Wondering and wandering . . .
Why do I feel like I'm getting mixed signals from San Diego State?
On one hand, the university is virtually begging fans to come to tonight's football game with Wyoming. The attendance shortfall this year is threatening to bury the financially beleaguered athletic department. SDSU is desperate for big crowds for Wyoming and Brigham Young (Nov. 25).
On the other hand, the SDSU baseball team is asking for a show of support at what amounts to an open house today at 3 p.m. To encourage attendance, free tickets to the football game will be given away.
You figure that one out.
\o7 On the other other hand, why are the 5-3-1 Aztecs going begging and the 3-6 Chargers about to play to a sellout?
\f7 It's called rivalry.
SDSU simply does not have an arch-rival that stirs the emotions as a visit by the Raiders to San Diego.
The Raiders being in town creates an illusion of importance, especially when it is a 5 o'clock game on national television. Forget that only one of these teams is going anywhere, and who knows exactly where that will be. Paso Robles? Sacramento? Anchorage?
True, the Chargers are coming off a victory and the defense is playing great . . . but SDSU has won four in a row and its offense is one of the best in the country.
\o7 Why do I suspect the Padres are being a bit naive in their negotiations with Mark Davis?
\f7 Fred Lane, the Chicago-based attorney who, inexplicably, is handling these negotiations, says: "We're just a phone call away, that's all."
Fine, dial the telephone and get it done if it's that easy.
Oh, you mean it's not the \o7 Padres'\f7 turn to call? It's \o7 Davis'\f7 turn?
And Lane makes the observation that premier relief pitchers do not command the salaries of premier starting pitchers, this apparently a forewarning that the Padres will offer Mark Langston more than they hope to pay Mark Davis.
You don't \o7 say\f7 stuff like that. You don't take chances on alienating a guy such as Mark Davis when loyalty is one of your strongest selling points.
But the guy is 100% right about starters vs. relievers.
A starter is likely to be more consistent over the three-year duration of a contract. He knows when he is going to be working. He can prepare himself and pace himself.
A reliever goes through periods when he is burdened by overwork and periods when he is so underworked he almost becomes a forgotten man.
Mark Davis had 44 saves this year, but I would guess his seasonal totals for the next three years would be in the neighborhoods of 40, 25 and 15, in no particular order. This is called reality.
But you don't let him get away.
Make that telephone call. Offer Davis $6.25 million in salary and bonuses over three years and write in a clause that says he will get an additional $250,000 if he wins \o7 this year's \f7 Cy Young Award.
Get it done now and make the announcement Tuesday at 3 p.m. That would dovetail quite nicely with the other announcement scheduled for Tuesday at 3 p.m.
That is when the National League Cy Young Award winner will be announced. Mark Davis and Mike Scott are Sunday Silence and Easy Goer coming down the stretch in \o7 that\f7 race.
\o7 Why have the Sockers allowed themselves to become such step-children on their radio station?
\f7 Already this young season, they have had their season-opener joined in progress because \o7 their\f7 radio station had a prior commitment to Stanford football.
Now, Sunday night's game will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis at 9 because \o7 their\f7 radio station is also the voice of the Chargers.
The next time they negotiate a contract, they might ask where they stand in the pecking order. The next thing they know, they'll be preempted by Mystery Theater of the Radio or some such nonsense.
Simply stated, XTRA has more sports than it has time slots . . . and it actually wanted the Padres, too.
\o7 If graduation rate is a criterium, Tony Clark could be excused for bypassing San Diego State for Arizona.
\f7 SDSU can't keep athletes on its \o7 teams\f7 for four years, much less in class long enough to graduate.
\o7 Who's the phenom the Padres have playing down in Florida this winter?
\f7 They certainly \o7 do\f7 have a guy down there on a tear. In the first seven games of the season, he had four home runs and 17 runs batted in.
Could be the player of the future, right?
No, not exactly.
Amos Otis, 42, the Padres' hitting coach, is showing how it's done while playing for Fort Myers in the Senior Professional Baseball Assn.
If they can get Joe Carter from Cleveland, maybe they should go ahead and get him.
\o7 But isn't that another subject?\f7