The Last Word

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

And then there were two. The remaining members of the 1993 Blue Jays World Series championship team were reduced by one yesterday with the retirement announcement of Roberto Alomar.

He finished with a bad back and a bad reputation, far removed from his days in Toronto where he was just about the best baseball player anybody had ever seen.

Others may have hit better. A slight few fielded better. Even fewer ran better. But no one playing around here ever combined the skills and the grace and the impeccable sense of timing Alomar had. The best of all Blue Jays.

And one by one, the old Jays have moved on, leaving only Mike Timlin and Al Leiter active from the '93 championship team with Pat Borders and John Olerud still hoping to find a place for the coming season.

Only Timlin and David Wells remain active from the 1992 team -- a team that turned around its playoff on an Alomar home run on an Oakland afternoon.

THIS AND THAT

Coming to a movie theatre new you: The Incredible Shrinking Reputation -- the Mark McGwire story. It's not about the past. It's all positive and about the future ... How about Sammy Sosa playing the 'I don't understand English' card on Capitol Hill? Anybody who has ever spent time around Sosa knows differently and his body language before Congress was quite an act ... In between dots, Jose Canseco contradicted himself but at least he had the temerity to answer some questions ... If hockey was an American staple, Congress would be looking into the NHL's labour wars ... Doug Flutie can probably still help somebody. But Darren Flutie can't unless you're looking for a colour commentator ... Tony LaRussa's favourite country song: Stand By Your Man ... First weekend of March Madness and already Kansas is dust in the wind ... The closer we get to playoff time, the more bitchy NHL fans are likely to become.

HEAR AND THERE

Greek sprinters and story tellers Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou have been cleared of evading drug tests prior to the Athens Olympics, by, get this, a Greek sporting tribunal. When asked about what happened, Kenteris apparently said under oath: "I'm not here to talk about the past." ... Why all the consternation about finding a place for the red-hot Gabe Gross in the Blue Jays outfield? If he can smack the ball, put him out there. It's not like Alex Rios, Reed Johnson and Frank Catalanotto are the next coming of George Bell and Jesse Barfield ... The Blue Jays would have been better served had they saved the $900,000 US they blew on Billy Koch -- not to mention the Kerry Ligtenberg money -- and invested it in Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez ... Leave it to Boomer Wells to put his own personal spin on the steroids mess in baseball as he told the Boston Globe: "All I know is, the more this goes on, the better I look. Now I'm just a big fat guy with no steroids."

SCENE AND HEARD

From the department of some things never change: Robert Reichel has scored nine goals in the Czech hockey league which is three more than Mikael Renberg has in Sweden and eight more than Alexei Ponikarovsky managed in Russia ... No Kerry Wood. No Mark Prior. No chance for the Chicago Cubs ... Unlike Alonzo Mourning, Aaron Williams, one of the lost souls from the Vince Carter deal, did show up to play for the Toronto Raptors. But the Raptors didn't bother to play him. In 42 games, Williams has made four baskets, two free throws and has been a healthy scratch 22 times ... Quick now: Name a Carleton Raven basketball player? Just one ... Can't figure why two of the biggest and best wide receivers in the NFL, Muhsin Muhammad and Plaxico Burress, signed in Chicago and with the Giants respectively, where neither team has a passing game.

AND ANOTHER THING

Not only does the NHL not have a collective bargaining agreement, but it has no drug testing policy either. It needs both ... Rather than suspend players caught with steroids or fine them, major league baseball has decided to put them on double secret probation ... Shouldn't he have his own line of clothing: Denham Brown ... Regarding Jeffrey Buttle, the silver medal winner who crashed, the last time a Canadian won a silver and was that beaten up in he process the fighter's name was David Defiagbon ... If the Maple Leafs best prospects are playing at St. John's and Pat Quinn is being paid by the organization, shouldn't he be coaching the AHL team? ... The only document more flimsy than baseball's drug testing policy: The CFL's mythical salary cap ... And hey, whatever became of Eli Pasquale?


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