Red Sox -- No Bullpen, No Speed, and Poor ManagingBy Mike Duffy
and Andrew Heitner
Recently some MIT intelligensia have made some suggestions for increasing attendance at home sporting events at the Institute, but your humble scribes think they have found the definitive answer. The University of South Dakota Salukis select six fans at random to sit on two living room sofas that are set up courtside at home basketball games. The lucky couch potatoes also enjoy free pizza topped with Buffalo meat, popcorn, and Cokes. In addition to increasing attendance, this presumably distracts USD's opponents in the Open Prairie Conference. All MIT needs to do is to get someone to bring the Student Center couches down to Rockwell Cage and standing room crowds will become the norm...
With the grapefruit and cactus leagues in full swing, we present our predictions and previews for the baseball season, starting with the AL East:
1. Baltimore Orioles. A healthy Glenn Davis and newcomer Harold "Willie" Baines will give the birds more offensive punch than last year. Brady "Bunch" Anderson and Ben "Roddy" McDowell will mature to contribute productive seasons. This, combined with less than spectacular performances in Toronto and Milwaukee, mean the National League East flag will fly over Camden Yards.
2. Toronto Blue Jays. The losses of Dave Steib, Jimmy "Skeleton" Key, Kelly Gruber, and Dave Winfield are enough to keep the J's from repeating; the solid acquisitions of Dave "Wine" Steward and Paul "Christian Science" Molitor won't fill the void. Nevertheless, there is enough talent remaining from '92, particularly in Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter, to make it a good race.
3. Cleveland Schmindians. The Tribe has the best young talent in the division with Albert Belle "Biv Devoe", Charles Nagy, and Sandy Alomar; they are two quality starters (and a new stadium) away from the pennant. If the Indians are close in August, a "hired gun" acquisition may put them over the top.
4. New York Yankees. A healthy Don Mattingly and a rejuvenated Wade Boggs could push the Bombers even higher. Pitching is still a problem in the Bronx, especially in relief (Steve "Snow" Howe is not the answer), but the presence of Key and Jim "Bud" Abbot put them this high. The loss of Roberto Kelly hurts the Yanks more than "Stick" Michael thinks.
5. Milwaukee Brewers. Persistent injuries to Chris "Dale" Bosio and Teddy Higuera decimate the pitching of the Brew Crew. With 3,000 hits collected and the loss of Molitor, Robin Yount will finally start to fade. Manager Jim Gantner's enthusiasm will wear off, and his sophomore slump means a down year in the Land of Harleys and Pabst.
6. Boston Red Sox. Bosox are still five or six players (pitchers, middle infielders, etc.) away from third place. No bullpen, no speed, and poor managing -- all ingredients leading to a healthy sixth place finish. Roger Clemens and Frank Viola keep the season interesting in the Fens until the break. We still hope, however, for a good season, lots of ice, and a case of Excedrin for Andre Dawson.
7. Detroit Tigers. The shift of ownership from Dominos to Little Caesars doesn't prevent Detroit from leaving the basement. Too many players who strike out too often and no arms to speak of mean disaster on Trumball Avenue. Look for Travis "Stir" Freyman to emerge as one of the best young talents in the league, however...
The TV networks routinely court any ex-jock with vocal cords into the booth to do color commentary. It's about time the folks who run the tube tried something innovative, like bringing in an ex-official from a professional sport to provide his insights. Referees are a great pool of knowledge. Many of them have been around for much longer than the average players, and can, therefore, provide better cross-generation comparisons for the viewer. Moreover, officials are not usually stuck in one league or division, and so have watched more players and teams than players or coaches have (Larry Brown, of course, being the most notable exception). Obviously, if there is ever a disputed ruling, or question about what pro players should be able to get away with -- especially in the no-travel, 3-seconds NBA, there would be no one better to answer. If there are any doubts about officials being articulate, please refer to the NFL's Pat Haggerty ("Unnecessary roughness, number 99, he was down there giving him the business"), the NBA's Jake O'Donnel ("Good coaches coach, bad coaches ref"), or even Dutch Rennert's Tarzan-like call of "strike 3." Charismatic Jake O'Donnel, who wears old number 11, would be an excellent choice to replace Slur Steve Jones on NBC's national broadcasts...
Speaking of the peacock network announcing corps, there is a large gap in quality between the dynamic duo, "Marvelous" Marv Albert and Mike "Czar" Fratello, and the three amigos, Slur Steve, Dick "PGA" Enberg, and Magic Johnson. Marv was made for basketball play-by-play, with his accurate descriptions and New York accent, while Fratello knows the game and is not afraid to criticize. The two together also often have sharp, witty dialogues. On the other hand, Kick tries to be too poetic for a fast moving game, and often leaves himself hanging for words; he ought to stick to the NFL. Slur Steve has yet to say anything intelligent or intelligible, while Magic, though he knows the insides of the NBA game, seems to hype Nike-sponsored players in hopes of drawing a "Just Do It" contract when his deal with Converse runs out...
Talk about a fantastic comeback, Vinnie Pazienza has looked impressive in his two victories since a car crash forced him out of the sport for a year and caused the WBA to strip him of his junior middleweight title. Despite suffering a broken neck in the accident, La Paz has been able to take a punch, but more importantly, he has maintained his excellent mobility in avoiding punches. He beat Brett "Gag" Lalley in a TKO following the seventh round Tuesday night. His next fight is against Roberto "Manos de Jell-O" Duran, who, believe it or not, is still fighting. In other boxing news, look for Buddy McGirt to finish off Pernell Whitaker in 10 rounds (it would be sooner, but his shoulder is hurt) Saturday night, to set up a big money fight with either Julio Cesar Chavez or Terry Norris sometime within the next year...
Despite his return, the antics of George Steinbrenner should not be taken too seriously. George is smarter than one realizes (his father went to MIT); he realizes that baseball is entertainment and that he makes the most money when attention is on him and the Yanks. He doesn't care what scribes write about him, as long as they spell his name right, and his philosophy is indeed effective -- look no farther than the 400 media personnel who showed up in Ft. Lauderdale to view his return to baseball. His return is not all that bad, considering Marge Schott is due to return in only 362 days...
Bonehead Play de la Semana:
To the designers of Vanderbilt University's basketball arena. We have noticed that the benches where the players and coaches sit are located behind the baskets (great seats, hey buddy!). In addition, each team's bench is behind its basket. This means that many a player must go for a lay up while seeing the other team's coach directly under the basket making weird faces and silly duck noises with his arm?
Simson's Top 5
3. North Carolina
You Heard It Here First
The NBA will award a franchise to Toronto for the 1994-95 season. With any luck, someone will have the common sense to prevent the team from calling themselves the Mighty Sea Gulls...
Race For Futility
San Jose: 8-55-2
The square root of the number of Mavs losses is almost twice as much as the number of Mavs wins, while our deadline came before the result of "The game someone must get at least one point: Ottawa vs. San Jose" was in...
Globe Gem of the Week
Donut Dan must have come up with this one about the Toronto Blue Jays after leaving last call at the Muddy and catching Safe Ride home: "They are like men who've orbited the earth in spaceships: only the few who have been there know what it is like." Earth to Dan, Earth to Dan. Can anyone tell us what this man is talking about?
Where Are They Now?
Former MLB Umpires.
Doug West, Dave Pallone, Jim Honicheck, Harry Wendlestadt, Doug Harvey, Pam Postema, Eric Gregg, and Ron Luciano.
MIT TWIB Notes
The men's basketball season came to an end with the Engineers posting a strong showing in the Conference tournament by beating Western New England College and losing at Babson. Babson, ranked ninth in New England, wound up winning the tournament. The Engineers were led by the dynamic duo of Keith Whalen and Doctor Dunkenstein, Mark Heffernan... The men's baseball team has started its regular practices. Although a young team, look for the Engineers to post a solid showing.
Trivia Question of the Week
What is Bo Jackson's real first name? Send answers, comments, and claims of responsibility for the World Trade Center bombing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Answer's to last week's question: Michael Jordan in 1984. Kudos to Hyung Chang `95 who wins a free campus map. Pick up your prize in any fourth edition of Tech Talk. Also winners are Jeff Ma '94 and Mike Aponte '93, who win the distinction of beating Scott, Mashikian, and Jindal...
Rumblings From Around the 'Tute
Will Scruggs '92 sends us this from the Motor City: "Hi Guys! I was munching on a box of biscuits while watching the Ohio State-Michigan game when I realized why I think Michigan will go to the Final Four. As soon as the Buckeyes faltered and opened the door a crack, the Wolves were relentless in widening the gap to an insurmountable margin. Also, Indiana will fill another space in the Final Four."
Eugeno Torres '93 sends us the following: "Continuation of the Mario `Quijote' Morales saga." Following his junior season at the University of Puerto Rico (1976-77), Quijote was voted the Naismith trophy winner after averaging: 57 points, 32 rebounds, and 24 assists per game against lesser competition. The UPR Ricans played UCLA in the `NCAA against the World' tournament final. Quijote held Bill Walton to 0 for 17 shooting, blocking 15 of his shots and PR won 174 to 28 (their closest game that season)."