Sunday, June 15, 2003

Page Two power rankings

By Mike Ball
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Thumbs up

1. Jose Rijo. God bless him. He has had so many arm surgeries the doctors say another isn't an option after he felt pain while working out. Let's hope he gets on with his final retirement and finds some pitching for the Reds at his baseball academy in the Dominican Republican.

2. Tiger Woods. It's great he has raised fans' expectations so high that the pre-U.S. Open discussions were whether he was in a slump in the majors. He has won seven of the past 14.

3. Spectacular Bid. It's always sad when the great ones go. With apologies to Funny Cide, the Bid was great when the game was at its best in the 1970s. (Why does everything seem as if it were better in the '70s?)

4. Kentucky Speedway. Just because the Sparta, Ky., track hasn't landed a Winston Cup race doesn't mean it's not a huge success. More than 70,000 for a Busch race is impressive any way you slice it.

5. Bob Boone. He's awesome. It's almost as if fans didn't get worked up enough about him batting Adam Dunn leadoff, so he figured out a way to be even more outrageous by batting Sean Casey there. Gotta give him credit. How he has a team in contention on Father's Day weekend with no defense, speed or starting pitching - a team that strikes out too much and doesn't walk, a team that seemingly couldn't get a bunt down if its life depended on it - is really something.

6. The Bengals. Courting former season-ticket holders at minicamp with refreshments was another genius move.

7. Barry Bonds. He has been playing while his father has been battling cancer and might skip the All-Star Game to be with him. Good for him.

8. Ward-Gatti III. The term "warrior" gets thrown around a lot in sports. In this case, judging by any of their three classic fights, the term fits.

Thumbs down

1. The NBA Finals. They billed it as an ABA flashback. Well, let's just say Dr. J., Artis Gilmore, Tire Iron Barnes, the red-white-and-blue basketball and Darnell Hillman's Afro should be insulted.

2. All-Star Game uniforms. The geniuses at MLB have decided the teams should wear those gosh-awful warmup uniforms in the game. All, no doubt, to create another piece of gear to sell. Can they do anything right?

3. Sammy Sosa's suspension. Reducing his suspension from eight to seven games was impressive. Talk about a deterrent.

4. College athletics. Tulane had to have a fund-raiser - including a telethon - to raise money to keep all its programs at the Division I level. What's wrong here?

5. The NHL's offseason. Congrats to the Devils. Now get your rest - the first exhibition is in 13 weeks.

6. David Beckham. The English soccer star was "sold" by Manchester United for a reported $50 million transfer fee. It's good to see that insanity in sports isn't exclusively on this side of the pond.

7. Anna Kournikova. She hasn't played in two months. Would it kill her to take one first-round loss in a Wimbledon tuneup?

8. This awful weather.

Phillies 12, Reds 2
Dad's gift keeps giving
Following unwritten rules
Reds notebook: Starters showing signs of life
Reds chatter
Reds Q&A
Down on the farm
Five questions with Scott Williamson

Interleague: Hampton, Smoltz hold off Mariners
After big night, it's more work for Rocket
MLB power rankings
SMS rally comes too late to stop Rice

Sellout crowd sees victory by Hamilton
Bodine endures more bad luck
Dow: Auto racing insider
Error gives Carpentier pole

Ky. boys lose to Indy
Close call topples Dixie in 8 innings
Groeschen: Five city track records fall
Schmidt: Kentucky insider
Owensboro Catholic 1-6, Louisville Mercy 0-2

Poised Furyk takes control
Daugherty: Tiger's odds of repeat are kaput
Mickelson on way to 0-for-44
Rakel to defend her Women's Met title

New Flyer coach's goal is elevation

Nets realize it's make-or-break time

Hamm's team plays in area Tuesday

Big win, serve for Roddick vs. Andre

Sit down, Frankenstein - and fear the ultimate closer
Tale o' the tape: The Terminator vs. Tom Henke
Page Two power rankings

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