Notes, quotes and idle thoughts while preparing a defense for baseball's super-agent, Scott Boras.
Poor Boras has been accused of everything from bankrupting teams to making greed the new national pastime.
He's taking the latest round of abuse over Alex Rodriguez opting out of a contract with the New York Yankees that was paying him about 25 million per year.
To hit a little baseball, for heaven's sake.
Now Rodriguez, whose new nickname is Pay-Rod, is "testing the free-agent market" and Boras is being widely condemned as the villain of the piece.
Before you tee up Boras, though, let me ask you something.
If employing an agent might double, triple or quadruple your own salary at the bread company, well...
You saying you'd tell Boras to be a nice guy and let your boss keep all that money?
Gimme a break.
Remember something when you're ripping "money-hungry" players and sleazy agents.
Nobody is forcing the owners in baseball or any other sport to pay obscene amounts of money.
They're all free to throw Boras out on the street.
But it wouldn't be very bright.
ANYONE who saw the Fresno State-Hawaii game Saturday night had to feel a chill of terror when Bulldog linebacker Marcus Riley knocked superstar QB Colt Brennan into Neverland.
Brennan was scrambling on a broken play when he tried to cut back and ran straight into the flying Riley, who applied a wicked but legal shoulder-to-chinstrap hit that -- if it had been a cartoon -- would have finished with Brennan's head on Maui.
The collision was no joke, though, and players and on both sides knelt quietly and prayed over the prone Brennan.
Fortunately, news from Honolulu seems to be pretty good.
Brennan was helped off the field, looking semi-conscious but still upright, and after the game, Hawaii coach June Jones claimed the quarterback had suffered a "mild" concussion.
"If you play football, you're going to have concussions," Jones told the Honolulu Advertiser. "I just talked to (Brennan). He's ready to play right now."
That might have been an exaggeration, but Brennan's teammates indicated he was talking and joking after the Warriors' 37-30 victory.
Fresno State was in the midst of a frenzied comeback when Brennan got hurt, and even the Hawaii players indicated that they were glad to hang on and get it finished.
Wide receiver Ryan Grice-Mullins admitted it was difficult to concentrate after Riley nearly decapitated his quarterback.
"I'm not going to lie," Grice-Mullins said. "I'm not the only one that had Colt on my mind the next snap."
Brennan's health, assuming there is no serious damage, becomes a football issue again very quickly.
The undefeated and 12th-ranked Warriors visit dangerous Nevada on Friday night.
That game has huge implications for Fresno State, as well.
If Hawaii survives the test in Reno, the Bulldogs will lock up third place in the WAC -- which has three contractual bowl tie-ins.
Should Nevada knock off Hawaii, however, Fresno State might need to win at
New Mexico State on the last weekend of the season to finish tied for third with the Wolf Pack at 6-2.
Fresno holds a tie-breaker advantage over Nevada by virtue of a 49-41 victory in Reno.
DOESN'T football owe Tony Lewis a break?
The Merced College coach, who is trying so desperately to rebuild a decent program without a full complement of staff or a hefty recruiting budget, almost celebrated a Mid-Empire Conference tile on Saturday.
The key word there is "almost."
Still, I'd argue that Laney College's 37-30, double-overtime victory at Don Odishoo Field was undeserved -- a slice of luck that Laney might have declined in a spirit of decency.
Laney should have forfeited just before overtime and admitted: "We're too stupid to win."
Well, Laney coach Jay Uchiumi made the rock-headed decision of the season.
Or maybe the century.
And he got away with it.
The first thing that crossed my mind after Uchiumi's bit of good fortune was that I'd like to visit Vegas with the guy -- he's that lucky.
Laney was lined up for a chip-shot field goal to win with seconds left in regulation time when Uchiumi suddenly had a brain cramp and decided to run another play.
Not only that, but...
It was a pass -- a lob to the corner!
Trust me, they don't teach this one in coaching clinics -- and the reason why became obvious when MC's Pedro White intercepted the deflected throw to send the game into OT.
If there were a lick of justice in football, Uchiumi's goof would have been punished and Merced would be hoisting that trophy.
So why isn't life fair?
LOVE IT: If you read ESPN.com, you know Bill Simmons, "The Sports Guy."
Simmons is nutty as they come, but he's also clever and can conjure a great turn of phrase when the occasion calls for it.
One of his regular features is ranking the NFL teams from top to bottom, and he makes up names for some of the mini-categories within his list.
Going into this week, for instance, New England was ranked alone in a category called: "The Juggernaut."
Dallas, Indy and the New York Giants were lumped together after that as "The Contenders."
And in fifth spot, all by themselves, were my Green Bay Packers -- who are now
8-1 despite all pre-season hype to the contrary.
Simmons' solo category for the Pack: "The Bishop From Caddyshack."
(OK, you had to see the movie to get it -- but if you haven't caught 'Caddyshack,' surely you wouldn't be reading a sports column.)
Even as a dedicated Cheesehead, I'm still giggling over Simmons' description, but let me toss in one piece of evidence here, Bill.
Unless Seattle pitches a shutout over the 49ers tonight -- which is always possible -- Green Bay will have allowed less points through nine games than any team in the NFL.
So stick that bratwurst where...
And beware the ghost of Vince Lombardi.
Steve Cameron is the Sun-Star sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.