By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist

The world of sports has always been plagued by queer superstitions, but most of them are harmless. Nobody really cares if Derek Jeter wears the same moldy jockstrap for 39 straight days, just as long as the Yankees win games -- many games, in fact, including at least four in the World Series.

If I owned a baseball team I would want Jeter on it. He is a certified Winner in more ways than that bitchy-rich shortstop from Texas can grasp.

Geez, what conceivable reason would a pampered whiner like A-Rod have for bad-mouthing Jeter in the national gossip press? It sounds like something Al Gore would say, or a swine like Jesse Helms. I have been planning to announce my personal "Swine of the Week" award for many months, so let's get started right now. We'll give the first one to Alex Rodriguez, who talks like something out of a Roger Clinton cartoon.

The Clinton family is full of hard-core sports fans. His mother spent much of her time at the racetrack, and Roger was big on pro basketball -- until he was permanently barred from Madison Square Garden for his drunken attacks on Knicks fans who got tired of his cursing and screeching. A CBS-TV camera once caught him spitting beer on a man he was attacking from behind with an amateurish Strangle-hold. He was quickly subdued by Secret Service agents, who led him away in a wrist-lock. Roger is a Monster, a mutant brute who should have been put to sleep a long time ago.

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I mention this only because the Yankees are about to get a raucous new fan at the Stadium, and his name will be Roger Clinton, famous brother of incoming New York Mayor Bill Clinton, previously of Washington D.C. That is the best early bet on the Political horizon right now, for good or ill.

Clinton did not move to Harlem on some kind of Jazz-addled whim. No. He just counted the votes. The only thing that might stand in his way is that awkward little matter of Felony crime in Arkansas. Good luck. Clinton is already the Winter-book favorite to be the next Mayor of New York City.

Wow! The Big Apple press will love this one. It is like getting what you always wanted for Christmas -- a guaranteed Nasty headline every day of the week. It is a Gossip-monger's dream.

Indeed, but we were talking about the so-called "Jinx (or Curse) of Sports Illustrated" and how it is deeply feared in the sports world. ... Last week it struck Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, whose wrist-tendon was injured within hours after his bare-chested image appeared on the cover of SI. He could be out of action for the duration of Spring training, said his doctors.

Well, OK -- in the name of Fair Comment I will stay away from that one. But I hate to think what a veteran drillmaster like Pat Riley would say about it: Under Riley's rules, Nomar would find himself on the market within 48 hours.

That is how the meat-market worked in the good old days, when owners saw players more like chattle slaves than employees -- but even now, when the pendulum has swung crazily in the other direction, Malingering is still dark poison for team morale. Like point-shaving or getting repeatedly busted for wife-beating, it has a long-term effect on the won-lost column, and that is bad for business.

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OK, that's about it for sports this time. But I have a flash of Good News from the Police Atrocity front, which is heating up in Denver. Stand back! Good News is rare in the Criminal Justice System, but every once in a while you find it, and this is one of those times.

To wit: The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has formally entered the Appeals trial of young Lisl Auman -- the girl who remains locked up in a cell at the Colorado State Prison for the Rest of Her Life with No Possibility of Parole for a bogus crime. Lisl is a living victim of a cold-blooded Political Trial that will cast a long shadow on Denver for many years to come -- she is the only person ever convicted in the United States for Felony Murder while in police custody when the crime happened.

The NACDL brings a heavyweight presence to this case that will quickly level the playing field. Nobody needs a public fight with a team of Elite warriors from the NACDL. It will be like having to fight Joe Frazier every day for six months. There will be injuries, and there will be more than one trip to the Emergency Room this time. No more easy wins for the black hats. The worm is about to turn. That is also a good early bet. Take my word for it.


Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's books include Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, The Proud Highway, Better Than Sex and The Rum Diary. His new book, Fear and Loathing in America, has just been released. A regular contributor to various national and international publications, Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colo. His column, "Hey, Rube," appears each Monday on Page 2.