© St. Petersburg Times, published October 13, 2002
ALDS, NLDS: The series victories by the Angels, Twins, Cardinals and Giants doesn't demolish the fact that big-payroll teams have a decided edge on the rest of them. What it does prove is that with judicious spending by an owner and crafty trades by a wise general manager, a team can win a lot more than its limitations would seem to permit.
BRANDON WRESTLING: For years, the owners of the nation's longest winning streak in high school sports have been accused of ducking competition. But now the Eagles plan to host the Challenge the Streak Tournament, perhaps the best change for someone to beat Brandon since Nixon was president.
JAY FEASTER: It would have been easy for the Lightning GM to cover himself by keeping Shane Willis on the roster. But Willis, the principal piece of Feaster's first trade, didn't belong and Feaster decided the roster based on merit, an action not as common as it should be.
DERRICK BROOKS: Fullback? Receiver? Punt returner?
WDAE-AM 620: The radio station was criticized for cutting away from the final minutes of the UF-Kentucky football game for a Lightning preseason game. Now it deserves credit for getting it right Saturday, when it broadcast the Lightning home opener on 620 and the Gators-LSU game on its sister station, WFLA-AM 970.
BEAU DURAN: The disc jockey called Darryl Kile's widow to ask if she had a date for one of the Cardinals' playoff games at Arizona. Fortunately that resulted in the last date Duran had a job.
BROWNS FANS: Last year they threw plastic beer bottles at game officials after a disputed call. Sunday they cheered (with no justification whatsoever) when ineffective Cleveland quarterback Tim Couch was injured. They're gaining (justifiably) a reputation for idiocy.
NCAA: Colorado's football team gets two years' probation for recruiting violations, most of which occurred under then-coach Rick Neuheisel. Neuheisel, who left CU in '98 to coach Washington, receives a slap on the wrist for his prominent role. This just reaffirms the NCAA creed: damn the players, protect the coach.
-- Bruce Lowitt, Anthony Perez, Mike Stephenson