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Baseball Has Become a Sport for Whiners

May 24, 2003|Mike Hiserman

The first 10,000 adults through the gates at Oakland's Network Associates Coliseum for today's baseball game between the A's and Kansas City Royals will receive a free acrylic collector's wine glass with the slogan "Wine Country Meets Baseball Country."

The theme will be especially true at the stadium's East Side Club, where fans will be able to sample more than 100 labels from 40 wineries at a cost of $10 for every five samplings.

Asked how the Club would handle the expected crowd, A's Special Events Manager Adrienne Carew told the Sports Business Daily, "We won't be able to fit 10,000 people into the club at one time, but people float in and they float out."

The danger, of course, is that a few of those folks will "float" onto the field themselves. Or perhaps send their cell phones on ahead.

"Alcohol Meets Baseball" doesn't always make for a fun-loving crowd.

Cheers: In past years, A's players were made available for autographs on wine-tasting day, hoping to spike attendance. Not anymore.

"The players," said Carew of the A's, "have become a moot point."

Therein lies the problem.

Trivia time: Which race car drivers have done "The Double" -- starting the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day?

Funny site: Funny Cide has the first two jewels of horse racing's Triple Crown -- and now his own Web site.

Visitors to still-under-construction will be regaled with Funny Cide news and anecdotes and be able to purchase memorabilia from an online store, which opened Friday.

There are also links to race replays and an image library.

If you're wondering, you can't see a battery in jockey Jose Santos' hand in any of the pictures.

Hit streak: Speaking of Web sites, the most popular in college athletics belongs to Notre Dame.

Athletic Director Kevin White says his department's site averages two million hits per month -- compared to No. 2 Michigan's 300,000. Last September, Notre Dame got 5.1 million hits; in October, 5.6 million.

Imagine if the football team hit as well as its fans.

Foresight please: Notre Dame football Coach Ty Willingham was asked recently how he deals with avid -- rabid? -- Irish alumni.

"I only ask," he said, "that they give me the plays on the Monday before the game, not the Saturday after."

Well, he can always ask.

Trivia answer: Robby Gordon last year, Tony Stewart in 1999 and 2001 and John Andretti in 1994.

And finally: No matter what family decisions Laker star Kobe Bryant and wife Vanessa make, there are sure to be lots of little Kobes running around.

At least in Oklahoma.

That state's health department reports that 74 of the 50,160 babies born in Oklahoma last year were given the name Kobe or a derivative.

The most popular boys' name was Jacob (sorry, LeBron), with several other Biblical choices also high on the list.

As for another Laker star, there were no Shaquilles, Shaqs, Supermans or Big Aristotles.

-- Mike Hiserman

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