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Notes on a Scorecard

ALLAN MALAMUD

March 13, 1990|ALLAN MALAMUD

Soon after the news came over the wire that the Raiders plan to return to Oakland, an eavesdropper in the sports department said, "Great. Now we can watch the games we want to on TV every Sunday." . . .

That pretty well sums up the reaction of the majority of the populace, which, according to a Times poll and recent Coliseum attendance figures, didn't give a damn about the Raiders. . . .

I'm in the minority. I will miss the Silver and Black. A Los Angeles NFL team that actually played in Los Angeles. Marcus Allen diving into the end zone, Howie Long clogging up the middle, Vann McElroy taking off somebody's head, Bo Jackson enjoying his hobby, Mervyn Fernandez swerving. Sundays in the Coliseum were fun, especially in the early days of the Los Angeles Raiders when they had somebody who could throw the football. . . .

Those days would have been even more fun for the spectators if the Coliseum Commission had made the improvements necessary to take the stadium out of the dark ages. . . .

Not that the Coliseum was totally to blame for the Raiders' failure to develop the kind of following Al Davis envisioned when he moved the team here in 1982. . . .

The Raiders remain a mom and pop operation. They don't have a public relations specialist. The word \o7 promotion \f7 is missing from their vocabulary. And, most important, they haven't had a winning season or made the playoffs since 1985. . . .

Drafting low caught up with them, just as it caught up with the Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys over the years. . . .

Al Davis' decision to give a mediocre quarterback, Marc Wilson, big bucks to keep him away from the United States Football League was a big mistake. So was the hiring of an untested coach from another organization, Mike Shanahan from the Denver Broncos. . . .

Now that they're moving back up to Oakland, the Raiders might also be moving back up in the standings. They are improving just about everywhere except quarterback. But so is most of the rest of the AFC West. . . .

Unless the Coliseum is torn down and rebuilt--fat chance of that happening now--Los Angeles may never have another NFL team. The Los Angeles Rams play their home games in a different county. In pro football, the nation's second biggest city ranks somewhere below zero. . . .

Two years remain on the Raiders' Coliseum lease, but look for Al Davis to buy it out rather than have his lame duck team play before minuscule home crowds. . . .

What an odd coincidence that Davis announced his plans only hours after the death of his old adversary, Eugene Klein. . . .

From Klein in his book, "First Down and a Billion": "After all the years I spent in football, would I consider myself an expert? I bought the Chargers for $10 million and I was expert enough to sell them 19 years later for $80 million. Call me anything you want." . . .

It's unfortunate that Hank Gathers' death was presumably the deciding factor in Loyola Marymount landing a national network telecast on CBS Friday night against New Mexico State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. . . .

Now that University of Connecticut President John Casteen is leaving for Virginia, will he try to bring basketball Coach Jim Calhoun along with him? . . .

Those are hard candies--not upset stomach remedies--that UCLA Coach Jim Harrick pops into his mouth. . . .

CBS commentator Billy Packer claims Jerry Tarkanian's winning streak in Long Beach, where Tarkanian once coached, is the most remarkable in the history of sports. Sorry, Billy. The streak of 81 games isn't even the most remarkable in the history of college basketball. UCLA won 88 consecutive games from 1971-74, no matter the venue, and Kentucky won 129 consecutive at home from 1943-55. . . .

The late starting time for the Nevada Las Vegas-Cal State Long Beach game was a lame excuse by the NCAA for inviting only three Big West teams to the tournament. Both Long Beach and UC Santa Barbara deserve to go. . . .

All seven Pac-10 schools with winning records reached the NCAA or NIT. . . .

Robert Morris made it to the NCAA tournament, but James Madison and George Mason were snubbed. . . .

Mando Ramos sees a similarity between his career and that of Mike Tyson. Ramos won the lightweight title at age 20 in 1969, lost it, regained it, lost it again and was washed up by 23. Along the way, he was divorced and led a flamboyant life style. . . .

The Julio Cesar Chavez-Meldrick Taylor junior-welterweight title fight Saturday at Las Vegas is a tough call. Well-matched fights often go to the bigger and quicker boxer. Taylor has those advantages. But Chavez has proven his toughness, durability and ability to beat quality opposition. . . .

Notre Dame Coach Digger Phelps on the NCAA tournament selection committee: "Those guys do a great job."

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