Valentine, All-Star game and Rider: the ABCs are in full swing

Same case, new excuse. It’s just one of those weeks where too much is going on for one sports story. From free agent citings to the Major League All-Star game ���� I’ve got it covered in this addition of the ABC’s.

A. As in All-Star game. It’s great to see the game in Seattle, wish I could have snagged some tickets. The home run derby is always the greatest attraction. Although Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza are coming close.

B. As in Blazers. There’s a press conference scheduled for Wednesday ���� time to meet the new draft picks. Apparently, Zach Randolph was the guy the Blazers wanted all along. MVP of the McDonald’s high-school All-American game two years ago. Playing time will be the next issue with this kid.

C. As in Cincinnati Reds. Injuries have killed the Reds and with four rookies in the pitching rotation now, things don’t look too good. Ken Griffey Junior probably wishes he was still in Seattle.

D. As in Dikembe Mutombo. It looks like the man from the Congo is set to stay in Philadelphia after contract talks Monday with Philly management. Free agents can’t be signed until July 18, up two weeks from past years, but it looks like Mutombo won’t be headed to Portland anytime soon.

E. As in entire team. Was it me, or did the Yankees and Mariners combine their teams and take on the National League in the All-Star game? I guess Joe Torre was a little jealous the Mariners had half their team in the game, so he named half of his team.

F. As in forget about them. A-rod bolts to Texas for half the nation’s payroll, Junior bolts to Cincy where wins are at a minimum, Randy Johnson bolts to Houston where a world series run was expected, Seattle is in first place with the Japanese wonder stealing all the spotlight. Isn’t this a great country?

G. As in Tony Gwynn. Easily the best hitter I’ve ever seen in my time. It’s great to see Bud Selig invite him to the All-Star game in his final season. He will definitely be missed in San Diego.

H. As in home runs. Jason Giambi and Luis Gonzalez stole the show in the derby, Barry Bonds seems to be slowing down in his race for 70. Will anybody ever match the record season Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire put up two years ago?

I. As in Ichiro Suzuki. Do I have to say anymore? This guy is Michael Jordan in Japan. He’s an unbelievable hitter who may have the most awkward swing I’ve seen in a while. Is there any question who Rookie of the Year will be?

J. As in jipped. Florida Marlin outfielder Cliff Floyd was first told he would be on the All-Star team by Valentine. Then, Floyd found out he’s not on the team ���� after purchasing $16,000 worth of tickets. Valentine then names him to the team after another player is injured. Valentine denies he told Floyd at first. Floyd said he did. Mr. Valentine, you are the weakest idiot.

K. As in K’s. Randy Johnson is back in Seattle. Curt Schilling is starting for the National league, Roger Clemens is starting for the American league. Talk about some pitchers known for K’s. Where is John Kruk when you need him?

L. As in leaving. It looks like Antonio Davis is leaving Toronto. Horace Grant will not be back with the Lakers. Is Chris Webber leaving the Kings? Gary Payton will not be back with the Sonics. Is Charles Barkley abandoning his ideas of returning? You’d have to say he’s a role model for the old trying to make a comeback now. Oh wait, he’s not a role model. Well, maybe a role model for Coors.

M. As in Mariners. Some people wonder if the young pitchers will have what it takes to win a big game. Either way, they’re playoff bound and they will have the friendly confines of Safeco field to fall back on throughout their entire stay in the postseason.

N. As in nothing but trouble. Big news starting to surface in San Antonio. David Robinson is being asked to take a 50 percent pay cut so the Spurs can resign Derek Anderson. Robinson doesn’t like the idea, Anderson is starting to not like his situation, so both of them are beginning to look at different teams.

O. As in over the cap. Most NBA teams will be looking to stay under the salary cap this season. Why? This is the season when the new luxury tax kicks in. Which means, for every dollar a team is over the cap, they’re taxed that money. So, if a team is $25 million over the cap, they’re taxed $25 million. Not a real good deal for teams with huge payrolls.

P. As in Dan Panaggio. The Trail Blazers’ new assistant coach as of Monday brings a wealth of experience to the table. Panaggio is the all-time winningest coach in CBA history (313-191), and won two championships as the coach of Quad City.

Q. As in Quad City. All nine of Panaggio’s teams advanced to the CBA playoffs and he’s won coach of the year three times.

R. As in Cal Ripken. Another legend who made his last All-Star appearance Tuesday, Ripken may very well be remembered for his consecutive games streak including a memorable home run in the game he broke the streak.

S. As in Seattle vs. A-rod. That may have been the only time I saw a player from the home team booed by the home crowd. Hey, they don’t miss him and they saved $250 million in the process. Who got the better deal?

T. As in Texas. Are we beginning to see a professional sports soap opera as in New York? The Admiral is grumbling in San Antonio, the Rangers are just plain stupid for signing a guy who can’t pitch. The Cowboys, well, enough said. Hakeem won’t retire from playing with Houston, and the Astros wish they were playing in the Astrodome again.

U. As in untouched. Lou Pinella is the one guy who is untouchable in Seattle. Of course, that’s what they said about Griffey.

V. As in Bobby Valentine. He’s the one guy who shouldn’t have been involved in the All-Star game. He’s like the JR Rider of baseball. Not as extreme, but not wanted.

W. As in whining. All of Oregon should be whining after the Major League Baseball bill was put on hold in Salem. The excuse this time was, “we don’t have time to look at the bill.” Tell that to Montreal.

X. As in x-treme. The Oregon Baseball Campaign went to x-treme measures to bring the game of baseball to Oregon. Only temporarly has this bill been put to sleep.

Y. As in yuck. Did everybody hear that JR Rider wants to play on the Lakers summer league team? Unbelievable. Only in Lala land does that kind of stuff happen.

Z. As in zebras. Nothing to report on the referee front. No bad calls. No games played. Are umpires considered referees? You decide.