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Negative Outlook Is Perfect--Unless You’re Dodger Fan

Ask Mr. Negative . . .

What’s with that twinge in Orel Hershiser’s right arm, Mr. Negative? It hit him his last two starts. He and the team doctors play it down, but give it to us straight -- is this anything to worry about? Only if you’re a Dodger fan. We’re not talking about a twinge in Tom Lasorda’s arm, are we? Or Fred Claire’s.

Twinges can be tricky. San Francisco once was destroyed by a twinge in the San Andreas Fault. If you’re halfway to Hawaii and the pilot of your 747 announces that a slight twinge has been detected in the cargo door, do you go right back to sleep, or do you ring your flight-attendant call button and ask for a parachute?

Maybe this twinge is something Orel can work out by playing Ping-Pong, but maybe it’s something that will eventually require a delicate and risky twingeotomy.

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As the old saying goes, baseball is a game of twinges.

Darryl Strawberry is angry with his Met teammates because they’re devoting too much time to playing cards and golf. He says, “We don’t get paid to play cards and golf.” Your reaction? Those players have lousy agents. Most baseball players do get paid to play cards and golf.

Still, I can’t understand why Darryl is taking such a strong stand against baseball tradition. Cards and golf have been popular with ballplayers since baseball was invented. Managers insist only that players refrain from cards and golf while the baseball game is in progress.

The last ballplayer who said he was going to give up cards and golf and find something better to do with his time was Wade Boggs.

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What’s wrong with parking-lot attendants these days? Mike Tyson parks his limo in the wrong space at a nightclub and the attendant gives him static. Tyson is a tough hombre. Why didn’t the guy simply back off? Because Tyson parked his limo on the guy’s foot.

First Jeffrey Leonard had his flaps-down home-run trot, and now he has his “sling-trot,” where he carries one arm as if in a sling. What next? After his next home run, Hac-Man will put on aviator goggles and a flowing scarf, and circle the bases on a moped. Of course, the very next Mariner batter will get a high, inside fastball lodged in his left nostril, but that’s baseball.

Those two sleazy sports agents, Norby and Lloyd, were you glad to see them brought to justice? Let’s see, those are the fellows who were convicted of using cash to lure athletes into signing improper contracts, and threatening to harm the athletes if they tried to renege. Gee, that sounds like a description of standard college athletic recruiting.

How can you cheat a cheater? Punishing people for doing unethical things to big-time college athletic programs is like sending a guy to the electric chair for short-changing Al Capone.

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The Dodgers are getting the shaft from the schedule maker so far. They open the season with a horrendous trip, then open at home the afternoon after a night road game. Most of the players are very upset. Mickey Hatcher calls it “the worst schedule I’ve ever seen in the history of baseball.” What should the Dodgers do? Hire several violinists.

What happened to last year’s nail-chewing, steel-whiskered, tough-guy World Series champeens?

Those guys, you could’ve sent on a trip by Greyhound and they would have showed up snarling and ready to play ball. Have the Dodgers regressed to the days when team performance would fall off if the postgame wine was improperly chilled?

Maybe they are trying to enlist public sympathy, which should be no problem, even though they’re the highest-paid team in the big leagues at an average salary of $852,518.

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But perhaps I’m being too harsh on the lads. For years it was the Angels who whined about getting jobbed on the scheduling, and look at how much good that complaining did for them.

I’m worried about Fernando Valenzuela’s zip. Has anyone clocked slower this year on the Dodgers radar speed gun? Only Nancy Reagan. And it was close.

Valenzuela also clocked slower than Mike Scioscia, the plate umpire and Roger, the peanut vendor.

The Dodgers are sensitive about this. They are still steamed at the unknown wise guy who, just before Valenzuela’s last start, painted a happy face on the baseball.

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Confidential to Desperately in Need of a Kind Word: Love to help, dude, but I’ve got a twinge.


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