Back to the future
By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist

There are so many calendars devoted to providing fans key sports dates that I think I saw a "This Date in Memphis Grizzlies History'' boxed calendar on the 50 percent table at Barnes and Noble.

Instead of focusing on the past though, what we need is a sports calendar that looks to the future. Just as the Old Farmer's Almanac prints holidays, weather forecasts, planting guides and astronomy movements for the upcoming year, we need a calendar that prints all the key dates, season forecasts and scheduled events for the coming sports year.

Farmer's Almanac
It never hurts to plan ahead.
And thanks to your friends at Page 2, you finally have one. We studied the league schedules, record books, statistical trends, team histories, individual patterns, meteorological data, animal folklore and actuarial tables for the past century, then combined them with our secret formula to produce the only calendar you'll need for the coming year: "The 2003 Old Farmer's Sports Almanac.''

Jan. 3: New Moon. Buckeye Saving Time begins in Arizona. Repeatedly add overtime to the clock.

Jan. 5: Quadrantid meteor showers visible in northern pre-dawn skies. Pass interference invisible on San Francisco four-yard-line.

Jan. 18: Full Wolf Moon. Heavy rains expected in West. Last possible day to freeze Hall of Famers.

Jan. 20: Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday (observed)

Jan. 25: Chris Mills birthday (unobserved)

Britney Spears
Are you ready for some ... provocatively dressed 21-year-olds?
Jan. 26: Super Bowl Sunday. Traditional day that blonde pop divas may begin wearing black leather chaps, fishnet stockings, garter belts and bustiers in public.

Jan. 31: Raccoons begin mating. Shawn Kemp continues mating.

Feb. 2: Groundhog Day. Folklore: If Jerry West sees shadow, traditionally indicates six more weeks of bad basketball in Memphis.

Feb. 10: Moon in Taurus, Neptune in Aquarius, Heidi Klum and Petra Nemkova in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue.

Feb. 14: St. Valentine's Day (unobserved by men).

Feb 16: Full Snow Moon. Gray whales begin migration to Alaska. Mo Vaughn begins migration to Florida.

Feb. 23: Last Quarter Moon. Michael Jordan un-retirement date (traditional)

March 12: Ember Day. Pleasantly warm in Northeast. Last day to receive flu shots and put local Domino's number on speed-dial before March Madness sets in.

March 18: Full Worm Moon. First day to plant crocuses in mid-Atlantic states and Ken Griffey Jr. trade rumors in Cincinnati newspapers.

March 19:Moon in Virgo. Swallows return to Capistrano, Duke returns to Sweet 16.

March 31: New Moon. Final Four, New Orleans. First day to plant potatoes, replace toner in office copiers.

David Wells
"Well, officer -- I was on my was to a prayer group and ..."
April 6: Daylight Saving Time begins 2 a.m. David Wells returns home from TriBeCa saloons, 5 a.m.

April 10: First quarter moon. Azalea and Tiger seasons opens in Georgia.

April 17: First day of Passover. Official start to Avalanche season in Colorado and Hurricanes season in Carolina. Optimal time to begin octopus-tossing in Detroit.

April 20: Easter. Traditional day for Jesus Colome to rise from Tampa Bay bullpen.

April 26: Moon is in Aquarius, NFL scouts are in war room.

May 11: Mother's Day. Homeland Security level is vanilla. Mets ticket price level is chrome. Manny Ramirez's hair is citron.

May 15: Full Flower Moon. Cubs eliminated from pennant race (traditional).

May 19: Cubs eliminated from pennant race (observed).

May 22: Cubs eliminated from pennant race (official).

May 26: Memorial Day. Indiana temporarily raises state speed limit to 250 miles per hour.

June 2: History worth noting: On this date in 1996, a sports talk radio host responded, "Sorry, I don't have an opinion on that -- I don't know all the facts of the situation,'' when asked for his thoughts on a subject.

Mike Piazza
Dude, the Bon Jovi look went out in like '89.
June 14: Father's Day. Homeland Security level is mocha. Mets ticket price level is copper. Mike Piazza's hair color is blonde with streaks of blue.

June 20: Last Quarter Moon. Traditional day for Denver Nuggets to change coaches.

June 21: Summer solstice. Last possible snow day in Green Bay.

June 24: Mid-Summer Day (traditional). First possible snow day in Green Bay.

July 4: Independence Day. Homeland Security level is cream. Mets ticket price level is platinum. Pete Rose's hair color is Gator-Aid.

July 13: Full Buck Moon. Last day to plant marijuana crop at University of Arizona for fall quarter shipment.

July 16: All-Star Game, Chicago. Home Run Derby followed by Tackle the First Base Coach.

July 22: Dog days continue. Sirius visible at sunrise; enormous men sweating, running laps and vomiting visible at football training camps.

July 27: Moon in Gemini. Americans in Paris in yellow jerseys.

July 28: Moon rides high, earthquake weather next five days in San Francisco, particularly five times a game at Pac-Bell Park.

August 5: History worth noting: On this date in 1999, Barry Bonds said good morning to a teammate and asked how he was doing.

August 12: Full Moon. Dog Days end. Homeland Security level is eggshell. Mets ticket price level is aluminum. Scott Spiezio's hair is chestnut with hints of red.

Ty Willingham
"Guys, I know it's August, but we've been invited to the Gator Bowl."
August 19: Last Quarter Moon. First day college bowls may officially extend invitations to Notre Dame.

August 27: New Moon. Salmon released from Pacific Northwest fisheries return to rivers; released football players return playbooks to coaches.

Sept. 1: Labor Day: Traditional last day you may wear white pants unless also wearing stirrup socks/helmets.

Sept. 3: First Quarter Moon. Buffalo Sabres players report to training camp. Buffalo Sabres owners report to cell block D.

Sept. 10: Full Harvest Moon. Homeland Security level is burnt umber. Mets ticket price level is bronze. Kazu Sasaki's hair is orange with green highlights.

Sept 23: Autumnal Equinox. Last day to harvest corn, first day to complain about BCS rankings.

Sept. 25: New Moon. Snow geese, Expos leave Canada

Sept. 27: Rosh Hoshana. Official reporting date for all players to NBA training camps.

Oct. 6: Yom Kippur. Traditional reporting date for Gary Payton, Allen Iverson and Derrick Coleman.

Oct. 7: Moon in Capricorn. Woodchucks begin hibernating. So do the Atlanta Braves.

Oct. 13: Columbus Day (observed). Last day to plant tulip bulbs in northern states and bury World Series hopes in Boston.

Oct. 20: History worth nothing: On this date in 1998, an NFL player made a routine play without taunting his opponent.

Oct. 26: Daylight Saving Time ends 2 a.m. Game 6 World Series ends 3 a.m.

Oct. 31: All Hallows Eve (not observed by Albert Belle)

Nov. 1: Sadie Hawkins Day. Ducks, Beavers head south.

Michael Jordan
Ahh fall! Time for Jordan to retire again.
Nov. 8: Full Beaver Moon. Michael Jordan retirement date (traditional).

Nov. 11: Veterans Day. Open season on deer, BCS system.

Nov. 22: New moon. Last day to burn leaves in Southwest, first day to burn cars in Columbus, Ohio.

Nov. 27: Thanksgiving. Heavy snow expected across Midwest and south to Texas. Expect stalled traffic in Dallas, Detroit backfields.

Dec. 13: Full Long Nights Moon. Heisman Trophy, Continental Tire Bowl bids awarded

Dec. 20: First day of Chanukah, annual Yankees holiday party/layoff notices

Dec. 21: Winter solstice. Fourth Sunday of Advent, 16th Sunday of NFL season. Three teams no longer in playoff hunt.

Dec. 25: Christmas Day. Steinbrenner rehires Cratchit (traditional)

Dec. 26: First day of Kwanza, 29th game of bowl schedule.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for



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