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Today’s effort comes with two disclaimers. One, John Smoltz happens to be one of my favorite players in recent baseball history. Two, now that Smoltz has retired to the broadcast booth, he has become my favorite broadcaster.
People often ask me: What’s your favorite sports story? What’s your favorite you ever wrote?
That’s a hard one. The truth is, I don’t have a favorite.
The next truth is that my favorite sports story is one I’ve never written. Today, I’ll fix that.
Question: What do Iceland, Tunisia, Senegal, Croatia, Costa Rica, Panama and Nigeria all have in common?
Answer: All those countries qualified for – and are playing in – the World Cup, the world championship of soccer.
Here’s the kicker: The United States is not. We. Did. Not. Qualify.
As we all know, Jake Mangum wasn’t selected in last week’s Major League Draft until the 32nd round – a fact that became all the more puzzling after Mangum spurred Mississippi State to a memorable NCAA Super Regional victory over Vanderbilt last weekend.
Mike Slive and I first met in 1995 when he had just been named the new commissioner of a brand new college sports league, Conference USA.
I introduced myself as a sports columnist from Mississippi, and, smiling, he responded, “I am Mike Slive and I am a recovering lawyer.”
Billy Cannon, who died at age 80 over the weekend, remains the answer to a most interesting trivia question:
What native Mississippian scored perhaps the most famous touchdown in college football history, one that still gets replayed countless times nearly 60 years after the deed was performed.