The Answer Dude Takes Some Swings.
By Tom Danehy
THE ANSWER DUDE takes on Baseball... Q. So Answer Dude, what's unique about this baseball season?
A. They plan on playing a full 162-game schedule.
Q. Who are your baseball heroes?
A. Roberto Clemente, Don Drysdale, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Sandy Koufax, Brooks Robinson, Yogi Berra.
Q. But none of those guys have played in 25 years or more.
A. Yeah, but some of them are still alive.
Q. What about today's players?
A. What about them? Who's to like? Albert Belle? The best hitter in baseball is a guy who can't carry on a decent conversation with any other human being on Earth. A 250-pound monster who threatens women on national TV.
How about Darryl Strawberry or José Canseco? These are two guys who started their careers in the Hall of Fame and had to fight their way out through substance abuse and stupidity, respectively.
Or maybe Barry Bonds, perhaps the best left-fielder of all time, who sulks and bitches and moans, doesn't play hard all the time, and (at $7 million a year) had the nerve to get a judge to lower his alimony payments in exchange for an autograph.
Yeah, lots of heroes out there. Just imagine the NBA where every player was Derrick Coleman.
Q. Isn't that a little harsh? What about Ken Griffey, Jr.?
Q. Okay, we get the idea. What would you like to see happen in baseball this year?
A. Oh, I don't know, how about some real athletes who play the game for the love of it, baseball people who treat the fans with respect, and maybe some owners who display something higher than the IQ of Jon Kyl? Too much to ask? Probably.
Q. What about the World Series?
A. Yes, I'd like to have one this year.
Q. No, who do you expect to see in it?
A. For the 37th consecutive year, I'm looking forward to a Dodgers-Angels Series. And you know what? There is a very good chance of that happening.
The Dodgers won the NL West last year with the worst defensive team in the league. The left side of their infield had more leaks in it than Fife Symington's grand-jury testimony. The Dodgers went out and got Mike Blowers at third and Greg Gagne at shortstop. With the best pitching this side of Atlanta and a middle of the lineup that features the 3-4-5 punch of Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi and Eric Karros, the Dodgers should run away with the division.
The Angels pulled the worst fold in the history of baseball last year when they blew a double-digit lead in the last month of the season. But they have solid pitching, the best outfield in baseball and a solid young club that's hungry to erase the shame of last season.
All that stands in the way of a Dodgers-Angels Series are last year's Series teams, Cleveland and Atlanta. Cleveland is even better than last year, if you can imagine that. And Atlanta still has the best pitching in baseball. But I don't like Cleveland because Albert Belle is Mike Tyson in cleats, and I don't like Atlanta because Dave Justice cheated on Halle Berry.
Q. Can you say something good about Baseball?
A. Sure. It's not hockey.
Q. What must baseball do to get back in your good graces?
A. Everybody in baseball must realize that I'm not just some disgruntled kook crying in the wilderness. There is an entire generation of people such as myself who grew up playing, watching and loving baseball. And somehow we went from adoring the game to tolerating it to hating it.
This slide toward enmity was started with the lack of respect for the traditions of the sport, greased by greed among all parties involved, and sealed by the total disregard for the fans by players and owners alike.
It didn't happen overnight and it won't be fixed in a year or two, if ever. And if the people in baseball think they're at least heading in the right direction, they're just as stupid as ever. There is still no agreement between players and owners, which means a work stoppage could happen at any time. Are fans ready to invest their money and emotions in a season which might not be concluded?
There are still more jerks than cool guys playing the game and there is still a general disregard for the fans.
Nothing of any real substance has changed.
THE GREAT WHITE NORTH: The Tucson Toros will have their official season opener Saturday, April 13, against Albuquerque. But you can catch them in their season opener on April 4, when they meet Calgary at Hi Corbett Field.
See, the Toros were scheduled to open their season the first week of April in Canada!! And the guy who made up the schedule was paid how much?
Anyway, the field in Calgary is frozen solid (and probably will be until June), so the Toros and Cannons will play at Hi Corbett, with the Toros being the visiting team. For information about game times, call 325-2621.
After the four-game set (including a doubleheader on Saturday, April 6), the Toros are off to Edmonton, which, last I checked, is also in Canada. They play a four-game set in Edmonton, have two days off, then have their official home opener on the 13th.
Toros General manager Mike Feder promises a new attendance record, no rainouts, another Pacific Coast League championship and the most incredible prize giveaways of all time, including a date with Princess Di as soon as she dumps that loser she's married to.
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