The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on June 3, 1998 · Page 21
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 21

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, June 3, 1998
Page 21
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I Jiri?" s 1 m li-fj I'THfe ll THE SALINA JOURNAL Sports SCOREBOARD/ D2 FRENCH OPEN / D3 MONEY / D4 D T COMMENT BOB KRAVITZ Rocky Mountain News I Elway decided to stay for the right reasons DENVER — John Elway has de. fied convention again. In a cruel and brutal sport that retires its superstars, leaving them injured or diminished or both, Elway has decided to be one of the rarest of the rare by dictating the terms of his retirement. In the end, he will retire from the game. The game will not retire him. Joe Montana could not do this. His arm turned to overcooked linguini, and then he was gone, consigned to bad-commercial purgatory. Jim Kelly could not do this. By the end of his career, it was like watching a quarterback playing on the Zapruder film. A year later, Kelly, a ghost of his former self, was contemplating an ill-fated comeback. And now, Dan Marino finds he cannot do this. He should have retired after last season, should have hung it up after a season when Jimmy Johnson was openly contemplating replacing him with a nobody named Craig Erickson. But he didn't. And he won't. Because for reasons only the greatest athletes can understand, the hardest thing for an immortal to do is say goodbye. Which is why, on the morning after Elway's "official" announcement, it's fair to gaze upon this rarest of species with even more wonderment than we did when he made that hellbent-for-leather helicopter leap over two Green Bay defenders. Winning the Super Bowl wasn't the most remarkable feat of Elway's career. This was, choreographing his graceful exit while his game is intact, his health is good and his legacy is fully secured. Is there a RIGHT time for a great athlete to say goodbye? Probably not. Anyway, whose subjective standards are we applying? Ours? Since when do the fans and sports poets matter? If an athlete leaves early, he often is filled with regrets and left to wonder if he couldn't have gotten more mileage out of his career. If an athlete leaves too late, he is left to deal with the chance of becoming a caricature, like, say, a John Unitas, a desperate man who overstayed his welcome. No. There's no RIGHT time. But Elway, it appears, is getting as close to right as anybody's going to get — assuming, of course, we believe him when he says he is coming back for himself, and not everybody else. He is leaving before anybody asked him to leave, before Jack Elway, the one man John respects enough to believe even his harshest evaluations, had to say, "John, you're not the quarterback you used to be and it's •lime to hang them up." And isn't there a remarkable symmetry to this? Sixteen years . ago, he orchestrated his arrival to the NFL, refusing to sign with Frank Rush's Baltimore Colts, forcing a trade to the Denver Broncos. Now, nearly two decades later, he is doing it again, this time orchestrating his departure from the big stage. There is risk. Elway could get old on us overnight, have a lousy season. The Broncos could underachieve. Terrell Davis might get a six-month-long migraine. Of course, the nightmare scenario has Elway being carted off the field for ..the last time, his knee in tatters, . jiis career finished. But Elway, it I ^appears, has thought all this ; through. And he is willing to take 'the risk. And he must know — he should know — that no matter what happens this year, his legend has been established. Last January in San Diego took care of all that. : The feeling here, from the very beginning, was Elway could not make a bad decision unless he made a decision for all the wrong reasons. Monday afternoon, he looked Denver in the eye and insisted, strongly, he was making this decision for the right reasons, most of them having to do with the competitive fire that still smolders within. So he gets to say goodbye the way he wants to. His last comeback, like so many of the comebacks that defined his career, will be written in Elway's own, very unique hand. Maybe, after all, there are second acts in life. T PRO BASKETBALL Time to deliver for Malone Jazz leader counting on Utah's inside game to make a difference By BOB BAUM The Associated Press GAME1 At Utah 8 p.m. today NBC-TV SALT LAKE CITY — Once again, the Utah Jazz have placed their NBA championship hopes on the chiseled shoulders of Karl Malone. If this is the year the Jazz end the Chicago Bulls' dynasty of the '90s, Utah must have a big series from their superstar power forward who endorses Rogaine, rides a Harley and is the proud new papa of a baby girl. "The pressure on me personally? I don't think you guys even know," Malone said Tuesday after the Jazz's last practice before tonight's series opener. "I realize I have to bring my 'A' game." A year ago, in Utah's first trip to the finals, Malone admits the pressure got to him. He was trying to prove he deserved his MVP award and sometimes forced things. "It was decent," he said of his play. "It wasn't outstanding or great or nothing. It was probably a C-plus or maybe a B as far as my thinking. I think with the MVP stuff, maybe I felt that instead of just playing my game." Now, Malone said, he is much more relaxed. "It's not an excitement attitude. It's not a don't care attitude. It's kind of in between," he said. "Sometimes it seems like I play my best when I have that kind of attitude." Malone put a little more pressure on himself and his fellow Utah post players when he said, "This series is going to be won with our big guys." "I'm going to issue that challenge right now to myself and to the other guys," Malone said. "Our guards have helped us big men a lot. It's our time now to return the favor. We don't disrespect their big guys, but we do feel we can do more to help our guards and small forwards out. "If we're to win this series, our big guys have to do a great job on the boards, myself included, and we have to play a great defensive help game to help our guards out." Chicago has no one to match up well with Malone. Luc Longley, big- T MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL Question surrounding Chicago: Are the Bulls pooped? Stay tuned By RICK GANG The Associated Press The Associated Press Time for an NBA championship is running out for veteran Karl Malone and his Utaz Jazz teammates. ger and slower, will start out defending him. Dennis Rodman also will get a turn. Last year, Brian Williams came off the bench, and his ability to run the court with Malone was a big reason the Bulls won the series in six games. But Williams is gone, and no one on the Chicago bench seems able to fill that role. "It's going to be tough. We're going to have to find some matchups for Malone," Scottie Pippen said. "He's definitely going to be able to get out and run on our big men, especially if Luc is guarding him, or Dennis, who wants to bang the boards and be a rebounder." Fouls could be a big problem for the Bulls. "One of the most important things for me to do is be aggressive out of the gate," Malone said. "Instead of settling for jump shots, maybe take it to them and hopefully get their big guys in foul trouble, get them back on their heels." The Bulls know all to well that Malone can create a foul mood. He led the NBA in free throws attempted. "It's really difficult to guard Karl Malone because the slightest touch and you're going to get a foul," Rodman said. "Here in Utah, you don't get any calls at all. There's nothing I can do except go out and play hard and try to throw him off his game." SALT LAKE CITY — Doubled over at the waist, his hands on his knees, his chest heaving and begging for air, Michael Jordan was spent. Pooped. Worn out. Devoid of energy. For once the world's greatest basketball player looked human, like the 30-something athlete he is. In the final minutes of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, Jordan was tapped. There was nothing left in the tank. Two days later, Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were ready to start over, let their minds and their will do what their aging legs might not and find a way to beat the Utah Jazz and their homecourt advantage in the NBA Finals. "I can't say we're not tired. It was a grueling road to get where we are," Jordan said Tuesday, shortly after the Bulls arrived at the Delta Center to practice for Wednesday night's Game 1. '• "Physically I think we are tired. But our hearts and our mental approach are fresh because we have a chance to start this series even 00 and somehow make things happen." Jordan's formula for invigoration is one he's called upon many times, just as he did last year in Game 5 against the Jazz when a stomach bug may have left most people in their hotel room. All he did was score 38 points and hit the game-winning 3-pointer. "My desire will help me overcome that (fatigue) because I've been tired before and anticipate myself being tired in this series," he said. "My desire to win is real strong and I'll go as far as it takes me." The Bulls face another team with a deep bench, just as they did against Indiana. And the Jazz are See FINALS, Page D3 PIPPEN Royals harvest pitching in amateur draft Kansas City selects four pitchers, led by Stanford right-hander Austin By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With four of the top 47 selections and extra money to lavish on them, the Kansas City Royals devoted their prime picks to pitching Tuesday in baseball's amateur draft. Jeff Austin, a right-hander from Stanford whose fastball has been clocked in the mid-90s, was Kansas City's first selection, the fourth player taken overall. With the 30th choice, acquired from Arizona when the Diamondbacks signed free agent shortstop Jay Bell away from the Royals, they went T CROSS COUNTRY TOP 10 1. Philadelphia, Pat Burred, 3D, Miami „ *' 2. Oakland, Mark Mulder, ihp, Michigan State. 3. Chicago Cubs, Corey Patterson, of, Harrison HS, Kennesaw, Ga. 4. Kansas City, Jeff Austin, Stanford. 5. St. Louis, J.D. Drew, of, Florida State. 6. Minnesota, Ryan Mills, Ihp, Arizona State. 7. Cincinnati, Austin Keams, if, Lafayette HS, Lexington, Ky. ^ • 8. Toronto, Felipe Lopez, Lake BranBey HS, Altamonta Springs, Fla. 9. San Diego, Sean Burroughs, 3b, Wilson HS, Long Beach, Calif, 10. Texas, Carlos Pena, 1b, Northeastern. for Matt Burch, a righthander from Virginia Commonwealth with an uncommonly sharp curveball. The Royals also had the 31st and 47th picks, and stuck with pitching. With the 31st choice, the first in the second round, they took Chris George, a left-handed pitcher from Klein High School in Spring, Texas. The 47th pick was spent on Robert Morrison, 6-0, 215, a right-handed pitcher from Marian Catholic High School in Chula Vista, Calif. The Royals took 14 pitchers with their 27 picks Tuesday. The board of directors that's running the club until a new owner is found agreed to free up extra money to make sure the Royals do not waste this rare shot at several highly sought prospects. "Our board has allotted additional funds for this draft because we had two additional high choices, and hopefully we'll be able to sign all the players we want to sign," said gener- al manager Herk Robinson. "We'll get them signed. We're going to work hard. We did a lot of homework." Terry Wetzel, the Royals' director of scouting, said both Austin and Burch are destined for the major leagues. "We feel both of those guys will be starting pitchers in our rotation," he said. "Hopefully, not too long into the future." Austin, 6-0, 185, was named by Baseball America as the 1998 national player of the year. He has 317 career strikeouts for Stanford and this year was 12-4 with a 3.11 ERA in 18 appearances. He struck out 136 and walked 32. "His changeup is his big out pitch," said Wetzel. "He has very good feel for a change, and outstanding makeup. He will be an asset to our organization." 4 Phillies pick Burrell No. 1 / Page D3 Scoreboard Angels, Royals, ..7 ..5 • Beanball war leads. to 12 ejections. • Game story, D3 • Today's: Chicago at Kansas City, 7:05 p.m. Ellsworth's Perkins to direct runners Down Under Cross country team from Kansas to include 10 from Ellsworth High By BOB DAVIDSON The Salina Journal Eighteen cross country runners from Kansas, including 10 from Ellsworth High School, will travel Down Under to compete in two meets later this month. The 13-day trip will include eight days of sightseeing across Australia in addition to the two cross country races — one in Sydney (site of the 2000 Summer Olympic Games), the other in Canberra. The group will spend three days in Hawaii on the way home. The trip came about when Roger Perkins, cross country coach at Ellsworth High the last 10 years, received a telephone call from a representative of International Sports Specialist, Inc., of Logan, Utah. "I'm not sure how they got my name, but I guess they heard we have a program," Perkins said. "They'd been around the state and found out we had three of the top five runners in the state meet. "They asked if I'd like to coach an all-star team that would run in Australia. It caught me off guard. I told them I'd have to think about it." The first meet is scheduled for June 11 in Sydney at a local high school and will feature approximately 30 teams from Australian high schools and other runners from the United States. The meet in Canberra is scheduled for June 13. "I'm told the meet in Sydney will be bigger than our state meet," Perkins said. "We'll compete against some of the best runners they have in Australia in the second meet." The two races will cover five kilometers, or 3.1 miles, for both boys and girls. Perkins has taken Ellsworth teams to the state cross country meet the last eight seasons after starting the program 10 years ago. Perkins said he has never been to Australia, but ran for two USA teams that competed internationally during his high school and collegiate days. He first ran in Austria, Switzerland and Germany and traveled to Taiwan and South Korea during his collegiate days at Port Hays State. The Kansas group is comprised of 11 boys and seven girls. Cody Smith, who has represented Ellsworth in the last four state cross country meets, leads the boys. He's joined by his brother Cassidy Smith, who has run in the last three state meets. Jason Fletcher and Ben Orozco have run in the last two state meets for the Bearcats. Other members of the boys' team are Brad Cole of Riley County; John Deist of Sterling; Jud Hill from Sabetha; Scott City's Brian Novak; Jeff Shanline of Pratt and Terry Nicholas and Josh Svaty of Ellsworth. The girls' team is comprised of Janelle Bach, Lisa Dolezal, Kathleen Johnson and Shannon Kyler of Ellsworth; Jenny Brown of Thomas More Prep-Marian; Scott City's Julie Gibbs; and Inga Young of Ulysses. "The other part is the kids will actually get to take some tours and see some countryside," Perkins said. "And they'll get to interact with kids from other , countries. "They're getting excited about going. They're calling me every day. They're counting down the days. I think it's starting to soak in a bit." Perkins said funding for the trip has come from fund raising efforts by the athletes and donations. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (785) 8?3-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT

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