- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 28, 2002

This prospective peek at the fun and games of 2003 guarantees that it will be a better year for somebody, somewhere:
January Miami beats Ohio State 21-17 in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan.3 to win the national championship, prompting Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel to say, "We peaked two days ago, which is when I thought our New Year's bowl game was." Baseball commissioner Bud Selig says the Washington area is the only logical place to relocate the Montreal Expos in 2004. Anna Kournikova, wearing her new "sack" tennis dress designed by Bruce Smith, defeats both Venus and Serena Williams to win the Australian Open, but the hits on her Internet site drop by 74 percent.
February Vince McMahon announces plans to revive the XFL, "this time with only cheerleaders, no players." Asked for a comment, former running back Rod Smart replies, "He hate me." The Wizards win six games in a row with Michael Jordan averaging 28 points and Jerry Stackhouse 24 to take over first place in the Atlantic Division. Concurrently, the defending Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets fire Byron Scott as coach and hire Willard Scott. After Maryland's defending national NCAA champs lose to Duke and North Carolina by a combined 58 points at Comcast Center, Terrapins coach Gary Williams asks the university to move the remaining home games to Cole Field House. Told this is impossible by athletic director Debbie Yow, Williams trades jobs with Jeff Jones and returns to American University, where he first became a college head coach.
March Orioles manager Mike Hargrove undergoes mandatory drug testing after telling reporters, "I see no reason why we can't win the AL East this season. The next day, Orioles owner Peter Angelos fires Hargrove for putting too much pressure on his players and replaces him with Baltimore favorite Rick Dempsey. Lefty Driesell wins his first NCAA tournament in 41 years of coaching by beating Bobby Knight's Texas Tech Red Raiders in the final. Asked to describe his emotions immediately afterward, Lefty says, "Well, you know, I dunno, you know."
April After the Orioles lose their first 15 games, Angelos fires Dempsey, takes over as manager himself and says the team will do its best to match its 0-21 start of 1988. Tiger Woods wins the Masters by 15 strokes and is helped into the green jacket by Augusta National's first female member, Martha Burk. Barry Bonds gives early indication that he will break his two most famous records by smacking 14 home runs and 12 reporters in the first month of the season.
May Vindication vindicates his supporters by winning the Kentucky Derby, but the colt is stripped of the blanket of roses when an investigation reveals that he was given a mixture of anabolic steroids, cocaine and Viagra before the race and, besides, is 4 years old. Major league owners award rights to a prospective Washington franchise to Republican insider Fred Malek. Asked why the owners didn't choose Dan Snyder's group, one replies, "You're kidding, right?" With his last season as a player over, Michael Jordan agrees to become CEO, general manager, coach and P.A. announcer for Washington's NBA franchise, which will be renamed the Jordanaires.
June The Sacramento Kings lose Game7 of the NBA Finals to the Nets when Chris Webber calls an illegal timeout with 10 seconds to play and the Kings trailing by a point. Caps owner Ted Leonsis fires coach Bruce Cassidy after a disappointing first season and says he will hire Bryan Murray, Terry Murray or Bill Murray, "whoever's available first." Looking ahead to his second NFL training camp, Redskins coach Steve Spurrier says, "I sure learned a lot last season, by golly. All we need to win the Super Bowl is another one or two Gator quarterbacks."
July Meeting at the All-Star Game, major league owners vote to move the Montreal Expos to Seoul because, Bud Selig says, "it's a virgin area." Fred Malek and William Collins immediately say they will attempt to bring an NFL team to Washington. The Williams sisters achieve a first at Wimbledon by winning both the men's and women's singles championships.
August After the Redskins lose their first two preseason games, coach Steve Spurrier changes his offensive game plan to 100 percent passes. The Red Sox farm out 28-year-old general manager Theo Epstein to Pawtucket and replace him with Ted Williams' frozen remains because, according to club president Larry Lucchino, "maybe that will counteract the Curse of the Bambino." With outfielder Hideki Matsui and Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras established as stars for the Yankees, owner George Steinbrenner says the team will change its nickname to Earth's Team.
September When the Redskins lose their first three regular-season games, Dan Snyder trades Steve Spurrier to the San Diego Chargers for Marty Schottenheimer and a 17th century Spanish mission. Schottenheimer immediately tells the Washington veterans that "it's my way or the Beltway." Maryland opens the season by beating Ball State, Jackson State, McNeese State and Murray State, prompting coach Ralph Friedgen to state, "Our football program is in an excellent state." In the U.S. Open, the Williams sisters win championships in the women's and men's singles, women's and men's doubles, mixed doubles and mixed drinks.
October The Yankees win their 27th World Series by sweeping the Cincinnati Reds and reinstated manager Pete Rose in four games. Says Rose afterward: "You can bet we'll get 'em next year." After the Redskins lose their fourth straight under Marty Schottenheimer, Dan Snyder cans him in favor of Norv Turner. Bud Selig says the new Korean franchise will be known as the Seoul Brothers.
November With RFK Stadium no longer needed, the 42-year-old structure is dynamited as 25,000 Salvadoran soccer fans go crazy. After the Redskins lose four straight under Norv Turner, dropping their season record to 0-11, Dan Snyder dismisses him and hires Richie Petitbon as coach. Deciding that four jobs are just too many, Michael Jordan hires Red Auerbach as CEO, Wes Unseld as GM, Phil Jackson as coach and Phil Chenier as P.A. announcer and names himself director of scouting golf courses.
December Following the Redskins' winless season, Washington stages its biggest celebration since the end of World War II as Joe Gibbs agrees to return as coach for $5million a year, 49 percent of the team and a suite at the White House. His first move is to trade Vinny Cerrato, Joe Mendes and all former Florida quarterbacks to the Green Bay Packers for negotiating rights to former GM Ron Wolf. Declaring that "I've had enough abuse from fans and the media," Peter Angelos sells the Orioles to a group headed by Cal Ripken. Desperate sports columnist predicts that 2004 will be a better year for somebody, somewhere.

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