History is of little help when it comes to deciding whether to
make a deadline deal
This is an article from the Aug. 6, 2001 issue
Ah, the chaos of baseball at trading time. Since 1986, when the
non-waiver trade deadline moved from June 15 to July 31, the
major leagues have had 260 July deals involving 755 players. One
ironclad rule has emerged from all that movement: There are no
ironclad rules. Fred McGriff, who finally okayed a trade from
Tampa Bay to the Cubs last week, may look like the answer to
every Chicago fan's prayers. But is he? For every question a G.M.
must ask himself when contemplating a blockbuster deal, history
gives conflicting responses.
Should I trade a package of lesser players for one superstar? In
'97 the A's, facing the impending loss of Mark McGwire to free
agency, sent him to St. Louis for Eric Ludwick, T.J. Mathews and
Blake Stein. Someday those three can scrape together the
admission price to view McGwire's plaque in Cooperstown. On the
flip side, occasionally the lesser lights can come to shine
brightly on their own. Last year the Phillies were pilloried for
shipping All-Star Curt Schilling to Arizona for Omar Daal (then
2-10 with a 7.22 ERA), Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee and Vicente
Padilla. This season, though, Daal has become an ace (10 wins at
week's end), Lee is producing at the plate (.272 with 15 homers
and 62 RBIs) and Figueroa (2-2, 2.68 ERA in seven starts) has
emerged as an above-average arm. Schilling and Daal could very
well face each other in the NLCS.
Should I swap sluggers with the Yankees? Everything comes easy in
the Bronx, where a DH revolving door has seen Ruben Sierra
(obtained in '95 for Danny Tartabull), Cecil Fielder (acquired in
'96 for Sierra and Matt Drews) and David Justice (landed in '00
for Ricky Ledee) arrive at Yankee Stadium in midsummer and
flourish. Once dealt elsewhere, Tartabull, Sierra and Ledee
became hitless wonders. However, the Bombers can bomb on a trade:
As Seinfeld's Frank Costanza will remind you, on July 21, 1988,
the Yankees traded Jay Buhner to Seattle for Ken Phelps.
Should I mortgage the future? Execs confronted with this question
doubtless think of former Boston general manager Lou Gorman. With
dreams of postseason glory in 1990, he sent a young Jeff Bagwell
to Houston for Larry Andersen, who was 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in the
ALCS, which the Red Sox lost to the A's in four straight games.
On the other hand, didn't Detroit's Bill Lajoie make the right
move in '87 when he pulled the trigger on a Doyle Alexander for
John Smoltz swap? Alexander went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA down the
stretch, and the Tigers won the American League East by two
games. Forget for a moment that Smoltz, 20 at the time of the
trade, would be a fixture in the Braves' star-studded rotation
through the next decade. The peculiar logic of the deadline deal
says Lajoie was right. Sometimes the price for winning now is the
thought of what might have been. --Daniel G. Habib
Four Most Active Teams in the July Trade Market Since 1986
Mets (27 trades involving 84 players) Micromanaging masters of
small moves wish that they could undo their '99 swap (Terrence
Long to Oakland for Kenny Rogers).
Padres (27, 77) Biggest deal was '96 deadline-day trade that
brought Greg Vaughn (50 homers for '98 National League champs)
from Milwaukee for three bit players.
Reds (24, 76) Have been on both sides of pitching dumps: Picked
up David Wells for spare parts in '95 run to NLCS; got (albeit
briefly) Yanks' prize third baseman Drew Henson for Denny Neagle
Cubs (24, 64) McGriff is second straight coup for general manager
Andy MacPhail, who last year won bidding for coveted outfielder
PAT CROCE AND THE SIXERS
FAREWELL, PHILLY FANATIC
We generally like our sports franchise pooh-bahs to be neither
seen nor heard, ideally constructed along the lines of the
Lakers' Jerry Buss, who watches the action from a distance and
opens his checkbook much wider than he opens his mouth. Over the
last few years, though, two rather noisy bosses have come to the
fore in the NBA, hey-look-at-me types who have found a way into
the headlines almost as often as their players. One of them, the
76ers' Pat Croce, stepped down last week, leaving the spotlight
to only one heart-on-his-sleeve landlord: Mark Cuban of the
Mavericks (everyone say, "Ugh").
Croce, the only NBA executive to have won two national karate
championships, resigned as president of the Sixers after losing a
power struggle for control of Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the
76ers and the NHL Flyers. Croce believes, as did Robert Browning,
that a man's reach should exceed his grasp, but he still seemed
stunned when Comcast chair Ed Snider thwarted his attempted
palace coup in the simplest way, by saying, No, Pat, you can't
have my job.
Croce will apparently keep his 2.5% ownership stake in the parent
company and will serve on the Sixers' newly created board of
directors, a move seemingly contrived to keep Comcast from losing
this popular Philly icon entirely. But as Croce said last week in
a mixed metaphor that seems positively Pat, "My visibility is in
the backseat now."
What does that mean for the Sixers, who were brought back to life
under Croce's hand-pumping, back-slapping dynamism? Let's not
inflate the importance of someone who was essentially a
cheerleader, albeit one who scaled bridges and water towers to
hang Sixers banners. He called some of the shots off the court
but wasn't the one taking the shots on the court. Almost lost in
last week's hubbub was the news that Larry Brown, one of the half
dozen best coaches in hoops history, will stay with the Sixers.
Croce, however, made a huge difference in a franchise that had
hit bottom under previous owner Harold Katz. He helped patch up
the relationship between Brown and Allen Iverson, and--pay
attention, Mark Cuban--he boosted his own team without denigrating
others, alienating the zebras or getting in hot water with the
league. "I'd rather wake up in the morning with Pat a part of the
league than not a part of it," commissioner David Stern said last
week. We share that feeling. --Jack McCallum
Q Why don't the PGA and LPGA tours play the same courses?
A Monday night's Battle at Bighorn, pairing Tiger Woods (left) and
Annika Sorenstam (right) against David Duval and Karrie Webb,
offered the rare sight of PGA and LPGA tour golfers playing the
same links. Indeed, the tours share only one course--Doral's Blue
Monster, which hosts the PGA Tour's Genuity Championship and the
LPGA's Office Depot event. Why only one? There are as many
reasons as there are clubs in Ian Woosnam's bag.
First, there are course requirements: While LPGA courses average
6,300 yards, and the events draw 20,000 people a day, PGA Tour
sites average 7,000 yards and must handle crowds three times as
large. "A whole range of golf courses can work for the LPGA that
could not work for the PGA Tour," says Mark Hersch, tournament
director for the LPGA's Michelob Light Classic in Eureka, Mo.
Further, many courses don't want more than one event a year.
Augusta National, for example, is open to members from
mid-October to May; adding a tournament would either deprive
members of another week or disrupt summer maintenance. In the
case of a public course like Pebble Beach, which charges $350 per
round, eliminating a week of play can mean more than $500,000 in
lost revenue. Says Mike Hayes, director of golf at Randolph North
in Tucson, an LPGA site that also hosted a PGA Tour event until
1987, "It's all about dollars."
A Love Story
On Sept. 25 Lions Gate, an independent studio known for such
highbrow fare as The Golden Bowl, will release Anna Kournikova's
first video. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY critic Troy Patterson gives a
Despite its nondescript title, Anna Kournikova: Basic Elements,
My Complete Fitness Guide turns out to be a warm-hearted
conceptual piece that asks tough questions: What is the
relationship between mind and body? Where does one draw the line
between passion and obsession? What would a workout be without
proper attention to the glutes?
Kournikova is an ingenue with an approach to performing that's
both intuitive and canny. At times, her endearing sincerity is
reminiscent of Christina Ricci's. In an early section titled
"Jump Rope," she exhorts us, "Try jumping on one foot only. Don't
lose your balance!" The tenderness of her concern is palpable.
Unfortunately, she's hindered by the trendily alinear direction
of David Wohlstadter, who repeatedly interrupts the narrative
flow with "Nutrition Tips." Nonetheless, she maintains a glowing
intensity through "Stability Ball with Weights," bringing a
nuanced giddiness to her biceps curls.
The film takes on depth with "Medicine Ball," wherein, with the
arrival of a sports trainer (capably played by Curtis McGee),
Elements develops into a meditation on camaraderie--with a frisson
of sexual tension. "It may be a corny name," Kournikova coos in a
voiceover, "but the Superman Toss is pretty cool."
"Medicine Ball" sets up a dramatic climax called "Cones and
Boxes." Or, rather, an anticlimax, for here the starlet's line
readings prove so awkward that one begins to wonder if she's been
miscast. It may indeed be the case that the double leap "develops
explosive lateral power," but you wouldn't know it from
Kournikova's flat delivery: She's just lobbing it in. After that
disappointment, the graceful "Cool Down" does indeed, to quote
Kournikova, "feel so good."
Trade in your Razors. The scooter--last year's craze--has been
supplanted by the latest must-have sports accessory: Heelys,
thick-soled sneakers with a wheel embedded in each heel. Since
the $89.95 sneakers-cum-skates hit shelves last December, they've
been on a major roll. Several chains that carry Heelys have sold
out their stock this summer, and by the end of the year Heeling
Sports, maker of the hybrid shoes, hopes to have shipped a
Heelys have caught on particularly with teens. In addition to
being able to do jumps and tricks with them (heelers can reach
speeds of more than 30 mph), wearers can casually heel in places
like schools and malls (for now, at least) where skates are often
banned. "I see this becoming a sport and a lifestyle," says
Heelys inventor Roger Adams, a Tacoma, Wash., psychologist who
was once listed in The Guinness Book of Records as the youngest
person to roller-skate (nine months). "However, there's always
the risk of it being just a fad."
Having seen Razor suffer from a flood of imitations, Adams, who
holds a patent on the shoe, is keeping an eye out for
faux-Heelys. "Will we have knockoffs? Probably," says Adams.
"Will there be lawsuits? Probably."
The first big-money dog show, the American Kennel Club's AKC/
Eukanuba American Dog Classic, to be held in December in
Orlando. It will offer $75,000 in prize money for Best in
Show--$50,000 to the owner and $25,000 to the breeder. The
winner of the Westminster Dog Show receives no cash.
A change in the date of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, by the
International Sailing Federation. The ISF says it will request
that the Games be moved from late July and early August to
September to avoid the Pacific typhoon season.
Dave Garcia, 80, from the Rockies bench, after an unidentified
opposing team complained that Colorado has had seven coaches in
the dugout, one more than major league rules permit. Garcia, a
veteran of 64 years in pro ball, will continue to work as a
senior adviser to Colorado manager Buddy Bell, watching games on
television from the clubhouse.
A Winston Cup stock-car team owned by Straight Shooter
Productions, creators of America's Most Wanted. The team's car
would carry the show's logo on the hood and pictures of missing
children on the body. Winston Cup driver Stacy Compton has
recently featured a photo of missing congressional intern Chandra
Levy on his Dodge Intrepid.
In Cal Ripken's name, a locker in the visitors' clubhouse at The
Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers have set up a shrine bearing
Ripken's name, a commemorative plaque and the uniform he wore
last week in his final appearance at the park, where he played a
total of 36 games.
Italian soccer power Inter Milan's $750,000 offer for the rights
to striker Freddy Adu of Potomac, Md. The player's mom says
12-year-old Freddy is too young to be committed to a
Honor Among Foes
Vince Lombardi notwithstanding, winning isn't everything, even
for pro athletes. Most sports have unwritten rules of conduct
that are often observed even when they blunt a competitive
advantage. During a late stage of this year's Tour de France,
Lance Armstrong was tailing chief competitor Jan Ullrich when
the German missed a turn, ran off the road and tumbled from his
bike. Rather than press on, Armstrong followed cycling etiquette
and waited for Ullrich to catch up. Here are other rules of good
SOCCER If a player is injured, a teammate usually stops play by
kicking the ball out of bounds. Custom dictates that on the
ensuing throw-in, the opposing team give the ball back. In a 1999
F.A. Cup match between Arsenal and Sheffield United, with the
score tied 1-1, Sheffield midfielder Lee Morris was hurt, and his
keeper kicked the ball out of bounds. Arsenal's Nigerian striker,
Nwankwo Kanu, who would claim he didn't know Morris was injured,
intercepted the throw-in, leading to an easy goal--and a tainted
win. Embarrassed by the breach of form, Arsenal manager Arsene
Wenger offered Sheffield a rematch, which Arsenal won 2-1.
AUTO RACING Drivers out of contention should allow those still in
the hunt to pass. With 11 laps remaining in the Dodge/Save Mart
350 in June, race leader Robby Gordon was a few lengths ahead of
Tony Stewart. Between them was rookie Kevin Harvick, who was a
lap down. Instead of permitting Stewart to get by, Harvick made a
move of his own and tried to pass Gordon. Harvick and Gordon
bumped, creating just enough space for Stewart to slip by and get
the win. Said Gordon: "Even if [Harvick] had his lap back, did he
honestly think he would catch us to race us for the win?"
FOOTBALL Placekickers shouldn't be touched. Although he becomes a
defender--and therefore fair game--once he boots a kickoff, the
kicker is considered off-limits when he's not part of the action.
That didn't stop Oilers coach Jerry Glanville from sending
linebacker Walter Johnson to hit Saints kicker Morten Andersen
after the opening kickoff in a 1987 game. Glanville claimed he
wanted to get Andersen's attention. "He missed two kicks,"
Glanville said with a shrug, "so I guess it worked."
SURFING A surfer who can't safely make a wave should yield the
right-of-way and yell "Go!" to the surfer next to him. As Duke
Kahanamoku, considered the father of modern surfing, once said,
"A wave comes in, and everyone wants to get on. That is how they
get broken teeth and smashed eyes. Wait for another wave. Do not
be a surf hog."
Chevy Chase, star of Caddyshack and hero to golfers everywhere,
has a confession. "I hate golf," he says. "I don't do golf. I'm
awful." The comedian made his thoughts known last week during
Karrie Webb's charity pro-am to benefit the Christopher Reeve
Paralysis Foundation, held at the Manhattan Woods Golf Club in
West Nyack, N.Y. Appearing as a favor to his pal Reeve, Chase
filled out a foursome, cracked jokes about his group's lack of
finesse on the greens ("This is like a bunch of grandmothers
moving from one pool table to another"), and abruptly left before
finishing the round. Guess he was in the wrong nape of the
So you're in L.A. for the Mercedes-Benz Cup tennis tournament
and you've got time to kill. What do you do? If you're U.S. Open
champion Marat Safin, you drop by the Playboy Mansion. Accepting
an invitation from tennis buff Hugh Hefner, Safin (right)
stopped in at the famed residence last week and had a poolside
dinner with Hef and a few other guests, including Mansion rat
Scott Baio. Afterward, Safin and Hefner retired to a viewing
room to watch America's Sweethearts. The sybaritic lifestyle
must not be good for Safin's game: A few days later Xavier
Malisse upset Safin 7-5, 6-3....
To every Olympic gold medalist who's considering an acting
career, we've got one thought for you: Bruce Jenner in Can't
Stop the Music. Despite that dire warning, we don't expect the
tide of athlete-thespians to ebb. Indeed, next week swimmer Amy
Van Dyken will join the Denver stage production of The Vagina
Monologues. Meanwhile, Tara Lipinski has been cast in an
independent feature called The Metro Chase, about an
eight-year-old boy who gets lost in Paris. Lipinski plays an
American who helps look for the kid. The skater, who is working
with an acting coach, hopes the film will jump-start her
Hollywood career. Her one provision: no skating roles.
Gap between Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and last-place
finisher Jimmy Casper of France, who denied accusations that
during some stages he grabbed onto the back of his team's car to
Times Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki had struck out looking in 463 at
bats through Monday.
Players with the surname Patel, among the 22 in a cricket match
in Bradford, England, between clubs Yorkshire LPS and Amarmilan.
Time in hours and minutes in which Marcella MacDonald, 37, of
Andover, Conn., swam the English Channel round-trip, the first
U.S. woman to do so.
Azure washcloths, at $4.49 apiece, listed on Allen Iverson and
fiancee Tawanna Turner's wedding registry at Bloomingdale's; as
of Monday the couple still needed three.
This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse
Isiah Thomas, who purchased the five-decade-old Continental
Basketball Association and led it into bankruptcy, has a new book
coming out entitled The Fundamentals: 8 Plays for Winning the Games of Business and Life.
Christina Ricci's." PAGE 28
avoids athlete subjects and sticks to cartoon characters like
Betty Boop: "I don't think she's going to get traded or get a