Questions, always questions. Here are a few posed by Bernie Lincicome of the Chicago Tribune as the opening of baseball season approaches:
--"Wouldn't Gene Mauch be the ideal Cub manager, a man who hasn't won a pennant in 25 years running a team that hasn't won one in 42?"
--"How many Ripkens does it take to get Baltimore out of last place?"
--"Have the New York Mets peaked or are more indictments on the way?"
--"When is Bill Buckner's World Series video coming out?"
--"Is Vince Coleman still buried under a tarpaulin?"
--"Which one is Hillerich and which one is Bradsby?"
--"Who is the player to be named later?"
--"What is the magic number?"
Former umpire Ron Luciano, on the changes in the national pastime: "When I started, it was played by nine tough competitors on grass in graceful ballparks. By the time I was finished, there were 10 men on each side, the game was played indoors, on plastic, and I had to spend half my time watching out for a man dressed in a chicken suit who kept trying to kiss me."
Remember when Boston pitcher Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd got into trouble with the law over some unreturned videos? According to Steve Fainaru of the Hartford Courant, the incident has come to be known as "The Can Film Festival."
From Marty Noble of Newsday: "Members of the Japanese team that played the Mets the other day had time to kill before their plane left Tampa, Fla. The Nippon Ham Fighters made two requests of their bus driver. They wanted to see a shopping mall and a 'girlie show.' "
Trivia Time: Name the only coach who has won both NIT and NCAA titles with teams from different schools. (Answer in column two.)
Said interim Coach Jerry Reynolds after the Sacramento Kings ended a six-game losing streak with a one-point win over the Seattle SuperSonics Sunday night: "I had a vision last night that The Lord came to me and said that if we don't start winning, that he was going to take me instead of Oral."
When New Jersey Net Coach Dave Wohl chided the Washington Bullets' Manute Bol for bragging about his blocked shots, Bol's agent, Frank Catapano, said: "You tell that Ivy League wimp that the next time they play the Nets, Manute is going to dunk him."
Said Oakland A's pitcher Joaquin Andujar when asked how he would pitch to himself: "I'd throw me a fastball right down the middle. What do you think, I'm going to try to get myself out?"
Add Andujar: On the subject of fans, he said: "They think they pay our salaries, but what about Pittsburgh. Nobody goes to the stadium there, and they still get paid."
Did Frank Robinson have trouble communicating with his players when he managed at Cleveland and San Francisco?
That's been one of the raps, but Robinson, now a Baltimore coach, says: "I had no trouble communicating. The players just didn't like what I had to say."
Trivia Answer: Pete Newell. He coached San Francisco to the 1948-49 NIT title and California to the 1958-59 NCAA title.
Charlie Kerfeld, Houston Astro relief pitcher, asked what he does on his days off: "I go out and do what we call, back home, slam dancing--go out and butt our heads and stuff like that."