|In many ways, the upcoming year in sports will be a very predictable one filled with very familiar figures:
Tiger Woods will win all four Grand Slam events, though his father will complain when he doesn't win a single Nobel Prize.
Anna Kournikova will appear on the covers of Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine, Time, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone, Forbes, Oxygen, Talk, Life, Playboy, Popular Mechanics, National Geographic and Sport (which will resume publication just for the occasion). She will not come close to winning any tournament.
Alex Rodriguez will grow very weary of hearing his Texas Rangers teammates say, "But at least it's a dry heat."
The Man of the Year in sports, however, promises to be Vince McMahon, whose XFL will prove to be so extraordinarily successful this February that he'll launch similar leagues in baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, boxing, golf and auto racing by year's end. Simply put, we will barely be able to recognize our favorite sports after McMahon puts his patented WWF touch on them all.
McMahon's XGA will prove more competitive than the PGA thanks to a special rule that allows golfers to attack Tiger with a folding chair when he tees off or putts.
While major-league players and owners kill off interest in their game with another lengthy work stoppage, McMahon will lure Roger Clemens away from the Yankees to pitch in the XBL by giving him the option of throwing baseballs, shattered bats or folding chairs.
|Buoyed by the success of the XFL, Vince McMahon will go to extremes.|
McMahon will sign Latrell Sprewell away from the NBA by allowing him to either choke PJ. Carlesimo or hit him over the head with a folding chair.
NASCAR will seem pedestrian after McMahon introduces XCAR, the racing circuit with monster trucks at 200 mph and no brakes or seat belts.
A fully reformed and sincerely repentant Bobby Knight will return to coaching in McMahon's college basketball league but won't get past the
first round of the NCXX tournament when he is ejected for not throwing a folding chair onto the court.
Despite the effects of age and Parkinson's Disease, Muhammad Ali will come out of retirement to join McMahon and bring renewed legitimacy to pro boxing. Unfortunately, the WBA-WBX unification bout will be marred somewhat when Mike Tyson hits Ali over the head with a folding chair and eats the old champion.
After the repeated failure of previous leagues, soccer will finally take off in this country under McMahon's MXL, where players not only will be allowed to use their hands, but knives, scizzors and folding chairs as well.
McMahon also will rejuvenate international sports by returning to Olympian roots with the Xlympics in Athens, where the athletes will once
again compete in the nude (Kournikova's bronze medal tennis match will shatter all previous television ratings records).
The only failure for McMahon will be the XHL when hockey fans are unable to perceive a difference between the new league and the current standard of play in the NHL. That is, other than the fact that folding chairs will not be allowed in the XHL.
Jim Caple of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is a baseball columnist for ESPN.com and a regular contributor to Page 2.
||NASCAR will seem pedestrian after
McMahon introduces XCAR, the racing circuit with monster trucks at 200 mph and no
brakes or seat belts.