Sports Wishes for 2002

Many folks - especially kids and those kind souls who work at Sears (isn't their holiday catalog still called The Wishbook?) - construct a Christmas wish list or two. Can't say that I am one of them although, I did check around to see if Santa would be interested in bringing me a filing cabinet (fireproof, thanks) and a vaporizer this year.

He wasn't. I got money instead. And unfortunately, filing cabinets and vaporizers become far less sexy when you have to buy them yourself.

But Christmas was still good. No, great. Trust that yours was too.

Expect 2002 to be great also. But it will be even better if the following - a New Year's wish list, for me and everyone else who didn't blow their wish allotment on Christmas presents - come true:

&Mac220; That Rashaad Carruth, UK hoops' fabulous frosh guard, gets more PT.

&Mac220; That Carruth learns to play defense (which, no doubt is a prerequisite qualifier for the wish above).

&Mac220; That Keith Bogans passes more.

&Mac220; That he stays at Kentucky for his senior season.

&Mac220; That UK and Duke face off again in March.

&Mac220; That I could get a tape of the last game Cawood Ledford called, when UK and Duke faced off in March 1992.

&Mac220; That Tubby Smith gets more love and respect from Kentucky fans. Tubs is hands down the best college basketball coach in this state - or any other. And he probably has the second toughest job in NCAA athletics (next to the head football coach, whoever that may be, at Notre Dame). No. Make that the third toughest job, behind Notre Dame football coach and the folks at Texas Tech responsible for making Bobby Knight behave.

&Mac220; That someone will seriously realize how big o' mistake it'd be to bring an NBA team to Louisville. That team would be what is now the Charlotte Hornets. This state needs no more basketball; there's no room. Sure, an NBA team would thrive for a while as a novelty. But ultimately, college ball is king here, and thus Kentuckians would soon tire of the NBA atmosphere (and expense). Which is the case with North Carolinians. Which is why the Hornets want to get outta there.

&Mac220; That, like the NBA and NFL, Major League Baseball adopts a salary cap. Without a salary cap, big market teams (like the New York Yankees) can spend as much money as they want (have) to buy up big-time free agents (like Jason Giambi, $120 mil, seven years), leaving small market teams (like the Cincinnati Reds) out in the cold and out in last place.

&Mac220; That the Reds dump sometimes shortstop Barry Larkin. He's popular, yes, but he's also old and hurt (read: unproductive) most of the time. Especially for the price tag he carries. The Reds should've got rid of him before last year, but Larkin said he didn't want to leave Cincinnati because of his family. Then he held out for $9 million a year. He must be related to Ben Franklin(s).

&Mac220; That MLB dumps whining-to-Congress-about-how-much-money-baseball's-losing Bud Selig as its commissioner. Hey, Bud, see the salary cap wish-idea-thing, and spare doughand us of your crying.

&Mac220; That another American League team besides the Yankees makes it to the World Series. Another benefit of the salary cap wish.

&Mac220; That realigning the NFL's divisional structure doesn't ruin traditional rivalries. Beginning next year, each conference will have four divisions (East, Central, South - the new one, and West). The Seattle Seahawks are the only team switching conferences (to the NFC), and the new team, the Houston Texans will compete in the AFC South. This makes perfect sense on paper, but what transpires on the field is what really matters.

&Mac220; And finally, that UK football fans - very fine fans, usually - will be rewarded for their faithful support with a gift. Preferably a bowl game. But not just one played in 2002.

Rather, one played at the beginning of next year.