Question Authority

Cats and Tigers and Bare Mistresses-Oh, My!

By Tom Danehy

TROUBLING TIMES. Yes, troubling times for sports fans. So much confusion, so much delusion, so, the heck with it. I'm just going to have to eat that $19.95 I paid for the correspondence course from the Jesse Jackson School of Cool English.

Besides, when people flood The Answer Dude with questions, they want simple, straightforward answers. And if I ever get flooded with questions, that's what I'll give 'em. In the mean time:

Danehy Dear Answer Dude: What do you think of UA softball coach Mike Candrea dismissing pitcher Carrie Dolan from the team just minutes before the Cats were to board a plane for the College World Series?

Dude: In this day and age of spoiled athletes, overbearing parents and unrealistically demanding fans, I'm going to side with the coach 9,999 times out of a hundred.

Let's look at this logically. You have a team which is the dominant squad in its sport, a national powerhouse which is the definition of excellence. First of all, a team doesn't get that way by cutting corners. It might win one title by cheating (UCLA in softball, UNLV in men's basketball), but it's not going to be able to get on top and stay on top by doing things halfway.

Candrea's teams have always outworked everybody and won with style and class. I can't see Candrea risking all that for one more title. Unfortunately, all too many coaches would give their left (choose an appropriate body part of which the average person has two) for a championship, ethics be damned. That Candrea would cut loose his tournament-tested pitcher heading into the Series tells me what Dolan did was serious, and that Candrea is one of those increasingly rare individuals who believes rules are rules and they apply to everyone.

Candrea could've waited a few more days to dismiss Dolan from the squad. Fans would've smirked and then nodded understandingly. But he didn't, and good for him.

By the time this appears in print, we'll all know whether the Cats repeated as national champs. Whether they did or not, the program is a winner.

A friend of mine suggested that Candrea used the timing of the dismissal for maximum effect and to send a message to every other woman who will ever come through the program. There is no doubt another kid may well have the incident in the back of her head if she ever thinks about breaking a team rule, but that's just an extra benefit to Candrea, the program, and the potential rule-breaker. It'll help that next kid make up her mind real quick.

Good for you, Coach.

Q: Well, that's really going out on a limb. Everybody in the world will take that approach.

A: Not our good friend, John C. Scott. He raged on for an entire day last week that Candrea was "ruining a kid's life" for no reason. We all thought it was impossible to be on the wrong side of this issue, but we forgot about Scott. Or at least we tried to.

We sure wish we knew what the transgression was, but nobody's talking. (Candrea probably never will; Dolan, through her fiance, offered only that she's a victim of selective enforcement, claiming that others had violated the same rule.) Now fertile imaginations are running wild. This is bad. If the truth ever comes out, it will very likely be less than our imaginations conjured up, and that can have a backlash on Candrea, when people say, "Gee, was that all?"

Much as I hate to admit it, I'm dying to know what she did. Even The Answer Dude has base human instincts.

Q: Speaking of which, what do you think of Frank Gifford?

A: Very little. If the guy has one more facelift, he's going to look Chinese. It's at the very least ironic Gifford got caught fooling around at a time he was publicly criticizing his son-in-law, one of those Kennedy guys, for divorcing Gifford's daughter.

I despise Kathie Lee Gifford and I even thought about feeling sorry for her. But then I realized that she'd have to have an asteroid land on her while attending a John Tesh concert in Biloxi, Mississippi, in August before I'd even think about feeling sorry for her. All those years she paraded her marriage around as being perfect just blew up on her.

It's hard enough being married without publicly proclaiming that what you've got is perfect. Nothing is perfect. (I used to think Popeye's Chicken was perfect, but I recently ordered a three-piece white meal and they gave me a thigh! Can you believe that?!)

Certainly, nobody deserves to be cheated on, except maybe all those people on Ricki Lake who cheated first, but Kathie Lee had to have known better. After all, how did she meet her "perfect" husband? When they first hooked up, Frank was cheating on his first wife to be with Kathie Lee. Life's a bitch, and so is...getting a thigh in a three-piece white.

Q: Who's the most unbearable sports figure today?

A: Tiger Woods. No question, and he did it in record time.

This isn't one of those inevitable backlash things that happen when somebody becomes real hot, real fast. This kid is slimy, and that's even after his age and the incredible demands on his time are factored in.

He played the silent victim as everyone rushed to his defense after Fuzzy Zoeller's unfortunate remarks. Then he turns around and makes some ugly remarks of his own in GQ magazine.

He wins the Master's, then snubs President Clinton and thumbs his nose at the memory of Jackie Robinson. He signs this huge deal with American Express, then gives us this boring-ass song and dance about being a citizen of the world. Tiger, you don't want to be black, don't be black. Nobody really cares. Just promise us that if you ever kill your wife, you won't run to the black community for support. That's been done.

And for all you people out there making a big deal about him, just remember this: He's only playing golf. How hard can that be?

Q: What do you think of the announcement that David Letterman will broadcast his show from Nagano, Japan, during next year's Winter Olympics?

A: Is David Letterman still on TV? TW

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