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CAUGHT ON THE FLY

They Won't Dribble Away This Season

October 10, 1998|The Sporting News

Hey, didn't you used to be buried in the organization?

The NBA may be thuh-reatenin' nuclear winter (one team suit strikes his best posture-n-sniffs, "We won't do what hockey did--play an abbreviated season. There won't be a 50-game season in the NBA."), but Fly ain't buyin' until Dick Ebersol's lips move. Fly's guess: The peacock ain't about to give up its one/only marquee sport in a five-ringless year.

Fresh from the Rumorama (where the juiciest stuff is always fresh-squeezed): If/when Felipe Alou starts dancin' the Fox trot in L.A., he'll start readin' M-L-B's collective bargaining agreement. Right there in the fine print: Because son Mo was traded from Florida to the 'Stros in the middle of a long-term contract, he can demand a trade this winter. (Pssst, kid's mentioned in passing that, yeah, he wouldn't mind playin' for Dad again.)

Now that The Showdown's hiss-toe-ree, Fly'll pass along some well-placed advice to Ryan Leaf: Take a chill pill, Phil. "If he's going to go through the emotional swings like he seems to be," says Drew Bledsoe, who knows a thing or three about p-p-pressure, "he's going to have a heart attack or something."

The Spies say Hayden Fry's tryin' to laugh off autumn heat out I-O-Way. But when he tells Fly, "I have a long-term contract that rolls over," Fly thinks (shaddup!) two things: 1) there's no such thing as a long-term coachin' contract, and 2) the only thing rollin' over is the Hawkeyes D, pal.

Yeah, yeah, when Mark Carrier puh-leaded his case to the NFL's court of appeals (presiding judge: Gil T. Tilproveninnocent), he could say with a straight face that his hit on Brice Hunter wasn't uNlawFuL. But file this in yer legal briefs, pal: Part of what gets unpacked each week for Lions games is Carrier's rep (and consequent bad buzz) for likin'--just . . . a bit . . . too much--to lead with his helmet.

Fly hears that when the 'Spos were auctionin' off Pete Martinez last fall, they gave John Hart every opportunity to make a deal. (It would've taken the Wright package.) Stop Fly if this sounds familiar: The Indians're shy a dominant, front-of-the-roto starter--someone like, say, Martinez. Yeah, yeah, they can sleepwalk to 90 wins in that stadium/division, but when October rolls around (again), pitching separates the great from the merely playoff-bound.

Finally, the Spies say Texas-El Passed Over's feelings're hurt about not gettin' invited to join the WAC's breakaway eight. Seriously. But this was strictly a cash transaction (read: no credit for league allegiance), and when it comes to revenue potential, UTEP's strictly Miner league.

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