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Mike Downey

For Inquiring Minds That Want to Know

February 05, 1989|Mike Downey

Sex, violence, wretched excess--golly, there sure is a lot for us to talk about today.

Call Oprah and Geraldo. We hardly know where to begin. What about Wade Boggs? Or how about college basketball crowds, which are becoming as dangerous as street gangs? What about America's most exciting game show--Arbitration? ( Orel Hershiser! Come on down! ) Or how about that slumping Loyola Marymount basketball team, being held below 200 points the other night?

Boy, subjects, subjects, subjects! We'll probably get around to just about everything today, except maybe Hale Irwin getting conked in the skull with a golf ball at the L.A. Open. His head injury was so severe, they offered him a job with the Clippers.

Let's start with Boggsy, shall we? Third baseman, Boston Red Sox, batting champ. Old Boggsy hardly ever makes a mistake out there on the diamond. Trouble is, diamonds turned out to be Margo Adams' best friend.

Adams is the Costa Mesa lady who has just completed a circuit clout, all the way from Phil Donahue's TV show to a picture-story spread in Penthouse magazine, by virtue (cough) of having spent a considerable amount of time as Wade Boggs' traveling companion, nocturnal nuzzler and hot-to-home-run-trot round-tripper.

Well, we thought we had heard the last of old Margo. She sued Boggsy for a few jillion dollars in expenses, helped get him lots of ink in the papers, helped get him into hot water at home (although heaven knows Wade boiled most of this water himself) and told Donahue and his viewers that she and Boggsy often conducted something called "Delta Force" raids, during which they busted in on other players in their hotel rooms and recorded photographs of them unsuitable for bubble-gum cards.

Boggsy somehow smoothed things over at home, won another batting title, then waited to see how long Dame Margo would keep filing lawsuits that would get tossed out of court. All became quiet on this front until it was revealed that Adams would reveal some pretty embarrassing details about Boggsy and other ballplayers in a two-part series in Penthouse, that distinguished sports publication we have come to know and loathe.

High anxiety is being experienced by certain athletes who fear they will be exposed by Adams' expose. They are nervous that their moonlight walks and strikeouts off the field are about to become common knowledge, that spooky old Morticia Adams is going to mention the women with whom these players have been getting to first base.

We were not sure what repercussions might come of all this, but even before these articles have been published, Wade Boggs has said in a televised interview that he recently watched one of Geraldo Rivera's shows--Donahue, eat your heart out--only to discover it dealt with victims of sexual addiction, whereupon he recognized that he was one of them. Yes, Boggsy discovered to his horror, he was a male nymphomaniac.

Well, Babe Ruth drank. The 1919 White Sox gambled. LaMarr Hoyt popped pills. Lots of ballplayers have had tragic weaknesses. Only, this was a new one. Or, at least, a new one to acknowledge publicly. This was a dangerous addiction Boggs had, one a lot worse than smokeless tobacco.

Boggs now says all of his troubles are in the past. He got caught without his red sox on, but what's done is done. As for Margo Adams, she will probably file for arbitration. May her per-diems always be large, and may her next boyfriend remember to sign a pre-nuzzle contract.

Now, then. Moving on.

About these basketball crowds: Has anybody noticed that, over just the last couple of weeks, Indiana's Bob Knight, Nevada Las Vegas' Jerry Tarkanian, Louisiana State's Dale Brown and Georgia Tech's Bobby Cremins all have grabbed microphones at courtside to beg spectators not to throw objects onto the court? Begging customers to act civilized?

What is going on out there? Wasn't it just at the Rose Bowl that spectators hurled cushions at the Michigan State marching band? Do we have to start doubling up on the number of security police at college sports events? How about if we give the players something to throw back at the fans? Put some idiot against a wall and fire ice at him . See how he likes it.

Sure, it is a little bit funny for Bob Knight to be telling people not to throw things, when he is the same guy who once turned a chair into a discus. Knight was wrong, but at least he was wrong in front of everybody. He wasn't some anonymous, sneaky little creep who threw something when nobody was looking. Next person in your section who throws something, dump a large soda on his head. He gets the Coke, you get the smile.

As far as arbitration is concerned, the one thing I do not understand is why we should know what these people are making. Why have baseball players' salaries become public knowledge? I don't want anybody to know my salary. You probably don't tell anybody yours. Why should we know how much Orel Hershiser or anybody else is being paid to pitch?

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