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It was only a venial sin, Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz surveying the long-shot situation against Michigan and deciding to accept a 17-17 tie with the Wolverines Saturday. However, the man who has one of those faces you would love to punch turned it into a mortal sin by wrapping himself in the glory and tradition of N.D. and declaring, "We didn't come to Notre Dame to tie" while stuttering through the lamest excuses imaginable.
* If there is any doubt in your mind why attorneys are generally regarded right down there with car salesmen, collection agents, IRS employees, ax murderers and reporters, we refer you to lawyer Larry Lucchino's assessment of the Orioles' advanced ticket-price structure for next year. "I think the question should be, 'Why would a team with our demand [for tickets] hold prices and lower them on so many seats?' "
If Larrupin' Lar, Big Jake's mouthpiece, had his way and he was running the show down at Maryland, he would probably want to charge for two games after watching the Terps run an astonishing 105 plays against North Carolina State Saturday.
* Next time you see Ray Perkins, ask him if he has any second thoughts about giving up the high-profile and lucrative New York Giants and Alabama coaching jobs, thence to be fired by the Tampa Bay Bucs and end up working at Arkansas State, which has been outscored 110-0 in two opening losses.
* While on the subject of good things, didn't Pam Shriver make a boo-boo getting rid of Natalia Zvereva as a partner after winning the women's doubles at the U.S. Open with her last year? The Russian woman won again, partnering Gigi Fernandez this time.
* Regarding the open baseball commissioner's job, I suggest they give it to Bob Costas, so the kid will stop weeping publicly about NBC's losing the rights to telecast the Grand Old Game a few years ago.
* Say what you want about the pay-per-view tennis match between Martina Navratilova and Jimmy Connors Sept. 25, but the plain fact is it's a disgusting grab for dough by a couple of scandalously rich second-round losers at the U.S. Open.
* Obviously, Colts fans in Indianapolis realized their team already has its victory for this season because the smallest turnout (44,851) for a non-strike game since they unloaded the Mayflowers in '84 showed up at the Hoosier Dome for yesterday's loss to the Houston Oilers.
* It has become abundantly clear that one cannot say, do or even think about doing anything that won't offend someone, somewhere, sometime. For example, they're going to kill off Superman in the comics in a couple of months (boo!) and mental health advocates are steamed that "The Man of Steel" gets it from an escapee from an interplanetary insane asylum. "If Superman must die, why not at the hands of a drunk driver?" a complainant wanted to know.
With this in mind, we note that as wan and lifeless as he has been most of the season, Cal Ripken had another rotten day at the ballpark yesterday. But cheer up, gang, "The Streak" rages on, he's still clogging up the feeble middle of the batting order with those weak pops the other way and, the division title be hanged, he's signed through the millenium. Remember the bat speed Brooks Robinson generated his last year?
* Seeing as how Navy hasn't beaten anybody but Army on the football field since mid-November of 1990, why don't the Mids simply bag all the games and propose a World Series-like best-of-7 against the Black Knights of the Hudson? The made-for-TV (revenue) could play anytime and anywhere the networks requested.
* Joe Angel might have hit it right on the noggin concerning Ben McDonald during the O's 3-1 loss to Milwaukee yesterday, the announcer pointing out that no matter how strong a pitcher's arm or how good his stuff, "Some pitchers just never learn the knack of winning. It's early [for Ben], but not that early."
* Tony Trabert is a nice man and he makes a nice appearance and uses the right fork for his salad, but how much longer is CBS going to carry him as U.S. Open tennis commentator when all he ever seems to say is, "[so-and-so] has good racket preparation."
Regarding the Open, let's hear it for Pete Sampras. Sure, he lost the final to Stefan Edberg, but at least he returned the tempo of the game to where it belongs after a week of actionless four- and five-hour bores. Pete shows up to play the game, not pose, towel off, bounce the ball endlessly and attempt what Connors and John McEnroe mistakenly refer to as "being colorful."
* It has a bit of age on it to be sure, but the line, "If Jerry Richardson is a friend of Unitas', then John certainly doesn't need any enemies," certainly fits that Charlotte pep rally brouhaha that erupted here last week.
* Is it my imagination or is the only thing Boogie Weinglass ever says is, "I was the only one there at the [NFL expansion] meeting not wearing a tie." Assuming the push for an expansion team continues, the Weinglass and Tom Clancy camps should combine, with the latter writing the former's stuff.