Many were called, but only a few chosen. Some worthy venues that didn't make the cut in a highly subjective list:

* The Speedways . . . Daytona and Indianapolis. NASCAR has overtaken and passed the Indy discipline to become the national pastime of an automobile-fixated nation. But there remains something special about 350,000 fans roaring at the sentence, "Gentlemen [and gentlewomen] start your engines."

* Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland. Golf's Bethlehem. But with more wind and sand.

* Melbourne Cricket Ground. Cricket is big in Oz, but the real fun starts when 100,000 blokes gather to cheer on the lightly padded mayhem of Aussie Rules football.

* Old Trafford, Manchester, U.K. Home of the world's most valuable sports franchise, Manchester United, which is owned by the Glazers, who also own the Tampa Bay Bucs.

* The Palestra, Philadelphia. Omitted from the Top 10 only because it's our gym. Included here for out-of-town readers. College basketball is played there.

* Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho (Maracana), Rio de Janeiro. It is the home office for "The Beautiful Game" of Brazilian soccer - part art, part carnival, all national religion. Capacity is just under 200,000. Do not cross the moat. You will be tasered. *

- Bill Conlin