You’ve studied the Baseball Register and every issue of The Sporting News. You’ve read the newspapers and the baseball season preview magazines and watched all the in-depth ESPN analyses.
But baseball is such a doggone dynamic, fast-moving, ever-changing sport. It’s hard to keep pace with new developments. Are you really ready for the baseball season?
Test yourself with this opening-week quiz.
1. The next major milestone Pete Rose is shooting for is: a) His 4,500th hit; b) His 1,300th run batted in; c) His 25th Porsche; d) His 1,000th major milestone.
2. The Dave Winfield Foundation is: a) A nonprofit organization dedicated to suing George Steinbrenner for nonpayment of promised funding; b) A new English rock group; c) A new collection of designer pin-striped underwear endorsed by the stylish Yankee slugger.
3. As Little Leaguers attempt to imitate their favorite big league heroes, the hottest selling new equipment accessories will be: a) Necklaces with solid gold figures representing those favorite players’ uniform numbers, or prison numbers; b) Under-undergloves, for fielders to wear under the golf-type gloves that they wear under their fielding gloves; c) Elbow bands, to help keep the wristbands dry.
4. Under new commissioner Peter Ueberroth, it is absolutely guaranteed you shall positively never ever again see: a) A poem as lovely as a tree, b) Drugs being bought and sold in the clubhouse; c) Framed portraits of Bowie Kuhn in the commissioner’s office.
5. Seriously, the next great challenge facing Commissioner Ueberroth will be to rid the game once and for all of: a) Labor unrest; b) Unscrupulous agents who cheat and mislead innocent ballplayers; c) The increasing incidence of career-ending knee and shoulder injuries; d) The Pittsburgh Pirates’ ugly flat-top caps.
6. George Steinbrenner, before making the decision to cut beloved knuckler Phil Niekro from the Yankee roster, naturally first consulted: a) Yankee Manager Lou Piniella; b) Yankee General Manager Clyde King; c) Yankee Manager Lou Piniella, to find out who the current Yankee general manager is; d) Yaqui Indian Chief Big Thunder; e) A palm reader on 51st Street; f) A mirror; g) Several mirrors.
7. All the Toronto Blue Jays need to make this a truly complete team is: a) A first-rate catcher; b) A good season from reliever Gary Lavelle; c) One more “m” for Manager Jimy Williams.
8. In a market flooded with hundreds of really good baseball statistical analysis books, the most informative and enlightening volume is probably: a) Yogi Berra’s Baseball Computer Analysis of Trends and Tendencies (subtitle: “Ninety Percent of the Game Is Half Mental”); b) The Complete Works of Pete Rose, by Pete Rose, as told to Seymour Siwoff; c) Bert and Ernie’s Rainy Day Fun With Decimal Points Baseball Stat Bible and Coloring Book (Forward by Pete Rose).
9. You’ve positively heard the last of this subject, because baseball writers and commentators have finally worn out all the possibilities for making good-natured fun of: a) Buddy Biancalana’s slugging percentage; b) Pete Rose’s age; c) Tom Lasorda’s weight; d) All of the above.
10. The promotional day the fans are most looking forward to is: a) Dwight Gooden Poster Day, May 7; b) Oil Can Boyd Poster day, June 21; Tom Lasorda Poster Day, July 8, 9 and 10.
11. The most heartwarming story of the year involving relatives will be: a) The Niekro brothers’ quest to be reunited on the Yankees; b) The story of Hal McRae’s attempt to stay in the big leagues long enough to play alongside his son; c) Pete Rose beating out his grandson for the last spot on the Cincinnati Reds’ roster.
12. After all the talk and rumors of moving and relocating, the Giants have decided to play the ’86 season: a) In Denver; b) In their usual daze; c) In the tri-city area of Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga; d) In Candlestick Park again, if the place hasn’t blown away during the off-season or been approved as a federal toxic waste dump site.
13. The most popular made-for-TV baseball movie this season will be: a) Tarp! The Vince Coleman Story; b) Oh Yeah? Oh Yeah? The Billy Martin Story; c) Oops! The Don Denkinger Story.
14. The most coveted baseball award among the prestigious awards sponsored by the manufacturers of commercial products is sure to be: a) The Rolaids’ relief-man-of-the-year award, to the game’s top bullpen ace; b) The Arby’s RBI award, to the leading runs-batted-in man in each league; c) The Preparation H award, to the player who most often answers sportswriters’ questions with “Unnghhrr,” “Y’know,” “Talk to my agent,” or “That’s a stupid question.”