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An Honest
Day’s Word

By Joe Edwards

Wednesday, August 11, 1999


Which are contenders,
pretenders?

THIS and that to chew on over lunch:

Baseball's dog days are upon us, but the season just keeps getting better and better.

This is the month that separates the contenders from the pretenders. Make it through August in one piece and you'll have a legit shot at the playoffs in September.

There are surprise teams everywhere you look.

When I saw them play the Orioles in April, I certainly never thought the Oakland A's would challenge for a playoff spot. But there they are, just one game back in the loss column, chasing the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox for the American League wild-card berth.

Art Howe's boys are playing solid baseball. Jason Giambi, Matt Stairs and John Jaha are a powerful trio all headed for 100-plus RBI seasons. Getting Kevin Appier to solidify the pitching staff should be a big help.

The A's will need it if they want to keep pace with the Blue Jays. Toronto, led by sensational young right fielder Shawn Green, is my bet to capture the wild card. Their every day lineup is a good one and they have David Wells and Pat Hentgen as the anchors of the pitching staff.

The trade of Roger Clemens for Wells, Graeme Lloyd and Homer Bush is looking pretty good for both teams.

The Red Sox? Nah. They had the All-Star Game, but until they dig up Babe Ruth and apologize for selling him to put on "No, No Nanette," forget about it.

THE National League is even more interesting. After all, there are still actual pennant races in that league.

The Mets and the Braves are swapping first place with each passing day in the East. And the Phillies just keep hanging in there.

The Reds and the Astros are going at it heavy in the Central.

The Diamondbacks have pulled away a bit in the West, but Dusty Baker will get the Giants back in the race.

It just doesn't get any better. And here's the best part of all. The Mets, Braves, Phillies, Astros and Reds are all bunched so close that two of them are going to be seriously heart-broken when the season ends.

I know my wife hopes one of them is the Braves.

After putting up with their "Worst to First" and "America's Team" and that silly tomahawk chop, I have to side with her. After all, shouldn't they have more than one World Series banner hanging at Turner Field?

Enough of them, already.

Tapa

Rumor has it the Rainbow athletic department wants to sell eight courtside seats to men's basketball games -- a kind of Gucci Row in Manoa.

Also heard there already are three requests for four seats each.

Given that, why stop at eight seats? UH should move the entire press box -- except a few seats for the TV and radio people -- up to the three or four rows at half court just inside the fence that circles the lower, lower bowl at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Some ticket holders might have to be relocated, but that reconfiguration might open as many as two dozen prime seats.

People will pay top dollar for great seats, but, they're going to want value for their money.

And that seems to be where the problem lies.

For some reason, the athletic department seems reluctant to put pressure on itself to excel and set its standards high.

If they are serious about making money over there, they need to take some risks.

Start now.



Joe Edwards is sports editor of the Star-Bulletin.



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