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  Sat, September 18, 2004


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Toronto sports prospects dim
Vince wants out, the Leafs are locked out and that means lights out, Bill Lankhof says
By BILL LANKHOF -- Toronto Sun


Vince Carter announces what everybody already suspects. He wants to be traded. Great. Not to suggest he's a one-man team, but Rafer Alston sounds like something Purina might make.

First no hockey. Now, no NBA team.

Last athlete out of Toronto, please turn out the lights.

LOCKOUT DEFINITION

Rich guys arguing with other rich guys about who's going to get richer.

Everything else is details.

WILD STREAK

Texas Rangers reliever Frank Francisco deserves to be punished for the way he threw that chair into the crowd in Oakland. He has given major-leaguers a bad reputation because, even though it was a pressure situation, from 20 feet you expect that the least he could do is hit the right heckler.

MULTIPLE CHOICE

The NHL will achieve peace in our time:

a) When Mario Lemieux tires of nasty daily confrontations with himself in front of the bathroom mirror.

b) When players' wives demand their husbands return their Holt Renfrew credit cards and get vexed by the constant embarrassment of going to dinner and having to scrimp with the small shrimp cocktail.

c) When Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow open their briefcases and find a clue.

d) When the Canadian government declares the lockout illegal and hockey an essential national service. You know, like brewing beer.

e) When pigs fly.

MISSING THE DONALD

With no Coach's Corner to stir the ire during the World Cup, the CBC went with Brian Burke, the erstwhile general manager of mayhem for the Vancouver Canucks. Now, Brian may be a nice man, but he leaves the impression that he'll crack a grin about as often as The Sphinx.

As an analyst, he's about as much fun as a trip to the dentist. Just as everyone was feeling jolly during the championship game, CBC had Brian decipher the lockout for its viewership. A nation's eyes glazed.

The sound of a thousand mute buttons clicking was drowned out only by the flushing of three million toilets from Cornerbrook, Nfld., to Outhouse, B.C.

Oh, blessed relief, for there was Brian being mesmerizing with numbers, legal-sleaze and percentages that made everything as clear as the back of that car lease you just signed. Basically, he left the impression (and isn't this a surprise coming from a management guy) that it's the players' fault.

Like Ed Belfour threatened to pitch a tent in John Ferguson Jr.'s front yard if he didn't give him the biggest contract ever awarded to a goalie who has to hire someone to tie his shoelaces because some of his best body parts have gone AWOL. Last time we looked Chris Pronger didn't kidnap anyone in the St. Louis Blues front office to get that $10 million US. To hear the owners, if George Bush wants to find weapons of mass destruction, he could just look in Goodenow's briefcase.

There was so much long arithmetic it reminded us of the night we accidentally found the PBS station. It almost made a guy pine for Don Cherry's Neanderthalian dissertations. At least with Don, you always knew when he was insulting sissy Swedes, or your intelligence.

DRESSED TO THE WHINES

Middlesbrough soccer fans who got tickets for the UEFA Cup game Thursday found a dress code warning. Tickets included a message banning jeans or tracksuits and said "gentlemen" must wear a jacket, collar and tie. Fans complained. Not that they need to have worried. The code was limited to fans using the hospitality suites. Besides, it was for "gentlemen" and everyone knows when it comes to English soccer fans there's no such thing.

NEVER-ENDING STORY

Baseball's relocation committee has given the Montreal Expos notice that they will move Nov. 30. They didn't say which decade. Still checking ...

THE SMALL CHANGE

The Etobicoke Rangers beat East York 4-3 to win the senior Ontario Baseball Association championship ... A final thought on those Team Canada jerseys: "The only time that the colours red and yellow should be together," reader Kevin Gibson of Whitby said, "is on a hotdog." ... And, now that he's 37 years old, shouldn't Deion Sanders change his nickname from Prime Time to Father Time?

SMART 'N' SASSY

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: "If George Foreman could strike it rich peddling a hamburger grill, what could Barry Bonds do with an intentional wok?"







Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


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