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Scott Ostler

Under Any Name, You Can Get All the Answers Here

February 09, 1988|Scott Ostler

Dear Big Sport:

Didn't you used to have another title for this Q-and-A column, like "Answer Man" or something?

Something. Unfortunately, I was recently threatened with a massive lawsuit by lawyers representing a company that claims to have a registered trademark on Answer Man.

I'm not sure what products this company puts out. Canned spaghetti or maps to movie stars homes, maybe.

I plan to fight this legal intimidation, of course. Through my attorneys, I am drafting a formal challenge. I'll play this so-called Answer Man in one-on-one basketball, his driveway or mine, winner take the name. We'll see what this hotshot can do with my sky hook. "Answer this , pal."

Chances are, though, he'll hide behind his attorneys. Alas, this could be the end of an era in sports journalism.

Clipper center Benoit Benjamin missed some action recently with tendinitis of the knee. That helps explain his erratic play. But what's wrong with the Clippers in general?

Chronic Bendinitis.

Instead of a phone call to the locker room, President Reagan congratulated the Super Bowl winners with a message delivered by White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater. The message was, "The President congratulates the magnificent Redskins." Doesn't that adjective seem a bit pretentious for a mere football team?

Don't blame Fitzwater. That's the Redskins' official new name. Owner Jack Kent Cooke, remember, is the same guy who built the Lakers' current home and named it The Fabulous Forum, and who invented nicknames for Kings' hockey players and ordered the names used by his radio and TV announcers.

Now Cooke figures his football team is worthy of being called the Magnificent Redskins. Also, at Cooke's suggestion, President Reagan has formed a committee to study changing the name of his current home to the Wonderful White House, and Fitzwater is now legally known as Marvelous Marlin.

By the way, Cook, energized by his team's thrilling victory, has legally changed his own name to Jumpin' Jack Flash Kent Cooke.

During a recent 10-year period, dues in the NFL player union went up from $350 a year to $2,400. Why?

One theory is that the union began serving expensive cookies at the meetings.

Another theory is the jump in dues has something to do with the $1.2 million the union lost in investments between 1978 and '85, under the leadership of Ed Garvey. Garvey, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Wisconsin, has declined to comment, saying, "Please do not bother me with NFL matters."

If Garvey does as well for Wisconsin as he did representing the NFL players, right now is a good time to phone your broker and unload all your cheese stock.

What happened to the fabled Three Amigos, the Denver wide receivers who signed to endorse all those products and make all those videos?

Because of their collective performance in the Super Bowl, the Three Amigos lost most of their endorsement contracts, although they now plan to endorse candy--Butterfingers and gum drops.

Their much-heralded video has been re-edited, with Super Bowl highlights spliced in, and will be released under a new title: Death of Three Salesmen.

I fell asleep Sunday and missed the NFL Pro Bowl. Where can I see the highlights?

You mean the National Anthem and the coin flip? This game had all the excitement of a Wisconsin luau.

Next year, hoping to ride the coattails of the more exciting NBA product, the Pro Bowl will shift to Houston and will be the halftime entertainment of the NBA All-Star game.

In vigorously marketing its tradition and excitement, isn't the NBA getting a little hokey? Didn't the league make too big a deal recently out of Utah's Rickey Green scoring the NBA's 5 - millionth point? Wilt Chamberlain used to score that many in a week.

To me, Rickey Green's shot was a truly thrilling and historical moment. On my own goose-pimple scale of all-time thrills, it ranked only a shade behind the golden moment when McDonalds sold its 5-billionth (or was it trillionth?) burger.

I saw a newspaper photo the other day of Tom Lasorda showing Mike Marshall how to play third base. Lasorda wore a golf-type sweater with a diamond pattern, slacks and street shoes. Why was Lasorda out of uniform?

He wasn't. That's the Dodgers new uniform. Club officials feel that the team's collapse in recent seasons is due to heavy pressure on the players to live up to Dodger tradition. With the new look, players won't have to worry so much about being compared with Dodger greats like Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson and Jack Fimple.

By the way, in that photo, Lasorda wasn't showing anyone how to play third base. He was trying out.

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