- The Washington Times - Friday, November 9, 2001

There's no crying in baseball, except in Montreal and Minnesota, the two places up for contraction.
The tears are scheduled to come later to Florida, assuming the denizens there are alert enough to appreciate the relationship between contraction and euthanasia. That probably is assuming too much in Florida's case, if the state's performance in the last presidential election is the guide.
The seamheads have not cried this much since the lights went up at Wrigley Field.
Electricity and two deadbeat teams apparently meet the definition of tragedy in baseball.
History is the rallying point in Minnesota. A massive inferiority complex serves the same function in Montreal.
Contraction hurts in English or French. Jesse Ventura is fortunate, just this one time, to be out of luck in either language.
Contraction is not believed to be contagious, which is too bad.
The Memphis Grizzlies fit the bill after only four games. Jason Williams, who leads the NBA in passes to those sitting at courtside, would not be missed. Besides, there is a much better Jason Williams coming along in Durham, N.C.
The Cleveland Cavaliers could go, too. They have not been the same since Michael Jordan hit the game-winning shot over Craig Ehlo in 1989. Jordan did not push off on Ehlo, either, if it makes Bryon Russell feel better.
The NBA could shed four or five teams, plus the WNBA, and declare victory. David Stern undoubtedly would receive a special commendation from the Environmental Protection Agency.
There is believed to be an NHL team somewhere in North Carolina, although the search party combing the Smoky Mountains has found no evidence of one.
All we are saying is give contraction a chance.
The following pass the test: Dennis Miller, Alec Baldwin, the NCAA suits, the 1-0 sport, Barbra Streisand, Phil Donahue and all those who have a desperate need to understand the psychopaths hiding in Afghanistan's caves.
Baseball is funny, starting with Ken Burns' barber. Brooklyn is still in a funk over losing the Dodgers to Los Angeles. Get over it already. No city can top ours. We lost the Senators twice. Do we cry about it every day? No. We cry about it only every other day.
Washington can take a hint after 30 years. We must have a terminal case of cooties.
Even on its good days, baseball's economy works in mysterious ways. Alex Rodriguez's $252million contract is worth more than the $250million golden parachute being offered to the ailing.
In at least this respect, Bud Selig is different from Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Baseball's killing fields come with champagne, balloons and noisemakers behind closed doors.
The celebration is on hold for now, what with so many lawyers warming up their writing fingers. Donald Fehr, who is in charge of bleeding for the players, is in the mix as well. Fehr is usually good for a laugh, notably when he embraces Populism in defense of the players.
Baseball is being accused of poor timing following the captivating World Series between the Diamondbacks and Yankees, which begs the question: When does a death meet the tenets of good timing?
In the end, the game's supporters will not object to 28 teams, or even another work stoppage. The notion that baseball has done it this time, really turned off its fan base, is being trotted out again. The notion is so old that it has gray whiskers on it. The fans, the poor, old fans, always come back to the game, and always to higher prices.
The owners and players know it. All the lawyers know it. Everybody seems to know it, except those lamenting contraction and Ventura, who does not speak English or French.
God bless the fans, including all three or four of them in Montreal. And God bless Ally McBeal, who appears to be starving.
Would someone please buy her some peanuts and Cracker Jacks before she contracts herself?
This is the land of plenty.
Baseball has taken the maxim to the extreme. You can tell by the high number of rag arms collecting fat checks.
Twenty-eight teams in Major League Baseball, if it comes to that, are plenty enough.


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