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Sox Clinch Playoff Berth; Fans Should Root for Yanks

By Bo Light
Associate Sports Editor

As we all know, news happens around the clock, and the world of sports is no exception. Fortunately, loyal readers, EA Sports is on the job. Our space restrictions have forced us to cut the Unabomber's manifesto, so instead we bring you our first Simpson Trial Update of the year.

Simpson Trial Update

The most stunning news in the Simpson case occurred last weekend, when it was revealed that two-year-old Maggie Simpson had in fact shot multimillionaire C. Montgomery Burns. An arrest warrant has not been issued. The news was of particular relief to prime suspects Homer, Bart, and O.J. Simpson, but was a disappointment to the heralded Simpson Defense Team, which stood to make millions merely from the television rights to the case. Maggie Simpson declined to comment.

On the ice

Last week, hockey became the second sport of the year to start on time as the NHL kicked off its preseason. Last season, a lockout kept the teams off the ice until January. This year, with a new labor agreement signed, fans can forget about strikes and lockouts and concentrate on the real issues, like the neutral-zone trap. Looking ahead, EA Sports would like to give some insight on some of the big questions facing hockey fans this season.

Can the Devils repeat? Fat chance. As the defending champs, everyone will be gunning for New Jersey (Nashville?) this season, and with new interference rules all but outlawing the neutral-zone trap, the Devils will have to find another way to win, or simply be content with the Cup they have.

Can Detroit get back to the Finals? Probably, but they'll face some stiff competition. Although they only lost two games in the Western Conference playoffs, the Red Wings escaped having to play St. Louis, and won three games against Chicago in overtime. Neither the Blues nor the Blackhawks will be easily beaten this year. Also, a lengthy and bitter arbitration suit this summer ensured that Mike Vernon will never mind the Detroit nets again. Still, this team has the memory of last year's humiliation fresh in their minds, and with the defense that beat them effectively eliminated, the Wings should fly into the Finals again come June.

Speaking of the new interference rules, how long will they be enforced? Probably until just after the end of the preseason, when officials will once again turn a blind eye to the hooking and holding that brought Lord Stanley's Cup to exit 16W. Fortunately, this will be all the longer the rules need to be enforced, as teams will have developed new game plans for the season. The result will be a more wide-open game, which will bring excitement back to the league in a hurry.

Will the IHL rise up and become an independent league capable of rivaling the NHL? As soon as we're done laughing at the concept, we'll let you know.

NFL Report

Big News of the Week: The NFL announced on Monday that it would be suing the Dallas Cowboys organization for $300 million. The league claims (and rightfully so) that Dallas willfully violated league marketing policies in signing deals with Pepsi, Nike, and American Express. It would seem that Jerry Jones is finally getting what he deserves: a kick in the pants from the rest of the league. Don't start the celebration just yet, though; the odds of the NFL winning this suit, or even getting it to a courtroom, are slim at best. Mr. Jones is nothing if not shrewd, and his fellow owners can't help but be enticed by the big bucks that independent marketing could bring in. Here's our prediction: the Cowboys will keep their endorsements, and a large percentage of what they make will go into the revenue-sharing pool. Next season, the league will institute new marketing and revenue-sharing policies that will allow the teams to market themselves while remaining on economically equal footing. In return, Jones will agree not to countersue the NFL for violating antitrust laws. And that will be that.

The Batter's Box

There may be no joy in Mudville, but there is joy in Boston, as the Red Sox have finally clinched the AL East title. The Sox, despite being picked for a fourth-place finish in the preseason, have led the division almost since the beginning of the season, and are ready to exorcise the Curse of the Bambino, a seventy-seven year run of bad luck that began when Boston traded a young George Herman Ruth to the Yankees. Unfortunately, they'll have to contend with the Cleveland Indians, who are just as eager to escape the Curse of Rocky Colavito. With everyone picking the Tribe to win the World Series this year, the Sox will have their hands full in the postseason. Boston's best bet? Root for the Yankees. Under the new playoff system, Boston and the AL West winner will have home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs, regardless of record or who they face. Also, there can be no intradivisional game in the first round, so if the wild card team comes from the East or West, that division's winner automatically plays the Indians first. A five-game series with home-field advantage seems to be anyone's best chance against Cleveland, and with Milwaukee fading, Boston's chances of reaching the World Series seem much better if the Yankees take the wild-card.

Trivia Question

The Curse of Rocky Colavito began in 1954, when the Indians traded Rock to - whom? Send answers and comments to easports@the-tech. Suspicious looking packages may be sent elsewhere (we'll publish the manifesto next week, promise). Answer to last week's question: Doug Flutie played for the New England Patriots and the Chicago Bears (yes, it was a trick question, sorry). Correct answers were given by Kevin Dahm G, Steve Gray '99, Steve Wong '99, and Mark Hytros G, who gets extra credit for stating that Flutie was drafted by the Rams, although he never actually played there.