Bernie Lincicome in the Rocky Mountain News: "Sports should be nicer now; a good thing, I suppose. I expect less trash talk, fewer cheap shots, not as much chatter about going to war, that sort of thing ....
"I think one of the most overwrought leads ever written on a sports story came from an English sportswriter covering another World Cup defeat of the national soccer team by Germany.
"'Let us never forget,' he wrote, 'that while the Germans have beaten us at our national game, we have twice beaten them at theirs.'
"This is how easily the metaphor of war is assumed by games, always insensitive, even in our age of irony, unforgivable now in our age of actuality."
Trivia time: Who was UCLA's first consensus All-American in football?
Writer off base: Rick Morrissey in the Chicago Tribune: "Sammy Sosa has hit two home runs in the 13 games since I predicted he would overtake Barry Bonds, who is so far ahead now in the race to 70 that binoculars and a compass are necessary to see him.
"I have no definitive explanation for Sammy's weak effort, for his letting me down so badly in full public view, but I do have a suspicion. You know how he kisses his fingers and taps his heart so often? I'm thinking mononucleosis."
Danny's toy: With no games to write about, Jerry Greene in the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel ranked the NFL teams (not counting their play). And the winners, er, losers are the Washington Redskins: "Bad enough Danny 'The Menace' Snyder began selling old practice gear instead of giving it to charities.
"But here's what is truly awful: To build more luxury boxes, he moved the press box from above midfield to the end zone."
It's an honor to him: ESPN the Magazine ranks Denver Bronco linebacker Bill Romanowski as the third-most disliked player in NFL history behind former Raider defensive back Jack Tatum and former Cardinal offensive lineman Conrad Dobler.
Romanowski's response, to the Denver Post: "I'm No. 1 among active players."
One will do: From David Letterman's "Top Ten Signs You've Hired a Bad NFL Referee:"
"Personally checks each player to make sure they're wearing a cup ....
"Tells team, 'I want a good, clean game that the Buccaneers win by 51/2' ....
"Instead of using instant replay, makes players 'do the same thing, but slower."'
Listen up: Jim Armstrong in the Denver Post: "Memo to Fresno State quarterback David Carr: Slow down, dude. You keep this up and you'll wind up with the Bengals."
Trivia answer: End Burr Baldwin in 1946.
And finally: Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, indulging in wishful thinking: "I wish one player, any player, would make this speech:
"'Yes, folks, I'm a free agent at the end of the season, but I'm not going to negotiate. I'm going to inform the team I want to stay here, I like it here.
"'I'm going to tell them to write me up a contract they think is fair, and I'll sign it without reading the numbers."