Let's applaud linebacker Michael A. Jones of the Rams, who in October made himself part of the St. Louis County Family Court Mentor Program for troubled youth. Jones was the first sports figure ever to get involved.

I don't hate Tony Banks. I just don't think he'll find his game in St. Louis. It's the old Andy Van Slyke syndrome: The potentially great Cardinal outfielder of the '80s didn't prosper until he went to Pittsburgh.

For televised-sports viewers, one of the nightmares of the year was the commercial for the Isuzu Amigo. The spot, which featured a gummy jingle based on the old Slinky toy ad, made its debut on the Super Bowl and continued to run through the NCAA basketball finals. Isuzu claims the Amigo's sales are up. If so, ads that irritate surely are the most effective.

And who can forget the sweet couple in the Schnucks grocery spots, shown during Cardinal games last summer? In one ad, the playful man reaches across the woman's lap, stealing food from her plate. Stop, she warns, or "you'll be out at home." My thinking is either filthy or foolish, but I think that's an odd lot of innuendo to be served up by the "friendliest stores in town." Were they aware of the drift?

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