Tippecanoe and Big Dog, Too
Topic the first: Sports! Worming their way into politics! When voters go to the polls on Tuesday, they won't be able to tell the players or the issues without SCORECARD'S scorecard:
•Wisconsin, U.S. Senate. Running against Milwaukee Buck owner and incumbent Herb Kohl (D.), and using the slogan The Buck stops here, Bob Welch (R.) hoped to make an issue of Kohl's wealth by focusing on the Bucks' big-dollar dealings with No. 1 pick Glenn (Big Dog) Robinson. But Kohl has come off as a fiscal conservative by refusing to bow to Robinson's demand for a $100 million deal. Latest poll as of Monday: Kohl up by 30 points.
•California, governor. The Los Angeles Rams have contributed $20,000 to incumbent Pete Wilson (R.) in his race against challenger Kathleen Brown (D.). Analysts say the Rams, who have threatened to leave Southern California if a new stadium isn't built for them by August 1995, may be counting on state financing for a place to play and hoping that Wilson, the presumptive winner, would sign such a bill. Latest poll: Wilson up by 10 points.
•Utah, U.S. Senate. Ray Majerus, the late father of Utah basketball coach Rick Majerus, was a labor leader, a chum of Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, and so solid a Democrat that Rick says, "Dad wanted to be buried in Chicago so he could remain politically active." Yet even though he disagrees with incumbent Orrin Hatch (R.) on abortion and gun control, Rick supports Hatch, an occasional dinner companion, in his race against Pat Shea (D.). "He's a good man," says Majerus. "Besides, lobbyists pay millions for the access I get. He's even conceded a few points to me." Latest poll: Hatch up by 35 points.
•Nevada, governor. When the administration at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas dawdled last week in hiring Tim Grgurich, an intimate of hugely popular former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, as its new basketball coach, the school's interim president, Kenny Guinn, got a call at home from Gov. Bob Miller (D.). Miller's prodding helped bring about Grgurich's hiring, which won't hurt the governor in his race against Jim Gibbons (R.). Latest poll: Miller up by nine points.
•Texas, governor. Retired Texas Ranger star Nolan Ryan has been stumping for challenger George W. Bush (R.), the Rangers' managing general partner. Meanwhile incumbent Ann Richards (D.) charges in ads airing on black radio stations that Bush didn't do enough to involve minority businesses in building The Ballpark in Arlington and operating concessions there. Bush responds by mentioning Comer Cottrell, a black hair-care products executive who owns 2% of the Rangers. Latest poll: a virtual dead heat.
Lost at Sea
Picture the scene: Lou and Beth Holtz, a couple of Golden Domers passing their golden years in the sloop Ron P., suddenly find themselves in extremis 20 miles out to sea. The captain of the Navy ship responding to their Mayday call realizes that the distressed sailor is the erstwhile Notre Dame coach, the same Lou Holtz who on a Saturday afternoon in 1994, with his Irish snorkeling below the top 25 for the first time in eight years, ran a fake punt on fourth down with 1:45 to play and a 51-21 lead over the Midshipmen. And 61 seconds later called for a fourth-down TD pass. The captain can bring himself to say only one thing: "Row."
Selling Wolf Tickets
The Seattle SuperSonic marketing department, apparently taking its cue from the trash-talking denizens of that team's locker room, is offering four customized ticket packages. Each features at least one game against a marquee rival of the Sonics, the NBA's most impudent team. Fans can take their pick from the Scottie Who? plan; the Get Your Tickets Before Every Jerk in Portland Does plan; the If I See Another Thing with Shaq on It, I'm Gonna Barf plan; and the ever-popular Barkley Sucks plan.
Case Not Closed
Four months have passed since Colombian soccer player Andrès Escobar was shot to death outside a roadhouse near Medellín. The gunman, Humberto Mu‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬±oz, yelled, "Thanks for the own goal!" before pumping six bullets into Escobar, the defender for the national team who had inadvertently knocked the ball past his own goalkeeper during the 2-1 loss to the U.S. that helped assure the heralded Colombians' early elimination from last summer's World Cup. Mu‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬±oz confessed to the killing soon after he and two other men were taken into custody, and he at least remains behind bars. That's a rarity in Colombia, where more than 98% of the 30,000 homicides every year go unpunished. But reformers have abandoned any hope that Escobar's murder would lead to any measures that might begin to free Colombian soccer from the welter of drugs, guns, gambling and mayhem in which it is trapped. All charges against the two other men arrested, Pedro Gallón Henao and Juan Gallón Henao, brothers for whom Mu‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬±oz worked as a driver and bodyguard, have been dropped for lack of evidence. But investigators have linked them both to money-laundering and gambling. Another probe found "indications" of narcotrafficking influence in 10 of the 16 teams in Colombia's first division. "The sport is so infiltrated by bad guys that any attempt to rip out the mob is automatically thwarted by institutionalized corruption and inertia," says Juan Josè Escobar, Andrès's father, who is still being treated for the depression that followed his son's murder.
Indeed, gambling pervades Colombian soccer. Forward Faustino Asprilla, who's now playing in Italy, says that a gang of angry bettors stole a Mercedes from his wife at gunpoint shortly after the World Cup, calling the car "a down payment on what you owe us." Says Asprilla, "Lots of people mortgaged their houses to bet on us. For them our early elimination was a tragedy."
Meanwhile soccer in Colombia remains suffused with a numbing sadness. Attendance is down by 30% as fans register their cynicism about the fecklessness of the government's investigation and lingering sorrow over Escobar's death. Those who do show up to support National, Escobar's old club team, observe a pregame minute of silence, and one group of fans faithfully hoists a banner in his honor. "Andrès was the soul of the squad," says Francisco Maturana, the former national coach who's now in Spain with Atlètico Madrid. "When he was murdered, something died in all of us."
Dishing It Out
In an uncharacteristic paroxysm of good sense, the NCAA has given Florida offensive lineman Anthony Ingrassia the go-ahead to resume writing "Anthony Digests," his restaurant column for The Independent Florida Alligator, the school newspaper. The too-many-cooks of Overland Park, Kans., are apparently satisfied that Ingrassia, a 300-pound senior who describes himself as "every All-You-Can-Eat restaurant's worst nightmare," won't be violating the spirit of the NCAA's Bylaw 188.8.131.52, which prohibits college athletes from endorsing commercial products.
For connoisseurs of both good food and good writing who live in greater Gainesville, Ingrassia's return is welcome news. In a review of local pizza joints, the Gator gourmet issued withering assessments of Little Caesar's delivery ("takes so long you could invest $8.47 and accumulate interest to buy two pizzas") and Domino's quality ("so much oil and grease that pictures of workers rescuing sea otters and birds come to mind"). His palate took more kindly to Ruscito's, an Italian place with mozzarella sticks that look like "deep-fried Lincoln Logs."
But he heaps his highest praise on the family spread in Watchung, N.J., where he grew up. "It wasn't until I was 13 that I was tall enough to see my brother across the table, behind the mounds of food between us," he writes. "I thought there were only three kids in my family until one day my two-year-old sister popped up from behind a tray of lasagna."
Alas, as a result of the notoriety he received from his reviews, Ingrassia has run up against the bane of all food critics. While checking in last week on Harry's Seafood Bar and Grille, he realized that he can no longer dine incognito. Says Ingrassia, "When the waiter says, 'Here's a fresh Coke,' and takes away one still two-thirds full, something is going on."
In the Hall
The LPGA has an exacting policy that requires golfers to win 30 tournaments, including two majors, before they can be enshrined in its Hall of Fame. For 38-year-old Amy Alcott, who's at 29 career wins and holding, her last chance at immortality this season comes next week at the Toray Japan Queens Cup. Whether or not she goes over the top, she won't soon forget a moment earlier this year in Nashville when she stuck her rumpled self out the door of her hotel room before 6 a.m. to fetch a newspaper lying in the hallway. She was only half wrapped in a towel, figuring that the corridor would be empty. She figured wrong.
"You're Amy Alcott, aren't you," said a man walking by. "Good luck on your 30th."
"How'd you know it was me?" Alcott replied.
"I'd recognize you anywhere."
St. Louis alderman Freeman Bosley Sr. is trying to drum up support for a plan to subject convicted vandals to public paddling—very public paddling. "I'd like to do it in Busch Stadium," says Bosley, who with the help of something called the local Committee for the Legalization of Public Paddling is circulating petitions to get the proposal on the March ballot. He needs more than 20,000 signatures, and he just might get them. After all, with baseball on strike and no NFL team in town, there hasn't been any action in Busch for ages.
Ingrassia's column makes him a Big Manicotti on Campus.
This Week's Sign That the Apocalypse Is Upon Us
The University of Kentucky announced last week that it will revise "a portion" of the school's eight-year-old Wildcat logo in response to complaints that the wildcat's tongue looks like a penis.
They Said It
St. Louis Blue left wing, on what it was like posing for a photo in GQ: "The photographer doesn't say give us your best side, he says give us your least-damaged side."