Abbott has hand in motivation

Former Angels pitcher Jim Abbott is 40 and spends much of his time as a motivational speaker.

Born without a right hand, Abbott not only made it to the major leagues, he also threw a no-hitter against Cleveland in 1993 after he had been traded to the New York Yankees.

Abbott told Newsday he mentions the no-no as part of the speech he gives to businesses and schools because in his previous game he had surrendered seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings.

“I was frustrated, down and disappointed,” Abbott said. “I was wondering how I was going to turn it around, and then five days later I had one of the great moments of my whole life.”

The point, he said, is that “you might be down now, but you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

NFL BESTS — Columnist Pete Prisco of has issued his annual list of the 50 top NFL players, and No. 1 is New England quarterback Tom Brady, followed by Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning.

Last year he had Manning one, Brady two.

Brady “earned it in 2007,” Prisco wrote. “Brady broke Manning’s single-season record for touchdown passes with 50. Brady also threw for a league-leading 4,806 yards and topped the NFL in completion percentage (68.9) and passer rating (117.2).”

Third on his list was running back LaDainian Tomlinson of San Diego, and fourth was Patriots receiver Randy Moss.

What of Peyton’s brother Eli Manning, who led the New York Giants over Brady & Co. to win this year’s Super Bowl? Eli didn’t make the top 50.

INFLATION COSTS — As baseball’s interleague play wrapped up this weekend with cross-town rivals playing each other, the struggles of the Yankees and the Mets were ripe for comparison.

“The team with the highest payroll in the majors will be facing the team with the second highest in a tribute to just how little $347 million buys these days,” the New York Post’s Joel Sherman wrote. “You can pay for the entire Colorado Rockies’ roster, with change to spare, simply on the difference between the Yankees’ payroll ($209 million) and the Mets’ payroll ($138 million).”

Sherman noted the Mets trailed Philadelphia and Florida in the National League East, yet “the Mets are outspending the combined efforts of the Phillies and Marlins by nearly $18 million.”

What’s it all mean? Wrote Sherman: “Money doesn’t buy happiness (just ask Willie Randolph), and it doesn’t even guarantee a playoff berth (just ask Willie Randolph).”

HEAVY RULES — Scratch one of the pre-race festivities at today’s NASCAR race in New Hampshire.

The track planned to hold an elephant race but didn’t realize until it was too late that there are “pachyderm permits required to move an elephant across state lines.”

SOCCER TO ‘EM — According to a poll of Spanish soccer fans, 72 percent said they would rather watch a Euro 2008 match than have sex.

In a related story, the Madrid chapter of Planned Parenthood, in cooperation with local broadcasters, announced its most comprehensive abstinence program yet — a 24/7 soccer channel.


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