Sports 101

After watching the slickly prepackaged, tape-delayed Olympics on NBC, it's time for live sports action. Division series playoffs are under way in Major League Baseball; the NHL opened its season earlier this week, and in the NFL, the St. Louis Rams seem unstoppable. Below, some highlights.

Baseball playoffs

The Chicago White Sox made it into post-season play. Can't you hear the roar in Chicago? OK, maybe not. Instead, the consensus seems to be, why can't the Cubs be in the playoffs instead?

"The Cubs are a national team, and the White Sox quite simply aren't," said NBC's Bob Costas. At least the White Sox bring freshness to the post-season. Haven't we seen the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees, both in the playoffs again, too many times? Other teams in contention include the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, and Oakland A's.

NHL expansion season

Minnesota is back in the National Hockey League (see story, page 20) for the first time since the North Stars fled to Dallas after the 1992-93 season. The Wild will play its first home game Oct. 11 against Philadelphia. The Columbus (Ohio) Blue Jackets are also a new team this year. Since the first expansion in 1967, the NHL has grown from six franchises to 30. Almost all of the 30 teams now play in a new facility or have one in the works. Posh suites and state-of-the-art video and sound systems can be found in almost all rinks. Because of expansion and new venues, league attendance climbed to a record total of 18.8 million last season, up almost 800,000 over 1998-99.

Unbeatable Rams

The St. Louis Rams, last year's Super Bowl champs, have the best record (5-0) in the NFL. Could they match the 1972 Miami Dolphins and become only the second unbeaten team of the Super Bowl era? St. Louis still has 11 games and playoffs ahead, but it averages a phenomenal 43 points per game and outscores its opponents by two touchdowns per game. The Vikings and New York Jets also are undefeated at 4-0, but because of weeks off, they haven't played five games yet.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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