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The Inside Track | T.J. SIMERS

See What Happens When You Admire the Bad Boy

June 21, 2001|T.J. SIMERS

After reading the love letters by a pair of columnists in our Southern California Living section that were inspired by the way Allen Iverson looks, I realized I probably haven't done a good job in providing a picture of the grocery-store bagger.

If ugly is in vogue, and we have women on the prowl here in SoCal Living, I'd hate to think I'm missing the chance of getting rid of him.

Now take a bowling ball, and using the three holes that have already been drilled into it, imagine them being the eyes and a nose, then paint a droopy smile below that--you'd have the grocery-store bagger.

I forgot the Dumbo ears.

IN HER Perspective column, Lynn Smith called Iverson the "ultimate summer romance," while suggesting most women seem to be "captivated by the energetic scrapper." Sandy Banks then wrote about the "scrappy little point guard."

I was only kidding when I suggested my daughter had picked up the bowling ball off the scrap heap, but now I understand the attraction.

I'll have to admit, I don't get a lot of things I read in SoCal Living. I tried reading Chris Erskine's "The Guy Chronicles" on Wednesday morning, but got only as far as the two dachshunds chasing the author along his regular running trail--the three of them seemingly going nowhere.

So when Banks writes about Iverson and concludes: ". . . Some of what makes him so memorable is less about sports than about culture--our longings and his humanity," I have to admit, I went looking for the box score.

I tried calling Banks, but she was on vacation. I know what you are thinking, but I don't think anyone would go on vacation to Philadelphia.

I also called Smith, who had written: "Psychologists, themselves hooked on the series, suspect a volatile mix of opposites--rebellious bad boy-playful sprite--that make Iverson appealing to women."

I guess that explains my problem with women--I drink Diet Coke.

I READ these two columns in SoCal Living and frankly this is what happens when a newspaper eliminates those "Man seeking woman for only a walk down the beach" classified ads.

I believe there should be a place for "Woman seeking woman to go to a Sparks' game," or "Particularly handsome man seeks one-on-one interview session with Salma Hayek."

Without those ads, you now have Smith making like a sports groupie as she loses control in closing her ode to Iverson: "You know it ought to be over soon. Still you can't quite let go. Besides, you never know, if he sticks around, it might turn into the real thing."

If these two women were moved so much to express their affection publicly for Iverson--Smith going so far as to label it a "fling," I have to believe there are a lot more women out there who are really frustrated because they don't have a column.

My suggestion, of course, would be to go to Ralphs.

NOW IF the sight of Iverson got the women in SoCal Living really going, I would imagine we are about two months away from them starting to swoon over a smoldering Barry Bonds and that manly display of power. I can't wait to find out how misunderstood he has been all these years.

Maybe "The Guy Chronicles" can weigh in on it too.

AN ANGRY Kevin Costner, saying he just "snapped," after being hit again with an Internet rumor that Cal Ripken had caught him in bed with Ripken's wife, Kelly, more than four years ago, called Fox Sports Radio Wednesday to say there is no truth whatsoever to the report.

Talk about your wide-ranging "Field of Dreams."

Fox's radio hosts, Kevin Kiley and Chuck Booms, had discussed the Internet report on their show Tuesday, which is heard in L.A. in the afternoons. When Costner heard about it from a friend, he called Kiley and Booms and told them, "I thought at first you guys were saying this was true, and if you were, I was going to take your heads off."

"THE BLACKOUT Streak Conspiracy," as it appears on the Internet, had Costner staying at Ripken's home in 1997 and Ripken leaving for the park only to return to find Costner and his wife together. The report said a fight ensued, Ripken beat up Costner and then called the Orioles to say he would not be able to play that night--ending his consecutive-game streak. The report then suggested the Orioles rigged it so there would be an electrical failure resulting in the game being canceled and keeping his streak going.

Who would believe something as farfetched as that?

The game between the Orioles and Mariners on Aug. 14, 1997, was delayed two hours, and eventually canceled because a set of lights apparently was not working. As a result, Ripken's streak remained intact.

Costner told the radio hosts he has met Ripken's wife twice in his life, and all together has probably spent no more than 10 minutes with her. That's barely enough time to discuss "For Love of the Game."

Costner said he has never been to the Ripken home. Don't look at me.

He said the Ripkens laughed off the report years ago, but he said it has not gone away and has impacted his relationship with the Ripkens. They certainly do not vacation together.

"If there is something alleged, I'd love to see someone come forward," Costner said. "No one will, because they don't have the story to do it. There would be big money for a story like this, but it simply is not true.

"Look, I'm Crash Davis. If you want a rainout, I can get you a rainout. If you saw [Bull Durham] I just go break the sprinklers. . . . I don't know if Kelly or Cal--the night in question--had to go to the emergency hospital for something. I don't know--but what has been strung together is some kind of story."

If they make it (into a movie), they will come.

TODAY'S LAST WORD comes in an e-mail from Mike:

"I thought your column Tuesday was really funny. Fortunately, I'm already in therapy."

Then disregard that knock at the door.

*

T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com

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