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Scott Ostler

Some Selective Random Thoughts From Out of Blue

June 15, 1989|Scott Ostler

Ever have a sudden burst of mental clarity, where all your intellectual energies are keenly focused, causing rays of lucid thought to clarify heretofore impossible problems and dilemmas?

Neither have I.

Still, I have been struck by random thoughts, like asteroids, and I hereby pass a few of them along in hopes of bettering mankind and collecting my next paycheck.

Boxing matches don't have scoreboards!

What boxing matches have is ring girls. These are young women who, as part of their corporate management-training programs, parade around the ring between rounds wearing hardly any clothing and carrying a large card with a number on it, corresponding to the number of the next round.

Boxing promoters apparently believe that this is as much statistical information as the average boxing fan can absorb.

Meanwhile the judges, three unemployed men in bow ties, score each round. They keep their scores secret, then they hand in their scorecards at the end of the fight. The men are old and sometimes, by mistake, they hand in a laundry list or an old Keno card, and this leads to confusion and strange decisions.

Boxing would be better off to let the leggy management trainees score the fight and have the old men in bow ties carry the round-number cards around the ring.

The point is, why is the score kept secret until after the fight? Why is there no scoreboard, so that the fans and even the fighters can see after each round which fighter is winning the fight, and which judge has turned in his laundry list or old Keno card by mistake?

If you had a scoreboard, you could still have the round-card girls, only instead of carrying cards they would walk around the ring pointing up at the scoreboard.

All-Star games are better with living players!

Mike Schmidt retired recently because he was playing lousy, yet he continues to lead the fans' All-Star voting for National League third baseman, and figures to be in the starting lineup. He will be the first All-Star ever to play in a business suit and wingtips.

Hey, no problem. Fans shouldn't be expected to stay abreast of late-breaking news, such as Mike Schmidt's retiring.

But what happens if a player, or a retired player, dies, and still gets voted onto the All-Star team? Do you start an urn of ashes at third base? If so, will the other team try to bunt a lot?

Pete Rose is wrong about Kirk Gibson!

Pete Rose says the Dodgers are making a mistake batting Kirk Gibson leadoff.

Rose says the Dodgers are wasting a big RBI hitter in a spot where there are no R's to be BI'd.

Rose is an unwitting dupe of a century-old pitchers' conspiracy.

Let's say you are a pitcher. The toughest batter for you has to be the first batter of the game, because you are still nervous, not yet comfortable, not yet grooved into the mound and the rubber and the other conditions. You don't know yet if your fastball or your spitball or your mojo is working.

In that leadoff spot, would you rather face a .173 hitter who chokes up 14 inches on the bat, or the other team's most powerful hitter and most dangerous baserunner, like Kirk Gibson? You would rather warm up against two or three relative stiffs before facing Mr. Big, right?

Also, would you rather face Gibson five times in the game, or four? Tough call, right?

The fallacy that a singles hitter instead of a bomber should bat leadoff is a myth perpetuated by pitchers, who hire professional lobbyists to pepper managers with false and misleading stats.

Tofu Tom Lasorda, with time on his hands now that he's not eating 16 hours a day, studied the matter and decided to challenge the old theory. The Dodgers will win the pennant and baseball lineups will never be the same.

There is hope for the NBA!

The league can survive, even prosper, if it follows my simple five-point plan:

1. Legalize zone defenses and move the three-point arc in 12 inches. What's wrong with encouraging snappy passing and dramatic outside shooting?

2. Call penalties for any defensive move which, if you performed it on a fellow rider in the New York subway, would get you arrested or at least glared at by other passengers. Also, option Rick Mahorn to the Detroit Red Wings.

3. Call traveling on any ballcarrier who uses more than four different pivot feet after picking up his dribble.

4. Trim 10 games off the regular-season schedule, so players don't wind up the season playing on their hands and knees.

5. Have scantily-clad "quarter girls" parade around the court with signs indicating which quarter is coming up. This will attract a lot of boxing fans, thus making up for the income lost by Suggestion No. 4.

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