A note on the type: The previous item was written before Japan's defense blew up in Monday night's game.

The pay's not as good, but the hours are better: It looks as if Alfonso Soriano might prefer unemployment to the outfield.

There aren't many unknowns in the world these days, which explains one thing: The fascination with Cuba's baseball team.

This much we can say without fear of contradiction: That Cuban manager can change pitchers three times before Joe Torre can even check his watch.

This is worth noting, just because there isn't yet a reason to believe this will stop anytime soon: Ryan (The Temp) Howard has eight homers this spring.

Can't you see Daunte out at a club saying, "Oh, man, I've got to get home and log on because I think that AP guy might have tried to hit me up on e-mail"? In an Associated Press story about Vikings coach Brad Childress' comparing Daunte Culpepper to Terrell Owens, it was noted that "Culpepper did not respond to an e-mail request for comment."

The beauty of it is: Billy Packer doesn't really care what you think about him.

Fun with numbers: The Missouri Valley Conference and the Colonial Athletic Association have as many Sweet 16 teams (three) as the ACC, Big Ten and Big 12.

There was the UCLA Era, the Bird-Magic Era and the Duke Era, and now we are entering an entirely different kind of era, with an entirely different agenda: The Timeout Era.

And next year, they're going to introduce the under-13:32 and the under-6:17: Seriously, if we have the under-16, the under-12, the under-8 and the under-4 timeouts, does every coach really need to use every one in his allotment?

The absolute best television development in this year's NCAA Tournament, which doesn't necessarily mean the best development for viewers interested in unintentional comedy: No more sideline reporters.

And finally, say this about Bob Davidson: Damn it, nobody's going to even suggest tapping his phone.

Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.



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