AL missed good thing in 12-year 'rookie' Givens


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Who is kidding whom here? If Brian Givens didn't deserve the American League Player of the Week award by acclamation there's something wrong. Talk about stick-to-itness, Givens, a "rookie" pitcher who brought 12 years' minor-league experience and five elbow operations with him to the Milwaukee Brewers the other day, beat the White Sox, 6-1, Sunday. The man named, John Olerud, just hit some more, which he's been doing for some time now.

* This just in from the World Boxing Council: "A win by former world champion Mike Tyson in his Aug. 19 fight with Peter McNeely will be the confirmation [necessary] regarding the WBC returning him to the No. 1 ranking and official challenger for the world heavyweight title." This is roughly akin to handing Florida State the national collegiate football championship if it can win at home against Central Florida Sept. 23.

* Do you think some of the NFL owners are having second thoughts about voting the Carolina Cougars into the lodge as an expansion team after hearing what they plan on paying rookie quarterback Kerry Collins? The ex-Penn Stater could end up with $23 million, including a $7 million signing bonus, and he was only the seventh pick. Talk about giving agents negotiating fuel.

* The guy who has finished second more times than anyone in the history of golf is Jack Nicklaus. Think we'll be reading and hearing about him blowing the Senior Players Championship to J.C. Snead in a playoff, a la the constant Greg Norman choke essays? Of course, Nicklaus has won more "majors" and more tournaments than anyone else by a wide margin, too.

* Maryland quarterback Scott Milanovich, prior to getting into gambling difficulty, was suspended from school for breaking university rules a couple of years ago, and dumped all his classes last fall. In other words, we're not talking about a second chance here as the school was wont to argue.

* One of the great college football performances of all time, worthy of being up there high on the list topped by Red Grange's famed first-quarter showing against Michigan for Illinois, has to be Reds Bagnell's effort for Penn against Dartmouth in 1950. The All-American single-wing tailback, who died the other day at age 66, passed for 276 yards and ran for 214 to establish a total yardage record that stood for years.

* Things seem slightly out of whack when Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke pays $29,000 per year child support, less by a bit than Barry Bonds pays, particularly since Virginia law dictates that support paid is determined by a person's worth. Which is not to suggest Bonds, who makes close to $7 million a year for hitting baseballs, is overburdened.

* In a matter of minutes the other day, an announcement was about to be made that Riddick Bowe was going to fight Tommy Morrison when, quickly, that was changed to Bowe fighting Evander Holyfield. The stuff that takes place in the ring is mild compared to the stuff outside it, especially when TV and the wishes of George Foreman become involved, which is far too often.

* Michael Johnson, the world's premier long sprinter (200 and 400 meters), didn't get his way when asking that the Olympic finals in his events be staged on different days. Michael obviously never checked out the movie "Chariots of Fire." The governing body of track and field did its best, expanding the time between races to two hours, 35 minutes. What Michael should have done is request that the races be run consecutively so he could just keep on going all the way around the track after knocking off the 200.

* Imagine some of the catcalls the new Buccaneer mascot of the Pittsburgh Pirates is receiving these days once it became public knowledge that he is being accused of having sex with a woman in a public pool (the charge is open lewdness).

* While unsuccessful teams always expect their disappointed fans to swallow the old "it's just one of those things" excuse, NHL teams, despite a strike that wiped out the first three months of the hockey season, weren't very understanding with their coaches. Nine have been handed their walking papers so far.

* Tennis pro and Andre Agassi's coach Brad Gilbert had an interesting reply to the query by Tennis magazine about if the parents of tennis players are worse than in any other sport: "It's awful on the women's tour. It's a travesty because so many of these girls become good and their parents have no jobs. So you have a 14-year-old earning all the money for the family."

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