Sunday, July 27, 2003

Enquirer Page Two power rankings



By Mike Ball
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Thumbs up

1. Serena Williams. The tennis star is going to portray a reformed gang member on parole in an Oct. 1 episode of the Showtime series Street Time. Gotta give her credit. That's got to be more of a challenge than the other women tennis players are giving her.

2. Ohio State and Fresno State. Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel has said he will put even more emphasis on academics following the Maurice Clarett episode. As for the outlaw Fresno basketball program, the school administration has ended its practice of signing high school students who don't qualify academically under NCAA standards.

3. Seabiscuit mania. The racing industry is hoping the new movie will renew interest in the sport. It's taken one positive step already - Seabiscuit bobbleheads.

4. Roberto Clemente and John Wooden. The Hall of Fame baseball player and the UCLA basketball coach were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom last week. Clemente died in 1972 while delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Wooden, well, was a basketball coach. It must have had something to do with keeping Bill Walton under control.

5. Ricky Rudd. He'll make his 700th straight start in the NASCAR Winston Cup series today in the Pennsylvania 500. This is an iron man streak - often with iron mangled.

6. Baseball Hall of Fame inductions. The silent slugger Eddie Murray and the never-met-a-microphone-he-didn't like Gary Carter. Throw in broadcaster Bob Uecker and Dayton Daily News Reds writer Hal McCoy. It's still the best of all the Halls of Fame.

7. The Met softball tournament. Some 4,000-plus players, most of whom play the game with more passion and better fundamentals than the local nine.

Thumbs down

1. The Reds. Their free fall from pretending contender to "wait 'til next year" was swift and painful. They put on a clinic of bad baseball, making fans yearn even more for the start of Bengals season. Mike Brown oughta send them a thank-you note.

2. The NBA salary cap. The cap has made for a pretty bizarre offseason. It used to be that players were traded for their talent. Now they're traded for their contracts. The Hawks actually made a trade for Terrell Brandon's contract - actually his cap space - since he's probably done because of injury.

3. Baseball trades. Wait, they don't have a salary cap, yet 95 percent of the trades are unloading bad CONTRACTS.

4. NFL draft holdouts. Sense a trend here?

5. David Duval. Once thought to be Tiger Woods' chief rival, he finished behind country club pro Suzy Whaley after the first round of the Greater Hartford Open, then took his clubs and went home. Nice.

6. Those darn linesmakers. USA Today oddsmaker Danny Sheridan set the line for NFL teams winning the Super Bowl. Apparently, he hasn't observed the new Bengals era, setting their chances to win the big one - literally - at 750 million-to-1. Didn't he read how our striped men are going to wear pads and tackle everything in camp?

7. Ryan Dempster. The Reds pitcher (3-7, 6.63 ERA) didn't like the four-man rotation, and doesn't like the way the Reds are yanked out of the game by manager Bob Boone. Memo to Dempster: Triple-A Louisville is using a five-man rotation.




BENGALS / NFL
Higher goals await Bengals
Bengals Q&A
Ex-Bengal Spikes proclaims Buffalo LB corps the best

REDS
Reds 8, Mets 3
Daugherty: Nuxie not ready to be yanked
Welcome to the world of hurt
Reds Q&A
Encarnacion earns his way back to Chattanooga
Reds chatter
Notebook: Larson shipped back to Louisville

MORE BASEBALL
Murray, Carter ready for Hall
Gary Carter Career Statistics
Eddie Murray Career Statistics
Pirates' dismantling doesn't make sense
Is claim of helping Twins full of hot air?
MLB power ratings
NL: Dessens beats L.A. with one-man show
AL: Benitez blows save, BoSox beat Yanks

PAGE TWO
Sports flicks chock full of characters
Tale of the Tape: Tony La Russa vs. Daniel LaRusso
Enquirer Page Two power rankings

METRO SOFTBALL
'Fly-Man' won't take off Metro

54TH NATIONAL FATHER & SON CLAY COURT TOURNAMENT
Familiarity present at tourney finals

BASKETBALL
Dow: College basketball insider
Search for missing player yields decomposed body
Murky images of Bryant's accuser
Officials investigate threats against DA prosecuting Bryant

HORSE RACING
Stevens balances horses, Hollywood

MOTOR SPORTS
Dow: Auto racing insider
Tracy shakes off penalty to grab Molson Indy pole

GOLF
Mason keeps Sr. British lead

TOUR DE FRANCE
Armstrong's set to join an elite club
Live updates from the AP

ON THE AIR
Sunday sports on TV, radio