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'It's insane. It's off the wall. This is the kind of interest that usually only happens with the baseball playoffs and hockey playoffs.' - Randy Chotin of frontrowtix.com, on high-priced tickets for the women's Final Four games.

Only $1,900 for a seat!

Southwest Missouri State is in the women's Final Four, but most of its fans without deep pockets will be watching on TV instead of from inside the St. Louis arena 3-1/2 hours away. Some 19,600 tickets to see the NCAA semifinals tonight and the championship game Sunday at Savvis Center sold out last summer.

It has created a ripe market for ticket brokers and scalpers - some reportedly seeking as much as $1,900 for a single center-court seat to see top seeds Connecticut and Notre Dame play, along with Southwest Missouri and Purdue.

No Nomar or jeter?

Superstars Nomar Garciaparra (Boston Red Sox) and John Smoltz (Atlanta Braves) won't be ready for the start of the season next week, and Ken Griffey Jr. (Cincinnati Reds) and Derek Jeter (New York Yankees) might be headed to the disabled list, too. Garciaparra is likely to miss the first 2-1/2 months of the season because of an injured right wrist. "It's going to be hard not being part of baseball, period," says the shortstop.

SPARTANS' dual berths

For the second time in three years, Michigan State is sending both its men's basketball (Saturday) and hockey (next week) teams to the NCAA semifinals. The dual berths are a repeat of 1999, when the Spartans played Duke in basketball's Final Four and the hockey team played New Hampshire. Neither Spartan team came home with a national title that year.

BANDANNA BAN

A new rule unlikely to be popular with many NFL players will ban bandannas, which some players like to wear to promote a rebel outlaw image. The league has ruled they violate the uniform code. Skullcaps will still be allowed, as long as they bear the team's logo and colors. Uniform code rules had not included head coverings, says Rich McKay, general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now [the rules cover] the entire uniform."

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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