Call them the Good Deal Games.
Created in 1986 to help promote understanding between the United States and what was then the Soviet Union, the Goodwill Games offer plenty of evidence that capitalism triumphed.
Big names from many sports are being drawn to Brisbane, Australia--partly because the purses total more than $5 million, or almost $10 million Australian.
Ato Boldon, the outspoken sprinter from Trinidad and Tobago, put it plainly to the Sydney Morning Herald:
"This is the second most important competition for me behind the world championships. The worlds offer the title, the Goodwill Games offers the money."
First place in each track and field event is worth $20,000--with a $100,000 bonus for a world record. World records in swimming are worth $50,000. The Aussies always have a good shot at those.
Also of special note to Australians: $55,000 will be awarded in the sport of "Surf Lifesaving."
Parade of ticket-holders: As opening ceremonies go, the Goodwill Games' aren't exactly about youth and patriotism--not that the professionals are likely to mind.
There is no torch, no athletes' oath.
The Morning Herald notes the athletes aren't even invited, except for a few high-profile guests.
Guests of honor? The 9,000 people who paid between $95 and $150 to pack the Brisbane Entertainment Centre for a celebration including memorable Sydney Olympic songstress Vanessa Amorosi.
Trivia time: Which player does not hold a spot among the top 10 of baseball's single-season home run leaders: Jimmie Foxx, Ken Griffey Jr. or Hank Greenberg?
World Serious: Manager Matt Kolar took his Davenport, Iowa, team to the Little League World Series, only to be informed he would be suspended from his job for two weeks without pay for missing work.
Kolar, a sales representative for Qwest Dex, said he learned of the suspension two days after his Davenport East team was eliminated from the World Series.
Kolar's union, the Communications Workers of America, filed a grievance. His supervisor, Larry Seals, declined comment.
Fightin' words: The WNBA's three-game playoff series format is too short. We hardly had time to enjoy the great tradition of a civic spittin' contest before the Sparks' series against the Sacramento Monarchs was over.
Here's what Monarch General Manager Jerry Reynolds--also director of player personnel for the Sacramento Kings--told the Sacramento Bee:
"I don't like L.A. I don't even like their suburbs. Newport Beach, Fontana. All of it. Every time I even fly over Los Angeles, I get ready to upchuck."
Wouldn't have anything to do with that Laker playoff sweep, would it?
Trivia answer: Griffey has never hit more than 56 homers, leaving him out of the top 10. Greenberg and Foxx each had 58-homer seasons, tying them with Mark McGwire's 1997 season for No. 8 on the list.
And finally: The double-take of the day was inspired by a headline in Pro Football Weekly: "Lions playing like defending champions."
That would be the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League, of course.