Last week KentDesormeaux (above), Sweetnorthernsaint's jockey, issued a proclamation beforethe Preakness: "I guarantee I won't be worse than second." Desormeauxmade good on his promise, placing 5 1/4 lengths behind winner Bernardini (page40). It wasn't the boldest prediction ever, but Desormeaux was smart to allowsome wiggle room. Guaranteeing victory isn't always a wise move. Consider:
With Detroit up 2-1 in its conference semifinal series with the Cavaliers, thePistons' forward declares that Game 4 in Cleveland will be "the last gamehere in this building for this year. You all can quote me." Dulychallenged, the Cavs win two straight. The Pistons eventually win in sevengames (page 36)--but without much help from Wallace (right), who turns hisankle in Game 4 and struggles for the rest of the series.
In February the Thrashers' G.M. promises that the franchise will earn its firstplayoff berth. "If you want to write guarantee, I have no problem withthat," he says. But despite a strong finish, Atlanta misses out. "Therewas so much pressure," says Waddell. Now why would that be?
Before a showdown with the 9-0 Colts, the Bengals' wideout (left) backs into aguarantee: "There's no need for me to guarantee a victory," he says,cockily. And in a way he's right: Cincinnati loses 45-37.
2004 Tony Pe√±a
The Royals' manager makes a bold--and bullheaded--prediction when, with K.C.'srecord at 7-15, he vows, "We are going to win the Central." When theseason ends, Kansas City is in last place, and Pe√±a (right) resigned thefollowing May.
Before the Athens Olympics, the second-youngest player on the U.S. hoops teamsays, "We're guaranteeing a gold medal. We're bringing it back." Thegold winds up in Argentina, while Anthony (left) and friends bring back littlemore than snapshots of the Acropolis. The U.S. finished third.
The Hawks make like Ron Popeil and offer a money-back guarantee: If they don'tmake the playoffs, season-ticket holders will get a $125 refund. The fans gettheir money. Kruger is fired and was last seen selling Showtime rotisseriegrills. (O.K., not really, but he was fired.)
Feeling flush after his 1994 playoff guarantee against the Devils paid off, thecenter (right) celebrates his return to the Rangers with another vow: "I'llguarantee you we'll make the playoffs." Not quite--the Blueshirts finish in10th place in the conference.
PAUL J. BERESWILL (MESSIER)
MATT STROSHANE/GETTY IMAGES (ANTHONY)
ED ZURGA/AP (PE√ëA)
DAVID BERGMAN (JOHNSON)
JOHN BIEVER (WALLACE)
AL MESSERSCHMIDT/WIREIMAGE.COM (DESORMEAUX)