Sorry About That Stench In The Cellar

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Welcome back to the Whine Cellar. It's fun to know that I am now the most loathed columnist at this newspaper after just one column, so let's get right to it.

The First Word: So I tried to be funny with a little crack about Michelle Kwan last week. I wasn't funny. Oops. So, to set the record straight: I know very well that the Sullivan Award is based on 2001 exploits, but I still think Natalie Coughlin was as deserving, if not more so, than Kwan.

Many of the vicious e-mails seemed to believe that Sarah Hughes was irrelevant to the discussion, but the fact of the matter is that Hughes whomped her at the biggest competition of their careers. So it seemed relevant to me, even if it occurred in 2002.

Finally and quite obviously, the 'good looks' line was a throwaway. Both Kwan and Coughlin are far, far better-looking than the goofball under whose picture this column runs.

One More Thing About Looks: We run an equal opportunity ship around here. I'll note that I heard that Joe Shipp is better looking than either the swimmer or the skater.

Quick, who leads the state of California in home runs this season? Why, it's Cal first baseman Conor Jackson, of course. All Jackson did against Pac-10 leading Arizona State last week was bat .462 with three homers and eight RBIs in three games. The sophomore leads the Pac-10 in six categories, was voted a sophomore All-American as well as the greatest player of all time named 'Conor'.

Other Peak Performers: Good to see the men's tennis team have a nice weekend against top-10 conference rivals. They could be a sleeper to make some playoff noise. The softball team took two from the top-ranked team in the land. That speaks for itself.

An update on last week's top story: Drew Gooden, Chris Wilcox, and Yao Ming all declared for the NBA Draft, thus adding three names to the forwards and centers that will get drafted before any Pac-10 player list.

And that means you: Curtis Borchardt.

Apology in advance to the friends and family of Adam Everett: I know I'm a fantasy dork, but legitimately cheering out loud when scrubby Everett got sent to AAA so my scrubby Julio Lugo became the Astros starting shortstop? File that under 'R' for 'Reasons I never get a second date.'

Of fantasy dorks and Astros, Part II: Can I cast a vote for Lance Berkman for Time's Man of the Year?

What I learned from the NFL Draft: 1) The Bengals only exist so Mel Kiper can feel smarter than one GM at every single pick; 2) Joey Harrington will not only be better than David Carr, but he's also a lot funnier; 3) The Giants, Jets or Eagles are required by law to draft somebody from UAB so we can get the obligatory 'longtime season-ticket holders scrunching noses at player they've never heard of' anger shot.

It's becoming the 'Bubka breaks pole vault record' headline of the 21st century: 'Mickelson fades out of contention on Sunday.'

Surefire way to make your girlfriend laugh at you: Cry a bunch of times during 'The Rookie'. All true baseball fans will. All their dates won't.

And finally, welcome to 1991, where a Bush is president and we're ready to go to war in the Middle East: Hulk Hogan just regained the WWF championship. He'll be fighting the Undertaker at the next pay-per-view.

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