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Thu, August 12, 2004
Home of the windmill pitcher?
By BILL LANKHOF -- Toronto Sun

Davey Johnson, a former major-leaguer, is manager of The Netherlands baseball team at the Olympics.

Holland is traditionally Europe's strongest baseball area. Which is a little like saying Trish Stratus is a great athlete. It might be true, but it's hardly her most, uh, memorable feature. But, I digress.

Johnson says the Dutch might win a medal. One of their aces is Calvin Maduro, who once pitched for the Baltimore Orioles. "It's a young team, but we have several players who played single-A and double-A in the U.S."

The Netherlands team mostly consists not of natives, but of players who claim Dutch heritage. In other words, they either have relatives who were born in The Netherlands, or are able to suck back a pickled herring and chew salted licorice without puking, thereby making them honorary Netherlanders. As long as they don't throw like a girl.

Face it, people of Dutch ancestry have never been very good at baseball because, for one thing, it really slows us down running the bases in those wooden shoes.

OSCAR MADISON SUITES

When newspapers booked rooms in Athens, there was a warning one of the media villages might not be built and that anyone in that village would be given other accommodation. It wasn't built.

About 20 Americans, including media from the Boston Globe, have been housed in a hospital maternity ward.

The rooms come complete with personal bed pans.

The beds are typical hospital beds, and there are pregnant women all over the place.

"Actually, it hasn't been too bad," one internee said. "The accommodation is comfortable and there's a nurse around 24 hours a day."

Besides, now they have a leg up on feeling the pulse of the Games.

WHAT'S IN A MOVIE?

The Lord of the Rings has awakened interest in archery.

"It has drawn young people to the sport. In my club, we have 20 to 30 new archers," New Zealand's Olympic archer, Ken Upritchard, said.

From Britain, David Sherrat, chief executive of the Grand National Archery Society, said he's delighted at the effect Hollywood has had.

But, I don't know, I'm a little worried about Kill Bill 2.

DOPEY AND THE GANG

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has confirmed that 100-metre world champion Torri Edwards has been banned for two years for using a stimulant.

Edwards inherited the world title from compatriot Kelli White, also banned for taking drugs.

Jerome Young could face a lifetime ban after allegedly being nailed for a second offence. Marion Jones is competing under a syringe of suspicion and Tim Montgomery has been caught up in the BALCO steroid mess.

At Athens, the IOC plans to conduct about 2,600 urine tests and 400 checks for the blood-boosting hormone EPO -- a 25% increase over the number of tests in Sydney. At this rate, the U.S. could be the first country since the lab rats from East Germany to sweep each category of the medal standings: Bronze, silver and fool's gold.

PAPER TIGERS

Jonathan Green of the Sydney Morning Herald, noting the large number of Athenians leaving town: "Athenians who remain have been urged, through a saturation campaign of TV and billboard advertising, to be patient, nice to tourists and try, insofar as is Hellenically possible, to stop ripping off strangers. Well, two out of three probably constitutes a pass ..."

Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, on the eight U.S. Olympians featured in Playboy: "This ... will remind readers that world-class athletes take off their pants one leg at a time, just like normal people."

IF THE EPITAPH FITS

Colorado Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd, after refusing to release pitcher Jeff Francis to the Canadian Olympic team, says he's upset at the reaction. "Some of the comments honestly have insulted me a little bit, that we stink, and everything."

Yo, Dan! Someone telling you that you stink should not be a surprise. When you are 16 games out of first place everybody already knows you stink.

SMART 'N' SASSY

From David Letterman's top 10 signs that Athens isn't ready for the Olympic Games: "Yesterday, Athens' mayor said: 'Wait, we're hosting the Olympics?'

"Olympic Stadium. Just a bunch of lawn chairs in an Applebee's parking lot."




Does Canada's low-medal haul in Athens bother you?
Yes, it depresses me
No, it's just sports
I'm disappointed, but not worried
We'll get 'em in Turin
Don't care

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