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A year of food, nudes, news

It might have seemed confusing, but the '98 sports year really was as simple as ABC, which, no, does not stand for Another Basketball Cancellation:

ALL-TIMER: In 13 seasons, he never has been on the All-Star ballot, never appears in a playoff game and never has an everyday job. But baseball loses a memorable one in July when Rex Hudler retires. In his final at-bat, at Triple-A Buffalo, he is hit by a pitch _ in the neck.

BRAWL: A college basketball game between Rhode Island and St. Joseph's is marred by a fight between the mascots. The Rhode Island Ram is ejected for sticking an inner tube over the St. Joseph's Hawk. This is the same Hawk who, three years earlier, had a fistfight with the Temple Owl.

CUT!: Elva Dryer, the defending champion at the 5K Freihofer's Run for Women in Albany, N.Y., pulls out of the race after injuring herself filming a Nike commercial.

DIVORCE: Wayne Huizenga finally finds a buyer for his abandoned Florida Marlins. In tribute, we recall his comment five years ago after attending a meeting with the game's other owners. "Dealing with these guys," he said, "is like having 27 ex-wives."

EXPOSED: Members of the gold-medal-winning U.S. women's hockey team begin cashing in on their celebrity in May when six pose for Rolling Stone magazine covered by only an American flag. One of the players not in the photo is Colleen Coyne. Yes, that's pronounced coin.

FORE!: Keith Poole does something more memorable with a golf club in one day than Casey Martin manages to do all year. The Saints receiver is arrested during training camp after using a 9-iron to attack a man at 2:30 in the morning. A police report states that all those involved had "an odor of intoxicants."

GENIUS: Dolphins CB Patrick Surtain, speaking for defenses everywhere, says, "If we hold them to zero points we have a good chance to win."

HONESTY: In an interview with Playboy, boxer Mike Tyson rips sports writer Wallace Matthews. "(He) called me a "rapist recluse,' " Tyson says. "I'm not a recluse."

INSANE: At baseball's All-Star Game, they trigger a brawl among the fans. At Shea Stadium, security guards are hired to protect them 24 hours a day. On the Internet, some are sold for close to $5,000. All this for Beanie Babies, which are produced in China for about 20 cents apiece.

JUMBLED: Angels P Chuck Finley throws with his left hand and writes with his right, punts with his left foot and kicks with his right. He can play tennis with either hand. Finley is 36 and, he says, "still trying to figure out which one is my dominant eye."

KETCHUP: McDonald's introduces the Boselli Burger in Jacksonville, named after the Jaguars' 6-foot-7 lineman, Tony Boselli. It features three beef patties and a price of $1.99. Only one problem: The restaurant has a hard time finding enough 6-foot-7 buns.

LEGEND: Singer Garth Brooks takes batting practice and homers right- and left-handed. "He has power potential from both sides, and he can sing the anthem," Philadelphia general manager Ed Wade says. "But I don't think we can afford the $30-million a week he makes."

MAALOX: The International Olympic Committee does not ban creatine after declaring the substance is "food." Prince Alexandre de Merode, an IOC executive, says, "You can get ill if you take too much creatine, but if a person stuffs himself with 30 eggs or a kilo of foie gras, he'll damage his liver, too." Good point. Always limit your intake of goose pate to half a kilo.

NAKED: A streaker races across the field at a Rockies home game in April and is arrested and fined $500. Darren Kennedy, 30, later explains that he did it for a good reason. He figured it would be a great way to meet women.

OOPS: Tennessee's Al Del Greco complains that he and not Denver's Jason Elam should be the AFC's kicker in the Pro Bowl. Let's see, Elam had a 63-yard field goal, and Del Greco didn't run on the field for a 49-yard try in the final seconds, costing the Oilers a chance to tie Chicago. Hmmm, tough choice.

PESSIMIST: The Rams fumble, and the Saints pick up the ball and carry it in for a TD. "This," St. Louis broadcaster Gary Bender says, "is scary." The play occurs exactly three minutes into the season.

QUEEN: The NFL fines Vikings LB John Randle $10,000 for excessive face paint.

RADAR: Illinois' football team, which has lost 18 straight games, is scheduled to leave from Decatur for a trip to Washington State, but the plane is three hours late. Why? The pilots thought they were picking up a team in Decatur, Ga., and were halfway there before realizing their mistake.

SPLASH: The Packers are on a 12-hour flight to Toyko for a preseason game. One of the movies shown is Titanic. FB William Henderson says, "The boat's going down, and I'm thinking, "Yeah, this is the perfect movie for us to be seeing on this trip, especially with all that water down there.' "

TIME!: The Angels have games delayed by a locked bullpen door, a mascot shooting T-shirts into the crowd and a rake. Closer Troy Percival asks for mound maintenance before starting the ninth inning, and it takes almost five minutes to find the right tool.

UNREAL: QB Neil O'Donnell is paid $5.15-million by the Jets to play for the Bengals. Ridiculous? O'Donnell made $17-million the past three seasons, $2.3-million more than Troy Aikman.

VIRGIN: Denver WR Justin Armour is a guest on the TV show Politically Incorrect despite the fact he hasn't caught a pass since 1995. Why? Because, at 25, he has never had sex. He shares the stage with Kristin Davis, an actor on the show Sex and the City. During taping, Davis, trying to emphasize a point, taps Armour on the leg. "Don't touch him!" host Bill Maher shouts. "He's ready to explode!"

WANTED: Burglars break into Cheryl Miller's apartment in Phoenix and steal four championship rings, a VCR and three Miller Lites. Also on this particular May day, she blows a tire on her bike, and her brother Reggie's team, the Indiana Pacers, loses Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final.

X-RAY: Angels P Allen Watson misses time after cutting his wrist while opening a beer bottle. Diamondbacks P Brian Anderson hurts his arm riding in a cab. Neither injury, however, is as goofy as the time Kevin Mitchell pulled a muscle throwing up.

YUMMY: Demetrius Felder, a high school basketball player in Virginia, is suspended from the team at Potomac High for biting an opponent's face.

ZANY: After four months of retirement, baseball welcomes back Rex Hudler as a broadcaster for the Angels. "I'm so pumped," he says, "I asked them if they have a seat with a seat belt." When asked about his goals, Hudler says: "I just hope I don't make the people nauseous."

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