The top player in U.S. college football is a hockey fanatic. His favourite team: the Vancouver Canucks.
In fact, while in high school in Oklahoma City, quarterback Sam Bradford had a ritual in which he’d watch The Mighty Ducks movie and check out the latest Canucks’ results before turning in for the night.
“Hockey was, and maybe still is, my favourite sport to watch,” said the Heisman Trophy winner, who will lead the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners against the No. 2 Florida Gators in the BCS national championship game Thursday night. “I love the Canucks. (Vancouver goaltender) Roberto Luongo is outstanding.”
• Spring training, believe it or not, begins next month but one of baseball’s premier sluggers remains a ManRam without a home. Not that Manny Ramirez isn’t attracting interest.
“The problem,” an MLB general manager told me yesterday, “isn’t Manny. It’s Manny’s agent. He’s ridiculous.”
Scott Boras has long had a reputation for stubborness. In Ramirez’s case, the agent hasn’t budged on demands for about $20-million U.S. a year, despite the lamentable economy and his client’s age (almost 37).
“Manny’s one of the great hitters of our lifetimes, a clutch batter who’d fit into the heart of every order in baseball,” the aforementioned GM said. “And he might have an attitude issue, too, but the pros outweigh the cons for him. It’s just his agent’s stance that’s hurting him now. If he had another representative, I’m sure he’d have a team by now.”
Ramirez was a major boon on the field and at the box office for the Dodgers after they acquired him in a trade with the Boston Red Sox last season, and Los Angeles continues to pursue him, as do the San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees. Even the Blue Jays might make a pitch for him if they could succeed in their attempts to unload Scott Rolen and/or Lyle Overbay and their guaranteed contracts.
“Manny ultimately will get a contract and will get a lot of money,” the GM said, “but, unless he switches agents, he may not sign any time soon. That just won’t happen. There always has been an owner who’s lost his mind when it comes to offers for players of Manny’s calibre, but I strongly doubt it’ll happen this time. The general consensus is that Boras is just too unreasonable.”
• An athlete who has lowered his financial demands: Shaquille O’Neal.
In November, the NBA star listed his Miami Beach mansion for $35-million. His new asking price: $25-million.
Marty York is Metro's national sports columnist as well as an
instructor at the College of Sports Media in Toronto. He can be heard
regularly on Vancouver radio station CKNW with Sportstalk host Dan
Russell. Contact Marty at firstname.lastname@example.org