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Gene Wojciechowski

Sometimes the Cup Is Half Empty

September 06, 1987|Gene Wojciechowski

For those who say you have to take the good with the bad, that there are two sides to every coin, that life is a double-edged sword (continue with the cliche of your choice), you're in luck. Available now is the latest list of local sports dilemmas.

A sampling, tailored to optimists and pessimists, alike:

The good news is that benevolent Angel owner Gene Autry, after a phone call from National Football League Commissioner Pete Rozelle, agreed to permit the Rams to play their home opener at Anaheim Stadium.

The bad news is that Rozelle called collect. Also, Autry has been seen asking for directions to local gravel pits and landfills.

The good news is that tight end Tony Hunter said his knee is coming around and that he'll be ready any day now. Oh, and guys? Maybe we can talk about that silly grievance concerning more money. Three hundred thousand dollars will do just fine this year.

The bad news is that Hunter, described in this season's Ram media guide as the "prototypical tight end who needs only to remain healthy to become a force in the NFL" (Fiction alert! Fiction alert!), is gone. He was placed on the prototypical waiver wire.

The good news is that the Rams reacted promptly, responsibly and with compassion when running back Charles White was arrested for being under the influence of a chemical substance Aug. 21. White presumably will be allowed to stay as long as he successfully completes an outpatient rehabilitation program, takes a daily urine test and persuades a North Orange County Municipal Court judge that he belongs on a football field rather than in a cell block.

The bad news is a question: What if this had been a no-name free agent who played third-team guard, rather than White, a reliable and much-needed backup to Eric Dickerson?

The good news is that Cal State Fullerton, after an exhaustive and, at times, desperate search, hired Larry Cochell, formerly of Northwestern University, as its new baseball coach.

The bad news is that there are rumors that Cochell, who had declined an earlier offer from Fullerton Aug. 28, may have been misled during his most recent visit to Orange County. Reportedly said Cochell: "This is great. We get to play in Anaheim Stadium, and everything!"

The good news is that an Irvine team advanced to the championship game of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

The bad news is that they were beaten, 21-1, on national television by a team from Hua Lian, Taiwan. Afterward, manager Bob Garcia complained that his players weren't allowed to leave the premises, not even to see a movie. He suggested that the Little Leaguers, housed in spartan conditions, were prisoners of sorts. Angry World Series officials denied the charges, but did vow to modify the living facilities and, as an added treat, supply Pudding Pops and show "Boys Town" at next year's gala affair.

The good news is that the Rams may have discovered an able linebacker in rookie Larry Kelm.

The bad news is that it took injuries to Carl Ekern and Mark Jerue to find out.

The good news is that members of the Cal State Fullerton football team will see America this year, thus broadening their horizons.

The bad news is that Fullerton, which visits seven campuses in six states (Hawaii, Louisiana, Utah, California, Florida and Illinois) must play games at each stop.

The good news is that Angel pitcher Don Sutton says he doesn't use a piece of sandpaper glued to his hand to scuff baseballs.

The bad news is that Ace Hardware reportedly is wooing Sutton for an endorsement package, going so far as to offer one of those nifty red jackets to wear. Also, frustrated in its search for Sutton's alleged scuffing utensils, the American League office has announced that it might X-ray the Angel pitcher's perm.

The good news is that Eric Dickerson, who wants a pay raise, hasn't allowed his salary to affect his exhibition season performances.

The bad news is, that may change as soon as Dickerson hears of the six-year, $12.85-million package Denver quarterback John Elway will sign soon. Elway's 1988 base salary is expected to be $1.4 million, which is two times more than Dickerson will earn next season. Dickerson should do one of two things:

--Insist on trying out for Ram quarterback.

--Get traded to Denver.

The good news is that Augie Garrido, now employed by the University of Illinois, received the kind of job that college baseball coaches dream about: big program, big money, big perks. Congratulations.

The bad news--for the newly hired Cochell--is that Garrido plans to return to Southern California for recruiting.

The good news is that Wally Joyner has surpassed his numbers from a wonderful, memorable rookie season.

The bad news is that it doesn't matter--not this year, not with this team.

The good news is that the Angels (66-70) remarkably find themselves only 6 1/2 games out of first place in the dreadful American League West--the division nobody wanted.

The bad news is that the fellas from Hua Lian are thinking of joining the AL West next season.

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