At least they weren't doing the Tomahawk Chop....
In case anyone was wondering if there's a giant picture in the front of the issue of Ted Turner (wearing a 1991 NL Western Division Champions hat and tinted shades) and Jimmy Carter (looking absolutely delighted) doing The Wave at a Braves playoff game, the answer is yes. Yes there was. I have newfound respect for Jane Fonda though. She's sitting next to Ted and refusing to join in. Good for you, Jane. The Wave sucks.
Dream Team Feedback
In the Letters section there are 4 reactions to the selection of the original Dream Team for the '92 Olympics. Two of the letters praise US Basketball for not selecting Isiah Thomas, calling him "a crybaby" and "an insult to the word professional." One letter predicts the U.S. is going to struggle to win the gold which a)is laughable in a sense because that '92 team definitely did not struggle to win gold, but b)seems ahead of its time now. And the other letter basically argues that this is going to be the death of amateur athletics in the US.
Allez les Nords!
Reader Miles Tompkins of Nova Scotia was very fired up over Eric Lindros' refusal to play for Quebec and had this to say...
You're right, Bonnie Lindros. Who would want to be an 18-year-old hockey star in Quebec-beautiful town, good educational facilities, low crime rate, clean as a whistle. And yes, Carl Lindros, a lot of stuff is going to happen there in the next ten years-with the Nordiques' young talent (with or without Lindros), I'd say about four Stanley Cups.
Well, not so much. Quebec never won a Cup. And, of course, in 1995 they relocated to Colorado. But Colorado did win the Cup in '96 with some of that young talent that Miles was talking about in '91. And they won another one in 2001. So Miles wasn't completely talking off his ass in suggesting Lindros would have been better off staying with Quebec.
"It was really pretty easy. There were a lot of heavy coaches to choose from."
-Alan Brown, of Slim-Fast, discussing the selection process for a weight-loss competition they sponsored in '91 with NFL coaches. The winner? Chuck Knox over Art Shell, Dan Henning, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells & Buddy Ryan.
"I don't care if it's a boy or a girl as long as it's a shortstop."
-Meat Loaf's quote (yes, Meat Loaf---the singer) to a reporter before the birth of his first child.
"Zimmer, who did less than Morgan did as a Red Sox manager with more talent, will now serve as a reminder as to why the Red Sox haven't won the World Series in 73 years."
-Dan Shaugnessy (surprise) on the firing of Joe Morgan and the decision to keep Don Zimmer on as the 3rd base coach.
"Love the way you do that chop."
"I love your music."
-MC Hammer and Jane Fonda exchanging compliments outside the Braves clubhouse.
S.I. gave a thumbs down in October '91 to the Cincinnati Reds for refusing to award Jose Rijo a $62,500 bonus for pitching 205 innings. Jose won 15 games in '91 despite missing 5 weeks with an ankle injury and ended up pitching 204 1/3 innings.
Here's my favorite thing in the entire issue....in the ALCS wrapup there's a mention of how Joe Carter badly sprained his ankle going after a ball in Game 4 and then valiently offerred to DH in Game 5 with the Blue Jays season on the line. Which he did. But he ended up going 0 for 5 with 3 K's and left 6 guys on base in a 9-3 loss that ended the series. And here's what his teammate Mookie Wilson had to say about it...
"If the man had been in a car crash, broken both arms and come out here clapping his hands, that would have been spiritually uplifting. But that was not what we needed. We needed hits. We didn't get them."
Hey, thanks for the support Mookie! Mookie, incidentally, retired that offseason and wasn't around in '92 and '93 when Toronto won back-to-back titles and Joe Carter hit one of the most famous home runs in World Series history.
Barry Bonds: Jerk in any era
The NLCS wrapup, which was penned with the Pirates holding a 3-2 lead (in a series they would ultimately lose) was (surprise) full of stuff about Barry Bonds being an ass. On the day of Game 1 (good timing) Barry called Andy Van Slyke "the great white hope" and cited race as the reason that he was signed to a long-term deal over Bonds and Bonilla. Then as Van Slyke addressed the issue with reporters in the locker room Bonds yelled over, "Hey Andy, don't listen to those (expletives), Great White. (Expletive) them guys. They're always starting something."
Bonds was 3 for 20 in the series to that point with zero RBIs and was so impotent that Bobby Cox had walked Bobby Bonilla twice to get to Bonds in key situations. But Barry was unconcerned. "I hope we win this so I can play in the World Series," he said. "You know what I can do. Everyone knows what I can do."
On Texas Owning Oklahoma
What comes around goes around, I guess. Much was made (until last year) of the fact that Oklahoma, under Bob Stoops, owned Texas. Well, back in '91 it was the exact opposite. Texas beat a favored OU for the 3rd time in a row in '91 so all the postgame talk was about how Texas had OU's number. OU coach Gary Gibbs played the part of (pre-National Championship) Mack Brown. Cale Gundy played the role of Chris Simms. Much was made about Texas getting all the breaks and being tougher than their more talented opponents. It's basically the exact article that might have been written in 2004 in reverse.
No Love for Chip Beck
Chip Beck shot 59 at the Las Vegas Invitational but nobody seemed to think it was all that big a deal because the course was too easy.
Articles Unworthy of Extended Discussion
A feature on Jason Hanson, the kicker. A feature on Oscar de la Hoya. A feature on athletes from former East Germany. I read them all and they were all largely uninteresting. I assure you.
I almost included a long feature from Dr. Z on Emmitt Smith in the unworthy category except for the sheer ridiculousness of his high school stats. In 49 high school games he ran for 8,804 yards and 106 touchdowns. He had 100 yards or more in 45 of those 49 games. His high school coach summed it up as follows...
"For four years we did three things, and won two state championships doing them. Hand the ball to Emmitt, pitch the ball to Emmitt, throw the ball to Emmitt."
Good Thing Zidane Wasn't Kicking for the Illini
Illinois beat Ohio State 10-7 back in '91 for their 4th straight win over the Buckeyes on a 41-yard FG from Freshman Chris Richardson with 36 seconds remaining. Chris explains the trash-talking OSU was throwing at him before the kick...
"They were saying I couldn't kick it. They were saying uncomplimentary things about my mom. They knew I was from Dallas, and they told me to go back there. They knew how much I weighed. Everything about me, they knew."
Oh, and the QB for Ohio State that day? Well, the starter was Kent Graham. But the backup, who came in to lead two stalled drives? None other than Kirk Herbstreit.
Inside The NFL with Peter King
I'll just reprint Peter's Stats of the Week here...
-Redskins wideout Art Monk, whose seven catches in Sunday's 42-17 victory over the Browns gave him 756 in his career, needs to average 7.1 catches a game for the rest of the season to break Steve Largent's NFL career record of 819.
-A Don Shula-coached team had never trailed by 42 points, until Sunday, when his Dolphins were blown out of the water 42-7 by the Chiefs.
-In the 11 quarters since Jim McMahon went down with a strained knee ligament, Eagle quarterbacks Brad Goebel and Pat Ryan have thrown 10 interceptions and no TDs. Of 37 Philadelphia possessions in those 11 quarters, none reached the end zone, and Goebel and Ryan have combined for a quarterback rating of 16.4. McMahon is expected back next week.
Towards the back of the issue is a full page ad from SharpVision promoting the upcoming Tyson-Holyfield fight. Here's some of the copy from that ad...
It's going to be big. It's going to be punishing.
It's going to be one of the most explosive entertainment events of the year.
Actually, it's going to be none of those things. Tyson's going to go to jail on rape charges in a few weeks and that fight's not going to happen until 1996.
I debated about what to end with here. On one hand, Richard Hoffer's Point After column (or what is currently the Rick Reilly space if you prefer) is the story of how Stanford, celebrating it's 100th anniversary, invited sister school Cornell out to California for the homecoming game. There's some hemming and hawing about the merits of such a move and discussion about how badly Cornell was going to get killed (which, ultimately, was 56-6). But in the end the general feeling is that the kinship felt between Stanford and Cornell (displayed in a quote from Touchdown Tommy Vardell) in this exercise outweighed any negatives.
And I was all set to end with that. But then I saw this on the "For The Record" page...
Rescued By Oakland A's outfielder Jose Canseco his 100-pound pet tortoise, Rafael, which had been wandering on the roadside near Canseco's Blackhawk, Calif., house. Rafael, one of 15 tortoises Canseco owns, escaped from its simulated natural environment (which includes moss, bark chips and a waterfall) built beside the slugger's backyard pool. Canseco, who was preparing to have all of the tortoises driven down to his Miami home for the winter in a customized van, located Rafael after a motorist used his cellular phone to notify police about the roving reptile.