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Annotated Nostradamus

Nostradamus, a 16th century French physician and astrologer, is the most heralded prognosticator in history -- at least to those who can ignore the fact that we're all supposed to be dead by now. Little is known of the great seer, except he was extremely knowledgeable about sports business, a field which did not even exist during his lifetime. No problem, because Nostradamus knew everything well before it happened anyway.

Anna Kournikova
Will Anna Kournikova finally win her first title in 2001?
Though the language of his predictions is vague, almost like an ancient version of today's horoscopes, his vision was sharp. So here are some of his greatest predictions about the future of the business of sports -- what he said, and what he was really trying to say.

What Nostradamus said: The triumphant cry shall belong to the Blessed Virgin.

What he was really trying to say: Anna Kournikova will finally get her first victory in a small European tournament. Companies seeking her endorsement will pay more, now that Kournikova can finally be called a "champion."

What Nostradamus said: Serious economic problems will persist along with great social unrest.

What he was really trying to say: After baseball's collective-bargaining agreement expires on Oct. 31, 2001, the owners will lock horns with the players until mid-March of the following year. Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of baseball operations, will claim that Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez are supposed to make $252 and $160 throughout the life of their contracts, the misunderstanding a result of the media confusing decimal points with commas.

What Nostradamus said: From a simple soldier shall rise an empire.

What he was really trying to say: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will run around the court like a nut after the Mavericks make the playoffs for the first time in 11 years, heralding a Celtic-like reign until 2012. To show his appreciation, Cuban will buy a planet and space shuttle for his team to travel to it.

Mark Cuban
Will Mavericks owner Mark Cuban finally celebrate a playoff berth?

What Nostradamus said: There will be dissension and fighting over the land. As a result of the panic, incompetent decisions are made by the people in power under enormous stress.

What he was really trying to say: Orioles owner Peter Angelos will continue to whine about a possible Washington D.C. team being placed within his fan-base radius. Bud Selig will decide to keep the Twins in Minnesota as long as cheapskate owner Carl Pohlad agrees to watch every home game from the worst seat in the Metrodome.

What Nostradamus said: The sword shall glisten across the table between two brothers. They depart dead, wounded, or puzzled.

What he was really trying to say: After yet another year of failing to make the playoffs, Bengals president Mike Brown will decide to replace his brain-dead brother Peter with a more qualified director of player personnel. Peter will be wounded and puzzled, but somehow will still wind up in the war room on Draft Day. The Bengals will be put on probation by commissioner Paul Tagliabue after finishing 3-13 again.

What Nostradamus said: In Athenian land shall be the brightest of wisdom.

What he was really trying to say: The IOC will issue many warnings to the Athens 2004 organizers for being behind in preparation for the Olympics. The organizers will discourage the IOC from changing venues by sending them olive branches and fig leaves.

What Nostradamus said: Through smooth talking, he shall recapture one's ears.

What he was really trying to say: When the ratings sag in the fourth week of the inaugural XFL season, all-star marketer Vince McMahon will hire Howard Stern as an analyst for all nationally broadcast games.

What Nostradamus said: The voice of unusual bird shall be heard over the gun in the stage of exhaustion.

What he was really trying to say: Ravens owner Art Modell will sell his 51 percent stake in the Ravens shortly after his team wins the Super Bowl, using the money to send get-well cards to all long-suffering Browns fans.

What Nostradamus said: One day two great masters shall be friends, their power then shall be augmented.

What he was really trying to say: After the 2001 baseball season, the YankeeNets (and Devils) conglomerate will finally start its own sports network, which aside from broadcasting the games, will feature a lineup including: a talk show hosted by George Steinbrenner and Stephon Marbury, a fashion program starring Derek Jeter and Byron Scott, and a Yankees classic channel -- featuring only the games from their championships -- no reruns needed.

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for, can be reached at

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