Monday, January 01, 2001

Peculiar predictions for 2001

Super Bowl Bengals? Olympic NASCAR? For new year, anything goes

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Stanley Kubrick called his movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. This, we call 2001: A Sports Oddity.

        In trying to predict what could happen in the next year of local sports, let's think outside the box:


        1. Before a spring training game with Texas, Alex Rodriguez asks former Seattle teammate Ken Griffey Jr. how he manages to get by on $12 million a year.

        2. In further cost-cutting measures, the Reds use two outfielders — Dmitri Young and Griffey. Griffey's range helps him become the first player ever to win two Gold Gloves in the same year.

        3. Griffey repeatedly ho mers through the cut-out portion in center at Cinergy Field, bouncing baseballs off construction workers' heads outside.


        1. Corey Dillon, twisting his threat of last year about flipping burgers instead of playing for the Bengals, signs with them only after making Mike Brown work a week of night shifts at Hardee's.

        2. New grass is installed at Paul Brown Stadium, but the Bengals can't win on that, either. By midseason, they're clamoring for AstroTurf.

        3. The Bengals make the Super Bowl. Uh, on a 12-year-old boy's PlayStation 2.


        1. NCAA shows remorse over how it has treated UC and allows Kenyon Martin to play for the Bearcats in the NCAA Tournament because he missed it last year. Basketball coach Bob Huggins responds, “This is the first thing they've done that makes sense in my 20 years of coaching.”

        2. Big Ten Conference takes notice of the job football coach Rick Minter has done and asks UC to join the league. But because Ohio State continues to refuse to play UC in basketball, the deal falls through.

        3. Women's basketball coach Laurie Pirtle, needing her team to finish strong for an NCAA Tournament berth, hires a hypnotist to convince her players every opponent they play is Xavier.


        1. The men's basketball team goes undefeated at home, but fans stage rallies to have the team move back to Cincinnati Gardens because the beer was cheaper there.

        2. Because of the success of the four Finnish players who have played for her, women's basketball coach Melanie Balcomb offers scholarships to four third-grade Finnish girls projected to be the best of the Class of 2010.

        3. Every men's basketball game for next season sells out by October. But parking passes near Cintas Center are scalped for twice the price of the tickets.


        1. After splitting games at Michigan and Iowa, the RedHawks football team is picked to finish sixth in the Big Ten.

        2. Marshall football fans turn Route 27 into a parking lot on their way to Yager Stadium. With no chance of making kickoff, tailgating breaks out in Bevis.

        3. Charlie Coles sets a record by cracking up media in a news conference for the 97th straight time.

Other pro sports

        1. The Cyclones and Mighty Ducks, weary of their battle for the town's hockey dollar, join forces. The new name: The Windy Waterfowl Warriors.

        2. In a publicity stunt, the Stuff play the Harlem Globetrotters. New Globetrotter Wayne Turner, a teammate of Allen Edwards at UK and last season with the Stuff, pulls down Edwards' pants before an inbounds play.

        3. The Riverhawks sign Alexi Lalas and the Ladyhawks sign Mia Hamm. But soccer fans still can't figure out where they play.

Other colleges

        1. Tubby Smith leaves Kentucky to coach the Denver Nuggets, headed up by UK's all-time leading scorer, Dan Issel. Tubby takes his son G.G. with him as an assistant and drafts son Saul.

        2. The NKU women's basketball team goes undefeated to win its second straight Division II national title, led by Division II Player of the Year Michelle Cottrell. She forsakes her senior season to enter the WNBA draft.

        3. Jared Lorenzen passes for more than 4,500 yards but Kentucky still wins only four football games. Lorenzen is drafted in April by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are looking for the absolute opposite of Kordell Stewart.

High schools

        1. Elder and Moeller play at Paul Brown Stadium for the GCL championship and draw 35,000. Two days later, the Bengals sell out, thanks to a buy-an-Elder-ticket-get-a-Bengals-ticket promotion.

        2. Mason's Michelle Munoz becomes an immediate star next season for Tennessee's basketball team, while brother Michael dominates for the Volunteer football team. Their NFL Hall of Fame father, Anthony, racks up 600,000 miles on his car driving on I-75.

        3. Highlands and Beechwood — meeting in a ballyhooed football showdown for the first time since 1946 — sell enough tickets to subsidize their athletic departments until 2046.


        1. Carl Lindner decides to sell the Reds and use the $400 million to build a new facility for Tennis Masters Series Cincinnati.

        2. The ATP decides “Tennis Masters Series Cincinnati” isn't wordy enough, renaming it “Really Good Tournament Across the Street from Son of Beast.”

        3. PGA Tour pros, sick of losing to Tiger Woods, pass an amendment which boots him to the Seniors Tour. Woods wins the Kroger Senior Classic by 100 strokes.

Auto racing

        1. Kentucky Speedway's first Busch Series event, the Kentucky 300 on June 16, creates the area's biggest traffic jam since the Beatles played Crosley Field.

        2. Jerry Carroll, realizing he hasn't enough parking, starts painting parking spots on I-71.

        3. Carroll, endlessly hyping the odds of landing a Winston Cup race, meets with Nick Vehr, endlessly hyping the odds of landing the Olympics. They promote the idea of making NASCAR an Olympic event.


        1. In a shocking move, Clear Channel expands the Hot Stove League, forcing Marty Brennaman to start calling the show “the finest six live minutes in radio.”

        2. Roughly 10,952 callers to local sports talk shows suggest Mike Brown step down as Bengals general manager.

        3. Fans adjust the volume on their TVs when George Grande goes 10 seconds without uttering a word. The problem is not in their sets; Grande has just decided to mix in a little silence.

        — Neil Schmidt, John Fay, Michael Perry and Tom Groeschen


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