By the time you see this, the dogcatcher in Resume Speed, Idaho, has probably been voted out of office, and Teddy Kennedy may be driving a cab in Boston. The American electorate is clearly in a sour, surly mood for the long haul, the political pundits say. After Tuesday's midterm elections, no incumbents and no keepers of once-cherished institutions are likely to feel safe until Hillary turns to needlepoint and President North vows to kick some serious military butt in, say, British Columbia.
The country's anti-incumbent rage is not being heaped only on politicians, however. At least it shouldn't be. This surreal year in the world of sports has produced enough worthy targets to fill both chambers of Congress several times over. So it probably won't be long until a suicide pilot crashes his light plane into Texas Stadium or a mad gunman from Colorado Springs opens fire on the general offices of the New York Yankees.
Meanwhile, the spin doctors over at the Athletic Political Action Committee--APAC to you--have just issued their regular weekly hit list of individual public officials and soul-destroying conspiracies that must be terminated right now, by any means necessary:
1. LOU HOLTZ. This incessant whiner finally has something to cry about. After years of faking mortal fear every Saturday afternoon ("I just don't see how we can withstand Meatball Tech's pass rush--so what if it's a girls' school?") and poor-mouthing his own powerful club ("With six dwarves on defense and Stevie Wonder starting at quarterback, I don't know how we can stay with Eastern Alaska State"), Notre Dame's head football coach need only glimpse the record to see that his Fighting Irish really are a pile of dung this season. Beaten by Boston College two years in a row? How about Brigham Young? That's what you get for crying wolf, Lou. Even Touchdown Jesus must be getting sick of your act.
2. O.J. INCORPORATED. That's right. They haven't even picked a jury yet out there in Dimville, but aren't America's Favorite Defendant, the whole top-heavy entourage and that damn white Bronco getting on your nerves? One more closeup of Shapiro or his bloated ego and somebody will probably call in the Haitian death squads. If Judge Ito, no shrinking violet himself, had his wits about him, he'd lock up all those jerks selling T-shirts in front of the courthouse, and the teeming TV crews would be shooting pictures of their small intestines. By the way, while Charles Murray keeps making stupid noises about the alleged racial origin of intelligence variations, do you suppose he could have come up with three digits by adding Nicole and Ron's IQs together?
3. HOCKEY. What's that? You don't say. Hadn't heard. Nine beery oil riggers living in tents on the Arctic Circle are the only people who actually watch this endless bore of a game, and all of them are named Zamboni. So while the New York Rangers may have finally won a Stanley Cup and Denver may have landed--ho hum--another minor-league team of its very own, who really gives a puck? The Mighty Ducks and the Canucks and whatever else they're called could strike forever and most of the world wouldn't notice. Hey, is Maurice Richard still playing?
4. DENNIS RODMAN. At last report, the Worm had amassed six technical fouls and two ejections--for trash-talking, sulking and pushing the refs around. He'd also missed a team bus, a team meeting and, well, an entire game. And this was only in the exhibition season. So while the San Antonio Spurs wisely chose last week to suspend their defensive star indefinitely, harsher sanctions are probably in order--including no visits to the hairdresser for six weeks and three nights in his room without dinner. The latter would also be the right medicine for money-mad Brian Williams--if he hadn't already found room on the Nuggets bench.
5. BUD SELIG, RICHARD RAVITCH, DONALD FEHR AND THE BOYS OF BUMMER. That United Baseball League plan may not look like much right now, because the Doug Drabeks and Junior Griffeys of the world won't play five minutes of pepper for five hundred thou a head. But wouldn't it be nice if the new guys could get under way in 1995 and give Major League Baseball the hint of a scare? Anti-trust exemption, your ass. If there's justice in the world, what baseball will get from the fans when everyone gets around to playing again is no trust. The vision of brand-new Coors Field with 139 fans sprinkled around the outfield keeps floating through certain heads. How much did you say those box seats will cost next year, Jerry?
6. WADE PHILLIPS. Okay, so the Donks thumped then-unbeaten San Diego at the Murph--it's hard to to stay in the game while you're laughing. Even Stan Humphries said so. The locals also beat the Seadorks. And Cleveland, which hasn't taken Denver down since the days of the single wing. Sunday, the locals lost to the Rams. Unless Wade's Maids go on one helluva tear for the rest of the season--and there's no real evidence that they can--Bum's kid will probably wind up in the ashcan. For a defensive coach, his charges haven't shown much D this year, but at least he's not alone in that failing: On the ride out to the dump, he'll be able to commiserate with Buddy Ryan, (ex)-resident genius of the Arizona Cardinals.
7. TERRY BRADSHAW, JOE THEISMAN, PAT HADEN, RON JAWORSKI AND PHIL SIMMS. If the TV networks, large and small, really wanted intelligent commentary about NFL football, they'd sack the entire QB corps and hire some smart guys--good, big, mean ex-interior linemen who play the game without helmets and still gobble chunks of raw beef liver with their bare hands. Right now TV viewers get gobs of cute (Bradshaw), hours of motormouth (Theisman) and acres of try-too-hard (Haden). The only reason the equally incoherent Simms is on the set, of course, is because Dan Reeves canned him in Joisey. Oh, Danny Boy. Bet you wish you hadn't.
8. GEORGE FOREMAN, LARRY HOLMES AND CO. Come on, willya? You are wonderful fellas, one and all, but please give it up while you're still able to eat solid food and find your bedrooms at night. What is it? Money? Ego? Or the ongoing fact that there's not a single fighter under thirty in the heavyweight division worthy of lacing up Muhammad Ali's gloves or carrying Joe Louis's sweaty trunks down to the laundry room? Hey, George. Happy 64th birthday. We understand Ezzard Charles isn't doing anything Saturday night. Shall we book the Garden for your title defense?
9. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. This pillar of the sporting press still has some of the best writers in America on staff (hey there, Gary Smith; mornin', Rick Reilly). But, man, who can stomach all that pontification? Witness that 50 greatest athletes of the last 40 years issue. Or 14 greatest athletes of the last 1,200 years issue. Whatever they called it. Not only were the choices calculated to provoke reader outrage (come on, the inventor of AstroTurf?), but the whole project was a self-congratulatory bow to the magazine's own anniversary. In the beginning there was SI. Then came sports. How about it? Get down off Secretariat.
10. JENNIFER CAPRIATI, MARY PIERCE, VENUS WILLIAMS, ET AL. No, it's not their own fault that kids still wearing diapers are being sent out onto the courts of Wimbledon and Flushing Meadow, where they squander their childhoods and slave away for egotistical, greedy, sometimes psychopathic parents. The same thing happens in figure skating (hiya, Tonya--now put that wrench down) and the theater. But it has taken tennis, a game already reeling with problems, far too long to wake up. At least it did: Before long, fourteen-year-olds won't be allowed to go pro at all. That's what they call progress over at the country club. That and Bud Collins's pants--cut straight from the curtains in his mother's living room.
11. DEION SANDERS AND ANDRE RISON. What can you say about America's fun couple? Slime Time remains at the top of his game in three sports--baseball, football and self-promotion; Bad Moon is still in a Bad Mood because his girlfriend torched the mansion. Following their widely televised punchout, maybe they should fight Foreman and Holmes.
And goodnight from Election Central.
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