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Scott Ostler

It Is the Perfect Day for Giving Thanks

November 26, 1987|Scott Ostler

What better day than this, sports fans, to pause and give thanks for . . . Bo. A ray of light--make that a laser beam--in an otherwise drab and dreary local pro football season.

Pedro Guerrero. His transition from sulking slug to dedicated hustler was proof that bad attitude doesn't have to be a terminal disease.

Irwindale. Because the Irwindalites have true grit, literally and figuratively. Give these folks credit. Did your town come up with an ingenious plan to keep the Raiders in Los Angeles, then back it up with $10 million in pocket change?

Mugsy Bogues and Spud Webb. Because kids need heroes they can look down to.

Minnesota's baseball fans. Because they showed you can have a good time without going on a drunken rampage and trashing your city.

Charles White. Because he cleaned up his act and is serving as a role model for recovering druggies. If White doesn't fumble this carry, he deserves some kind of MVP.

Blaring, intrusive commercials on stadium message boards, because they help us decide what products not to buy.

The reassuring feeling that we can leave the TV off all this Thanksgiving day and not worry that we're missing a whiz-bang NFL game.

The Skins Game. As long as we can find several million bucks to distribute to four zillionaire buddies for playing one round of golf in their spare time, can our economy really be in bad shape?

Bob Knight for showing restraint and compassion in not firing the entire Indiana University administration after it mildly chastised Bobby Baby for acting like a world-class buffoon.

Air Zampese. If Ernie Z hadn't come along this season and convinced Ram coach John Robinson to open up and air it out, Jim Everett would never have been allowed to throw those 13 passes Monday night.

The NFL. Because it sent the L.A. Coliseum Commission a check for $19.6 million, to cover court-awarded damages. Now the commission can go out and buy a new commission.

The Seattle SuperSonics. Because they have stared down the Lakers and created the best rivalry in the NBA West. How could you not fear a team led by a glowering and graceful player named X? Did Ian Flemming invent this guy?

Ron Brown catching that touchdown pass Monday night. You hate to think what kind of miserable Thanksgiving Brown would be having now if he had to dwell on dropping that earlier cinch TD bomb from Everett. And let's not even speculate on Art Monk's present state of mind. Please pass the gum drops.

Coaches George Raveling, Walt Hazzard, John Robinson and Pat Riley, who are seldom reluctant to speak their minds and therefore make the games more interesting to the public.

Andre Dawson, the plucky lad who played for peanuts, called the owners' collusive bluff and proved that money is not the prime motivation for all pro athletes.

Larry Holmes, because he's coming out of retirement at 38, and masochists need role models, too.

Tom Kelly, Minnesota manager, because dead people need role models, too.

Howard Johnson, an inspiration. Despite the harassment and unfounded accusations, the Met slugger stayed on top, like a bobbing cork.

Fernando. Over the last five years, name a more consistent pitcher or a better all-around guy.

The parking toll booth attendants at Anaheim Stadium. Because they always welcome me. I bet they say that to all the customers, but it's a nice touch.

Bob Boone, because a great catcher gunning down a great baserunner is one of the most exciting plays in baseball, and old Boonie can still get it down.

Rodney Peete, for the most exciting performance last Saturday by any athlete not ridden by Bill Shoemaker.

The Raiders for not giving Bo the ball 30 times a game. You hate to see grown defensive men cry.

The new dimples on golf balls, which give us hit-'em-to-all-fields players better distance and a chance to do some meaningful damage to nearby neighborhoods.

The new baseballs, which brought back the home run. I don't know who was responsible for juicing up the ball, but I notice they're all stamped, "Air Ueberroth."

TV people who skip the fluff and dig for real stories, like the crew of Roy Firestone's Laker pregame show.

Jerry Buss and Al Davis, because you'd hate to see guys like Magic Johnson and Bo Jackson traded to Indianapolis.

Performers like Kirby Puckett, Michael Jordan, Ozzie Smith, John Elway, Jackie Joyner-Kersee . . . Because they make the games fun to watch.

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