Names, names, names. Here are some names that might interest you. :
Willie Mays Aikens, a power-hitting first baseman and designated hitter for the Royals in the early 1980s, was released from prison this week after spending 14 years behind bars for selling cocaine to an undercover policeman. Sad.
In 1980, Aikens became the first player with two multiple-home-run games in the same World Series. Aikens could hit for power, but he couldn't outrun a Plaza statue. In 774 major-league games, Aikens stole just three bases and hit only two triples.
Still, Aikens was a friendly sort, and I treasure a picture of him taken with my youngest daughter during a team Photo Day. The Royals don't have Photo Days anymore. Sad.
Jackie Vasquez, an Arizona State senior, hit .417 and slugged a crucial three-run homer against Alabama as the Sun Devils won the NCAA softball championship earlier this week.
As a Kansas University freshman in 2005, Vasquez hit .260 while starting almost every game in center field. She transferred to ASU after being kicked off the KU team for allegedly accessing an assistant coach's e-mail. Vasquez also accused KU of sexual harassment, a charge later judged unfounded by university officials.
Nevertheless, it should be noted Vasquez was ASU's nominee for the Lowe's Senior Class Award that recognizes excellence in the Four C's - classroom, character, community and competition.
Nick DeBiasse, a freshman on Rice University's baseball team, is active during the Owls' NCAA Super Regional series with Texas A&M. Listed as a first baseman, the former Lawrence High standout - and school valedictorian - also serves as a bullpen catcher.
DeBiasse is scheduled to report to Brainerd, Minn., in the Northwoods League, a wood-bat league for collegians, as soon as Rice's season is over, but that could be awhile if the Owls reach the College World Series.
Tyler Hansbrough, an All-American basketball player at North Carolina, has opted to complete his college career instead of declaring for the NBA Draft, no doubt hoping to improve his tepid standing among pro scouts.
However, now that the NBA has announced it will fine players guilty of theatrical flops beginning next season, his stock may drop even lower.
If the NCAA kept statistics for flops, Hansbrough - a master of the egregious dive - would only be adding to his career lead next season.
When J.R. Giddens was a KU freshman, the buzz was he would turn pro instead of returning for his sophomore season.
In retrospect, Giddens probably should have taken off because after two years at KU and three at New Mexico (one as a red shirt), Giddens is considered little better than a mid-second-round draft pick.
The knock on Giddens: At age 23, he is considered too old.
Wayne Simien, traded from Miami to Minnesota prior to the NBA season, then dropped by the Timberwolves, didn't play a minute during the 2007-08 season.
But thanks to his guaranteed three-year contract as a former NBA first-round draft choice, the former KU standout still earned $997,800. To which Simien may be saying, "Thanks a million, or almost a million, anyway."