Sox set for another big fall?

BILL LANKHOF -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

The Red Sox and their fans say this year it will be different. They have the offence; the pitching; the will; the resources; the attitude. Yada. Yada.

The players have adopted the "No Fear" mantra and, on a similar note, the local citizenry attended recently at the gravesite of one Babe Ruth to exorcise The Curse. They've even made believers of media pundits.

In other words, the Yankees have them right where they want 'em -- on the window ledge of expectations.

Any game now, Johnny Damon is going to do a Kenny Williams rounding third with the winning run. Or Steve Bartman will become a Red Sox fan.

It doesn't matter that Boston has the better team. Since when has logic had anything to do with what happens to the Red Sox? Consider, please, the irony of this scenario: Game 7, bases-loaded, two-out and Alex Rodriguez does a haunting refrain of Touch 'Em All Joe.

The silver lining? With fans leaping from tall buildings all across Boston, it could be the closest thing that city gets to a ticker-tape parade in October. Head's up ... and pass the hemlock.

YOUNG AND BREATHLESS

Ken Caminiti. Dead. Age 41. Sad? Yes. Surprising? No.

There's only one question the coroner has to answer here: What took him so long?

The guy lived life like it was a Jerry Springer episode.

THE SMALL CHANGE

Las Vegas has the Detroit Red Wings as a 7-1 favourite to win the Stanley Cup this year. This happens only over Gary Bettman's dead, lockout-shrivelled body ... Don't know if the Argos can win a Grey Cup but at least they're entertaining -- and, isn't that what sports is all about?

MUNCHIE TIMEOUT

Ricky Williams says he'd like to make a comeback. Hands up everybody who suspected all along it was just a, uhmmm, token retirement.

NAME GAME

The Raptors' training camp roster includes guys named Rafer, Loren and Jalen.

No disrespect, but whatever happened to just calling kids, Mike or John, or plain Muhammad?

Rafer sounds like something the aforementioned Williams might smoke and Pape Sow is a Raptors rookie, or a relation to Arnold down at Green Acres. Your choice.

Which brings us to Ousmane Cisse. If he doesn't make it on the court he could always rent himself out as a human word jumble.

Ty Cobb is rolling over in his grave.

BETTER LATE THAN NOW

Ichiro Suzuki has declined the People's Award for the second time in three years from the government of Japan. "(The award) is the highest honour for a citizen," he said. "But I don't think I am in a position to receive it while I am still playing."

Guess it's like having a building named after you. Unless your name is Lastman, it usually means your occupation is listed as daisy-pusher. Nobody needs that.

DOG EAT DOG WORLD

Those who believe a soccer pitch is just a good corn field wasted will like this item. A pensioner, fed up with soccer balls being kicked into his garden, plowed up the pitch in Stozok, Slovakia. Juraj Vybostok, 70, rented the field behind his house to the town's soccer club seven years ago.

Ananova.com reports that Vybostok got fed up with balls flying over his garden fence. He claimed that despite talking to the club and local council nothing was done, and he was forced to take action himself.

The town's mayor, Stefan Spodniak, says a new pitch may be built elsewhere, noting: "Vybostok has cost us enough already. Every time a ball goes into his garden he lets his dog eat it ... and we've had to spend about $2,800 US replacing them."

Sometimes life is just a dog's breakfast. Heavy sigh.

SMART 'N' SASSY

"When Bonds enters the batter's box, he's in scoring position." -- ESPN's John Kruk on why Barry Bonds is better than Suzuki.

HEY FANS! Do you have a quirky sports item? Include your name and city and e-mail it to me at: bill.lankhof@tor.sunpub.com or fax it to: 416-947-2454

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