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Scott Ostler

Once Again, He Has All the Answers to All Your Questions

November 13, 1986|SCOTT OSTLER

Dear Answer Man:

I read that Jerry Buss sold his prize postage stamp, a rare 1867 "1-cent blue Z grill," to an anonymous collector for about $400,000. What will Buss do with the money?

Buss doesn't actually have the cash yet. The buyer is holding up payment pending a technical analysis to verify the authenticity of the stamp. Reportedly, the buyer became suspicious when he noticed the stamp features a likeness of Earvin Johnson.

The Rams seem to have only one pass play in their offensive arsenal. Can you tell me the technical playbook designation for that pass play?

In the huddle, the quarterback's call is "1-cent blue Z grill."

Raider Coach Tom Flores announced Monday, "At this point, I haven't made a total decision, but it looks like Jim (Plunkett) will probably start this Sunday's game against the Browns." I don't speak football. Exactly what did Flores mean?

Flores meant that he had, at that point, made only a partial decision. He had decided definitely to probably start Plunkett, but he hadn't decided what position to start him at.

I was happy to see Mike Scott win the National League Cy Young Award, but the controversy rages--does he or doesn't he cut the baseball? Can you set the record straight? Does Scott, or any other modern-day pitcher, cut the baseball?

I ran into an expert on the subject, Angel pitcher Don Sutton, as he was shaving in the clubhouse after a game. Sutton assured me that the cover on the baseball is very tough and all but impossible to deface or damage. Incidentally, Sutton is the only player I've ever seen shave with his fingernails.

It must have been hard on Wade Boggs this season. He won the American League batting title, edging New York's Don Mattingly, but Yankee fans and the New York press were brutal to Boggs when he sat out the last few days of the season with an injury, "protecting" his batting title. By the way, where does Boggs plan to spend his off-season?

Far from the Mattingly crowd.

Do the Portland Trail Blazers still have a shot at signing Arvidas Sabonis, the talented Soviet basketball star?

The Trail Blazers are trying to hammer (and sickle) out a compensation agreement with the owner of Sabonis' contract, the Soviet government. The Soviets are demanding Red Auerbach, Red Klotz and the formula for Jack-in-the-Box's secret sauce.

Were you surprised by the immature behavior that led to the recent one-game bans from the sidelines of college football coaches Danny Ford of Clemson and Bobby Ross of Maryland? After all, these are grown men, highly paid professionals in important leadership positions.

I'm never surprised at immature behavior by guys named Danny and Bobby. When will these guys grow up? Did Knute Rockne and Amos Alonzo Stagg go by Knutey and Amy? I think not. Seems like all coaches nowadays are named Bobby or Danny. What are they--football coaches or Mousketeers?

All these trophies confuse me. I know the Heisman Trophy goes to the outstanding college football player, and the Outland Trophy goes to the outstanding lineman, but what is the Lombardi Trophy?

The Lombardi Trophy, named for the late Ernie (Schnozz) Lombardi, is awarded annually to major league baseball's homeliest catcher.

Of the 100,000 or so Rose Bowl tickets, only 1,750 go on sale to the general public. Where do the rest go?

Here's the breakdown: 10,000 to each competing school; 10,000 to Caltech in exchange for a promise that the annual Caltech student Rose Bowl prank not involve nuclear weapons or hostages; 10,000 for Secret Service agents, in case the President decides to attend the game; 5,000 to widows and families of Big Ten coaches who have died in the Rose Bowl; and 5,000 to the shirtless, brainless rent-a-freaks hired by concerned Southern California citizens to sit in the stands and get themselves on TV during lulls in the football action, thereby frightening TV viewers in the frozen East and Midwest and discouraging them from a mass migration to L.A. every Jan. 2. The other 60,000 tickets go to the riders in those Rose Parade equestrian units.

It's a great idea, that new pro basketball league for players 6-4 and under. Will there be any spinoff leagues?

Already in the works are plans for a bowling league for lefties only, a springboard diving competition in the Olympics for athletes weighing 400 pounds or more, and a pro chess league for players with an IQ of 75 or below.

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