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Invoke Darwin clause in

Last week in Chicago, Major League Baseball's owners conferred over the merits of contracting franchises that barely register an electro-cardiograph reading.

On average, Montreal lured 7,364 highbrows to Olympic Stadium every night to witness the best in big-league ball, featuring pop icons Rob Ducey and Darwin Cubillan, among others.

Lowly Florida isn't much better, finishing the season at 76-86. With a team that sells out less than LFO, the Fish have proven themselves to be America's version of Les Expos.

Where is the argument here? Painful as it is to admit, these clubs don't draw or win. They barely exist as it is.

It is in this fervent pursuit of competitive balance that we must reserve first-class seats on the liquidation bandwagon, not only in baseball, but across the board.

While Bud Selig and fellow owners were busy blowing elimination ideas around the Windy City, the NBA's Chicago Bulls were being tarred and feathered, 127-74, by the Minnesota Timberwolves - a margin so obese that we'd best go to the calculator.

The box score tells that us that the despica-Bulls allowed the Wolves to shoot 64 percent while they wallowed at 39 percent in the 53-point loss. Minnesota boasted seven players in double figures, while Chicago's second-leading scorer tallied nine whole points.

This is the same Jerry Krause-misguided Edsel that surrendered its home court by 24 the previous night to the awfully pedestrian Pistons, the same clunker that has now dropped three games by 45 points or more since Michael Jordan's retirement in 1998.

In June, Krause executed what he believed to be a franchise reconstructing coup by trading Elton Brand (a perennial 20-10er) for the rights to then-18-year-old Tyson Chandler, who would join fellow high schooler Eddy Curry as a giant standing high above the Eastern Conference. Granted, the duo needs nurturing, but what Krause presently possesses is 13 feet, 11 inches of center and four ounces of maturity.

Oh, lest we forget, "America's Team" showed up in Atlanta on Sunday, and my oh my did it match the $65 forked over by Georgia Dome patrons in sizzling fashion.

The last time Dallas visited Atlanta - October 29, 1995 - Emmitt Smith rambled for 167, Michael Irvin snagged 10 for 135 and Deion Sanders made the Dirty Birds look downright dismal in a 28-13 win.

Sunday, Jerry Jones and his 'Boys made their return to the Dome - a sequel rivaling Tyson-Bruno II in anticipation.

Held together by spit and stitches, the 2001 Cowboys are nearly as flimsy as the plastic holding Jones' recreated facial features in place.

Ryan Leaf stood in for Troy Aikman, Troy Hambrick replaced Smith, and a wide receiving corps comprised of Darrin Chiaverini, Johnny Huggins and Mike Lucky (among others) supplanted Irvin and Jay Novacek.

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  • Earlier in the week, Dallas added two more feathers to a cap of unparalleled, saintly service to the community when former lineman Nate Newton was arrested in Louisiana transporting 213 pounds (about half his playing weight) of marijuana with the intent to distribute. Back in Big D, noted philanthropist Irvin faced a jury on a count of felony cocaine possession. After being convicted of a similar offense three years ago, Irvin was acquitted after alleging that the powder sitting in his living room belonged to a friend. "The Pleamaker" is either an adroit liar or a total buffoon - or both.

    But back to the original point. Maybe contraction isn't such a sour idea after all. Actually, the evidence indicates that extermination might save a couple of clubs from themselves.

    Okay, so maybe it's unfathomable to eradicate franchises that amassed nine championships in the 1990s. Can't we at least put them on probation, though? Nate Newton would love that.