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Reason No. 547 why David Stern is the best commissioner in pro sports by a margin of several light years: The NBA head says sound effects at games will be curtailed, adding, "We'll be looking into how much is needed in terms of extra entertainment while the game is being played." Ribald is the only way to describe what arena sound systems spew out as though it's a Pearl Jam concert with a ball.
* It finally becomes apparent what Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton's vow of silence toward the media was all about during his 18-year career in the big leagues: "Lefty" was on one of the shopping networks the other night peddling signed baseball bats for $250 per lumber. . . . Also a once-in-a-lifetime steal on the show was Mike Schmidt's autograph for $60. The ex-Phillies third sacker goes into the Hall Sunday. . . . Oh, by the way, those "going fast" never used official 1994 World Series baseballs are still kicking around at $35, postage and handling included.
Add collectibles: Boog Powell did the Orioles Advocate show recently and was amazed when a guy came forth with the first uniform shirt he ever wore for the O's: "It was No. 16 and I could tell it was authentic. I'm still wondering how or why the thing is still around." We're talking 1961 here when Boog hit his IQ (.077, 1-for-13). Only kidding, big fella.
* Considering he was traded last Friday, it was very self-sacrificing of Deion Sanders to show up to play for the Frisco Giants Monday night. Do you suppose the fact ABC was doing its "Baseball Night in America" thing had anything to do with it?
* Recently retired sportscaster Vince Bagli was always classified as a Level 3 coiner of nicknames until one day during spring training he looked at the "extra players in camp" section of the Orioles press guide and came across catcher Wendell Wuckits: "We gotta hope this kid makes it to the majors so we can call him 'Ducky.' " Ducky Wuckits, an absolute classic.
* The rescheduled Oliver McCall vs. Frank Bruno bout for Ollie's WBC heavyweight title is due up Sept. 2 in London, in case anyone asks you on the bus. . . . Still on fisticuffs: Good line from "The Champ," USA boxing analyst Sean O'Grady: "He has a shock absorber for a chin."
* Interesting how times change in baseball: Ben McDonald comes back from a sore shoulder, throws six pretty good innings and there's dancing in the streets. Years ago, Jim Palmer returned after 42 days on the disabled list, throws a no-hitter at the then potent Oakland A's and everyone says it's about time.
* The World Cup of Golf, two-man teams from 32 countries competing for a $1.5 million melon, will be staged in November in the People's Republic of China -- in the city of Shenthem, in case you're planning on making the trip.
* Maryland can thank its lucky stars the NCAA cut its eight-game suspension penalty against quarterback Scott Milanovich in half. wasn't so forgiving in the case of Alcorn State, which held the penalties it received for improperly certifying fraudulent test scores and unethical conduct by the head coach and two athletes.
* Admittedly, anything more than borrowing a couple of quarters to run out and feed the parking meter has me thinking about a financial adviser. That's why it's difficult to apprehend why, after all the money he has made playing basketball, Dominique Wilkins insisted that the Boston Celtics loan him $8.4 million before signing with them last year. Why does he want to buy? The Cayman Islands?
* Imagine Hecht's, Macy's or any of the other big department stores charging you a hefty admission just to come in and purchase their wares. That's what baseball gets away with in those "FanFest" promotions. At the recent All-Star Game in Texas, admission was $12 for adults, $8 for kids.
* The grand opening of the new College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend is still on for Aug. 25, construction of the $14.8 million edifice near Notre Dame Stadium finishing up on schedule.
* The lad Vincent Pettway (38-4) defends his IBF junior middleweight crown against Aug. 12 on Showtime, Paul Vaden (23-0), handed Washingtonian Rueben Bell his first loss as a pro in his most recent outing. He's 27, tall (6-1) for a 154-pounder, doesn't hit very hard (six TKO victories) and aspires to a singing career after he's done bloodying noses.
* Enough of these stories about a kid basketball player like Richie Parker not getting a second chance after what one sob-sister described as a "youthful misstep." Parker, a 6-6 scoring machine from New York City, pleaded guilty to sexual assault on a minor, which ultimately led to some colleges withdrawing scholarship offers. Richie has already had his second chance (plus a third and fourth) simply by not being behind bars.
* Oh no, tell us it ain't so, World Championship Wrestling. The WCW has a pay-per-view show coming Aug. 4 entitled, "Collision in Korea: (Ric) Flair vs. (Antonio) Inoki." The latter is the guy who laid on the floor kicking at a circling Muhammad Ali in a history-making international event about a million years ago.