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Time to chew the fat on sumo scandal

February 06, 2009|Lisa Dillman

The pot scandal rocked a nation, leading to indignant editorials and raising questions about the perceived lost old-school values of the sport.

No, this isn't about Olympic swim star Michael Phelps.

Think Japan and sumo wrestling.

Now, sumo wrestling, a good excuse to eat massive amounts of potato chips, pizza and Twinkies without suspicion. And who would possibly catch on that it might be the munchies, not a byproduct of a training regime?

Seriously, the scandal has created angst and introspection in Japan after four wrestlers were thrown out of the sport for alleged marijuana use in recent months, according to an Associated Press report on the controversy.

One newspaper used the words "appalled" and "utter folly."

Another sumo columnist and blogger told the wire service the fairly isolated cases did not mean there was a breakdown in the "discipline" of sumo.

Glad to hear it. No one wants that ancient sport to go up in smoke.

Trivia time

From the reference site, thebaseballpage.com: What was Rickey Henderson's stolen-base average against left-handed and right-handed pitchers?

Rickey on Rickey

It's all about the third person when it comes to Henderson.

He rarely missed an opportunity to refer to him himself in third person. Wonder if he did when the story came out that he didn't cash a $1-million bonus check, throwing off the accounting department of the Oakland A's back in the '80s.

Henderson framed it and put it on his wall.

It's not hard to imagine him saying, "Rickey doesn't put Rickey's money in the sock drawer."

Youth movement

This was a particularly clever introduction on the foxsports.com website about the upcoming marriage between Red Sox owner John Henry, 59, and his girlfriend, Linda Pizzuti, who is, well, younger.

The Red Sox are trying to put an emphasis on developing youth. But this may be taking it a bit far.

She is a mere 29 years younger than Henry.

As you might guess, he is getting props from Red Sox Nation and those living elsewhere.

One fan wrote on the foxsports site: "This guy is a modern day hero!!!"

Then again, this probably would be greeted with a yawn in Hollywood. After all, that's practically the same peer group around here.

Trivia answer

Rickey against right-handed pitchers: 83.5%. Rickey against left-handed pitchers: 75.5%.

And finally

Ron LeFlore, to the Sporting News magazine on whether headfirst slides were good or bad: "Rickey Henderson didn't get hurt doing it. But he was a freak of nature."

--

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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