Idon’t want to burst any bubbles here, but if Barry Sanders’ father has to make an appointment to talk to his son, just how influential can he be?

I mean, imagine the big “showdown” this weekend.

DAD: Barry, I’m here. Let’s talk.

BARRY: And your name is …?

Believe me, all this entire sad affair proves, once again, is when they say it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.

Speaking of money, 37-year-old Derek Harper said in snubbing the Pistons,
“There isn’t enough icing you can put on that cake.” I say at his age, Derek should be happy anyone is offering him dessert.

Personally, I believe Harper wants to return to his film career so he can work with Richard Gere again, under his stage name, Lou Gossett.

Here was a story I never expected to see. Uwe Krupp, the constantly injured Red Wings defenseman, accused of violating his contract because he went
(tee-hee) sled-dog mushing.

It’s true. The Wings want to know how Krupp — who can’t get his back healthy enough to play hockey — managed to stand behind dogs for many miles of snow and slush. A better question might be …”Why?”

Besides, isn’t sled-dog racing a lot harder on the dogs’ backs than the humans’?

So I guess being at Notre Dame had a little to do with Lou Holtz’s coaching
“genius” after all.

Which doesn’t say much for Bob Davie’s future.

By the way, I hope all those people who accused Bobby Ross of being a blooming idiot for benching expensive Scott Mitchell last year — only two games into the season — are sending the same comments to Baltimore coach Brian Billick.

Remember, Ross had tolerated Mitchell for an entire season before giving up. Billick — the man who rebuilt Randall Cunningham’s career — caved on Mitchell after seeing him twice.

One more year like this, and they really ought to gold-plate Mitchell’s clipboard.

I sure will miss former Red Wing Dino Ciccarelli now that he’s retired from the NHL. He was a real role player. Of course, his great role was under his pseudonym, Robert Blake, in the TV series “Baretta.”

So I guess if they make a sitcom out of Andre Agassi’s love life, it’ll be called “Suddenly Steffi.”

Help me out here. Now that Tiger Woods is being hailed as the patriot of our Ryder Cup team, are we paying him the $500,000 he wanted or not?

Merging the Yankees and Nets into one business operation is like merging Pavarotti and Weird Al Yankovic into one opera.

I always wondered what became of Todd Bridges from the TV show, “Diff’rent Strokes.” And now I know. He grew up to be the new welterweight champion, Felix Trinidad.

MITCH ALBOM can be reached at 313-223-4581 or albom@freepress.com. Listen to Mitch’s radio show, “Albom in the Afternoon,” 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM
(760).

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