Scott Ostler

You've Only Seen the Half of It; There's Still Less to Come in '86

July 09, 1986|Scott Ostler

The year 1986 is half over, and it's time to look back on the first half, to evaluate, to analyze, to reflect and to decide whether we want to go ahead with the rest of the year or cut our losses and move directly to '87.

So far . . .

George Steinbrenner, saying he needs more adventure and excitement in his life, serves as guest conductor for the New York Pops orchestra. After the performance, Steinbrenner announces he's moving the tuba player into the violin section, ships the cymbal player to Columbus and tells the musicians they "sound like Ozzy Osbourne's rejects."

The St. Louis Cardinals cut weak-hitting Mike Jorgensen and then hire him as batting coach. At midseason, the Cardinals are dead last in the major leagues in team batting. Several Dodgers reportedly consider retiring to become fielding coaches.

Bo Jackson spurns a rich football offer to sign a baseball contract. Scouts predict he'll be the next Mays, Mantle and Clemente rolled into one. So far, he looks like the next Danny Ainge and John Elway rolled into one.

Steve Howe gets another chance. . . . Then another. . . . His fastball is clocked at 95 m.p.h. Only a couple of years ago, his life style was clocked at 250 m.p.h.

Steve Carlton gets another chance. The Giants pick him up, let him pitch. And he decides to talk. His first words, to manager Roger Craig, "Which way to the showers?"

Jack Nicklaus wins the Masters. Inspired, John Henry announces he's coming out of retirement.

Charlie Hough breaks a finger while shaking hands. Wade Boggs injures ribs while taking off his cowboy boots. The Oriole mascot bruises a hip in falling off the dugout roof. Alarmed by the wave of freak injuries, baseball owners band together and pass a rule forbiding players from shaking hands while wearing cowboy boots and a bird costume. Joaquin Andujar is the first player to violate the rule.

PGA Commissioner Deane (the Dream) Beman fines and suspends golfer Mac O'Grady for calling Beman names. Fortunately for U.S. citizens, Beman is bypassed when President Reagan appoints a new Supreme Court justice.

The City of Oakland loses its final appeal to have the Raiders returned to Oakland. To recoup the tremendous legal expenses incurred in the long battle, the City of Oakland announces it will sue itself for gross misuse of public funds.

Yankee pitcher Ed Whitson refuses to pitch at Yankee Stadium because of booing fans. His agent likens pitching in the Stadium to fighting in Vietnam. The agent is drafted by the U.S. Army and traded to the Nicaraguan contras for a vat of hog fat.

The Cincinnati Reds invite free agent Rollie Fingers to spring training, but only if he'll shave his mustache. Inspired, the Soviet national track team extends the same invitation to a former female shotput champion.

Al McGuire calls reports of college cheating "overexaggerated." Cardinal Manager Whitey Herzog says the Cardinals just might have the best defense ever. The lounge at Caesars Palace books Al and Whitey as a comedy act.

Retired football player John Matuszak goes on trial for assaulting a wrestling promoter with a chair and swinging a bikini-clad male dancer and throwing him onto a table. Inspired NBC execs decide to include this event in the annual "Superstars" competition.

For the L.A. audience, NBC shows a Raiders vs. Patriots pregame show but blacks out the game and shows an Elvis Presley movie instead. Fortunately for Raider fans, the Elvis movie is "The Al Davis Story."

Dominic Frontiere, husband of the Ram owner, is accused of scalping Ram Super Bowl tickets. John Shaw, Ram vice president in charge of finance, is accused by a national magazine of betting on NFL games, including Ram games. And I'm still trying to think of a punch line.

The Dodgers drop into last place in the N.L. West just as the video "The Dodgers Way to Play Baseball" hits the market. Nevertheless, the video zooms to No. 2 on the charts, right behind "The Michael Jackson Method of Arm Wrestling."

A deer hunter is indicted for allegedly buying stolen trophy deer antlers and having them surgically transplanted onto the head of another deer, and then claiming a record kill. Two fishermen are arrested and charged with cheating in a bass fishing tournament. And Santa Claus is arrested and charged with 8 trillion counts of burglary and cookie theft.

Astro Manager Hal Lanier bans his players from watching "Wheel of Fortune" on the clubhouse TV during games. The players agree to Lanier's demands but refuse to give up their nightly shuffleboard tournaments.

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