YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Scott Ostler

It's Sure a Good Thing You Can't Talk Your Way Into World Series

October 19, 1987|SCOTT OSTLER

Just wondering . . .

Shouldn't we be calling this the World Consolation Series?

The Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants were clearly the best teams in their respective leagues, according to experts--several Tiger and Giant players. Shouldn't we at least hold an Alternative World Series between the Tigers and Giants? Call it the Sour Grapes Series?

Or should we just send the Tigers and Giants to charm school, where they could learn to take defeat like big boys?

"I respect the Cardinals but I still think we're the best team," Jeffrey Leonard of the Giants said.

You can say that when you lose in love, Jeffrey, but this is baseball, with electronic scoreboards.

"They were the best team in this series but we were the best team over the 162-game season," Alan Trammell of the Tigers said.

Maybe Leonard and Trammell are right, and the system is wrong. Maybe the solution is to play a seven-game regular season, followed by a best-of-162 playoff series.

We're all going to miss the Jack 'n Gene show, aren't we?

Those nightly strike updates by Donlan and Upshaw, quibbling and accusing like third-graders, have become an exciting part of our lives. Let's hope a network will sign them to co-star in a new version of "The Odd Couple." Two lovable knuckleheads, representing opposite sides in a big sports labor dispute, share a Manhattan apartment and argue over who did the dishes last.

May I speak for all of us?

Hey, all you NFL strikeballers. Yes, you. You nutty, gutty, big-hearted, pipe-dreaming lugs--thanks for the memories. And please make sure you gather all your personal belongings before de-teaming.

Did the NFL owners play the players like so many violins, or what?

Exhibit A: Lawrence Taylor, saying he had to go back to the New York Giants because he couldn't stand to see the Giants' strike team losing games.

Strikeball was the perfect strikebreaking tool. It exploited the players' competitiveness, forcing them to squirm while the sub team was either screwing up the season or having all the fun. And it gave the weaker-willed players an easy rationalization for leaving the picket line and going back to work.

Who threw the most junk during the major league playoffs--the St. Louis Cardinal fans or the Tiger pitching staff?

Those urbane and sophisticated Cardinal fans, by showering Jeffrey Leonard with garbage, certainly shot down Hac-Man's allegation that St. Louis is a cow town.

If George Steinbrenner is determined to hire Billy to manage his New York Yankees, can't George at least hire a different Billy, instead of the same old Billy Martin, the Yankees' four-time loser?

George, here are a few Billys you might consider as your next manager (some are dead, but at least you know they would be there when you phone 'em): Billy Crystal, Billy Murray, Billy H. Rehnquist, Billy Dee Williams, Billy The Kid, Billy the Conqueror, Billy F. Buckley, Wild Billy Hickok, Billy (The Refrigerator) Perry, Billie Holliday, Billy (Babe Ruth) Bendix, Billy Goat Gruff.

Is Miami football Coach Jimmy Johnson a courageous crusader?

Single-handedly, Johnson is waging a battle against higher admission standards for football players.

"Where we're headed (higher admission standards at Miami), it's going to severely hurt us," Johnson said, lashing out against school administration proposals.

If the power-crazed Miami authorities win this one, forcing prospective Miami U. players to meet regular admission standards, next thing you know they'll also impose harsh academic, moral and ethical standards. Football players will be reduced to the level of mere students. It's scary.

Can there be any doubt now that the NFL owners had the fans' best interests at heart during the strike?

Had the owners taken the easy way out and allowed the returning strikers to suit up and play Sunday, the games would have been a mockery, a sham. The strikers are out of shape, mentally and physically. Had those players been allowed to rejoin their teams two days before the games, America's sports fans would have been exposed to an embarrassingly sloppy and substandard level of football.

The owners have too much respect for us to allow that.

What do Whitey Herzog and Tom Kelly have in their mouths? Can it be removed by surgery? Are there paramedics in the dugouts, in case either manager dislocates his jaw or sprains his tongue battling whatever it is in there?

What do Whitey and Tom do, sit down in the morning and say to themselves: "I'm going to be on live national television tonight, about an hour's worth of tight close-ups of my face, so how can I look my best?"

Personally, I don't mind the spitting and dribbling, if it helps these guys think more clearly. Maybe more of us should give it a try. Now, where was I?

Los Angeles Times Articles