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Scott Ostler

Of Celebrations, Thrillas, Old Times and Unpretty Pleas

January 29, 1987|Scott Ostler

Funny, isn't it, how those special days can sometimes slip by without much notice or fanfare?

There was not a single item in Wednesday's paper about that day being the two-week anniversary of the L.A. Clippers' last win.

No official observance was planned, since the Clippers had a game scheduled, and a Clipper game is hardly an atmosphere conducive to celebrating. Still, sources tell me that a small but tasteless ceremony was held to honor the members of that winning team, many of whom still play for the Clippers.

Cedric Maxwell was flown in to deliver the keynote comment about Benoit Benjamin's weight, and the Clipper players were given half-off discount coupons on parking in the Sports Arena lot.

Memories . . .

Call this one the Thrilla in Manila Folders.

Barring a last-minute settlement, Don Mattingly will soon go to salary arbitration. He is asking $1.975 million. The Yankees are offering $1.7 million.

Now here's a classic battle the game's old-timers can really get behind.

Speaking of old-timers . . . Baseball's old-timers now have their own nationally organized series of games, staged in various cities and sponsored by The Equitable, which, I believe, is a short-order diner in Cleveland.

The best thing about the series is that The Equitable has published a booklet of stats for the 1986 series, with all the old-timers' new batting averages. Doug Ault and Kevin Rhomberg were among the leaders, with impressive 1.000 batting averages. They shared the circuit batting title with 63 other oldies but greaties.

And to think that today's kids, the current major leaguers, consider it a big deal to hit .300! By the way, to head off a deluge of phone calls from Johnny Welaj fans: The 'Laj batted an even .000, 0 for 1.

I'm a little embarrassed about my lack of legal expertise, but can someone explain to me this plea bargaining and sentencing business? Especially as it pertains to athletes.

Typical case: Sam (the Jam) Flam up on charges of first-degree murder and littering. Maximum sentence: 374 years and a fine. Pleads guilty. Ordered to perform three hours of community service, or one hour, whichever fits better into his schedule.

Ex-Cowboy Larry Bethea is found guilty of stealing his mother's life savings, $64,000. Gets four-year suspended sentence. This means, I think, that if at any time in the next four years Larry steals another $64,000 from his mom, he does hard time.

Oversight of the year: At the Super Bowl . . . In honor of the Broncos, the Rose Bowl PA system serenades the fans with a John Denver song. In honor of the Giants, the fans get a Frank Sinatra song, "New York, New York."

Great, but the Giants don't represent New York. Many Giants have never been to New York. They play in another state, New Jersey. Jersey fans might have been more roused by a song sung by one of their local singing stars, like that kid Springster, or Springding or whatever the heck his name is.

Fad prediction: Someone will cash in big by starting a Gatorgram service.

Know someone you'd like to salute on a special occasion? A friend who beat you in racquetball? A landlord who raised your rent? A fellow worker in your office who just took up cigar smoking?

Just phone Gatorgram and a cheerful messenger will sneak up on the target and dump a tub of iced Gatorade on his or her head.

Hey, Boris Becker: Your recent tantrum was trendy and amusing. Box score: One broken racket, two balls thrown at ump, one mouthful of water spat at ump, three balls smashed over fence.

A performance worthy of the Connors-McEnroe tradition, with one subtle difference: When Connors and McEnroe blow up, they usually win. You lost , to Wally Masur.

Pending nickname change: From Boom Boom to Boo Hoo.

Mathematics word-problem: Lewis Lloyd the basketball player lives in a hotel. Or did . During a five-month period, he runs up a room-service tab of $49,000. Figuring 30 days to a month, and subtracting 45 days for travel, that's 100 days. Assuming three meals a day, how much did Lewis spend per meal?

Answer: $163.33, including tip.

Scared Straight Dept.: Following up on warnings of hard-line enforcement at the Super Bowl, Pasadena police arrested one person for ticket scalping and one person for illegal souvenir vending last Sunday.

Word will get around, and you can bet the scalping and pirating that once ran rampant at Super Bowls is history.

Hello? Caltech? Anybody home?

Did you guys oversleep? The Rose Bowl and Super Bowl have passed, and no Caltech pranks. No funny scoreboard messages or exploding, confetti-filled blimps.

Are you guys too busy splitting molecules, or are you simply overmatched by the Rose Bowl security guards? Has Caltech gone wimpy? Just wondering.

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