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Morning Report: Phil Jackson’s creative cap

I don't know about you, but I thought the "X" was pretty cool.

I don't know about you, but I thought the "X" was pretty cool.

That's the yellow "X" cap that coach Phil Jackson slapped on right after the Lakers won the NBA championship - his 10th overall - on Sunday in Orlando.

The dates of Jackson's championship coaching seasons were inscribed on the side of the cap - six with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, four with the Lakers in this decade.

The cap was created by Jackson's agents, the father-son team of Todd and Brian Musburger, who were astonished by the reaction of fans who saw the hat on television.

"Our office has been flooded with calls for them," Todd Musburger told the Los Angeles Times. "We never expected it to mushroom. We expected it to be a private gift to our friend."

The Musburgers have decided to sell the caps for $25 apiece through Jackson has directed that all proceeds go to the American Indian College Fund, Musburger said.

Manny's still there. Manny Acta was still the manager of the Washington Nationals yesterday, three days after reports of his imminent demise hit the national airwaves.

Acta said he spoke with management that day and was told it was only a rumor.

"I don't worry about rumors," he told the Associated Press yesterday.

Washington is a major-league-worst 16-46, has lost 16 of 19 games and is 6-24 on the road. The Nationals' 62-game record matches that of the 2003 Detroit Tigers, who set an AL record for losses at 43-119.

Amazingly, the Nationals right now are one game worse than the 1962 New York Mets, who set a post-1900 record for losing at 40-120.

Finally. The name Sammy Sosa went up on the list of 1990s slugging stars who have been directly tied to steroids.

Long a suspected user, Sosa had never been identified in any of the cases being investigated by baseball or federal authorities.

But The New York Times reported on its Web site that Sosa is one of 104 players who tested positive in baseball's anonymous 2003 survey, which has been the subject of a protracted court fight.

The paper cited lawyers with knowledge of the 2003 drug-testing results, saying that they spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to publicly discuss material under court seal.

Sosa is sixth on baseball's career home-run list with 609. He has not played in the majors since 2007 with Texas.

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez all have been linked to banned substances, and Ramirez is in the midst of a 50-game suspension.

All of which leads to this: The public has made it abundantly clear that nobody cares a whit about the steroid abuse of years gone by.

Reporters are bombarded with e-mails about why we even report such information and "keep the story alive."

My feeling is this - baseball is a game of statistics and its numbers provide virtually the only continual thread back through more than a century of the sport.

If the numbers now are meaningless, what is left of the sport?

If you bring it down to pure entertainment value, then it's just another quirky video game.