Side Lines for Thursday — October 27, 2005

• The Cubs are now on the clock

• Air Force coach reprimanded


The Cubs are now on the clock

By Jim Litke – ASSOCIATED PRESS

HOUSTON — Enough praise about the Chicago White Sox already.

Yes, they waited 88 years for this World Series championship. Yes, they swept the Boston Red Sox in the AL division series, brought the Los Angeles Angels crashing back to earth in the championship series and kept the Houston Astros from ever leaving the launching pad in this mercifully brief Series.

Neat little episodes all, but don’t waste too much time or too many brain cells figuring out whether this is the start of something big. It isn’t. We witnessed much the same thing just last season (see Boston, paragraph above), and at this rate we already know how the next one has to play out. The end of two XXXL-sized droughts in the first five years of the new century can only mean one thing:

The Chicago Cubs are on the clock.

So spare us the wrenching stories about how this World Series wipes away the stain of the 1919 Black Sox. And skip the debate about whether this team was destiny’s darlings, umpires’ pets or just so lucky that even the original Wizard of Oz — the one not named Guillen — could have pulled all the levers required to manage them to a title.

“It’s unbelievable, unbelievable! What a year!” said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, a talisman if there ever was one. Nicknamed “Captain Chaos” soon after coming to Chicago from San Francisco, he was the principal actor in both the contentious dropped third strike and phantom tag against the Angels that led to improbable wins. Small wonder he believes in omens.

“To win 1-0,” Pierzynski said after Wednesday night’s clincher, “that’s the way we started the first half, that’s the way we started the second half and that’s the way we ended it.”


Air Force coach reprimanded

DENVER — Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry met the academy’s new superintendent for the first time Wednesday, and found himself being reprimanded, but not fired, for statements he made about black athletes and recruiting.

The 67-year-old coach, known for his folksy, disarming charm and his homespun sayings, found himself in an imbroglio over political correctness for the second time in less than 12 months.

Last time, it was about religion in the locker room. This time, it was about black football players — or the lack of them — at the academy.

After his meeting with Lt. Gen. John Regni, DeBerry, who is suffering through a 3-5 season this year, issued an apology at a news conference.

“I realize the things I said might have been hurtful to many people and I want everyone to understand that I never intended to offend anyone,” De-Berry said.

On Tuesday, in discussing last weekend’s 48-10 loss to TCU, DeBerry said it was clear TCU “had a lot more Afro-American players than we did and they ran a lot faster than we did.”

“It just seems to me to be that way,” he said. “Afro-American kids can run very well. That doesn’t mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can’t run, but it’s very obvious to me that they run extremely well.”

DeBerry first discussed the topic Monday, telling The Gazette of Colorado Springs the academy needed to recruit faster players and noting, “you don’t see many minority ath-letes in our program.”

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