There’s No Question Too Hot to Handle for the Answer Man


Dear Answer Man . . . The city of Anchorage made its bid for the 1992 Winter Olympics with a presentation to the International Olympic Committee, a show that included a lively performance by a tap-dancing moose. What was the upshot of that presentation? The moose was invited to stay for dinner. Just kidding. Actually, no decision has been reached yet on which city will be granted the 1992 Winter Games. My sources tell me that Anchorage is a long shot, but then they probably realized that going in. Why else would they go to the trouble to trot out the state’s foremost entertainer? The presentation wasn’t a total loss, however. The moose did receive an invitation from the Dodgers to try out as an outfielder.

How in the world did Leon Spinks manage to blow the $4.5 million he earned in boxing? That seems like a lot of money to spend by the young age of 32. Bad company. Leon fell in with some people who sold him on the philosophy of “You can’t take it with you.” Unfortunately, Spinks thought they meant to the next party.

I read somewhere that Bret Saberhagen is trying to get out of a contract with Rawlings, the sports equipment company. He signed the contract when he was a naive minor leaguer, and it binds him to Rawlings in exchange for two free gloves a year. Will Rawlings let Saberhagen out of the contract? My guess is they’ll try to placate Saberhagen by pointing out to him that his glove contract is twice as good as Michael Jackson’s.


What’s the latest on Ed Whitson, the Yankee pitcher who begged out of pitching at Yankee Stadium because the home fans had singled him out for heavy abuse, causing him extreme psychological problems? Under pressure from management, Whitson relented and agreed to pitch in the stadium, but under modified conditions. At the suggestion of a team psychologist, Whitson pitches wearing a full head mask, and is listed in the program and announced by the stadium public address announcer by his nom de combat , Whiplash Whitson. In his first appearance, Whiplash didn’t strike anybody out, but he did pin three opposing batters and an umpire.

Is it true? Is John Henry really going to make a comeback? If so, why? Wouldn’t he risk tarnishing his superstar image? It is a risk, yes, but John Henry has no choice. Insiders tell me that the famed race horse is forced to launch a comeback for financial reasons. He blew all his millions on high living and wild partying--sowing his wild oats, as it were. At one time John Henry owned several fancy horse vans, had closets filled with cashmere blankets, and supported a large entourage. He ran with a fast crowd of wild party-goers that reportedly included Leon Spinks and a tap-dancing moose from Anchorage.

In fining and suspending Mac O'Grady, Deane Beman, commissioner of the PGA Tour, said he did it because “ ... if professional tournament golf is to retain its high standards and reputation for conduct, it is impossible to escape the conclusion that a significant penalty is called for in this case.” Do you agree with Beman? How can I argue with a guy who once long-jumped more than 29 feet? Besides, Beman is absolutely correct. Professional golf is in grave danger of becoming too colorful, the same disease that ruined pro tennis, basketball and wrestling. Take a look: On the pro golf tour, one player wears knickers, another uses an oversized putter, and one golfer actually goes by the nickname Fuzzy. The whole circus is getting out of hand, and Beman needs to restore order. To that end, he is falling back on the great American tradition--banishing anyone who takes impolite exception to his policies.

Reggie Jackson recently made some comments about the small number of nonwhite players on the Minnesota Twins’ 24-man roster. Do you think the Twins’ management is guilty of any kind of subtle or even subconscious racial considerations in selecting players? Not at all. The Twins, like most big league clubs, tend to tailor their team to suit their ballpark or overall style of attack. It so happens that the Metrodome, and the Twins style of play--13th in the American League in team stolen bases last season, last in stolen-base percentage--is best suited to players who run slow.

I hear the UC Santa Cruz student body will vote on a possible nickname change for its athletic teams, to Banana Slugs, after an insect indigenous to the region. Personally, I feel the change would be healthy, that such a refreshingly different name would alter our perceptions, change the way we look at collegiate athletics. Do you agree? The mere suggestion of the new name has altered my perceptions, changed the way I look at bananas.