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Abdul-Rouf Deserves Success

By Mike Duffy and Andrew Heitner
Sports Columnists

Hola, o loyal readers. We apologize to our faithful for the relatively paltry effort this week, but your humble scribes spent most of our time last week distributing free software over the Internet. We only hope that the G-men (no, not Alex Virgilio and Mike McGovern) are not hot on our trail.

It is great to see Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf having such a great year out in Denver. Last season's Most Improved Player has overcome Tourettes Syndrome, a divorce, and a weight problem in posting 17.9 points and 4.5 assists in only 33 minutes per game. His most amazing accomplishment is at the charity stripe, where Abdul-Rauf hits at a Virgilio-esque clip of 96.1 percent (Virgilio hit 100 percent in the '91-'92 season for MIT). In fact, he has missed only eight free throws all season. By contrast, former Bayou Bengal teammate Shaquille O'Neal has missed eight from the line in one half several times. One of the perks of writing this column at MIT is the access to the world-class mathematicians, who inform us that the Diesel would be scoring 4.3 points per game more (33.2 versus 28.9) if he were to hit 96 percent from the line.

Chavez fight has public appeal

Here's hoping that Bob Arum or the Grand Wizard of the Ring puts enough money on the table to make Pernell Whitaker fight either Julio Cesar Chavez or Buddy McGirt. The way Swea' Pea has been talking, he seems content to defend his title against generic opponents, the most recent of which was Santos Cardona from La Isla, from whom he won a convincing decision. A Chavez fight, assuming he can beat Frankie Randall in their rematch (50-50 chance at best), is the most appealing to the public, who want to see Chavez make a comeback and Whitaker avenge the bogus draw of their first fight. A better fight, though, would be against McGirt, who has the quickness to match with Whitaker, but who punches much harder. McGirt looked weak and hurt in their first fight, due to a shoulder injury, but has recuperated following surgery. Because Whitaker wants to keep dancing, this fight won't happen unless that pile of dough comes through.

Someone (name withheld to protect the ignorant) asked your humble scribes this week if we had watched the Masters golf tournament and were going to report on it. In the words of Aikman/Webber, "Get real." Seeing a legitimate passage about golf in this space is as likely as seeing Jim Rome and Jim "Chris" Everett sharing a banana split in the cafeteria of the ESPN2 building.

Also in the attention deficit category, the NHL playoffs start this weekend, and although we are not going to fake giving a preview of every series, we will say that the Detroit "Have you earned your" Red Wings will edge the Penguins in the finals, 4 games to 2. With Stevie Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov at full strength, Detroit has the necessary firepower. Super Mario will carry Pitt into the Cup finals, while all you Rangers fans will have to wait yet another year. Even though New York has the goaltending (in Mike Richter), they score as often as a Harvard undergrad.

Pitcher is at fault

Jeff Montgomery's gutless beaning of the Sox' Scott Fletcher during last Tuesday's game and others of similar nature need to be addressed by the Lords of the Diamond. During the Sox' 22-11 drubbing of the hapless Royals, Montgomery plunked a heater on the shoulder of Fletch, moments after Mo Vaughn hit one out. Jeff's act is about as unclassy as it gets. For a pitcher to be able to hit another player just because the pitcher is sorry and can only serve up tape-measure-home-run pitches is insane. Have the owners seen tapes of Tony C. or Dickie Thon? These players had their careers ruined as a result of getting pegged. Granted the situations were different, but to allow pitchers the opportunity to plunk another player just because the pitcher is incompetent is wrong (Montgomery didn't even get thrown out).

Our next beef with baseball has to deal with the official scorer. The official scorer is usually some sportswriter who, in addition to following the game, gets paid to keep the official book, eat a couple of weenies, and kick back some cold ones. He may not do the best job, but most of his decisions are pretty good (e.g., calling a play a hit versus an error). Usually, the scorer makes decisions that favor the home team so that the player's stats are preserved, which is okay as the benefit of the doubt should go to the locals. What shouldn't happen, though, is the opportunity for players and coaches to complain to the scorer in an attempt to get the call changed. For example, in Sunday's game versus Chicago, Mike Greenwell dropped a fly ball. Correctly, the scorer called it an error. However, upon receiving a call after the game from Chisox hitting coach Walt Hriniak, the scorer changed the play to a hit. This is similar to Cal Ripken successfully lobbying for the scorer to change a grounder he had muffed from an E-6 to a hit, when Rip is the midst of his record breaking errorless streak. Baseball players and coaches shouldn't be allowed to whine when something goes against their liking. Do you think in the NBA, Shaq could preserve his free throw percentage by having each missed free throw nulled because someone entered the lane early?

Pooky's Cup

For those of you who have seen the Budweiser commercial in which some fellas playing pool choose between Genie and Mary Ann, we offer the following Final Four contest, or Pooky's Cup if you will. For the next couple of weeks, we will run a competition between two old TV stars, with you, our loyal following, voting on the winner who will advance to the next round. All that is needed is for you to send in your pick to sports@the-tech. The results will then be tabulated and presented the following week. This week's matchup features the winner of the Budweiser commercial against the Lady with the Golden Lasso: Genie or Wonder Woman.

Simson's Basketball Report

With the completion of both the McDonald's All Star Game and Magic's Roundball Classic, attention can be turned to see where the top high school talent will be pursuing their college educations. The following is a brief run down on some of the top players:

Felipe Lopez. Lopez is out of Manhattan's Rice High School and will be playing his ball close to home at St. John's. Named the MVP in the McDonalds' game with 24 points, Lopez checks in at 6-5, 180 pounds. That game served as a warmup, however, for the show he put on at The Palace: 25 points with 11 assists and 4 steals. He will handle the point guard position and will look to resurrect the once proud Johnnie tradition as Alumni Hall will be abuzz with Felipe Mania come fall.

Zendon Hamilton. At 6-11, 220 lbs., Hamilton's first mission will be to put on some poundage. Other than that, Brain Mahoney must be drooling at the thought of Zendon being on the receiving end of some of Lopez' dishes. Hamilton, a left-hander from Long Island (33 a game), scored 15 points and grabbed 9 boards at the McDonalds game.

Danny Fortson. Fortson will join the Cincinnati Bearcat squad after averaging over 30 points a game for the second year in a row. This Pittsburgh native checks in at 6-9, 225. He should be able to step in and fill the void left by the departing Dontonio Wingfield (he's foolishly going pro).

Ricky Price and Trajan Langdon. These two high school studs signed with Duke and will ensure that the Devils will be loaded for years to come. Price, a 6-5 guard from California, averaged 28 points, 12 boards, and 7 assists a game last season. Langdon, the best player to ever come out of Alaska, is 6-4, 185, and can run the show.

Adonal Foyle. Foyle is a 6-10, 245 pound savior for Colgate. He raised some eyebrows when he signed with the New York college, but people forget that his parents (he's adopted) are Professors there. Foyle averaged 36 points a game in high school, had 9 points and 14 bounds in the McDonalds game, and will lead Colgate to the Dance next year.

Unsigned giants:Samaki Walker, a 6-9 post player from Whitehall (Columbus, OH) High School, had 23 points at Magic's Classic. Although he has an attitude problem (he quit his high school team this season), he has enormous talent. Has narrowed his choices down to Kentucky, Michigan, and UNC. Jerod Ward is a 6-9 swing player who averaged 29 a game in down in Mississippi. Ward had 23 points and 9 boards in the McDonald's game and has UCLA, Michigan, Arkansas, and Ohio State on his short list. Jelani Gardner, a 6-6 Jim Jackson type player, hails from Bellflower, CA. He averaged 25 points, 7 assists, and 6 boards a game this past season. Although he fared poorly at the McDonald's game, coaches would love to have him running their show. His final three are Arkansas, UCLA, and Cal.

You Heard It Here First

Dallas Maverick Coach, "The Mighty" Quinn Buckner, will be canned at the end of the season. Despite the addition of the monster Mash, the Mavs have failed to win more games than the Cowboys again this year.

Where Are They Now?

Sports figures who've changed their names

Chris Jackson (Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf), Bobby Moore (Ahmad Rashad), Lloyd Free (World B. Free), Marvin Hagler (Marvelous Marvin Hagler), Howard Cohen (Howard Cosell), Livingstone Bramble (to Ras-I Bramble, then back to Livingstone Bramble), Dwight Braxton (Dwight Mohammad Qawi), and Nancy Lieberman (Nancy Drysdale).

Sports Paraphernalia For Sale

Your humble scribes are forced to dip into our priceless art collection for this week's offering: a black velvet wall hanging with the silhouettes of a naked man and woman traced out in gold string. You must see it to believe it. Act now, and we'll throw in a Shaq O'Neill "Blue (Cow) Chips" poster to boot. If there are no takers, the pieces (trim and all) will be donated to the new John McEnroe art gallery in SoHo.

Globe Gem of the Week

For this week's edition of this coveted award, we will ignore Donut Dan beating into the ground the use of his self-proclaimed witty expression, Daddy Butch and the Sons of Butch's, referring to the Olde Towne Team and its manager. Dan has used that phrase so much, he makes it feel like Madonna on a Saturday morning. No, this week's pearl goes to the layout staff at The Rag, who entered the NBA "box" scores twice last Saturday, once under the NBA heading, and once under the NHL. Must have been wishful thinking by the staff.

Race For Futility

Greg Gagne, KC: 0-12

Dave Henderson, KC: 0-12

Howard Johnson, Col: 0-13

Jose Offerman, LA: 0-15

Mondongo's Hueso de la Semana

This week's award goes to Harvard Alumnus wannabe, Mark Martin, who, in an example of a fine Crimson education, miscounted the laps during the Goody's 250 car race last Saturday down in Bristol, Tenn. Martin was leading the race when he pulled into the pits for, what he thought to be, a victory celebration. However, only 249 of the laps had been completed. Martin realized his error, got back into the race, and finished 11th. This gaffe cost him $18,000 in prize money, but won him Mondongo's trophy.

MIT TWIB Notes

The basketball team held its annual banquet last Sunday. The following players received awards: Nikki Caruthers '95 (MVP), Joseph Levesque '95 (Dedication), Keith Whalen '96 (Coaches Award), Terry Rivers '95 (Defensive Player), Rusty Von Waldberg '97 (Rookie), and Martin Gilkes '97 (Most Improved). In addition, Caruthers was named captain for next year' s squad.

Led by Dionne "Prime Time" Chapman '94 and freshman phenom Sarah Davis '97, the women's softball team is off to a fast start. The Lady Engineers are in first place in the NEW-8 with a 4-1 record (5-1 overall). Pitcher Coleen Kaiser '94 is fourth in pitching with a 2.55 ERA.

Kudos to lacrosse player John Hoctor '96, who was named Pilgrim League player of the week. Hoctor and Abe Udobot `95 have led the men's lacrosse team to a 4-0 (4-1 overall) conference record.

Trivia Question of the Week

Who are the only two second baseman in Major League history to have played in 2,000 games, had 2,000 hits, and clubbed 200 homers? Send answers, comments, and requests for free software to sports@the-tech.

Answer to last week's question: Cincinnati Reds (Crosley Field), Pittsburgh Pirates (Forbes Field), New York Giants (Polo Grounds), Brooklyn Dodgers (Ebbetts Field), Toronto Blue Jays (Exhibition Stadium), Washington Senators -- both versions (Griffith Park), Minnesota Twins (Metropolitan Stadium), St. Louis Cardinals (Sportsman's Park), and the San Francisco 49ers (Kesar Stadium -- trick question). Kudos to the soda man, Henning Colsman-Freyberger '94, who provided the only correct (full) answer. He wins 10 free minutes of air time with the Gumbster, John Ledwith, on the Vibes radio program. Just show up at the WMBR studios (88.1 on your FM dial) any Tuesday night between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. with a copy of The Tech to claim your prize. Vibes is the premier radio program in Boston area for hip-hop (no, not the bouncy child's toy), so give it a listen, even if you did not win the trivia question.

Rumbling's from 'Round the Tute

Neal Dorow sends in this stumper: "What is the name of the SF Giants first baseball field?" See answer at bottom.

From the second greatest sports city in the world (after Columbus, OH) comes this from David Steel PhD '93 in Chicago: "The baseball season did not start well in the Windy City with a 0-4 record for the two teams, but they pulled back since then to 4-3 for the Sox and 3-4 for the Cubs. Look for the Cubs pitching staff to be competing with the Dallas Mavs in this year's race for athletic futility. Hillary Clinton threw the first pitch this year at Wrigley Field, but it wasn't on the field. She threw a `symbolic' first pitch inside a private box, and was booed for it. Was this because the crowd doesn't like a strong-willed first lady, or because the only way they can turn a dollar into $100,000 is by buying an Illinois lottery ticket? Michael Jordan continues to play well enough to keep people interested in him, but not well enough to make a major case for himself. How long before he decides that figure skating provides more opportunities for media attention? Meanwhile, the Bulls without MJ, and in their last season in Chicago Stadium, are putting in a good run near the end of the season."

Answer to Dorow's question: Seals Stadium.