What gives with David Letterman?He made a big deal on his...

Off the beat

June 23, 1991

What gives with David Letterman?

He made a big deal on his late-night talk show about his pitching skills. He offered his services "to any major-league team" wanting an inning of shutout ball.

And sure enough, the Class AAA Tucson Toros took Letterman up on his offer, giving him the chance to start their July 1 exhibition game against the parent Houston Astros at Hi Corbett Field.

But Letterman isn't coming.

Jack Rollins, Letterman's agent and producer, turned down the invitation Friday night, saying Letterman has a busy schedule.

Well, maybe he is busy. But, then again, there may be a top 10 list of reasons he shouldn't do it (from the Los Angeles Times):

* The Astros will offer him a contract.

* NBC will announce his retirement.

* He will get more laughs on the mound than he ever got behind the microphone.

* He will be giving Arsenio Hall endless material for his own show.

* Jay Leno will pitch the second inning and take another job away from Letterman.

* The manager will suggest Letterman head for the showers . . . after watching him warm up.

* The catcher will handle his pitches with his bare hand.

* The umpire will give Letterman his chest protector.

* He will get a big laugh from the batter . . . after he inadvertently hits him.

* The operator of the speed gun behind home plate will be asked what it reads and reply, "thirtysomething."

No-hitters? No big deal

Nolan Ryan might be a big name in most circles, but not in the Ryan household.

The Bob Ryan household, that is.

Bob, 50, is Nolan's older brother. Bob has become so blase about the accomplishments of his famous sibling, he shut off the television after watching seven innings of Nolan's sixth no-hitter a year ago."

"I went to bed," Bob told the San Antonio Light.

A retired Air Force colonel, the older Ryan says being the brother of the future Hall of Fame pitcher is "not my occupation in life. People hold him up as this perfect person. I see the flaws and blemishes. I see him as a normal human being who happens to be very good at what he does.

"But I look at him with the criticalness of a brother. I feel like saying, 'Look, guys, this is not Moses. He's not going to lead us into the Promised Land. He's got problems, too.' "

The quote

Randy Burridge, who was informed Friday of his trade to the Washington Capitals by a phone call from Boston Bruins president/general manager Harry Sinden: "When you get traded, well, there are no set rules how it goes, or a plan. . . . It's just a shock, weird. You pick up the phone and there's Harry Sinden at the other end of the line. I mean, when does Harry Sinden ever call you? He's there, and you know you're gone."

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