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Scott Ostler

In Sports, Every Question Deserves a Second Opinion

March 19, 1985|Scott Ostler

News item: Defensive end Jack Youngblood of the Rams rejects doctors' recommendation that he undergo back surgery before playing football again.

Comment: Fortunately it's only Jack's spine, not something serious like a finger or appendix.

Actually, Youngblood sought a second opinion, and will undergo treatment recommended by noted orthopedic specialist Matt Millen.

The Millen treatment consists of putting whatever body part hurts you into a carpenter's vise and yanking it around until it feels better.

Caution, for you kids at home: This treatment is not recommended for eye injuries.

News item: After a disappointing '84 season, Cecil Cooper, Milwaukee Brewer first baseman, joins the nontalkers. He won't talk to the press this season, in order to avoid that "distraction."

Comment: This will free Cooper to do the important things ballplayers do to get ready to play, such as play cards, open mail, play loud music on loud-music players, chew tobacco, spit tobacco juice on the floor, and change shoes.

Good luck, Cec. If not talking to the media improves your performance, let me know. I might try it myself next season.

News item: Michael Cooper injured on dance floor, out for season.

Comment: If you missed this item, it's because it's just being reported now. Cooper was among the celebrators at a 40th birthday party for Laker coach Pat Riley at a swank nightclub Sunday night.

Somehow, Cooper stumbled and fell to the dance floor, clutching his right knee. Riley and Laker team doctor Steve Lombardo rushed to Cooper's side. Lombardo instantly diagnosed a serious knee injury.

Fortunately for the Lakers, Cooper recovered completely in about two minutes, jumped to his feet, high-fived co-conspirator Lombardo and boogied across the dance floor.

News item: David Bey, in a press conference after losing to Larry Holmes, claims he was weakened by a cold.

Comment: A weak alibi, at best. Once again the sport of boxing is embarrassed by its failure to install an efficient system of prefight examination and certification of excuses and alibis.

Fighters should be required to fill out a simple form, something like this: "Check any and all of the following items that apply to your present condition--overtrained, undertrained, detached retina, detached spatula, sore hand, dislocated spleen, malaria, dandruff . . . "

Too many fighters are stepping into the ring poorly prepared for post-fight alibi making, and it's time for reform.

News item: Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth welcomes Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays back into the game.

Comment: Ueberroth is putting together a solid resume. He saved the Olympics, saved Los Angeles from chaos during the Olympics, saved trillions of dollars on the Olympics, saved the World Series, saved baseball's two greatest living legends from exile . . .

Next thing you know, Ueberroth will do something really crazy, like finding jobs in baseball for Mantle and Mays, so they don't have to work for casinos.

News item: Washington, USC, Oregon State and Arizona eliminated from NCAA tournament.

Comment: For sale, cheap: Copy of fact-packed, 29-page media guide, "1985 Pacific 10 Conference Post-Season Basketball." Mint condition.

News item: USFL attendance down.

Comment: It's time for the USFL to make the switch to indoor football. That would cut overhead, since the game would be seven-man football, and cheerleading squads could be cut in half. Moving indoors would also boost scoring, since the field would be 40 yards long.

Also, with a Plexiglass wall around the field, there would be no running out of bounds to avoid tackles.

Sure it sounds like a radical move, but look what switching to a smaller, indoor format did for the popularity of such sports as soccer and bowling.

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