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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

In Minnesota, There's No Mind-'Body' Connection

November 05, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

You know the old joke about California, that the country was tilted and all the loose nuts rolled to the West.

Some of them must have gotten stuck in a pothole in Minnesota.

We've elected politicians with unconventional backgrounds--a couple of actors (Ronald Reagan, Sheila "Zelda Gilroy" Kuehl), a tap dancer (George Murphy), a decathlete (Bob Mathias), a pop singer (Sonny Bono) and his wife (unfortunately not his first one), a member of the Chicago Seven (Tom Hayden) and a moonbeam (Jerry Brown).

But never, ever have we elected a professional wrestler, as Minnesota did Tuesday when it sent Jesse "the Body" Ventura to the state capitol as governor. A Boxer, yes. Even a boxer's son (John Tunney). But never a wrestler.

In other incarnations, Ventura, 47, has been a Navy SEAL, a bodyguard for the Rolling Stones, a two-term mayor of a Minneapolis suburb, a high school football coach and the host of a popular morning show for the Twin Cities' sports-talk radio station, KFAN.

It is through pro wrestling, however, that he made his name and his nickname.

During her acceptance speech Tuesday night, Barbara Boxer embraced State Sen. John Burton and identified him as her mentor. Ventura's mentor was Superstar Billy Graham.

When another of Graham's proteges, Hulk Hogan, emerged as the next superstar, Ventura was forced to seek his fame as the tag team partner of Adrian Adonis.

On Wednesday, I asked Dave Meltzer, publisher of the Wrestling Observer newsletter in Campbell, Calif., if Ventura had gained notoriety for any of his holds.

"His best move," Meltzer said, "was standing on the ring apron and yelling at the crowd while Adonis did all the work."

Ventura could not have had better preparation for a career as a politician.

Meltzer, who knew Ventura through his years as a wrestler and then as announcer Vince McMahon's sidekick on World Wrestling Federation telecasts, called his election "kinda funny, kinda sad."

"He doesn't have much depth. But whether he knows what he's talking about or not, he says everything with such great conviction that you believe he does."

If you ask me, that qualifies him for national office.

*

Tom Lasorda said all along that the Dodgers would sign Jeff Shaw. . . .

Perhaps that was false bravado, Lasorda realizing he would be blamed if the Dodgers lost Shaw because the interim general manager didn't know the relief pitcher had the right to demand a trade after the season. . . .

But even if the Dodgers had lost Shaw, the trade with Cincinnati for him was a good one. . . .

They had no hope of contending without a quality closer and, at the time the trade was made just before the All-Star break, nobody was ready to give up hope. . . .

When Shaw agreed to terms Wednesday, Lasorda's trade became the best one the Dodgers have made since Fred Claire reacquired Brett Butler in 1995 from the New York Mets for two Class-A outfielders. . . .

Casey Wasserman is the mystery man trying to bring an Arena Football League team to the Staples Center, sources say. He's the grandson of Lew Wasserman, former Universal Studios chief. . . .

The franchise price, sources say, is

$5 million. . . .

Is the entire league, sources ask, worth

$5 million? . . .

Maybe the reason Californians have never elected a pro wrestler is because we've never had a chance. . . .

That could change if Randy "Macho Man" Savage makes good on his promise Wednesday to XTRA (1150) "Big Show" hosts John Ireland and Steve Mason to challenge Dianne Feinstein for her Senate seat. . . .

It's probably the first time Feinstein has been called a "pencil-necked geek." . . .

I started to call the radio station to find out whether it really was Savage who called. But that would have required more reporting than it was worth. . . .

As Savage would say, "Dig it?" . . .

Mason had a good point in comparing pro wrestlers to politicians, noting both are required to pretend to be doing something they're not. . . .

CNN's Candy Crowley referred to California during the election returns as "the couch potato state." . . .

Does she know how many professional, college and Olympic athletes the state produces? Couch potatoes indeed. . . .

I was so outraged I almost turned off the TV. But because the remote control is broken, that would have required getting off the couch.

*

While wondering why the guy who cut Oscar De La Hoya's eye doesn't fight Ike Quartey, I was thinking: The Breeders' Cup Classic really is one, I bet Rob Johnson isn't eating Flutie Flakes, Gray Davis would be more interesting if he had a nickname--or is that it, Gray?

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