The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee on July 5, 1992 · Page 146
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The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee · Page 146

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Sunday, July 5, 1992
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Page 146
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12C Tin TtnnwMiii . SundavJULV 5. 1992 1 - L '" h SPEAKING OF SPORTS Current views on the news Fatomis should! swsp dtowon antdl SBDafich . SmiEars By STEVE HUMMER Cox News Service FA TLANTA The Falcons have lost one defensive vert to another religion if it would help. Throw in some Braves tickets for games in September. Sanders is the leading Identity of these Falcons, and also happens to be the best pure coverage cornerback in football. The Falcons cannot even think of losing Sanders as they did Jordan. Fans want to see Sanders applying his gifts inside the new Georgia Dome, to check out his art in a new frame. Don't even bother to open the place if he's not going to be a part of the decor. The good news is that The Deion also needs the Falcons. The two-sport distinction is important to both his ego and his bid to take over every advertising minute. If there is the slightest trace of good sense and mutual respect remaining in this contract negotiating business, the two sides will get this settled quickly. And that's where the trouble starts. so games, then in comes their wealthy cornerback too late to point them to the playoffs. None of these compromises were they willing to forge with Brian Jordan, a safety good enough to be a Pro Bowl alternate and finish third on the team in tackles a season ago. Him, they allowed to get away to the St Louis Cardinals, for the price of $2.4 million over three years. Good luck, said the Falcons. One might argue that losing Jordan was terribly short-sighted of the Falcons, another case of their galloping cheapness overcoming the will to field a decent team. They probably could have worked the deal a little more, but they stood on the assumption that for Brian Jordan, you do not redraw a pay scale or engage in any prolonged bidding war. Maybe he wasn't the player for that statement. - For Deion Sanders, you draft a whole new set of rules. You change philosophies, alter convictions, con ..Of" tiiniB rim " " "aa"'J the house? Also, to extend Sanders past his last year of Falcons service is going to require some very un-Falcon-like maneuvering. It is going to require them to bury a little pride, to elevate a player above a plan, to perhaps accept the fact that playing in Falcons black is not a privilege that any normal person would gladly do for tips. It is quite a thicket in which the Falcons find themselves. To even have a chance at Sanders full-time would mean paying him not only top football dollar but also heaping handfuls more not to play baseball in September and October. It may make as much sense as paying farmers not to grow food, but a Sanders subsidy is an important part of any potential deal. Assuming it will not be possible to pry Sanders away from the Braves until the finish of their season, then the Falcons have to be willing to wait. A season starts without Sanders, maybe even goes sour through six or back to the sweet life of non-contact sport, and opened efforts this week to keep another from crossing over. We wish them luck in luring Deion Sanders back to his truest calling, but we also enter this phase of negotiations ;with some grave reservations. -" Talking anyone back into the NFL after he has supped Deion Sanders upon the feast of major league baseball is like trying to convince him a kick in the rear is better than a pat on the rear. In there a spin doctor in r" , v. Basketball will soon kick soccer By BOB MATTHEWS Rochester Times-Union v Profile: Brian Oldfield Recovering from a long, strange trip I i ASKETBALL is closing in on soccer as the world's most pop "It's funny to think about, but it's true. Once you get to be a world-class athlete, you find ways to get by." V. m si U BRIAN OLDFIELD By JIM LITKE Associated Press ELGIN, 111. A lot of him is different A lot of him is the same. "By my count," Brian Oldfield said before heading off for the hospital late last fall, "this is going to be the third leg surgery and the sixth one total. "And to be honest, I'm starting to lose track of which joints they've replaced and which ones are still my own." Throwing a shot put for the better part of your 46 years on the planet will do that to a body. What it did to his head, said Oldfield, one of track and field's original outlaws, is another story altogether. A short-lived fling with professionalism cost him the best years of his athletic life, but Oldfield insists to this day the whole crazy journey was worth it "I'm happy," he said, "and I've never had to take a real job. It's funny to think about but it's true. Once you get to be a world-class athlete, you find ways to get by. ... Even after I was't competing any longer, something or other always came my way to keep me from getting a real job. "And it's been worth something," he added, "to be able to do things pretty much my own way." Other people sensed Oldfield was different as early as high school, when he put the ular sport, and the inevitable spectacular feats of the U.S. basketball team at the Barcelona Olympics can only hasten the process. There are 10 fundamental reasons why basketball is destined to slam dunk soccer as the International Pastime: 1. Pele is history and Michael Jordan is happening. 2. Basketball players use all of their appendages while soccer players other than goalkeepers must pretend they don't have hands. 3. The joy of scoring a field goal in basketball is immensely more appealing than the frustration of not scoring in soccer. 4. There is nothing to match a bicycle kick for a goal, but a soccer player might do it once in a lifetime, if he is lucky. Basketball players can make a variety of nifty scoring moves every game. 5. A 10-point deficit with 10 minutes to play in a basketball game is easy to overcome. A two-goal lead with 10 minutes left in soccer usually is insurmountable. 6. With the possible exception of bowling, no sport is more made-for-TV than basketball. Sponsors love the commercial opportunities during timeouts, particularly when it takes a half-hour to play the final two minutes. The non-stop "action" of soccer limits the potential for the sport on commercial TV. 7. There are no offside calls in basketball, and you can't dunk in soccer. 8. Basketball rules change frequently to maximize the enjoyment of players and spectators. Soccer addicts consider any suggestion to alter the century-old rules blasphemy. 9. Americans tend to embrace things they do better than any other country such as play basketball, while generally ignoring things they do worse than most of the rest of the world such as play soccer. 10. The United States is the global trend-setter, and the majority of Americans love and appreciate basketball but don't have a clue about soccer. "And if you look at what happened from then on out ... few people from the West competed well after that. The Soviets, the East Germans, the Czechs, the guys who were used to military rule, to repressive regimes, they cleaned up." Poland's Wladislaw Komar threw the shot 69-6 to win the gold. Oldfield threw 68-7 and finished sixth. What followed in the next few days bissected his career. A promoter approached five dozen of the sport's premier athletes and sold them on the dream of a professional circuit called the International Track Association. "We were all young and sports was our little way of staying out of the larger world. And I remember feeling, probably because of the massacre, like there was no fun in the world," Oldfield recalled. "We knew it was going to cost us our amateur standing, but we all thought 'Hey, what the hell.' "I was looking at going home to teach school. I thought this was my chance to become the Babe Ruth of shot put To travel the world, make some commercials, get my little house with the white picket fen0? The pro circuit was a huge flop, ppgued by too little cash and too much influee by the various Olympic and track federations working to squash it But before it folded, Oldfield put the shot a world-best 75-0 at a meet in El Paso, Texas. It would be a dozen years before anyone else bettered that standard, but those same federations refused to acknowledge the throw. yj - it 1 I AP Former Middle Tennessee State track star Brian Oldfield on his way to victory in the shot put in a meet at Seattle in 1976. shot 58 feet 10 inches and went on to win Illinois state championship. A few years later, at Middle Tennessee State, he filled out to 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, but the increase in strength wasn't nearly as impressive as how it was distributed. Depending on the needs of his team in any given meet Oldfield might compete in the discus or javelin or even the high jump. When he shifted his focus to the shot and ' came under the guidance of Coach Ted Hay-den at the University of Chicago Track Club, he became a force to be reckoned with. Then something happened at his first and only Olympics, the 1972 Summer Games in Munich on which no one had reckoned Palestinian terrorists massacred 11 Israeli athletes. "The shot put went on the day after things got secured. For days, we were living in a village and guys were walking around everywhere with machine guns. We were told , not to go out of our rooms, so we lived on candy bars and sodas. A few of us were so shook up, we were ready to go home. horseshoe-throwers in there. But they told her I wasn't going in because my throw was never of ficially recognized." He was a dominant figure on the ITA circuit but after three years of work, Oldfield had collected only $26,000 and the reputation of a hell-raiser. It wasn't unusual to see him leave his hotel room before a meet with a woman on his arm and a cigar stuck in his mouth and that certainly didn't help his chances of being reinstated for amateur competition. With that livelihood put on hold, Oldfield settled mostly in California and did everything from act (in beer commercials, naturally) to TV work (the 1976 Games for ABC) to movie consulting (Personal Best in 1980) to sparring partner for Muhammad Ali. He was reinstated in time to compete in the 1988 U.S. Olympic trials, but by then he was 42 and his best years long behind him. After throwing 67 feet and better in practice, Oldfield threw 62-10 in the competition and finished ninth. It was his last meet In July 1990, he returned home for a family picnic and decided to stay. Since then, he has been checking in and out of hospitals to get his body back together and exploring coaching possibilities. "I can't say I would have done things differently, but if I had the chance, I would have done one thing better," he said. "I would have, thrown the damn thing farther." "It was done on national TV, there was a crowd there, the press saw it" he said. "But the powers-that-be went out of their way to make me a non- person. "My mother once called up the Hall of Fame here in Elgin and asked why I wasn't in there. Hell, they've got bowlers and He's ready to take on the world By BRYAN BURWELL The Detroit Sews PORTLAND, Ore. Welcome to the Great Charles Barkley Global Discovery Tour. For nearly a decade, Sir Charles has been our own little secret performing his outrageous act only on the shores of the United States. He has made us laugh and grumble, hoot and howl. He has amazed us with his talents and made us cringe with his rude, raw behavior. f . ' ' T . .. ; Y But now, Barkley is on the verge of performing his raucous act worldwide. . This week's basketball Tournament of the Ameri-;cas has been his off-Broad-J'ay warm-up before giving the world full exposure on Barcelona's Olympic stage. Every day, it's another wild tale for Sir Charles, as he cuts through all language barriers, insults for- eipn leaders, enlightens the "Until now, he was a regular star, not a great star like Magic. You see, Magic has always been known for his capacity for the leadership, and he and Michael were known for their ability to win. But Charles, he was known for ... uh, how you say? His capacity for the colorful joke. He is a very funny guy, Charles, he makes us all laugh. But now we are all seeing the powerful way he plays the game." Yes, he does have a remarkably powerful game. But let's get back to that capacity for the colorful joke thing. Yes, that is what is attracting the international media. The day before the U.S. faced Cuba here, someone asked Barkley what he knew about the Cubans. "All I know is that they're led by some old scruffy guy with a beard who smokes cigars," he replied. On the same day, he was sitting at a table talking to a couple of U.S. reporters when a smiling stranger in a baseball cap that said "Solo Basquet" on it stood next to Barkley, put his arm around him and grinned as another guy took a picture. Barkley, stunned, stared at the smiling stranger for a second, then said, "Damn, you're ugly!" The smiling stranger, clueless, nodded and said, "No hablo ingles. Argentina Argentina." "Oh, you're from Argentina, huh?" Charles said. "Si, Argentina," the smiling stranger said. "Well, do you understand this?" Barkley wondered. "Do you understand we're gonna kick y'alls butts? Do you understand that?" Final score Wednesday night USA 128, Argentina 87. Sir Charles' line 23 points, four rebounds, two steals. Before the Dream Team stepped on the floor against Panama earlier this week, someone asked Barkley his motivation. He grinned and without hesitation said, "To get the canal back." One night later, after stomping on the Panamanians, 112-52, the first words out of his mouth were, "We got the canal back; now we can sail around the wonjl" The world is waiting. Agassi and anybody, I'm rooting for the one who didn't have his hair frosted in a Las Vegas salon before the tournament We're about two weeks away from training camp, and the Los Angeles Rams don't have a running back they can count on. They should make a strong pitch to acquire underappreciated Marcus Allen, who will also be underworked with Eric Dicker-son and Nick Bell in the Los Angeles Raiders' backfield. If you go to a card show and pay for an autograph, you're an imbecile. Wonder what the economic impact is on the cities of Phoenix; Columbus, Ohio, and Denver by being named standby World Cup venues. The NBA continues to welcome great young stars into the league each year, which makes a good show even better, but I'd love to see just one more injury-free season from Larry Bird. It's fine that Fenway Park scrapped its organ music and is playing rock and roll over the public-address system for the first time in its history, as long as no one plays We Are the Champions. the salary numbers to see the unfairness of restricted player movement The coach of the U.S. Olympic basketball team deserves to get a gold medal along with his players. Chuck Daly has experience, a great work ethic, innovative ideas and charisma, and it isn't his fault he won't need any of that in Barcelona. Oddsmakers in Vegas are wise not to post lines on the Dream Team's games in Portland. It's a little absurd to try to figure, say, how bad the Americans will beat the Argentines when the Argentines are cheering wildly for every American basket I'm picking Greg LeMond to win the Tour de France, mainly because I don't know the names of any other cyclists. If I'm the Cincinnati Reds or San Diego Padres, I might chip in and add to that $1 million offered to Deion Sanders by the Atlanta Falcons to leave the Braves early. When you hear Hartford Whalers GM Brian Burke call Eric Lindros "as tough as boiled owl," you realize that hockey people are just a little bit different than the rest of us. Call me a stuffy traditionalist but in a match between Andre By MICHAEL VENTRE Los Angeles Daily News LOS ANGELES Aftershocks from a brainstorm: When Mike Tyson dropped out of classes in prison, maybe it was just his way of avoiding the school prom. Call yourself a soccer fan if you're upset about Diego Marado-na's refusal to report to Napoli of the Italian league. Also, call yourself a psychiatrist Evander Holyfield would have been the perfect owner for the Houston Rockets. He'll never beat anyone of significance, and neither will they. Los Angeles Dodgers fans might be understandably skeptical after Greg Brock, Mike Marshall and Franklin Stubbs all came up from Class AAA Albuquerque and fizzled. But I have a feeling Eric Karros is the real deal. A warning to World Cup fans from Europe planning to come here in '94: You may be able to get away with hooliganism where you live, but we don't tolerate any acts of civil disobedience here in Los Angeles. Don't be surprised if the NFL wins the Freeman McNeil case. Those middle-class jurors might be too mesmerized by some of world on U.S. basketball's Charles Barkley manifest destiny, and on occasion speaks as only he can on the changing sociopolitical landscape of America. From a basketball standpoint Barkley has been the best non-Michael Jordan player here, first on the team in scoring and rebounds and second in steals. And Barkley has been anything but kind, jamming on everyone, cursing at referees (even if they don't understand him), and trying bis best to show the world that there are other otherworldly NBA stars worth embracing beyond Michael, Magic and Larry Legend. On the Dream Team world tour, Barkley is emerging as the most colorful and quotable superstar. "Charles has always been very popular in Italy, but not Ike Magic or MichaL" said Andrea TaffL a jour-j nalist for the Italian magazine, Giganfi Del Basket.

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