to 128 teams, they were hardly concerned about the overall well-being of what is already a great sporting event. They were serving their own interests, period. More teams in the field would mostly mean fewer fired coaches.

Fact: Three different horses won the 2006 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, but all three wore the No. 8 saddlecloth when they won. Cue up the Twilight Zone music.

Opinion: It's pretty unfathomable that the Philadelphia Phillies let Brett Myers make his scheduled start in Boston last weekend a day after he was arrested and charged with assaulting his wife on a street near Fenway Park. They're getting crucified by their fans and the local media for being insensitive, as well they should be. (Myers is now on the inactive list.)

Fact: Yes, this is true: The Portland Trail Blazers made six trades on draft day.

Opinion: There are all sorts of new golf books on the market, but if you want to read an especially good one, pick up King of Swings by Michael Blaine. It's the story of Johnny Goodman, the last amateur to win the U.S. Open (in 1933) and the runner-up in the 1932 U.S. Amateur at the Baltimore Country Club.

Fact: When Tom Glavine and Curt Schilling pitched against each other Thursday night, it was the first matchup of 200-game winners at Fenway Park since the Orioles' Jim Palmer went up against Luis Tiant in 1978.

Opinion: The Orioles have to do something about their Triple-A affiliate. The Ottawa Lynx are drawing an average of 1,413 fans, according to the International League. That's beyond embarrassing. Ottawa is a great town, but the cumulative attendance at 36 Lynx games this season is 50,892. Surely the Orioles can find a better situation.

Fact: Crime doesn't pay in the 2006 World Cup. The five teams that had committed the most fouls heading into the quarterfinals (Australia, Ghana, Mexico, Netherlands and Ecuador) had also been eliminated.

Opinion: My take on the controversial foul call that gave Italy a last-second, game-winning penalty kick against Australia: The Aussies got jobbed, mates.

Fact: When I covered the 1987 World Track and Field Championships in Rome, the Italian fans stood and booed every German athlete that competed, man or woman, for 10 straight days.

Opinion: I'm guessing there'll be, oh, just a little bit of emotion underlying the Germany-Italy World Cup semifinal on Tuesday.

Fact: I had the Detroit Pistons beating the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, so I was half right.

Opinion: Brazil over Italy in the World Cup final. (Count on Italy losing the final, in other words.)

Fact: According to, the Orioles have sold 53.8 percent of the seats to their 45 home games this year. Only eight of the 29 other major league teams are playing to a lower percentage of capacity.

Opinion: Everyone is down on World Cup referees for issuing too many yellow and red cards, but I'd love to see refs and umps in other sports have the same power. Think about it. Mark Cuban? Red card, you're gone, pal. Bobby Knight? Red card, bye. Is there any doubt the sports world would be a better place?

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