Saturday, January 01, 2000

The future? You read it here first




BY TIM SULLIVAN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Fearless predictions for a new millennium:

        Tony Perez will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Belatedly.

        Pete Rose will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Posthumously.

        Carl Pickens will make friends and influence people. By retiring.

        Mike Brown will buy Microsoft and complain that other companies have a higher price-earnings ratio.

        Carl Lindner will find fans waxing nostalgic about Marge Schott when he fails to sign Ken Griffey Jr.

        Ken Griffey Jr., determined to get closer to his family in Florida, will sign a record-breaking contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then, in a startling development, he will discover there are houses for sale in the same time zone.

        Ken Griffey Sr., consequently, will not become the Reds' next manager. That will be Bob Boone.

        Jim Bowden will trade Brett Tomko for Pedro Martinez. John Allen will veto the deal because of the dollars.

        Marge Schott will get a Christmas card from John Rocker, and 16 letters from lawyers who want to sue baseball on her behalf.

        Bud Selig will draw a line in the sand. In pencil.

        Bruce Coslet will announce that he has cleared the air with Carl Pickens. The Bengals will spend their No. 1 draft choice on a wide receiver.

        Jeff Blake will continue to misfire on short passes for some other team. He will continue to remark on how much fun he has had in games his team loses. He never will get it.

        Barry Larkin, who does get it, will continue to excel at clubhouse politics and succeed in getting grass at Cinergy Field in 2001.

        He will then second-guess the mowing pattern, the blade height and the seed selection.

        Pokey Reese will cover so much ground that he will win the Gold Glove award at both second base and shortstop. In the same season.

        Sean Casey will cover so little ground and achieve such widespread popularity that the Reds will do a flip-flop on the designated hitter.

        Joe Nuxhall will complete a declarative sentence, and 50 English teachers will faint.

        Mike Cameron will bunt twice in the same month, and Jack McKeon will swallow his cigar.

        The National Football League will enact new legislation banning celebratory gestures by players whose teams trail by more than two touchdowns. Informally, it will be known as The Artrell Hawkins Rule.

        Corey Dillon will get very rich very soon.

        Akili Smith will get very good, but not quite so quickly.

        Ki-Jana Carter will not get any better, and he will take his sweet time about it.

        Paul Brown Stadium will open on time but over budget.

        Cinergy Field will close, still unfinished.

        ABC will dump Boomer Esiason in favor of Cris Collinsworth.

        NBC will ditch Notre Dame in favor of game shows.

        ESPN will bag baseball to establish a toe-hold in pro wrestling.

        Kenyon Martin will become an NBA lottery pick. DerMarr Johnson will become a sophomore.

        Bob Huggins, consequently, will be happy for a whole day.

        Skip Prosser's name will surface in connection with Kentucky.

        Tubby Smith will keep his job, provided he stops having sons.

        Ohio State's John Cooper will beat Michigan, lose to Minnesota and be replaced by head Gopher Glen Mason.

        Tiger Woods will win the Grand Slam, the Skins Game, the Nobel Peace Prize and a Clio Award for the commercial in which he plays paddle ball with his pitching wedge.

        Pete Sampras will win Wimbledon. But you knew that already.

        The Los Angeles Lakers will lose the NBA title with Shaquille O'Neal at the free-throw line.

        The Atlanta Braves will lose the World Series with John Rocker on the pitcher's mound.

        The National Hockey League, resolved to protect the competitive interests of the traditional Canadian powers, will ask the United States to annex Quebec and Ontario.

        Pete Rose will confess. Right after Cincinnati gets the Olympics.

        Tim Sullivan welcomes your email at tsullivan@enquirer.com.