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Highs and lows

By SHARON FINK, BRUCE LOWITT and ANTHONY PEREZ

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 1, 2000


Highs

RULON GARDNER: He's not only what the Olympics are about, he's what sports are about.

DEVIL RAYS: Your season was forgettable, but your last week has been anything but. Keeping the Yankees and their champagne on ice at the Trop was a thing of beauty.

TRAVIS HARPER: The Devil Rays rookie pitched a two-hit shutout against the Blue Jays for his first big-league win. Too bad so few of us noticed, what with the Bucs and all.

Lows

THE C.J. HUNTER CASE: Forget the specifics. The bigger issue is nothing about this made the United States look good when it comes to uncovering and penalizing drug cheats. Argue all you want about the validity of U.S. Track & Field's "innocent until proven guilty after five years of appeals" policy. The appearance -- at the least -- is that the United States never has been willing to apply that policy to other countries. We came off looking like the biggest hypocrites in the world in one of the most burning issues in sports. U.S. Track must follow through with its idea to turn over its doping program to the World Anti-Doping Agency.

DICK EBERSOL: The mastermind behind NBC's Olympic coverage is so peeved about the criticism of it that he went so far as to insult the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. for showing events live. He is so incensed that ratings are below expectations that he even blamed it on the U.S. gymnastics teams for not performing "up to speed." And he is so discombobulated about what comes down to his Olympic broadcasting misjudgments that he says he won't make the mistake of showing five hours of prime-time coverage daily from the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City -- which is in Utah, which is in the United States, meaning that the network should have no trouble filling five hours of prime time every day with LIVE coverage. Maybe that's what Ebersol is afraid of. Maybe he can't do LIVE.

MIKE ALSTOTT: And it's not for what you think. It seems when the going gets tough, the tough A-Train gets going, as in going out of the locker room after one on-the-run comment following Sunday's game, then going out of practice Monday, declining to talk to reporters, instead seeking the friendly confines of his radio show. If you can stand basking in all the accolades when all is well, you can handle taking your medicine when all is not. Okay, maybe "handle" is not the best choice of words.

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