As commissioner, negotiator, Ziegler has one job too many

Phil Jackman

April 08, 1992|By Phil Jackman

Reading time, two minutes:

One thing about the NHL strike that approaches the scandalous is the commissioner of the league and the chief negotiator of the owners are one and the same man, bungling John Ziegler. So when John said last night that the players must accept the latest offer by management by tomorrow (3 p.m.) or the season and playoffs are canceled, which hat was he wearing at the time?

* Jim Russo, longtime major-league scout for the Orioles, has a book out modestly titled "SuperScout."

* It's only a rumor that the swiftness of the Opening Day game at the new ballpark Monday (2:02) upset the organization because parishioners didn't have enough time to buy out the concession stands.

* It has become apparent after just three weeks of the World League (spring football) that points will have to be awarded for not scoring touchdowns and field goals. Ohio's averaging six points a game, San Antonio and New York/New Jersey 12, Birmingham 13, and the longest run from scrimmage has been about 8 yards.

* Yesterday was the 36th anniversary of the Philadelphia Warriors' winning the NBA championship despite a brilliant "four big men" coaching job by Charlie Eckman. These days, the playoffs don't even start for a couple more weeks.

* The pocket change humorist Art Buchwald picked up after half-proving that Eddie Murphy made a major heist of one of his columns for the film epic "Coming to America" opens it up for Jim Palmer to question the recent episode of "Cheers" wherein Sam Malone attempted a pitching comeback.

* The Indiana Corrections Department is still doing evaluation testing on Mike Tyson, the results being that he reads and writes at a sixth-grade level. Which should come as no surprise since he spent much of his youth in juvenile detention centers. Intelligent but very uneducated is Mike, which has always made him prey for the classy people boxing is known for.

* The picture of Gov. Schaefer riding in an open car with Cal Ripken during the Oriole Parade Sunday reminds of one of Lefty Driesell's old recruiting lines. He was trying to coax a point guard to Maryland and he said, "When we win the national championship, we'll come back here and there will be a big parade through the streets of Washington. We'll be in the lead car with the president and everybody will be asking, 'Who is that guy in the car riding between Lefty and Howard White?' " P.S. -- White ended up at Maryland.

* Wisconsin came across as the worst kind of whiners after Saturday's 5-3 loss to Lake Superior State in the NCAA hockey title showdown. "The game is not designed to have three-quarters of it filled with penalties," Badgers coach Jeff Sauer griped as his players took the cue and rushed referee Tim McConaghy. As seen on ESPN, it was a terrific game, but far too rough, often approaching goon hockey.

* The California Angels, picked for last in the American League West by everyone but the old cowboy, Gene Autry, had to be in a Perestroikan mood when they signed three Russian ballplayers for their Mesa team in the Arizona Rookie League. A 15-man squad from Moscow (with only nine full uniforms among them) made a tour here a couple of years ago and even Division III college teams eased to 19-1 and 24-2 victories.

* That Kenny Cooper, he's a glutton for punishment. Before boarding the bus for San Diego and the start of the MSL playoffs tonight, he said going against the Sockers in postseason play is what the team has sought all year. The West Coasters, recall, have been pounding the Blasters for years (17-4 lately).

* How soon they forget. Local obituaries reporting the death of retired Air Force Col. Johnny Clune, former athletic director at the Air Force Academy, didn't even mention that he was probably the best basketball player ever at Navy until David Robinson happened along.

* Even more embarrassing for cantankerous Bobby Knight than the technical foul he picked up in the Duke game had to be his Indiana team going from a 12-point lead to a 13-point deficit in no time while the genius sat there like a guy waiting for a bus.

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